Application Briefs

Curiosity Rover Uses CCD Sensors to Navigate Surface of Mars

Currently cruising through space at more than 10,000 mph, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is scheduled to touch down on the red planet in August. The Mars Science Laboratory was launched on November 26, 2011, and is part of NASA’s long-term effort of robotic exploration of Mars.

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Has the Ultimate Camera Interface Finally Arrived?

In the early days of machine vision, like with all new technology, there was a lot of confusion as to what constituted a video interface between camera and computer. It was known that a camera and frame grabber were needed, but because the frame grabber and camera manufacturers were from places all over, there wasn't much agreement on how the two should be connected. This led to a time of several cameras with several cables, often the same camera manufacturer may have had different cables for each family of cameras on offer. Couple that with the fact that frame grabber interfaces also had no interface standards and you ended up with a lot of cables, sitting around long after the frame grabber or the camera had served its purpose. This led to standardization, and agreement by all parties on what constitutes an acceptable number of interfaces.

Posted in: ptb catchall, Applications, Application Briefs, Photonics

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Mission Control Core Trajectory Subsystem Gets Software Upgrade

Lockheed Martin Corp. is supporting the upgrade of the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Mission Control Center’s Core Trajectory Subsystem (CTS) using a.i. solutions’ FreeFlyer® software. The contract has an initial value of $3.2 million, with options for additional support and development.

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Medical Robotics Experts Help Advance NASA’s Satellite Surgery Project

Johns Hopkins engineers, recognized as experts in medical robotics, are helping NASA with a space dilemma: How can the agency fix valuable satellites that are breaking down or running out of fuel? One option — sending a human repair crew into space — is costly, dangerous, and sometimes not even possible for satellites in a distant orbit.

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Creating a Fully Automated Pharmacy Warehouse

Previously, the walk from the sales counter of the pharmacy to the medication drawer wasted valuable time. Today, the fully automated picking system for European pharmacies by KLS requires only eight seconds. Image-based Cognex DataMan® 500 barcode readers can now guarantee rapid resupplying from the warehouse.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Test Systems Ensure Structural Integrity of Orion Crew Vehicle

NASA is currently validating the Orion spacecraft design for human spaceflight. Three systems developed by G Systems were used for testing the new Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV). A custom pressurization and venting system enables engineers to apply pressure inside the test article for measuring strain. A custom data acquisition system synchronizes over 1,800 channels of analog data. This data, along with multiple video and audio streams and calculated data, can be viewed, saved, and replayed in real time on multiple client stations.

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Material Passes Tests for James Webb Space Telescope Sunshield

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will observe primarily the infrared light from faint and very distant objects. But all objects, including telescopes, also emit infrared light in the form of heat energy. To avoid swamping the very faint astronomical signals with radiation from the telescope, the telescope and its instruments must be very cold, at an operating temperature of under 50 K (-370 ºF).

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