Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Publication Title




Conference Name

AIAA SCITECH 2024 Forum, January 8-12, 2024, Orlando, Florida


The Entry Systems Modeling (ESM) Program at NASA has actively participated in the re-development of the Magnetic Suspension Balance System (MSBS) at the six-inch subsonic wind tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center. This initiative aims to enhance the MSBS system's capabilities, enabling the testing of stingless entry vehicle models at supersonic speeds. To achieve this, control algorithms are required to ensure magnetic levitation control and stability for models during free-oscillation dynamic responses. Currently, the system relies on electromagnetic position sensors to provide real-time 3 degrees of freedom control of a rigid body. While this approach has proven successful for subsonic speeds, expanding testing under higher dynamic pressure conditions may necessitate the incorporation of real-time roll and pitch measurements to quantify the dynamic stability characteristics of the models in free-oscillation. In collaboration with Old Dominion University, the team at NASA Langley Research Center proposes the implementation of a motion-tracking camera system. This system will provide real-time five degrees of freedom output, which will be utilized within a closed feedback control system and a two-step system identification model to isolate aerodynamic forces from their corresponding magnetic forces. The motion-tracking cameras will offer precise and accurate control over the levitation system, facilitating precise and repeatable experiments within the wind tunnel. The real-time feedback provided by the cameras enables prompt adjustments to ensure the maintenance of stable levitation throughout the testing process.


This material is declared a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Foreign copyright may apply.

Original Publication Citation

Shehata, H., Cox, D., Schoenenberger, M., Britcher, C. P., Shellabarger, E., Schott, T., & McGovern, B. (2024). The feasibility of motion tracking camera system for magnetic suspension wind tunnel tests. In AIAA Scitech 2024 Forum (pp. 1-14). American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.