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FOR-A Image Stabilizers Monitor Launch Pads

Photonics.com
Oct 2003
CYPRESS, Calif., Oct. 2 - Launching rockets into space for commercial, military and scientific applications is risky business. That's why subcontractor Analex Corp. is using three IVS-300 video stabilizers from FOR-A Corp. of America to monitor multiple outdoor launch pads in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and to troubleshoot problems for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The FOR-A IVS-300 stabilizer electronically removes shakes and judders from both recorded images and live surveillance in vertical, horizontal and oblique directions at a maximum movement of 20 percent from a still picture. The IVS-300 is designed to correct picture shake in cameras placed in outdoor locations with significant wind and traffic vibration.

From Hanger AE, Charlie Thompson, video engineer for Analex, uses two IVS-300 systems to supervise all video and still photography monitoring related to the launch of expendable launch vehicles (ELVs); e.g., the Atlas, Delta and Titan rockets. He said one of his cameras is located about five miles away from the launch pad, on top of a building. The effects of wind and other weather conditions there, coupled with the weight of the extra long lens (Canon J15x9.5B4ITS with X2 extender-9.5-143MM zoom lens), often make the video pictures unusable.

Live signals from several of the cameras are routed through the IVS-3000 units, eliminating virtually all shake and movement. Signals are then distributed to a video routing switcher before going out over the facility's closed-circuit TV system for general consumption and public affairs' support-production switcher and satellite uplink.

NASA's Public Affairs Office will also use one unit on an ENG van to watch the launch pad from a variety of angles.

"Cameras on our ENG trucks and cameras mounted on top of our building use long zoom lenses, and the image can really shake," said Thompson. "We have explosion-proof pad perimeter cameras [single-chip Cohu cameras] that are vital to our troubleshooting. If they fail to capture a launch, our long-range cameras have to be available. If a problem should occur, the FOR-A image stabilizers will prove a big help in determining what went wrong."

"The other advantage of the FOR-A image stabilizer is that it can be used with any camera," Thompson said. "We have choices as to what angles we want to stabilize. You can even put it on the output of the switcher before it goes out to the world, and no one would ever know the difference. It also handles pans well, which can be problematic in difficult conditions."

For more information, visit: www.FOR-A.com



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