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Spacecraft Line-of- Sight Stabilization Using LWIR Earth Signature

Applications could include remote science and planetary science missions, Earth surveillance and reconnaissance, and deep space optical communication. Until the time of this reporting, when a space vehicle required a reference signal for inertial pointing, the choices were a signal beacon from an Earth location, the Earth radiance in the visible spectrum, or a star tracker. However, limitations can arise from using these techniques. For example, the signal beacon suffers from limited signal power (either in RF or optical) and will constrain the application to limited ranges, errors due to stray-light and centroiding limit the accuracy of a star tracker, and the spatial/temporal variability of the Earth’s albedo and its illumination by the Sun introduces limitations when used in the visible or near infrared light.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Data Acquisition and Processing Software — DAPS

DAPS was designed to support the DAWN-AIR project participating in the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) hurricane campaign. It controls the data acquisition system consisting of a scanner that directs the lidar beam, an inertial navigation system/GPS (INS/GPS) unit for monitoring aircraft motion, a DSP module, and serial and video modules while acquiring and processing lidar data in real time. DAPS was optimized to meet the project requirement: acquiring and processing more than 550,000 samples per second. DAPS was capable of managing such extensive computational loads without experiencing a single incident of crash or system failure during the entire 130 flight hours of the GRIP mission.

Posted in: Software, Data Acquisition, Briefs

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Debris & Ice Mapping Analysis Tool — Database

The software is simple for engineers and management to use. The Debris & ICE Mapping Analysis Tool (DIMAT) system is a Web-based system that supports communication, data integration, data sharing, and problem definition/resolution through use of an integrated presentation framework for ice and debris description and analysis. It provides an integrated engineering problem description, visualization analysis, and resolution presentation framework for ice and debris issues. These include, but are not limited to: pre-launch debris walk-downs; ice formation during tanking, pre-launch, and launch; debris hits on Orbiter identified on-orbit or post-landing; and external tank (ET) foam damage/texture mapping. The DIMAT system leverages the EMaps application and models, as well as Design Visualization Group (DVG) models to provide high-fidelity 3D models of the Orbiter, ET, Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB), and Pad. Proposed solutions generated by DIMAT integrate these models with ice/frost/debris location data, and can include 3D visualizations and digital photographs of ice and/or orbiter TPS (thermal protection system) debris hits. Ice/debris displayed on the EMaps model will represent actual size and location. The user will be able to access data and photograph displays by selecting the ice on the EMaps model.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Data Acquisition, Briefs

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Data Fusion for Global Estimation of Forest Characteristics From Sparse Lidar Data

A new approach automatically produces a hierarchical set of image segmentations for detailed analysis of forest data. This lidar data fusion approach is based on associating samples from sparse lidar data with groups of region objects determined by a unique image segmentation approach, HSeg (Hierar - chical Segmentation). This segmentation approach, which was previously developed by co-innovator James Tilton, is ideal for this application because HSeg automatically produces a hierarchical set of image segmentations, i.e., a set of several image segmentations of the same image at different levels of detail in which the segmentations at coarser levels of detail can be produced from simple merges of regions at finer levels of detail. This enables a simple approach for selecting an appropriate level of segmentation detail. HSeg also automatically classifies the spatially continuous region objects into region classes, through a tight intertwining of region growing segmentation, which produces spatially connected region objects, with non-adjacent region object aggregation, which groups sets of region objects together into region classes. No other practical, operational image segmentation approach has this tight integration of region growing, object finding with non-adjacent region aggregation. HSeg produces image segmentations with high spatial fidelity — enabled by the tight intertwining of region growing segmentation with non-adjacent region object aggregation.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Data Acquisition, Briefs

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Transportable Instrumentation Package for In-Vehicle On-Road Data Acquisition

This portable data acquisition system is a viable alternative to first developing a fully instrumented test vehicle. The study of driver behavior can provide a wealth of information that can be useful in the design of automobiles including active safety features and functions. There may be differences in driver behavior, as reflected in driver state, and these differences may be confounded by a driver’s condition. Much can be learned from studies that look at driver state and condition to answer questions such as how vehicle features and functionality could be designed to complement the driver’s capabilities and limitations in the vehicle. Also, a better understanding could be gained to determine how, or if at all, a safety feature’s characteristics should be modified to accommodate a driver’s condition.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Data Acquisition, Briefs

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Virtual Testing of High Lift Systems

Virtual testing serves as an additional, equivalent means of testing versus existing, established physical means of compliance. For aircraft system certification, a huge amount of testing is required to guarantee safe, robust, and error-free behavior under all operating and environmental conditions. Typically, these tests on the system level are performed on physical test benches (left, in figure) where all the relevant components including actuators, sensors, and control computer are integrated. Due to the increasing complexity of systems on the one hand, and drastically reduced development times on the other, virtual testing has become one of the solutions to overcome this challenge.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Data Acquisition, Briefs

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Integrated PEMFC Flow Field Design for Gravity-Independent Passive Water Removal

The design solves safety as well as reliability issues. A gravity-independent PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell stack has been developed that will operate at high-pressure H2 and O2 conditions with the requirement for relatively modest H2 and O2 gas circulation. Until now, in order to get higher efficiency, excess reactant gas flow was required to prevent water slug formation in gas channels, thus reducing fuel cell performance. In addition, this excess gas flow is typically supported by mechanical pumps and/or a high-pressure ejector system. All of these in a closed space environment contributed to potential safety as well as reliability issues due to the potential failure of mechanical pumps and ejectors.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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