NovAtel's Annual Journal of GNSS Technology Solutions and Innovation

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CPAS Orion 2014 For more Solutions visit velocity 39 SPAN's integral role As NASA's avionics test lead, Williamson over- sees the design of the CPAS test vehicles avionics system. He collects a variety of data, from navi- gational to environmental, and is tasked with making sure the avionics work properly and that they can carry out the test procedure. "The test vehicles are all equipped with sen- sors and instruments used to determine para- chute performance and if we're meeting safety requirements," he says. "We take humidity, in- ertial measurements, position, attitude and ve- locity measurements. We also outfit the vehicles with many types of cameras that are high defi- nition and high speed. We take all data from the sensors and equipment and we use that data to validate the computer models and better predict how the parachute will perform, and make sure we're meeting the safety requirement." The team uses NovAtel's SPAN system to measure the test vehicle's attitude and vertical velocity. The team's goal is to observe the cap- sule dynamics and record how fast the vehicle is falling throughout the test. The SPAN-SE receiver also offers trajectory estimates, which provides an alternative data set if the avionics system GPS signal is ever lost and there's potential for large data gaps. The IMU could extrapolate from the vehicle's movement and fill in the dots where drop outs occurred. SPAN-SE also offers synchronized position and attitude along with a self-contained recording system. Heading into space At the end of this year, Orion will take its first trip to space during the Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT- 1). It won't carry a crew, but will travel 3,600 miles above the Earth for a two-orbit flight, according to NASA. This flight will give engineers the chance to not only verify its design, but to test the systems that are most critical to an astronaut's safety—in- cluding launch, re-entry and landing. During this trip into deep space, Orion will travel 15 times farther than the International Space Station before it returns to Earth. After circling the Earth twice, Orion will re-enter the atmosphere at speeds close to 20,000 mph and temperatures of up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The parachute system NASA's team has been testing, with the help of NovAtel's SPAN, will slow Orion down before it lands in the Pacific Ocean. Orion is scheduled to take a second un- manned trip into space in 2017, and this time the spacecraft will take off from the new Space Launch System, according to NASA. Explora- tion Mission 1 will test how the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft work together to prepare for the first crewed flight. That flight, Exploration Mission 2, is scheduled for 2021. Orion will take us further into space than we've ever been, marking an exciting time in space ex- ploration. But before we get there, multiple tests must be completed to ensure the spacecraft is safe. Safe landing gear is a key component, and NovA- tel's plays an important role, providing analysts with velocity data, to help ensure the capsule's de- scent rate stays where it should. A look inside Orion Orion comes equipped with many tech- nological advances and innovations. THEY INCLUDE: THE LAUNCH ABORT SYSTEM. Within milliseconds, this system can activate and pull crew members to safety and position the module for a safe landing. It's positioned on a tower on top of the crew module. CREW MODULE. CM has the ability to transport four crew members beyond low Earth orbit, offering a safe place during launch, landing and recovery. SERVICE MODULE. The SM supports the CM beginning at launch and lasting until the CM separates prior to entry. The SM provides in-space propulsion capa- bility for orbital transfer, attitude control and high altitude ascent aborts. While it's still connected to the CM, it provides water, oxygen and nitrogen to support the CM living environment. It generates and stores power while on orbit, and offers primary thermal control. It's also able to accommodate unpressurized cargo. THE SPACECRAFT ADAPTER. This feature connects Orion to the launch vehicle. Source: NASA During testing, the team loads a model of NASA'S Orion into a C-17 plane. The model is dropped from 25,000 feet above the Arizona dessert. This test took place in 2013 at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona.

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