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Old 04-08-2010, 03:30 PM   #1
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Default NASA Engineering Example

I am doing some research at work today and was reading up on the CRISM instrument that is part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This is a mission that is orbiting Mars right now and has been sending back phenomenal data about the planet.

Check out the engineering that went into the CRISM instrument design.

From the article:
Quote:
This is like saying, "keep a pot of water boiling and an ice cube frozen on a dinner plate, while keeping the plate at room temperature. And use no more electricity than a Christmas tree bulb."
And strap it to the top of a rocket (rough ride) to send it on its way, and it absolutely has to work when it gets there, and...

http://crism.jhuapl.edu/instrument/innoDesign.php

And people wonder why this stuff is so expensive
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:00 PM   #2
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bahhhh Dr Brown made a flux capacitor in his own home......

on another note, Nasa spent millions designing a pen that would work in space........

USSR used a pencil ........ hehehehe
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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bahhhh Dr Brown made a flux capacitor in his own home......

on another note, Nasa spent millions designing a pen that would work in space........

USSR used a pencil ........ hehehehe
Get back to crime, commonwealther.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:41 PM   #4
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Pretty awesome stuff. Lots of our technological advancements come from nasa.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:41 PM   #5
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on another note, Nasa spent millions designing a pen that would work in space........

USSR used a pencil ........ hehehehe
They are never going to live that one down.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:50 PM   #6
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Yes, but how much money have they made from licensing technology that allows pens to write upside down? Probably more than it cost to design it....
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sprx3 View Post
bahhhh Dr Brown made a flux capacitor in his own home......

on another note, Nasa spent millions designing a pen that would work in space........

USSR used a pencil ........ hehehehe

Or not..

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...tion-nasa-spen
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:01 PM   #8
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on another note, Nasa spent millions designing a pen that would work in space........

USSR used a pencil ........ hehehehe
I think that's actually a myth.

--Ferdi
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:19 PM   #9
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Good ol alien technology. I love my cell phone.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:26 PM   #10
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bahhhh Dr Brown made a flux capacitor in his own home......
And lost his entire family's considerable wealth in the process.
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprx3 View Post
bahhhh Dr Brown made a flux capacitor in his own home......

on another note, Nasa spent millions designing a pen that would work in space........

USSR used a pencil ........ hehehehe
http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:15 PM   #12
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A 1/100 of a degree C alters the instruments readings. One part of the diagram they show has a component that has to be at -260, which appears to be about 2 inches from another component that had to be at -76. And they are both hyper sensitive detectors of some sort which just got blasted up the gravity well at about 4G average with a ton of vibration.

But dont worry. I'm not an engineer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Wow.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:13 PM   #13
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which just got blasted up the gravity well at about 4G average with a ton of vibration.
Yep. The highest stresses on an instrument from the launch typically comes from the random vibration profile, that is the engine roar that is transmitted from conduction through the structure and also acoustically to the payloads. This random vibration is complex by its nature and usually handled with an envelope profile. But there is something called the Miles Equation that lets you convert this to a comparable steady-state or 'quasi-static acceleration' load. This allows for easier modeling and design.

For example of how big these loads are, I have been running some numbers lately for an instrument design I have been working on. The quasi-static acceleration load I am using (based on the random vibration profile for this mission) is 188g, or 188 times Earth gravity. That is pretty typical for a 3-sigma stress level determination. So that instrument I linked to probably went through the same thing. They would have used something large like an Atlas rocket to launch an interplanetary mission, which is what ours would be using.

You should see the Shaker Table tests that simulate the vibration loading. It is pretty violent for a spacecraft payload. It will break stuff that was not designed and/or built properly. Fortunately the instrument I built and just tested did not break
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:23 PM   #14
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Gawd how that must feel to see all that work made matirial and then subjected to that. It would be like watching your kid in his first boxing match.

What do you do anyway?
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:25 PM   #15
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Awesome, thanks. I never bothered to check up on that story, don't know why. What they say about the hazards of graphite bits floating around the cabin is definitely true. We have the same problem with instruments and circuit boards. If something conductive comes loose, it could float into something else and cause a random short. Some of these instruments use high voltages to operate, like 5000V, so it does not take much to cause a big problem. No repairs in outer space for anything higher than the shuttle orbit, and even then they only bother with the really expensive/nice stuff, like Hubble.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:29 PM   #16
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What do you do anyway?
I am a Mechanical Engineer working for a large R&D firm in San Antonio. The Division I work for develops scientific instruments and electronics (computers) for NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and military missions. I work with the scientists here to turn their crazy (but brilliant) ideas into flight hardware. Design, build, test. Very challenging, but fun stuff.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:30 PM   #17
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Cool. Thats the kind of work thats fun enough to get you through the damned spreadsheets and all AFAIK.

Doesnt air conduct across about 1CM with a 20K volt difference?

Would a high 02 environment be less? Boom.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:56 PM   #18
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Cool. Thats the kind of work thats fun enough to get you through the damned spreadsheets and all AFAIK.
Word

Quote:
Doesnt air conduct across about 1CM with a 20K volt difference?
I usually deal with hard vacuum, which is basically a near perfect vacuum, almost nothing in it. For that we use about 1000V/mm as our standoff distance rule of thumb.

Quote:
Would a high 02 environment be less? Boom
Fortunately we do not deal much if ever with manned space flight environments and therefore I do not have to worry about that
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX-Tex View Post
I am a Mechanical Engineer working for a large R&D firm in San Antonio. The Division I work for develops scientific instruments and electronics (computers) for NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and military missions. I work with the scientists here to turn their crazy (but brilliant) ideas into flight hardware. Design, build, test. Very challenging, but fun stuff.
cool soooo you guys take in any mech E co-ops?
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:43 AM   #20
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Can you fix our turbo bolt problem
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