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Estimating Torque Imparted on Spacecraft Using Telemetry

Methodology is straightforward and does not involve the use of any complex supporting ground software. There have been a number of missions with spacecraft flying by planetary moons with atmospheres; there will be future missions with similar flybys. When a spacecraft such as Cassini flies by a moon with an atmosphere, the spacecraft will experience an atmospheric torque. This torque could be used to determine the density of the atmosphere. This is because the relation between the atmospheric torque vector and the atmosphere density could be established analytically using the mass properties of the spacecraft, known drag coefficient of objects in free-molecular flow, and the spacecraft velocity relative to the moon. The density estimated in this way could be used to check results measured by science instruments. Since the proposed methodology could estimate disturbance torque as small as 0.02 N-m, it could also be used to estimate disturbance torque imparted on the spacecraft during high-altitude flybys.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs

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flexplan: Mission Planning System for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

The tool can be configured for any mission without the need to modify or re-compile code. flexplan is a mission planning and scheduling (MPS) tool that uses soft algorithms to define mission scheduling rules and constraints. This allows the operator to configure the tool for any mission without the need to modify or re-compile code. In addition, flexplan uses an ID system to track every output on the schedule to the input from which it was generated. This allows flexplan to receive feedback as the schedules are executed, and update the status of all activities in a Web-based client. flexplan outputs include various planning reports, stored command loads for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), ephemeris loads, and pass scripts for automation.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Airborne Tomographic Swath Ice Sounding Processing System

This program enables 2D ice thickness measurement. Glaciers and ice sheets modulate global sea level by storing water deposited as snow on the surface, and discharging water back into the ocean through melting. Their physical state can be characterized in terms of their mass balance and dynamics. To estimate the current ice mass balance, and to predict future changes in the motion of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, it is necessary to know the ice sheet thickness and the physical conditions of the ice sheet surface and bed. This information is required at fine resolution and over extensive portions of the ice sheets.

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PowderSim: Lagrangian Discrete and Mesh-Free Continuum Simulation Code for Cohesive Soils

PowderSim is a calculation tool that combines a discrete-element method (DEM) module, including calibrated interparticle- interaction relationships, with a mesh-free, continuum, SPH (smoothed-particle hydrodynamics) based module that utilizes enhanced, calibrated, constitutive models capable of mimicking both large deformations and the flow behavior of regolith simulants and lunar regolith under conditions anticipated during in situ resource utilization (ISRU) operations.

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Basic Operational Robotics Instructional System

The Basic Operational Robotics Instructional System (BORIS) is a sixdegree- of-freedom rotational robotic manipulator system simulation used for training of fundamental robotics concepts, with in-line shoulder, offset elbow, and offset wrist. BORIS is used to provide generic robotics training to aerospace professionals including flight crews, flight controllers, and robotics instructors. It uses forward kinematic and inverse kinematic algorithms to simulate joint and end-effector motion, combined with a multibody dynamics model, moving-object contact model, and X-Windows based graphical user interfaces, coordinated in the Trick Simulation modeling environment.

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Multiple-Frame Detection of Subpixel Targets in Thermal Image Sequences

This technique has applicability in fire detection, and tracking ships, ground vehicles, and aircraft. The new technology in this approach combines the subpixel detection information from multiple frames of a sequence to achieve a more sensitive detection result, using only the information found in the images themselves. It is taken as a constraint that the method is automated, robust, and computationally feasible for field networks with constrained computation and data rates. This precludes simply downloading a video stream for pixel-wise co-registration on the ground. It is also important that this method not require precise knowledge of sensor position or direction, because such information is often not available. It is also assumed that the scene in question is approximately planar, which is appropriate for a high-altitude airborne or orbital view.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Metric Learning to Enhance Hyperspectral Image Segmentation

Unsupervised hyperspectral image segmentation can reveal spatial trends that show the physical structure of the scene to an analyst. They highlight borders and reveal areas of homogeneity and change. Segmentations are independently helpful for object recognition, and assist with automated production of symbolic maps. Additionally, a good segmentation can dramatically reduce the number of effective spectra in an image, enabling analyses that would otherwise be computationally prohibitive. Specifically, using an oversegmentation of the image instead of individual pixels can reduce noise and potentially improve the results of statistical post-analysis.

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