The FLITES project has required far more mechanical design that we originally envisaged. However with the help of some new staff at The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh's superb mechanical technicians, Significant input from INTA in Madrid, Spain and out collegues at The University of Manchester, the mounting system is nearly done.
In this series of images, the mounting structure itself is shown in its outdoor, unpainted state dueing one of our quarterly meetings. The ring is actually a 12 sided dodecagon, with an outer diameter of 7.1m and legs that are approximatly 2m tall. It is designed so that the jet engine plume passes though the ring and into the test cell detuner (thrust absorption device), with little effect on the air that surrounds the engine. The diameter of the measurment plane also restricts how small the ring can be as we aim for projections that are 1.8m in width.
As you can see from image 1, the ring is really quite substantial.
Images 2 and 3, show the ring painted and assembed thanks to INTA and CEMAT, both in Madrid. Rolls Royce have helped finance the mechanical work undertaken here.
In the final image, an optical bread board like plate is shown which acts as a mounting for the front-end transmission and receiver optical modules. These are a) perfectly flat, b) allow alignment of a projection to be co-planar and parallel to its counterpart 7m away and c) use custom designed kinematic mountings on each front-end module.
Image 2 best shows where the data acquisition systems will be placed, near the front-face of the ring (top in the picture). The ribbon cables for the 126 pre-amplifier modules are shown in the trunking, while at the bottom (ring back), the Ethernet communication cables can be seen. The data acqusition PCBs sit on alternate vertices, servicing two sides of the dodecagon each. The other set of alternate vertices will contain a fibre splitter box fanning out the high-power fibre laser to the required 126 beams.
The completion of the mechanical parts of the project is a significant mile stone, and while I was only indirectly involved, the interplay of requirements has been quite complex.