Faculty Advisor

Looft, Fred J.


This Major Qualifying Project (MQP) involved the automation of a vacuum chamber used for testing optical instruments at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. This system uses a LabVIEW program to control hardware and acquire data via a General Purpose Interface Bus (GPIB). The purpose of the system is to control the pumps and other equipment required to pump down the vacuum chamber from atmospheric pressure to a high vacuum of approximately 1x10-5 torr. The program existing before this project had a fully automated mode, but it was not used due to its unreliability, and the manual fallback mode had serious problems as well. The result of this project is a reliable, fully automatic system with a very robust manual control program that can be used as a backup.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 1999


Electrical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering