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UEI and NASA VMS: Creating Precision and Accuracy with DAQ Hardware

A proud American establishment since 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (commonly known as NASA) has accomplished many great feats. Arguably one of its most notable endeavors, for example, was the historical Apollo Project of 1963-1972 which was the first to put men on the moon. NASA has continued to make great strides in exploring space since its inception, but its reach goes well beyond such missions. The organization is one of the key leaders in aeronautics research whose work impacts tech innovation across many sectors.

However, even organizations as prestigious as NASA need help to solve the crucial problems that arise when planning space travel. Such was the case with NASA's VMS (Vertical Motion Simulation) complex. NASA’s VMS complex is a high-fidelity flight simulation system with the capacity to travel vertically and laterally with six degrees of freedom. The VMS provides real-time piloted simulation and realistic sensory cues through six ICAB (Interchangeable Cabin) systems that can be modified to simulate any vehicle, including those still in the design stage, which makes it an invaluable tool for the research and development of new flight vehicles as well as astronaut and pilot training.

NASA's VMS system was producing inaccurate simulations due to the system having trouble synchronizing the transfer of input and output data. UEI filled its need for precision and accuracy when solving this problem by installing RACKtangle I/O systems in all ICAB units and interfaces.

Products to help with your Space DAQ, Test, and Control Needs:

The DNR-12-1G Compact (3U), 12-slot, rugged, Gigabit Ethernet Data Acquisition and control rack

The DNx-AI-208 8-channel, 18-bit, 1 kS/s per channel, strain gauge input board

The DNx-AI-217 16-Channel, 24-bit 120 kS/s high-speed simultaneously sampling A/D board

The DNx AO-318-020 8-Channel Isolated 0-20 mA D/A Board with current and voltage readback

Installing this hardware allowed the VMS system to now collect, store, and update inputs from all of the ICAB units. A clock signal sent to each RACKtangle initiated periodic updates of inputs and outputs and ensured synchronization for data acquisition. When put together with the use of low-latency UDP packets rather than TCP/IP which allowed data to be refreshed on each cycle, jitter was minimized and allowed for greater control.

To learn more, read UEI's NASA Application Story.

Application Story: How NASA's VMS Complex Utilizes UEI Technology
NASA’s VMS (Vertical Motion Simulator) provides real-time piloted simulation and realistic sensory cues through six ICAB (Interchangeable Cabin) systems that can be modified to simulate any vehicle, including those still in the design stage, which makes it an invaluable tool for the research and development of new flight vehicles. UEI hardware helps the VMS produce real-time, highly synchronized, high-fidelity aerospace flight simulations.
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