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 By replacing multiple, outdated silos, NASA Ames has freed more than 1,400 square feet of valuable data center floor space.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Data management, Historical reference, Spacecraft
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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.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs
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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, Measurements, Coatings, colorants, and finishes
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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.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Automation & Controls, Medical, Spacecraft fuel, Fluids and secretions, Life support systems, Medical equipment and supplies, Pharmaceuticals
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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.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motors & Drives, Spectroscopy, Customization, Electric motors, Rotary engines
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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: Application Briefs, Cameras, Test & Measurement, Optics, Impact tests, Occupant protection, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Forest City Gear Controls Prosthetic Hand

Forest City Gear of Roscoe, IL, is a turnkey gear manufacturer, responsible to their customers for literally every facet of gear manufacturing, including prototyping, testing, production, finishing, quality and process validation, even packaging and delivery. One customer the gear manufacturer has increased their involvement with is Motion Control, Inc., of Salt Lake City, Utah, a world leader in myoelectric prosthetic devices and the makers of the Utah Arm, considered the most advanced prosthetic elbow/hand in the industry for above-elbow amputees.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Prostheses and implants, Supplier assessment, Gears
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Omron Controls and Drives Improve Animals’ Joint Health

Ferno Aquatic Therapy, Wilmington, OH, designs and manufactures canine and equine underwater treadmill equipment used by veterinarians to provide aquatic therapy, rehabilitation, and conditioning for both dogs and horses. Designed specifically for canine rehabilitation, the Ferno Aqua Paws Plus Under water Treadmill System allows dogs to begin the rehabilitation process earlier than normal. Using the buoyancy, resistance and heat properties of water, the Aqua Paws unit creates a low-impact treadmill workout that helps the animal to increase muscle strength and endurance, providing the foundation for a quicker transition to land-based therapy.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Automation & Controls, Medical, Water, Medical equipment and supplies, Injuries
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Alumina Ceramic “Dog Bone” Helps Chandra Detect High-Energy Events

Fine-grained alumina ceramic charge detector Insaco Quakertown, PA 215-536-3500 www.insaco.com

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory was launched into high elliptical orbit in 1998. The 39-foot-long, 10,000-pound observatory is designed to study high-energy events such as supernovae, black holes, quasars, and stellar coronae. At its core are several extremely precise instruments, including the high-resolution camera spectroscope (HRC-S). The spectroscopic detector consists of three major assemblies: a UV/ION shield, a pair of micro-channel plates, and a cross-grid charge detector (CGCD) made from a 99.98%-pure alumina ceramic made by Astro Met. The CGCD is referred to as the “dog bone” because of its shape.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Detectors, Sensors and actuators, Aluminum alloys, Ceramics
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Communications System Supports the Ames Airspace Operations Lab

Voice-over-IP communications system Quintron Santa Maria, CA 805-928-4343 www.quintron.com

Quintron was selected by NASA’s Ames Research Center (ARC) to supply a new Voice-over-IP (VoIP) communications system to support the ARC Airspace Operations Laboratory (AOL) — a research facility to investigate improved operational techniques for Air Traffic Control (ATC) operations. The AOL provides representative ATC personnel operating stations along with “pseudo-pilot” positions to complete the simulation environment. Both the ATC and pseudo-pilot positions will utilize the Quintron VoIP for communications, with overall system configuration managed by the simulation control personnel.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Communications, Internet, Telecommunications, Test facilities
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