Tech Briefs

Hybrid Mechanical Electrostatic Actuator for Deformable Mirrors

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama A hybrid mechanical/electrostatic force actuator has been developed for use in deformable mirror applications. Some deformable mirrors, designed to correct errors in optical systems, use electrostatic forces between the flexible mirror surface and a backplane to control the shape of the mirror. Undesirable coupling of voltages used to generate electrostatic forces at various discrete zones on the mirror is a common problem.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

Read More >>

Reconfigurable Structural Joint

Commercial uses include home devices such as exercise machines that need strong structural support, but require low-volume storage. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama This technique allows for rapid joining of reconfigurable structures. Currently, permanent structural joints are made in factory settings or in situ. However, reconfigurable structures require appropriate structural joints that must be made in situ, and must join/disjoin without inflicting any damage on the structure or the joint. The joining/disjoining operation must be rapid and repeatable without damaging the structure.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

Read More >>

Lithium-Ion Battery Technologies with High Energy Density

New lithium-ion technologies are increasing battery safety and reducing cost dramatically. Falcon Electric, Inc., Irwindale, California There is a need to advance the development of high energy density batteries, along with other efficient alternative energy sources. The need for batteries having a higher energy capacity, versus a lower weight, is simple to understand when stated in a battery’s Watt hour per kilogram rating. The focus of this work is on secondary or rechargeable batteries.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

Read More >>

Low-Cost Communications Concept for Smallsats: Opportunistic MSPA

Provides smallsat projects with an affordable means for obtaining routine science downlink, while minimizing the cost to the ground antenna network to implement and operate it. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Multiple Spacecraft Per Antenna (MSPA) techniques have been used for well over a decade to increase the efficient utilization of ground network assets while decreasing the antenna fees allocated to the missions. In the Deep Space Network’s traditional MSPA service, two missions that will be located within the same beam of a ground antenna (e.g., at Mars) can schedule to share the antenna and associated microwave electronics. The antenna, of course, must be equipped with two separate receivers — one for each spacecraft. Applying this MSPA service to more than two spacecraft at a time requires adding receivers. But adding lots of receiver and telemetry processor chains to each antenna to facilitate MSPA for multiple spacecraft within the same beam could prove prohibitively expensive for the Deep Space Network.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

Read More >>

Spatial Standard Observer

An accurate visibility metric is produced with relatively few calculations. This invention relates to the devices and methods for the measurement and/or for the specification of the perceptual intensity of a visual image, or the perceptual distance between a pair of images. Grayscale test and reference images are processed to produce test and reference luminance images. A luminance filter function is convolved with the reference luminance image to produce a local mean luminance reference image. Test and reference contrast images are produced from the local mean luminance reference image and the test and reference luminance images, respectively, and are followed by the application of a contrast sensitivity filter. The resulting images are combined according to mathematical prescriptions to produce a Just Noticeable Difference, JND value, indicative of a Spatial Standard Observer (SSO). Advantages of an SSO include a simple and efficient design that produces an accurate visibility metric with relatively few calculations.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

Read More >>

Use of Selective Oxidation Catalyst for Amperometric Sensing Electrode

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A modified oxidation catalyst material can be used to build a carbon-monoxide-sensing electrode for amperometric sensors to overcome the typical cross-sensitivity of these sensors toward hydrogen. The technology will have applications in the emerging hydrogen fuel cell economy for monitoring traces of carbon monoxide in the fuel feed of hydrogen fuel cells.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

Read More >>

NASA Experiment Designer: A Tool for Running Scientific Workflows

The NASA Experiment Designer (NED) is a client-server application that enables end-to-end support for driving long-running scientific computer simulations such as climate and weather models. The tool provides a friendly, single point of entry for configuring parameters associated with the workflow for model experiments and related preprocessing/postprocessing tasks.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

Read More >>