Features

Simulated Models Test Design of Space Shuttles and Rocket Engines

Finite element modeling and analysis Dynamic Concepts Huntsville, AL 256-922-9888 www.dynamic-concepts.com NASA tasked Dynamic Concepts (DCI) with assessing the structural dynamics of the rollout process, whereby the space shuttle orbiter, external tank, and solid rocket booster assembly is moved via a crawler transporter from the Vertical Assembly Building to the launch pad. DCI used Femap finiteelement modeling software from Siemens PLM Software (Plano, TX) to create an integrated model of all the shuttle components, and used Siemens’ NX Nastran to analyze the simulated vibration environment. The analysis helped NASA resolve issues with support structures and determine target rollout speeds that minimized potentially damaging vibration.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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PX Series Photoelectric Sensors

The KEYENCE PX Series rugged photoelectric sensors from Keyence Corp. of America, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, feature an IP-69K environmental rating for highpressure (1,400 psi) applications at temperatures to 176°F. They feature stainless steel casings, sensor heads backfilled with epoxy under vacuum conditions, and scratch-resistant lenses. A dual-output feature enables users to see when the sensor activates and when the low-light alarm turns on. A Dynamic Stability Control function continuously and automatically adjusts the set point according to the environmental conditions. Seven water- and oil-resistant sensor heads are available. Ultra-high-intensity LEDs provide power by combining infrared or four-element red LEDs with optical- quality glass lenses. Stainless steel guarded units are available to protect the sensor heads. A Zero-Shift function enables users to adjust the displayed value. For Free Info

Posted in: Products

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This Month in NASA History

This year, as NASA celebrates its 50th anniversary, we’ll be highlighting technology innovations and important moments in NASA history, leading to our special 50th Anniversary Issue in October.

Posted in: UpFront

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Flexible Silicon Circuits Conform to Complex Shapes

Scientists at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana have developed a new form of stretchable silicon integrated circuit that can wrap around complex shapes such as spheres, body parts, and aircraft wings. The circuits can operate during stretching, compressing, folding, and other types of extreme mechanical deformations, without a reduction in electrical performance.

Posted in: UpFront

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Dr. William (Bill) Farrell, Scientist, Lunar Exploration Program

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD Dr. William Farrell, a scientist with the Lunar Exploration Program at Goddard Space Flight Center, is an expert on the problem of lunar dust and its effects on astronauts and equipment.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Fly-by-Wireless: A Less-Wire and Wireless Revolution for Aerospace Vehicle Architectures

By George Studor, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX Every ounce of weight brought to the lunar surface costs 40 to 60 times that in fuel needed at liftoff from the Earth. Part of that weight penalty is due to wires, but the cost of wires is much more than weight. Wired connectivity drives up the price of design from the beginning: it drives the cost of the many systems and structures; it drives inspection, troubleshooting, maintenance, and upgrade costs; as well as the cost of making system changes. Future vehicles that can reduce the effects and limitations of wires will not be without risk or a lot of work, but the effort has begun.

Posted in: Articles

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Performance of 1mm² Silicon Photomultipliers

A silicon photomultiplier (SPM) is a new type of semiconductor detector that has the potential to replace the photomultiplier tube (PMT) detector in many applications. In common with a PMT detector, the output of an SPM is an easily detectable current pulse for each detected photon and can be used in both photon counting mode and as an analogue (photocurrent) detector. However, the SPM also has a distinct advantage over PMT detectors. The photon-induced current pulse from a PMT varies greatly from photon to photon, due to the statistics of the PMT multiplication process (excess noise). In contrast, the current pulse from an SPM is identical from photon to photon. This gives the SPM a distinct advantage in photon counting applications as it allows the associated electronics to be greatly simplified. Identical pulses also mean that the SPM can resolve the number of photons in weak optical pulses, so-called photon number resolution. This is critical in a number of applications including linear-optics quantum computing.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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