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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Lattice-Matched Semiconductor Layers on Single Crystalline Sapphire Substrate

SiGe is an important semiconductor alloy for high-speed field effect transistors (FETs), high-temperature thermoelectric devices, photovoltaic solar cells, and photon detectors. The growth of SiGe layer is difficult because SiGe alloys have different lattice constants from those of the common Si wafers, which leads to a high density of defects, including dislocations, micro-twins, cracks, and delaminations.

Posted in: Briefs, GDM, Briefs, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Thermoelectrics

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Industry Update: Analysis & Simulation Software

Changing Roles in a Challenging EnvironmentIn our annual poll of executives at leading analysis and simulation software companies, we posed questions dealing with virtual prototyping, the changing role of the analyst, and how the economic environment is affecting software users and vendors. Here’s what they had to say about market trends for 2010, and maintaining competitive advantages in a challenging business market.

Posted in: Articles

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Intelligent Integrated System Health Management

Stennis Space Center is NASA’s primary center for rocket engine testing. The facilities include large test stands built for the Apollo Program that are being used to test Space Shuttle Main Engines, smaller test stands for smaller rockets and components, and a new test stand, the A3 Test Stand with capability to simulate high-altitude conditions. All test stands are complex systems that provide oxidizer, fuel, and purge fluids, often at extreme pressures and high velocities. The test stand systems must also manage cryogenic temperatures from liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen, and liquid nitrogen, as well as high temperatures from rocket plumes. Further more, test stands include hundreds of sensors, and accurate and reliable measurement systems to obtain data that can be used in the design, validation, and certification of engines and components. Rocket engine testing is a complex and potentially hazardous operation, not unlike a spacecraft launch. Protocols and processes are followed in order to ensure readiness to test. In order to improve efficiencies and safety in test stand operations, it is crucial to develop systems that can help provide comprehensive and continuous vigilance of each element on the test stand. An ISHM system will provide this capability. Technology Needs Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) capability is fundamentally linked to the management of data, information, and knowledge (DIaK) to determine the health of a system. It is similar to having a team of experts who are all individually and collectively observing and analyzing a complex system, and communicating effectively with each other in order to arrive to an accurate and reliable assessment of its health. ISHM is a capability that is achieved by integrating DIaK that might be distributed throughout the system elements. DIaK must be available to any element of a system at the right time and in accordance with a meaningful context. ISHM Functional Capability Level (FCL) is measured by how well a system performs the following functions: (1) detect anomalies, (2) diagnose causes, (3) predict future anomalies/ failures, and (4) provide users with an integrated awareness about the condition of every element in the system and guide user decisions. The primary technologies that enable achievement of ISHM capability include: Algorithms/approaches/methodologies for anomaly detection. Approaches and methodologies for root-cause analysis to diagnose causes of anomalies. Approaches and methodologies for prediction of future anomalies. Architectures/taxonomies/ontologies that enable management of DIaK – where management implies distributed storage, sharing, processing, maintenance, configuration, and evolution. Software environments that integrate contributing technologies in a modular plug-and-play fashion, adhering to a defined architecture/ taxonomy/ontology. Standards that allow plug and play and interoperability among elements of an ISHM system. User interfaces to provide the user with integrated system awareness. Developing solutions to the primary technologies must also consider intelligence and integration. In telligence implies that a credible ISHM capability that allows systematic augmentation of that capability must be a knowledgebased system. implies that inferences and decisions about the health of any element must incorporate and reason using other elements and physical phenomena through out the system. More Information For additional information, or to discuss ideas about this concept, contact John Lansaw of Stennis Space Center at 228-688- 1962 or visit nasa@techbriefs.com.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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Image-Capture Devices Extend Medicine’s Reach

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution In spring 2008, Dr. Scott Dulchavsky diagnosed high-altitude pulmonary edema in a climber over 20,000 feet up the slope of Mount Everest. Dulchavsky made the diagnosis from his office in Detroit, half a world away. The story behind this long-distance medical achievement begins with a seemingly unrelated fact: There is no X-ray machine on the International Space Station (ISS).

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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Medical Devices Assess, Treat Balance Disorders

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution You may have heard the phrase “as difficult as walking and chewing gum” as a joking way of referring to something that is not difficult at all. Just walking, however, is not all that simple—physiologically speaking. Even standing upright is an undertaking requiring the complex cooperation of multiple motor and sensory systems including vision, the inner ear, somatosensation (sensation from the skin), and proprioception (the sense of the body’s parts in relation to each other). The compromised performance of any of these elements can lead to a balance disorder, which in some form affects nearly half of Americans at least once in their lifetimes, from the elderly, to those with neurological or vestibular (inner ear) dysfunction, to athletes with musculoskeletal injuries, to astronauts returning from space.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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NASA Bioreactors Advance Disease Treatments

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution The International Space Station (ISS) is falling. This is no threat to the astronauts onboard, however, because falling is part of the ISS staying in orbit.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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Robotics Algorithms Provide Nutritional Guidelines

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution On July 5, 1997, a small robot emerged from its lander like an insect from an egg, crawling out onto the rocky surface of Mars. About the size of a child’s wagon, NASA’s Sojourner robot was the first successful rover mission to the Red Planet. For 83 sols (Martian days, typically about 40 minutes longer than Earth days), Sojourner—largely remote controlled by NASA operators on Earth—transmitted photos and data unlike any previously collected.

Posted in: NTB, Spinoff

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