Special Coverage

Self-Healing Wire Insulation
Thermomechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Response
Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams
High Field Superconducting Magnets
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method
Sonar Inspection Robot System

Natural Preservatives for Beverages

Organic antimicrobial chemistries are needed to act as natural preservatives for a variety of beverages. They must be safe, stable, colorless, odorless, and tasteless at the concentration necessary to act as a preservative, and be effective at low concentrations (below 1%). They must extend the overall lifetime of the beverage and the nature of the beverage must not change.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs


Computing Platform Improves Stellar Imaging Applications

Star-P interactive parallel computing platform Interactive Supercomputing (ISC) Waltham, MA 781-419-5050 www.interactivesupercomputing.com NASA’s Optical Systems Characterization and Analysis Research (OSCAR) is modeling software used to design and analyze large space-based imaging systems. Because systems of this type require large, high-fidelity optical modeling, NASA runs OSCAR on Beowulf parallel computing clusters to handle the large datasets and meet the memory requirements. To facilitate parallel computing, OSCAR is written entirely in C, with message passing interface (MPI) handling the computations across many processor nodes. OSCAR was instrumental in solving the optical flaws of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Posted in: Application Briefs


Open-Standard Software Helps Operate James Webb Space Telescope

Rational Rose Real-time visual modeling development software IBM Armonk, NY 914-766-1362 www.ibm.com/software/rational Set to launch by 2013, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will succeed the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to study galaxy, star, and planet formation in the universe. Nearly 20 years ago, when the components and instruments on the HST were developed, software was built by multiple organizations using proprietary software for systems development. This approach meant that maintenance, changes, and repairs made to components and instruments required multiple tools. Because separate space agencies from several countries around the world are developing the software that will operate the JWST’s Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) systems, Command and Data Handling (CNDH), and the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) that houses the JWST’s four primary instruments, it was imperative for NASA to weave a common thread throughout the project that would circumvent expensive and time-consuming software issues.

Posted in: Application Briefs


Digital Camera Technology for Today’s Industrial Imaging Applications

Machine vision requirements for better performance and higher resolution continue driving developers to incorporate digital cameras into their solutions. This trend will likely accelerate as the price and performance of digital cameras improves. This article will provide you with information on digital camera technology and key factors to consider when choosing a digital camera and associated frame grabber — assuming that all upfront analysis has been performed and that a digital imaging solution is required.

Posted in: Articles


Program Analyzes Spacecraft/Ground Radio Links

A versatile computer program analyzes the link-design control table necessary for designing the telecommunication subsystem of a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth or on a deep-space mission. The program helps to calculate all the important parameter values for spacecraft-to-ground telemetry links and ground-to-spacecraft command links. The program also enables the design of turn-around ranging and one-way ranging links, which are very useful for determining the positions of spacecraft and for satisfying various other operational needs. The user can specify several aspects of spacecraft telecommunication- subsystem design, including the nature of the antenna (paraboloidal reflector, patch, dipole, etc.), the power-amplifier rating, and the link data rate.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software


Six-Message Electromechanical Display System

This system would overcome the three-message limit of prior such systems. A proposed electromechanical display system would be capable of presenting as many as six distinct messages. This system would be a more capable and more complex successor to the proposed system reported in “Four-Message Electromechanical Display System” (MFS-31368), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 24, No. 4 (April 2000), page 32. In contrast to the now-proposed six-message system and the previously proposed four-message system, a typical conventional electromechanical display system is limited to three messages.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components


Compact Packaging of Photonic Millimeter-Wave Receiver

Bulky positioning mechanisms are not needed A carrier structure made from a single silicon substrate is the basis of a compact, lightweight, relatively inexpensive package that holds the main optical/electronic coupling components of a photonic millimeter- wave receiver based on a lithium niobate resonator disk. The design of the package is simple and provides for precise relative placement of optical components, eliminating the need for complex, bulky positioning mechanisms like those commonly used to align optical components to optimize focus and coupling. Although a prototype of the package was fabricated as a discrete unit, the design is amenable to integration of the package into a larger photonic and/or electronic receiver system.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences


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