Spy Satellite

In 1989 working for Harris Corporation on the DSP satellite project subcontracted from Aerojet, the Central Control Unit (CCU) for this satellite required dozens of tests in the environmental lab to ensure it could withstand the rigors of launch by subjecting it to substantial heat and cold, vibrations, and vacuum testing. The manual part of these tests involved connecting the CCU to the test unit and taking hundreds of reading on a Logic Analyzer. On average, it took about 42 hours for a complete set of tests if no problems were encountered. The manual for these tests had “hand drawn” wave forms in it and cable connections were many times redundant configurations. The reading of each waveform was tedious, requiring the technician to try multiple settings on the Logic Analyzer.

    • Nicholas took notes on each and every Logic Analyzer (LA) configuration so that it took out the guess work as to the settings needed to get a good waveform, reducing LA setup to just 10-15 seconds instead of 2 – 15 minutes. Creating a set of “notes” using MacDraw creating accurate waveforms and combining all the tests for a specific cable configuration, we could now perform this 42 hour set of tests in just 16 hours. This saved over 3900 man-hours of labor in testing these units. Bringing in the project 9 months ahead of schedule and nearly $2 million under budget.

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