station platform. The design also features
precision machined aluminum extrusions
available with or without pre-drilled
mounting holes for continuous shaft
support and consistent shaft centerline.
Spacing between sections is equal to
the pitch of the rack so that transfer is
ADC was particularly concerned about
the positioning accuracy requirements.
“Speed was not as important as the
accuracy. We have over 4,000 pounds
that’s going to be moved on these rails.
It had to have laser encoded tracking
accuracy to 0.05 inches,” says Van Every.
Van Every adds that mechanically
engineering the system to handle the loads
and to meet NASA requirements was the
most challenging part of the project.
“In particular, the one thing that had
never been built this way is the switching
station,” he says. “It’s surprising because
it looks like a rail car turntable. It’s one of
the neatest projects that I have ever been
on – and I’ve had about twenty years of
experience. A significant achievement
since this is a piece of equipment that
will be used past my retirement.”
The completed radar range will be
assembled by ADC and will travel from
their facility in Lansing, New York, down
to NASA Langley Research Center in
Hampden, Virginia. There, NASA will use
the system to improve the end products
that they are trying to build, whether it’s
a drone, an airplane, or another piece of
equipment that they simply don’t want
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The switching station is turnable and works similarly to
those used for railroad trains.