Physical Sciences

Multi-Pass Quadrupole Mass Analyzer

The technology will enhance the resolving power of small QMA instruments and simplify the electronics package for ground and space instruments. Analysis of the composition of planetary atmospheres is one of the most important and fundamental measurements in planetary robotic exploration. Quadrupole mass analyzers (QMAs) are the primary tool used to execute these investigations, but reductions in size of these instruments has sacrificed mass resolving power so that the best present-day QMA devices are still large, expensive, and do not deliver performance of laboratory instruments.

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Environmental Qualification of a Single- Crystal Silicon Mirror for Spaceflight Use

This innovation is the environmental qualification of a single-crystal silicon mirror for spaceflight use. The single-crystal silicon mirror technology is a previous innovation, but until now, a mirror of this type has not been qualified for spaceflight use. The qualification steps included mounting, gravity change measurements, vibration testing, vibration-induced change measurements, thermal cycling, and testing at the cold operational temperature of 225 K.

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Simple Laser Communications Terminal for Downlink From Earth Orbit at Rates Exceeding 10 Gb/s

Implementation of this technology will surpass the spectrum-allocation and bandwidth limitations of current RF systems. A compact, low-cost laser communications transceiver was prototyped for downlinking data at 10 Gb/s from Earth-orbiting spacecraft. The design can be implemented using flight-grade parts. With emphasis on simplicity, compactness, and light weight of the flight transceiver, the reduced-complexity design and development approach involves:

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Cloud Absorption Radiometer Autonomous Navigation System — CANS

The system captures navigational data in real time while keeping the sensor centered on a fixed target. CAR (cloud absorption radiometer) acquires spatial reference data from host aircraft navigation systems. This poses various problems during CAR data reduction, including navigation data format, accuracy of position data, accuracy of airframe inertial data, and navigation data rate. Incorporating its own navigation system, which included GPS (Global Positioning System), roll axis inertia and rates, and three-axis acceleration, CANS expedites data reduction and increases the accuracy of the CAR end data product.

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Hyperspectral Imager-Tracker

The Hyperspectral Imager-Tracker (HIT) is a technique for visualization and tracking of low-contrast, fast-moving objects. The HIT architecture is based on an innovative and only recently developed concept in imaging optics. This innovative architecture will give the Light Prescriptions Innovators (LPI) HIT the possibility of simultaneously collecting the spectral band images (hyperspectral cube), IR images, and to operate with high-light-gathering power and high magnification for multiple fast- moving objects. Adaptive Spectral Filtering algorithms will efficiently increase the contrast of low-contrast scenes.

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Using a Blender to Assess the Microbial Density of Encapsulated Organisms

This technology has applications in medical device manufacturing to ensure device sterility. There are specific NASA requirementsfor source-specific encapsulated microbial density for encapsulated organisms in non-metallic materials. Projects such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) that use large volumes of non-metallic materials of planetary protection concern pose a challenge to their bioburden budget. An optimized and adapted destructive hardware technology employing a commercial blender was developed to assess the embedded bioburden of thermal paint for the MSL project.

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Reliability of CCGA 1152 and CCGA 1272 Interconnect Packages for Extreme Thermal Environments

CCGA packages are used in logics and microprocessor functions, tele- communications, flight avionics, and payload electronics. Ceramic column grid array (CCGA) packages have been increasing in use based on their advantages of high interconnect density, very good thermal and electrical performance, and compatibility with standard surface-mount packaging assembly processes. CCGA packages are used in space applications such as in logics and microprocessor functions, telecommunications, flight avionics, and payload electronics. As these packages tend to have less solder joint strain relief than leaded packages, the reliability of CCGA packages is very important for short- and long-term space missions.

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