Tech Briefs

Statistical Detection of Atypical Aircraft Flights

A priori specification of search criteria is not necessary.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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Developing Signal-Pattern-Recognition Programs

Software system aids development of application programs that analyze signals. An automated system to assist a General Aviation (GA) pilot in improving situational awareness of weather in flight is now undergoing development. This development is prompted by the observation that most fatal GA accidents are attributable to loss of weather awareness. Loss of weather awareness, in turn, has been attributed to the difficulty of interpreting traditional pre-flight weather briefings and the difficulty of both obtaining and interpreting traditional in-flight weather briefings. The developmental automated system not only improves weather awareness but also substantially reduces the time a pilot must spend in acquiring and maintaining weather awareness.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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NASA's Aviation Safety and Modeling Project

Capabilities for automated analysis of flight data are under development. The Aviation Safety Monitoring and Modeling (ASMM) Project of NASA’s Aviation Safety program is cultivating sources of data and developing automated computer hardware and software to facilitate efficient, comprehensive, and accurate analyses of the data collected from large, heterogeneous databases throughout the national aviation system. The ASMM addresses the need to provide means for increasing safety by enabling the identification and correcting of predisposing conditions that could lead to accidents or to incidents that pose aviation risks.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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Vaporizable Scaffolds for Fabricating Thermoelectric Modules

Thermoelectric legs would be separated by precise gaps. A process for fabricating thermoelectric modules with vacuum gaps separating the thermoelectric legs has been conceived, and the feasibility of some essential parts of the process has been demonstrated. The vacuum gaps are needed to electrically insulate the legs from each other. The process involves the use of scaffolding in the form of sheets of a polymer to temporarily separate the legs by the desired distance, which is typically about 0.5 mm. During a bonding subprocess that would take place in a partial vacuum at an elevated temperature, the polymer would be vaporized, thereby creating the vacuum gaps. If desired, the gaps could later be filled with an aerogel for thermal insulation and to suppress sublimation of thermoelectric material, as described in “Aerogels for Thermal Insulation of Thermoelectric Devices” (), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 30, No. 7 (July, 2006), page 50.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials

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Interferometric System for Measuring Thickness of Sea Ice

Frequency- and spatial-domain VHF radar interferometry are used. The cryospheric advanced sensor (CAS) is a developmental airborne (and, potentially, spaceborne) radar based instrumentation system for measuring and mapping the thickness of sea ice. A planned future version of the system would also provide data on the thickness of snow covering sea ice. Frequent measurements of the thickness of polar ocean sea ice and its snow cover on a synoptic scale are critical to understanding global climate change and ocean circulation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences

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Measuring Attitude of a Large, Flexible, Orbiting Structure

A document summarizes a proposed metrology subsystem for precisely measuring the attitude of a large and flexible structure in space.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences

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Satellite Multiangle Spectropolarimetric Imaging of Aerosols

One instrument would implement a synergistic combination of multispectral, multiangle, and polarimetric techniques. A proposed remote-sensing instrument, to be carried aboard a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth, would gather data on the spatial distribution and radiative characteristics of tropospheric aerosols. These data are needed for better understanding of the natural and anthropogenic origins of aerosols, and of the effects of aerosols on climate and atmospheric chemistry.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences

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