Application Briefs

Tape Backup Systems Help NASA Archive Enterprise Data

Spectra® T950 tape libraries Spectra Logic Federal Boulder, CO 303-449-6400 www.spectralogic.com NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, installed two Spectra® T950 tape libraries with LTO-4 drives and media, which together offer approximately 20,000 data storage slots and up to 32 petabytes of storage capacity, with data compression. By replacing multiple, outdated silos, NASA Ames has freed more than 1,400 square feet of valuable data center floor space.

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Laser Tracker Ensures Accurate Alignment of Ares I Components

FARO® Laser Tracker FARO Technologies Lake Mary, FL 800-736-0234 www.faro.com Making its first flights to the International Space Station by the middle of the next decade, the Orion crew exploration vehicle is part of the Constellation Program, which will send human explorers back to the Moon, and then to Mars and other destinations in the solar system. Future astronauts will ride into orbit on Ares I, Orion’s launch vehicle, which uses a single, five-segment solid rocket booster. NASA’s first test flight, called Ares I-X, will provide NASA with an early opportunity to test and prove the hardware, facilities, and ground operations associated with the Ares I.

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Measuring the Color and Appearance of Special-Effect Paint

Manufacturers that design, formulate and apply coatings have struggled for years to find a rigorous and easy-to-use method that reliably measures the color and appearance of special-effect paints. Companies tried to relate measurements taken with handheld spectrophotometers that collect colorimetric data from several in-plane angles to events that occurred in production processes, but these instruments, by their nature, could not collect the essential data points to yield reliable results. Other companies have tried to skirt the problem by creating a coarseness index or “sparkle” metric that relies on photographic images taken in-plane, but this method is easily confused and insufficient for rigorous analysis.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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The Physics of Failure: Predicting Reliability in Electronic Components

A lot has been written about Moore’s Law and the potential limitations of semiconductor design and manufacturing in the future. Can we really continue to double the number of transistors on a given-sized die every eighteen months? For the last 30 years, Moore’s Law has held, but, we may be seeing the real limitations to future semiconductor development and to Moore’s Law — severely shortened operational lifetimes of advanced chips. That, in turn, creates massive reliability problems for critical embedded systems in the future.

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Rotary Motors Customized for Telescope Spectrometer

SQUIGGLE® custom rotary piezoelectric motors New Scale Technologies Victor, NY 585-924-4450 www.newscaletech.com The Wide-Field Multi Object Spectrometer (WFMOS) is a ground-based astronomical instrument that is scheduled to be commissioned on the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii in 2013. The WFMOS, along with corrective optics, will be mounted in place of the secondary mirror of the telescope. An array of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Cobra fiber positioners will feed light from a 1.5-degree field of the sky to a visible spectrometer, for red shift observations of 2,400 cosmological targets simultaneously. The light will be transferred to the spectrograph using 2,400 f/2.4 fibers with 107 μm cores. The array of 2,400 Cobra optic fiber positioners contains two SQUIGGLE custom rotary piezoelectric motors, which were developed specifically for this purpose by New Scale Technologies. Working with JPL’s design requirements, New Scale optimized the miniature rotary motor for high torque over 3.0 mN m and step size less than 0.065º. Each theta-phi style Cobra fiber positioner includes one 4.4 × 4.4 mm and one 2.5 × 2.5 mm SQUIGGLE motor, with one offset from the other, allowing the optic fiber to be placed anywhere in a small circular patrol region. The patrol diameter of the actuator is large enough to obtain 100% sky coverage of the close-packed hex array pattern of positioners. The Cobra positioner was tested in a lab environment in a manner that simulates its use on the Subaru Telescope. The positioner was controlled in open loop, and used a CCD camera to image its optical fiber to determine its location. Over 100 simulated cosmological targets were tested using the Cobra positioner, which showed that it can converge on over 90% of its targets within 5 μm in six open-loop move iterations. The next phase of the project will include a high-fidelity design and test cycle. Characterization of performance versus lifetime at an environment that represents Mauna Kea will be conducted. For Free Info Click Here.

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Mass Flow Controllers Ensure Astronauts Have Medical Fluids On Demand

Quantim Coriolis mass flow controller Brooks Instrument Hatfield, PA 215-362-3527 www.brooksinstrument.com Transporting medical fluids that are manufactured on Earth into space is expensive and logistically challenging, so researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center sought a way to manufacture medical fluids in space. The Quantim Coriolis mass flow controllers from Brooks Instrument were chosen by NASA contractor ZIN Technologies for measuring water flow through a purification system to a standard IV bag that was prefilled with salt crystals and a magnetic lab stirrer. The Quantim devices are making their way into space to ensure that astronauts have medical fluids on demand for emergency needs. An initial prototype of the medical fluid generation system, called IVGEN (IntraVenous fluid Generation), is currently being installed into a laboratory glovebox on the International Space Station. The prototype consists of an accumulator for pumping potable water, a filter unit with the flow controller installed, a data collection and control unit, a mixing module, and an IV bag with salt crystals. In operation, potable water is transferred into a bladder inside the accumulator. Nitrogen is pumped into the accumulator, forcing the water through the flow controller, and then through a series of filters and into the IV bag. The mass flow controller works in zero gravity and passed a 6.8G RMS workmanship vibration test. The device proved to be rugged enough for the long trip to the space station, and its flow rate range from 15-25 mL/min is very important for this application. The results from the first test conducted on the station will be returned to Earth and tested for proper filtering and mixing with the salt crystals. Once IVGEN is proven to be successful, the system will be scaled accordingly to meet the requirements of manned missions to the Moon and Mars. For Free Info Click Here

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High-Speed Cameras Assist in Crash Sled Testing

The Kettering University Crash Safety Center (Flint, MI) conducts vehicle subsystem tests using a pneumatic deceleration sled. The research and testing includes frontal, rear, or side impact occupant protection systems containing airbags, pretensioners, and/or child safety seats. The sled system can carry up to a 2,000-pound payload to a speed up to 42 miles per hour, and reach peak decelerations over 70 Gs. Access to high-quality imagery and dependable on-board and off-board high-speed digital video is as vital to the success of the data collection as is the anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs, also known as “crash dummies”) and their instrumentation (Figure 1).

Posted in: Imaging, Application Briefs

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