Tech Briefs

Spacecraft Parameter Database Tool

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The GOES-R Program has requirements to maintain knowledge of the GOES-R satellite onboard memory contents, including managing general satellite operations tables; processor memory dumps for memory verification; creating command loads, memory (table) loads, and command sequences to operate the satellite; verifying stored command and memory (table) loads; and to provide for operator-initiated memory dumps from satellite processors. The principal limitation is the tie to specific spacecraft architecture.

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Eliminating the Need for Payload-Specific Coupled Loads Analyses Without Mission Risk

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Amore efficient structural verification process for small satellites has been demonstrated. This new process eliminates the need for payload-specific coupled loads analysis (CLA) and simplifies structural testing while not increasing mission risk. The process entails the following:

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Moon Tours Android

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California This Android app provides a native interface to the Lunar Mapping and Modeling Portal’s (LMMP) lunar data archive and analysis tools. It complements the iOS app previously released, incorporating a very similar feature set. Both apps contain a subset of the functionality available in the desktop/Web version. Compared to the iOS version of the LMMP, the Android version provides the additional tools necessary to perform elevation analysis and perimeter/area measurements.

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Continental-Scale Mapping of Adélie Penguin Colonies from Landsat Imagery

Remote sensing is used for biological conservation. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Adélie penguin has a circum-Antarctic distribution and is widely considered a useful indicator of status and change in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems. Breeding distribution of the Adélie penguin was surveyed with Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) over the entire continent of Antarctica. An algorithm was designed to minimize radiometric noise and to retrieve Adélie penguin colony location and spatial extent from the ETM+ data. In all, 259 ETM+ scenes were selected from the Lansdat archive from the 1999–2003 era and were used in the retrieval. Pixel clustering identified a total of 244 individual Adélie penguin colonies, ranging in size from a single pixel (900 m2) to a maximum of 875 pixels (0.788 km2). The Landsat retrievals successfully located Adélie penguin colonies that accounted for ≈96 to 97% of the regional population used as ground truth, with errors of omission and commission on the order of only 1 to 2%.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Environmental Monitoring, Photonics

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Photogrammetric-Based Pose Initialization and Propagation for Inertial Navigation Systems

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The purpose of the Pose Initialization and Propagation (PIP) system is to provide an absolute navigational solution (position, velocity, and attitude) to a moving vehicle without using GPS. This was developed as a navigation system for rocket launches in a GPS-denied environment, but it is applicable to a variety of moving vehicles. It was designed to be integrated with JPL’s Terrain Relative Navigation system as a test of the Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) system. It was successfully used by JPL on Masten Space Systems’ Xombie vehicle in 2014.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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Multi-Channel Laser Absorption Spectrometer for Combustion Product Monitoring

This instrument can detect fires associated with electrical wiring and electronics packaging materials. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Tunable laser absorption spectrometer (TLAS) sensors enable gas monitoring with high accuracy and gas specificity, and can be optimized for continuous, maintenance-free operation on long-duration manned spacecraft missions. This innovation is a portable, five-channel TLAS instrument designed to continuously monitor ambient concentrations of carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen fluoride, and carbon dioxide, with low-level detection limits below the standard spacecraft maximum allowable concentrations. Monitoring of these particular hazardous compounds allows tracking of ambient conditions and enables detection of fires associated with electrical wiring and electronics packaging materials.

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Disturbance-Free, High-Resolution Imaging from Space

Telecommunication satellites, astrophysical imaging, remote sensing, surveillance, and reconnaissance from space could all benefit from this innovation. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California All imaging systems from space are affected by disturbances originating in the spacecraft in the form of mechanical noise from thruster and reaction/momentum wheels, and sensor noise. A drag-free system is truly unaffected by any disturbances, as it is in pure freefall. Hence, leveraging drag-free technology can provide a quantum leap in improvement for spaceborne imaging systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Photonics

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