Tech Briefs

Shuttle Data Center File- Processing Tool in Java

A Java-language computer program has been written to facilitate mining of data in files in the Shuttle Data Center (SDC) archives. This program can be executed on a variety of workstations or via Web-browser programs. This program is partly similar to prior C-language programs used for the same purpose, while differing from those programs in that it exploits the platform neutrality of Java in implementing several features that are important for analysis of large sets of time-series data. The program supports regular expression queries of SDC archive files, reads the files, interleaves the time-stamped samples according to a chosen output, then transforms the results into that format. A user can choose among a variety of output file formats that are useful for diverse purposes, including plotting, Markov modeling, multivariate density estimation, and wavelet multiresolution analysis, as well as for playback of data in support of simulation and testing.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

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Statistical Evaluation of Utilization of the ISS

PayLoad Utilization Modeler (PLUM) is a statistical-modeling computer program used to evaluate the effectiveness of utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) in terms of the number of research facilities that can be operated within a specified interval of time. PLUM is designed to balance the requirements of research facilities aboard the ISS against the resources available on the ISS. PLUM comprises three parts: an interface for the entry of data on constraints and on required and available resources, a database that stores these data as well as the program output, and a modeler. The modeler comprises two subparts: one that generates tens of thousands of random combinations of research facilities and another that calculates the usage of resources for each of those combinations. The results of these calculations are used to generate graphical and tabular reports to determine which facilities are most likely to be operable on the ISS, to identify which ISS resources are inadequate to satisfy the demands upon them, and to generate other data useful in allocation of and planning of resources.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

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Multiaxis, Lightweight, Computer-Controlled Exercise System

This system offers unprecedented versatility for physical conditioning and evaluation The multipurpose, multiaxial, isokinetic dynamometer (MMID) is a computer-controlled system of exercise machinery that can serve as a means for quantitatively assessing a subject’s muscle coordination, range of motion, strength, and overall physical condition with respect to a wide variety of forces, motions, and exercise regimens. The MMID is easily reconfigurable and compactly stowable and, in comparison with prior computer-controlled exercise systems, it weighs less, costs less, and offers more capabilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical

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White-Light Whispering-Gallery-Mode Optical Resonators

Overlapping resonator modes are exploited to obtain wide, high-Q spectra.Whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonators can be designed to exhibit continuous spectra over wide wavelength bands (in effect, white-light spectra), with ultrahigh values of the resonance quality factor (Q) that are nearly independent of frequency. White-light WGM resonators have potential as superior alternatives to (1) larger, conventional optical resonators in ring-down spectroscopy, and (2) optical-resonator/electro-opticalmodulator structures used in coupling of microwave and optical signals in atomic clocks. In these and other potential applications, the use of white-light WGM resonators makes it possible to relax the requirement of high-frequency stability of lasers, thereby enabling the use of cheaper lasers.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences

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Simplified Optics and Controls for Laser Communications

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A document discusses an architecture of a spaceborne laser communication system that provides for a simplified control subsystem that stabilizes the line of sight in a desired direction. Heretofore, a typical design for a spaceborne laser communication system has called for a high-bandwidth control loop, a steering mirror and associated optics, and a fast steering mirror actuator to stabilize the line of sight in the presence of vibrations. In the present architecture, the need for this fast steering-mirror subsystem is eliminated by mounting the laser-communication optics on a disturbance-free platform (DFP) that suppresses coupling of vibrations to the optics by ≥60 dB. Taking advantage of microgravitation, in the DFP, the optical assembly is free-flying relative to the rest of the spacecraft, and a low-spring-constant pointing control subsystem exerts small forces to regulate the position and orientation of the optics via voice coils. All steering is effected via the DFP, which can be controlled in all six degrees of freedom relative to the spacecraft. A second control loop, closed around a position sensor and the spacecraft attitude-control system, moves the spacecraft as needed to prevent mechanical contact with the optical assembly.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Architecture, Lasers, Optics, Telecommunications, Vibration

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Coherent Detection of High-Rate Optical PPM Signals

Quantum-limited performance is achievable. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A method of coherent detection of high-rate pulse-position modulation (PPM) on a received laser beam has been conceived as a means of reducing the deleterious effects of noise and atmospheric turbulence in free-space optical communication using focal-plane detector array technologies. In comparison with a receiver based on direct detection of the intensity modulation of a PPM signal, a receiver based on the present method of coherent detection performs well at much higher background levels.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Mathematical analysis, Lasers, Performance tests, Turbulence

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White-Light Whispering-Gallery-Mode Optical Resonators

Overlapping resonator modes are exploited to obtain wide, high-Q spectra. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonators can be designed to exhibit continuous spectra over wide wavelength bands (in effect, white-light spectra), with ultrahigh values of the resonance quality factor (Q) that are nearly independent of frequency. White-light WGM resonators have potential as superior alternatives to (1) larger, conventional optical resonators in ring-down spectroscopy, and (2) optical-resonator/electro-optical modulator structures used in coupling of microwave and optical signals in atomic clocks. In these and other potential applications, the use of white-light WGM resonators makes it possible to relax the requirement of high-frequency stability of lasers, thereby enabling the use of cheaper lasers.

Posted in: Briefs, ptb catchall, Tech Briefs, Photonics, Lasers, Optics, Spectroscopy

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