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

Intelligent Integrated Health Management for a System of Systems

Intelligent elements exchange information and each determines its own condition.

An intelligent integrated health management system (IIHMS) incorporates major improvements over prior such systems. The particular IIHMS is implemented for any system defined as a hierarchical distributed network of intelligent elements (HDNIE), comprising primarily: (1) an architecture (Figure 1), (2) intelligent elements, (3) a conceptual framework and taxonomy (Figure 2), and (4) and ontology that defines standards and protocols.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Architecture, Communication protocols, Computer software and hardware, Systems management
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Delay Banking for Managing Air Traffic

Delay credits could be expended to gain partial relief from flow restrictions.

Delay banking has been invented to enhance air-traffic management in a way that would increase the degree of fairness in assigning arrival, departure, and en-route delays and trajectory deviations to aircraft impacted by congestion in the national airspace system. In delay banking, an aircraft operator (airline, military, general aviation, etc.) would be assigned a numerical credit when any of their flights are delayed because of an air-traffic flow restriction. The operator could subsequently bid against other operators competing for access to congested airspace to utilize part or all of its accumulated credit. Operators utilize credits to obtain higher priority for the same flight, or other flights operating at the same time, or later, in the same airspace, or elsewhere. Operators could also trade delay credits, according to market rules that would be determined by stakeholders in the national airspace system.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Air traffic control
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Spline-Based Smoothing of Airfoil Curvatures

Spurious curvature oscillations and bumps are suppressed.

Constrained fitting for airfoil curvature smoothing (CFACS) is a spline-based method of interpolating airfoil surface coordinates (and, concomitantly, airfoil thicknesses) between specified discrete design points so as to obtain smoothing of surface-curvature profiles in addition to basic smoothing of surfaces. CFACS was developed in recognition of the fact that the performance of a transonic airfoil is directly related to both the curvature profile and the smoothness of the airfoil surface.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Wings, Aerodynamics
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Reducing Spaceborne-Doppler-Radar Rainfall-Velocity Error

A combined frequency- time (CFT) spectral moment estimation technique has been devised for calculating rainfall velocity from measurement data acquired by a nadir-looking spaceborne Doppler weather radar system. Prior spectral moment estimation techniques used for this purpose are based partly on the assumption that the radar resolution volume is uniformly filled with rainfall. The assumption is unrealistic in general but introduces negligible error in application to airborne radar systems. However, for spaceborne systems, the combination of this assumption and inhomogeneities in rainfall [denoted non-uniform beam filling (NUBF)] can result in velocity measurement errors of several meters per second.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Measurements, Radar, Water, Weather and climate
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Stochastic Analysis of Orbital Lifetimes of Spacecraft

A document discusses (1) a Monte-Carlo-based methodology for probabilistic prediction and analysis of orbital lifetimes of spacecraft and (2) Orbital Lifetime Monte Carlo (OLMC) — a Fortran computer program, consisting of a previously developed long-term orbit-propagator integrated with a Monte Carlo engine.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Finite element analysis, Life cycle analysis, Spacecraft
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Visual Data Analysis for Satellites

The Visual Data Analysis Package is a collection of programs and scripts that facilitate visual analysis of data available from NASA and NOAA satellites, as well as dropsonde, buoy, and conventional in-situ observations. The package features utilities for data extraction, data quality control, statistical analysis, and data visualization.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Statistical analysis, Imaging and visualization, Data management, Satellites
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A Data Type for Efficient Representation of Other Data Types

Some obstacles to programming of parallel computers are removed.

A self-organizing, monomorphic data type denoted a sequence has been conceived to address certain concerns (summarized below) that arise in programming parallel computers. [“Sequence” as used here should not be confused with “sequence” as the word is commonly understood or with “sequence” as used elsewhere to denote another, polymorphic data type that is also relevant to computer programming.] A sequence in the present sense can be regarded abstractly as a vector, set, bag, queue, or other construct. A sequence is defined in terms of the behavior of the operators that can be applied to it without any foreknowledge of the underpinnings of its representation or particular implementation.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Architecture, Data management
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Providing Goal-Based Autonomy for Commanding a Spacecraft

A computer program for use aboard a scientific- exploration spacecraft autonomously selects among goals specified in high-level requests and generates corresponding sequences of low-level commands, understandable by spacecraft systems. (As used here, “goals” signifies specific scientific observations.) From a dynamic, onboard set of goals that could oversubscribe spacecraft resources, the program selects a non-oversubscribing subset that maximizes a quality metric. In an early version of the program, the requested goals are assumed to have fixed starting times and durations. Goals can conflict by exceeding a limit on either the number of separate goals or the number of overlapping goals making demands on the same resource.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Automatic pilots, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance, Logistics
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Optimal Planning and Problem-Solving

CTAEMS MDP Optimal Planner is a problem- solving software designed to command a single spacecraft/rover, or a team of spacecraft/ rovers, to perform the best action possible at all times according to an abstract model of the spacecraft/rover and its environment. It also may be useful in solving logistical problems encountered in commercial applications such as shipping and manufacturing.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance, Logistics, Manufacturing processes, Materials handling
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Attitude-Control Algorithm for Minimizing Maneuver Execution Errors

A G-RAC attitude- control algorithm is used to minimize maneuver execution error in a spacecraft with a flexible appendage when said spacecraft must induce translational momentum by firing (in open loop) large thrusters along a desired direction for a given period of time. The controller is dynamic with two integrators and requires measurement of only the angular position and velocity of the spacecraft. The global stability of the closed-loop system is guaranteed without having access to the states describing the dynamics of the appendage and with severe saturation in the available torque.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Mathematical models, Attitude control, Booster rocket engines, Spacecraft
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