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Hydrogen Measurement in a Cryogen Flow Stream Reduces Waste of Helium

Energy conservation and sustainability technologies are applied for propellant conservation. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi The purpose of this research was to develop an improved method for measuring hydrogen concentrations in a cryogen flow stream to minimize helium waste during the purge process. Currently, this type of measurement is performed manually with a sniffer, and involves obtaining periodic measurements that are not accurate or repeatable and do not optimize the conservation of hydrogen. The goal of this project was to create an autonomous real-time method for continuously measuring hydrogen that potentially offers not only cost saving advantages by conserving expensive resources that are used for purging, but also for providing an additional safety mechanism to monitor hydrogen in a cryogenic flow stream.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Noncontact DC and AC Magnetostrictive Current Sensor

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio At the time of this reporting, there have been no effective methods of monitoring current in conductors in space without breaking the circuit or making contact with the conductor. In space, reliability rules all designs, and breaking a circuit to insert a sensor to monitor current would reduce reliability of the system. Hall effect sensors provide a noncontact DC measurement technique, but they are relatively expensive and not rugged enough for the space environment.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Method and Apparatus for Determining Propellant Mass in Microgravity by Capacitance Measurements

The method is relatively insensitive to propellant orientation. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Propellant mass gauging in microgravity has posed a challenge for decades. Various methods have been applied, including ultrasonic, capacitance probes, point level sensors, thermal detectors (thermistors, thermocouples, etc.), Michelson interferometry, and nuclear devices. All have problems in terms of how to provide accurate measurements irrespective of the fluid orientation in the tank.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Computer Modeling for Generation of Synthetic Radio Reflection-Transmission Tomography (RRTT) Data

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Numerical algorithms capable of generating synthetic radio tomography data (reflection transmission data) for asteroids, comets, and other near-Earth orbits (NEOs) were developed. Future missions to main asteroid belt objects, NEOs, and other small bodies of the solar system will aim to investigate the surface and subsurface compositions and internal structure of these objects with help of an onboard, low-frequency radio sounder. The resulting numerical model thus developed will be useful in performing trade studies required for designing an optimum radio sounder for the future missions. The forward numerical model will also be important for estimating structural properties of the small objects from the data collected by these future missions.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Electronics & Computers, Briefs

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Designing Planning Information for Automation into PRL

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Automation and autonomy are key elements in realizing the vision for space exploration. The NASA Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) has been developing several core autonomy capabilities, one of which is called a procedure representation language (PRL). PRL can be automatically translated into code that can be executed by NASA-developed autonomous executives.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Electronics & Computers, Briefs

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The OCO-2 Level 2 Retrieval Algorithm

Algorithm derives estimates of the column averaged atmospheric CO2. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) strives for trace gas observations with unprecedented accuracy and precision. This requires a retrieval algorithm with many major improvements over existing retrieval software in the representation of the transfer of solar radiation through the atmosphere and instrument, such as full multiple-scattering calculation for each iteration step and correction for effects of polarization. In addition, the software allows retrieval of space-based and ground-based observations, so that potential algorithmic biases can be minimized for validation experiments. Furthermore, due to the flexible architecture of the software, spectra of existing similar instruments can be analyzed, which facilitates early testing using real space-based observations.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Electronics & Computers, Briefs

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Ionospheric Slant TEC Analysis Using GNSS-Based Estimation (IonoSTAGE)

At the time of this reporting, IonoSTAGE has been operated successfully under both UNIX and Macintosh operating systems. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California As signals emitted by global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) propagate toward users on or near the surface of the Earth, they experience delay due to the presence of charged particles in the ionosphere. Currently, ionospheric delay is the largest source of GNSS positioning error. To guarantee the safety of airline navigation based upon GNSS signals, satellite-based augmentation systems have been developed to ensure the accuracy, integrity, availability, and continuity of user position estimates derived from GNSS measurements.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Electronics & Computers, Briefs

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