NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California SPSCGR generates a contact graph suitable for use by the ION (Interplanetary Overlay Network) DTN (Delay/Disruption Tolerant Network) implementation from data provided by the JPL SPS (Service Preparation System) Portal. Prior to SPSCGR, there was no way for a mission or other entity to route DTN traffic across the DSN without manually constructing a contact graph. SPSCGR automates this process of contact graph construction.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer software and hardware, Data management


Retools: Restriping Tools for Lustre

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Modern parallel file systems achieve high performance by distributing (“striping”) the contents of a single file across multiple physical disks to overcome single-disk I/O bandwidth limitations. The striping characteristics of a file determine how many disks it will be striped across and how large each stripe is. These characteristics can only be set at the time a file is created, and cannot be changed later. Standard open-source tools do not typically take striping into account when creating files, so files created by those tools will have their striping characteristics set to the default. The default stripe count is typically set to a small number to favor small files that are more numerous. A small default stripe count, however, penalizes large files that use the default settings, as they will be striped over fewer disks so access to these files will only achieve a fraction of the performance that is possible with a larger stripe count. A large default stripe count, however, causes small files to be striped over too many disks, which increases contention and reduces performance of the file system as a whole.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Data management


Method and Program Code for Improving Machine Efficiency in the Computation of Nearly-Singular Integrals

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Currently, there is a need for the computational handling of near-singularities that arise in many branches of physics, particularly for handling near-strong singularities. An example of such singularities is presented by the case of gradients of Newton-type potentials and modified Newton-type potentials. Currently, practitioners resort to multiple methods that do not work well, suffer from accuracy issues, or work only for very specialized cases. Accuracy issues provide results that cannot be trusted. Using codes that work only for specialized cases results in either misapplication of the code, and hence reduced accuracy, or failed attempts at a solution or infrequent and expensive code modifications to handle new cases.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware


2015 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics Category Winner

Real-Time Fiber Optic Sensing System Lance Richards NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center Edwards, CA “The entire team of researchers who have dedicated years to the development of the FOSS technology is honored to receive this award. Since the beginning of our work, we wanted to create a better sensing system, making structural monitoring more comprehensive and lightweight. As we realized how broadly applicable FOSS was, we were inspired to keep innovating.“ A team at NASA Armstrong has developed fiber optic sensing system (FOSS) technology that represents a major breakthrough in high-speed operational monitoring and sensing. Driven by ultra-efficient algorithms, FOSS can be used to determine, in real time, a variety of critical parameters including strain, shape deformation, temperature, liquid level, and operational loads. This state-of-the-art sensor system delivers reliable measurements in the most demanding environments confronted by aerospace, automotive, and energy sectors. FOSS is ideal for monitoring the structural health of aircraft, buildings, and dams; improving the efficiency of turbines and industrial equipment; and detecting instabilities within tunnels and power plants.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronics, Design processes, Fiber optics, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Fuel cells, Product development



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


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