A proposed automated apparatus would travel along a hanging cable, optically inspecting it all around. The proposal was made to eliminate lowering human inspectors in baskets along emergency-egress slidewires at Kennedy Space Center launch pads. The apparatus would include a motor drive system, a video camera configured with mirrors for a 360° view of the cable, a data-capturing system, a laser micrometer, a video transmitter, and a radio transceiver for command and data signals. The apparatus would be placed on a cable at one end, then the inspection process would be initiated. During the process, the apparatus would operate under the control of a compact, rugged, onboard computer. Upon reaching the far end of the cable, the apparatus would automatically reverse itself and return to the starting end. An electronic neural network could be used, either on board the apparatus or in the command station, to analyze the inspection data to determine the integrity of the cable.

This work was done by Robert L. Morrison, Kenneth M. Nowak, Terence J. Ross, Eduardo Lopez del Castillo, Michael D. Hogue, and Tom Bonner of and Gabor Tamasi formerly of Kennedy Space Center.

This invention is owned by NASA, and a patent application has been filed. Inquiries concerning nonexclusive or exclusive license for its commercial development should be addressed to the Technology Programs and Commercialization Office, Kennedy Space Center, (407) 867-6373, or for information regarding commercially available application of this technology contact: Halkin International at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone (303) 344-9592 (a nonexclusive licensee). Refer to KSC-12023.


Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 1999 issue of Photonics Tech Briefs Magazine.

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