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Reducing Surface Clutter in Cloud Profiling Radar Data

Radar data can be processed to study clouds closer to the surface. An algorithm has been devised to reduce ground clutter in the data products of the CloudSat Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR), which is a nadir-looking radar instrument, in orbit around the Earth, that measures power backscattered by clouds as a function of distance from the instrument. Ground clutter contaminates the CPR data in the lowest 1 km of the atmospheric profile, heretofore making it impossible to use CPR data to satisfy the scientific interest in studying clouds and light rainfall at low altitude.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences

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Logic Gates Made of N-Channel JFETs and Epitaxial Resistors

Gates could be implemented in SiC ICs for operation at high temperatures. Prototype logic gates made of n-channel junction field-effect transistors (JFETs) and epitaxial resistors have been demonstrated, with a view toward eventual implementation of digital logic devices and systems in silicon carbide (SiC) integrated circuits (ICs). This development is intended to exploit the inherent ability of SiC electronic devices to function at temperatures from 300 to somewhat above 500 °C and withstand large doses of ionizing radiation. SiC-based digital logic devices and systems could enable operation of sensors and robots in nuclear reactors, in jet engines, near hydrothermal vents, and in other environments that are so hot or radioactive as to cause conventional silicon electronic devices to fail.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs

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Creating and Deploying a Drop-in Network

Companies are constantly looking for ways to monitor and track the critical device information that resides in their remote assets. They also need to understand the environments in which their devices reside. But why? The traditional method for remote device management is to send technicians to remote sites to gather information. This can be expensive and labor-intensive. As a result, organizations need to have a strong reason to gather remote device information; otherwise, it just doesn’t happen. This article will take a modern view of remote device management — what is it and why is it important? We will discuss the modern, cost-effective method of remote device management known as Drop-in Networking, and important considerations in creating a Drop-in Network.

Posted in: Articles

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Sealing and External Sterilization of a Sample Container

This method would enable safe transport of a biologically hazardous sample. A method of (1) sealing a sample of material acquired in a possibly biologically contaminated (“dirty”) environment into a hermetic container, (2) sterilizing the outer surface of the container, then (3) delivering the sealed container to a clean environment has been proposed. This method incorporates the method reported in “Separation and Sealing of a Sample Container Using Brazing” (NPO-41024), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 31, No. 8 (August 2007), page 42. Like the previously reported method, the method now proposed was originally intended to be used to return samples from Mars to Earth, but could also be used on Earth to transport material samples acquired in environments that contain biological hazards and/or, in some cases, chemical hazards.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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System for Removing Pollutants From Incinerator Exhaust

A system for removing pollutants — primarily sulfur dioxide and mixed oxides of nitrogen (NOx) — from incinerator exhaust has been demonstrated. The system is also designed secondarily to remove particles, hydrocarbons, and CO. The system is intended for use in an enclosed environment, for which a prior NOx-and-SO2-removal system designed for industrial settings would not be suitable. The incinerator exhaust first encounters a cyclone separator, a primary heat exchanger, and a fabric filter that, together, remove particles and reduce the temperature to 500 °C. The exhaust then passes through a porous bed, maintained at ≈ 450 °C, that contains Na2CO3, which absorbs SO2.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Coded Mask Instruments Key to HETE-2 Satellite’s Gamma-Ray Burst Discoveries

Coded optic mask foil Dynamics Research Corp. (DRC) Andover, MA 978-475-9090 www.drc.com The High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE-2) satellite was launched into Earth orbit on October 9, 2000, and has been tracking and studying high-energy gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) from deep space. First discovered in 1967, GRBs had been difficult phenomena to observe, as they occur at random locations in the sky, last only a few seconds, and leave virtually no trace for ground-based observers. HETE-2’s ability to rapidly disseminate very precise positions of where the GRB was detected has allowed ground telescopes to catch and observe the event, leading to discoveries such as one that links GRBs with supernovas. Most of the satellite assembly occurred at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but many subassemblies and critical components were manufactured by other institutions throughout the world.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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System Provides Critical Communications Among Stennis Rocket Test Team Members

Subsystem Multiplexer (Sub-MUX) Quintron Systems Santa Maria, CA 805-928-4343 www.quintron.com NASA has awarded Quintron Systems an Indefinite-Delivery- Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract, and the first task order is for a command and control communications system that will be used at the rocket engine test stands at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Alabama. This task order includes approximately 250 multi-channel communication key sets, of which 160 are certified for use within hazardous fuel areas.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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