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Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams
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Development of Free Molecule Flow Equations from a Transient, Asymmetric Source

Molecular flow model is explored as a tool to describe an unusual variety of plume interaction issues. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The analysis and simulation of gases expanding from sources such as rocket nozzles into vacuum, or the effects plumes from these sources create when they interact with solid surfaces, present a considerable challenge to the scientific and engineering communities. As a plume expands into vacuum, density levels, and hence collision rates, decrease rapidly by many orders of magnitude. The main difficulty lies in accurately describing a flow field extending from continuum flow at the nozzle exit, through the transition regime, and reaching free molecule behavior within a relatively short distance downstream. For thrusters, flow at the nozzle exit is usually characterized by high exit velocities and relatively high Mach numbers. Even in regions where significant intermolecular collision rates occur, relative velocity levels are low, and little thermal scattering occurs normal to the mainly radial streamlines. Such observations lead one to consider describing the expansion under certain circumstances using free molecule theory.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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iPhone App to Facilitate Airborne Radar Operations

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) is an Earth imaging radar that flies on a Gulf-Stream Jet. Its mission is to collect data for NASA scientists who are using Synthetic Aperture Radar to develop methods for monitoring changes in the Earth’s surface. As with many other technologies, there is always the possibility of technological or human errors. Since smartphones are mobile, common, and powerful devices, they can be used to reduce the possibility of operator error when the radar is being configured for flight.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software

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Spherical Empirical Mode Decomposition

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The spherical empirical mode decomposition algorithm is an adaptation in the spherical space of the 2D empirical mode decomposition in Euclidian space. This algorithm is a signal analysis method for any spherical data, such as orbital measurements. The two primary advantages of this innovation are the absence of edge effects in the results, and the computational efficiency of the processing.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Database Design for Storing Software Entity Metadata, User Identification, and License Terms

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The NASA Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) specification cites a plan for an application repository, similar to an “app store,” but with a wide variety of licensing restrictions on access to different applications, and even different parts of an application package (for instance, wide access to descriptive documentation but limited access to source code). A method is needed to coordinate application artifact storage, license terms, and user access rights.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Software

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Geometry Manipulation Protocol for CFD Applications, V1.0

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Geometry Manipulation Protocol (GMP) is a library that serializes data types between XML and ANSI C data structures to support computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applications. This library currently provides a description of geometric configurations, general moving-body scenarios (prescribed and/or 6-DOF), and control surface settings. The interface consists of a general set of datatypes, along with rules for their interaction, and is designed to be flexible in order to evolve as future needs dictate. The specification is currently implemented with an XML file format, which is portable across platforms and applications. The motion specification is capable of describing general rigid body motions, and eliminates the need to write and compile new code within the application software for each dynamic configuration, allowing client software to automate dynamic simulations.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software

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Web Application: Ground Hardware Management Tool

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida An integrated ground support equipment (GSE) tracking and management tool is designed for tracking and managing GSE data used in support of KSC/Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) planning and launch campaigns. This software (the Ground Hardware Management Tool, GHMT) will be fully integrated with the Ground Operations Planning Database (GOPDb) to provide a complete ground operations planning solution.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software

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Bird Vision System

This system is applicable to commercial airports and military airfields where the likelihood of bird strikes is high, and for environmental studies. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida About 2.5 seconds after the launch of STS-114, the first Return to Flight launch after the Columbia accident, a large bird struck the external tank and fell into the exhaust plume. While this particular bird strike did not threaten the vehicle because it did not strike the orbiter, it did raise awareness of the threat of avian fauna present at launch. In response to the avian threat, a Bird Radar system was developed to detect birds above the launch pad. Because of interference with launch systems, the radar system could not span closer than a few hundred feet above the pad. There was a gap region that would not be visible with the radar.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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