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Fly-by-Wireless: A Less-Wire and Wireless Revolution for Aerospace Vehicle Architectures

By George Studor, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX Every ounce of weight brought to the lunar surface costs 40 to 60 times that in fuel needed at liftoff from the Earth. Part of that weight penalty is due to wires, but the cost of wires is much more than weight. Wired connectivity drives up the price of design from the beginning: it drives the cost of the many systems and structures; it drives inspection, troubleshooting, maintenance, and upgrade costs; as well as the cost of making system changes. Future vehicles that can reduce the effects and limitations of wires will not be without risk or a lot of work, but the effort has begun.

Posted in: Articles

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Dr. William (Bill) Farrell, Scientist, Lunar Exploration Program

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD Dr. William Farrell, a scientist with the Lunar Exploration Program at Goddard Space Flight Center, is an expert on the problem of lunar dust and its effects on astronauts and equipment.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Analytical Technique for Healthcare and Industrial Applications

Aria Analytics is commercializing a novel analytical technology to characterize liquids for healthcare and industrial applications. As a drop of liquid evaporates on the vibrating quartz sensor, it undergoes distinctive phase changes representing the unique chemical and physical characteristics of the sample. This unique “fingerprint” represents information that is not readily available from any combination of analytical methods currently in use.

Posted in: Techs for License

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Stem Cell Breakthrough



Posted in: Blog

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Fiber-Optic Determination of N2, O2, and Fuel Vapor in the Ullage of Liquid-Fuel Tanks

A fiber-optic sensor provides feedback control of onboard inert gas generation systems (OBIGGS) and reduces aircraft operational costs. A fiber-optic sensor system has been developed that can remotely measure the concentration of molecular oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2), hydro- carbon vapor, and other gases (CO2, CO, H2O, chlorofluorocarbons, etc.) in the ullage of a liquid-fuel tank. The system provides an accurate and quantitative identification of the above gases with an accuracy of better than 1 percent by volume (for O2 or N2) in real-time (5 seconds). In an effort to prevent aircraft fuel tank fires or explosions similar to the tragic TWA Flight 800 explosion in 1996, OBIGGS are currently being developed for large commercial aircraft to prevent dangerous conditions from forming inside fuel tanks by providing an “inerting” gas blanket that is low in oxygen, thus preventing the ignition of the fuel/air mixture in the ullage.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, TSP

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Flexible Silicon Circuits Conform to Complex Shapes

Scientists at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana have developed a new form of stretchable silicon integrated circuit that can wrap around complex shapes such as spheres, body parts, and aircraft wings. The circuits can operate during stretching, compressing, folding, and other types of extreme mechanical deformations, without a reduction in electrical performance.

Posted in: UpFront

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This Month in NASA History

This year, as NASA celebrates its 50th anniversary, we’ll be highlighting technology innovations and important moments in NASA history, leading to our special 50th Anniversary Issue in October.

Posted in: UpFront

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