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FLIR Systems reports on how the University of Southern California (USC) Rocket Propulsion Lab have used a FLIR T540 thermal camera to provide valuable data at a level unattainable with thermocouples to measure performance of rocket thermal protection system during engine firing.

Earlier this year, the USC Rocket Propulsion Lab successfully tested Graveler II, the largest composite-cased amateur rocket motor ever successfully fired to date. Prior to rocket testing, the USC Rocket Propulsion Lab was loaned a T540 thermal camera to conduct a failure investigation if their design failed.

On test day, USC researchers powered up the T540, plugged the ambient conditions of the Mojave Desert test area into the camera, and placed it far enough away to keep the camera safe while maintaining a tight field of view. The highlights of the thermal footage captured are available on YouTube**.

The Graveler II rocket test was a complete success so no failure investigation was necessary. However, USC researchers reported that the FLIR T540 thermal camera had enabled them for the first time to get some meaningful data about how the thermal protection system on their rocket manages the heat. With these results, the USC Rocket Propulsion team are now close to obtaining their official space launch window from the FAA.

Operators of the FLIR T540 thermal camera commented ” We found the T540 very intuitive and easy to use. We only needed to watch a brief tutorial video on the FLIR ResearchIR software and then were ready for the test firing”.

To read this interesting application story in full please visit https://www.flir.co.uk/discover/rd-science/validating-thermal-protection-before-a-space-shot-launch/.

FLIR Systems specialises in technologies that enhance perception and awareness.  The company brings innovative sensing solutions into daily life through its thermal imaging and visible light imaging technology and systems for measurement, diagnosis, location and advanced threat detection.  Its products improve the way people interact with the world around them, enhance productivity, increase energy efficiency and make the workplace safer.

FLIR Systems has six operating segments – surveillance, instruments, OEM and emerging markets, maritime, security and finally, detection. Of these six, ‘instruments’ is of greatest interest to trade and industry and the second largest segment in the company’s portfolio. This division provides devices that image, measure and assess thermal energy, gases and other environmental elements for industrial, commercial and scientific applications.

These products are manufactured across five production sites, three in the USA and two in Europe; Sweden and Estonia.

A model to suit every application and budget
The options that FLIR Systems provides for measuring temperature and studying thermal performance have never been greater.  Not only does the company offer a huge range of models to suit all thermal application needs but the technology is also affordable and very easy to use.  Thermal cameras now come in various shapes, sizes and degrees of sophistication and FLIR continues to invest heavily in the development of new and complementary technologies to differentiate itself from competitors.

An important milestone in the development of thermal imaging has been the introduction of the FLIR Lepton® core, a micro longwave detector, the size of a mobile SIM.  This has allowed thermal imaging to be repackaged to meet the needs of an even wider audience and, in combination with another new technology called Infrared Guided Measurement – IGM™ – has led to the development of a range of test and measurement meters with imaging capability.

Another important growth area for FLIR thermal imaging is in continuous monitoring to assure quality and safety.  Through its introduction of discrete fixed mounted thermal cameras which are fully compliant industry standard plug-and-play protocols, FLIR Systems has provided industry with infrared machine vision which is instantly ready for quick and easy network installation.

Protecting assets and people from fire is an area for which thermal imaging is least known but, thanks to FLIR Systems’ development, it is now one of the most cost-effective methods available.  Its application flexibility and rapid return on investment present an attractive proposition for any site or safety manager.

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