Thursday, May 3, 2012

Manufacturing is High Tech: Measuring to the Arcsecond

It moves, but, yet, it's the most stable reference.  It's the North Star.

Using an azimuth reference device that has been in place in one form or another for 50 years, technicians for Boeing at the Port Authority's Aerospace Center in Heath are able to pull down the "true North" reference by taking a "star shot" of the North Star.

They capture it's precise location in a little box about a mile away from the building.  They capture it at their homes too.  The main device for capturing the reference point is a vent hole in the side of the building.  The others are just backups in the event of inclement weather.

All this so the equipment they run can meet tolerances to an arcsecond.  They tell me an arcsecond is the equivalent of a pencil point on a football field.

Those tolerances are necessary to calibrate inertial guidance systems that are manufactured and remanufactured at the Aerospace Center.  It's U.S. ingenuity at work every day, and its been here for 50 years!

Now, tell me manufacturing isn't high tech.

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