Tech Briefs

Pressure-Optimized Optical Breath Gas Analyzer for Portable Life Support Systems

This instrument could be used in trace gas sensor applications where rapid sampling in a compact package is required, such as in human-occupied closed volumes. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Optical detection of gaseous carbon dioxide, water vapor (humidity), and oxygen is desired in Portable Life Support Systems (PLSS) incorporating state-of-the-art CO2 scrubbing architectures. Earlier broadband detectors are nearing their end of life, and recent advances in laser diode technology make replacement of earlier technology compelling. The function of the infrared gas transducer used during extravehicular activity (EVA) in the current spacesuit is to measure and report the concentration of CO2 in the ventilation loop. The next-generation PLSS requires next-generation CO2 sensing technology with performance beyond that presently in use on the Shuttle/International Space Station extravehicular mobility unit (EMU). Accommodation within spacesuits demands that optical sensors meet stringent size, weight, and power requirements. A sensor is required that is compact, low power, low mass, has rapid sampling capability, can operate over a wide pressure range, and can recover from condensing conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Lightweight Metal Rubber Textile Sensor for In-Situ Lunar Health Monitoring

This personnel status sensor can be used to measure, record, and communicate heart rate, electrocardiogram (ECG), and core body temperature information. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Extravehicular activities (EVAs) are dangerous to astronauts for a number of reasons, including high levels of physical exertion, potential for impacts by space debris particulates that could puncture the spacesuit and cause depressurization, Moon dust exposure that is abrasive and possibly biologically harmful, harsh thermal environments (extreme variation from –150 to >120 ºC when directly exposed to the Sun), and extreme low pressure (≈0 atm). These harsh environmental conditions inevitably lead to emotional pressure and stress, which directly impact physiological condition and potentially affect performance and safety. Because many EVA operations are time-consuming, astronauts may be extremely uncomfortable for several continuous hours.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Autonomous Leading-Edge Slat Device for Reduction of Aeroacoustic Noise Associated with Aircraft Wings

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Conventional transport aircraft wing design is driven mainly by cruise efficiency, i.e., adequate lift is generated at high speed for level flight with minimal drag. Conventional high-lift systems (leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps) were designed to augment lift and stall characteristics at the low speeds encountered during landing.

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StormGen Weather Editor

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Experiments that take into account the impact of convective weather on airspace operations, future concepts, and flight deck tools require a source of weather data that is readily available, of predictable quality, and tailorable to experimental objectives. Real-world weather data is sparse, highly random, and disorganized. Weather is dynamic in that it can change rapidly over time, in size, shape, intensity, and location. Also, weather typically is experienced through displays tied to sensors such as weather radars; different systems in the cockpit and on the ground will have different update rates.

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Pair-wise Trajectory Management (PTM) Airborne Human Machine Interface (HMI) Display Design

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Pair-wise Trajectory Management (PTM) is a concept that utilizes airborne and ground-based capabilities to enable airborne spacing operations in oceanic regions. The goal of PTM is to use enhanced surveillance, along with airborne tools, to manage the spacing between aircraft. Due to the precision of Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Broadcast (ADS-B) information, the PTM minimum spacing distance will be less than distances currently required of an air traffic controller. Reduced minimum distance will increase the capacity of aircraft operations at a given altitude or volume of airspace, thereby increasing time on desired trajectory and overall flight efficiency.

Posted in: Briefs

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Elastomeric Structural Attachment Concepts for Aircraft Flap Noise Reduction

A deformable structural element bridges the gap between the wing and the flap side edges, reducing noise. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Airframe noise is a significant part of the overall noise of typical transport aircraft during the approach and landing phases of flight. Airframe noise reduction is currently emphasized under the Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) and Fixed Wing (FW) goals of NASA. A promising concept for trailing-edge-flap noise reduction is a flexible structural element or link that bridges the gap between the wing and the deployable flap side edges. The proposed solution is distinguished by minimization of the span-wise extent of the structural link, thereby minimizing the aerodynamic load on the link structure at the expense of increased deformation requirement. Development of such a flexible structural link necessitated application of hyperelastic materials, atypical structural configurations, and novel interface hardware. The resulting highly deformable structural concept was termed the FLEXible Side Edge Link (FLEXSEL) concept. Prediction of atypical elastomeric deformation responses from detailed structural analysis was essential for evaluating concepts that met legacy design constraints.

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Aircraft Engine Exhaust Nozzle System for Jet Noise Reduction

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Conventional aircraft typically include propulsion engines that are under the wing or tail surfaces. Each propulsion engine system includes an engine housed in a nacelle with an inlet and a nozzle system. Primary component noise sources from the engine system include the noise associated with the fan, compressor, turbine, and combustor, and the noise associated with the high-velocity jet exhaust flow. There are many methods for reducing the various noise sources from the aircraft, including those noise sources from the engine system. One method includes the use of the aircraft itself as an acoustic shield for the noise sources associated with the engines. This approach requires a new configuration of aircraft with the engines installed on the upper surface of the wing or fuselage, or an aircraft that has a hybrid wing and fuselage. Of the engine noise sources, the jet exhaust is a particular challenge due to the fact that the noise sources are in the exhaust flow itself, and therefore originate throughout the jet exhaust flow as many as ten engine diameters downstream of the nozzle system exit plane. Therefore, it is desirable to have an improved aircraft nozzle system that is capable of much more noise reduction when installed on the upper surface of the aircraft.

Posted in: Briefs

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