Application Briefs

Moving From System Specification to Software Development

Systems engineering is not about developing electronics, mechanical, or software designs. Systems engineering is really about four things:

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Testing DC Power Systems

DC is not always DC. When systems are developed to operate on DC power, the DC electrical environment will have noise and may experience other disturbances. This article will explore considerations for generating low frequency disturbances (glitches, sags, surges, spikes) that occur in the 100 microsecond and longer region with bandwidths of 10 kHz or less. In contrast, noise, which is outside of the scope of this article, can be low frequency (like 50/60 Hz hum) but becomes a challenge to generate in range from kHz, to MHz or up to the GHz range.

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Robotic 3D Scanner Automatically Scans Spacecraft Heat Shields

Adept Viper 850 robot armAdept TechnologyPleasanton, CA925-245-3400 www.adept.com

NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, performs research and technology in aeronautics, spaceflight, and information technology in a 3D vision lab. Using Adept’s robot arm and NASA 3D scanning technology, the vision lab engineers created a large-area 3D scanner to demonstrate the capability of inspecting an entire assembled Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) heat shield and its individual components.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Robotics, Imaging and visualization, Robotics, Insulation, Spacecraft
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Automated Data Acquisition and Analysis Test Station for NASA’s CEV

Data acquisition and distribution systemsG SystemsRichardson, TX972-234-6000 www.gsystems.com

G Systems has delivered a Data Acquisition System (DAS) for the Orion crew exploration vehicle test station at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, LA. Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for Orion, awarded G Systems three contracts as part of a multi-phase delivery plan to design, integrate, and install an automated data acquisition and analysis test station for Orion. The test stations will provide critical data to ensure structural endurance and spacecraft safety.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Data Acquisition, Data acquisition and handling
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New Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques for Analyzing Organic Photovoltaic Materials

Organic photovoltaic (OPV) materials are an emerging alternative technology for converting sunlight into electricity. OPVs are potentially inexpensive to process, highly scalable in terms of manufacturing, and compatible with mechanically flexible substrates. In an OPV device, semiconducting polymers or small organic molecules are used to accomplish the functions of collecting solar photons, converting the photons to electrical charges, and transporting the charges to an external circuit as a useable current.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Microscopy, Solar energy, Polymers, Semiconductors
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Imaging Technology Enables 3D Monitoring for Surveillance and Missile Defense

A new imaging technology can quickly give users accurate three-dimensional depictions of objects being tracked, whether they are incoming missiles or the faces of suspects in a crowd. The technology, being developed by Visidyne of Burlington, MA, has numerous applications beyond missile defense. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) originally funded the company through a 2003 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Lasers, Missiles
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Equipment Enables Communications in Hazardous Locations

DICES Subsystem Multiplexer (Sub-MUX) communications equipment Quintron SystemsSanta Maria, CA 805-928-4343 www.quintron.com

NASA is installing Quintron’s Sub-MUX multi-channel communications system at two locations: Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, and Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. The first installation at Stennis will complete the required capacity at the SSC A1 Test Stand, and includes a Sub-MUX chassis and 11 user stations (four hazardous-duty wall-mount units and seven control-room rack units).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Communications, Electronic equipment, Telecommunications
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Imaging Sensors Examine Evolution of Solar Activity and Space Weather

e2v CCD203-82 charge-coupled device sensorse2v TechnologiesEssex, United Kingdom+44 (0)1245 493493 www.e2v.com

Six Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) imaging sensors have been incorporated in NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft, the first of NASA’s Living With a Star (LWS) programs to launch. The LWS programs are designed to study and understand the causes of solar variability and their impact on Earth and near-Earth space. In order to study the Sun on small scales of space and time, and in many wavelengths simultaneously, the SDO has three scientific instruments on board: the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), the EUV Variability Experiment (EVE), and the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Sensors, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Sun and solar, Weather and climate
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Control System Safely Moves a Robot During Invasive Neurosurgery

Robotic devices have been used in the medical industry for more than 40 years. Despite the advantages, researchers have faced unique challenges in developing effective, safe robotics applications for medical use. In contrast with industrial applications in which robots operate in work cells where human staff is not permitted to enter, robots in the medical field must operate in direct contact with the patient and medical staff; therefore, the safety requirements are considerably more complex and restrictive than in industrial situations.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Automation, Robotics, Surgical procedures, Robotics
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Cockpit Vision System to Improve Pilot Safety

Inertial-Optical Head-Tracking System InterSense Billerica, MA 781-541-6330 www.intersense.com

Under NASA funding, InterSense is developing and testing an inertial-optical head-tracking system for commercial pilots. The company will work with a miniaturized inertial-optical tracker prototype integrated into a Head-Worn Display (HWD). The next phase involves testing and analysis of the system with flight tests in order to assess functionality and performance.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aviation, Optics, Displays
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