Articles

Products of Tomorrow: September 2015

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

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Collaborative Robots Transform Traditional Assembly

Few production arenas are changing as quickly as small parts assembly. The electronics industry, in particular, has seen demand skyrocket past the supply of skilled labor. As conventional assembly methods diminish in value, manufacturers are finding it strategically and economically imperative to invest in new solutions.

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Computer and Displays Help Control and Maneuver Crew Transportation System

Space-qualified boards and subsystems Aitech Defense Systems Chatsworth, CA 888-248-3248 http://rugged.com/space-products The Boeing Company selected Aitech Defense Systems to provide space-grade products and services to support the Commercial Crew Transportation System (CCTS) and Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft, part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles

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CubeSat Launches With 3D-Printed Components

Windform XT 2.0 3D printing material CRP USA, LLC Mooresville, NC 704-660-0258 www.crp-usa.net A team of students from the University of Kentucky and Morehead State University developed the KySat-2 project, a 1U CubeSat that launched into orbit as part of NASA’s ElaNa IV mission from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

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Flight Controller Software Protects Lightweight, Flexible Aircraft

Flutter prevention software can be used for better control of farm equipment, robots, and drones. NASA has made profound contributions to aviation, including advancing our understanding of flight mechanics and devising ways to improve aircraft performance. In the late 1980s, NASA participated in the development of Robust Control theory, which aims to provide automated stability to a structure in response to various external forces. An important resulting application is called gain scheduling, whereby electronic controllers are programmed to apply those split-second changes.

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Using a Wide-Band Tunable Laser for Optical Filter Measurements

The concept of dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) in fiber optic communication networks gained traction when optical amplifiers became available. Able to amplify an entire wavelength grid at once, they removed the need to first demultiplex, then convert every channel to an electrical signal, regenerate it, convert it back to an optical signal, and finally multiplex all channels onto a single optical fiber.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics

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Choosing the Right Drive Technology

Coming up with the right drive technology for an application often depends on the options available. Here are five of the most common drive configurations being used today, along with their benefits and drawbacks. Although there are a number of variations of drive technologies for motion applications, there are a few that are used for the majority of systems being built today. These most common drives do take a bit of understanding before applying.

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