Special Coverage


Integrated Ground Supported Systems Equation Processor

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) Ground Support System (IGSS) Equation Processor (IEP) allows for the general production of “derived” telemetry products in the Raytheon Eclipse ground system used to support the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project. The IEP works alongside the Raytheon-provided equation-processing system but provides for support of string data types that the existing equation processing does not support. The string data type production is required to support the manipulation of JWST string telemetry data types, and for the production of string data types to produce readable time conversions from a binary value to year, day, hour, minute, second format that can be directly viewed on real-time telemetry display pages. The user writes equation scripts using the Tool Command Language (TCL) and specifies as part of the definition how the equation is triggered and what the results should look like. The TCL scripting language provides for a fully featured programming language to manipulate the string data in any form imaginable.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers



Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Perilog measures the degree of contextual association of large numbers of term pairs in text to produce network models that capture the structure of the text and, by virtue of Perilog’s validated theory of iconicity, the structure of the domains, situations, and concerns expressed by the author of the text. Given alphanumeric representations of any other sequences in which context is meaningful — such as music or generic sequences — Perilog can derive their contextual structure.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers


Build, Assemble, Test (BAT) Planning and Execution Resources Application

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California BAT is a Web-based application used for the assembly and inspection of critical flight and associated ground support hardware for JPL missions that are developed in-house. It is used to capture and communicate data that is unique to a part or assembly that cannot be captured in an engineering drawing or a test procedure. It includes a list of parts and tools, along with specific steps required for building and assembling a piece of hardware.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers


Domain-Engineered Magnesium-Oxide-Doped Lithium Niobate for Lidar-Based Remote Sensing

Current work provides a path to the development of compact, single-frequency, spectroscopically useful laser sources. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland There are several frequency conversion applications associated with lidar-based remote sensing that would benefit from the use of high-quality, complex (i.e., chirped, multi-section, or otherwise modulated) domain-engineered magnesiumoxide- doped lithium niobate (MgO:LN). While congruently melting lithium niobate (CLN) has been explored in detail over the last decades, it is known to be highly susceptible to photorefractive damage, which has limited the achievable performance of some QPM-assisted (quasi phase matching) structures that are commercially available. The demand for high-performance engineered nonlinear optical (NLO) materials, in terms of power handling, efficiency, conversion bandwidth, and accessible wavelength range, has driven the development of high-quality, large-area wafers of MgO:LN. While commercial outlets for these materials exist, there is still a need to expand the achievable performance of these structures (i.e. larger aperture bulk structures, higher efficiency waveguide structures, and implementation of sophisticated poling designs that increase achievable conversion bandwidths).

Posted in: Briefs, Tech Briefs, Photonics


Fiber-Optic Sensor for Aircraft and Structure Lightning Measurement

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia An optical-fiber sensor based on Faraday Effect was developed for measuring total lightning current. Designed for aircraft installation, it is lightweight, non-conducting, structure conforming, and is immune to electromagnetic interference, hysteresis, and saturation. It can also be used on windmills, lightning towers, and can help validate lightning detection network measurements.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Tech Briefs, Photonics


Generating Broadband Terahertz Radiation from Microplasma in Air

Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics have shown that a laser-generated microplasma in air can be used as a source of broadband terahertz radiation. Fabrizio Buccheri and Xi-Cheng Zhang recently demonstrated that an approach for generating terahertz waves using intense laser pulses in air – first pioneered in 1993 – can be done with much lower power lasers, a major challenge until now.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs


Enhancing Neutron Imaging with Grazing Incidence Optics

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama A low-cost optical element was developed specifically for neutron optics applications. The technology operates as a reflective lens — similar to proven grazing incidence optics used for x-ray imaging — and improves neutron imaging resolution for applications using low-energy (<1 electron volt) neutrons.

Posted in: Briefs, Optics