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NASA Partners With Utah State University's Space Dynamics Lab
by Staff Writers
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 03, 2013


Space Dynamics Laboratory's Thermal and Optical Research (THOR) chamber at Utah State University provides the capability to simulate the space environment for thermal balance testing, allows sensors to reach in-flight temperatures, and provides a low infrared background for precise calibration testing. A partnership with SDL and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Innovative Technology Partnerships Office will enable the development of a high-resolution cryogenic optical encoder to supplement the THOR chamber that will very accurately measure the pointing angle of a large, high precision mirror. Credit: Donna Barry, Utah State University. For a larger version of this image please go here.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's Innovative Partnerships Office in Greenbelt, Md., has entered into a Space Act Agreement with Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL), North Logan, Utah, to develop a high-resolution optical encoder.

The partnership, funded by SDL through a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement, allows for the joint development of a high-resolution cryogenic optical encoder -- an angular position sensor -- to be used in conjunction with the laboratory's large, evacuated Thermal and Optical Research (THOR) chamber.

The period of performance is for one year from Oct. 10, 2012.

The encoder will be used to very accurately measure the pointing angle of a large, high precision mirror in a second vacuum chamber connected to THOR.

Using this encoder technology, the Space Dynamics Laboratory expects to reduce uncertainties in the performance and calibration of space-based sensor systems and to increase efficiency of sensor calibrations they perform for NASA and the Department of Defense programs.

NASA Goddard's Doug Leviton invented and patented this encoder technology.

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Related Links
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Space Technology News - Applications and Research






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