Special Coverage

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
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Improved Digital Map Rendering Method

Software for aeronautics collision avoidance can be used in aerospace satellites, automobiles, scientific research, marine charting systems, and medical devices.

Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California

Data adaptive algorithms are the critically enabling technology for automatic collision avoidance system efforts at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. These Armstrong-developed algorithms provide an extensive and highly efficient encoding process for global-scale digital terrain maps (DTMs) along with a real-time decoding process to locally render map data. Available for licensing, these terrain-mapping algorithms are designed to be easily integrated into an aircraft’s existing onboard computing environment, or into an electronic flight bag (EFB) or mobile device application. In addition to its use within next-generation collision avoidance systems, the software can be adapted for use in a wide variety of applications, including aerospace satellites, automobiles, scientific research, marine charting systems, and medical devices.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Mathematical models, Aircraft displays, Architecture, Terrain, Collision avoidance systems

Interactive Diagnostic Modeling Evaluator

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

NASA’s Ames Research Center has developed an interactive diagnostic modeling evaluator (i-DME) tool to aid in modeling for noise and lag in the data and debugging of system models when fault detection, isolation, and recovery results are incorrect. i-DME is designed to dramatically speed up the modeling debugging process. Often what hinders human-led model developments are 1) the sheer size of playback files, 2) the modeling for noise and lag in the data, and 3) debugging the fault/test relationships in the model. To alleviate these problems, i-DME can automatically play back very large data sets to find time points of interest where userset performance criteria for detection and isolation are violated. i-DME modifies the diagnostic model through its abstract representation, diagnostic matrix (D-matrix). The types of modifications are procedures ranging from modifying 0s and 1s in the D-matrix, adding/removing the rows/columns, or modifying test/wrapper logic used to determine test results. This software has the capacity to be applied to any complex system for navigation or generation of large amounts of complex data to identify, prioritize, and resolve errors in a self-correcting manner.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Scale models, Computer software and hardware, On-board diagnostics, On-board diagnostics (OBD)

High-Fidelity 3D Electromagnetic (E&M) Propagation Modeling Tools

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

For a future potential radar sounder mission to small celestial bodies like comets and asteroids, it is important to understand the interaction between propagating waves and interior geophysical structures. In general, it is not easy to build a software model capable of handling relevant dimensions with high numerical accuracy. Researchers often rely on a scaled-down model that cannot fully represent physical phenomena.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer simulation, Radar, Spacecraft

What's the Right 3D Printing Technology - FDM or Polyjet?

Fused deposition modeling (FDM®) and PolyJet® are two of the most advanced and effective additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing technologies available. They span the range from budget-friendly, desktop modeling devices to large-format, factory-floor equipment that draw from the capital expenditure budget, and can produce a range of output from precise, finely detailed models to durable production goods. While there is crossover in applications and advantages, these two technology platforms remain distinct and bring different benefits. Understanding the differences is the baseline for selecting the right technology for your application, demands and constraints.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Electronics & Computers, Software

System and Method for Transferring Telemetry Data Between a Ground Station and a Control Center

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) employs many advanced innovations developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and in collaboration with other organizations. The applications and benefits for these technologies are advantageous for many other industries as well. One of those technologies is the Space Link Extension Return Channel Frames (SLE-RCF) software library. This software library enables a mission control center to receive telemetry frames from a ground station. The technology implements the SLE-RCF protocol as defined by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS). Software routines can be reused from mission to mission.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software, Communication protocols, Data exchange, Satellite communications, Telemetry

Method and Apparatus for Generating Flight-Optimizing Trajectories

Flight path and altitude modifications are pre-cleared of potential conflicts with other known airplane traffic, weather hazards, and airspace restrictions.

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

NASA’s Langley Research Center is developing Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR). TASAR features a cockpit automation system that monitors for potential flight trajectory improvements and displays them to the pilot. These wind-optimized flight trajectory changes are pre-cleared of potential conflicts with other known airplane traffic, weather hazards, and airspace restrictions. The TASAR is to improve the process in which pilots request flight path and altitude modifications due to changing flight conditions. Changes may be made to reduce flight time, increase fuel efficiency, or improve some other flight attribute desired by the operator. Currently, pilots make such requests to air traffic control (ATC) with limited awareness of what is happening around them. Consequently, some of these requests will be denied resulting in no flight improvements and an unnecessary workload increase for both pilots and ATC. The TASAR technology provides pilots with recommended flight path and altitude improvements that are more likely to be approved by ATC.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Trajectory control, Displays, Air traffic control

Systems, Methods, and Apparatus for Developing and Maintaining Evolving Systems with Software Product Lines

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Physical manufacturers have been taking advantage of mass manufacturing ideas for a long time, increasing their productivity, cutting their costs, and ensuring the quality and uniformity of their products. Now, this idea is being applied to software production so the same benefits can be reaped in that field.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware, Productivity

Team Electronic Gameplay Combining Different Means of Control

Applications include biofeedback equipment, physical therapy, athletic training, and mind-body medicine.

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a technology at the forefront of a new generation of computer and video game environments that trains valuable mental skills, beyond eye-hand coordination, for the personal improvement, not just the diversion, of the user.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware, Human machine interface (HMI), Reaction and response times, Education, Education and training

The K Development Language

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Graphical modeling tools have gained popularity within engineering communities, but such languages are known to suffer from lack of semantics and mathematical rigor. By supporting a graphical language with a textual language, and mapping graphical models to the textual language, one ensures proper unique semantics of the graphical language. In addition, some engineers prefer to express themselves in textual languages not unlike programming languages. This is in part due to the fact that it can be unnecessarily time-consuming to model graphically, and graphical models take up a considerable amount of visual space. As an example, the definition of a function in K may occupy one line of text, whereas in a graphical modeling language, it is not uncommon that such a specification may occupy one page. Finally, it is easier to provide analytical support for a textual language.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Mathematical models, Imaging and visualization, Terminology, Identification

Mission Assurance Systems (MAS) Software Used for Engineering Data Sets Across NASA

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

In the 2006 timeframe NASA’s Constellation Program was looking to address several issues with the way Problem Reporting data had been collected for the Shuttle Program including multiple systems across groups and centers (20+ for Shuttle), inconsistent schemas and processes across systems, difficulty searching within each system, and lack of ability to search across systems. The Program’s goal was to deploy a single new system to be used across the participating groups and centers. The Ames Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) group conducted requirements research into problem reporting across NASA missions (Shuttle, ISS, Mars Exploration Rovers, etc.), centers (JSC, KSC, MSFC, Langley, Armstrong, etc.), and external groups (e.g., the Navy’s SubSafe Program).

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Communication protocols, Computer software and hardware, Data management

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