Tech Briefs

Algae Photobioreactor Using Floating Enclosures With Semi-Permeable Membranes

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Various species of algae are known to produce valuable products ranging from food to fertilizer to biofuels. Methods have been developed for producing biofuels by processing algae and other micro-organisms that grow in aquatic environments, but the largescale commercial production of these algae, particularly for commodity products like biofuels, has been limited by the unfavorable economics of the current cultivation and harvesting methods.

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Parallelization of Snowflake Growth Simulation

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Gravner and Griffeath have developed a serial numerical model that simulates the growth of snowflakes in three dimensions under the assumptions of 24-fold symmetry. To allow for much larger and asymmetric snowflakes as well as to reduce simulation time, their model was re-implemented using distributed parallelism via MPI (Message Passing Interface). Test-driven development (TDD) was applied to rapidly develop an accurate implementation that consistently reproduces the results of Gravner and Griffeath. Through parallelism, simulation times were reduced from days/weeks to mere hours, and crystal sizes could be explored that are roughly 10 times larger in each dimension than otherwise possible. This new implementation will be used to generate thousands of representative snow crystals as a means to improve the ability to use remote sensing to estimate water content in snow-containing clouds. This work was done by Thomas Clune of Goddard Space Flight Center, and Christopher Pearson of Northrup Grumman Information Technology. GSC-16346-1

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Soil Remediation with Plant-Fungal Combinations

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This work applies to remediation and restoration of soil contaminated by fuel, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) wastes, etc. While there can be a beneficial effect of microbial communities, individual plant-fungus combinations can vary in their efficacy in removing pollutants from the environment. Having a set of enzymes from fungi specifically adapted to conditions in contaminated soil is a huge advantage.

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Rigorous Antenna Noise Temperature Calculation Method for International Space Station Visiting Spacecraft

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The temperature of the orbiting space station’s Sun-facing side could be up to 250 °F (≈120 °C) and will be a significant antenna noise temperature contributor for visiting spacecraft communication and tracking systems during rendezvous. The conventional antenna noise temperature calculation does not take into account the space station reflection effects, and results in an underestimated antenna and system noise temperature. Thus, the visiting spacecraft communication and tracking system performance could be overestimated during rendezvous.

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Recurring Anomaly Detection System (ReADS)

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California NASA Engineering & Safety Center (NESC) subject matter experts analyze records in various International Space Station and shuttle databases to identify recurring anomalies. The key problems these experts face in analyzing such database records are:

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Method for Automatic Optimization of Yaw Maneuvers for Orbiting Space Vehicles

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A new method for optimizing yaw attitude maneuvers on the International Space Station (ISS) was developed. Docking and undocking operations often require 180° yaw rotations, which are the most common large maneuvers on the ISS. When optimized, some large maneuvers, previously performed using thrusters, could be performed using control moment gyroscopes (CMGs) or with significantly reduced thruster firings. The ability to perform a non-propulsive or low-propulsive 180° yaw maneuver on the ISS has been proven through the zero propellant maneuver (ZPM) and the optimal propellant maneuver (OPM). The ZPM and OPM were created by Draper Laboratory using the computational approach. Each maneuver is unique, and can only be calculated on the ground because significant computer resources are needed for the calculations.

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Architecture Framework for Fault Management Assessment and Design

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Modern spacecraft, aircraft, and surface vehicles support complex science missions in harsh environments. These spacecraft and vehicles provide diverse functionality that is deployed on increasingly complex and heterogeneous hardware and mechanical systems, with stringent dependability requirements.

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