Application Briefs

Relays Enable Curiosity Rover’s Chemistry Instrument

NASA’s Curiosity rover landed in the Gale Crater on Mars on August 5, having flown over 127 million miles since its November 2011 launch. As part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, Curiosity will look for evidence of past or present habitable environments.

Posted in: Application Briefs

Read More >>

Motion Control Components Keep Curiosity on the Go

PI Ceramic monolithic piezo actuators (PICMA) were put to use in the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. CheMin is an Xray diffraction-capable mineralogy instrument whose purpose is to determine if water was present in the formation of Martian rocks and soil.

Posted in: Application Briefs

Read More >>

Designing Rugged In-Vehicle Displays

Historically, the displays deployed in military vehicles have been simple monitors, acting as an interface to an onboard system. That’s no longer good enough. As military vehicles are equipped with more and more technology, space — not to mention weight and power — is becoming scarce. Mono-functional systems are out; multifunctional systems are in, whether you’re designing new vehicles or retrofitting existing vehicles.

Posted in: Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs

Read More >>

Motion Controllers as Data Acquisition and Testing Tools

Manufacturers often need to test their products to verify that they meet customer specifications, and provide the data that verifies specification compliance. This is particularly true when government contracts are involved, public money is being spent, and public safety is an issue. Often, separate electronic subsystems are used to apply the stimulus and measure the results, but if the same module that applies the stress can also record the response, more cost-effective testing systems can be built. An added capability that is often overlooked by material strength and durability test system designers is the power of some motion controllers to also serve as data acquisition support or input devices.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

Read More >>

Flight Hardware Delivered for Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center (ATC) has completed delivery of hardware subsystems for NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission. The delivery comprised four flight subsystems and one flight spare unit. The prime contractor, Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), partnered with Lockheed Martin to develop and build the Hot Plasma Composition Analyzer (HPCA) as part of the MMS instrument suite.

Posted in: Features, Application Briefs

Read More >>

ISS Experiment Studies Flames and Fire Suppression in Space

A combustion experiment jointly designed by scientists and engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH) and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is currently in operation onboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) experiment will bridge the gap among normal-gravity material flammability screening tests, short-time ground-based microgravity tests, and actual zero-gravity spacecraft conditions. The basic applied hypothesis is that in certain conditions, a material in zero-gravity will be more flammable than it is in normal gravity.

Posted in: Features, Application Briefs

Read More >>

Photovoltaic Tracking Control Systems

Tracking systems are included in more than one-third of new photovoltaic developments in Europe, but less than 10% in the US. If properly controlled, they can capture more energy from each panel than fixed racks – up to 40% more in most parts of North America – so selecting the best hardware and the right control algorithm is critical to realizing optimum energy production and reliability.

Posted in: Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs

Read More >>