When the interplanetary probe Giotto lost connection with its ground operations while tracking Halley's Comet, recovering the lost satellite became a primary concern for its manufacturer Laben, an Italian aerospace company. Laben engineers surmised that when dust particles from the comet's tail contacted the probe, it caused the misalignment of the onboard aerial with Earth.
Giotto was millions of miles from Earth. Unlike the international space station, which is sometimes maintained by crews of astronauts, Giotto had to rely on its own system design for any chance of recovery.
The on-board data handling (OBDH) system designed with I-DEAS a design and manufacturing application from SDRC (Milford, OH, now called EDS PLM Solutions), became the critical component in the satellite's recovery. "The link absence was detected by the on-board computer, part of the OBDH, and re-established," says Laben's Operations Manager, Demetrio Masaro. "As soon as the connection was lost, the event triggered a software routine that initiated a maneuver to 'search ground'."
The Giotto satellite was later directed toward another comet, Grigg-Skjellerup. Such missions help map the universe for interplanetary space exploration.
For more information about mechanical design software from SDRC: Enter 538
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.