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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Color-XHDR - A Compact High-Speed Color Extreme High Dynamic Range Video Capability for Rocket Engine Testing

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Color-XHDR - A Compact High-Speed Color Extreme High Dynamic Range Video Capability for Rocket Engine Testing
Innovative Imaging and Research (I2R) proposes to develop a 21st Century high-speed, color extreme high dynamic range (Color-XHDR) video recording system that will produce calibrated, engineering-grade video to accurately document rocket motor firings, at close range within a test cell, without image saturation. This novel imaging system will include a compact, single camera/single focal plane array camera and end-to-end image processing software to produce, high quality, low noise, high-speed video not currently possible with today's technology. The compact cameras will be compatible with existing SSC camera housing, as all acquired imagery will be stored off-camera to prevent loss of information in the event of a mishap. The system will be able to record entire test sequences at 250 fps lasting up to 45 minutes. Most importantly, the system will produce XHDR (>120 dB dynamic range) HD format imagery so that relatively dark test cell infrastructure and test article hardware will be visible alongside exhaust plumes that may also contain hot molten debris with brightness levels approaching that of the sun. Because the imagery will be calibrated, the system will also provide engineering information such as color temperature and particle trajectory velocities. Geometric calibration will enable multiple properly positioned cameras to provide accurate 3-D XHDR image products. Rocket engine certification ground testing requires clear visual high-speed video recording that can capture essential information for NASA during rocket engine certification ground testing. This need is particularly true in the event of a mishap, when investigations into the underlying cause ensue. The cameras in use today at SSC have significant limitations including plume saturation, rolling shutter image wobble, camera geometric distortion, and no off-board storage, which makes it nearly impossible, in catastrophic situations that result in the loss of a camera, to obtain critical information. More »

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