Physical Sciences

Low-Cost Communications Concept for Smallsats: Opportunistic MSPA

Provides smallsat projects with an affordable means for obtaining routine science downlink, while minimizing the cost to the ground antenna network to implement and operate it. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Multiple Spacecraft Per Antenna (MSPA) techniques have been used for well over a decade to increase the efficient utilization of ground network assets while decreasing the antenna fees allocated to the missions. In the Deep Space Network’s traditional MSPA service, two missions that will be located within the same beam of a ground antenna (e.g., at Mars) can schedule to share the antenna and associated microwave electronics. The antenna, of course, must be equipped with two separate receivers — one for each spacecraft. Applying this MSPA service to more than two spacecraft at a time requires adding receivers. But adding lots of receiver and telemetry processor chains to each antenna to facilitate MSPA for multiple spacecraft within the same beam could prove prohibitively expensive for the Deep Space Network.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Spatial Standard Observer

An accurate visibility metric is produced with relatively few calculations. This invention relates to the devices and methods for the measurement and/or for the specification of the perceptual intensity of a visual image, or the perceptual distance between a pair of images. Grayscale test and reference images are processed to produce test and reference luminance images. A luminance filter function is convolved with the reference luminance image to produce a local mean luminance reference image. Test and reference contrast images are produced from the local mean luminance reference image and the test and reference luminance images, respectively, and are followed by the application of a contrast sensitivity filter. The resulting images are combined according to mathematical prescriptions to produce a Just Noticeable Difference, JND value, indicative of a Spatial Standard Observer (SSO). Advantages of an SSO include a simple and efficient design that produces an accurate visibility metric with relatively few calculations.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Use of Selective Oxidation Catalyst for Amperometric Sensing Electrode

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A modified oxidation catalyst material can be used to build a carbon-monoxide-sensing electrode for amperometric sensors to overcome the typical cross-sensitivity of these sensors toward hydrogen. The technology will have applications in the emerging hydrogen fuel cell economy for monitoring traces of carbon monoxide in the fuel feed of hydrogen fuel cells.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Simple Subset Wizard

The Simple Subset Wizard (SSW) was developed for the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) to simplify the myriad ways of ordering or obtaining subsets of satellite data from EOSDIS’ different data centers. It provides a simple, coherent interface to a variety of subsetters at ten of the centers. The SSW has an additional advantage in shortening the user’s work-flow to obtain subsets by handling the search for individual files (and subsequent selection) behind the scenes.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Software, Briefs

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FlightMechanic

FlightMechanic is an application for the Apple iPhone 3GSM family that replaces many components of the popular Pratt & Whitney aerospace handbook, including a standard atmosphere model, airspeed calculations, and Rankine-Hugoniot relationships (Mach tables).

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Software, Briefs, TSP

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COEDI Instrument Design Development for the GEOCAPE Mission

A document describes a coastal ocean color instrument for geostationary orbit that meets the science requirements within a size, mass, and cost package that is acceptable within current budgetary constraints. This work advances the instrument design concept for the Coastal Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics Imager (COEDI) for the GEOCAPE (Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events) Tier 2 Earth Science and Applications mission. This ongoing study indicates that a 2-slit sensor has the greatest possibility of reducing instrument size significantly and improving performance. The 2-slit concept permits the co-adding of iFOV observations from slits that are spaced close together, which permits the reduction in aperture.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Intercalibration of Measurements from Microwave Sensors

A study discusses a robust intercalibration technique using a well validated radiative transfer code that can be applied to the higher-frequency sounding channels for the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. Intercalibration of these high-frequency sounding channels will require good and timely estimates of the temperature and water vapor profiles. The approach will leverage results from recent improvements to spectroscopic line parameters and continuum in both the microwave and infrared regions.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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