Tech Briefs

Computing Spacecraft Solar-Cell Damage by Charged Particles

General EQFlux is a computer program that converts the measure of the damage done to solar cells in outer space by impingement of electrons and protons having many different kinetic energies into the measure of the damage done by an equivalent fluence of electrons, each having kinetic energy of 1 MeV. Prior to the development of General EQFlux, there was no single computer program offering this capability: For a given type of solar cell, it was necessary to either perform the calculations manually or to use one of three Fortran programs, each of which was applicable to only one type of solar cell. The problem in developing General EQFlux was to rewrite and combine the three programs into a single program that could perform the calculations for three types of solar cells and run in a Windows environment with a Windows graphical user interface. In comparison with the three prior programs, General EQFlux is easier to use.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Solar energy, Spacecraft


Automated Camera Calibration

Automated Camera Calibration (ACAL) is a computer program that automates the generation of calibration data for camera models used in machine vision systems. Machine vision camera models describe the mapping between points in threedimensional (3D) space in front of the camera and the corresponding points in two-dimensional (2D) space in the camera’s image. Calibrating a camera model requires a set of calibration data containing known 3D-to-2D point correspondences for the given camera system. Generating calibration data typically involves taking images of a calibration target where the 3D locations of the target’s fiducial marks are known, and then measuring the 2D locations of the fiducial marks in the images. ACAL automates the analysis of calibration target images and greatly speeds the overall calibration process. ACAL consists of three modules:

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Calibration, Artificial intelligence, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Product development


Program Predicts Performance of Optical Parametric Oscillators

A computer program predicts the performances of solid-state lasers that operate at wavelengths from ultraviolet through mid-infrared and that comprise various combinations of stable and unstable resonators, optical parametric oscillators (OPOs), and sum-frequency generators (SFGs), including second-harmonic generators (SHGs). The input to the program describes the signal, idler, and pump beams; the SFG and OPO crystals; and the laser geometry. The program calculates the electric fields of the idler, pump, and output beams at three locations (inside the laser resonator, just outside the input mirror, and just outside the output mirror) as functions of time for the duration of the pump beam. For each beam, the electric field is used to calculate the fluence at the output mirror, plus summary parameters that include the centroid location, the radius of curvature of the wavefront leaving through the output mirror, the location and size of the beam waist, and a quantity known, variously, as a propagation constant or beam-quality factor. The program provides a typical Windows interface for entering data and selecting files. The program can include as many as six plot windows, each containing four graphs.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Lasers, Optics


Database of Properties of Meteors

A database of properties of meteors, and software that provides access to the database, are being developed as a contribution to continuing efforts to model the characteristics of meteors with increasing accuracy. Such modeling is necessary for evaluation of the risk of penetration of spacecraft by meteors. For each meteor in the database, the record will include an identification, date and time, radiant properties, ballistic coefficient, radar cross section, size, density, and orbital elements. The property of primary interest in the present case is density, and one of the primary goals in this case is to derive densities of meteors from their atmospheric decelerations. The database and software are expected to be valid anywhere in the solar system. The database will incorporate new data plus results of meteoroid analyses that, heretofore, have not been readily available to the aerospace community. Taken together, the database and software constitute a model that is expected to provide improved estimates of densities and to result in improved risk analyses for interplanetary spacecraft. It is planned to distribute the database and software on a compact disk.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Data management, Spacecraft


SmaggIce Version 1.8

SmaggIce version 1.8 is a set of software tools for geometrical modeling of, and generation of grids that conform to, both clean and iced airfoils. A prior version (SmaggIce 1.2) was described in “Preparing and Analyzing Iced Airfoils” (LEW-17399), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 8 (August 2004), page 32. Ice shapes, especially those that include rough surfaces, pose difficulty in generating high-quality grids that are essential for predicting airflows by use of computational fluid dynamics. SmaggIce version 1.8 contains software tools needed to overcome this difficulty. For a given airfoil, it allows the user to define the flow domain, decompose the domain into blocks, generate grids, merge gridded blocks, and control the density and smoothness of each grid. Among the unique features of version 1.8 is a thin Cshaped block, called a “viscous sublayer block,” which is wrapped around an iced airfoil and its wake line and serves as a means to generate highly controlled grids near the rough ice surface. Users can modify block boundary shapes using control points of non-uniform rational B-spline (NURBS) curves. Concave ice regions can be smoothed during geometrical modeling or creation of the viscous sublayer block.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Wings, Simulation and modeling, Computer software and hardware, Icing and ice detection


Processing TES Level-1B Data

TES L1B Subsystem is a computer program that performs several functions for the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES). The term “L1B” (an abbreviation of “level 1B”), refers to data, specific to the TES, on radiometric calibrated spectral radiances and their corresponding noise equivalent spectral radiances (NESRs), plus ancillary geolocation, quality, and engineering data. The functions performed by TES L1B Subsystem include shear analysis, monitoring of signal levels, detection of ice build-up, and phase correction and radiometric and spectral calibration of TES target data. Also, the program computes NESRs for target spectra, writes scientific TES level-1B data to hierarchical- data-format (HDF) files for public distribution, computes brightness temperatures, and quantifies interpixel signal variability for the purpose of firstorder cloud and heterogeneous land screening by the level-2 software summarized in the immediately following article. This program uses an in-housedeveloped algorithm, called “NUSRT,” to correct instrument line-shape factors.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Test equipment and instrumentation


Processing TES Level-2 Data

TES Level 2 Subsystem is a set of computer programs that performs functions complementary to those of the program summarized in the immediately preceding article. TES Level-2 data pertain to retrieved species (or temperature) profiles, and errors thereof. Geolocation, quality, and other data (e.g., surface characteristics for nadir observations) are also included. The subsystem processes gridded meteorological information and extracts parameters that can be interpolated to the appropriate latitude, longitude, and pressure level based on the date and time. Radiances are simulated using the aforementioned meteorological information for initial guesses, and spectroscopic-parameter tables are generated. At each step of the retrieval, a nonlinear-least-squares-solving routine is run over multiple iterations, retrieving a subset of atmospheric constituents, and error analysis is performed. Scientific TES Level-2 data products are written in a format known as Hierarchical Data Format Earth Observing System 5 (HDF-EOS 5) for public distribution.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Weather and climate


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