Features

Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D. C.

NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), managed at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., is responsible for early detection of potentially hazardous objects, like asteroids and comets, and issuing warnings about their potential impacts. This requires teamwork from observatories around the world. NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, Lindley Johnson leads the global effort to detect and follow near-earth objects

Posted in: Who's Who, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Imaging
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Product of the Month: July 2017

Tektronix, Beaverton, OR, introduced the TTR500 Series USB vector network analyzer, a USB-based RF test instrument. It includes VectorVu-PC analysis software and built-in bias tee for testing active devices. The 2-port, 2-path S-parameter VNA features 100 kHz to 6 GHz frequency range, 122 dB dynamic range, less than 0.008 dB trace noise, and -50 to +7 dBm output power. The built-in bias tee allows for 0 to ± 24V, and 0 to 200 mA on both ports for active devices. The analyzer operates with any Windows PC or laptop, and VectorVu-PC software controls and calibrates the instrument. For automated test systems in design or manufacturing, the software offers programmatic support for SCPI commands, including command compatibility with common legacy VNAs for integration into existing test systems. In addition, the software offers an offline mode for data analysis with an output file format compatible with common EDA simulation tools. Accessories include a rugged carrying case, rack mount kits, phase-stable cables, attenuators, adapters, and calibration kits.

Posted in: Products, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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Adam Sidor, NASA Research Fellow, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) — heatshields — form the outer surface of spacecraft and provide protection as the vehicle plunges through planetary atmospheres. Conformal ablative materials are currently being developed to improve TPS performance. Adam Sidor is developing a fresh approach to designing and manufacturing these materials to produce larger tile sizes while reducing labor, cost, and waste.

Posted in: Who's Who, Materials
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New Products: June 2017 Sensor Technology

The following companies will be exhibiting at Sensors Expo & Conference 2017. The event, held in the San Jose, CA-based McEnery Convention Center, runs from June 27-29.

Posted in: Products, Sensors
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Product of the Month: June 2017

Phoenix Contact, Middletown, PA, introduced VL2 1000 industrial PCs equipped with Intel® Atom™ Bay Trail processors that are available as box or panel PCs. The VL2 1000 includes a choice of 7", 9", 12.1", 15.6", 18.5", and 21.5" display sizes with capacitive-touch interface, allowing swiping, pinching, and multiple touch points at one time. An optional CAN module provides configurability for communication protocols. Other configuration options include memory, mass storage, operating system, and fieldbus. The PCs offer RAID 0/1 support, fanless design for industrial applications, HAZLOC approvals such as Class I Div. 2, and removable rotating or solid-state hard drives in a variety of sizes.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers
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New Products: June 2017 Motion Design

Load Adaptor

Zero-Max (Plymouth, MN) introduced the Model 650 Overhung Load Adaptor that's designed to provide more radial and axial load support for hydraulic motors and pumps. The SAE B Model 650 is in the middle of the company's range of load adaptor sizes ranging from the smallest 200 SAE A mount model to the largest 1500 SAE F mount model. The new adaptor features a cast iron housing, 130,000 PSI stress-proof steel shaft, and heavy-duty spherical roller bearings. Designed for either face or foot mounting applications, it handles speeds up to 3500 RPM and is manufactured to ISO 9001:2008 quality standards. Overhung load adaptors protect the shaft seal of the motor, which can improve the operational life of the motor in harsh environment applications.

Posted in: Products, Motion Control
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Drones Spot Gas Leaks From the Sky

As part of a project to improve energy pipeline industry safety, a JPL-developed miniature methane sensor is flight tested on a small unmanned aerial system. (Credit: University of California, Merced)

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Sensors
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MEMS Move Wearables Beyond Touch Interfaces

We use touch, the dominant user interface for years, to tap keyboards on laptops and tablets, to communicate with our car’s portable GPS, and to text friends and take photos from our smartphones.

Posted in: Articles, MEMs, Sensors
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Sensors’ Role Evolves as New Wearables Emerge

Microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-based components, such as sensors and actuators, began penetrating the wearable products market about a decade ago, when the first accelerometers replaced mechanical springs in pedometers and step counters.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors
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Products of Tomorrow: June 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Materials, Plastics
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