Special Coverage

Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
Method of Bonding Dissimilar Materials
Sonar Inspection Robot System
Applying the Dynamic Inertia Measurement Method to Full-Scale Aerospace Vehicles
Method and Apparatus for Measuring Surface Air Pressure
Fully Premixed, Low-Emission, High-Pressure, Multi-Fuel Burner
Self-Healing Wire Insulation
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Improving UDP/IP Transmission Without Increasing Congestion

Datagram Retransmission (DGR) is a computer program that, within certain limits, ensures the reception of each datagram transmitted under the User Datagram Protocol/Internet Protocol. [User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is considered unreliable because it does not involve a reliability- ensuring connection-initiation dialogue between sender and receiver. UDP is well suited to issuing of many small messages to many different receivers.] Unlike prior software for ensuring reception of UDP datagrams, DGR does not contribute to network congestion by retransmitting data more frequently as an ever-increasing number of messages and acknowledgements is lost. Instead, DGR does just the opposite: DGR includes an adaptive timeout- interval-computing component that provides maximum opportunity for reception of acknowledgements, minimizing retransmission. By monitoring changes in the rate at which message-transmission transactions are completed, DGR detects changes in the level of congestion and responds by imposing varying degrees of delay on the transmission of new messages. In addition, DGR maximizes throughput by not waiting for acknowledgement of a message before sending the next message. All DGR communication is asynchronous, to maximize efficient utilization of network connections. DGR manages multiple concurrent datagram transmission and acknowledgement conversations.

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FORTRAN Versions of Reformulated HFGMC Codes

Several FORTRAN codes have been written to implement the reformulated version of the high-fidelity generalized method of cells (HFGMC). Various aspects of the HFGMC and its predecessors were described in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, the most recent being “HFGMC Enhancement of MAC/GMC” (LEW-17818-1), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 30, No. 3 (March 2006), page 34. The HFGMC is a mathematical model of micromechanics for simulating stress and strain responses of fiber/matrix and other composite materials. The HFGMC overcomes a major limitation of a prior version of the GMC by accounting for coupling of shear and normal stresses and thereby affords greater accuracy, albeit at a large computational cost. In the reformulation of the HFGMC, the issue of computational efficiency was addressed: as a result, codes that implement the reformulated HFGMC complete their calculations about 10 times as fast as do those that implement the HFGMC. The present FORTRAN implementations of the reformulated HFGMC were written to satisfy a need for compatibility with other FORTRAN programs used to analyze structures and composite materials. The FORTRAN implementations also afford capabilities, beyond those of the basic HFGMC, for modeling inelasticity, fiber/matrix debonding, and coupled thermal, mechanical, piezo, and electromagnetic effects.

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Program for Editing Spacecraft Command Sequences

Sequence Translator, Editor, and Expander Resource (STEER) is a computer program that facilitates construction of sequences and blocks of sequences (hereafter denoted generally as sequence products) for commanding a spacecraft. STEER also provides mechanisms for translating among various sequence product types and quickly expanding activities of a given sequence in chronological order for review and analysis of the sequence. To date, construction of sequence products has generally been done by use of such clumsy mechanisms as text-editor programs, translating among sequence product types has been challenging, and expanding sequences to time-ordered lists has involved arduous processes of converting sequence products to “real” sequences and running them through Class-A software (defined, loosely, as flight and ground software critical to a spacecraft mission). Also, heretofore, generating sequence products in standard formats has been troublesome because precise formatting and syntax are required. STEER alleviates these issues by providing a graphical user interface containing intuitive fields in which the user can enter the necessary information. The STEER expansion function provides a “quick and dirty” means of seeing how a sequence and sequence block would expand into a chronological list, without need to use of Class-A software.

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Flight-Tested Prototype of BEAM Software

software prototype of BEAM (Beaconbased Exception Analysis for Multimissions) and successfully tested its operation in flight onboard a NASA research aircraft. BEAM (see NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 26, No. 9; and Vol. 27, No. 3) is an ISHM (Integrated Systems Health Management) technology that automatically analyzes sensor data and classifies system behavior as either nominal or anomalous, and further characterizes anomalies according to strength, duration, and affected signals. BEAM (see figure) can be used to monitor a wide variety of physical systems and sensor types in real time. In this series of tests, BEAM monitored the engines of a Dryden Flight Research Center F-18 aircraft, and performed onboard, unattended analysis of 26 engine sensors from engine startup to shutdown. The BEAM algorithm can detect anomalies based solely on the sensor data, which includes but is not limited to sensor failure, performance degradation, incorrect operation such as unplanned engine shutdown or flameout in this example, and major system faults. BEAM was tested on an F- 18 simulator, static engine tests, and 25 individual flights totaling approximately 60 hours of flight time. During these tests, BEAM successfully identified planned anomalies (in-flight shutdowns of one engine) as well as minor unplanned anomalies (e.g., transient oiland fuel-pressure drops), with no false alarms or suspected false-negative results for the period tested. BEAM also detected previously unknown behavior in the F-18 compressor section during several flights. This result, confirmed by direct analysis of the raw data, serves as a significant test of BEAM’s capability.Top-Level BEAM Architecture is used for monitoring physical systems in real time.

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Mission Scenario Development Workbench

The Mission Scenario Development Workbench (MSDW) is a multidisciplinary performance analysis software tool for planning and optimizing space missions. It provides a number of new capabilities that are particularly useful for planning the surface activities on other planets. MSDW enables rapid planning of a space mission and supports flight-system and scientific- instrumentation trades. It also provides an estimate of the ability of flight, ground, and science systems to meet high-level mission goals and provides means of evaluating expected mission performance at an early stage of planning in the project life cycle. In MSDW, activity plans and equipment-list spreadsheets are integrated with validated parameterized simulation models of spacecraft systems. In contrast to traditional approaches involving worst-case estimates with large margins, the approach embodied in MSDW affords more flexibility and more credible results early in the lifecycle through the use of validated, variable-fidelity models of spacecraft systems. MSDW is expected to help maximize the scientific return on investment for space missions by understanding early the performance required to have a successful mission while reducing the risk of costly design changes made at late stages in the project life cycle.

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Marsviewer

Marsviewer is a multi-platform application designed to aid in quality control, browsing, and analysis of original science product images (Experiment Data Records, or EDRs) and derived image data products (Reduced Data Records, or RDRs) returned by the Mars Explorer Rover (MER) mission. Marsviewer offers an abstraction of the products’ organization via a “file finder.” For example, the application “understands” the file structure and filename conventions of the MER Operational Storage Server, helping the user to navigate this complex file system to find desired images. Marsviewer also works with a flat file system, remote-operations file systems, image-archive file systems, and others. All EDRs found for a given solar day (Sol) are displayed in a list, optionally with thumbnail images. Once the user selects an image from the list, a tabbed pane conveniently displays the original source image and all associated RDRs. Marsviewer provides the option of overlaying derived images upon the source image, resulting in an easier-to-interpret color representation of the data. Display manipulations such as zoom, data range adjustment, contrast enhancement, and contour control are available. Image metadata (labels) from the current image can be displayed and searched. The architecture of the program is extensible: new types of RDRs can be installed and new file finders can be added to adapt the program to different file structures and different filename conventions. This keeps the application flexible and provides an opportunity for reuse with future rover missions.

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Tool for Analysis and Reduction of Scientific Data

The Automated Virtual Laboratory Tool (AVLT) is designed to be an intelligent scientific analysis assistant (SAA) system, dedicated to facilitating analysis and reduction of data collected by spaceborne scientific instruments. Within the SAA, a variety of conventional and artificial-intelligence software tools are integrated into a uniform system architecture. The AVLT interfaces with the user through a sophisticated graphical user interface that is part of the SAA environment. Functions of the AVLT include the following:

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