Special Coverage

Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
High-Precision Electric Gate for Time-of-Flight Ion Mass Spectrometers
Polyimide Wire Insulation Repair System
Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine
Aerofoam
Wet Active Chevron Nozzle for Controllable Jet Noise Reduction
Magnetic Relief Valve
Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
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Partial Automation of Requirements Tracing

Requirements Tracing on Target (RETRO) is software for after-the-fact tracing of textual requirements to support independent verification and validation of software. RETRO applies one of three user-selectable information-retrieval techniques: (1) term frequency/inverse document frequency (TF/IDF) vector retrieval, (2) TF/IDF vector retrieval with simple thesaurus, or (3) keyword extraction. One component of RETRO is the graphical user interface (GUI) for use in initiating a requirements-tracing project (a pair of artifacts to be traced to each other, such as a requirements spec and a design spec). Once the artifacts have been specified and the IR technique chosen, another component constructs a representation of the artifact elements and stores it on disk.

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Automated Synthesis of Architectures of Avionic Systems

The Architecture Synthesis Tool (AST) is software that automatically synthesizes software and hardware architectures of avionic systems. The AST is expected to be most helpful during initial formulation of an avionic-system design, when system requirements change frequently and manual modification of architecture is time-consuming and susceptible to error. The AST comprises two parts: (1) an architecture generator, which utilizes a genetic algorithm to create a multitude of architectures; and (2) a functionality evaluator, which analyzes the architectures for viability, rejecting most of the non-viable ones. The functionality evaluator generates and uses a viability tree — a hierarchy representing functions and components that perform the functions such that the system as a whole performs system-level functions representing the requirements for the system as specified by a user. Architectures that survive the functionality evaluator are further evaluated by the selection process of the genetic algorithm. Architectures found to be most promising to satisfy the user’s requirements and to perform optimally are selected as parents to the next generation of architectures. The foregoing process is iterated as many times as the user desires. The final output is one or a few viable architectures that satisfy the user’s requirements.

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SSRL Emergency Response Shore Tool

The SSRL Emergency Response Shore Tool (wherein “SSRL” signifies “Smart Systems Research Laboratory”) is a computer program within a system of communication and mobile-computing software and hardware being developed to increase the situational awareness of first responders at building collapses. This program is intended for use mainly in planning and constructing shores to stabilize partially collapsed structures. The program consists of client and server components, runs in the Windows operating system on commercial off-the-shelf portable computers, and can utilize such additional hardware as digital cameras and Global Positioning System devices.

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PixelLearn

PixelLearn is an integrated user-interface computer program for classifying pixels in scientific images. Heretofore, training a machine-learning algorithm to classify pixels in images has been tedious and difficult. PixelLearn provides a graphical user interface that makes it faster and more intuitive, leading to more interactive exploration of image data sets. PixelLearn also provides image-enhancement controls to make it easier to see subtle details in images. PixelLearn opens images or sets of images in a variety of common scientific file formats and enables the user to interact with several supervised or unsupervised machine-learning pixel-classifying algorithms while the user continues to browse through the images. The machinelearning algorithms in PixelLearn use advanced clustering and classification methods that enable accuracy much higher than is achievable by most other software previously available for this purpose. PixelLearn is written in portable C++ and runs natively on computers running Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X.

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New Software for Predicting Charging of Spacecraft

The NASA/Air Force Spacecraft Charging System Analyzer Program (Nascap-2K) is a comprehensive update, revision, and extension of several NASA and Air Force codes for predicting electrical charging of spacecraft. Nascap-2K integrates the capabilities and models included in four independent programs: NASCAP/LEO for low-Earth orbits, NASCAP/GEO for geosynchronous orbits, POLAR for auroral charging in polar orbits, and DynaPAC (Dynamic Plasma Analysis Code) for time-dependent plasma interactions. While each of the earlier codes works well for the range of problems for which it was designed, by today’s standards these codes are difficult to learn, cumbersome to use, and overly restrictive in their geometric modeling capabilities. Nascap-2K incorporates these models into a single software package that includes spacecraft surface modeling, spatial gridding, environmental specifications, calculating scripting, and post-processing analysis and visualization. The provided material properties database includes values from earlier programs as well as values from recent measurements. Development of Nascap-2K continues with future capabilities to include interactions with dense plasma such as those produced by electric propulsion.

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Conversion Between Osculating and Mean Orbital Elements

Osculating/Mean Orbital Element Conversion (C version) (OSMEANC) is a C-language computer program that performs precise conversions between osculating and mean classical orbital elements. OSMEANC can be used for precise design of spacecraft missions and maneuvers and precise calculation of planetary orbits. The program accounts for the full complexity of gravitational fields, including aspherical and third-body effects. In comparison with prior software used for the same purposes, OSMEANC offers greater accuracy in conversion: By virtue of inclusion of high-order gravitational and third-body effects, variations in semimajor axes are calculated to meter-level accuracy. OSMEANC is delivered as a callable shared library. It can be built for any platform with a C compiler. The user interface is via a Python-language wrapper script that can be replaced by the user. OSMEANC is mature and is the product of a significant upgrade from a Fortran version that has been in use since 1991.

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Generating a 2D Representation of a Complex Data Structure

A computer program, designed to assist in the development and debugging of other software, generates a two-dimensional (2D) representation of a possibly complex ndimensional (where n is an integer >2) data structure or abstract rank-n object in that other software. The nature of the 2D representation is such that it can be displayed on a non-graphical output device and distributed by non-graphical means. The purpose served by this representation is to assist the user in visualizing and understanding the complex data structure or arbitrarily dimensioned object. This is the only known program that enables a programmer to map an n-dimensional data structure to a flat 2D space. This program does not depend upon the hardware characteristics of a particular output device, and can be executed on a variety of computers from different manufacturers. It can be distributed in source-code or binary-code form. It requires a Lisp compiler. It has no specific memory requirements and depends upon the other software with which it is used and application programs running in it. This software is implemented as a library that is called by, and becomes folded into, the developmental other software.

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