Features

Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr., Director, John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

As Director of NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. controls an annual budget of approximately $650 million and manages a labor force comprised of roughly 1,619 civil service employees who are supported by 1754 contractors working in more than 500 specialized research facilities.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Connectors Provide Signal Reliability for Mars Science Laboratory

Compact PCI (cPCI) ConnectorsHypertronics CorporationHudson, MA978-568-0451www.hypertronics.com Hypertronics’ space-grade Compact PCI (cPCI) connectors were selected by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for use on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which is scheduled to launch in 2009. Incorporating the Hypertac® “Basket of Wires” contact technology, the connectors will be instrumental in all phases of the mission including lift-off, navigation, entry, descent, landing, roaming, and geological survey. Behind these embedded systems are single-board computers connected together through common back planes that handle all control functions and analysis for the MSL rover. All systems and components must exceed the long and difficult journey to Mars, as well as the extreme surface operation of one Martian year, equal to two Earth years.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Wireless Video Surveillance System Secures Aircraft

AgileMesh/Firetide surveillance systemAgileMeshDallas, TX972-231-2122www.agilemesh.comNASA Dryden Flight Research Center now protects several of its highly specialized research aircraft at its satellite facility with a wireless video surveillance system. The system is a product of AgileMesh, a provider of rapidly deployable video surveillance, and Firetide, a developer of wireless mesh and access networks. The AgileMesh/Firetide system secures a recently leased hangar that houses NASA’s SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) and DC- 8 Airborne Laboratory aircraft, both of which are unique to the nation.The rapidly deployable, solar-powered, and high-resolution wireless system transmits evidence-grade video from the perimeter of the hangar to the on-site security operations center. The video is monitored in real time, allowing personnel patrolling the perimeter to communicate with the operations center and respond to incidents within seconds. Using embedded Firetide mesh technology, the AgileMesh units wirelessly transmit video signals to a head-end node located in the security operations center. The video is stored for 30 days for incident review and investigation. The AgileMesh units were secured to the ground using 20- gallon water containers as anchors, since winds can reach 60 miles per hour in the high desert. The research center is currently deploying a fixed video surveillance system in and around the hangar, and once that system is in place, the AgileMesh units will be used for securing crash scene investigations and during special events such as nearby air shows. For Free Info

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Measuring LED and Solid State Lighting Performance

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) and solid state lighting (SSL) products that incorporate LEDs pose many measurement challenges compared with other lighting elements, such as traditional tungsten and fluorescent. Advanced optical radiation measurement equipment and new techniques are often required to determine basic photo-metric and colorimetric parameters for LEDs and SSL products. Updated measurement instrumentation, calibration and performance characterization methods have allowed for improvement in the repeatability and reproducibility of measurements of average LED intensity, total luminous flux and colorimetric quantities. Lower uncertainty, detector-based standards provide a convenient transfer and monitoring from primary measurement standards.

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

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James Webb Telescope Components Pass Tests

Development models for components of the Mid-Infrared Instrument on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) passed a series of temperature and vibration tests that show they can survive the ride to space. Now, engineers have begun building parts of the actual instrument.

Posted in: UpFront

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Model 3390

Keithley Instruments, Cleveland, OH, has introduced the Model 3390 50- MHz arbitrary waveform/function generator, a programmable signal generator with function, pulse, and arbitrary waveform capabilities. Features include 50-MHz maximum sine wave frequency, 25 MHz pulse frequency with 10-nanosecod minimum width, and 256K, 14-bit resolution arbitrary waveform generation. The built-in function generator includes capabilities such as sine, square, triangle, noise, and DC. The unit incorporates LXI Class C-compliant Ethernet, with USB and standard GPIB interfaces, as well as built-in AM, FM, PM, FSK, and PWM modulation. Pulses and square waves feature less than 10-nanosecond rise/fall times. A 10-MHz external time base is included for multiple-unit synchronization. The unit includes KiWAVE software, a waveform creation utility for creating custom arbitrary waveforms and managing waveform memory. It enables users to view waveforms in real units and perform waveform editing. For Free Info

Posted in: Products

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Thin Motor

The MigaOne™ motor from Miga Motor Company (Berkeley, CA) is a powerful but lightweight linear actuator built directly onto a PCB substrate. Now being adapted for use by NASA and Boeing, the wafer-thin motor is smaller than a credit card, measuring less than 0.1in. The motor eliminates bulky gears and leadscrews and occupies less than 10% the weight and volume of a comparable motor or solenoid.

Posted in: Products

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