Application Briefs

Lunar Simulants Provide Critical Tests for Moon Missions

NU-LHT lunar simulant Zybek Advanced Products (ZAP) Boulder, CO 888-469-0110 www.zybekap.com Lunar simulants are a critical aspect of the return to the Moon and a planned lunar outpost. All mechanical equipment, chemical processes, and human health studies will be tested extensively with simulants prior to deployment. Zybek Advanced Products’ NU-LHT (NASA-USGS — Lunar Highlands Type) simulant is used by NASA to represent the lunar highlands area, and contains a complex mixture of glass, agglutinate, jagged particulates, synthetic minerals, and natural minerals from select terrestrial sources. While glass and crystal structures exist terrestrially, the agglutinate structure is not available on Earth.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Test & Measurement

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Embedded Servo Drive Boosts Speed of Packaging Lines

Pfankuch Machinery, based in Ahrensburg, Germany, is a leading manufacturer of friction feeder systems for inserting leaflets and products into sales packaging. An embedded smart servo drive from Metronix (part of the Apex Tool Group in Sparks, MD) has allowed Pfankuch to increase the speed of its latest friction feeder — the SmartFeeder — by 50% while also doubling the positioning accuracy. This offers a massive gain in productivity for the many users of this type of packaging equipment in markets including pharmaceutical, and food and beverage processing. At the same time, the new embedded drive minimizes the hardware costs of the upgrade for Pfankuch, because the drive was adapted for the application, providing a stripped-down product suitable for OEM integration that eliminates numerous expensive components.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control

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Thrusters Support Communications Satellite Launch

Monopropellant (hydrazine) thrustersAerojet RocketdyneSacramento, CA 916-355-4000 www.rocket.com Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp company, played a vital role in placing the second of three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS-L) into orbit for NASA. In the second stage of launch, a single RL10A-4-2 engine ignited to place the TDRS-L into orbit, helped by 12 Aerojet Rocketdyne monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters in four modules on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V Centaur upper stage, providing roll, pitch, and yaw control, as well as propellant settling burns during ascent. The RL10A-4-2 engine delivers 22,300 pounds of thrust to power the Atlas V upper-stage, using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants during its operation. ARDe, a New Jersey-based subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne, provides the pressure vessels on the first and second stages of the launch vehicle. TDRS-L will use a single R-4D 100-lbf thruster for orbit insertion.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Communications

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Spectrometer Gratings Enable Mars Sample Analysis

Volume-phase, holographic-grating Raman spectrometer Wasatch Photonics Logan, UT 435-752-4301 www.wasatchphotonics.com Raman laser spectroscopy technology from Wasatch Photonics will be used to detect possible evidence of past or present life on Mars, and to garner insights into the history of water on the Red Planet.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics

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Oxygen Containers Transport Tank Assembly to ISS

Oxygen shipping containers Americase Waxahachie, TX 800-972-2737 www.americase.biz Americase designed, developed, and completed the first HM224B/DOT31FP shipping containers for the NORS (Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System) program, a part of NASA’s Orbital Replacement Unit Project. Working in concert with The Boeing Company in Huntsville, AL, Americase created containers that will resupply the International Space Station with nitrogen and oxygen.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Water Impact Simulation Ensures Safer Landing for NASA Astronauts

The water landing of a craft like the Orion Crew Module is a very complex and changeable event, subject to the dynamics of the vehicle’s structure and sub-structures, such as its heat shield and atmospheric and water conditions. To maintain the spacecraft’s structural integrity and increase safety of the crew, a clearer understanding of the dynamic loads generated during water impact was required.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Test & Measurement

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Video Routing System Upgrades Mission Control Center

PESA has announced the completion of a video routing system upgrade to NASA’s Mission Control Center (MCC) at the agency’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. Lockheed Martin, a prime contractor for NASA, commissioned PESA to provide hardware and system training for its Cheetah Video Distribution System (VDS).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers

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