Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection

NASA Briefs

The Johnson Space Center offers a Mathcad computer program that largely automates the design and analysis of the restraint layer of an inflatable vessel. Prior to the development of this program, the design task was performed by use of a difficult-to-use spreadsheet program that required manual addition of rows and columns, depending on the numbers of strap rows and columns of a given design. Click here for more info.

Posted in: Blog


Possibly Toxic Buckyballs

Posted in: Blog


Measuring Positions of Objects Using Two or More Cameras

This method could determine the causes of accidents. An improved method of computing positions of objects from digitized images acquired by two or more cameras (see figure) has been developed for use in tracking debris shed by a spacecraft during and shortly after launch. The method is also readily adaptable to such applications as (1) tracking moving and possibly interacting objects in other settings in order to determine causes of accidents and (2) measuring positions of stationary objects, as in surveying. Images acquired by cameras fixed to the ground and/or cameras mounted on tracking telescopes can be used in this method.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences


Charge-Control Unit for Testing Lithium-Ion Cells

This unit is useful for testing any non-aerospace battery cells. A charge-control unit was developed as part of a program to validate Li-ion cells packaged together in batteries for aerospace use. The lithium-ion cell charge- control unit will be useful to anyone who performs testing of battery cells for aerospace and non- aerospace uses and to anyone who manufacturers battery test equipment. This technology reduces the quantity of costly power supplies and independent channels that are needed for test programs in which multiple cells are tested. The cost savings that were achieved in a test program are shown in Figure 1. Battery test equipment manufacturers can integrate the technology into their battery test equipment as a method to manage charging of multiple cells in series.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Lithium-ion batteries, Test equipment and instrumentation


Reduced-Order Kalman Filtering for Processing Relative Measurements

A Kalman filter can be propagated using fewer computations. A study in Kalman-filter theory has led to a method of processing relative measurements to estimate the current state of a physical system, using less computation than has previously been thought necessary. As used here, “relative measurements” signifies measurements that yield information on the relationship between a later and an earlier state of the system. An important example of relative measurements arises in computer vision: Information on relative motion is extracted by comparing images taken at two different times.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Measurements, Imaging and visualization


Lidar System for Airborne Measurement of Clouds and Aerosols

This is an eye-safe, rugged, all-solid-state system. The figure schematically depicts a lidar system for measuring optical properties of clouds and aerosols at three wavelengths. The system is designed to be operated aboard the NASA ER-2 aircraft, which typically cruises at an altitude of about 20 km — above about 94 percent of the mass of the atmosphere. The system can also be operated aboard several other aircraft, and a version for use on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is presently under construction. In addition to the requirement for fully autonomous operation in a demanding airborne environment, three other main requirements have governed the design: (1) to make the system eye-safe at the operating altitude; (2) to make the system as lightweight as possible, yet rugged; and (3) to use solid-state photon-counting detectors fiber-coupled to the receiver.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences


Spaceborne Processor Array

A Spaceborne Processor Array in Multifunctional Structure (SPAMS) can lower the total mass of the electronic and structural overhead of spacecraft, resulting in reduced launch costs, while increasing the science return through dynamic onboard computing. SPAMS integrates the multifunctional structure (MFS) and the Gilgamesh Memory, Intelligence, and Network Device (MIND) multi-core in-memory computer architecture into a single-system super-architecture. This transforms every inch of a spacecraft into a sharable, interconnected, smart computing element to increase computing performance while simultaneously reducing mass.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Downsizing, Architecture, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft


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