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    • By NASA
      Augmented reality tools have helped technicians improve accuracy and save time on fit checks for the Roman Space Telescope being assembled at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. In one instance, manipulating a digital model of Roman’s propulsion system into the real telescope structure revealed the planned design would not fit around existing wiring. The finding helped avoid a need to rebuild any components. The R&D team at Goddard working on this AR project suggests broader adoption in the future could potentially save weeks of construction time and hundreds of thousands of dollars. In this photograph from Feb. 29, 2024, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., the Roman Space Telescope’s propulsion system is positioned by engineers and technicians under the spacecraft bus. Engineers used augmented reality tools to prepare for the assembly.NASA/Chris Gunn Technicians armed with advanced measuring equipment, augmented reality headsets, and QR codes virtually checked the fit of some Roman Space Telescope structures before building or moving them through facilities at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
      “We’ve been able to place sensors, mounting interfaces, and other spacecraft hardware in 3D space faster and more accurately than previous techniques,” said NASA Goddard engineer Ron Glenn. “That could be a huge benefit to any program’s cost and schedule.” 
      Projecting digital models onto the real world allows the technicians to align parts and look for potential interference among them. The AR heads-up display also enables precise positioning of flight hardware for assembly with accuracy down to thousandths of an inch.
      Engineers wearing augmented reality headsets test the placement of a scaffolding design before it is built to ensure accurate fit in the largest clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.NASA Using NASA’s Internal Research and Development program, Glenn said his team keeps finding new ways to improve how NASA builds spacecraft with AR technology in a project aiding Roman’s construction at NASA Goddard. 
      Glenn said the team has achieved far more than they originally sought to prove. “The original project goal was to develop enhanced assembly solutions utilizing AR and find out if we could eliminate costly fabrication time,” he said. “We found the team could do so much more.”
      For instance, engineers using a robotic arm for precision measuring and 3D laser scanning mapped Roman’s complex wiring harness and the volume within the spacecraft structure.  
      “Manipulating the virtual model of Roman’s propulsion assembly into that frame, we found places where it interfered with the existing wiring harness, team engineer Eric Brune said. “Adjusting the propulsion assembly before building it allowed the mission to avoid costly and time-consuming delays.”
      Roman’s propulsion system was successfully integrated earlier this year.
      The Roman Space Telescope is a NASA mission designed to explore dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics.
      Equipped with a powerful telescope and advanced instruments, it aims to unravel mysteries of the universe and expand our understanding of cosmic phenomena. Roman is scheduled to launch by May 2027.
      Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
      Download this video in HD formats from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio Considering the time it takes to design, build, move, redesign, and rebuild, Brune added, their work saved many workdays by multiple engineers and technicians.
      “We have identified many additional benefits to these combinations of technologies,” team engineer Aaron Sanford said. “Partners at other locations can collaborate directly through the technicians’ point of view. Using QR codes for metadata storage and document transfer adds another layer of efficiency, enabling quick access to relevant information right at your fingertips. Developing AR techniques for reverse engineering and advanced structures opens many possibilities such as training and documentation.” 
      The technologies allow 3D designs of parts and assemblies to be shared or virtually handed off from remote locations. They also enable dry runs of moving and installing structures as well as help capture precise measurements after parts are built to compare to their designs. 
      Adding a precision laser tracker to the mix can also eliminate the need to create elaborate physical templates to ensure components are accurately mounted in precise positions and orientations, Sanford said. Even details such as whether a technician can physically extend an arm inside a structure to turn a bolt or manipulate a part can be worked out in augmented reality before construction. 
      During construction, an engineer wearing a headset can reference vital information, like the torque specifications for individual bolts, using a hand gesture. In fact, the engineer could achieve this without having to pause and find the information on another device or in paper documents.  
      In the future, the team hopes to help integrate various components, conduct inspections, and document final construction. Sanford said, “it’s a cultural shift. It takes time to adopt these new tools.”  
      “It will help us rapidly produce spacecraft and instruments, saving weeks and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Glenn said. “That allows us to return resources to the agency to develop new missions.” 
      This project is part of NASA’s Center Innovation Fund portfolio for fiscal year 2024 at Goddard. The Center Innovation Fund, within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, stimulates and encourages creativity and innovation at NASA centers while addressing the technology needs of NASA and the nation.
      To learn more, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/center-innovation-fund/
      By Karl B. Hille
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      Facebook logo @NASAGoddard@NASA_Technology @NASAGoddard@NASA_Technology Instagram logo @NASAGoddard Share
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      Last Updated Jun 20, 2024 EditorRob GarnerContactRob Garnerrob.garner@nasa.govLocationGoddard Space Flight Center Related Terms
      Goddard Technology Goddard Space Flight Center Space Technology Mission Directorate Technology View the full article
    • By NASA
      Conceptualization of the GeoXO constellation.Credits: NOAA NASA, on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has selected Lockheed Martin Corp. of Littleton, Colorado, to build the spacecraft for NOAA’s Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) satellite program.
      This cost-plus-award-fee contract is valued at approximately $2.27 billion. It includes the development of three spacecraft as well as four options for additional spacecraft. The anticipated period of performance for this contract includes support for 10 years of on-orbit operations and five years of on-orbit storage, for a total of 15 years for each spacecraft. The work will take place at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Littleton and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
      The GeoXO constellation will include three operational satellites — east, west and central. Each geostationary, three-axis stabilized spacecraft is designed to host three instruments. The centrally-located spacecraft will carry an infrared sounder and atmospheric composition instrument and can also accommodate a partner payload. Spacecraft in the east and west positions will carry an imager, lightning mapper, and ocean color instrument. They will also support an auxiliary communication payload for the NOAA Data Collection System relay, dissemination, and commanding.
      The contract scope includes the tasks necessary to design, analyze, develop, fabricate, integrate, test, evaluate, and support launch of the GeoXO satellites; provide engineering development units; supply and maintain the ground support equipment and simulators; and support mission operations at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
      NASA and NOAA oversee the development, launch, testing, and operation of all the satellites in the GeoXO program. NOAA funds and manages the program, operations, and data products. On behalf of NOAA, NASA and commercial partners develop and build the instruments and spacecraft and launch the satellites.
      As part of NOAA’s constellation of geostationary environmental satellites to protect life and property across the Western Hemisphere, the GeoXO program is the follow-on to the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites – R (GOES-R) Series Program.
      The GeoXO satellite system will advance Earth observations from geostationary orbit. The mission will supply vital information to address major environmental challenges of the future in support of weather, ocean, and climate operations in the United States. The advanced capabilities from GeoXO will help assess our changing planet and the evolving needs of the nation’s data users. Together, NASA and NOAA are working to ensure GeoXO’s critical observations are in place by the early 2030s when the GOES-R Series nears the end of its operational lifetime.
      For more information on the GeoXO program, visit:
      https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/geoxo
      -end-
      Liz Vlock
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      elizabeth.a.vlock@nasa.gov
      Jeremy Eggers
      Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      757-824-2958
      jeremy.l.eggers@nasa.gov
      John Leslie
      NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
      202-527-3504
      nesdis.pa@noaa.gov
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Jun 18, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) Earth Observatory Earth Science Division NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Science Mission Directorate View the full article
    • By NASA
      This image from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shows China’s Chang’e 6 lander in the Apollo basin on the far side of the Moon on June 7, 2024. The lander is the bright dot in the center of the image. The image is about 0.4 miles wide (650 meters); lunar north is up.Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University NASA’s LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) imaged China’s Chang’e 6 sample return spacecraft on the far side of the Moon on June 7. Chang’e 6 landed on June 1, and when LRO passed over the landing site almost a week later, it acquired an image showing the lander on the rim of an eroded, 55-yard-diameter (about 50 meters) crater. 
      The LRO Camera team computed the landing site coordinates as about 42 degrees south latitude, 206 degrees east longitude, at an elevation of about minus 3.27 miles (minus 5,256 meters).
      This before and after animation of LRO images shows the appearance of the Chang’e 6 lander. The increased brightness of the terrain surrounding the lander is due to disturbance from the lander’s engines and is similar to the blast zone seen around other lunar landers. The before image is from March 3, 2022, and the after image is from June 7, 2024.Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University The Chang’e 6 landing site is situated toward the southern edge of the Apollo basin (about 306 miles or 492 km in diameter, centered at 36.1 degrees south latitude, 208.3 degrees east longitude). Basaltic lava erupted south of Chaffee S crater about 3.1 billion years ago and flowed downhill to the west until it encountered a local topographic high, likely related to a fault. Several wrinkle ridges in this region have deformed and raised the mare surface. The landing site sits about halfway between two of these prominent ridges. This basaltic flow also overlaps a slightly older flow (about 3.3 billion years old), visible further west, but the younger flow is distinct because it has higher iron oxide and titanium dioxide abundances.
      A regional context map of the Chang’e 6 landing site. Color differences have been enhanced for clarity. The dark area is a basaltic mare deposit; bluer areas of the mare are higher-titanium flows. Contour lines marking 100-meter (about 328 feet) elevation intervals are overlaid to provide a sense of the topography. Image is about 118 miles (190 km) across. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Launched on June 18, 2009, LRO has collected a treasure trove of data with its seven powerful instruments, making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the Moon. NASA is returning to the Moon with commercial and international partners to expand human presence in space and bring back new knowledge and opportunities.
      More on this story from Arizona State University's LRO Camera website Media Contact:
      Nancy N. Jones
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      Facebook logo @NASAGoddard@NASAMoon@NASASolarSystem @NASAGoddard@NASAMoon@NASASolarSystem Instagram logo @NASAGoddard@NASASolarSystem Share
      Details
      Last Updated Jun 14, 2024 EditorMadison OlsonContactNancy N. Jonesnancy.n.jones@nasa.govLocationGoddard Space Flight Center Related Terms
      Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Earth's Moon Goddard Space Flight Center Planetary Science The Solar System Explore More
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