Friday, July 30, 2010

A Perfect STORRM

It was a perfect STORRM. On Tuesday, July 20, NASA and its industry partners Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., successfully demonstrated a new sensor technology that will make it easier and safer for spacecraft to rendezvous and dock to the International Space Station.

This new docking navigation system prototype consists of an eye safe lidar Vision Navigation Sensor, or VNS, a high-definition docking camera, as well as the avionics and flight software. Both sensors will provide real time three-dimensional images to the crew with a resolution 16 times higher than the current space shuttle sensors. This next generation system also provides data from as far away as three miles three times the range of the current shuttle navigation sensor.

STORRM was developed by the Orion Project Office at NASA Johnson, which is responsible for program management, technology evaluation, flight test objectives, operational concepts, contract management and data post-processing.

Engineers at NASA Langley were responsible for engineering management, design and build of the avionics,STORRM software application and reflective elements. They are also responsible for the integration, testing and certification of these components. Industry partners Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Ball Aerospace Technologies Corp. were responsible for the design, build and testing of the VNS and docking camera.