Application Briefs

New Spacecraft Design for Asteroid Redirect Mission

Geostationary (GEO) satellite Space Systems/Loral (SSL) Palo Alto, CA 650-852-4000 www.sslmda.comNASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has chosen Space Systems/Loral (SSL) to conduct first-phase design studies for a spacecraft that can travel to an asteroid, remove a boulder, and redirect it into a lunar orbit to prepare it for a visit by astronauts in the 2020s.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Design processes, Particulate matter (PM), Spacecraft

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Motion Control Challenges for Deep-Sea ROVs

Deep-sea remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) present motion control design engineers with some difficult challenges. Applications may include ROV propulsion, position thrusters, dive vanes, rudders, or robotic arms. Some problems are common to all of them.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, X-by-wire, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment

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Reducing Torque Measurement Uncertainty in Turbine Engine Testing

Torque is among the most important of all the measured quantities in applications ranging from characterizing high-power gas turbines, to determining the level of force required to open a screw cap on a medication container. As anyone who studied physics in high school should recall, torque is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Loosely speaking, torque is a measure of the turning force on an object such as a bolt or a flywheel. For example, pushing or pulling the handle of a wrench connected to a nut or bolt produces a torque (turning force) that loosens or tightens the nut or bolt. However, measuring torque accurately can be far from straightforward. This article offers an overview of one approach to reducing uncertainty in torque measurement using an example of turbine engine testing to illustrate the process.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Gas turbines, Test procedures

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Simulation Software is Key to Orion’s Heat-Shield Success

Tecplot 360 EX data visualization and analysis software Tecplot, Inc. Bellevue, WA 800-763-7005 www.tecplot.comNASA chose Tecplot 360 EX for use in the design of the heat shield for the Orion spacecraft. Orion’s heat shield, a protective blanket built with high-tech fibers and ceramics, is crucial to mission success. The outer layer of the heat shield is designed to burn away as it heats up during re-entry into the atmosphere, thus maintaining the integrity of the inner layer and helping to ensure the survivability of the spacecraft.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Computational fluid dynamics, Computer simulation, Computer software and hardware, Thermal management, Spacecraft

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Cryogenic Seal for Space Launch System Handles Extreme Pressure Conditions

OmniSeal® RACO™ Spring-Energized Seals Saint-Gobain Seals Garden Grove, CA 800-544-0080 www.seals.saint-gobain.comSaint-Gobain Seals produced a cryogenic seal measuring more than six feet wide for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) project. Although this launch system replaced the retired space shuttle, it was built using proven hardware from the space shuttle era and previous successful exploration programs, as well as cutting-edge tooling and manufacturing technology in order to reduce development time and cost. SLS’ first mission, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), will go into space in late 2018, and uses Saint-Gobain seals.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Springs, Hardware, Seals and gaskets, Launch vehicles

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Cambridge Researchers Take Computer Vision for Test Drive

Google's driverless car, like many autonomous vehicles in development, is packed with sensors, radars, lasers, and cameras. To lighten the load of sensing devices in self-driving autos, researchers at Cambridge University have hit the streets with a system that uses only computer vision.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Autonomous vehicles

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Using Optical Imaging to Combat Counterfeit Components

Counterfeit parts and materials pose a serious threat to the United States defense supply chain. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 (Section 818) laid out strict guidelines for DoD prime contractors for detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts1. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) identified six federal supply groups in their supply chains that are at high risk for counterfeiting including electrical and electronic components, bearings, hardware and abrasives, pipes and fittings, engine accessories, and vehicle components2. DLA is championing development of anti-counterfeiting technologies that also provide traceability for the parts in its supply chain. A solution called QuanTEK developed by Chromo Logic LLC, involves novel optical imaging methods and has been found to work on a broad class of the DLA identified high-risk federal supply groups.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Optics, Supply chain management, Counterfeit parts

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CAD-Based Process Analyzes Lidar Interferometer Instrument

Comet software Comet Solutions Cincinnati, OH 513-588-2773 www.cometsolutions.comA Structural-Thermal-Optical-Performance (STOP) analysis is an interdisciplinary analysis used to verify optical requirements. It is performed to identify and solve design issues early before building hardware. In a traditional STOP analysis, data must flow sequentially from engineer to engineer, requiring multiple data handoffs, which are time-consuming. If the STOP analysis shows that design changes are necessary, trade studies can also be time-consuming.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Analysis methodologies, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Lidar

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Plasma Etching System Expands Device Processing Capability at JPL

Apex SLR ICP etch system Advanced Vacuum, a Plasma-Therm Co. Saint Petersburg, FL 800-246-2592 www.plasmatherm.comAn Advanced Vacuum inductively coupled plasma etch system recently was installed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, to help expand the fabrication capabilities of JPL’s Microdevices Laboratory (MDL).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Sensors and actuators, Fabrication, Metals, Polymers, Semiconductors

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Automation System Retrofit Transforms 175-Ton Hydraulic Forming Press

Southern Manufacturing Group (SMG) of Morrison, TN, makes automotive components and industrial valves. In 2012, the automation system for its 175-ton hydraulic forming press received electrical damage resulting from a lightning strike (Figure 1). Purchasing a new hydraulic forming press would be prohibitively expensive — in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Therefore, SMG needed a company that could repair the forming press in a short timeframe to maintain its production schedule.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Automation, Forming, Hydraulic equipment

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