Application Briefs

Bearing Keeps Spectrometer Stable in Telescope

How do you collect data from stars thousands of light years away while positioning a 300-ton, 10-meter telescope to within a fraction of a human hair? You use a high-tech spectrometer called MOSFIRE (Multi-Object Spectrometer For Infra-Red Exploration), rotating on a custom bearing.

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NASA Uses GPUs to Build More Vivid Flight Simulators

Nearly everyone is familiar with terms like 20/20 vision, but what does that mean when it comes to developing a flight simulator?

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Gait Analysis Based on Inertial and Magnetic Sensors

Motion analysis often is based on stereophotogrammetry, which estimates the three-dimensional coordinates of points on an object by measurements made in two or more photographic images taken from different positions. While it provides very useful and detailed information about walking, the technique’s full capability of quantitative analysis of movement often is not used.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Sensors Enable Precise Mounting of X-Ray Telescope Assembly

NASA’s newest orbital X-ray telescope technology uses highperformance capacitive displacement sensors from Lion Precision. The sensors, capable of resolving position to less than 10 nanometers, are used during the mounting of over 10,000 thin glass mirrors into the telescope’s “lens.” Each mirror is about the size of a sheet of paper and only four times thicker. Achieving the required optical specifications for the telescope requires that each of the mirrors be mounted into position with better than 1 μm of accuracy. The mirrors must be able to hold this positional and angular accuracy during launch and deployment in space.

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Simulations Prepare Curiosity Rover for Touchdown on Mars

Using MSC Software’s Adams multibody dynamics software, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers simulated the final sky crane landing sequence of the Curiosity Mars rover. The sky crane landing sequence required the rover to transform from its stowed flight configuration to landing configuration while being lowered to Mars, wheels-down, from the descent stage.

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Light-Control Systems Help NASA Go ‘Net Zero’

The Propellants North Administrative and Maintenance Facility at Kennedy Space Center, located in Cape Canaveral, FL, achieves net-zero energy use. To offset the costs of electricity provided by a local utility, the center powers itself with renewable resources. The new facility is NASA’s first carbonneutral one, which means it is engineered to release no greenhouse gas emissions during renovation or operation.

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Sensors Monitor Curiosity’s Drilling Arm

With the successful landing last August, NASA’s Curiosity rover is maneuvering the surface of Mars, analyzing samples of soil. Two sensors were developed by FUTEK for Curiosity. The first is a cryogenic multi-axial load and torsion sensor responsible for monitoring the rover’s drilling arm and its robotic maneuvers as it retrieves sediments for analysis.

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