NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Flexible control techniques for a lunar baseThe fundamental elements found in every terrestrial control system can be employed in all lunar applications. These elements include sensors which measure physical properties, controllers which acquire sensor data and calculate a control response, and actuators which apply the control output to the process. The unique characteristics of the lunar environment will certainly require the development of new control system technology. However, weightlessness, harsh atmospheric conditions, temperature extremes, and radiation hazards will most significantly impact the design of sensors and actuators. The controller and associated control algorithms, which are the most complex element of any control system, can be derived in their entirety from existing technology. Lunar process control applications -- ranging from small-scale research projects to full-scale processing plants -- will benefit greatly from the controller advances being developed today. In particular, new software technology aimed at commercial process monitoring and control applications will almost completely eliminate the need for custom programs and the lengthy development and testing cycle they require. The applicability of existing industrial software to lunar applications has other significant advantages in addition to cost and quality. This software is designed to run on standard hardware platforms and takes advantage of existing LAN and telecommunications technology. Further, in order to exploit the existing commercial market, the software is being designed to be implemented by users of all skill levels -- typically users who are familiar with their process, but not necessarily with software or control theory. This means that specialized technical support personnel will not need to be on-hand, and the associated costs are eliminated. Finally, the latest industrial software designed for the commercial market is extremely flexible, in order to fit the requirements of many types of processing applications with little or no customization. This means that lunar process control projects will not be delayed by unforeseen problems or last minute process modifications. The software will include all of the tools needed to adapt to virtually any changes. In contrast to other space programs which required the development of tremendous amounts of custom software, lunar-based processing facilities will benefit from the use of existing software technology which is being proven in commercial applications on Earth.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Kraus, Thomas W.
(Intec Controls Corp. Walpole, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Arizona Univ., Proceedings of the Lunar Materials Technology Symposium
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available