Tech Briefs

Bayesian-Augmented Identification of Stars in a Narrow View

An adaptive threshold guides acceptance or rejection of a tentative identification. An algorithm for the identification of stars from a charge-coupled-device (CCD) image of a star field has been extended for use with narrower field-of-view images. Previously, the algorithm had been shown to be effective at a field of view of 8°. This work augments the earlier algorithm using Bayesian decision theory. The new algorithm is shown to be capable of effective star identification down to a field of view of 2°. The algorithm was developed for use in estimating the attitude of a spacecraft and could be used on Earth to help in the identification of stars and other celestial objects for astronomical observations.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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Making Carbon-Nanotube Arrays Using Block Polymers: Part II

A nanoscale phase separation would be utilized to form regularly spaced catalytic dots. Some changes have been incorporated into a proposed method of manufacturing regular arrays of precisely sized, shaped, positioned, and oriented carbon nanotubes. Such arrays could be useful as mechanical resonators for signal filters and oscillators, and as electrophoretic filters for use in biochemical assays.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials

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Software for Checking Statecharts

HiVy is a software tool set that enables verification through model checking of designs represented as finite-state machines or statecharts. HiVy provides automated translation of (1) statecharts created by use of the MathWorks Stateflow® program to (2) Promela, the input language of the Spin model checker, which can then be used to verify, or trace logical errors in, distributed software systems. HiVy can operate directly on Stateflow models, or its abstract syntax of hierarchical sequential automata (HSA) can be used independently as an intermediate format for translation to Promela. In a typical design application, HiVy parses and reformats Stateflow model file data using the programs SfParse and sf2hsa, respectively. If the parsing effort is successful, an abstract syntax tree is delivered into a file named with the extension ".hsa." If the design comprises several model files, they may be merged into one ".hsa" file before translation into Promela. Stateflow scope is preserved, and name clashes are avoided in the merge process. The HiVy program hsa2pr translates the model from the intermediate HSA format into Promela. Additionally, HiVy provides through translation a list of all statechart model propositions that are the means for formalizing linear temporal logic (LTL) properties about the model for Spin verification.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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Program Predicts Broadband Noise From a Turbofan Engine

Broadband Fan Noise Prediction System (BFaNS) is a computer program that, as its name indicates, predicts the broadband noise generated by the fan stage of a turbofan engine. This noise is the sum of (1) turbulent- inflow noise, which is caused by turbulence impinging on leading edges of the fan and the fan exit guide vane and (2) self noise, which is caused by turbulence convecting past the corresponding trailing edges. The user provides input data on the fan-blade, vane, and flow-path geometries and on the mean and turbulent components of the flow field. BFaNS then calculates the turbulent-inflow noise by use of D. B. Hanson's theory, which relates sound power to the inflow turbulence characteristics and the cascade geometry. Hanson's program, BBCASCADE, is incorporated into BFaNS, wherein it is applied to the rotor and stator in a stripwise manner. The spectra of upstream and downstream sound powers radiated by each strip are summed to obtain the total upstream and downstream sound-power spectra. The self-noise contributions are calculated by S. A. L. Glegg's theory, which is also applied in a stripwise manner. The current version of BFaNS is limited to fans with subsonic tip speeds.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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Protocol for Delay-Tolerant Data-Communication Network

As its name partly indicates, the Delay-Tolerant Networking (DTN) Bundle Protocol is a protocol for delay-tolerant transmission of data via communication networks. This protocol was conceived as a result of studies of how to adapt Internet protocols so that Internet-like services could be provided across interplanetary distances in support of deep-space exploration. The protocol, and software to implement the protocol, is being developed in collaboration among experts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other institutions. No current Internet protocols can accommodate long transmission delay times or intermittent link connectivity. The DTN Bundle Protocol represents a departure from the standard Internet assumption that a continuous path is available from a host computer to a client computer: It provides for routing of data through networks that may be disjointed and may be characterized by long transmission delays. In addition to networks that include deep-space communication links, examples of such networks include terrestrial ones within which branches are temporarily disconnected. The protocol is based partly on the definition of a message-based overlay above the transport layers of the networks on which it is hosted.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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Software Implements a Space-Mission File-Transfer Protocol

CFDP is a computer program that implements the CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems) File Delivery Protocol, which is an international standard for automatic, reliable transfers of files of data between locations on Earth and in outer space. CFDP administers concurrent file transfers in both directions, delivery of data out of transmission order, reliable and unreliable transmission modes, and automatic retransmission of lost or corrupted data by use of one or more of several lost-segment-detection modes. The program also implements several data-integrity measures, including file checksums and optional cyclic redundancy checks for each protocol data unit. The metadata accompanying each file can include messages to users' application programs and commands for operating on remote file systems.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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Modular Rake of Pitot Probes

Individual probes can be replaced more easily than was possible before. The figure presents selected views of a modular rake of 17 pitot probes for measuring both transient and steady-state pressures in a supersonic wind tunnel. In addition to pitot tubes visible in the figure, the probe modules contain (1) high-frequency dynamic-pressure transducers connected through wires to remote monitoring circuitry and (2) flow passages that lead to tubes that, in turn, lead to remote steady-state pressure transducers.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components

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