Sensors/Data Acquisition

Controlling Fast Acquisition Hardware to Pre-Position a Satellite to Constrain Baseband Searches

The primary use of this algorithm is in the acquisition of satellites under the conditions where almanac, ephemeris, and position data may not be available. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas When adapting GPS sensor technology from an aviation environment to a space environment, the search window for a satellite’s frequency and code phase is greatly increased. This problem is also magnified when multiple antennas are used. A new algorithm is required to meet the demands of acquiring satellites in a space environment.

Posted in: Briefs, Data Acquisition, Sensors


Self-Diagnostic Accelerometer Field Programmable Gate Array

The system could be utilized as a portable and temporarily installed diagnostic system. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio The development of the self-diagnostic accelerometer (SDA) is important to both reducing the in-flight shutdowns (IFSD) rate — and hence reducing the rate at which this component failure type can put an aircraft in jeopardy — and also as a critical enabling technology for future automated malfunction diagnostic systems. Critical sensors, such as engine sensors, are inaccessible to the operator during typical operation due to safety concerns and enclosed environment. The SDA can diagnose the sensor in-flight and remotely with minimal interference with the typical operation of the sensor. The SDA system utilizes programmed health algorithms that can automatically determine the health, therefore increasing the precision in diagnosing sensor faults by removing the erroneous perspective and opinions of a human operator. The health of the sensor could also be determined immediately, which would remove its erroneous effect on a system that depends on the sensor.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Sensors


Capacitively Coupled, High-Voltage Current Sensing for Extreme Environments

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Wide-temperature and extreme-environment electronics are crucial to future missions. These missions will not have the weight and power budget for heavy harnesses and large, inefficient warm boxes. In addition, extreme-environment electronics, by their inherent nature, allow operation next to sensors in the ambient environment, reducing noise and improving precision over the warm-box-based systems employed today.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Sensors


Hands-Free Control Interfaces for an Extravehicular Jetpack

This hands-free approach could be applicable to other robotic interfaces requiring six-DOF control inputs. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas To enable the human mobility necessary to effectively explore near-Earth asteroids and deep space effectively, a new extravehicular activity (EVA) jetpack is under development. The new design leverages knowledge and experience gained from the current astronaut rescue device, the Simplified Aid for EVA Rescue (SAFER). Whereas the primary goal for a rescue device is to return the crew to a safe haven, in-space exploration and navigation requires an expanded set of capabilities. To accommodate the range of tasks astronauts may be expected to perform while utilizing the jetpack, it was desired to research a hands-free method of control. This hands-free control method would enable astronauts to command their motion while transporting payloads and conducting two-handed tasks.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Sensors


Products of Tomorrow: March 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.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Aviation, Electronics & Computers, Detectors, Sensors


Data Recorders Prepare Orion for Splashdown Test

Data recorders and software Diversified Technical Systems (DTS) Seal Beach, CA 562-493-0158 It’s no simple task to travel 3,600 miles into space, blaze back through Earth’s atmosphere at 20,000 mph with temperatures approaching 4,000 °F, and then splash-land into the Pacific Ocean. That’s why NASA spent three years dropping the 18,000-pound mockup of the Orion space capsule into a special test pool wired with hundreds of sensors, strain gauges, and accelerometers to measure stresses and structural integrity, as well as the safety of future astronauts onboard.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Data Acquisition, Measuring Instruments


Researcher Spotlight: Atom­Thick Material Offers 2D Imaging Possibilities

Rice University scientists have developed a two-­dimensional, atom­-thick, light-­sensitive material called CIS, a single­-layer matrix of copper, indium, and selenium atoms. Sidong Lei, a graduate student, also built a prototype — a three-­pixel charge­-coupled device (CCD) sensor — to prove the material’s ability to capture an image. The optoelectronic memory material may be the basis for future flat imaging devices and two­-dimensional electronics.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors