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Hybrid DC Circuit Breaker Based on Cryogenic Technique

This hybrid solution combines mechanical and solid-state technology. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio DC protection systems such as circuit breakers play a key enabling role for the DC power system in applications such as aviation, the power grid, and the like. Conventional electromagnetic circuit breakers are a mature technology. However, the large size and high response time make it unsuitable for an electrical system in aviation that requires fast response time. Compared with a mechanical circuit breaker, the solid-state circuit breaker based on high-power semiconductors can provide a fast response time to make the fault current fully controlled. The on resistance of the semiconductors creates high conduction loss, which leads to low efficiency. Therefore, a hybrid solution that combines both mechanical and solid-state technology is desired.

Posted in: Briefs

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Modular Propulsion and Deployment Electronics System

The new approach is flexible enough to quickly accommodate design changes. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) required an innovative and modular approach to the design and development of the electronics needed to control the propulsion and deployment components, as well as the electronics necessary to support safety inhibits for personnel and range requirements. Since these electronics would be designed in parallel with the systems they would interface with, they would need to be flexible enough to quickly accommodate ongoing design changes.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Hardening Electronics Against Difficult High-Temperature Environments

This technology provides extended performance for enhanced digital electronics while significantly increasing mean time between failures (MTBF). Silicon Space Technology (SST), Austin, Texas A new technology delivers temperature hardening in a number of products at the CMOS process level while increasing overall product reliability and longevity. Providing solutions that operate successfully in extreme temperature applications in the oil and gas, space, automotive, aerospace, and medical industries, as well as broader applications like industrial automation and high-performance computing, is paramount. As a result of the technology, system engineers are able to extend the limits of what’s possible in designing ruggedized and broader electronics for today’s extreme and difficult environments.

Posted in: Briefs

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Stacked Capacitor Special Lead Adapter

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The current installation method for tall, stacked capacitors is very cumbersome because the lead form is very sharp and prone to solder cracking due to thermal cycling. An astringent installation process was developed to obtain the best chance of a successful solder joint with a proper heel fillet so the chance of cracking is minimized.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Nanoscale Vacuum Channel Transistor

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This invention presents a nanoscale vacuum tube or vacuum transistor fabricated entirely using current silicon integrated circuit manufacturing techniques. Vacuum is better for electron transport than any semiconductor since there is no electron scattering. In addition, vacuum devices are immune to radiation. Nevertheless, vacuum devices lost out to silicon devices due to ease of large-scale manufacturing, robustness, versatility, and low cost. Here, the best of vacuum and silicon technologies are combined to produce nanoscale vacuum transistors that are amenable to large wafer fabrication and are inexpensive, while providing exceptional performance.

Posted in: Briefs

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NASA Flywheel for iPad

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio NASA Flywheel is an augmented reality application intended to highlight NASA Glenn’s research efforts in the area of flywheel energy storage systems. The app utilizes a printed optical target, available on the GRC Flywheel Program brochure and through the NASA Glenn Web portal, to present users with 3D views of flywheel hardware and space applications. Additional video and imagery are also included in the application package. The software has been compiled and bundled as an iOS app for the iPad, and is intended for release through the Apple App Store.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Power Management

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Three-Dimensional Photovoltaics Array for Laser-Based Power Transfer

Potential applications include situations in which there is a need to create electrical power at a remote location. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland A standard solar array is a flat panel configured of many individual solar cells, wired in series or parallel, depending on their junction configuration and material. Since the solar flux is constant depending on the distance from the Sun, the maximum energy conversion for a given solar panel depends upon the capability to absorb as many spectral peaks as possible (different materials) across the total solar spectrum. If the radiative source is a man-made device such as a laser, parked in a different orbit or on Earth, then the impinging intensity is narrow spectrally, coherent and accurately pointed, and capable of very high intensities. Thus, the materials can be tailored to match the incoming radiation for maximum absorption.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Power Management

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