A system that includes sensors and computers that communicate via an intranet enables both real-time monitoring and subsequent analysis of acoustic, overpressure, and thermal aspects of a spacecraft-launch environment and the structural response (vibration and strain) to that environment. The sensors include microphones, accelerometers, strain gauges, and a thermocouple attached to a cantilever beam mounted vertically on the roof of a building near a launch pad. The sensors are connected via cables to signal conditioners inside the building. The conditioned sensor outputs are coupled to a digital audio tape (DAT) recorder that is monitored and controlled by a computer denoted the "remote" computer. A host computer in a different building communicates with the remote computer via the intranet, using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. Ambient test conditions can be monitored in real time before a launch. Last-minute adjustments can be accomplished remotely and dynamically. A few minutes before the launch, the DAT recorder is turned on to record launch events. Data can be monitored in real time during the launch. After the launch, data can be copied from the DAT recorder onto the remote computer and then transferred to the host computer for plotting and analysis.

This work was done by Raoul E. Caimi of Kennedy Space Center and Ravi N. Margasahayam of Dynacs Engineering Co., Inc.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2001 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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