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Tension-Stiffened and Tendon-Actuated Space Manipulators

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia The Space Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) and Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) have proven the benefit of long-reach manipulators, with the reach of both manipulators in the l5-18-m class. Manipulators with greater reach provide many benefits. The SRMS’s limited reach required an additional 12-m boom to augment its reach during inspection of the belly of the SRMS in support of return to flight following the Columbia disaster.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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NASA Tensegrity Robotics Toolkit (NTRT) v1

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Tensegrity robots have many unique properties useful for robots intended to operate in natural settings, yet the exploration of how to build and control such robots is just beginning. Many of their positive qualities, such as multipath force distribution, compliance, and their oscillatory nature, also make them very challenging for traditional control approaches.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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RoboSimian Software System from the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A software architecture to allow semiautonomous mobile manipulation of highly dexterous robots under degraded communications was developed to enable remote operation of a mobile manipulation robot as a first responder in a disaster-response scenario. The software architecture is structured to be adaptable at the lowest level and repeatable at the highest level. This architecture strikes the right balance between autonomy and supervision, and lets the robot excel in its capabilities (repeatability, strength, precision) and lets the operators excel at their capabilities (situational awareness, context, high-level reasoning).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Station/Orbiter Multibody Berthing/Docking Analysis Tool (SOMBAT)

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The main objective of this work was to develop a high-fidelity, nonlinear simulation of complex flexible structures with active control systems. A multibody system can consist of several flexible articulating components. The system can also have multiple control systems. The main challenges are to efficiently model the flexible nonlinear dynamics of the system and integrate multiple control systems with the model.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Flight Deck Predicted Weather Display and Decision Support Interface

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This innovation is a suite of three methods built into a prototype flight deck navigation display interface that supports the display of predicted weather and weather avoidance decision-making. Currently, the interface uses weather objects derived from various convective weather information sources or simulated with in-house generation tools. All three methods support the viewing of predicted weather forecasts over a specified range of future times. They differ in the means by which a user sets the forecast interval and controls the joint viewing of the predicted weather and ownship position within this forecast interval.

Posted in: Briefs

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Timed Injection of Simulation Data via Redundant Network Ports in Time Triggered Ethernet (TTE) Systems

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Vehicle-scale integration and test requires closed-loop simulation using full-scale avionics systems or even entire vehicles. Incorporation of simulation data into real systems is problematic because real system sensors report the real laboratory environment, not the simulation environment. Past methods have attempted to simulate the physical sensors, or have added simulation interfaces to the flight sensor electronics. Both approaches are intrusive and costly to incorporate in an actual flight system design. The first approach requires dozens to hundreds of contact points between the vehicle and the simulation hardware. The second approach adds complexity, cost, and failure modes to the flight system hardware and firmware.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Method of Performing Computational Aeroelastic Analyses

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia When designing aerodynamic structures, it is important to understand if, and under what aerodynamic conditions, the structure will be stable and unstable. This is especially true if a structure is inherently flexible, such as a wing, where unstable response leads to oscillations of the structure until failure occurs. Since structure design generally includes performance predictions, it is necessary to predict the aeroelastic response of a particular design. To do this, computational aeroelastic methods are used to simulate numerically an aeroelastic process using computational techniques that include the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) codes. The value of the information generated by traditional CFD-based computational aeroelastic analyses is limited in that it can require a significant level of computational resources to generate and cannot be readily utilized by other disciplines involved in the overall vehicle design process.

Posted in: Briefs

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