Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

Hybrid Multifoil Aerogel Thermal Insulation

Aerogel used in place of astroquartz makes lighter, more efficient insulation.

This innovation blends the merits of multifoil insulation (MFI) with aerogel-based insulation to develop a highly versatile, ultra-low thermally conductive material called hybrid multifoil aerogel thermal insulation (HyMATI). The density of the opacified aerogel is 240 mg/cm3 and has thermal conductivity in the 20 mW/mK range in high vacuum and 25 mW/mK in 1 atmosphere of gas (such as argon) up to 800 ºC. It is stable up to 1,000 ºC. This is equal to commercially available high-temperature thermal insulation. The thermal conductivity of the aerogel is 36 percent lower compared to several commercially available insulations when tested in 1 atmosphere of argon gas up to 800 ºC.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Conductivity, Insulation, Nanomaterials
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XML-Based SHINE Knowledge Base Interchange Language

The SHINE Knowledge Base Interchange Language software has been designed to more efficiently send new knowledge bases to spacecraft that have been embedded with the Spacecraft Health Inference Engine (SHINE) tool. The intention of the behavioral model is to capture most of the information generally associated with a spacecraft functional model, while specifically addressing the needs of execution within SHINE and Livingstone. As such, it has some constructs that are based on one or the other.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data exchange, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data exchange
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SHINE Virtual Machine Model for In-flight Updates of Critical Mission Software

This software is a new target for the Spacecraft Health Inference Engine (SHINE) knowledge base that compiles a knowledge base to a language called Tiny C — an interpreted version of C that can be embedded on flight processors. This new target allows portions of a running SHINE knowledge base to be updated on a “live” system without needing to halt and restart the containing SHINE application. This enhancement will directly provide this capability without the risk of software validation problems and can also enable complete integration of BEAM and SHINE into a single application.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft
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Mars Image Collection Mosaic Builder

A computer program assembles images from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Observer Camera Narrow Angle (MOCNA) collection to generate a uniform-high-resolution, georeferenced, uncontrolled mosaic image of the Martian surface. At the time of reporting the information for this article, the mosaic covered 7 percent of the Martian surface and contained data from more than 50,000 source images acquired under various light conditions at various resolutions.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Cartography, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Cartography, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization
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Providing Internet Access to High-Resolution Mars Images

The OnMars server is a computer program that provides Internet access to high-resolution Mars images, maps, and elevation data, all suitable for use in geographical information system (GIS) software for generating images, maps, and computational models of Mars. The OnMars server is an implementation of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS) server. Unlike other Mars Internet map servers that provide Martian data using an Earth coordinate system, the OnMars WMS server supports encoding of data in Mars-specific coordinate systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Cartography, Data exchange, Internet of things, Cartography, Data exchange, Internet of things
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Providing Internet Access to High-Resolution Lunar Images

The OnMoon server is a computer program that provides Internet access to high-resolution Lunar images, maps, and elevation data, all suitable for use in geographical information system (GIS) software for generating images, maps, and computational models of the Moon. The OnMoon server implements the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS) server protocol and supports Moon-specific extensions. Unlike other Internet map servers that provide Lunar data using an Earth coordinate system, the OnMoon server supports encoding of data in Moon-specific coordinate systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Cartography, Data exchange, Internet of things, Cartography, Data exchange, Internet of things
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Expressions Module for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program

The Expressions Module is a software module that has been incorporated into the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP). The module includes an expressions-parser submodule built on top of an analytical system, enabling the user to define logical and numerical variables and constants. The variables can capture output from SOAP orbital-prediction and geometric-engine computations. The module can combine variables and constants with built-in logical operators (such as Boolean AND, OR, and NOT), relational operators (such as >, <, or =), and mathematical operators (such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, modulus, exponentiation, differentiation, and integration). Parentheses can be used to specify precedence of operations.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Trajectory control, Mathematical analysis, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Satellites
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Virtual Satellite

Virtual Satellite (VirtualSat) is a computer program that creates an environment that facilitates the development, verification, and validation of flight software for a single spacecraft or for multiple spacecraft flying in formation. In this environment, enhanced functionality and autonomy of navigation, guidance, and control systems of a spacecraft are provided by a virtual satellite — that is, a computational model that simulates the dynamic behavior of the spacecraft.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Computer simulation, Flight control systems, Navigation and guidance systems, Flight control systems, Navigation and guidance systems, Satellites, Spacecraft, Vehicle dynamics
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Small-Body Extensions for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP)

An extension to the SOAP software allows users to work with tri-axial ellip-soid-based representations of planetary bodies, primarily for working with small, natural satellites, asteroids, and comets. SOAP is a widely used tool for the visualization and analysis of space missions. The small body extension provides the same visualization and analysis constructs for use with small bodies. These constructs allow the user to characterize satellite path and instrument cover information for small bodies in both 3D display and numerical output formats.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Trajectory control, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight management systems, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight management systems, Displays, Displays, Satellites
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Scripting Module for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP)

This add-on module to the SOAP software can perform changes to simulation objects based on the occurrence of specific conditions. This allows the software to encompass simulation response of scheduled or physical events. Users can manipulate objects in the simulation environment under programmatic control. Inputs to the scripting module are Actions, Conditions, and the Script. Actions are arbitrary modifications to constructs such as Platform Objects (i.e. satellites), Sensor Objects (representing instruments or communication links), or Analysis Objects (user-defined logical or numeric variables). Examples of actions include changes to a satellite orbit ( v), changing a sensor-pointing direction, and the manipulation of a numerical expression. Conditions represent the circumstances under which Actions are performed and can be couched in If-Then-Else logic, like performing v at specific times or adding to the spacecraft power only when it is being illuminated by the Sun.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Trajectory control, Computer simulation, Customization, Satellites
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