The Data Acquisition and Control Systems (DACS) Laboratory is a facility at Stennis Space Center that provides an off test-stand capability to develop data-acquisition and control systems for rocket-engine test stands. It is also used to train new employees in state-of-the-art systems, and provides a controlled environment for troubleshooting existing systems, as well as the ability to evaluate the application of new technologies and process improvements. With the SSC propulsion testing schedules, without the DACS Laboratory, it would have been necessary to perform most of the development work on actual test systems, thereby subjecting both the rocket-engine testing and development programs to substantial interference in the form of delays, restrictions on modifications of equipment, and potentially compromising software configuration control. The DACS Laboratory contains a versatile assortment of computer hardware and software, digital and analog electronic control and data-acquisition equipment, and standard electronic bench test equipment and tools (see figure).

This Workstation, which is part of the DACS Laboratory, is dedicated to the development and testing of control systems.
Recently completed Control System development and software verification projects include support to the joint NASA/Air Force Integrated Powerhead Demonstration (IPD) LOX & LH2 PreBurner and Turbopump ground testing programs.

In other recent activities, the DACS Laboratory equipment and expertise have supported the off-stand operation of high-pressure control valves to correct valve leak problems prior to installation on the test stand.

Future plans include expanding the Laboratory's capabilities to provide cryogenic control valve characterization prior to installation, thereby reducing test stand activation time.

This work was done by Randy Holland and Scott Jensen of Stennis Space Center and Terrence Burrel and Richard Spooner of Lockheed Martin Corp. For further information, contact the Stennis Commercial Technology Office at 228-688-1929.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2002 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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