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Foldable and Deployable Power Collection System
Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster
Development of a Novel Electrospinning System with Automated Positioning and Control Software
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
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Analysis of Performance of Stereoscopic Vision Software

A team of JPL researchers has analyzed stereoscopic vision software and produced a document describing its performance. This software is of the type used in maneuvering exploratory robotic vehicles on Martian terrain. The software in question utilizes correlations between portions of the images recorded by two electronic cameras to compute stereoscopic disparities, which, in conjunction with camera models, are used in computing distances to terrain points to be included in constructing a threedimensional model of the terrain. The analysis included effects of correlation-window size, a pyramidal image down-sampling scheme, vertical misalignment, focus, maximum disparity, stereo baseline, and range ripples. Contributions of sub-pixel interpolation, vertical misalignment, and foreshortening to stereo correlation error were examined theoretically and experimentally. It was found that camera-calibration inaccuracy contributes to both down-range and cross-range error but stereo correlation error affects only the down-range error. Experimental data for quantifying the stereo disparity error were obtained by use of reflective metrological targets taped to corners of bricks placed at known positions relative to the cameras. For the particular 1,024-by-768- pixel cameras of the system analyzed, the standard deviation of the down-range disparity error was found to be 0.32 pixel. This work was done by Won Kim, Adnan Ansar, Robert Steele, and Robert Steinke of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, contact iaoffice@jpl.nasa.gov.

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Estimating the Inertia Matrix of a Spacecraft

A paper presents a method of utilizing some flight data, aboard a spacecraft that includes reaction wheels for attitude control, to estimate the inertia matrix of the spacecraft. The required data are digitized samples of (1) the spacecraft attitude in an inertial reference frame as measured, for example, by use of a star tracker and (2) speeds of rotation of the reaction wheels, the moments of inertia of which are deemed to be known.

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Spatial Coverage Planning for Exploration Robots

A report discusses an algorithm for an onboard planning and execution technology to support the exploration and characterization of geological features by autonomous rovers. A rover that is capable of deciding which observations are more important relieves the engineering team from much of the burden of attempting to make accurate predictions of what the available rover resources will be in the future. Instead, the science and engineering teams can uplink a set of observation requests that may potentially oversubscribe resources and let the rover use observation priorities and its current assessment of available resources to make decisions about which observations to perform and when to perform them.

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Two Mathematical Models of Nonlinear Vibrations

Model parameters are fit to empirical vibration data. Two innovative mathematical models of nonlinear vibrations, and methods of applying them, have been conceived as byproducts of an effort to develop a Kalman filter for highly precise estimation of bending motions of a large truss structure deployed in outer space from a space-shuttle payload bay. These models are also applicable to modeling and analysis of vibrations in other engineering disciplines, on Earth as well as in outer space.

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C Namelist Facility

C Namelist Facility (CNL) is a package of software that supports the development of data-driven programs that utilize relatively free-form input files (e.g., text files) to control complex operations. The only comparable prior namelist facility is built into Fortran and does not support arrays or records. Newer computing languages, including C and Pascal, do not include built-in namelist facilities. A namelist facility enables a program to utilize relatively free-form input files that contain assignment statements that give values to variables. Variables to which values are not assigned in input files remain unchanged; therefore, it becomes possible to have default values set by static or dynamic initialization of values prior to namelist input and updating of values is optional. Because it is not required to include values of variables in namelist input files, new parameters can be added to evolving programs without rendering old namelist input files obsolete — provided that the new parameters have useful default values. It should be possible to execute CNL in any operating system that supports the ANSI C programming language. It has been executed in several variants of Unix and in VxWorks.

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Software Framework for Peer Data-Management Services

Object Oriented Data Technology (OODT) is a software framework for creating a Web-based system for exchange of scientific data that are stored in diverse formats on computers at different sites under the management of scientific peers. OODT software consists of a set of cooperating, distributed peer components that provide distributed peer-to-peer (P2P) services that enable one peer to search and retrieve data managed by another peer. In effect, computers running OODT software at different locations become parts of an integrated data-management system.

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Autogen Version 2.0

Version 2.0 of the autogen software has been released. “Autogen” (automated sequence generation) signifies both a process and software used to implement the process of automated generation of sequences of commands in a standard format for uplink to spacecraft. Autogen requires fewer workers than are needed for older manual sequence-generation processes and reduces sequence-generation times from weeks to minutes. The autogen software comprises the autogen script plus the Activity Plan Generator (APGEN) program. APGEN can be used for planning missions and command sequences. APGEN generates a graphical user interface that facilitates scheduling of activities on a time line and affords a capability to automatically expand, decompose, and schedule activities. The earlier version of the autogen software was developed for the Mars 2001 Odyssey spacecraft. Version 2.0 offers enhanced capabilities to serve, simultaneously, multiple spacecraft (including the Mars Global Surveyor, the Mars Exploration Rovers, and the future Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) that may be at different phases of their missions (including cruise, aerobraking, mapping, and relay operations).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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