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
Strat-X
Sonar Inspection Robot System
Home

Passive, Integrated, Sublimator-Driven Coldplate

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Spacecraft thermal control systems typically perform three key functions — heat acquisition, heat transport, and heat rejection — in addition to those of insulation, heat generation, and heat storage. In a typical pumped fluid-loop spacecraft thermal control system, heat is acquired from heat-generating equipment via coldplates, transported via pumps and cooling lines, and rejected to space via radiators, evaporators, and/or sublimators. Combining all three of these functions into one hardware component can provide system mass savings by combining multiple pieces of hardware into a single piece, and providing additional fault tolerance without the need for redundant hardware.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

Read More >>

Strat-X

This innovation is potentially useful for scientific experiments at the edge of space or autonomous environmental monitoring in extreme conditions. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida Experiments in space can be expensive and infrequent, but Earth’s upper atmosphere is accessible via large scientific balloons, and can be used to address many of the same fundamental questions. Scientific balloons are made of a thin polyethylene film inflated with helium, and can carry atmospheric sampling instruments on a gondola suspended underneath the balloon that eventually is returned to the surface on a parachute. For stratospheric flights between 30 and 40 km above sea level, balloons typically reach the float altitude 2-3 hours after launch, and travel in the direction of the prevailing winds.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

Read More >>

Hydraulic Pressure Distribution System

This mechanism enhances the performance of mechanically impeding elements in an on-command operational exoskeleton. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Human operation in space over long time periods causes bone and muscle deterioration, so there is a need for countermeasures in the form of physical exercises consisting of working against controlled resistivity. Generally, there are three types of exercise machines that are used by space crews to maintain their fitness: the Crew Exercise Vibration Isolation System (CEVIS), the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System/Second ISS Treadmill (TVIS/T2), and the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). These machines have the limitations of very large mass (some weigh about a ton), large operational volumes, cumbersome design, and the need to compensate the generated vibrations and large shifting of the center of mass. They also require interrupting the astronauts’ duties to perform the exercises, as well as requiring periodic costly maintenance. The disclosed de vice provides key elements to enabling the design and operation of compact exercise machines that overcome many of the disadvantages of the current exercise machines found on space vehicles/stations.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

Read More >>

Improved Digital Map Rendering Method

Software for aeronautics collision avoidance can be used in aerospace satellites, automobiles, scientific research, marine charting systems, and medical devices. Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California Data adaptive algorithms are the critically enabling technology for automatic collision avoidance system efforts at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. These Armstrong-developed algorithms provide an extensive and highly efficient encoding process for global-scale digital terrain maps (DTMs) along with a real-time decoding process to locally render map data. Available for licensing, these terrain-mapping algorithms are designed to be easily integrated into an aircraft’s existing onboard computing environment, or into an electronic flight bag (EFB) or mobile device application. In addition to its use within next-generation collision avoidance systems, the software can be adapted for use in a wide variety of applications, including aerospace satellites, automobiles, scientific research, marine charting systems, and medical devices.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

Read More >>

Interactive Diagnostic Modeling Evaluator

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California NASA’s Ames Research Center has developed an interactive diagnostic modeling evaluator (i-DME) tool to aid in modeling for noise and lag in the data and debugging of system models when fault detection, isolation, and recovery results are incorrect. i-DME is designed to dramatically speed up the modeling debugging process. Often what hinders human-led model developments are 1) the sheer size of playback files, 2) the modeling for noise and lag in the data, and 3) debugging the fault/test relationships in the model. To alleviate these problems, i-DME can automatically play back very large data sets to find time points of interest where userset performance criteria for detection and isolation are violated. i-DME modifies the diagnostic model through its abstract representation, diagnostic matrix (D-matrix). The types of modifications are procedures ranging from modifying 0s and 1s in the D-matrix, adding/removing the rows/columns, or modifying test/wrapper logic used to determine test results. This software has the capacity to be applied to any complex system for navigation or generation of large amounts of complex data to identify, prioritize, and resolve errors in a self-correcting manner.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

Read More >>

High-Fidelity 3D Electromagnetic (E&M) Propagation Modeling Tools

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California For a future potential radar sounder mission to small celestial bodies like comets and asteroids, it is important to understand the interaction between propagating waves and interior geophysical structures. In general, it is not easy to build a software model capable of handling relevant dimensions with high numerical accuracy. Researchers often rely on a scaled-down model that cannot fully represent physical phenomena.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

Read More >>

In-Flight Pitot-Static Calibration

This precise yet time- and cost-effective method is based on GPS technology using output error optimization. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a new method for calibrating pitot-static air data systems used in aircraft. Pitot-static systems are pressure-based instruments that measure the aircraft’s airspeed. These systems must be calibrated in flight to minimize potential error. Current methods — including trailing cone, tower fly-by, and pacer airplane — are time- and cost-intensive, requiring extensive flight time per calibration. NASA’s method can reduce this calibration time by up to an order of magnitude, cutting a significant fraction of the cost. In addition, NASA’s calibration method enables near-real-time monitoring of error in airspeed measurements, which can be used to alert pilots when airspeed instruments are inaccurate or failing. Because of this feature, the technology also has applications in the health usage and monitoring (HUMS) industry. Flight test engineers can be trained to use this method proficiently in 12 days without costly specialized hardware.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement

Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.