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Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster
Precision Assembly of Systems on Surfaces (PASS)
Development of a Novel Electrospinning System with Automated Positioning and Control Software
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
Clamshell Sampler
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter
Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) for Planetary Surfaces
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Modified Polar-Format Software for Processing SAR Data

HMPF is a computer program that implements a modified polar-format algorithm for processing data from spaceborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) systems. Unlike prior polar-format processing algorithms, this algorithm is based on the assumption that the radar signal wavefronts are spherical rather than planar. The algorithm provides for resampling of SAR pulse data from slant range to radial distance from the center of a reference sphere that is nominally the local Earth surface. Then, invoking the projection-slice theorem, the resampled pulse data are Fourier-transformed over radial distance, arranged in the wavenumber domain according to the acquisition geometry, resampled to a Cartesian grid, and inverse-Fourier-transformed. The result of this process is the focused SAR image. HMPF, and perhaps other programs that implement variants of the algorithm, may give better accuracy than do prior algorithms for processing strip-map SAR data from high altitudes and may give better phase preservation relative to prior polar-format algorithms for processing spotlight-mode SAR data.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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e-Stars Template Builder

e-Stars Template Builder is a computer program that implements a concept of enabling users to rapidly gain access to information on projects of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The information about a given project is not stored in a data base, but rather, in a network that follows the project as it develops. e-Stars Template Builder resides on a server computer, using Practical Extraction and Reporting Language (PERL) scripts to create what are called “e-STARS node templates,” which are software constructs that allow for project-specific configurations. The software resides on the server and does not require specific software on the user machine except for an Internet browser. A user’s computer need not be equipped with special software (other than an Internet- browser program). e-Stars Template Builder is compatible with Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX operating systems. A user invokes e-Stars Template Builder from a browser window. Operations that can be performed by the user include the creation of child processes and the addition of links and descriptions of documentation to existing pages or nodes. By means of this addition of “child processes” of nodes, a network that reflects the development of a project is generated.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Software for Acoustic Rendering

SLAB is a software system that can be run on a personal computer to simulate an acoustic environment in real time. SLAB was developed to enable computational experimentation in which one can exert low-level control over a variety of signalprocessing parameters, related to spatialization, for conducting psycho- acoustic studies. Among the parameters that can be manipulated are the number and position of reflections, the fidelity (that is, the number of taps in finite-impulse-response filters), the system latency, and the update rate of the filters. Another goal in the development of SLAB was to provide an inexpensive means of dynamic synthesis of virtual audio over headphones, without need for specialpurpose signal-processing hardware. SLAB has a modular, object-oriented design that affords the flexibility and extensibility needed to accommodate a variety of computational experiments and signal-flow structures. SLAB’s spatial renderer has a fixed signal-flow architecture corresponding to a set of parallel signal paths from each source to a listener. This fixed architecture can be regarded as a compromise that optimizes efficiency at the expense of complete flexibility. Such a compromise is necessary, given the design goal of enabling computational psychoacoustic experimentation on inexpensive personal computers.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Functionally Graded Nanophase Beryllium/Carbon Composites

The main advantage, relative to Co/WC/diamond composites, is less weight. Beryllium, beryllium alloys, beryllium carbide, and carbon are the ingredients of a class of nanophase Be/Be2C/C composite materials that can be formulated and functionally graded to suit a variety of applications. In a typical case, such a composite consists of a first layer of either pure beryllium or a beryllium alloy, a second layer of B2C, and a third layer of nanophase sintered carbon derived from fullerenes and nanotubes. The three layers are interconnected through interpenetrating spongelike structures.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Thin Thermal-Insulation Blankets for Very High Temperatures

One blanket would have about the thickness of several sheets of paper. Thermal-insulation blankets of a proposed type would be exceptionally thin and would endure temperatures up to 2,100 °C. These blankets were originally intended to protect components of the NASA Solar Probe spacecraft against radiant heating at its planned closest approach to the Sun (a distance of 4 solar radii). These blankets could also be used on Earth to provide thermal protection in special applications (especially in vacuum chambers) for which conventional thermal-insulation blankets would be too thick or would not perform adequately.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Foam Sensor Structures Would Be Self-Deployable and Survive Hard Landings

A document proposes systems of sensors encased in cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) structures for exploring remote planets. The CHEM concept was described in two prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, including “Cold Hibernated Elastic Memory (CHEM) Expandable Structures” (NPO-20394), Vol. 23, No. 2 (February 1999), page 56 and “Solar Heating for Deployment of Foam Structures” (NPO-20961), Vol. 25, No. 10 (October 2001), page 36. To recapitulate: Lightweight structures that can be compressed for storage and later expanded, then rigidified for use are made from foams of shape-memory polymers (SMPs). According to the instant proposal, a CHEM sensor structure would be fabricated at full size from SMP foam at a temperature below its glass-transition temperature (Tg). It would then be heated above Tg and compacted to a small volume, then cooled below Tg and kept below Tg during launch, flight, and landing. At landing, the inelastic yielding of the rigid compacted foam would absorb impact energy, thereby enabling the structure to survive the landing. The structure would then be solar heated above Tg, causing it to revert to its original size and shape. Finally, the structure would be rigidified by cooling it below Tg by the cold planetary or space environment. Besides surviving hard landing, this sensor system will provide a soft, stick-at-the-impact- site landing to access scientifically and commercially interesting sites, including difficult and hard-to-reach areas.

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Real-Gas Effects on Binary Mixing Layers

This paper presents a computational study of real-gas effects on the mean flow and temporal stability of heptane/ nitrogen and oxygen/ hydrogen mixing layers at supercritical pressures. These layers consist of two counter- flowing free streams of different composition, temperature, and density. As in related prior studies reported in NASA Tech Briefs, the governing conservation equations were the Navier-Stokes equations of compressible flow plus equations for the conservation of total energy and of chemicalspecies masses. In these equations, the expressions for heat fluxes and chemicalspecies mass fluxes were derived from fluctuation-dissipation theory and incorporate Soret and Dufour effects. Similarity equations for the streamwise velocity, temperature, and mass fractions were derived as approximations to the governing equations. Similarity profiles showed important real-gas, non-ideal-mixture effects, particularly for temperature, in departing from the error-function profile, which is the similarity solution for incompressible flow. The temperature behavior was attributed to real-gas thermodynamics and variations in Schmidt and Prandtl numbers. Temporal linear inviscid stability analyses were performed using the similarity and error-function profiles as the mean flow. For the similarity profiles, the growth rates were found to be larger and the wavelengths of highest instability shorter, relative to those of the error-function profiles and to those obtained from incompressible-flow stability analysis. The range of unstable wavelengths was found to be larger for the similarity profiles than for the error-function profiles.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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