The control rack contains three computer systems, one emergency power-supply and the displays. On high-resolution monitors the captured images are displayed at frame-rates up to 150 images per second and camera. A false colour mode enables visualisation of smallest details. The received data, round about 30 MB per second, is stored on highly efficient hard-drives.
The software allows to configure parameter-sets to control camera parameters e.g. exposure time, capturing mode, image size and frame rate, preflight. These may then be chosen during the flight according to the experiment. The supervisor also has the possibility to customize single parameters during the parabola to match the current demands.
DigiTempus – Parabolic flight experiments with digital imaging
Fundamental material science is not only conducted on earth but also under conditions of zero gravity. Experiments may be run on Satellites, the International Space Station and as well as during parabolic flights. The German centre for aviation and aerospace (DLR) offers this possibility on board of a Airbus A300 Zero-G. The plane, equipped as a laboratory, follows a trajectory parabola and thereby manages to create circa 20 seconds in free fall without almost any gravity influencing the experiments.
To explore the characteristics of new materials the test bench TEMPUS was developed to melt metal samples. Conductive material samples are melted by high powered magnetic fields, resembling an induction plate, while supporting magnetic fields position them free-floating without any contact to the container. The vibrations, the melting behaviour and the cooling process can indicate certain characteristics.
The task at hand was to develop a capturing- and evaluating-software to watch the samples during the experimental process from melting to cooling. During the melting process the samples are filmed by two light-sensitive high-resolution cameras. In addition to the visual capturing experiment data as for example temperature and heating strength are recorded. During the experiment the camera recording are displayed for direct control as well as stored for later evaluation. The conditions demand quick access to exposure parameters since the actual melting process only lasts seconds.