NASA: Revolutionary Camera Recording Propulsion Data Completes Test

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: NASA has created a camera that can film slow motion footage of booming rocket engines with higher dynamic range than ever before. It’s called the High Dynamic Range Stereo X camera, or HiDyRS-X (PDF), and late last week the agency released some of its footage to the public for the first time. The three-minute clip shows the most recent test of one of the boosters for NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System rocket in unprecedented detail. SLS will use two of these 17-story tall solid rocket boosters, each of which is capable of burning 5.5 tons of propellant per second to create 3.6 million pounds of thrust. The problem when it comes to filming tests like these (and eventually, launches) is that the plumes of fire they produce are extremely bright. This usually leaves camera operators with two choices. They can either expose the footage for the bright plume, which will leave everything else in the shot looking dark and underexposed. Or they can expose for everything else in the shot, which leaves the plume looking bright white and void of detail. The HiDyRS-X camera solves this problem because the camera can capture all of this detail in one shot, and it does this in a fairly clever way. Where regular high-speed cameras usually only captures video one exposure at a time, HiDyRS-X can capture multiple exposures at a time. NASA did however report some failures with the test: the camera’s automatic timer failed to go off, thus failing to record the igniting of the rocket, and the pressure being generated from the booster knocked the camera’s power source loose.


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