Special Coverage

High Field Superconducting Magnets
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method
Strat-X
Sonar Inspection Robot System
Lightweight Internal Device to Measure Tension in Hollow- Braided Cordage
System, Apparatus, and Method for Pedal Control
Dust Tolerant Connectors
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Fluid Harmonic Absorber

These devices can be used in multistory buildings, towers, bridges, offshore oil rigs, water tanks, and marine applications. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Fluid Structure Coupling (FSC) technology is a highly efficient and passive method to control the way fluids and structures communicate and dictate the behavior of a system. This technology has the demonstrated potential to mitigate a multitude of different types of vibration issues, and can be applied anywhere internal or external fluids interact with physical structures. For example, in a multistory building, water from a rooftop tank or swimming pool could be used to mitigate seismic or wind-induced vibration by simply adding an FSC device that controls the way the building engages the water.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

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Variable-Aperture Reciprocating Reed Valve

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center engineers have developed a new reed valve for controlling fluid flow back and forth between two chambers. The VARR valve provides two-way flow that is proportional to flow demand. As the pressure gradient builds on one side, the reed valve responds by opening an amount that is proportionate to the gradient, or demand, allowing bidirectional flow. Some mechanical and fluid systems that rely on the controlled flow of fluids between chambers will benefit from the new design. Compared to current fixed-orifice devices, VARR may expand the performance envelope by offering a more continuous flow response in applications in which the pressure environment is constantly changing. Proportional two-way flow can enable a fine-tuned system response to pressure building on one side of the valve. In these changing gradient conditions, the reed valve is better than fixed-sized orifices, which are optimized for one flow condition and are likely to over- or under-restrict flow for all other flow gradients.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

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Passive, Integrated, Sublimator-Driven Coldplate

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Spacecraft thermal control systems typically perform three key functions — heat acquisition, heat transport, and heat rejection — in addition to those of insulation, heat generation, and heat storage. In a typical pumped fluid-loop spacecraft thermal control system, heat is acquired from heat-generating equipment via coldplates, transported via pumps and cooling lines, and rejected to space via radiators, evaporators, and/or sublimators. Combining all three of these functions into one hardware component can provide system mass savings by combining multiple pieces of hardware into a single piece, and providing additional fault tolerance without the need for redundant hardware.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

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Strat-X

This innovation is potentially useful for scientific experiments at the edge of space or autonomous environmental monitoring in extreme conditions. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida Experiments in space can be expensive and infrequent, but Earth’s upper atmosphere is accessible via large scientific balloons, and can be used to address many of the same fundamental questions. Scientific balloons are made of a thin polyethylene film inflated with helium, and can carry atmospheric sampling instruments on a gondola suspended underneath the balloon that eventually is returned to the surface on a parachute. For stratospheric flights between 30 and 40 km above sea level, balloons typically reach the float altitude 2-3 hours after launch, and travel in the direction of the prevailing winds.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

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Hydraulic Pressure Distribution System

This mechanism enhances the performance of mechanically impeding elements in an on-command operational exoskeleton. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Human operation in space over long time periods causes bone and muscle deterioration, so there is a need for countermeasures in the form of physical exercises consisting of working against controlled resistivity. Generally, there are three types of exercise machines that are used by space crews to maintain their fitness: the Crew Exercise Vibration Isolation System (CEVIS), the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System/Second ISS Treadmill (TVIS/T2), and the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED). These machines have the limitations of very large mass (some weigh about a ton), large operational volumes, cumbersome design, and the need to compensate the generated vibrations and large shifting of the center of mass. They also require interrupting the astronauts’ duties to perform the exercises, as well as requiring periodic costly maintenance. The disclosed de vice provides key elements to enabling the design and operation of compact exercise machines that overcome many of the disadvantages of the current exercise machines found on space vehicles/stations.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

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Improved Digital Map Rendering Method

Software for aeronautics collision avoidance can be used in aerospace satellites, automobiles, scientific research, marine charting systems, and medical devices. Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California Data adaptive algorithms are the critically enabling technology for automatic collision avoidance system efforts at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. These Armstrong-developed algorithms provide an extensive and highly efficient encoding process for global-scale digital terrain maps (DTMs) along with a real-time decoding process to locally render map data. Available for licensing, these terrain-mapping algorithms are designed to be easily integrated into an aircraft’s existing onboard computing environment, or into an electronic flight bag (EFB) or mobile device application. In addition to its use within next-generation collision avoidance systems, the software can be adapted for use in a wide variety of applications, including aerospace satellites, automobiles, scientific research, marine charting systems, and medical devices.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

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Interactive Diagnostic Modeling Evaluator

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California NASA’s Ames Research Center has developed an interactive diagnostic modeling evaluator (i-DME) tool to aid in modeling for noise and lag in the data and debugging of system models when fault detection, isolation, and recovery results are incorrect. i-DME is designed to dramatically speed up the modeling debugging process. Often what hinders human-led model developments are 1) the sheer size of playback files, 2) the modeling for noise and lag in the data, and 3) debugging the fault/test relationships in the model. To alleviate these problems, i-DME can automatically play back very large data sets to find time points of interest where userset performance criteria for detection and isolation are violated. i-DME modifies the diagnostic model through its abstract representation, diagnostic matrix (D-matrix). The types of modifications are procedures ranging from modifying 0s and 1s in the D-matrix, adding/removing the rows/columns, or modifying test/wrapper logic used to determine test results. This software has the capacity to be applied to any complex system for navigation or generation of large amounts of complex data to identify, prioritize, and resolve errors in a self-correcting manner.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

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