Tech Briefs

Development of the Orion Crew-Service Module Umbilical Retention and Release Mechanism

The design is highly modular, and can easily be adapted to other vehicles/modules and alternate commodity sets.The Orion Crew-Service Module (CM/SM) umbilical retention and release mechanism supports, protects, and disconnects all of the cross-module commodities between the spacecraft's crew and service modules. These commodities include explosive transfer lines, wiring for power and data, and flexible hoses for ground purge and life support systems. Initial development testing of the mechanism's separation interface resulted in binding failures due to connector misalignments. Separation of the umbilical lines between the Crew Module (CM) and the Service Module (SM) happens as part of the vehicle separation activities prior to reentry. If the umbilical fails to separate successfully, the crew and spacecraft will likely be lost.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Architecture, Fasteners, Entry, descent, and landing, Spacecraft

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Blended Cutout Flap for the Reduction of Jet-Flap Interaction Noise

This technology preserves more of the aerodynamic load capacity of the wing flap, aileron, or flaperon.This technology is a new type of design for the wing flap, aileron, or flaperon located directly behind the engine nozzle on jet aircraft. Using a concave-down curved shape for the trailing edge instead of a conventional right angle, the cross section of the flap, aileron, or flaperon directly in the jet exhaust stream is reduced, thus reducing noise.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Wings, Noise, Aerodynamics

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Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created computer chips that can be configured to perform complex calculations and store massive amounts of information within the same integrated unit, and communicate efficiently with other chips. Called “liquid silicon” — liquid for software and silicon for hardware — the technology has uses in data-intensive applications such as facial or voice recognition, natural language processing, and graph analytics.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Integrated circuits, Product development

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Solid-State Lithium Sulfur Battery

Applications include electric vehicles, consumer electronics, UAVs, and wind and solar energy storage.Sulfur is a promising cathode for lithium batteries due to its high theoretical specific capacity (1673 mAh/g), low cost, and environmental friendliness. With a high specific energy density of 2500 Wh/kg, which is a five times greater energy density than a conventional Li-ion battery, Li-S batteries hold great potential for next-generation high-energy storage systems. However, wide-scale commercial use has been limited because some key challenges, such as the dissolution of the intermediate discharge product (Li2Sx, 2<X<8) in conventional liquid electrolytes, remain unsolved. On the other hand, all-solid-state batteries (SSBs) are considered to be the ultimate power supply for pure electric vehicles (EVs). SSB systems demonstrate a new approach for novel Li-S batteries. Replacing the organic electrolyte with solid-state electrolytes (SSEs) will intrinsically eliminate the dissolution of polysulfide. However, all of the solidstate Li-S batteries incorporating current state-of-the-art SSEs suffer from high interfacial impedance due to their low surface area.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Battery cell chemistry, Lithium-ion batteries, Electrolytes, Electric vehicles

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Printed Circuit Board Design Software Helps Create New Energy Solutions

Founded in 2006, Eagle Harbor Technologies (EHT) delivers high-quality pulsed power solutions to organizations such as the Department of Energy (DoE), NASA, and the United States Navy. From its headquarters in Seattle, WA, EHT offers a full suite of pulsed power products to commercial and research markets. These organizations depend on high-voltage nanosecond pulse generation, advanced plasma sources, and fusion energy technologies.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Integrated circuits, Electric power, Supplier assessment

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Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing

Princeton University researchers have built a device in which a single electron can pass its quantum information to a particle of light. The particle of light, or photon, then acts as a messenger to carry the information to other electrons, creating connections that form the circuits of a quantum computer.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Communication protocols, Computer software and hardware, Product development

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Method and System for Air Traffic Rerouting for Airspace Constraint Resolution

NASA's National Airspace System Constraint Evaluation and Notification Tool (NASCENT) is a dynamic constraint avoidance system that automatically analyzes routes of aircraft flying, or to be flown, in or near constraint regions, and attempts to find more time- and fuel-efficient reroutes around current and predicted constraints. NASCENT provides an evaluation of avoidance routes that saves more than a user-specified number of minutes of wind-corrected flying time savings for all the 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs or Centers) in the National Airspace System (NAS) simultaneously. The dynamic constraint avoidance route system continuously analyzes all flights and provides reroute advisories that are dynamically updated in real time. This system includes a graphical user interface that allows users to visualize, evaluate, modify if necessary, and implement proposed reroutes.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Human machine interface (HMI), Data management, Automation, Air traffic control

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