Test & Measurement

A System for Measuring the Sway of the Vehicle Assembly Building

Tests have shown that the existing facility is safe. A system was developed to measure the sway of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center. This system was installed in the VAB and gathered more than one total year of data. The building movement was correlated with measurements provided by three wind towers in order to determine the maximum deflection of the building during high-wind events.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

ISS Ammonia Leak Detection Through X-Ray Fluorescence

An astrophysics instrument can be used to detect and localize ISS ammonia leaks. Ammonia leaks are a significant concern for the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS has external transport lines that direct liquid ammonia to radiator panels where the ammonia is cooled and then brought back to thermal control units. These transport lines and radiator panels are subject to stress from micrometeorites and temperature variations, and have developed small leaks. The ISS can accommodate these leaks at their present rate, but if the rate increased by a factor of ten, it could potentially deplete the ammonia supply and impact the proper functioning of the ISS thermal control system, causing a serious safety risk.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Hydrometeor Size Distribution Measurements by Imaging the Attenuation of a Laser Spot

Measurement of the DSD’s second moment is made by way of the Beer-Lambert law. The optical extinction of a laser due to scattering of particles is a well-known phenomenon. In a laboratory environment, this physical principle is known as the Beer-Lambert law, and is often used to measure the concentration of scattering particles in a fluid or gas. This method has been experimentally shown to be a usable means to measure the dust density from a rocket plume interaction with the lunar surface. Using the same principles and experimental arrangement, this technique can be applied to hydrometeor size distributions, and for launch-pad operations, specifically as a passive hail detection and measurement system.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Victim Simulator for Victim Detection Radar

This simulator can be placed for long periods of time in environments that would be unsafe for a human subject. Testing of victim detection radars has traditionally used human subjects who volunteer to be buried in, or climb into a space within, a rubble pile. This is not only uncomfortable, but can be hazardous or impractical when typical disaster scenarios are considered, including fire, mud, or liquid waste. Human subjects are also inconsistent from day to day (i.e., they do not have the same radar properties), so quantitative performance testing is difficult. Finally, testing a multiple-victim scenario is difficult and expensive because of the need for multiple human subjects who must all be coordinated.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Beat-to-Beat Blood Pressure Monitor

This invention is applicable to all segments of the blood pressure monitoring market, including ambulatory, home-based, and high-acuity monitoring. This device provides non-invasive beat-to-beat blood pressure measurements and can be worn over the upper arm for prolonged durations. Phase and waveform analyses are performed on filtered proximal and distal photoplethysmographic (PPG) waveforms obtained from the brachial artery. The phase analysis is used primarily for the computation of the mean arterial pressure, while the waveform analysis is used primarily to obtain the pulse pressure. Realtime compliance estimate is used to refine both the mean arterial and pulse pressures to provide the beat-to-beat blood pressure measurement.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Test & Measurement, Briefs, Patient Monitoring, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring

Read More >>

Automated Lab-on-a-Chip Electrophoresis System

Robotic analysis in defense or security operations that require sample handling or dilution can utilize this technology. Capillary electrophoresis is an analytical technique that can be used to detect and quantify extremely small amounts of various biological molecules. In the search for biochemical traces of life on other planets, part of this search involves an examination of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life on Earth. The most sensitive method for detecting amino acids is the use of laser induced fluorescence. However, since amino acids do not, in general, fluoresce, they first must be reacted with a fluorescent dye label prior to analysis. After this process is completed, the liquid sample then must be transported into the electrophoresis system. If the system is to be reused multiple times, samples must be added and removed each time. In typical laboratories, this process is performed manually by skilled human operators using standard laboratory equipment. This level of human intervention is not possible if this technology is to be implemented on extraterrestrial targets.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs

Read More >>

A Mass-Spectrometer System for Detecting Gas Leaks

This versatile, expandable system can be controlled from a safe remote location. The Hydrogen Umbilical Mass Spectrometer (HUMS) consists of an integrated sample delivery system, a commercial mass-spectrometer- based gas analyzer, and a set of calibration gas mixtures traceable to NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology). The system, except for the calibration gas mixtures and the remote operator display, fits into a standard 24-in. wide, 6-ft high, 36-in. deep (0.61 by 1.83 by 0.91 m, respectively) equipment rack and is powered by 120-Vac, 30-A, 60-Hz source. It was designed to perform leak detection and measurement of cryogenic propellants (oxygen and hydrogen) from a remote location during shuttle-launch countdown. It is used specifically to sample the background gas surrounding the 17-in. (0.43-m) Orbiter-ET disconnect, looking for leakage of gaseous hydrogen. The capability to monitor shuttle purge gases and cryogenic hydrogen fill and drain line T-0 disconnect helium purge gas is incorporated into the shuttle installation on each Mobile Launch Platform (MLP).

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>