Application Briefs

Communications and Tracking Services Support Near-Earth Missions

Telemetry, tracking, and command services ITT Corporation White Plains, NY 914-641-2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connectors Provide Signal Reliability for Mars Science Laboratory

Compact PCI (cPCI) ConnectorsHypertronics CorporationHudson,

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

Wireless Video Surveillance System Secures Aircraft

AgileMesh/Firetide surveillance systemAgileMeshDallas,

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center now protects several of its highly specialized research aircraft at its satellite facility with a wireless video surveillance system. The system is a product of AgileMesh, a provider of rapidly deployable video surveillance, and Firetide, a developer of wireless mesh and access networks. The AgileMesh/Firetide system secures a recently leased hangar that houses NASA’s SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) and DC- 8 Airborne Laboratory aircraft, both of which are unique to the nation.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Video, Security systems, Surveillance, Wireless communication systems, Aircraft

Measuring LED and Solid State Lighting Performance

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and solid state lighting (SSL) products that incorporate LEDs pose many measurement challenges compared with other lighting elements, such as traditional tungsten and fluorescent. Advanced optical radiation measurement equipment and new techniques are often required to determine basic photo-metric and colorimetric parameters for LEDs and SSL products. Updated measurement instrumentation, calibration and performance characterization methods have allowed for improvement in the repeatability and reproducibility of measurements of average LED intensity, total luminous flux and colorimetric quantities. Lower uncertainty, detector-based standards provide a convenient transfer and monitoring from primary measurement standards.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Exterior lighting, Measurements, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Interior lighting, Radiation

Computational Fluid Dynamics Aids Aerospace Apps

Just a few years ago, the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in most aerospace companies was restricted to pure research or troubleshooting problems with existing designs. But in the past few years, newly available CFD tools are fully embedded in the mainstream mechanical design environment and hence much easier, faster and less expensive to use. The trend toward using CFD early stages in the design process has resulted in a large number of new users of this powerful analysis technique. Bell Helicopter technical specialists have developed a set of CFD best practices with the goal of guiding users in following company design guidelines and optimizing the analytical processes. The tools are based on guidelines developed for use by engineers working on propulsion systems. The guidelines are based on the application of Mentor Graphics Mechanical Analysis Division’s FloEFD suite of CFD software used by Bell Helicopter for internal flow simulations.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Computational fluid dynamics, Design processes, Standardization, Rotary-wing aircraft

Coded Mask Instruments Key to HETE-2 Satellite’s Gamma-Ray Burst Discoveries

Coded optic mask foil Dynamics Research Corp. (DRC) Andover, MA 978-475-9090

The High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE-2) satellite was launched into Earth orbit on October 9, 2000, and has been tracking and studying high-energy gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) from deep space. First discovered in 1967, GRBs had been difficult phenomena to observe, as they occur at random locations in the sky, last only a few seconds, and leave virtually no trace for ground-based observers. HETE-2’s ability to rapidly disseminate very precise positions of where the GRB was detected has allowed ground telescopes to catch and observe the event, leading to discoveries such as one that links GRBs with supernovas. Most of the satellite assembly occurred at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but many subassemblies and critical components were manufactured by other institutions throughout the world.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Cameras, Data Acquisition, Architecture, Optics, Parts, Satellites

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