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Self-Healing Wire Insulation
Thermomechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Response
Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams
High Field Superconducting Magnets
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method
Strat-X
Sonar Inspection Robot System
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Design of the Next-Generation Aircraft Noise Prediction Program (ANOPP2)

This program accurately predicts noise from both current and future concept aircraft and propulsion systems. Community noise has been an ongoing problem for aircraft, and is projected to be a major concern in the future due to increased air traffic. NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP), Integrated Aviation Systems Program (IASP), and Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP) include multi-disciplinary efforts to cultivate new technologies and mature existing technologies from conceptual design to the current airspace system. Specifically, TACP’s Transformational Tools and Technologies (TTT) project focuses on developing new computer-based tools, models, and knowledge that provide a first-of-a-kind capability to analyze and predict performance of new aircraft concepts. Both conventional and unconventional aircraft designs continue to be evaluated, where assessments are performed using aircraft noise prediction and measured data, if available. The accuracy of the assessments, particularly for unconventional aircraft where measurement data is typically nonexistent, relies solely on the prediction. Hence, any comprehensive aircraft noise prediction method must contain the capability for application to new designs, and the reliability to predict outside the current experience base.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics

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The Integrated Minimum Drag Solution: New Wing Design Exponentially Increases Total Aircraft Efficiency

This technology also applies to propulsion systems and turbines. Innovators at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are experimenting with a new wing design that removes adverse yaw and dramatically increases aircraft efficiency by reducing drag. The technology has the potential to significantly increase total aircraft efficiency by optimizing overall aircraft configuration through the reduction in size or removal of the vertical tail, as well as the reduction of structural weight.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics

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X-Plane Communication Toolbox (XPC)

The X-Plane Connect Toolbox is an open-source research tool used to interact with the commercial flight simulator software X-Plane. XPC allows users to control aircraft and receive real-time state information from aircraft simulated in X-Plane using functions written in C, C++, Java, MathWorks’ MATLAB, or Python in real time over the network. This research tool has been used to visualize flight paths, test control algorithms, generate ghost traffic, create third-party autopilot, perform hardware-in-the-loop testing, simulate an active airspace, or generate out-the-window visuals for in-house flight simulation software. Possible applications include active control of an X-Plane simulation, flight visualization, recording states during a flight, or interacting with a mission over UDP.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics

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Terminal Airspace Configuration Scheduler (TACS)

In the current National Airspace System (NAS), there are many airports that are capacity-limited during the busiest parts of the day, and air traffic is expected to increase substantially in the future. NASA and the FAA are looking toward technologies that improve the capacity and efficiency of the NAS. The Terminal Airspace Configuration Scheduler (TACS) algorithms were developed for use in current research simulations for systems analysis of the NAS. These algorithms also could be the basis for new airspace management tools for use in the actual NAS as a means of improving airport arrival capacity through more efficient management of the arrival traffic system.

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace

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Heterogeneous Spacecraft Networks

Heterogeneous Spacecraft Networks (HSNs) are network environments in which spacecraft from different missions and institutions can communicate with each other at a low cost and with low impact on overall system resources. The technology of heterogeneous wireless networks has yet to be extended to space networks, where multiple spacecraft operating with various platforms use wireless technology to communicate. This communication need is growing given the increasing number of small satellites or nanosats being launched. Enabling such communication is significant, because connecting spacecraft offers a multiplier effect, connecting limited-capability spacecraft from small countries and institutions with more established networks that offer the possibility of an abundance of useful information for all concerned. In a growing sector where commercial space is ascending, allowing facile data transfer between a wide variety of space hardware and commercial communication platforms will soon be a necessity.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications

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Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams

Applications include use in CubeSat communications, the spacecraft industry, and in small satellites. NASA has developed a new technology for space optical communications, including communications from the Earth to spacecraft in Earth orbit and in deep space, such as at the Moon and Mars. The innovation changes the architecture of space optical communications so that a new laser beam pointing technology is used to improve optical data transmissions from spacecraft. This technology will detect a signal laser beam and then return a modulated laser beam to the ground terminal or other transmitter station in a new way. This new design can replace current methods that either use a laser together with a pointing, acquisition, and tracking (PAT) procedure in the spacecraft, or a powerful ground-based laser with a retro-reflector in the spacecraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications

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Hybrid Loop Element Design for Enhanced High-Frequency Reflector/Reflectarray Performance

New design enables the shared aperture design approach. The purpose of this invention is to provide a novel, low-loss, dual-band reflectarray element design that is transparent and low-loss across one frequency band (Ka-band in the initial application), and provides the phasing and beam collimation capability across the other band (W-band in the initial application). The surface comprises a periodic lattice of “hybrid loop” reflectarray elements that is phased to collimate a beam in a manner similar to that of a phased array. The reflectarray surface can be designed with arbitrary feed source positioning, which alleviates focal plane line contention between the two bands and enables the shared aperture design approach.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications

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