posted July 24, 2012 05:16 PM
An interesting (if somewhat arcane) find on eBay arrived a couple days ago.
It's a prototype or test version of the Azimuth/Elevation analog cross-pointer from the shuttle's aft deck (Panel A2; Remote Manipulator Arm) as can be seen in the upper left corner of this photo.
Upon opening up the case, it is clear that the device is more a close copy of a functional cross-pointer, intended only to look the part and probably test the lighting aspects of the design. Note the "Lighting Master" designation on the meter label along with the bolted-in-place pointers themselves. Only two wires emerge for energizing the LED lighting strip
Does anyone have further details on the NAS10-11500 contract number? The only thing I could find was related to non-destructive evaluation of shuttle tile bonds, which didn't seem correct, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.
The meter is a heavy fellow, and a small reminder of what is almost certainly an omnipresent design tension between launch vehicle weight and component robustness.
It's also interesting that such effort went into a test/evaluation example. Seems like it almost would have been cheaper to use a functional version than it would be to produce a one-off faithful mockup. Maybe further contract data would help clear that up along with this meter's role in shuttle avionics development.
Thanks in advance for any additional information.