Special Coverage

Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing

Deep Space Network Antenna Logic Controller

The Antenna Logic Controller (ALC) software controls and monitors the motion control equipment of the 4,000- metric-ton structure of the Deep Space Network 70-meter antenna. This program coordinates the control of 42 hydraulic pumps, while monitoring several interlocks for personnel and equipment safety. Remote operation of the ALC runs via the Antenna Monitor & Control (AMC) computer, which orchestrates the tracking functions of the entire antenna.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Antennas, Computer software and hardware, Electronic control systems

Modeling Magnetic Properties in EZTB

A software module that calculates magnetic properties of a semiconducting material has been written for incorporation into, and execution within, the Easy (Modular) Tight-Binding (EZTB) software infrastructure. [EZTB is designed to model the electronic structures of semiconductor devices ranging from bulk semiconductors, to quantum wells, quantum wires, and quantum dots. EZTB implements an empirical tight-binding mathematical model of the underlying physics.]

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Conductivity, Semiconductors

Modeling Carbon and Hydrocarbon Molecular Structures in EZTB

A software module that models the electronic and mechanical aspects of hydrocarbon molecules and carbon molecular structures on the basis of first principles has been written for incorporation into, and execution within, the Easy (Modular) Tight-Binding (EZTB) software infrastructure, which is summarized briefly in the immediately preceding article. Of particular interest, this module can model carbon crystals and nanotubes characterized by various coordinates and containing defects, without need to adjust parameters of the physical model.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Simulation and modeling, Computer software and hardware, Hydrocarbons, Nanomaterials

BigView Image Viewing on Tiled Displays

BigView allows for interactive panning and zooming of images of arbitrary size on desktop PCs running Linux. Additionally, it can work in a multi-screen environment where multiple PCs cooperate to view a single, large image. Using this software, one can explore — on relatively modest machines — images such as the Mars Orbiter Camera mosaic [92,160×33,280 pixels].

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Displays

Rapid Analysis of Mass Distribution of Radiation Shielding

Radiation Shielding Evaluation Toolset (RADSET) is a computer program that rapidly calculates the spatial distribution of mass of an arbitrary structure for use in ray-tracing analysis of the radiation-shielding properties of the structure. RADSET was written to be used in conjunction with unmodified commercial computer-aided design (CAD) software that provides access to data on the structure and generates selected three-dimensional-appearing views of the structure. RADSET obtains raw geometric, material, and mass data on the structure from the CAD software.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Computer software and hardware, Radiation protection, Spacecraft

Software Compensates Electronic-Nose Readings for Humidity

A computer program corrects for the effects of humidity on the readouts of an array of chemical sensors (an “electronic nose”). To enable the use of this program, the array must incorporate an independent humidity sensor in addition to sensors designed to detect analytes other than water vapor. The basic principle of the program was described in “Compensating for Effects of Humidity on Electronic Noses” (NPO- 30615), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 6 (June 2004), page 63. To recapitulate: The output of the humidity sensor is used to generate values that are subtracted from the outputs of the other sensors to correct for contributions of humidity to those readings. Hence, in principle, what remains after corrections are the contributions of the analytes only.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Sensors and actuators, Water

Imaging Sensor Flight and Test Equipment Software

The Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) is one of the components onboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, and was designed to detect and locate lightning over the tropics. The LIS flight code was developed to run on a single onboard digital signal processor, and has operated the LIS instrument since 1997 when the TRMM satellite was launched.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Weather and climate, Satellites

Space Propulsion Design and Analysis

This software provides an improved methodology for predicting launcher base pressure and heat loads for RSRM (Reusable Solid Rocket Motor) launchers by accounting for complex anisotropic stress/ strains and variable turbulent Prandtl and Schmidt numbers. A “building block” approach to turbulence model development, and validation has been applied for improved missile/ launcher base region analysis.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Reusable launch vehicles and shuttles

Processing AIRS Scientific Data Through Level 2

The Atmospheric Infrared Spectrometer (AIRS) Science Processing System (SPS) is a collection of computer programs, denoted product generation executives (PGEs), for processing the readings of the AIRS suite of infrared and microwave instruments orbiting the Earth aboard NASA’s Aqua spacecraft. AIRS SPS at an earlier stage of development was described in “Initial Processing of Infrared Spectral Data” (NPO-35243), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 11 (November 2004), page 39. To recapitulate: Starting from level 0 (representing raw AIRS data), the PGEs and their data products are denoted by alphanumeric labels (1A, 1B, and 2) that signify the successive stages of processing. The cited prior article described processing through level 1B (the level-2 PGEs were not yet operational).

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Imaging and visualization, Data management, Documentation, Spacecraft


PREDICTS is a computer program that predicts the frequencies, as functions of time, of signals to be received by a radio science receiver — in this case, a special-purpose digital receiver dedicated to analysis of signals received by an antenna in NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN). Unlike other software used in the DSN, PREDICTS does not use interpolation early in the calculations; as a consequence, PREDICTS is more precise and more stable. The precision afforded by the other DSN software is sufficient for telemetry; the greater precision afforded by PREDICTS is needed for radio-science experiments. In addition to frequencies as a function of time, PREDICTS yields the rates of change and interpolation coefficients for the frequencies and the beginning and ending times of reception, transmission, and occultation.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Antennas, Computer software and hardware, Reliability

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