Clear pictures and high-speed footage plays an important role in data collection during a test mission, according to John Prentice, TRAX International project leader and mechanical engineer. The ability to obtain clear images never appeared to be a problem with the team until a test mission in September of 2015 where video and photo data collection was lost due to condensation that had built-up on the cameras lenses. Prentice said he was informed of the issue shortly after and was able to develop a system within a matter of weeks that corrected the problem. He came up with the Dew-Not system solution by mid-October of 2015.
“It helped resolve a serious deficiency in our optics capabilities that we sometimes encounter when the weather is cold and damp,” said White Sands Missile Range Director of Range Operations Gilbert Harding. “That’s the great thing about WSMR, if we encounter a problem testing, we have some of the world’s brightest engineers and technicians that work together to come up with a solution for us. Now with the ‘Dew-Not’ system we have avoided the condensation problem several times over the last couple of years.”
Condensation develops mainly during early spring, late fall or early winter when there is increased humidity and increased temperature. It is as a result of the camera skin temperature build-up that pulls moisture out of the air, creating condensation on the lens.
The anti-condensation system helped to combat the issue of condensation build up in cameras during test missions through a simple observation. Prentice determined that if the temperature surrounding the cameras is kept higher than the ambient, your immediate surroundings, then condensation doesn’t form. He said he was able to test his theory here at WSMR and results were satisfactory.
The anti-condensation system was specifically working with Sony cameras but have received similar results with other brands. Condensation on cameras obscures the images just as it does on the windshield of your car on a cold day.
“Other than the mission being successful, you need the proof to say that it occurred,” Prentice said. “It’s probably the reason for the testing.”
He said perfect images are what customers look forward to in videos and photos.
“A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say,” Prentice said.
Photo images are vital to the systems being tested, without them a lot of money has been wasted on the test, Prentice said.
“We’re talking thousands of dollars,” he said.
Harding said photo and video of a test are important facets of our overall data collection products. Randy Polage, TRAX optics department manager said the anti-condensation system has been used about four to five times in different test missions since it has been developed. The anti-condensation system has been marketed to other areas outside of WSMR.