Special Coverage

Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
Method of Bonding Dissimilar Materials
Sonar Inspection Robot System
Applying the Dynamic Inertia Measurement Method to Full-Scale Aerospace Vehicles
Method and Apparatus for Measuring Surface Air Pressure
Fully Premixed, Low-Emission, High-Pressure, Multi-Fuel Burner
Self-Healing Wire Insulation
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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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Energy-Absorbing Beam Member

Potential applications include aircraft, rotorcraft, spacecraft re-entry vehicles, automobiles, and packaging containers.NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a novel design for a lightweight energy absorbing (EA) composite subfloor structure. The technology’s primary application is to increase occupant survivability in the event of an aircraft crash. Current airframe subfloors unpredictably buckle, splay, and collapse under crash loads. This technology exploits the inherent stability associated with a conusoidal geometry and material combination of carbon and aramid fibers to allow the structure to bend and fold in a controlled manner at a particular load level.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace

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Wet Active Chevron Nozzle for Controllable Jet Noise Reduction

The noise-reduction system makes use of injectors placed on the inside trailing edge of a jet engine nozzle.NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed a novel noise reduction system for jet engines. Aircraft jet engine noise is a major issue for airports, the communities near airports, and, of course, for the jet engine designers. Even with the use of recent high-bypass-ratio jet engine designs, noise continues to be a major concern. The present innovation represents a significant advancement to the concept of using mechanically fixed chevrons on the trailing edge of jet engine nozzles to reduce noise. While the effect of chevrons on noise reduction is well known, commercial implementation has been limited. Unfortunately, the turbulence created with the chevrons, while useful for reducing noise upon takeoff, serves to reduce efficiency during cruising. The present innovation is a simple noise reduction system with effects similar to that of chevrons, yet it is active and controllable to maximize noise reduction while maintaining efficiency.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace

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