Application Briefs

NASA Deploys Supercomputer to Manage, Store, and Retrieve Data

SGI InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility SGI Sunnyvale, CA 650-933-7777 www.sgi.com NASA researchers produce vast amounts of scientific and engineering data in spacecraft design, climate change studies, aeronautics analysis, and research into the Earth’s atmosphere. To manage, store, and retrieve this information, NASA is deploying a data management solution from SGI. The solution is based on the SGI InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility (DMF) and is currently being used at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing facility at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA.

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Avionics Subsystem and Components Developed for NASA’s Ares I Launch Vehicle

Ares I First Stage Avionics Subsystem Line-Replaceable Units L-3 Communications, Cincinnati Electronics Mason, OH 513-573-6505 www.L-3Com.com/ce L-3 Communications’ Cincinnati Electronics subsidiary has been selected by Alliant Techsystems to provide the avionics subsystem and components for NASA’s Ares I launch vehicle. Alliant Techsystems is the primary contractor for the first stage of the Ares I crew launch vehicle. This approximately $65 million effort will run through June 2014.

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Performing Failure Mode and Effect Analysis

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) is a methodology for analyzing potential problems early in the product development cycle where it is easier to take action to overcome potential issues, thereby enhancing reliability through design. The tool is used to identify relationships between process and product requirements and the potential for unacceptable outputs and their effects.

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Design of a Field-Mapped Beam Homogenizer

Light beam homogenizer designs used for decades are largely based upon lenticular lens arrays that date back to the 1940s and 1950s. A more recent design is from the late 1980s that comprises a pair of crossed-cylindrical lenticular lens structures coupled with a condensing lens. The 1980s design has 10 optical surfaces which represents a significant source of optical loss, long beam path (typically ~ 1.5 meters) and high cost from having so many optical elements. Further, this design requires careful and precise alignment of the light beam in relation to the optics comprising the homogenizer, in particular angular rotation of the lenslets and their positioning in the X-Y plane of the optical axis. These designs are unable to produce a homogenized ring illumination, which is useful for ablating polymer insulation from metal bonding pads in microelectronic fabrication of multichip modules and memory chips.

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Low-Power FPGAs Aboard NASA’s Mission to Mars to Study Climate History

RTAX-S field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) Actel Mountain View, CA 650-318-4200 www.actel.com Actel’s RTAX-S field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are aboard NASA’s Phoenix mission to Mars, which launched this summer from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission will study the history of water and habitability potential in the Martian Arctic. Included in the spacecraft is a Meterological Station (MET) provided by the Canadian Space Agency, which will acquire, process, and transmit temperature and pressure data to scientists back on Earth. MDA, a provider of robotic space systems, led construction of the MET instrument and incorporated Actel’s one-million-gate RTAX1000SCQ352 device into the instrument subsystem.

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Electrostatic Detection System Prevents Injuries and Damage During Spacecraft Assembly

Remote Voltage Sensor Quasar Federal Systems San Diego, CA 858-228-3386 www.quasarusa.com Electrostatic charges impact the safety of both workers and spacecraft, and have been recognized as one of the main problems at the NASA spacecraft assembly facilities. Prevention currently depends on time-consuming, handheld electric-field devices scanning each individual worker’s clothing. Quasar Federal Systems has developed a new electrostatic detection system with support from NASA and the University of California Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory.

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Precision Motors Help Guided Parachutes Deliver Cargo

The Onyx guided parachute designed and manufactured by Atair Aerospace (Brooklyn, NY) is an autonomous precision airdrop system. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) uses motors and planetary gearheads manufactured by Maxon Precision Motor (Fall River, MA) to drive the parachute’s mechanical mechanisms.

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