Case Study Recap: Developing a DAC System for Jet and Rocket Engine Testing

Birds eye view of white left jet engine on a plane

In the world of aerospace propulsion, hot-fire testing plays a critical role in ensuring the safety, reliability, and performance of jet and rocket engines. However, developing a real-time data acquisition and control (DAC) system for such testing comes with its own set of challenges. In this blog post, we’ll explore how engineers tackled these obstacles and successfully implemented a state-of-the-art DAC system using National Instruments LabVIEW Real-Time and the NI PXI platform.

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The Tech Teamwork of NASA and NI

Picture of rocket launching on a sunny day

From humble beginnings in James Truchard’s residential garage in Texas, NI has become a massively respected producer of automated test equipment. Since launching in 1976, the company has helped find hardware and software solutions for multiple industries on an international scale. The incredible impact that NI has had on technological innovation is even more evident when considering its long history of working with NASA.

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The Space Tech of Planetary Defense

Rendered graphic of the DART spacecraft in space

On September 26, 2022, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission successfully collided with the asteroid “Dimorphos”. While this relatively small asteroid does not pose a threat to Earth, it provided the perfect target to test NASA’s ability to steer a spacecraft to contact an asteroid in order to divert it. While DART is the first mission of its kind when it comes to testing full scale planetary defense, it is only a part of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which was established in 2016.

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Monitoring Our Ecosystem… from Space

Picture of tall treetops with a clear blue sky backdrop, taken from below

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has declared 2021-2030 as the “UN’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration”. Clearly, the urgency to restore harmed ecosystems and fight against climate change is prevalent now more than ever. Stopping, preventing, and reversing ecosystem deterioration requires effort on a global scale, so NASA took observational tech to one of the highest viewpoints possible- the International Space Station.

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A Thrilling New Look into Deep Space

On July 12, 2022, NASA released the first full color images from the James Webb Telescope. These highly anticipated images debuted just over 6 months after Webb was first launched on December 25, 2021; and they showcase never before seen views of our universe in astounding clarity. These infrared images give us an unprecedented window into the history of the cosmos, investigating the origins of the universe and our place within it.

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Airbus Moves Closer to Electric Flight

Climate change is a growing concern across the globe. Many countries are enacting legislation and setting goals to reduce the effects of industry and commerce on the environment. While some may believe the actual needs are small and inconsequential considering other global concerns, the aviation industry is taking these concerns seriously. Airbus, a major global leader in the manufacturing of commercial aircraft, is making important strides in this effort.

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Digital Transformation in Aerospace and Defense

The aerospace and defense (A&D) industries have long been a recognized leader when it comes to adopting new, innovative technologies. Digital transformation has naturally been part of that process over time. In fact, A&D were early converts to digital design and manufacturing processes. As A&D industries are tapped to produce ever-evolving technological systems for growing needs, digital transformation will be a crucial factor contributing to success.

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Valentina Tereshkova- The First Woman in Space on a Solo Mission

During Women’s History Month, which also features International Women’s Day on March 8, notable women throughout the world’s history are remembered. More importantly, they are recognized for their achievements that have made a significant impact on our world. We owe these women a debt of gratitude and honor for what they have done, and the sacrifices they have often made to make a difference.

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NASA Chooses Startup Company Rocket Lab to Launch the Pathfinder Mission to the Moon

In a surprising development in the ongoing space exploration odyssey, NASA has selected a relatively new launch startup company to become a part of the Artemis Program to revisit the moon. Rocket Lab will launch a small satellite as part of NASA’s CAPSTONE space experiment.

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