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

Computer Aided Design of Suspension Mechanisms

Automobile suspension mechanisms have to date been designed using two-dimensional graphic oriented methods. Computer-aided design has allowed many two-dimensional mechanisms to be designed much more accurately. However, this has not translated to suspension mechanisms because these mechanisms are not two-dimensional but instead three-dimensional.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Software, Test & Measurement
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Software Framework for Control and Observation in Distributed Environments (CODE)

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

CODE is a framework for control and observation in distributed environments. The framework enables the observation of resources (computer systems, storage systems, networks, and so on), services (database servers, application execution, servers, file transfer servers, and so on), and applications. Further, the framework provides support for the secure and scalable transmission of this observed information to programs that are interested in it. The framework also supports the secure execution of actions on remote computer systems so that a management program can respond to the observed data that it receives. To assist in writing management programs, the framework interfaces to an existing expert system so that a user can define a set of rules for the expert system to reason on, instead of writing a large amount of code. The framework is modular and can be easily extended to incorporate new sensors to make observations, new actuators to perform actions, new communication protocols, and new security mechanisms. The software also includes several applications that show how the framework can be used.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Communication protocols, Computer software and hardware
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Simple RunTime eXecutive (SRTX)

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

Simple RunTime eXecutive (SRTX) software provides scheduling and publish/subscribe data transfer services. The scheduler allows dynamic allocation of real-time periodic and asynchronous tasks across homogeneous multi core/multiprocessor systems. Most real-time systems assign tasks to specific cores on an a priori basis. Allowing the operating system scheduler to determine the best allocation of threads is not a unique innovation. However, it is coupled with a deterministic publish/subscribe data transfer system that guarantees the tasks process data deterministically, regardless of the number of processor cores in the system.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware, Data management
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v-Anomica: A Fast Support Vector-Based Novelty Detection Technique

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Outlier or anomaly detection refers to the task of identifying abnormal or inconsistent patterns from a dataset. While they may seem to be undesirable entities, identifying them has many potential applications in fraud and intrusion detection, medical research, and safety-critical vehicle health management. Outliers can be detected using supervised, semi-supervised, or unsupervised techniques. Unsupervised techniques do not require labeled instances for detecting outliers. Supervised techniques require labeled instances of both normal and abnormal operation data for first building a model (e.g., a classifier), and then testing if an unknown data point is a normal one or an outlier. The model can be probabilistic such as Bayesian inference or deterministic such as decision trees, Support Vector Machines (SVMs), and neural networks. Semi-supervised techniques only require labeled instances of normal data. Hence, they are more widely applicable than the fully supervised ones. These techniques build models of normal data and then flag outliers that do not fit the model.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Analysis methodologies, Safety critical systems, Vehicle health management, Data management
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Self-Stabilizing Distributed Clock Synch ronization Protocol for Arbitrary Digraphs

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

A report describes a self-stabilizing distributed clock synchronization protocol in the absence of faults in the system. It is focused on the distributed clock synchronization of an arbitrary, non-partitioned digraph ranging from fully connected to 1-connected networks of nodes, while allowing for differences in the network elements. The protocol does not rely on assumptions about the initial state of the system, other than the presence of at least one node, and no central clock or a centrally generated signal, pulse, or message is used.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Simulation and modeling, Communication protocols
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Precision Navigation Strategies for Primitive Solar-System-Body Sample Return Missions

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

This project investigated advanced navigation strategies required to approach, perform proximity operations, and return a sample from an asteroid or comet. An optimized navigation strategy for a notional mission to a near-Earth asteroid was developed to serve as a baseline for future missions and mission proposals. Essential simulation and analysis software enhancements were developed and implemented in the Orbit De ter mination Toolbox (ODTBX), an open-source, early mission navigation analysis tool suite built on a flexible architecture. The development efforts of this project resulted in the first fully open-source tool suite with the capabilities of performing primitive body navigation simulation and analyses.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance
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Orbit Determination Toolbox 2012a (v5.0)

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The Orbit Determination Toolbox (ODTBX) 2012a (v5.0) is an advanced mission simulation and analysis tool used for concept exploration, proposal, early design phase, or rapid design center environments: the emphasis is on flexibility, but it has enough fidelity to produce credible results. ODTBX v5.0 includes multiple feature additions, enhancements, and bug fixes from the prior release (v4.5). The primary user interface and supporting functions are written in Matlab and Java.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance
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Design and Construction of Protograph-Based LDPC Codes

This innovation can be used in magnetic tape recording and other channels with finite-state representation.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Writing (recording) to a storage device and reading from it can be considered as a noisy channel. A storage device such as magnetic recoding and optical recording can be modeled as a partial response channel. Partial-response techniques are a special case of precoding technique where the intersymbol interference is forced to some known pattern. Thus, read-back data from storage devices may have intersymbol interference.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Optics, Data management, Storage
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Spitzer Integrated Resource Planning and Scheduling System (SIRPASS)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

This decision support system provides an integrated platform for assessing the quality of Spitzer scheduling options. The application aids in scheduling instrument selection, assigns schedule times to specific observation requests, and generates stored sequence products destined for execution on the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft
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Tracking a Scene on Earth from Space Using the Adaptive Cross-Correlation Algorithm

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

A software program enables a user to track a scene or a spot on Earth from space (such as from the ISS) using an innovative algorithm. This robust and highly accurate software allows a scene to be tracked that can be not only the shifted version of a previous scene, but can also be a distorted one.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization
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