Physical Sciences

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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New Class of Flow Batteries for Terrestrial and Aerospace Energy Storage Applications

Applications include energy storage in conjunction with renewable energy generation technologies such as solar, wind power, and automotive. Future sustainable energy generation technologies such as photovoltaic and wind farms require advanced energy storage systems on a massive scale to make the alternate (green) energy options practical. The daunting requirements of such large-scale energy systems — such as long operating and cycle life, safety, and low cost — are not adequately met by state-of-the-art energy storage technologies such as vanadium flow cells, lead-acid, and zinc-bromine batteries. Much attention is being paid to redox batteries — specifically to the vanadium redox battery (VRB) — due to their simplicity, low cost, and good life characteristics compared to other related battery technologies.

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ESD Test Apparatus for Soldering Irons

Prior lengthy testing now takes less than a minute. ESDA (Electrostatic Discharge Association) ESD STM 13.1-2000 requires frequent testing of the voltage leakage from the tip of a soldering iron and the resistance from the tip of the soldering iron to the common point ground. Without this test apparatus, the process is time-consuming and requires several wires, alligator clips, or test probes, as well as additional equipment. Soldering iron tips must be tested for electrostatic discharge risks frequently, and this typically takes a lot of time in setup and testing. This device enables the operator to execute the full test in one minute or less.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Test & Measurement, Briefs

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Pneumatic Proboscis Heat-Flow Probe

Applications include measuring heat flow in areas on Earth where optimal thermal isolation of heaters/ temperature sensors is of paramount importance. Heat flow is a fundamental property of a planet, and provides significant constraints on the abundance of radiogenic isotopes, the thermal evolution and differentiation history, and the mechanical properties of the lithosphere. Heat-flow measurements are also essential in achieving at least four of the goals set out by the National Research Council for future lunar exploration. The heat-flow probe therefore directly addresses the goal of the Lunar Geophysical Network, which is to understand the interior structure and composition of the Moon.

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FPGA-Based X-Ray Detection and Measurement for an X-Ray Polarimeter

This technology enables detection and measurement of x-rays in an x-ray polarimeter using a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). The technology was developed for the Gravitational and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (GEMS) mission. It performs precision energy and timing measurements, as well as rejection of non-x-ray events. It enables the GEMS polarimeter to detect precisely when an event has taken place so that additional measurements can be made. The technology also enables this function to be performed in an FPGA using limited resources so that mass and power can be minimized while reliability for a space application is maximized and precise real-time operation is achieved.

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Method to Measure Total Noise Temperature of a Wireless Receiver During Operation

A method has been developed to measure the total effective noise power in a GPS receiver, including contributions from the system temperature, the antenna temperature, interference, lossy components, etc. A known level of noise is periodically injected before the preamplifier during normal tracking, with a switch set to a very low duty cycle, so that there is insignificant signal loss for the GPS signals being tracked. Alternately, a signal of known power may be injected.

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