Application Briefs

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

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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

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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

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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

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CAD/CAE Software Enables NASA to Head Back to Mars

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, was designed to determine whether the Gale Crater on Mars ever had conditions favorable for life. The Curiosity rover is equipped with a robotic arm that can drill into rocks, scoop up soil, and deliver samples to internal analytical instruments.

Posted in: Features, Application Briefs

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Single-Frequency, 1,064-nm Laser Designed for Space LIDAR

Redfern Integrated Optics was awarded a Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract for further development of its single-frequency, narrow- linewidth semiconductor laser technology in the 1,064-nm spectral region, suitable for spaceflight operation. The external-cavity semiconductor laser is packaged in a standard 14-pin compact “butterfly” package, and produces a single- frequency output with a linewidth less than 2 kHz, ultra-low phase and relative intensity noise, and high immunity to vibrations, all under a wide range of operating temperatures.

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Plastic Components Ride Juno Spacecraft to Jupiter

Plastic-molded components produced by Diversified Plastics are currently speeding through space towards Jupiter aboard NASA’s Juno Space Probe. The craft was launched August 5, 2011, and is expected to begin orbiting the planet in early July 2016.

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