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NASA Space Shuttle Simulations use RGB Spectrum's Scan Converter
November 10, 2003 Alameda, CA - At NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, space shuttle astronauts are constantly training to enhance their aeronautical flight skills and enhance mission preparation. One of the core components in NASA's shuttle crew training is a series of simulators in the Systems Engineering Simulator (SES) laboratory. NASA contracted with Lockheed Martin Corporation's Space Operations Company headquartered in Houston, Texas to design, manufacture, and maintain these leading-edge space shuttle mission simulators.
|NASA's Johnson Space Center uses RGB Spectrum's RGB/VideoLink 1690 scan converters to provide realistic CCTV images with precise detail and exceptional clarity.|
The SES mission is to provide a dynamically correct, high fidelity, crew-in-the-loop simulator to support critical flight decisions both before and during mission operations. Regina Tobias, Electronics Engineer for the Lockheed Martin Science, Engineering, Analysis, and Test (SEAT) division's Space Operations Company, explains NASA's SES program, "The SES was expanded over the years to include space station activities. The activities around the station, such as vehicles flying to and from the station, manipulation of payloads around the station, and satellite servicing, are extremely dependent on manned interaction and require much simulation to determine the safest mode of operation. The SES supports Space Shuttle and Space Station crew training for the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (RMS), the Space Station RMS, and rendezvous/proximity operations."
"The overall program complex consists of the real-time operator-in-the-loop SpaceCraft Dynamics Simulation (SCDS), three Dynamic System Trainers (DSTs), and the ascent/entry Shuttle Engineering Simulator. The SCDS simulation provides accurate real-time, dynamics and pilot environment models designed for as many as six free-flying vehicles with six-degree-of-freedom equations of motion for each vehicle and for the interactions between them. These interactions can include docking contact dynamics involving berthing and unberthing of vehicles, aerodynamics, thruster plume impingement, vehicle control systems, and robotics manipulator dynamics."
Tobias continued, "A critical issue in the simulator was the conversion and distribution of high resolution images from the SCDS image generators to the aft station CCTV CRTs. Since the simulation exercises rely heavily on visual cues and overlays as pilots maneuver with the docking target, the converted images had to be very high quality, with sharp, fine graphics. Lockheed Martin's Space Operations Company conducted extensive market evaluations of different scan converter brands and models for the project. RGB Spectrum's RGB/VideoLink 1690 was chosen because it was the only scan converter that improved the viewable image with exceptional clarity and precise detail."
|RGB Spectrum's VideoLink 1690 scan converters receive output from NASA's hi-res image generators and convert them to NTSC composite signals for display on CCTV monitors in the simulator.|
NASA currently uses a total of eight RGB/VideoLink 1690 scan converters in the simulators' two aft cockpit stations and Robotic Workstations (RWS). These aft stations are used for docking and robot arm control. The scan converters receive high resolution 1280 x 1024 RGB images from Pentium 4-based PCs and SGI Onyx2 image generators. The images consist of high resolution graphical reproductions of the space shuttle vehicle, the shuttle robot arm, the space station, and terrestrial and space out-the-window (OTW) panoramas. Navigation and guidance parameters, flight trajectories, and cross-hairs are also overlayed on appropriate images to facilitate maneuvering and alignment.
The 1690s convert the images to NTSC composite signals and feed them to each of the aft stations' two Sony 9-inch high resolution CCTV monitors which are mounted near the two windows in the shuttle exterior. The two rear windows in the shuttle depict faithful, realistic OTW vistas that would be viewed by shuttle crew in-flight. The CCTVs provide the crew with detailed, selectable video images of camera views of activity or objects outside the shuttle.
Lockheed Martin's Tobias concluded, "The VideoLink 1690 scan converters look great. They enable the SES simulators to provide the most realistic, flight-like mission scenarios. We are very happy with them."
The RGB/Videolink® 1690 is the latest in RGB Spectrum's line of video scan converters. The RGB/Videolink 1690 video scan converter transforms computer signals to broadcast standard video in real time. Computer generated images can then be recorded, broadcast, displayed or transmitted over video codecs. The unit offers NTSC/PAL composite video, S-Video and component analog video (Betacam/MII) outputs. SMPTE 259M digital output is available as an option. State-of-the-art digital signal processing (DSP) circuitry eliminates interlace flicker in the output image. Even thin horizontal lines appear stable. Its fifteen levels of filtering optimize image sharpness and flicker elimination. The 1690's zoom function lets you scale a portion of the image to fill the video screen or provide just the right amount of underscan/overscan adjustment. Synchronization and set-up are automatic. The RGB/Videolink 1690 automatically synchronizes to computer signals up to 1600 x 1200 pixels, including virtually all desktop computers and workstations.
NASA's Johnson Space Center is located in Houston, Texas and can be reached at 281-244-2100 and on the internet at www.jsc.nasa.gov.
Lockheed Martin Corporation is an advanced technology company principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. federal government agencies. Lockheed Martin is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. For more information, visit www.lockheedmartin.com. The Lockheed Martin Science, Engineering, Analysis, and Test Division's Space Operations Group is located in Houston, Texas and can be reached at (281) 333-5411 and on the internet at www.lmso.external.lmco.com/seat/.
RGB Spectrum® is a leading designer and manufacturer of videographic and multimedia hardware subsystems. Products include the View™ family of video windowing systems, the RGB/Videolink® line of scan converters, the DGx™ digital recording system, and SuperWall™, ComputerWall® and MediaWall® multi-screen display controllers. RGB Spectrum is based in Alameda, California, and can be reached at 510-814-7000 and on the internet at http://www.rgb.com.