SEPTEMBER 6, 2007--The recent Space Shuttle Endeavour mission relied on images from Adimec (Stoneham, MA, USA; www.adimec.com) cameras to determine the threat of damage from a publicized gouge in the heat shield. During launch, a piece of foam insulation came off of a bracket on the external fuel tank, bounced off of a strut, and damaged the underside tiles of the Endeavour. To analyze the risks to re-entry and determine if a space walk was necessary, the shuttle astronauts took more than 1500 high-resolution images with the Adimec camera system. These images were gathered and analyzed to assess the risk of the 3.5-in.-long and 2-in.-wide gouge, as well as a few other damaged areas of the heat shield.
The Adimec cameras also took images of the damaged heat-resistant carbon-composite panels and tiles to help determine if the shuttle would be cleared for landing. Mission STS-118 was the fifth shuttle mission to use Adimec camera technology as part of an imaging system to ensure shuttle safety.
The Adimec high-performance cameras supplied to NASA are coupled to a Pleora (Ottawa, ON, Canada; www.pleora.com) iPort IP engine. This enables high-resolution images to be streamed to a laptop inside the shuttle over a standard Ethernet link. The imaging system is mounted at the end of the space shuttle's 50-foot robotic arm and is controlled by the crew. NASA's orbital boom sensor system on this robotic arm is used to inspect and measure defects in the shuttle's outer 'skin,' particularly in the heat tile area, the reinforced carbon-carbon wing, and the nose cap.
Pleora Technologies is a supplier of Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) imaging solutions. The Pleora iPORT and eBUS products stream imaging data over low-cost GigE connections with high performance, while at the same time giving vision systems long-distance reach, scalable processing, flexible networking, and unmatched ease of use.