VIDEO High Dynamic Range rocket footage is handsome

Aug 10, 2016, 02:01
VIDEO High Dynamic Range rocket footage is handsome

This camera was road-tested on a small rocket with plumes of exhaust coming from its nozzle.

Experienced NASA staff and recent hires equally have the capacity to make a significant contribution to the research and development goals of the agency. NASA engineers and scientists used a special camera called the High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS-X) to film the test. Experts explained that when it comes to film these launches, the plumes of fire they produce are quite bright. These video clips are normally hard to capture without totally cutting down the exposure settings, yet with this camera, they are a possibility.

If the exposure settings of the normal camera are fiddled then the rest of the thins in a photo will darken, leaving a meaningless picture, High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS-X) project overcomes this by using a similar technique to what night photographers use when they splice multiple images together in post to get an impressive image. However, now the HiDyRS-X will change all that as it records numerous slow motion video exposures simultaneously, and merges them to create a single high dynamic range video that shows intricate details of test flights. Howard Conyers, a structural dynamist at NASA's Stennis Space Center, was awarded as an ECI grant in 2015.

NASA has planned to use the SLS rocket to launch its new Orion spacecraft to send astronauts on deep-space voyages to an asteroid, Mars and beyond. NASA has a new camera system that is in testing meant to allow vastly more detail when looking at rocket plumes during tests.

However, the video is proof enough that the HiDyRS-X indeed works.

That image is fine for memories and to demonstrate just how fiery a rocket launch can be, but for researchers who want to see if everything went smoothly during a test, the bright blotch obscures much of the scene. They were also faced with transporting and assembling the equipment at the QM-2 test site located in the desert of Utah - a remote environment requiring the HiDyRS-X team to be self-sufficient, as well as deliberate and methodical in their preparation and set up.

Boosters are very powerful, unlike the smaller scale rocket engine tests at Stennis, and once they are ignited they can not be restarted or turned off.

But spirits rose when the team reviewed the footage later. The footage captured by the HiDyRS-X camera brings the view to the next level; the exhaust from the booster can be seen burning in real time. NASA hopes that its HDR camera will solve the problem, and the result of early testing is certainly promising. For one, the automatic timer of the camera failed to go off, so the camera team missed to capture the rocket igniting. The recorded footage actually lasted only a few seconds because the booster shook the ground such that the camera's power cable was unplugged from the power box.

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