Tech Briefs

A Robust, Real-Time Collaboration Technology for Decision Support using Common Operating Picture (COP) Environments

This software provides remote geobrowser control for collaborative decision-making. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi StormCenter Communications, Inc. software takes advantage of cloud computing solutions to solve the growing need for real-time collaboration when accessing a Common Operating Picture (COP) from any device without having to give up all the vital tools and display functionality; all this is performed without disrupting current workflows. A COP is a platform shared by multiple stakeholders to provide a single, identical display of relevant operational information (i.e., mapping information, network operations and cyber security, sensors, weather, critical infrastructure) and tools to mark and manipulate the data. In the era of Big Data and the need for improved decision-making with the presence of multiple stakeholders across different disciplines, collaboration when using a COP is essential to success. This is especially important when dealing with decision-makers who are frequently non-data experts who need to take action immediately based on their situational awareness.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers

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Autonomous Flight Termination System Reference Design Hardware

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida The current range ground-based infrastructure is extremely costly to operate and maintain. NASA has developed an Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) that is an independent, self-contained subsystem mounted onboard a launch vehicle. The AFTS reference system eliminates the need for a ground-based infrastructure by moving the flight termination function from the ground to the launch vehicle. It will allow multiple vehicles to be launched and tracked at the same time. AFTS is necessary to support vehicles that have multiple flyback boosters.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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RoboSimian: Software Algorithms for a Mobile Manipulation Quadruped Robot

This software system has been designed for semi-autonomous operation of the robot. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California RoboSimian, a statically stable quadrupedal robot capable of both dexterous manipulation and versatile mobility in difficult terrain, was built to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge, a competitive effort to develop hardware and software in the area of mobile manipulation platforms to assist humans in responding to natural and manmade disasters.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Robot Task Commander with Extensible Programming Environment

This application can be used in programming robotic systems in real-world environments such as factory floors and disaster sites. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas As robotic systems are expected to perform complex tasks, system developers require tools for application programming that are more advanced than the current state of the art. Robot application programs need to allow the system to respond to different, and possibly unforeseen, situations either autonomously or by enabling operators to modify these programs quickly in the field.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Multi-Spacecraft Autonomous Positioning System/Network-Based Navigation

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Current deep spacecraft rely heavily on ground-based navigation and tracking for state measurement. The requirement for long ground navigation passes, coupled with analysis support, produces a large latency for updating a vehicle’s state. As the current infrastructure continues to age and is increasingly utilized, the capability for these observations will also be diminished.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Heading Versus Tilt Chart for Assessing HGA Occlusion and Flop Risk in MSL Operations

This approach is useful for rovers on Mars or other celestial bodies to point the antenna toward the Earth to transmit data without obstructions to the tracking stations. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) high-gain antenna (HGA) sits low on the deck, leaving the sky occluded in many directions by other parts of the rover. Each drive must end with the rover at a heading where the Earth will be unoccluded during the next HGA communications pass. This is a multidimensional problem that can take considerable time to assess in detail. For a portion of heading/tilt space, the Earth track starts outside joint limits for one kinematic pointing solution, and ends outside joint limits for the other. Tracking would either stop at the joint limit, or go off Earth point (“flop”) in the middle of the pass in order to change kinematic solutions to complete the pass. Special attention to uplink must be made when a drive ends at a heading where there is risk of a flop.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Rapid Forest Triage by Sub-Canopy Micro Air Vehicles

Applications include rapid assessment of biomass for commercial forestry and carbon offsets. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Today, tree distribution maps can only be generated manually in a very time-consuming process, and real-time microclimate mapping of a large 3D volume under tree canopy is not possible. A prototype small quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system was developed that is able to maneuver in cluttered environments like forests, and under tree canopy to map tree distributions from 3D point clouds gathered from an onboard stereo vision system. The UAV uses a small onboard sensor board to record micro-climate parameters during flight.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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