NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Internal electrostatic discharge (IESD) can cause spacecraft failure and anomalies related to the space environment, but it is very hard to predict when IESD might happen. Therefore, assessment of the IESD at a given space environment and a given dielectric geometry is important for spacecraft reliability.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Failure modes and effects analysis, Electromagnetic compatibility, Spacecraft


Reusable Integrated Instrument Control and Computing Platform

This reusable hardware/software platform has applications in embedded systems and digital signal processing applications in small spacecraft, airborne avionics, and instrument electronics. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California ISAAC (Instrument Shared Artifact for Computing) offers adaptability, computation power, I/O bandwidth, digital interface standards, and data processing capability in a single, common, low-mass/power, and small-form-factor platform with significantly reduced, nonrecurring cost and risk to Earth Science instruments such as SMAP/HYDROS and other NASA/JPL planetary exploration instruments with diverse requirements. This platform has six key components:

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Computer software and hardware, Data management, Test equipment and instrumentation


Compact, Two-Stage, 120-W GaN High-Power Amplifier for SweepSAR Radar Systems

This innovation can be used for geophysical remote sensing radar applications. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Next-generation synthetic aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing platforms utilize new concepts such as the SweepSAR techniques that provide increased swath size, high resolution, rapid global coverage, and subcentimeter interferometry and polarimetry. An L-band SweepSAR mission would use multiple transmit/receive (T/R) channels and digital beamforming to achieve simultaneously high resolution and large swath. One of the key challenges in implementing the SweepSAR concept is the development of space-qualified efficient transmit/receive modules (TRMs) that provide the amplitude and phase stability necessary for repeat pass interferometry.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Amplifiers, Radar


Eliminating Wires in Making Electrical Connections to a Stack of Electron and Ion Optical Components

This technology can be used in environmental monitoring applications that require miniature, robust mass spectrometers. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Making electrical connections inside a vacuum chamber to a stack of electron and ion optical components using the conventional approach of discrete wires is not efficient because: (1) the separate wires must be insulated from each other and the interior structures; (2) the wires must be spot welded or mechanically secured at their end points to the electrical feedthroughs and optical components, both of which are typically bulky and prone to failure in vibration; and (3) the wires are a major source of failure in high-G applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Finite element analysis, Connectors and terminals, Electrical systems, Wiring


Graphene Composite Materials for Supercapacitor Electrodes

Graphene is combined with a metal oxide nanocomposite. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California In recent years, electrochemical capacitors, or supercapacitors, have gained the most intense interest as an alternative to traditional energy storage devices such as batteries. The demands of the potential supercapacitor applications range from plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to backup power sources. While the power density of supercapacitors surpasses that of most batteries, most commercially available batteries have a significantly higher specific energy density than supercapacitors. Electrode composite materials have been developed that combine graphene with a metal oxide nanocomposite of MnO2 and Co3O4.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Energy storage systems, Ultracapacitors and supercapacitors, Composite materials


Integrated, Radiation-Hardened Radio Frequency Digitizer and Signal Processing Electronics

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Imaging LiDAR systems such as Goddard’s Reconfigurable Solid-state LiDAR (GRSSLi) must collect and process reflected pulses of light in order to correctly assemble a three-dimensional image of the scene. These pulses of light generally range from 2-5 nanoseconds in duration. Consequently, to collect a large number of samples for this short pulse, a high-sample-rate analog to digital converter (ADC) must be used. Other methods such as threshold detection could be used, but generally these detection methods suffer degradation in overall range, measurement accuracy, and precision due to the random nature of return pulse intensity. In addition, scientifically valuable information can be gleaned from the shape of the returned waveform.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators


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, Electronics & Computers, Electrical systems


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