Application Briefs

Supercomputer Aids NASA’s Journey to the Moon and Mars

SGI® Altix® ICE systemSilicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI)Sunnyvale, CA800-800-7441www.sgi.com

SGI has supplied NASA's Advanced Supercomputing facility at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA with Pleiades, the world’s third-fastest supercomputer. The 51,200-core SGI® Altix® ICE 8200EX system can generate a theoretical peak of 609 trillion operations per second (TeraFLOPS). Pleiades supplements Columbia, the 14,336-core SGI® Altix®system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Computers, Electronics & Computers, Computer software and hardware, Systems engineering, Spacecraft
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Radiation Detection Hardware Part of Living With a Star Experiment

Space dosimeter card Space Micro Inc. San Diego, CA 858-332-0700 www.spacemicro.com

Space Micro’s space dosimeter card has been successfully integrated at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, MD) into the Living with a Star (LWS), Space Environments Testbed (SET) experiment hardware. This hardware was designed by Clemson University, and was delivered to Goddard in 2007. Space Micro manufactured and tested the space-qualified card per Goddard space quality standards.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Sensors and actuators, Human factors, Radiation, Radiation protection
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Real-Time Data Distribution for Industrial Automation Systems

The quest to bring lockstep efficiency to labor intensive factory production at first relied on mechanical ingenuity. Over time, as reliable and cost-effective microprocessor technology became available, assembly lines were retooled to use the new electronics to achieve greater automation and productivity. Today, pervasive network technology, including the Internet, is bringing about another evolutionary change in industrial automation. No longer is it sufficient for individual machines to perform their specific tasks independently. Instead, individual parts of a larger process must be aware of each other; they must exchange data in realtime, and adapt to changes in the process or environment. Additionally, it is increasingly necessary to exchange data outside of the traditional industrial network and beyond the factory floor, and to include enterprise LANs and the Internet. Up-tothe- minute information on manufacturing processes needs to be available to analysts, inventory managers, and others within the office environment.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers
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Imaging Technique Improves Quality Control of Pharmaceuticals

A focal plane array designed for the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle has helped a scientist see farther into the infrared spectrum.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) researcher E. Neil Lewis picked up a mercury-cadmium telluride (MCT) array from Ted Heilweil, a colleague at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and placed it on the step-scanner of his infrared microscope.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Pharmaceuticals, Quality control
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Communications and Tracking Services Support Near-Earth Missions

Telemetry, tracking, and command services ITT Corporation White Plains, NY 914-641-2000 www.itt.com

ITT Corporation has been selected by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to perform telemetry, tracking, and command services for near-Earth missions under the Space Communications Network Services (SCNS) contract. Under this contract, ITT will support NASA’s Space and Near Earth Networks, which provide most of the communications and tracking services for a wide range of Earth-orbiting spacecraft, including the International Space Station, the space shuttle, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Earth Observing System Satellites.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Communications, Satellite communications, Spacecraft guidance, Telemetry
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Measurement Systems Aid NASA in Study of Space Station Solar Array Anomaly

Surface and roundness measurement systems Taylor Hobson West Chicago, IL 630-621-3099 www.taylor-hobson.com

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama is using the Form Talysurf PGI 1230 Surface Measurement and the Talyrond 295 Roundness/Cylindricity Measurement Systems from Taylor Hobson to perform critical surface analysis of a damaged bearing assembly from the International Space Station (ISS). The results are expected to help NASA experts determine the cause of the damage to the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ), a 10-footdiameter ring that allows the station’s solar panel array to rotate and track the Sun.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft
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Yaskawa Controllers Help Echo Hill Upgrade Grinding Operation

Echo Hill Automation Inc., a Beamsville, Ontario, Canada company founded by mechanical engineers and brothers Dan and Harry Schellenberg, has grown from a small two-man operation to a successful manufacturer of centerless grinding automation, with the help of servomotors and controllers from Yaskawa Electric of Waukegan, IL. Centerless grinding automation is used for high production grinding, where tight tolerances and good part roundness has to be achieved.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Automation, Automation, Machining processes
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Renishaw Encoder Improves Positional Accuracy for CNC Optical Maker

When a leading manufacturer of CNC optical manufacturing technology needed ultra-accurate and stable positioning for a new system to measure conformal optics, it turned to ABTech Manufacturing Inc., specialists of custom- made ultra-precision air bearings and motion systems. In order to meet tighter customer specifications for positioning resolution, ABTech found the solution in high-resolution linear and rotary optical encoders from Renishaw. ABTech created a five-axis optical measurement platform featuring three of its linear air bearings, two of its rotary air bearings, and Renishaw’s ultra-high accuracy SiGNUM(TM) series linear and rotary encoders.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Optics, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Optics, Supplier assessment, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Bearings, Reliability
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Using Vision Sensors to Eliminate Manufacturing Defects

Supplying parts to the world’s leading automotive companies leaves no room for error. That’s why Miniature Precision Components Inc. (MPC) uses three vision sensors to error-proof the automated assembly of oil-caps at its Prairie du Chien, WI facility. With 41 molding machines ranging in size from 25 to 550 tons, this 100,000 square-foot facility employs about 450 people. MPC’s four manufacturing plants generate approximately $167 million per year supplying the automotive and commercial industries with high-quality injection-molded parts and assemblies such as PCV valves, thermostat housings, and quick-connect ports for emission control systems.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Sensors and actuators, Manufacturing processes, Parts, Quality control
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Connectors Provide Signal Reliability for Mars Science Laboratory

Compact PCI (cPCI) ConnectorsHypertronics CorporationHudson, MA978-568-0451www.hypertronics.com

Hypertronics’ space-grade Compact PCI (cPCI) connectors were selected by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for use on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which is scheduled to launch in 2009. Incorporating the Hypertac® “Basket of Wires” contact technology, the connectors will be instrumental in all phases of the mission including lift-off, navigation, entry, descent, landing, roaming, and geological survey. Behind these embedded systems are single-board computers connected together through common back planes that handle all control functions and analysis for the MSL rover. All systems and components must exceed the long and difficult journey to Mars, as well as the extreme surface operation of one Martian year, equal to two Earth years.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Joining & Assembly, Architecture, Connectors and terminals, Telecommunications systems, Reliability, Spacecraft
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