Features

Supercritical Wing Design Cuts Billions in Fuel Costs

NASA-developed wing design is used worldwide by commercial airlines. Langley Research Center aeronautics engineer Richard T. Whitcomb was 34 when he did something no other single person could do. Whitcomb overcame the aviation challenge of the day — the so-called sound barrier. However, he was still working to improve flight efficiency at speeds approaching that barrier, now with a seemingly counterintuitive wing design, almost the inverse of what were then conventional wings. He called it the “supercritical” airfoil.

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Vote for Tech Briefs' 21st Annual Readers' Choice Awards

Each December, we ask our readers to cast their vote for the annual NASA Tech Briefs Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards. Each month, our editors choose a Product of the Month that has exceptional technical merit and practical value for our design engineering readers.

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Editor's Choice: December 2015

A Fluid Preservation System (FPS) was developed to address NASA’s need for a way to preserve body fluids collected from astronauts during flight. Sample processing is done within the system container, and the samples are hermetically sealed in a small, convenient package. Blood sample collection has significant commercial demand in areas such as cancer research, and for certain assays and bio-indicators. This application also extends to veterinary analysis and widespread monitoring of livestock, as well as use by first responders during natural disasters. Find out more HERE.

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A Robotic Titan to Build Rocket Parts

A titan resides at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. One of the largest composites manufacturing robots created in America, it will help NASA build the biggest lightweight composite parts ever made for space vehicles. The robot will build structures larger than 26 feet in diameter, and is mounted on a 40-foot-long track.

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Vest Warns Construction and Rescue Workers

Working at a construction site is loud, dirty, and often dangerous. Virginia Tech researchers have combined small radio sensors that construction workers can wear on or inside vests with connected vehicle technology that allows cars to “talk” to one another, roadside infrastructure, and personal electronics such as mobile phones.

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High-Speed ‘Electron Camera’ Captures Motion — One Quadrillionth of a Second at a Time

Using a method known as ultrafast electron diffraction (UED), a scientific instrument at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, located in Menlo Park, CA, reveals nature’s high-speed processes, including phase changes and the motions of electrons and atomic nuclei within molecules.

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Finding the Right Lens: The Factors to Focus On

A sharp image requires more than just a good camera; it also takes the right lens. Several aspects must be considered to make sure that the camera and lens work perfectly together and fit a specific application.

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