NASA tests new HiDyRS-X Camera and finds new detail to study



was testing a booster rocket meant for its SLS or Space Launch System and thousands turned out to watch that booster get tested. What all those in attendance to see the big rocket fire didn't know was that NASA was also testing out another new device at the same time. A new camera system was being tested called High Dynamic Range Stereo X or HiDyRS-X.

That camera system is a new high-speed, high dynamic range camera that filmed the propulsion test and recorded the test in massive detail previously unattainable. One glance at the image taken by a standard high-speed camera and the new HiDyRS-X camera and you can see the massive additional detail provided by HiDyRS-X. Rather than seeing nothing but an orange pillar of fire you can see the individual flames with the new camera.

NASA started development of the camera specifically for rocket tests because the tests produce extremely bright flames that are difficult to record on film without reducing exposure settings on the camera, which in turn darkens the rest of the image. The HiDyRS-X camera was created in partnership with Innovative Imaging and Research Corporation and was previously only tested on small rocket nozzle plumes at Stennis.

The test of the massive SLS booster gave the HiDyRS-X team the opportunity to test the camera in a full-scale environment. This Qualification Motor 2 test was conducted at the Orbital ATK test facility in Promontory, Utah and is the second and final booster test before the SLS test flight in late 2018. When completed the SLS will be the most powerful rocket in the world. The team says the big challenge in this test was compensating for the additional brightness of the plume. The camera's automatic timer failed to go off, but the team was able to hit the manual trigger and get the shot for several seconds. The massive booster shook the ground nearby so hard that the power cable fell out of the power box, turning the camera off.