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NASA Uses AR for Roman Space Telescope Setup

NASA Uses AR for Roman Space Telescope Setup
With the use of virtual headgear and accurate measurements, engineers may conduct trial runs prior to arduous assembly.

NASA engineers are using augmented reality (AR) to design spaceships with greater precision and effectiveness. Following the enormous success of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Roman Space Telescope team is already using the technology while developing the next-generation observatory, which will be their primary focus on the sky. At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, Roman is now undergoing assembly. According to NASA, AR has already eliminated days of labour. With far less work, activities that would normally need many qualified technicians and engineers might also be performed.

Utilising cutting-edge measurement methods and augmented reality headsets, the NASA team has successfully projected computer representations of the telescope’s constituent parts onto the physical environment. This enables them to detect any problems before any physical assembly is done and align pieces with a precision of a few thousandths of an inch.

NASA Goddard engineer Ron Glenn said in a news release that they have achieved the ability to install mounting interfaces, place sensors, anchoring connections, and other spaceship equipment in 3D space with greater precision and speed than previous methods. That may significantly reduce the cost and timeline of any programme.

Building a spaceship is no small task, therefore this might be a game changer. These structures need to be robust and lightweight at the same time. They also need to have many intricate systems and perfectly interlocking parts. Procuring this type of machine requires extensive theorising, rigorous testing, and, often, quite a bit of money. Consider how a little imperfection on one of the Hubble Space Telescope’s mirrors prior to its flight in 1990 prompted NASA to design a whole mission that needed humans to rectify it in Earth orbit. This illustrates how it even significantly increases production complexity.

Additionally, because augmented reality is virtual, anybody connected to it may easily access information. For example, an engineer may use various hand signals to instantly obtain critical information on the spot, such as torque standards for particular bolts or broad structural recommendations.

Another advantage is that remote engineers may virtually contribute from any location. Aaron Sanford, another professional involved in the project, clarified that partners at different places may immediately cooperate via the experts’ point of view. An additional degree of efficiency is added by using QR codes for document transmission and metadata preservation, which puts pertinent details at your fingers for rapid access. Creating AR methods for sophisticated structures and deconstructing them brings up a world of opportunities, including teaching and documentation.

However, Glenn emphasises that the advantages of AR go beyond time savings, as the team has been able to do more than they had anticipated. According to him, the first aim of the study was to use augmented reality (AR) to create improved assembly methods and determine if it might save expensive manufacturing time. They learned there was so much more the team could do.

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