The following article has been reproduced from the Space Systems/Loral internal web site.

A Dedication and Remembrance
Steffey, Antenna Mechanical Engineering Department, 10/1/01
We are dedicating a new test facility at SS/L. It is a large thermal chamber that is specially equipped to measure the shape of antenna reflectors at temperature extremes that simulate conditions in space. The chamber, in Building 48, is the product of a team that was led by Louis Brydon, an Antenna Products engineer who recently passed away. Consequently, the chamber is being designated the "Louis Brydon Photogrammetry Chamber," in honor of his many contributions to SS/L, which include the chamber itself.

The Louis Brydon Photogrammetry Chamber is a large insulated room of stainless steel construction that features biparting 14' x 8' doors in the front for access. The 14-foot chamber allows the largest reflectors we build to be installed. Temperature in the chamber can be varied from +180 °C (+357 °F) to -185 °C (-300 °F), which exceeds the predicted variation seen on orbit by our satellites. Liquid nitrogen is used to cool the chamber, and electric heaters are used to provide heat. The modifications to Building 48 to incorporate the chamber facility took over a year to complete, with much help from Bruce Phillips and Kevin Barnes of the Composites Manufacturing Center.

A digital camera mounted near the top of the chamber allows for remote measuring of the reflector distortions. This technique is known as photogrammetry, and involves the conversion of reflector images, which are targeted on the surface, to target locations in 3-dimensional coordinates. The conversion is made using software that has evolved in complexity and sophistication over the years. Photogrammetry started in the field of aerial mapping and was used in measuring structures back in the era of film images. Of course, the time needed to wait for development of film images did not lend itself to quick results. The advent of optical measuring devices such as electronic theodolites, together with processing of data by computers, resulted in ‘real time’ applications for photogrammetry. Finally, however, the use of precision digital imaging has led photogrammetry to a level of usefulness that directly applies to our spacecraft programs. Checkout tests have been completed and several reflectors have been measured in the new facility. Our current photogrammetry experts include Sam Antos, Russ Beck, Mike Aliamus, and Tamer Mahmoud, all of the Antenna Products Directorate.

The viewport in the top of the chamber is, itself, a masterpiece of mechanical engineering. The central feature is a 0.75" thick quartz window, made in a two-piece construction with a 6.77" diameter outer halo piece and a 2.50" diameter inner circular piece. The two pieces are bonded together with a special epoxy. Images are taken with the camera pointing through the central circular piece of glass, while the outer halo piece permits a strobe flash to illuminate the subject. The epoxy between the two pieces of glass shields the camera from the strobe light. The glass is housed in a three-level bearing which rotates to allow adjustment of the pointing direction by 10° in any direction. Bruno Hollenstein, of the Antenna Mechanical Engineering Department, worked with Louis to create the detailed design of the viewport mechanism.

Louis Brydon joined SS/L after graduating from U.C. Berkeley in 1986 and, at first, was part of the Advanced Materials Engineering Laboratory. He transferred to the Antenna Products Directorate in 1988 and was responsible for many of the antennas that are now regarded as 'pioneers.' In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Louis worked with Japanese suppliers of reflectors for N-Star, INTELSAT-VII, and MTSAT. Louis's expertise took him to various companies in Japan, Europe, and throughout the United States, and his professional approach established a high degree of credibility for SS/L with many people around the world. The experience Louis gained in antenna design and manufacturing, together with his creative abilities, has resulted in the award of five patents.

Louis is regarded as the developer of the workhorse reflector of the 1990s, the 2.4-meter-diameter reflector used on Tempo, MCI, PanAmSat-6, EchoStar 5, EchoStar 6, Mabuhay, Apstar, Orion, Telstar 5, Telstar 6, Telstar 7, L-Star, DIRECTV-5, and soon to be on EchoStar 9. He also led Research & Development projects that are now culminating in the development of a new reflector design for the future. This new Stiffened Membrane Reflector, also being referred to as the Ultralight Reflector, is planned for use on SatMex-6, DIRECTV-7, iPSTAR, and the next generation of satellites. The new design offers the lightest-weight, slimmest-profile antenna design yet created at SS/L.

Louis was also licensed as a pilot of private aircraft and an amateur radio operator. He was a founding member of the Contra Costa Repeater Association (CCRA) and served as a volunteer with the Contra Costa Sheriffs' Search and Rescue squad and Marine Patrol. An active boater since childhood, Louis was a member of the Berkeley Yacht Club.

Above all, Louis treasured and cherished his family: Lynette, his wife of eleven years, and his children Benjamin, age 6, Peter, age 4, and Lynsey, age 2. He was the beloved son of Charles and Alice Brydon of Danville, California, and dear son-in-law of Oliver and Evelyn Devany of San Carlos.

Louis's creativity, loving presence and unique spirit will be greatly missed by all that knew him.

 

 

 

 

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