High Energy Computed Tomographic Inspection of Munitions

Inspection system provides additional level of quality assurance for R&D, reverse engineering, and malfunction investigations.

An advance computed tomography (CT) system was recently built for the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, for the inspection of munitions. The system is a charged coupled device (CCD) camera based CT system designated with the name “experimental Imaging Media” (XIM). The design incorporated shielding for use up to 4MeV x-ray photons and integrated two separate cameras into one single field of view (FOV). Other major distinguishing characteristics include its processing functions to digitally piece the two cameras together, use of advanced artifact reduction principles, performing reconstruction simultaneously during acquisition, and its development in accurate beam hardening corrections through digital means.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Photonics

Terahertz (THz) Radar: A Solution For Degraded Visibility Environments (DVE)

Operating at higher frequencies than other types of radar produces tighter beams and finer resolution.

An accurate view of the physical world is frequently vital. For example, rotary wing aircraft pilots must have knowledge of the terrain in order to safely fly their aircraft. Therefore, systems capable of generating images of the environment of sufficient quality to facilitate the decision process are necessary. The product of such a system is illustrated in Figure 1.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Imaging

Development of Photoacoustic Sensing Platforms

Research focuses on sensor miniaturization and detection of chemical targets both proximally and at range.

In recent years, photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS) has emerged as an attractive and powerful technique well suited for sensing applications. The development of high-power radiation sources and more sophisticated electronics, including sensitive microphones and digital lock-in amplifiers, have allowed for significant advances in PAS. Furthermore, photoacoustic (PA) detection of IR absorption spectra using modern tunable lasers offers several advantages, including simultaneous detection and discrimination of numerous molecules of interest. Successful applications of PAS in gases and condensed matter have made this a notable technique and it is now studied and employed by scientists and engineers in a variety of disciplines.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Photonics

Fiber Optic Rotary Joints Add a Spin to Sensing, Mobile, and Robotic Fiber Systems

To the passing optical signals, fiberoptic rotary joints (FORJs) are nothing more than fiber connectors, which provide connection between one or multiple fibers. Their unrestricted ability to rotate, however, gives them a critical role in many sensing, mobile, and robotic fiber systems such as ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), aerostat radars, submarines, satellite antennae, OCT (optical coherence tomography), mining vehicles, cranes, wind turbines, robotic vehicles, broadcasting (mobile cameras), etc. This article discusses some of the applications where optical rotary joints are indispensable.


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Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Photonics

Concept Enables Solar UAV “Autonomous Soaring”

Holding the photovoltaic UAV are two members of the Solar-Soaring research flight crew: Dan Edwards (left) and Trent Young. (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

Naval Research Laboratory engineers want to improve the ability of unmanned platforms to support a 24/7 information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission. A new concept being tested consists of a photovoltaic array integrated into the center wing panel of the PV-SBXC aircraft as a drop-in replacement to the original wing. A power management and distribution system converts the power from the solar arrays into DC voltage that the electric motor can use for propulsion, or to recharge a smart battery.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense

DO-254 Benefits Versus Costs

DO-254, the design assurance guideline for airborne electronic hardware, is considered by many to be a simple cut/paste of DO-178, its avionics software sibling. Surely, as with wine and beer, both are fermented liquids which become increasingly expensive with increased complexity. While similarities abound, so do their many differences. And truly, DO-254 is the benefactor, or bane, of avionics projects the world over. But is DO-254 really unduly expensive? Does it add value? Will it improve safety and reliability? Does it have benefits? What are the true costs versus benefits? These important questions are answered herein.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Aerospace, Software

Overcoming RF Signal Generation Challenges with New DAC Technologies

This features our new AWG5200, with high signal fidelity and the ability to scale up to 32 or more channels with multi-unit synchronization, all at an affordable price.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Aerospace, Electronics & Computers, RF & Microwave Electronics

NASA Tests Prepare Space Launch System for Liftoff

Wind tunnel tests simulate ground winds on the rocket during liftoff using smoke flow visualization. This technique allows engineers to see how the wind flow behaves as it hits the surface of the launch tower model. (NASA/Les Yeh)

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) may experience ground wind gusts of up to 70 mph as it sits on the launch pad before and during liftoff for future missions. Understanding how environmental factors affect the rocket will help NASA’s guidance, navigation, and control team to identify the safety distance between the rocket and the launch tower.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense

Lightweight Artificial Hair Sensors Could Enable “Fly by Feel”

The Artificial Hair Sensor was inspired by the hairs on bats and crickets.

The Air Force Research Laboratory was inspired by the hairs on bats and crickets in creation of artificial hair sensors that could assess the external environment and change maneuvers during flight. The need to understand ambient air data and its effects on aircraft performance, navigation, and more has become more critical as aircraft are now lighter and operate in diverse environments.

Posted in: News, Defense, Sensors

Creating the Future: A Better Way to Map Terrain

Mark Skoog, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, led the development of new software that stores terrain data in a more efficient and accurate way. The achievement, Skoog says, opens the prospect of anyone – yes, anyone – being able to fly.

Posted in: News, News, Aerospace, Imaging, Sensors