Special Coverage

Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
High-Precision Electric Gate for Time-of-Flight Ion Mass Spectrometers
Polyimide Wire Insulation Repair System
Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine
Aerofoam
Wet Active Chevron Nozzle for Controllable Jet Noise Reduction
Magnetic Relief Valve
Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
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Chalcogenide Nanoionic-Based Radio Frequency Switch

The electrochemical switch is non-volatile, lacks moving parts that can fail, and is easy to fabricate.NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed nanoionic-based radio frequency (RF) switches for use in devices that rely on low-power RF transmissions, such as automotive systems, RFID technology, and smartphones. These groundbreaking nanoionic switches operate at speeds of semiconductor switches, and are more reliable than microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches while retaining the superior RF performance and low power consumption found in MEMS, all without the need for higher electrical voltages. In this new process, metals are photo-dissolved into a chalcogenide glass and packaged with electrodes and a substrate to form a switch. Since the nanoionic-based switch is electrochemical in nature, it has certain advantages over switches that are mechanically based, including nonvolatility, lack of moving parts that can fail, ease and efficiency of activation, and ease of fabrication. This innovative device has the potential to replace MEMS and semiconductors in a wide range of switching systems, including rectifying antennas (rectennas) and other RF antenna arrays.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, RF & Microwave Electronics

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X-ray Diffraction (XRD) Characterization Methods for Sigma=3 Twin Defects in Cubic Semiconductor (100) Wafers

This technology is especially relevant in high-end, high-speed electronics.NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method of using x-ray diffraction (XRD) to detect defects in cubic semiconductor (100) wafers. The technology allows non-destructive evaluation of wafer quality in a simple, fast, inexpensive process that can be easily incorporated into an existing fab line. The invention adds value throughout the semiconductor industry, but is especially relevant in high-end, high-speed electronics where wafer quality has a more significant effect on yields.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers

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System for Configuring Modular Telemetry Transponders

Possible applications include weather monitoring and forecasting, Earth observation, and ionospheric studies. Figure 1. The individual slices, or decks, that comprise the PULSAR telemetry unit. The modular design enables inclusion of multiple-band frequency transmitters and receivers. Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed software-defined radio (SDR) telemetry transceiver technology to collect and transmit data to and from small satellites and microsatellites. The SDR concept uses a minimal number of traditional analog radio-frequency components to convert RF signals to a digital format. Digital signal processing replaces bulky radio-frequency components, and enables reduced cost as well as size, weight, and power requirements (SWaP). The NASA technology enables software and firmware updates that increase the lifespan and efficacy of satellites, supporting a wide variety of changing radio protocols as they are developed. A modular design enables inclusion of multiple band frequency transmitters and receivers (S-band, X-band, Ka-band, etc.). The NASA SDR can find use in satellite applications in which cost savings, upgradability, and reliability are essential. A first-generation SDR has been flight tested on NASA’s FASTSAT mission.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers

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Miles-In-Trail with Passback Restrictions for Use in Air Traffic Management

NASA has developed a unique innovation to compute passed back spacing requirements in air traffic management. The air traffic managers of the National Airspace System (NAS) in the United States regularly implement various Traffic Management Initiatives (TMI) to handle traffic in a safe and efficient manner. One such initiative is the Miles-in-Trail restriction. Imposed Miles-in-Trail is the value of spacing required between aircraft flying along a certain path. They help air traffic managers control the flow of aircraft into and out of an air traffic control facility. Miles-in-Trail can be implemented independently or in conjunction with other TMIs (e.g., a severe weather avoidance plan route, or a Playbook route). This model computes passback restrictions given the imposed constraint, the start and end times, the boundaries at where those restrictions need to be passed back, and the amount of maximum ground and airborne delay allowed.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace

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Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine

This engine concept can be used in aviation and marine propulsion.A new engine concept from NASA’s Glenn Research Center allows for truly distributed propulsion. The concept enables airframe and system modularity by allowing parts to be swapped or repaired easily. Design changes can be applied to individual components and not the entire propulsion system. The NASA Glenn innovation eliminates heavy shafts and disks, and allows for airplane modularity as well. This design also enables subsonic to high supersonic flight with the same flowpath. If parts are damaged during flight, only a small percentage of thrust is lost. In addition, the blades can be retracted to enable ramjet or scramjet mode.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace

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Improved Ground Collision Avoidance System (iGCAS)

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have dramatically improved upon existing ground collision avoidance technology for aircraft. NASA’s system leverages leading-edge fighter safety technology, adapting it to civil aviation use as an advanced warning system. It offers higher fidelity terrain mapping, enhanced vehicle performance modeling, multidirectional avoidance techniques, more efficient data-handling methods, and user-friendly warning systems. The algorithms have been incorporated into an app for tablet/handheld mobile devices that can be used by pilots in the cockpit, enabling significantly safer general aviation. This will enable pilots to have access to this lifesaving safety tool regardless of what type of aircraft they are flying. The system also can be incorporated into electronic flight bags (EFBs) and/or aircraft avionics systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace

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Aerodynamically Stabilized Instrument Platform

This low-altitude remote-sensing device is designed for agricultural and environmental research.The AeroPod, developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, is a passive device that uses aerodynamic forces to stabilize an instrument package suspended from a kite or tethered blimp. The AeroPod’s design for steadying and damping payloads includes the use of a tail boom and fin combination. It is a novel design and provides a relatively simple alternative to the traditional methods for suspending equipment from kites or blimps. It is a low-altitude custom remote sensing platform craft designed for, but not limited to, agricultural and environmental research purposes. AeroPods can be used for a variety of remote sensing and in-situ observations.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace

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