Electronic Components

Avionics/Electronics Box Rail Mount System

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama There is limited space available to install numerous avionics boxes with the caveat that each box is a line replacement unit (LRU). Access to enable the removal of the boxes is limited, and it is critical that no tools and/or loose parts exist to ensure that no damage is done to aft-located components. Boxes are mounted on pallets and secured by captive screws with a tool. Most installation/removal requires two technicians.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Avionics, Hardware, Mountings


Semiconductor Nanomembrane-Based Flight Sensors and Arrays

These sensor arrays can be used to measure skin friction and pressure. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida There are two broad classes of methods for measuring skin friction (or wall shear): indirect and direct. The direct methods generally employ a movable element of the actual surface surrounded by a very small gap and connected to some type of flexure. One then measures the displacement of the movable element or the strain in the flexure to obtain the skin friction force acting on the movable element directly. Some methods of detecting skin friction relied on optical interferometric measurements of the thickness of an oil film applied to a test surface. The motion of the oil due to airflow creates thickness variations that can be associated to the frictional forces acting on the surface. Mapping of the surface over a small area is possible, but practical use of this technique is limited due to contamination of the tunnel by the free-flowing oil.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Sensors and actuators, Nanomaterials, Semiconductors


Automated Break-Out Box for Use with Low-Cost Spacecraft Integration and Test

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Electrical checkout and testing is a critical part of the overall space integration and test flow. Verifying proper harness and connector signal interfaces is key to ensuring component health and overall system functionality. Break-out boxes (BOBs) are used to give test personnel access to electrical signals for probing, voltage injection, isolation checks, safe-to-mate checks, and voltage/current measurements, and comparing to expected results. Currently, this involves manually attaching multimeters and oscilloscopes to banana jacks on the BOB, taking measurements, and comparing to expected results.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Electrical systems, Spacecraft


Radiation-Hardened 10BASE-T Ethernet Physical Interface (PHY)

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The EXPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC) system was built by NASA Goddard for installation on the International Space Station (ISS). Four ELC systems are on ISS. Each ELC site includes two data nodes. The ELC requirements call for a radiation-hardened 10BASE-T Ethernet interface at each data node. The requirement for ELC was to support a full receive version of the interface, and only to provide a link pulse to the attached payloads on the transmit side of the interface. Further development required a full duplex version of a radiation-hardened 10BASE-T Ethernet interface to support the SpaceCube program.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Avionics, Logistics


Radiation-Hardened, Quad 12-Bit Digital-to-Analog Converter ASIC

This circuit incorporates science-driven features based on applications in a realistic space environment. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland This radiation-hardened, compact, low-power, quad 12-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) incorporates science-driven features based on applications in a realistic space environment such as threshold setting, current bias circuits, and general-purpose DC voltage generation. It is based on a previous 10-bit DAC that exhibited excellent test results, presenting the possibility of a 12-bit design.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Electrical systems


Automated Generation of Failure Modes and Effects Document from a Simple SysML Model

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California This software queries a model of system in the MagicDraw program and uses that information to create an Excel spreadsheet that represents a basic FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis). It automates the generation of an FMEA; the user only has to open MagicDraw, then run this plugin to produce an Excel spreadsheet.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Software, Failure modes and effects analysis


Space Network Access System (SNAS)

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland SNAS is a single, universally accessible, standards-based, full-featured customer interface for performing Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) planning, scheduling, and real-time service monitoring and control. It consolidates functionality of multiple legacy customer interface systems into a single system, and is the primary access system for managing TDRSS resources.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Software, Satellites


Reducing Interconnection Weight in Autosports

In Formula 1 and other autosports, weight reduction is critical to competitive advantage. A few grams saved here and a few more saved there can add up to significant savings. There is also a move toward high-density packaging of electronics parts. As the electronics content of cars increases, the natural drive is to miniaturize the package to gain maximum efficiency in the use of space.

Posted in: Articles, Electronic Components, Electronics, Composites, Fiber Optics, Connectors and terminals, Electric cables, Composite materials, Lightweighting, Motorsports


Capacitively Coupled, High-Voltage Current Sensing for Extreme Environments

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Wide-temperature and extreme-environment electronics are crucial to future missions. These missions will not have the weight and power budget for heavy harnesses and large, inefficient warm boxes. In addition, extreme-environment electronics, by their inherent nature, allow operation next to sensors in the ambient environment, reducing noise and improving precision over the warm-box-based systems employed today.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Sensors, Electronic equipment, High voltage systems, Sensors and actuators


Self-Powered Intelligent Keyboard Could Provide Additional Security

By analyzing such parameters as the force applied by key presses and the time interval between them, a new self-powered, non-mechanical, intelligent keyboard could provide a stronger layer of security for computer users. The self-powered device generates electricity when a user’s fingertips contact the multi-layer plastic materials that make up the device.

Posted in: News, Board-Level Electronics, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Semiconductors & ICs


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