Special Coverage

Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine
Aerofoam
Wet Active Chevron Nozzle for Controllable Jet Noise Reduction
Magnetic Relief Valve
Locking Mechanism for a Flexible Composite Hinge
Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
Method of Bonding Dissimilar Materials
Sonar Inspection Robot System
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Detection and Characterization of Recurring Slope Lineae

Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) are low-albedo features that appear and disappear seasonally on Martian slopes. They provide distinct surface markers that are thought to result from the activity of subsurface water. Reliable characterizations of RSL activity are needed to test this hypothesis. RSL are of high scientific interest, and could inform future mission planning priorities beyond sample return.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Streams: A Hyper-Responsive Telemetry Interaction Tool on the Web

A new search database provides a hyper-responsive interface that allows operators to rapidly search for only the datapoints of interest.JPL Operations Engineers (Operators) need to interact with their telemetry to assess the health of and successfully operate a spacecraft or rover. Operators must analyze the immediate data for health and understand the current state of these complex systems, but they also must be able to evaluate the long-term engineering data to identify trends and potential pitfalls that develop over time. Whether starting with long-term trends or short-term data, operators have large amounts of data and need a tool so that their expertise is spent analyzing the data and trends, rather than working to tease these trends from outdated toolsets not equipped to handle large data sets. Existing tools pre-compute either long-term trends or short-term plots, but further ad-hoc analysis is prohibitively difficult, can take many hours per query, and queries necessitate either special access or that the operator be on a specific network to access data and to correlate it to models.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Auto-Coding Flight Software Hybrid Controllers Synthesized from Formal Specifications

The technique of synthesizing state-machine-based hybrid controller flight software (FSW) from formal specifications is demonstrated utilizing two simple controller examples (i.e. a simple thermostat and a simple autonomous vehicle). Formal requirements for these controllers are specified using linear temporal logic (LTL) expressions, expressions describing the system dynamics, and numerical bounds on the control inputs and disturbances (or constraints). A new interface between the Temporal Logic Planning (TuLiP) toolbox — a hybrid controller synthesis software — and the JPL Statechart Autocoder (SCA) — a tool for mapping UML Statecharts to implementation code — was developed. The interface is still under development, but has reached sufficient maturity for demonstration. Results from preliminary prototype demonstrations encourage further collaboration between JPL and Caltech to develop a new capability for synthesizing hybrid controllers to be implemented within JPL Flight Software.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Active Learning System for iPTF Candidate Classification

The Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) is a visible-spectrum astronomy survey aimed at detecting “transient” events such as supernovae. Every night, a telescope at the Palomar observatory collects images of various regions of the sky and compares them to a set of reference images taken on previous nights. The image comparison is done via a subtraction process. The reference images are subtracted from the new nightly images, and any remaining light sources are flagged as candidate transient events.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Cobra: an Extendable Tool for Interactive Code Analysis

Source code analysis typically requires the use of expensive and difficult-to-configure tools that support only a predefined set of standard checks. In some cases, it is possible to add customized checks, but doing so can be laborious and requires a deep understanding of each tool’s internal data structures, which means that it is rarely done.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Editor's Choice: December 2016

Aerofoam composite insulation combines a polymer foam with a unique inorganic filler in a way that maximizes thermal performance while maintaining mechanical performance, chemical resistance, fire resistance, and acoustic insulation capabilities. Applications include construction, consumer appliances, transportation, electronics, healthcare, industrial equipment, and applications in harsh environments. To find out more, click here.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace

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Magnets From a 3D Printer

Manufacturing strong magnets isn’t a problem; however, it is difficult to produce a permanent magnet with a magnetic field of a specific pre-determined shape. Now, thanks to a new solution devised at the Technical University in Vienna (TU Wien), permanent magnets can be produced in complex forms and customized magnetic fields using a 3D printer.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace

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