Tech Briefs

Mars Science Laboratory Flight Software

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) flight software is designed to control all onboard functions of the flight system, consisting of three primary stages — cruise, entry-descent-landing (EDL), and rover — for the three mission phases. These three stages have common as well as distinct mission requirements that are being supported by the flight software. The key challenges of the software can be summarized by the complexity and diversity of its capabilities, the robustness of its design to support fault tolerance requirements, and the resource constraints (performance and memory) in which the software operates. Specifically, the EDL function is designed to ensure fail operational capability requiring Second Chance software to be executed in the backup processor in parallel with the prime processor. This backup software can be activated in fractions of a second to continue execution in the event of prime failure during this critical mission phase. On the surface, the software is required to support and coordinate rover navigation, mobility, coordination, and control of the ten science instruments, as well as the health and maintenance of the flight system.

Posted in: Aerospace, Briefs

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Airspace Concepts Evaluation System

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Current trends indicate the significant increase in National Airspace System (NAS) flight congestion and delays. The Airspace Concepts Evaluation System (ACES) provides a NAS modeling and simulation environment capable of assessing the impact of new NAS concepts, technologies, and simulation architecture. ACES fully supports the ability of the modeling and simulation system to incorporate new capabilities required to assess proposed advanced air traffic modeling (ATM) concepts and technologies.

Posted in: Aerospace, Briefs

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MAVEN Flight and Ground Software

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland This software was developed for GSFC’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) program. The source of the MAVEN software was previously NASA program baselines for Juno, GRAIL, and MRO. Reused and re-engineered code from previous programs was combined with some new code to form the MAVEN program software baseline.

Posted in: Aerospace, Briefs

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Prediction of Visual Acuity from Wavefront Aberrations

This automated vision test is accurate, simple, and fast. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Visual acuity (clearness of vision) usually is measured by an eye doctor using an eye chart. It measures the smallest letters that can be reliably identified by the patient at a specified distance. The traditional test requires the patient to look and report which letters they see.

Posted in: Medical, Briefs

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Mobility Augmentation System Using Switchable Spring Mechanisms

This system could be used by disabled persons and individuals in rehabilitation who require prosthetics. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The disclosed device provides key elements to enabling compact exercise machines that overcome many of the disadvantages of the current spacesuit, as well as medical prosthetics and exoskeletons. The mechanism is based on switchable, curved, leaf, and torsion spring mechanisms that support the user joints and at the contact with the ground to enable high-speed, low-loss locomotion. The springs are primed with an actuator to counteract losses and recycle the user’s elastic energy in the locomotion. The mechanism is designed to be switchable and to allow for removing the springs from the structure for fine control. Adjustable hard-stops are embedded into each joint to prevent overextension and optimize the performance at each gait. The spring mechanisms are made from carbon fiber composites to reduce the weight of the system. The components of this mechanism can be structurally connected to each other via a mechanical clutch to form a symmetric lower-extremity system with a passive spring mechanism to reduce the requirement of the joints to dampen the impact forces and recycle some of the energy of walking and running.

Posted in: Medical, Briefs

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Time Series Product Tool (TSPT) Version 2.0

Stennis Space Center, Mississippi The Time Series Product Tool (TSPT) is a MATLAB-based software application that computes and displays high-quality vegetation and environmental monitoring indices from high temporal revisit rate Mod erate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and other satellite sensors. The original purpose of the TSPT was to fuse MODIS Terra and Aqua products to improve the temporal interpolation and filtering of time series affected by clouds. TSPT provides single-timeframe and multi-temporal change images as time series plots at a selected location, or as temporally processed image videos. The labor involved with manually creating these types and quantities of products is considerable; however, by using the TSPT, this process becomes simplified, efficient, and largely automated. This software tool enables and/or aides in the rapid regional surveillance of crops, forests, and other vegetative surfaces.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Electronics & Computers, Software, Briefs

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NASA Data Acquisition System (NDAS)

A software application is intended to be adaptable to any propulsion test stand or facility’s data acquisition system. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi The test complexes at John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) require reliable and accurate data acquisition in order to analyze the results of rocket engine tests. Acquisition systems include high-speed data, low-speed data, event monitoring, and video feeds. In order to obtain accurate data, routine calibrations must be performed on each channel, which can be defined as a single data stream to be collected, including the entire hardware chain from signal acquisition by a transducer to signal conditioning by an amplifier and digitization by an analog-to-digital converter.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Electronics & Computers, Software, Briefs

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