Special Coverage


Computation of Wing Deflection and Slope from Measured Strain

Patent-pending methodology computes detailed wing loads during actual flight. Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California A lightweight, robust fiber-optic system is the technology behind a new method to compute wing deflection and slope from measured strain of an aircraft. This state-of-the-art sensor system is small, easy to install, and fast, and offers the first-ever means of obtaining real-time strain measurements that can accurately determine wing deflection and slope during flight. Such measurements are particularly useful for real-time virtual displays of wing motion, aircraft structural integrity monitoring, active drag reduction, active flexible motion control, and active loads alleviation.

Posted in: Motion Control, Measuring Instruments, Aviation, Articles, Briefs, Aeronautics


Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast System for Traffic Situational Awareness

Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California An integrated communications and control system for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) utilizes automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) technology. The prime objective of this system is to address safety concerns related to UAS sharing airspace with traditional aircraft. This system is capable of real-time traffic and weather updates in three-dimensional trajectories, and can be re-engineered for specific missions and applications.

Posted in: Communications, Articles, Briefs, TSP


E-Textile Antenna Tuning Stitches

This technique can be used to tune a microstrip patch antenna. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A variety of antenna tuning techniques exist for conventionally constructed antenna structures, such that when an antenna is converted from a design to an actual fabricated structure, slight adjustments can be made to the fabricated structure to match the performance expected from the design. For microstrip antenna structures, for example, shorting pins may be added to adjust the resonant frequency of the structure, or the conducting top layer of the antenna may be intentionally constructed in a fashion such that portions of it may be removed in post-production tuning.

Posted in: Communications, Antennas, Articles, Briefs, TSP


Protograph-Based LDPC Bit-Interleaved Coded Modulation

This technique allows relatively simple design of bandwidth-efficient coded modulation systems by concatenating a code, an interleaver, and a modulation mapper. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Bandwidth and power-coded modulation schemes are very desirable for many applications in high-data-rate transmission over a given allocated bandwidth. The goal is to design such coded modulation system for a given throughput with the lowest possible signal-to-noise ratio for not only a channel with additive White Gaussian noise, but those channels that are impaired by fading, a typical channel in wireless communications and even satellite communications where mobiles may use Omni directional antennas.

Posted in: Communications, Articles, Briefs, TSP


Flight Imagery Recorder Locator (FIRLo) and High-Temperature Radome

This technology is applicable to the commercial airline industry for locating “black boxes.” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California LDSD (Low Density Supersonic Decelerator) is a Mars EDL (entry, descent, and landing) Technology Development Project that launches three test vehicles out of the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai. On the test vehicle, most mission science data can be recorded safely on land; however, high-speed and high-resolution imagery cannot be telemetered due to bandwidth constraints. Therefore, all information had to be recorded solely onboard the test vehicle; this unit is called the flight imagery recorder (FIR). A typical commercial airliner “black box” is only capable of recording on the order of gigabytes of data, whereas this work required on the order of terabytes (a few orders of magnitude larger).

Posted in: Imaging, Communications, Articles, Briefs


Multiparty Policy Negotiation Engine

This algorithm forms the basis for reliable, fast, and automatic network communications. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Policy negotiation is the process of determining the “best” communication protocol that satisfies all requirements of all parties involved. The main challenge here is how to reconcile the various (and possibly conflicting) communications protocols used by different parties. The solution must use protocols available to all the parties involved, and should attempt to do so in the best way possible. Which protocols are commonly available, and what the definition of “best” is will be dependent on the parties involved and their individual communications priorities. Developing practical, sound, and automated ways to compose policies is a long-standing problem.

Posted in: Communications, Articles, Briefs


A Continuous-Flow, Microfluidic, Microwave-Assisted Chemical Reactor

The reactor uses a directed 60-GHz source, which may require far less power to observe the same reactivity profiles. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California In industrial synthetic chemistry laboratories, reactions are generally carried out using batch-mode methodologies, stepwise reactions, and purifications to generate a final product. Each step has an associated yield of both the reaction itself and of the final purification that is largely dependent on the procedure being used, and the scientist carrying out the procedure. Continuous-flow reactors are one way of streamlining the process. Furthermore, microwave-enhanced, or microwave-assisted, chemistry has been demonstrated to aid in many of these areas; however, scaling has been a traditional problem with this technique.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Test & Measurement, RF & Microwave Electronics, Articles, Briefs, TSP, Instrumentation