NASA Partners with Utah State University

May 7, 2013

The space agency and the university's Space Dynamics Lab will develop a cryogenic optical encoder to reduce uncertainties in the performance and calibration of space-based sensor systems.

GREENBELT, MD /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's Innovative Partnerships Office in Greenbelt, MD, has entered into a Space Act Agreement with Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL), North Logan, UT, to develop a high-resolution optical encoder.

The partnership, funded by SDL through a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement, allows for the joint development of a high-resolution cryogenic optical encoder—an angular position sensor—to be used with the laboratory's large, evacuated thermal and optical research (THOR) chamber. The period of performance is for one year, from October 10, 2012.

The encoder will be used to very accurately measure the pointing angle of a large, high-precision mirror in a second vacuum chamber connected to THOR. Using this encoder technology, the Space Dynamics Laboratory expects to reduce uncertainties in the performance and calibration of space-based sensor systems and to increase efficiency of sensor calibrations they perform for NASA and the Department of Defense programs. NASA Goddard's Doug Leviton invented and patented this encoder technology.

For more information on NASA Goddard's Innovative Partnerships Office, please visit the office's Web site.

For more information on the Space Dynamics Laboratory, please visit the university's Web site.

For more information on NASA, please visit the agency online.

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