Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
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

Launch Environment Water Flow Simulations Using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics

This method has been used in applications involving ocean modeling, volcanic lava, sloshing, and fuel pumps.

One of the crucial ground structures employed at the launch pad during the Space Shuttle program is the rainbird nozzle system, whose primary objective is to suppress acoustic energy generated by the launch vehicle during pad abort and nominal operations. It is important that the rainbird water flow does not impinge on the rocket nozzles and other sensitive ground support elements. For the new Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle, the operation is similar, regardless of the new mobile launcher and new engine configurations. The goal of the rainbird nozzle system remains sound suppression (SS), and the rocket engines still cannot get wet. However, the rearrangement of the rainbird water system for the SLS mobile launcher locates the rainbirds closer to the first-stage rocket engines, which are positioned above the exhaust hole. The close proximity of the rainbird nozzle system could potentially cause vehicle wetting during liftoff.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer simulation, Water, Nozzles, Rocket engines, Launch vehicles
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Seismometer Simulation Software

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Seismometer Simulation Software (SEISim) is written to provide a simulation for the seismometer instrument in the Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) mission so that flight software developers can use it to develop and test their software applications. It can generate science data packets, generate housekeeping data packets, and simulate certain instrument behaviors such as leveling, re-centering, and calibration. It has fault injection capabilities that allow flight software developers to inject faults through SEISim to test their software in various scenarios. It also allows users to run multiple instances of SEISim for batch and overnight testing.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer simulation, Flight management systems, Flight management systems, Data management
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The Space Station Modulator: A Configurable Surface Mesh Geometry Model for Aeroscience Analyses

Computational manipulation with solid bodies is improving ISS aeroscience analyses.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Numerical simulations of plume impingement heating to the International Space Station (ISS) and its visiting vehicles require a specific way to represent the space station geometry in 3D. The tools that are used for plume impingement analyses at NASA’s Johnson Space Center — the Reaction Control System (RCS) Plume Model 3D (RPM3D) and Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) Analysis Code (DAC) — need the analysis geometry to be in the form of a triangulated surface mesh and water-tight (no gaps or holes). Until recently, 3D geometries for such analyses had to be generated manually, took a long time, and used very-low-fidelity geometry components, and as a result, the aeroscience analyses in 3D were not very frequent.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer simulation, Mathematical models, Spacecraft
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Submersible Phase Change Float Sizing

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

This software allows sizing of submersibles powered by hydraulic generators that are pressurized by ocean thermal gradients at various depths. The software allows the operator to input the fixed size of the vessels containing the phase change material (PCM). The effective expansion of the PCM is also input, along with the phase change heat required and other various solid and liquid parameters. The electromechanical efficiency is also input, and the total power produced is calculated, along with system mass and volumes, and approximate time constant.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Measurements, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Hydraulic motors, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Method for Evaluating the Pneumatic Hammer Stability of a Fluid-Film Bearing Using CFD

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama

This invention relates to a fluid film bearing and a process for evaluating pneumatic hammer instability. Based on the stability criteria, a method was developed using 3D CFD (computational fluid dynamics) evaluation dynamics to evaluate the onset of pneumatic hammer instability in a fluid-film bearing. The pneumatic hammer instability criteria and the 3D CFD evaluation processes are available for use on any programs using bearings operating with a compressible fluid.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computational fluid dynamics, Bearings, Pneumatic systems
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DAWN: a Simulation Model for Evaluating Costs and Tradeoffs of Big Data Science Architectures

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Data science is emerging as a critical area of research and technology to advance scientific discovery, knowledge, and decision-making through systematic computational approaches to analyzing massive data sets. The sheer volume of data increase, coupled with the highly distributed and heterogeneous nature of scientific data sets, is requiring new approaches to how the data will be ultimately managed and analyzed. This requires evaluating the scalability and distribution of complex software architectures. DAWN (Distributed Analytics, Workflows and Numeric) is a model for simulating the execution of data processing workflows on arbitrary data system architectures. DAWN was developed to provide NASA and the scientific community at large with an additional tool to prepare for the upcoming Big Data deluge in science.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer simulation, Architecture, Big data, Architecture, Big data, Data management
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Auxiliary Payload Sensor System Simulation Software

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Auxiliary Payload Sensor System Simulation Software (APSSim) provides a simulation of the seismometer used in the Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) mission. The software takes recorded or simulated APSS data as an input, preprocesses the input data, and generates APSS data packets. The software also has fault injection capabilities that enable flight software developers to inject faults from the APSSim to test their software in various scenarios. It also allows users to run multiple instances of APSSim for batch and overnight testing. It gives the user a tool to thoroughly test their applications in a way that cannot be done otherwise.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer simulation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Multiphysics Piezoelectric Finite Element Modeling for Designing a Piezoelectric Damping Treatment for Vibration Control of Rotating Blades

This modeling approach can be used in designing lighter, more compact, and more efficient actuators and control systems.

The requirements for advanced aircraft engine components lead to designs that are more lightweight and efficient, yet more susceptible to excessive vibration, complex dynamic behavior, and uncertain durability and reliability. This complex nature of the dynamic behavior also leads to thicker blade designs; hence, increased fuel burn, increased noise, potentially reduced engine life, and increased maintenance costs. As part of the NASA Aeronautics Research Fixed Wing (FW) Project, Glenn Research Center has been investigating potential technologies that support the FW goals for lighter, quieter, and more efficient aircraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Finite element analysis, Vibration, Vibration, Jet engines, Aircraft
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EXOS Software

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

An improved version of EXOS software allows for the modeling of fabrics, mixtures, and porous materials, and also provides the ability to accept hex mesh geometries. The code employs a novel numerical method, a hybrid particle finite element approach, as well as particles and elements in tandem, each modeling distinct aspects of the physics. Ellipsoidal particles are used to model contact-impact and volumetric thermomechanical response (Euler parameters provide a singularity-free description of particle rotations). Elements are used to model “strength” effects; namely, tensile inter-particle forces and elastic-plastic deviatoric deformation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Software, Computer simulation, Finite element analysis, Tensile Strength
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DRAT: A Distributed Release Audit Tool

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

DRAT software overcomes limitations inherent in the Apache Release Audit Tool (RAT), and also brings code auditing and open-source license analysis into the realm of Big Data by using scalable, open-source Apache technologies. Distributed RAT (DRAT) leverages Apache Tika to automatically detect and classify files in source code repositories, and determines what in the code is a binary file, what is source code, what are notes that need skipping, etc.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Big data, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Big data, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware
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