Features

Super Pressure Balloon Provides NASA with Valuable Data

Super pressure balloon Raven Aerostar Sioux Falls, SD 605-336-2750 www.ravenaerostar.com A super pressure balloon (SPB) designed by Raven Aerostar, and the largest SPB ever built, surpassed 31 days amid the stratosphere’s harsh elements as part of a NASA mission, demonstrating the scientific balloon’s extended flight duration and ability to maintain constant altitudes. The balloon carried a two-and-a-half-ton NASA payload.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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New Spacecraft Design for Asteroid Redirect Mission

Geostationary (GEO) satellite Space Systems/Loral (SSL) Palo Alto, CA 650-852-4000 www.sslmda.com NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has chosen Space Systems/Loral (SSL) to conduct first-phase design studies for a spacecraft that can travel to an asteroid, remove a boulder, and redirect it into a lunar orbit to prepare it for a visit by astronauts in the 2020s.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Motion Control Challenges for Deep-Sea ROVs

Deep-sea remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) present motion control design engineers with some difficult challenges. Applications may include ROV propulsion, position thrusters, dive vanes, rudders, or robotic arms. Some problems are common to all of them.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Reducing Torque Measurement Uncertainty in Turbine Engine Testing

Torque is among the most important of all the measured quantities in applications ranging from characterizing high-power gas turbines, to determining the level of force required to open a screw cap on a medication container. As anyone who studied physics in high school should recall, torque is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Loosely speaking, torque is a measure of the turning force on an object such as a bolt or a flywheel. For example, pushing or pulling the handle of a wrench connected to a nut or bolt produces a torque (turning force) that loosens or tightens the nut or bolt. However, measuring torque accurately can be far from straightforward. This article offers an overview of one approach to reducing uncertainty in torque measurement using an example of turbine engine testing to illustrate the process.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Simulation Software is Key to Orion’s Heat-Shield Success

Tecplot 360 EX data visualization and analysis software Tecplot, Inc. Bellevue, WA 800-763-7005 www.tecplot.com NASA chose Tecplot 360 EX for use in the design of the heat shield for the Orion spacecraft. Orion’s heat shield, a protective blanket built with high-tech fibers and ceramics, is crucial to mission success. The outer layer of the heat shield is designed to burn away as it heats up during re-entry into the atmosphere, thus maintaining the integrity of the inner layer and helping to ensure the survivability of the spacecraft.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Cryogenic Seal for Space Launch System Handles Extreme Pressure Conditions

OmniSeal® RACO™ Spring-Energized Seals Saint-Gobain Seals Garden Grove, CA 800-544-0080 www.seals.saint-gobain.com Saint-Gobain Seals produced a cryogenic seal measuring more than six feet wide for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) project. Although this launch system replaced the retired space shuttle, it was built using proven hardware from the space shuttle era and previous successful exploration programs, as well as cutting-edge tooling and manufacturing technology in order to reduce development time and cost. SLS’ first mission, Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), will go into space in late 2018, and uses Saint-Gobain seals.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Cambridge Researchers Take Computer Vision for Test Drive

Google's driverless car, like many autonomous vehicles in development, is packed with sensors, radars, lasers, and cameras. To lighten the load of sensing devices in self-driving autos, researchers at Cambridge University have hit the streets with a system that uses only computer vision.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics

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