Test & Measurement

Fundamentals of Vector Network Analysis Primer

One of the most common measuring tasks in RF engineering involves analysis of circuits (networks). A network analyzer is an instrument that is designed to handle this job with great precision and efficiency. Circuits that can be analyzed using network analyzers range from simple devices such as filters and amplifiers to complex modules used in communications satellites

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Oscilloscope Fundamentals Primer

The oscilloscope is arguably one of the most useful tools ever created for use by electronic engineers. In the more than five decades since the modern analog oscilloscope was created, hundreds of useful documents and thousands of articles have been written about what it is, how it works, how to use it, and application-specific examples of the “oscilloscope” in action. It is the purpose of this primer to instead describe digital oscilloscopes, which have for practical purposes replaced their analog predecessors in the vast majority of applications. Covered here is a short description of the oscilloscope’s origins, its transition from analog to digital, types of digital oscilloscopes and their major subsystems, key benchmark specifications, and measurements.

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Antenna Basics

This white paper describes the basic functionality of antennas. Starting with Hertz's Antenna model followed by a short introduction to the fundamentals of wave propagation, the important general characteristics of an antenna and its associated parameters are explained.

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An Introduction to LED Capabilities

Developments in LED technology have created an even wider range of new applications. The LED industry is booming in part due to the introduction of high intensity blue LEDs and the use of white LEDs in aerospace and lighting engineering. Increased capability and application also creates increased demands on optical characterization of LEDs. In order to meet this increased demand for a reliable, high quality product, special technological capability is necessary in order to maintain precise results that can be reproduced. The purposes of this white paper are to provide an overview of the terms used in LED testing and development for LED metrology newcomers and experienced professionals alike. Additionally, it will provide a comparison of the equipment used in the LED industry as well as recommendations for applications and obtaining accurate measurement results.

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NASA Begins Engine Test of Space Launch System Rocket

Engineers are preparing to test parts of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that will send humans to space. They installed an RS-25 engine on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center. The Stennis team will perform developmental and flight certification testing of the RS-25 engine, a modified version of the space shuttle main engine. The SLS's core stage will be powered by a configuration of four RS-25 engines.

Posted in: Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Power Transmission, Test & Measurement, Aerospace, Aviation, News

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Airbags Take the Weight in Load Tests of Aircraft

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s Flight Loads Laboratory completed structural evaluations on a modified Gulfstream G-III aircraft that will serve as a test bed for the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) project. The loads tests assisted engineers in predicting the levels of structural stress the airplane will likely experience during ACTE research flights. And for the first time, some unusual hardware aided the process: the aircraft was supported by three large inflatable airbags during the tests.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Test & Measurement, Aerospace, Aviation, News

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Astronauts to Test Free-Flying Robotic 'Smart SPHERES'

Three bowling ball-size free-flying Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) have been flying inside the International Space Station since 2006. These satellites provide a test bed for development and research, each having its own power, propulsion, computer, navigation equipment, and physical and electrical connections for hardware and sensors for various experiments.Aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.'s second contracted commercial resupply mission to the space station, which arrived to the orbital laboratory on July 16, NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, sent two Google prototype Project Tango smartphones that astronauts will attach to the SPHERES for technology demonstrations inside the space station. By connecting a smartphone to the SPHERES, the technology becomes "Smart SPHERES, " a more "intelligent" free-flying robot with built-in cameras to take pictures and video, sensors to help conduct inspections, powerful computing units to make calculations and Wi-Fi connections to transfer data in real time to the computers aboard the space station and at mission control in Houston.In a two-phase experiment, astronauts will manually use the smartphones to collect visual data using the integrated custom 3-D sensor to generate a full 3-D model of their environment. After the map and its coordinate system are developed, a second activity will involve the smartphones attached to the SPHERES, becoming the free-flying Smart SPHERES. As the free-flying robots move around the space station from waypoint to waypoint, utilizing the 3-D map, they will provide situational awareness to crewmembers inside the station and flight controllers in mission control. These experiments allow NASA to test vision-based navigation in a very small mobile product.SourceAlso: Learn about Automatic Lunar Rock Detection and Mapping.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Power Management, PCs/Portable Computers, Cameras, Video, Visualization Software, Imaging, Sensors, Test & Measurement, Communications, Aerospace, Aviation, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, RF & Microwave Electronics, News

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