Features

NASA Launch Pads Protected Against Lightning-Induced Power Surges

Circuit protection components Littelfuse Chicago, IL 773-628-1000 www.littelfuse.com Circuit protection is an essential part of any electrical or electronic product or system design. As the complexity of the product or system grows, circuit protection design becomes increasingly crucial. As circuitry is increasingly miniaturized, it’s more important than ever to protect it from damaging power surges. For engineers whose work is critical to the safety of a NASA mission, protecting the lives of crewmembers depends to no small extent on protecting delicate digital circuitry from hazards like electrostatic discharges and lightning-induced surges.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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NASA Uses Analysis Software to Assess Orion Crew Module Heat Shield

HyperSizer® composite analysis and structural sizing software Collier Research Corp. Newport News, VA 757-825-0000 www.hypersizer.com Protected by the shell of its huge launch rocket during blastoff, NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) must get back to Earth on its own at mission’s end. The flight plan for this next-generation craft includes a dramatic ocean splashdown reminiscent of the Apollo program that predated the Space Shuttle’s smooth runway landings.

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Securing and Validating Critical Vision Data

Manufacturing companies are placing increasing emphasis on data security throughout their operations to protect confidential data and to validate that their systems are protected against unauthorized and unwanted changes. The critical role that vision plays in many manufacturing processes makes it essential that system security be improved for vision applications. A new generation of vision-specific security tools offers improvements in access control, change tracking, auditing, and general network security to help ensure the integrity of vision applications while at the same time protecting data confidentiality.

Posted in: Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs

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ASICs Support Orion’s Onboard Data Network

TTEthernet switch TTTech North America Andover, MA 978-933-7979 www.tttech.com Radiation-tolerant Ethernet backbone ASICs, developed by Honeywell Aerospace and based on TTTech’s TTEthernet switch and end system chip IP cores, are ready for the first NASA Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) test flight later this year. The ASICs are core components of the Onboard Data Network (ODN) and enable the design of advanced integrated system architectures for human-rated spaceflight.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Etching System Enhances NASA’s Device Fabrication Capabilities

VERSALINE® Deep Silicon Etch™ System Plasma-Therm St. Petersburg, FL 727-577-4999 www.plasmatherm.com NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, recently installed a VERSALINE Deep Silicon Etch system to expand its silicon deep-etching resources. The new etching system targets silicon-based applications that include MEMS, sensors, and resonators. JPL’s Microdevices Laboratory (MDL) serves users with many different requirements, and the system’s mask selectivity, uniformity, vertical profiles, sidewall smoothness, and silicon-on-insulator capabilities will be used to meet their device fabrication needs.

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CMOS Imagers Will Help Study the Sun in SoloHI Mission

CMOS imager engineering units SRI International Menlo Park, CA 650-859-2000 www.sri.com SRI International, working with TowerJazz (Newport Beach, CA), has delivered the first complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) imager engineering units to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) for use on the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI) optical telescope. With its large field of view, SoloHI will make high-resolution images of the corona and solar wind, and be able to connect remote sensing observations of the corona to the plasma being measured in situ at the spacecraft.

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Torque Sensors Provide Force Feedback for Robotic Applications

Torque sensing technology ATI Industrial Automation Apex, NC 919-772-0115 www.ati-ia.com ATI Industrial Automation is developing multi-axis, force/torque sensing technology to be used in space exploration, including future Mars missions. Currently under development, the new technology will enable fabrication of a force/torque sensor for the Mars rover’s robotic arm. Sensor feedback allows the arm to guide its coring tool into rocks, and then safely place the rock samples in the rover’s canisters.

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