Radiation-Hardened, High-Voltage, Quad-Channel Amplifier

Aradiation-hard, 130-Volt, 100-KHz capable, quad-channel operational amplifier with corresponding power supply and 6th-order Bessel filter circuitry has been designed, fabricated, and successfully tested. To control two-axis microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based mirrors, a differential high-voltage amplifier is required. The bandwidth of these mirrors is generally

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Mirrors, Amplifiers, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Amplifiers, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices

Reduced-Cost, Chirped Pulse, Fourier Transform Microwave (CP-FTMW) Spectrometer Using Direct Digital Synthesis

This technology could be used to further extend the bandwidth of the instrument.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Microwave spectroscopy is an invaluable tool for studying the structure, dynamics, and even the handedness of gas phase species. In particular, the specificity of microwave spectroscopy has been central to the unambiguous identification of the great majority of molecules detected in the interstellar medium. Applications of microwave techniques to problems in physical chemistry and molecular astrophysics have been greatly accelerated by developments in laboratory techniques.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Spectroscopy, Spectroscopy, Identification, Chemicals, Gases, Test equipment and instrumentation

Signal Digitizer and Cross-Correlation ASIC

The device can correlate outputs from a large number of receivers.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Microwave interferometry provides a means of synthesizing large scanning antennas that are not otherwise physically practical for spaceborne Earth observational systems. By cross-correlating multiple receivers of an array, high-resolution images are synthesized from a sparse — or thinned — array of small antennas rather than relying on extremely large mechanically scanned antennas. For Earth observations from space, high-datarate cross correlators are required that operate with low power and have low mass and complexity. ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) cross-correlators are an enabling technology for space-based interferometry. An ASIC CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) cross-correlator was developed to correlate outputs from a large number of receivers.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Satellite communications, Surveillance, Antennas, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Satellite communications, Surveillance

Image Capture to Stereo Correlation in an FPGA

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

In this work, there were four independent vision modules implemented in an FPGA: a CameraLink camera interface, rectification, bilateral filtering, and stereo disparity correlation. Each module was originally designed to run from end to end, not in a pipeline with the other modules. This limited throughput to 3.75 Hz.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Optics

Offset IQ Modulation Technique for Miniaturized Radar Electronics

This innovation can be used in aerospace and commercial weather radar applications.

Constellations of low-cost, small instruments provide global, distributed, and frequent coverage, enabling unique science observations. However, radars are active instruments with size, mass, and power requirements that are often not compatible with small satellite platforms such as CubeSats or SmallSats.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Downsizing, Radar, Radar, Satellites

Scenario Power Load Analysis Tool (SPLAT) MagicDraw Plug-in

The SPLAT tool could be applied to any project that needs to track time-dependent power consumption; it computes power usage profiles based on modeled component information and scenarios.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Power consumption during all phases of spacecraft flight is of great interest to the aerospace community. As a result, significant analysis effort is exerted by both system and electrical-domain engineers to understand the rates of electrical energy generation and consumption under many operational scenarios of the system. Previously, no standard tool existed for creating and maintaining a Power Equipment List (PEL) of spacecraft components that consume power, and no standard tool existed for generating power load profiles based on this PEL information during mission design phases. Projects have traditionally either developed ad-hoc spreadsheet-based tools, or adapted complex simulation tools to compute such resource predictions; both of these approaches have significant limitations.

Posted in: Briefs, Power Management, Energy, Energy Storage, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Energy consumption, Aircraft operations, Spacecraft

Wideband, GaN MMIC, Distributed Amplifier-Based Microwave Power Module

The solid-state module operates as a radar, communication, or navigation system.

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

Historically, the term microwave power module (MPM) has been associated with a small, fully integrated, self-contained radio frequency (RF) amplifier that combines both solid-state and microwave vacuum electronics technologies. Typically, the output power of these MPMs is on the order of about 100 Watts CW over an octave bandwidth. The MPMs require both a solid-state amplifier at the front end and a microwave vacuum electronics amplifier at the back end. However, such MPMs cannot be utilized for communications because the MPMs are not optimized for linearity or efficiency. Also, the MPMs can be very expensive to manufacture, particularly when modules are produced in very small quantities for space applications. Also, a kilovolt (kV) class power supply is required to power the traveling-wave tube amplifier, which is a part of the microwave vacuum electronics.

Posted in: Briefs, Power Management, Energy, Energy Storage, Amplifiers, Architecture, Amplifiers, Architecture, Product development, Radiation

Integrated Solar Array Power Management System

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

When solar cells are electrically connected to form solar arrays, they are organized into strings. Each string represents a specific number of cells connected in series to produce a specific voltage. The strings are then connected in parallel to add their currents to meet the array power requirement. This requires that the strings have the same voltage. Blocking diodes are used to take out strings with voltage that is too low, resulting in loss of power. When the arrays are mounted to a non-coplanar surface such as a spacecraft body or inflatable structure, many strings will have voltages lower than the rated voltage. This regulator manages the voltage of each string individually so that its power may be used, regardless of its voltage. It does this by converting each string’s energy into a series of high-voltage pulses that charges a reservoir capacitor to one of a set of common voltages used by the spacecraft bus. This allows for use of all of the illuminated strings in producing well-regulated power at pre-programmed voltages.

Posted in: Briefs, Power Management, Energy, Energy Storage, Architecture, Capacitors, Voltage regulators, Architecture, Capacitors, Voltage regulators, Solar energy, Spacecraft

High-Energy-Density Solid-State Li-Ion Battery with Enhanced Safety

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

High-energy-density and safe rechargeable batteries are required for NASA’s future exploration missions. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are attractive energy storage systems due to their relatively high energy and power densities. However, the unfavorable side reactions between the electrodes and the liquid electrolyte adversely impact performance. These interfacial reactions are in the form of either anodic oxidation of the electrolyte, or dissolution of the cathode into the electrolyte. As a result, the practical capacity and cycle life of the battery are limited. More importantly, the reactions at the cathode-electrolyte interface pose a serious threat to safety due to the electrolyte decomposition and formation of gaseous products within the cell. In addition, growth of lithium dendrite on the anode can cause cell short circuit and lead to fire or even explosion in the presence of liquid electrolyte.

Posted in: Briefs, Thermal Management, Energy, Energy Storage, Battery cell chemistry, Lithium-ion batteries, Battery cell chemistry, Lithium-ion batteries, Safety testing and procedures, Spacecraft

Neural Network Chip Can Perform Powerful Artificial-Intelligence Tasks

In recent years, some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence have come courtesy of convolutional neural networks, large virtual networks of simple information-processing units, which are loosely modeled on the anatomy of the human brain. Neural networks are typically implemented using graphics processing units (GPUs), special-purpose graphics chips found in all computing devices with screens. A mobile GPU, of the type found in a cell phone, might have almost 200 cores, or processing units, making it well suited to simulating a network of distributed processors.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers

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