Application Briefs

Using Ultrafast EMCCD Cameras for Faster DNA Sequencing

To decode the human genome and gain a greater understanding of diseases and their aetiology, advances need to be made in the rate at which the nucleotides that comprise DNA can be sequenced. Approaches to DNA sequencing have moved on considerably since the development of “chain-terminator” methods by Maxam and Gilbert, and by Sanger, in the1970s, and are now evolving beyond the so-called “next generation” toward today’s “third generation” systems.

Posted in: Application Briefs, ptb catchall, Optics, Imaging and visualization, Medical, health, and wellness

Emergency Notification System Enables Coordinated Communication Across Facilities

The Communicator! NXT emergency notification systemPlantCML, an EADS North America companyFranklin, TN951-719-2423

NASA will use PlantCML’s Communicator! NXT emergency notification system to improve its communication and incident response capabilities.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Communications, Communication protocols, Collaboration and partnering, Disaster and emergency management, Emergency management

3D Scanning and Processing Software Spots Tile Damage on NASA Shuttle Discovery

Geomagic Studio 3D scanning and processing softwareGeomagic Inc.Research Triangle Park, NC800-691-1839

Ceramic tiles used on the underside of the NASA Discovery shuttle protect the spacecraft and its astronauts from 2300-degree heat as they re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. When Discovery launches again, Geomagic’s 3D scanning and processing technology will inspect tile conditions and help bring the astronauts back to Earth safely.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Ceramics, Insulation, Inspections, Spacecraft

Cavitating Pump Dynamics Test Facility for Vehicle System Stability Modeling

A unique cavitating pump dynamics test facility has been developed at Concepts NREC (CN, White River Junction, VT) in cooperation with engineers at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, AL). Its purpose is to determine pump dynamic transfer functions for use in vehicle system stability modeling and analysis. This analysis is vital to ensure that future space launch vehicles do not exhibit self-excited longitudinal oscillations, also known as “Pogo” — so named because the phenomenon vibrates the rocket up and down in a manner similar to bouncing on a pogo stick. The vibrations severely impair the astronauts’ ability to pilot or respond to emergencies and can cause structural failure of the vehicle. NASA first became aware of the disastrous consequences from Pogo during the Gemini-Titan program, and continued to be plagued by it through the Saturn V Moon launch missions.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Test & Measurement, Simulation and modeling, Vibration, Pumps, Test facilities, Launch vehicles

Moving From System Specification to Software Development

Systems engineering is not about developing electronics, mechanical, or software designs. Systems engineering is really about four things:

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers

Testing DC Power Systems

DC is not always DC. When systems are developed to operate on DC power, the DC electrical environment will have noise and may experience other disturbances. This article will explore considerations for generating low frequency disturbances (glitches, sags, surges, spikes) that occur in the 100 microsecond and longer region with bandwidths of 10 kHz or less. In contrast, noise, which is outside of the scope of this article, can be low frequency (like 50/60 Hz hum) but becomes a challenge to generate in range from kHz, to MHz or up to the GHz range.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers

Robotic 3D Scanner Automatically Scans Spacecraft Heat Shields

Adept Viper 850 robot armAdept TechnologyPleasanton, CA925-245-3400

NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, performs research and technology in aeronautics, spaceflight, and information technology in a 3D vision lab. Using Adept’s robot arm and NASA 3D scanning technology, the vision lab engineers created a large-area 3D scanner to demonstrate the capability of inspecting an entire assembled Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) heat shield and its individual components.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Robotics, Imaging and visualization, Robotics, Insulation, Spacecraft

Automated Data Acquisition and Analysis Test Station for NASA’s CEV

Data acquisition and distribution systemsG SystemsRichardson, TX972-234-6000

G Systems has delivered a Data Acquisition System (DAS) for the Orion crew exploration vehicle test station at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, LA. Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for Orion, awarded G Systems three contracts as part of a multi-phase delivery plan to design, integrate, and install an automated data acquisition and analysis test station for Orion. The test stations will provide critical data to ensure structural endurance and spacecraft safety.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Data Acquisition, Data acquisition and handling

New Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques for Analyzing Organic Photovoltaic Materials

Organic photovoltaic (OPV) materials are an emerging alternative technology for converting sunlight into electricity. OPVs are potentially inexpensive to process, highly scalable in terms of manufacturing, and compatible with mechanically flexible substrates. In an OPV device, semiconducting polymers or small organic molecules are used to accomplish the functions of collecting solar photons, converting the photons to electrical charges, and transporting the charges to an external circuit as a useable current.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics, Microscopy, Solar energy, Polymers, Semiconductors

Imaging Technology Enables 3D Monitoring for Surveillance and Missile Defense

A new imaging technology can quickly give users accurate three-dimensional depictions of objects being tracked, whether they are incoming missiles or the faces of suspects in a crowd. The technology, being developed by Visidyne of Burlington, MA, has numerous applications beyond missile defense. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) originally funded the company through a 2003 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Lasers, Missiles

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