College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences


NASA ORION Heat Shield Spectrometer

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Project Description
Problem Definition
Proposal Phase
Detailed Design Phase
Integration and Testing
Final Product
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Project Description

A ceramic tile within Orion's heat shield will house a glass rod for fiber optic input. This fiber optic cable transmits all incoming light to the measuring device.
The intensity and frequency of the light is measured by the spectrometer and fed as digital samples into our programmed logic on an FPGA / EPLD via RS232 serial communication.
The digital logic on the FPGA or EPLD will be programmed in VHDL using Altera Quartus software. Matlab will be used to configure our optical data collection and ensure that the spectrum data is handled correctly.
Once the data from the spectrometer is successfully read, it will be saved to the onboard non-volatile memory system for access upon spacecraft recovery. Ultimately, the data collected will be used by NASA to improve the heat shield

Block Diagram Depiction

This prototype block diagram displays the layout of an EPLD based data acquisition system. An NV Memory array will be configured for the storage of spectral data.
The data acquisition system will require an EMI filtered power supply capable of providing 3.3 and 5.0 Voltages. Transceivers will be utilized to interface with the RS232 communication interfaces.
Spectrometer communications and configuration information may be stored within an attached PROM.