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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The Virtual Becomes Reality at Iowa State University

The colonel has a problem. He has eight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying over the outskirts of Baghdad, looking for potential insurgent activity. Are those people he sees moving through the streets insurgents or are they a US infantry patrol? If he alters the flight path of one UAV to loiter over the suspicious activity, how should he deploy the other seven UAVs to pick up the first’s original mission? How does he keep track of the positions of the eight UAVs, what they are seeing, and the locations of nearby US troops, all in real-time?

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs

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Biomedical Imaging Using Ultrashort Laser Pulses

The field of optical microscopy experienced significant gains in resolution and speed following the introduction of lasers. Unfortunately, these gains came at the expense of sample degradation caused by the continuous flux of intense light. Taking advantage of the two-photon absorption process, Webb and Denk implemented a microscope based on the use of near-IR light pulses capable of causing simultaneous multiple fluorophore excitation. Two-photon microscopy is now widely applied in the biomedical imaging field due to the absence of out-of-focus photobleaching and reduced photodamage and fluorescence scattering. These advantages are brought about collectively by the inherent instantaneous peak intensity and narrow focal plane of excitation. Given that peak intensity increases with decreasing laser pulse duration, one would expect extensive use of available ultrashort (sub-10 fs) pulse laser systems in the field of biomedical imaging. However, most two-photon microscopes still use the same pulse duration that Webb and Denk used in 1990 (≈150 fs).

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

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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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Simscape™

The MathWorks, Natick, MA, has released Simscape™ software for modeling and simulating multidomain physical systems. Employing a physical network approach to model building, Simscape allows engineers to describe the physical structure of a system, rather than the underlying mathematics. From the model, the software automatically constructs equations that characterize the behavior of the system, and integrates them with the rest of the model. It provides libraries of fundamental elements from electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical domains that can be combined in a single environment. Engineers can convert models into C code using Real-Time Workshop® to run models in real time and perform hardware-in-the-loop testing. For Free Info

Posted in: Products

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Brushless Motor Design Kit

Luminary Micro (Austin, TX) has introduced the Stellaris brushless DC motor control reference design kit, enabling designers without prior motor control experience to implement an advanced motor control system. The kit comprises a four-quadrant controller for three-phase brushless DC motors rated up to 36V, 500W, and 60,000RPM; CAN and Ethernet network interfaces; a 32-bit Stellaris microcontroller; and embedded software to control motors.

Posted in: Products

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