Special Coverage

Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
High-Precision Electric Gate for Time-of-Flight Ion Mass Spectrometers
Polyimide Wire Insulation Repair System
Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine
Aerofoam
Wet Active Chevron Nozzle for Controllable Jet Noise Reduction
Magnetic Relief Valve
Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
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High-Energy Fiber Laser

Fianium (Eugene, OR) has introduced the FP1060-HE high-energy fiber laser that delivers pulse energies in excess of 10 μJ and pulse durations below 20 ps. The laser platform is suitable for challenging materials including polymers, glasses, organic tissue, and reflective metals. The system features an external modulator that allows pulse repetition rates from single shot to 20 MHz and enables highly flexible pulse shaping and burst-mode operation. The peak power may be enhanced to greater than 5MW by compressing the pulses below 500 fs. Optional frequency conversion to green or UV wavelengths is also available.

Posted in: Products, Products

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LED Systems Target Plant Growth

Living in space long term will require a sustainable environment. Plants provide fresh food, clean air, and clean water that will assist this effort, but plants need light to grow, and light requires energy. Here on Earth, most plants get this light from the obvious abundant source, the Sun. The Sun’s solar radiation is ideal for growing plants here on Earth, but it presents some problems for plant growth in space. For starters, the lengths of the days are different depending upon the location of the garden. For growing plants on spacecraft, this problem is compounded, as the vehicle position is constantly changing and is usually not positioned for optimal plant growth. Thus, NASA has been developing methods for growing crops in space using artificial light sources.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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Burnishing Techniques Strengthen Hip Implants

When compressed air mixes with jet fuel and is ignited in a turbine engine, the temperature can reach 3,000 °F. As a result of this fiery exhaust, the turbine spins and then forces the air through the back of the engine, and the jet moves forward. While extremely hot air assists in propelling a plane, it can also take a toll on the turbine blades and propeller hubs.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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Systems Analyze Water Quality in Real Time

If you are planning a day at your local park or even a weekend camping trip, you would simply pack all the food, drink, and supplies you need. Similarly, astronauts on short-term space missions can get away with packing the provisions they need to survive in space. But long-term space travel — a round-trip journey to Mars, for example — is no picnic. Depending on the mission, astronauts would need enough food to last for several months or years; a means to clean the air and water; and some efficient way of dealing with waste. Given cost and space limitations, packing supplies on this scale may not be feasible, meaning astronauts need a system that provides a steady source of sustenance while at the same time purifying and recycling waste. The best solution, then, for future deep space explorers: Develop a green thumb.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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Signal Processing Methods Monitor Cranial Pressure

When you think of a beating heart, you might assume it beats at regular intervals, but in actuality, velocity and pressure change with every beat, and the time interval between each beat is different. Now a NASA-developed technology is helping researchers understand blood flow and pressure in ways that may improve treatment for victims of brain injury and stroke.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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Aerogels Insulate Against Extreme Temperatures

“When you hold a piece of silica aerogel, it feels otherworldly. If you drop it on a table top, it has an acoustic ring to it. It sounds like a crystal glass hitting the table,” describes George Gould, the director of research and development at Aspen Aerogels Inc. Similar in chemical structure to glass, aerogels have gas or air in their pores instead of liquid. Developed in the United States nearly 80 years ago by a man named Samuel Stephens Kistler, an aerogel is an open-celled material that is typically comprised of more than 95 percent air. With individual pores less than 1/10,000th the diameter of a human hair, or just a few nanometers, the nanoporous nature of aerogel is what gives it the lowest thermal conductivity of any known solid. The remarkable characteristics of silica aerogel—low density, light weight, and unmatched insulating capability—attracted NASA for cryogenic insulation for space shuttle and space exploration mission applications. For example, when a shuttle is fueled, it requires more than half a million gallons of cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. To remain a liquid, hydrogen must stay at a cold -253 °C and liquid oxygen must remain at -183 °C. The systems necessary to deliver, store, and transfer these cryogenic liquids call for high-performance insulation technology at all steps along the way and into space.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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Ultraviolet-Blocking Lenses Protect, Enhance Vision

In the 1980s, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists James Stephens and Charles Miller were studying the harmful properties of light in space, as well as that of artificial radiation produced during laser and welding work. The intense light emitted during welding can harm unprotected eyes, leading to a condition called arc eye, in which ultraviolet light causes inflammation of the cornea and long-term retinal damage.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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