NASA Chooses JVC

NASA has geared up for the space shuttle's return to flight with an upgrade of the visual-analysis equipment at its Ice/Debris Image Analysis Facility at Kennedy Space Center. The JVC DLA-QX1 will be used to analyze flight data in conjunction with the SGI Onyx visualization system from Silicon Graphics.

Upgrades to the Ice/Debris Facility are part of NASA's preparation for the launch of Discovery, which finally took to the sky on July 26 after several delays caused by a malfunctioning fuel sensor. NASA monitors each shuttle launch using hundreds of cameras that capture images from every possible angle and phase of the launch. Once the film and video images are gathered, they are uploaded to SGI visualization and storage systems, where the film is scanned and stored. The DLA-QX1 projector enables NASA's Ice/Debris Team to view and analyze ultra-high-resolution (2048 x 1536) images on an 8-foot-wide screen.

This state-of-the-art system allows NASA scientists to view images on a frame-by-frame basis and perform preliminary video analysis prior to a shuttle launch and provide more detailed film analysis following a launch for evaluation.

"We turned to JVC because NASA required the highest resolution and image quality available," said Bill Van Dyken, solutions architect at SGI. "This projector, in combination with best-of-breed signal and display components, makes for a truly amazing and unique display system."

According to Tom Stites, director of business development for JVC Professional Products, "We're honored to have our QX1 projector in NASA's Ice/Debris Facility. The projector's clarity, crispness, and image quality is guaranteed to meet the demands of NASA's high-resolution requirements. We have a long-standing relationship with NASA and have provided them with high-resolution displays and projectors. It's exciting to see JVC's QX1 projector integrated in such a high-tech application."

Apparently, the system has already paid off big time. It was reported on July 27 that NASA has cancelled the next shuttle flight, which was scheduled for September. Why? Because images from Discovery's takeoff indicate that a sizeable chunk of foam insulation flew off the external fuel tank. According to NASA officials, the debris did not strike the orbiter and thus poses no danger to this particular mission, but they are understandably concerned about the safety of future flights.