Dynetics delivers Laser Air Monitoring System to NASA

Thursday October 08, 2020

Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, recently delivered its Laser Air Monitoring System (LAMS) to NASA. NASA performed acceptance testing on the unit, which measures oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, temperature, and pressure, at Johnson Space Center in Houston, then shipped the unit to the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it has been installed in the Orion spacecraft for Artemis II, the first crewed Orion mission that will send astronauts around the Moon. The Dynetics unit monitors these critical environmental elements accurately enough to detect unsafe levels within the Orion spacecraft at a stable temperature, enabling the crew to respond immediately to potentially rapid changes in air composition in the Orion cabin.

Over the past two years, the unit has been designed, prototyped, manufactured and tested at Dynetics' main campus in Huntsville, Ala. Additional testing has taken place at NASA's Johnson Space Center, who recently awarded the LAMS team the JSC Group Achievement Award for a rapid and successful design, development and delivery of the unit.

The LAMS team was able to utilize prototyping capabilities from Dynetics' subsidiary, Dynetics Technical Solutions (DTS), to build and develop prototype units just three months from the preliminary design review.

"Dynetics is in a unique position due to the diversity of our work, including software development, electronic manufacturing, mechanical design and analysis," said Nicolas Flesher, LAMS Program Manager. "This, on top of our in-house expertise on laser based systems, allowed us to be positioned to take advantage of this new technology, which has never been used in this way before."

LAMS will provide critical protection to the crew in two ways. First, the sensitive pressure sensor will alert the Orion crew of even the slightest leak in the system - long before it could cause any harm to the crew. Second, it determines how much oxygen, carbon dioxide and water are in the cabin air. This technology will integrate with Orion to maintain safe air quality and atmosphere for the astronauts.

One key component, the Herriott cell, allows the system to make accurate measurements of oxygen. The Herriott cell is a system of two concave mirrors that allows a laser to bounce back and forth 31 times before landing on the light sensors. This provides the necessary amount of interaction between the laser light and oxygen molecules needed to make high-resolution measurements. In order to do this, many features of these mirrors have to be machined to six digits of precision. The initial machining of these components was performed by DTS. The precise optical machining was conducted at the University of Alabama Huntsville's Center for Applied Optics, which also assisted in the overall optical design of the system. 

To stay up-to-date with Dynetics' space solutions, please visit Dynetics.com.  

About Dynetics

Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, provides responsive, cost-effective engineering, scientific, IT solutions to the national security, cybersecurity, space, and critical infrastructure sectors. Our portfolio features highly specialized technical services and a range of software and hardware products, including components, subsystems, and complex end-to-end systems. The company of more than 2,500 employees is based in Huntsville, Ala., and has offices throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.dynetics.com.

About Leidos

Leidos is a Fortune 500® information technology, engineering, and science solutions and services leader working to solve the world's toughest challenges in the defense, intelligence, civil, and health markets. The company's 38,000 employees support vital missions for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $11.09 billion for the fiscal year ended January 3, 2020. For more information, visit www.Leidos.com

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