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Ames Technology Capabilities and Facilities

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Hardware Development
Ames has a robust experience base for developing unique research equipment and hardware. This capability, bred from decades of supporting NASA’s ever-changing research environment, is both agile and adaptive. This capability includes planning, machining, fabrication, modification, assembly, and inspection of unique or one-of-a-kind research hardware, either by use of in-house capabilities or end item outsourcing.

hardware Benefit
The Ames Hardware Development capability provides a comprehensive single-point resource for research equipment and hardware system development.

Right: The Ames hardware development complex includes a wide range of specialized tools.

The Ames Hardware Development capability is centered around its highly skilled and experienced personnel. Organizationally, there is a decades old legacy of a commitment to the highest standards of quality. The list of accomplishments for this organization is both extensive and diverse. Products range from the most intricate of sensor devices, to large and complex test apparatus.

Some of the more recent development endeavors include a 3% Space Shuttle high fidelity wind tunnel model in support of NASA’s “Return to Flight,” and major certified aircraft structure components for the SOFIA flying observatory.

hardware 3% Space Shuttle Wind Tunnel Model - The Columbia Shuttle disaster mandated that one of the most detailed flight models ever developed be manufactured to facilitate the study of the external tank icing problem. Ames was tapped into this critical element to return NASA’s Shuttle fleet back into space because of its unique capability to design, build and test. Ames has been successful in designing and building this complex, and intricate test model in an astoundingly short time.

Image right: Some of the more recent development endeavors.

SOFIA Telescope Cavity Door Structures –SOFIA is a highly modified 747SP, housing a 2.8 meter infrared telescope. The Telescope Cavity Door System serves as both a protective “shutter” for the telescope, but also as an aerodynamic fairing for the free air opening in the aircraft. Ames is utilizing its skilled in-house capabilities to produce these one-of-a-kind FAA certified components. Hardware Development Expertise A vital resource for NASA since the opening of Ames Research Center over 60 years ago, the Hardware Development Division supports NASA’s missions in exploration, spaceflight, basic and applied research and development. This group tackles projects both large and small, with the highest levels of attention to detail, and a rare eye for craftsmanship excellence. The Ames hardware development complex includes a wide range of specialized tools suited for NASA’s ever challenging mission.

The following are some of the diverse capabilities found within the Hardware Development Division:
  • Life science experimental hardware development
  • Airborne science flight hardware development
  • Mechanical instrument development
  • Electronic prototyping and packaging
  • Rapid prototyping Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
  • Pressure and acoustic Instrumentation
  • Inspection services (ASQ Certified)
  • Reverse engineering
  • Prototype and general machining
  • Electrical discharge machining (EDM-WEDM)
  • Ultra-Precision sheet metal fabrication & assembly
  • Aircraft structure fabrication (FAA Certified)
  • Life science experimental hardware development structural fabrication
  • Non-Metallics (composites) fabrication
  • Data system chassis development, fabrication
  • Large scale wind tunnel model development
  • Aircraft Loadmaster trained and qualified
  • Water-Jet cutting technology
The following are some of the impressive assets available to the Ames Hardware Development Division:
  • EDM / Sinker - Makino EDNC 64
  • EDM / Wire - Mitsubishi DWC 110C
  • Lathe / Turning - CNC Mazak M5 2000
  • Lathe / Turning - CNC Haas SL 10T
  • Milling - CNC Horiz. 4-Axis Cincinnati Gilbert Series D
  • Milling - CNC Vert. 3-Axis Cincinnati Millicron 225/HS
  • Milling - CNC Vert. 3-Axis Haas VF-4D
  • Rapid Prototyping - SLS 3D Systems Sinterstation 2500
  • Inspection - CMM Sheffield Cordax 1808 MEA
  • Cutting - Water Knife, Jet Edge