Articles

IonoSTAGE Ensures Accuracy of Pilots’ GPS

FAA software relies on NASA-developed programs to help pilots avoid ionospheric storms. To permit safe and reliable aircraft navigation over North America using the Global Positioning System (GPS), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has developed the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which improves the accuracy, availability, continuity, and integrity of GPS positioning enough to ensure its safe use by pilots to determine their locations. The early development of WAAS relied on software developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); particularly, the GPS-Inferred Positioning System (GIPSY) and the Global Ionospheric Mapping (GIM) software packages. More recently, the continued development of WAAS has relied on companion software also developed at JPL. The SuperTruth and IonoSTAGE packages allow the system to address the threat to accurate positioning posed by code delays and phase advances due to refraction in Earth’s ionosphere.

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Generating Broadband Terahertz Radiation from Microplasma in Air

Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics have shown that a laser-generated microplasma in air can be used as a source of broadband terahertz radiation. Fabrizio Buccheri and Xi-Cheng Zhang recently demonstrated that an approach for generating terahertz waves using intense laser pulses in air – first pioneered in 1993 – can be done with much lower power lasers, a major challenge until now.

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Scientists Use X-Ray Laser to Track Ultrafast Creation of a Catalyst

An international team has, for the first time, precisely tracked the surprisingly rapid process by which light rearranges the outermost electrons of a metal compound and turns it into an active catalyst – a substance that promotes chemical reactions. The research, which was performed with an X-ray laser at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, could help in the effort to develop novel catalysts to efficiently produce fuel using sunlight.

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High-Power Laser Spinoff Proves Versatility is Strength

Since lasers were invented in 1960, they have penetrated countless scientific, industrial and recreational fields from eye surgery to DVD players, from cutting steel to triggering ignition in missile stages. That last use is a target market for Alfalight, a University of Wisconsin-Madison spinoff that set out in 1999 to use patented technology to make lasers for the telecommunications industry. At the time, "a tremendous need was forecast for these high-power, reliable lasers in telecom," says Ron Bechtold, Alfalight's vice president of marketing and sales.

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Products of Tomorrow: June 2015

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

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Choosing the Right Batteries for High-Tech Devices

Wireless technology is growing rapidly, now encompassing consumer-grade devices as well as industrial-grade products used in utility meter reading (AMR/AMI), wireless mesh networks, system control and data acquisition (SCADA), data loggers, measurement while drilling, oceanographic measurements, emergency/safety equipment, and M2M communications. The rise in wireless technology is closely tied to the development of low-power communications protocols such as ZigBee, Bluetooth, DASH7, INSTEON, and Z-Wave.

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Software Helps NASA Simulate Performance of James Webb Telescope

Femap™ engineering simulation software Siemens PLM Software Plano, TX 972-987-3000 www.siemens.com/plm Scheduled for launch in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Observatory will operate 1.5 million kilometers above the Earth. Its mission is ambitious: examining every phase of cos mic history. The telescope will look back light years into the past.

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