Special Coverage

Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster
Precision Assembly of Systems on Surfaces (PASS)
Development of a Novel Electrospinning System with Automated Positioning and Control Software
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
Clamshell Sampler
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter
Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) for Planetary Surfaces
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Burnable-Poison-Operated Reactor Using Gadolinium Loaded Alloy

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama The problem to be resolved in this work was the use of radial control drums as the sole active reactivity control system for nuclear thermal propulsion, which results in significant rocket performance changes during full-power operation. This can result in large inefficiencies in propellant usage, inaccurate estimations in Isp and thrust, and can be a dangerous operation requiring continuous active control of the reactor given the unstable nature of current nuclear thermal rocket reactor designs.

Posted in: Briefs

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Airborne Elastic Backscatter and Raman Polychromator for Ash Detection

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Volcanic ash is a significant hazard to aircraft engine and electronics. It has caused damage to unwary aircraft and disrupted air travel for thousands of travelers, costing millions of dollars. The small, jagged fragments of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass that constitute volcanic ash are about the size of sand and silt. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet. The upper winds transport the particles away to eventual dispersal in an ash cloud. Ash clouds typically form above 20,000 feet, but the lower limit of the initial cloud depends on both the height of the volcanic vent and the vigor with which material is ejected from it.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Intelligent Displacement Sensor Deployment Using MTConnect Protocol over Ethernet

The protocol interfaces to an intelligent sensor and provides data gathering using a PC application. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi Quality measurements for design validation and certification requirements sometimes require hundreds or thousands of sensors and actuators. Maintaining such a complex system is difficult, especially over an extended time period and inevitable personnel changes. Many hours are spent tracking down sensor problems related to the sensor, associated cables, mounting hardware, or some part of the data acquisition system. These are expensive, labor-intensive hours that consume valuable technical resources.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Active Remote-Sensing Radiometer

This technology can be used for security screening and security imaging, as well as automotive navigation in dust and fog conditions where machine vision performs poorly. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Millimeter-wave (mm-wave) imaging techniques are already a popular solution for imaging through dust and fog. While mm-wave offers excellent penetration to dust when compared with infrared or optical sensing, the longer wavelengths create many problems associated with the specular response of surfaces at mm-wave. Generally, at mm-wave, the geometry and orientation of the target object has a larger influence on captured contrast than material properties by several orders of magnitude. While these effects can be somewhat mitigated with a radar imager, there is still a large contrast dependence on beam-target angle, and images are still entirely derived from geometry instead of material compositions.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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'Hourglass' Concept Improves Liquid Batteries

A flow battery can be recharged quickly by replacing its electrolyte liquid. Previous versions of liquid batteries, however, have relied on complex systems of tanks, valves, and pumps, adding to the cost and providing multiple opportunities for possible leaks and failures. A new liquid battery created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, substitutes a simple gravity feed for the pump system.

Posted in: News

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Integrated Epoxy Feedthroughs Improve Fuel Pump Reliability

Of all the design decisions that affect the operation of an in-tank fuel pump, the way you seal the pump housing may top the list. A bad seal will allow liquid fuel to work its way into the housing, which will eventually corrode the electronics and potentially cause a risk of fire.

Posted in: White Papers

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Fiber Optic Rotary Joints Add a Spin to Sensing, Mobile, and Robotic Fiber Systems

To the passing optical signals, fiberoptic rotary joints (FORJs) are nothing more than fiber connectors, which provide connection between one or multiple fibers. Their unrestricted ability to rotate, however, gives them a critical role in many sensing, mobile, and robotic fiber systems such as ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), aerostat radars, submarines, satellite antennae, OCT (optical coherence tomography), mining vehicles, cranes, wind turbines, robotic vehicles, broadcasting (mobile cameras), etc. This article discusses some of the applications where optical rotary joints are indispensable. www.princetel.com Download White Paper

Posted in: Photonics, White Papers, White Papers, Photonics

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