Reaching New Heights: Supplying Parts for NASA’s Telescope Quickly and Efficiently
Friday, April 23, 2021
Located on Ascension Island, about halfway between South America and Africa in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, NASA’s 20-thousand-pound Meter Class Autonomous Telescope (MCAT) hunts the sky for space debris. The telescope is part of the ARES Division’s Orbital Debris Program Office, whose mission is to determine the total amount of orbital debris and predict the risk it poses to spacecraft, including the International Space Station.
The MCAT Telescope has a unique feature that allows it to track these fast-moving debris: a double-horseshoe mount. “MCAT’s very unique mount, designed specifically for fast tracking of debris at low latitudes smoothly through the zenith, is one of the only two telescopes like it in the world,” Susan Lederer, Ph.D., MCAT principal investigator and optical lead for NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office, said. The telescope is operated remotely by Dr. Lederer’s team at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Ascension Island or Bust
Unfortunately, the team was experiencing intermittent, on-going issues specific to a limit switch on the telescope. Dr. Lederer worked with the telescope manufacturer to identify a better configuration for the limit switch. Once they had a plan, they needed parts… and fast.
To travel to Ascension Island, you must have permission from both the U.S. and British military and, to travel from the United States you need to book your flight with the U.S. Air Force. NASA only heads to the island every six months, so Dr. Lederer’s team had a tight window to identify and acquire the parts to fix the telescope.
Meeting a Critical Deadline
Dr. Lederer reached out to Air-Way and shared the new configuration plan for the telescope limit switch with Air-Way’s engineers. Air-Way’s team got to work studying the issue, brainstorming a solution, and designing and delivering hydraulic fitting parts in time to meet a critical deadline. If the parts hadn’t been ready in time, it would be another six months before NASA would have the opportunity to fix the MCAT telescope.
Several Air-Way teams worked together to make the project a success, including sales, customer service, engineering, and shipping. Working closely with Dr. Lederer to ensure her needs were met, Air-Way was able to move quickly and efficiently to determine and produce the right hydraulic fitting solution, without sacrificing quality.
Our Team Has You Covered
Air-Way isn’t just a supplier, we are problem solvers.
Whether your machine is moving dirt on the ground, or tracking debris in space, the U.S. based team at Air-Way will make sure you have the parts you need when you need them. Reach out to us today to learn more.
Can I Reassemble or Do I Need to Replace My Hydraulic Fitting?Performing regular maintenance on your hydraulic system can prevent problems and maximize uptime. When your maintenance involves hose changes or disassembly of your hydraulic fittings, it’s a good idea to consider using new fittings when you reassemble your connections. But, thanks to stronger materials and advances in the design and manufacturing process, hydraulic fittings that are in working order may be reused.
Challenges in the Supply Chain Due to COVID-19 and What You Can Do About It TodayNearly every industry has been impacted by supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturing, construction, and retail trade have experienced the most significant disruption in their supply chains, and many continue to feel that pain yet today. So much so, that in June of 2021, the White House announced the formation of a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to address short term supply chain issues nationally.
Growth in Hydraulic Hose and Fitting Market Driven by Industry MechanizationThe global hydraulic hose and fittings market is expected to grow by almost $400 million ISD over the next four years according to research by Technavio, a leading global technology research and advisory company. A major factor in the growth in the hydraulics market is mechanization in the agriculture industry.