October 2014

News : Aerospace
Engineers Harvest and Print Parts for New Breed of Aircraft

Student interns and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center rapidly prototyped and redesigned aircraft using 3D-printed parts. The aircraft was custom-built by repurposing surplus Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). By lengthening the wings, the team was able to improve aerodynamic...

News : Materials
Solar Material Converts 90 Percent of Captured Light into Heat

A multidisciplinary engineering team at the University of California, San Diego developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also...

News : Communications
Harness-Mounted Computer Improves Communication Between Dogs and Humans

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a suite of technologies that can be used to enhance communication between dogs and humans. The communication tool enables applications in search-and-rescue operations and pet training.

“We’ve developed a...

News : Defense
Thirsty? There’s an App for That
Thirsty? There’s an App for That

Clean, potable water is one thing the world universally cannot live without. It hydrates. It cleans. It keeps us alive and well. That makes water very valuable to soldiers. However, as many mission planners...

Thirsty? There’s an App for That
News : Aerospace
University Opens New Ballistics and Impact Dynamics Lab

Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research recently opened a new ballistics and impact dynamics research lab in the former Britt Brown Arena at the Kansas Coliseum. The new ballistics lab, part of NIAR’s environmental Test Labs, uses a custom built ballistic...

News : Energy
2-in-1 Motor Increases Range of Electric Cars
2-in-1 Motor Increases Range of Electric Cars

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have invented a 2-in-1 electric motor that increases the range of electric vehicles. The engine integrates...

2-in-1 Motor Increases Range of Electric Cars
News : Automotive
Engineering More Efficient Vehicle Powertrains

More than 60 percent of the energy generated in vehicle engines by fuel is lost through the exhaust gas and the coolant. The biggest part of this simply slips off into the environment as heat. The Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT is probing the causes for this kind of waste. It is...

News : Medical
Pulley Mechanism Improves Hand Function After Surgery

Engineers at Oregon State University have developed and successfully demonstrated a simple pulley mechanism to improve hand function after surgery. The device is one of the first instruments ever created that could improve the transmission of mechanical forces and movement while implanted...

News : Photonics/Optics
NASA Team Proposes Laser for Orbital Debris Tracking

Barry Coyle and Paul Stysley, laser researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, want to develop a method to define and track orbital debris using laser ranging — a promising approach that could overcome shortfalls with passive optical and radar techniques,...

Question of the Week
Are robots an effective way of combating outbreaks like Ebola?

This week's Question: Next month, scientists will convene at universities across the country to consider the role that autonomous machines might play in combating the Ebola crisis. Telepresence robots, according to some researchers, could theoretically perform healthcare tasks like...

News : Electronics & Computers
New System Could Prolong Power in Mobile Devices
New System Could Prolong Power in Mobile Devices

Researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas have created technology that could be the first step toward wearable computers with self-contained power sources or, more immediately, a...

New System Could Prolong Power in Mobile Devices
News : Test & Measurement
Technology Enables First Test of Actual Turbine Engine Conditions

Because of the difficulty of monitoring turbine engines in operation, most manufacturers test turbine blades either after flight or rely on simulated tests to give them the data on how the various coatings on the blades are performing. Until now, creating an accurate simulation...

News : Electronics & Computers
Improved Fuel Cells Could Replace Phone and Laptop Batteries

Fuel cells could replace batteries in mobile phones and laptop computers, and the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country is looking at ways of enhancing their efficiency. Researchers are designing new ways of obtaining energy in a cleaner, safer, and more affordable way. Fuel cells...

News : Electronics & Computers
Ultra-Thin 3D Display Promises Greater Energy Efficiency

An ultra-thin LCD screen, developed by a group of researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, holds three-dimensional images without a power source, making the display technology a compact, energy-efficient way to display visual information.

In a traditional LCD,...

Who's Who : Photonics/Optics
Jason Moore, Fiber Optic Sensors Engineer, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Jason Moore has worked at NASA Langley since 1995. He currently tests and develops fiber optic technologies, including multicore fibers. He is actively organizing ground and flight tests to demonstrate the multicore fiber’s ability to sense structural shape...

News : Aerospace
Sensors Monitor Aircraft Structural Health for Safer Flights

Nine Delta Air Lines commercial aircraft flying regular routes are carrying sensors that monitor their structural health along with their routine maintenance. These flight tests are part of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process that will make the sensors widely...

News : Aerospace
New Computer Codes Enable Design of Greener, Leaner Aircraft

A computer model that accurately predicts how composite materials behave when damaged will make it easier to design lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Innovative computer codes form the basis of a computer model that shows in unprecedented detail how an aircraft's composite wing,...

News : Aerospace
NASA Tool Helps Airlines Minimize Weather Delays

A NASA-developed tool, Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR), is designed to alleviate weather-induced air traffic interruptions. The computer software tool is programmed to constantly analyze air traffic throughout the National Airspace System, along with the ever-shifting movements of weather severe...

News : Test & Measurement
NASA to Launch Soil Moisture Mapper

A NASA spacecraft designed to track Earth's water in one of its most important, but least recognized forms — soil moisture — now is at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, to begin final preparations for launch in January.

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) spacecraft arrived Wednesday at its...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Biomimetic Photodetector “Sees” in Color

Rice University researchers have created a CMOS-compatible, biomimetic color photodetector that directly responds to red, green, and blue light in much the same way the human eye does. The new device uses an aluminum grating that can be added to silicon photodetectors with CMOS technology.

Question of the Week
Will cosmic elevators take us to space?

This week's Question: Penn State researchers recently developed ultra-thin, super-strong nanothreads made from diamonds. The nanothreads could ultimately be used to construct a "space elevator" to take people to orbit. A Japanese company, Obayashi, similarly sees the feasibility of such an elevator and...

News : Materials
Researchers Develop Thinnest Electric Generator

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), resulting in a unique electric generator and mechanosensation...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Power Inverter Enables Lighter Electric Vehicles

Using 3D printing and novel semiconductors, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created a power inverter that could make electric vehicles lighter, more powerful, and more efficient.

At the core of this development is wide bandgap material...

News : Electronics & Computers
No-Power Wi-Fi Connectivity Could Fuel Internet of Things

Imagine a world in which your wristwatch or other wearable device communicates directly with your online profiles, storing information about your daily activities where you can best access it, all without requiring batteries. Or, battery-free sensors embedded around your home that could...

News : Electronics & Computers
Ferroelectric Materials Could Revolutionize Data-Driven Devices

Electronic devices with unprecedented efficiency and data storage may someday run on ferroelectrics — remarkable materials that use built-in electric polarizations to read and write digital information, outperforming the magnets that are inside most popular data-driven technology....

Products : Electronics & Computers
6U AC/DC VPX Power Supply

North Atlantic Industries (NAI) (Bohemia, NY) has announced its latest 6U rugged VPX power product — the VPX56-6. Well-suited for rugged military and commercial aerospace applications, the VPX56-6 provides up to 700 watts of power (CC4 temperature range, full load) with five outputs and is compliant with MIL-STD-704F....

Products : Imaging
Multi-Function HD Video Tracker

GE’s Intelligent Platforms business (Huntsville, AL) has introduced the rugged ADEPT4000 compact high definition (HD) digital video tracker with electronic image processing. It is the first HD digital video tracker with the capability to perform tracking, image stabilization and video compression simultaneously...

Multi-Touch Development Platform

Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, AZ) announced the expansion of its Human Interface Input Sensing Solutions portfolio with the introduction of the 3DTouchPad, a PC peripheral and world’s first Development Platform for 2D multi-touch and 3D gestures. The 3DTouchPad provides 3D gesture recognition utilizing...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Absolute Pressure Sensor

Mouser Electronics, Inc. (Mandfield, TX) is now stocking the 2SMPB-01-01 Absolute Pressure Sensor from Omron Electronics. Based on Omron’s MEMs technology, this highly accurate, small size absolute pressure sensor can measure altitude, atmospheric pressure or water depth, and can detect height differences of as little...

News : Electronics & Computers
Automated Imaging System Analyzes Underground Root Systems

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Penn State University have developed an automated imaging technique for measuring and analyzing the root systems of mature plants. The technique, believed to be the first of its kind, uses advanced computer technology to analyze...

News : Electronics & Computers
Fast-Charging Batteries Have 20-Year Lifespan

Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU) have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70 percent in only two minutes.

The new-generation batteries also have a long lifespan of over 20 years, more than 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion batteries.


Question of the Week
Is a sleeper ship our best bet to Mars?

At the Center for Research in Advanced Materials (CIMAV), scientists "captured" the energy produced by people walking. The team designed a pill-shaped cylinder adapted to a shoe in order to store the mechanical-vibrational energy that the person generates when walking. Similarly, the London-based company...

News : Automotive
Imaging System Obtains More Color Information than Human Eye

Researchers at the University of Granada have designed a new imaging system capable of obtaining up to twelve times more color information than the human eye and conventional cameras, which implies a total of 36 color channels. The important scientific development will facilitate the...

News : Energy
Robots Restore Electricity After Power Outages

A team led by Nina Mahmoudian of Michigan Technological University has developed a tabletop model of a robot team that can bring power to places that need it the most.

“If we can regain power in communication towers, then we can find the people we need to rescue,” says Mahmoudian, an assistant...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Underwater Robot Skims for Port Security

MIT researchers unveiled an oval-shaped submersible robot, a little smaller than a football, with a flattened panel on one side that it can slide along an underwater surface to perform ultrasound scans.

Originally designed to look for cracks in nuclear reactors’ water tanks, the robot could also...

News : Electronics & Computers
'Solar Battery' Runs on Light and Air

Ohio State University researchers report that they have succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device.

Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery...

Question of the Week
Will we harvest energy with our own footsteps?

At the Center for Research in Advanced Materials (CIMAV), scientists "captured" the energy produced by people walking. The team designed a pill-shaped cylinder adapted to a shoe in order to store the mechanical-vibrational energy that the person generates when walking. Similarly, the London-based...

News : Defense
Army Researchers Enable Night Lethality

In science fiction, technology problems are solved with the stroke of a writer's pen. In reality, science and technology research takes time, and a lot of effort.

INSIDER : Defense
New DARPA Technologies Could Make Cyber Warfare a Reality

Three years after the Defense Department named cyberspace a new domain of warfare, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is unveiling technologies that could soon make it possible for military leaders and warriors to plan and execute real-time cyber missions in a territory charted...

News : Electronics & Computers
Tiny Wireless Sensing Device Alerts Users to Telltale Vapors Remotely

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has developed a small electronic sensing device that can alert users wirelessly to the presence of chemical vapors in the atmosphere. The technology, which could be manufactured using familiar aerosol-jet printing...

News : Materials
Hypersensitive Graphene Sensor Could Detect Single Gas Molecule

University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have discovered a way to create a highly sensitive chemical sensor based on the crystalline flaws in graphene sheets. The imperfections have unique electronic properties that the researchers were able to exploit to increase sensitivity...

News : Test & Measurement
NASA and Partners Use Sensing Technology to Target Megacities Carbon Emissions

The Megacities Carbon Project is an international, multi-agency pilot initiative to develop and test ways to monitor greenhouse gas emissions in megacities: metropolitan areas of at least 10 million people. Cities and their power plants are the largest sources of...

News : RF & Microwave Electronics
Wireless Sensing Lets Users “Train” Smartphones for Gesture Control
Wireless Sensing Lets Users “Train” Smartphones for Gesture Control

University of Washington researchers have developed a new form of low-power wireless sensing technology that could soon let users “train” their smartphones to...

Wireless Sensing Lets Users “Train” Smartphones for Gesture Control
News : Materials
New Material Steals and Stores Oxygen from Air

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark have synthesized crystalline materials that can bind and store oxygen in high concentrations.The stored oxygen can be released again when and where it is needed.

Depending on the atmospheric oxygen content, temperature, or pressure, it takes...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Analyzing 6-Pulse Drive Harmonic Mitigation Techniques for Industrial Automation

Contemporary industrial automation control systems are employing variable frequency drives (VFDs) in ever-increasing numbers. VFDs give control engineers flexibility to precisely regulate the speed and torque of motors in a wide array of applications. The...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Reliable Locking in High-Vibration Environments

Today’s PCB plug-in connectors must accommodate many trends, including increasing miniaturization, rising levels of performance of electronic components, and growing complexity in machine and system engineering.

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Helical Gearboxes

B&R Industrial Automation Corp. (Roswell, GA) offers the 8GP70 series helical gearbox with a shaft output, and the 8GF70 series helical gearbox with a drive flange. Both feature minimal backlash and can handle high axial and radial forces. They also feature high power density and an IP65 rating for use in harsh...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
DC Servomotor

The integrated I2 DC Servo Motor from Specialty Motors (Valencia, CA) is programmable to perform complex velocity and positioning movements. The all-in-one unit contains the brushless servomotor, controller, drives, power supply, and feedback devices in a single enclosure, allowing for proof-of-concept engineering,...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Stepper Motors

Lin Engineering (Morgan Hill, CA) has released the G5709 stepper motor series. This NEMA 23, 0.9-degree stepper motor was designed to output high torque while running with low resonance. The motors output high torque while exhibiting low noise. The stepper motors feature a lower overall operating temperature and patented Signature...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Modular Fans

Horton (Roseville, MN) has introduced the WindShiftTM WSE modular fan with a swept-blade design that generates greater static pressure at slower speeds. The fan is available in diameters of 24 to 41 inches (610 to 1040 mm), and 2.44 to 5.94-inch (62 to 151 mm) pitch widths. All of the WindShift blades contain...

Products : Motion Control
Sensorless Drive

Koford Engineering LLC (Winchester, OH) has introduced a series of 40-amp, 28-volt sensorless drives that operate up to 120,000 rpm with a 2-pole motor. The design features reliable startup and can be custom-programed for high-inertia loads. Operation at high altitude or in a vacuum is possible. Models are available that accept...

Products : Motion Control
Brushless Drive

maxon precision motors (Fall River, MA) offers the EC 19 brushless DC motor available in three performance classes: the EC 19 at 60 Watts, the EC 19 at 120 Watts, and the sterilizable EC 19 at 120 Watts. The EC 19 at 60 W is equipped with a magnetic circuit designed for speeds of up to 80,000 rpm. The maximum continuous torque is...

Products : Motion Control

Physik Instrumente (PI, Auburn, MA) has introduced two vacuum-compatible versions of the N-470 PiezoMike screw-type actuators. Providing a positional resolution of 20 nanometers and travel ranges between ¼ inch and 1 inch, the actuators are available for ambient applications and in high vacuum (HV, 10-6 Torr) and ultra-high vacuum...

Products : Motion Control
Motor Drive and Guide Module

SCHUNK (Morrisville, NC) has combined a linear motor drive with a pre-loaded roller guide for its ELB linear axis. The module is able to position high loads with accuracy of 0.01 mm. The maximum acceleration is 100 ms-2, and the maximum speed is 4 ms-1. The driving force (maximum: 150 N) is transmitted directly and...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Torque Motor

The TMK Series rotary torque motors from ETEL (Schaumburg, IL) feature an electro-magnetic design that utilizes buried magnet technology along with field weakening, enabling it to rotate with speeds of up to nine times greater than a typical torque motor’s standard working speeds. The motors use liquid cooling to increase...

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Tables

KOMA Precision (Windsor, CT) offers a line of extra-large center bore, dual-disc hydraulic clamping rotary tables from Tsudakoma that feature a proprietary dual lead worm gear system with cross roller bearings. Three new models are available: the RCB-350, R, with table diameter of 8.45"; the RCB-450, R, with 10.4"; and RCB-550, R,...

Products : Motion Control
Dispensing Systems

Manncorp (Huntingdon Valley, PA) offers the 2004D Series of multi-purpose dispensing solutions that combine 3-axis robots with integrated digital dispense controllers for SMT assembly tasks. Point-to-point, linear, or curved-arc application of solder pastes, solder masks, conductive epoxies, and other adhesives is achieved...

Products : Motion Control
Servo Terminal

Beckhoff (Savage, MN) has introduced the EL7211 servo terminal that operates with the EtherCAT I/O system to provide a compact servo drive with an output current of up to 4.5 ARMS integrated into a 24-mm-wide terminal housing. This terminal is available with an integrated resolver interface or with the One Cable...

Products : Motion Control
Ironless Motor

The UXX ironless motor from Tecnotion (Almelo, The Netherlands) features no cogging and zero attraction force between the coil unit and the magnets. It is designed for heavy-duty industrial applications requiring high precision and maximum force output. With the ironless motor, the resistance is formed by the magnet height, two...

Articles : Imaging
Infrared Cameras Enhance Productivity and Safety at GM

Nearly all electro-mechanical equipment becomes anomalously warm before it fails, making infrared (IR) cameras extremely effective diagnostic tools in the manufacturing environment. Inspections using infrared cameras can find many problems before failure occurs. In many cases, the time to...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
NASA Launch Pads Protected Against Lightning-Induced Power Surges
Circuit protection components
Chicago, IL

Circuit protection is an essential part of any electrical or electronic product or system design. As the complexity of the product or system grows, circuit...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Micro-Accelerometers Monitor Equipment Health
Micro-Accelerometers Monitor Equipment Health

NASA Technology

Objects that orbit the Earth, such as the International Space Station (ISS), provide a unique environment called zero-g, or more correctly, microgravity. All objects in...

Micro-Accelerometers Monitor Equipment Health
Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nanosensor/Cellphone Hybrid for Detecting Chemicals and Concentrations

Nanosensors have been developed for chemical detection using carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Unlike other chemical sensors, this solid-state approach requires no reagents and can be refreshed with a solid-state ultraviolet (UV) diode. The sensors possess high sensitivity (ppbv),...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Coated or Doped Carbon Nanotube Network Sensors as Affected by Environmental Parameters

Chemical sensors have been developed over the past decades to detect gases and vapors at various concentration levels for deployment in a wide range of industrial applications. The detection usually centers on a change of a particular property or status of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Regenerable Internal CO Scrubber for Hydrogen Sensors

Amperometric electrochemical sensors are commonly used for the detection of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) in air. The electrochemistry of heterogeneous CO and H2 oxidations is similar enough that the sensors show significant cross-sensitivities between the two...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Nanostructure Sensor Determines Presence and Concentration of a Target Molecule in Fluid

Several methods are presently being developed to sense the presence of a target molecule in small or modest concentration in a fluid. However, estimation of the concentration of the target molecule is unavailable where the fluid is substantially motionless...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Floating Ultrasonic Transducer Inspection System for Nondestructive Evaluation

This floating ultrasonic transducer inspection system is based on a “momentary touching” scheme wherein the ultrasonic transducer is in contact with the structure being scanned for a relatively short time while performing the measurement. A vibrating element is a...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Multiplexer for Multiple Sensors in a Vacuum Chamber

Vacuum chamber testing at large facilities can require hundreds of instruments, necessitating even more feedthroughs. The number of instruments and sensors that can be fed into a vacuum chamber is limited by the number of feedthrough ports dedicated to instrumentation. Thus high-pin-count,...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Miniaturized Schottky Diode Sensors for Hydrogen and Hydrocarbon Detection at High Temperatures

A miniaturized Schottky diode hydrogen and hydrocarbon sensor with the structure of catalytic metal-metal oxide-silicon carbide (SiC) has been developed. The major innovation of this work is the use of the metal oxide, palladium oxide...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Analog Ceramic Isolated Voltage Sensor

Galvanic isolated monitoring of voltages for launch vehicle, missiles, and space-deployed systems can be very challenging. Radiation exposure makes use of optics-based sensors difficult, as they can latch-up and become corrupted by the radiation environment; such devices can moreover be thermally...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Flexible and Erectable Magnetic Field Response Sensors

The means to make a flexible and/or erectable magnetic field response sensor, a geometrically fixed capacitor mounting frame, a wireless dipstick, and an elastically flexible capacitor support have been developed. Either the capacitor mounting frame or the flexible, erectable magnetic field...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Miniature Amperometric Solid Electrolyte Carbon Dioxide Sensor with Low Detection Limit

A miniaturized amperometric electro-chemical (solid electrolyte) carbon dioxide (CO2) sensor using a novel and robust sensor design has been developed and demonstrated. Semiconductor microfabrication techniques were used in the sensor fabrication,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Multi-Step DRIE Process to Fabricate Silicon-Based THz Components

Terahertz (THz) frequency radiometers, spectrometers, and radars are promising instruments for the remote sensing of planetary atmospheres such as Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, and their moons such as Titan, Europa, Ganymede, and others. For these long-term planetary missions,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Plasma Reduction of Lunar Regolith for In-Space Fabrication

The in situ production of vital gases and raw materials on the lunar surface is an integral part of NASA’s exploration vision. Development of processes for extraction of oxygen and metallics from the lunar regolith will be vital not only for life support on the lunar surface, but also...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Method for Determining Self-Reacting Friction Stir Weld Schedules

This invention establishes a process to define a viable self-reacting friction stir weld (SR-FSW) schedule (parameter settings) for a given material combination. The focus of this process results in a SR-FSW schedule that is insensitive to intentional changes or normal process...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Flexible, Lightweight Vacuum Shell for Load-Responsive Multilayer Insulation for High Thermal Performance

Better thermal insulation is needed to insulate cryogenic propellants used by NASA for launch vehicles, spacecraft, and orbiting fuel depots. In particular, cryotank insulation during in-air pre-launch and launch ascent stages currently uses...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bulk Separation and Manipulation of Carbon Nanotubes by Type

The utility of this invention is to extract metals (semi-metals) or semiconductors from bulk nanotube samples. The bulk material is a mixture of the two. These materials can then be used to clone a particular type of nanotube, place a particular type in a device, generate smart...

Briefs : Materials

The current baseline ablator material for the Advanced Development Program (ADP) for the thermal protection system (TPS) of the Orion heat shield is phenolic impregnated carbon ablator (PICA). PICA is a low-density, low-strength material that must be isolated from mechanically and thermally induced deformations and strains of the...

Briefs : Materials
Layered Composite Thermal Insulation System for Non-Vacuum Applications

Ambient air insulation systems for low-temperature (sub-ambient) applications are difficult to achieve because of moisture ingress and environmental degradation, as well as thermal stress-cracking. Most currently accepted methods for externally applied outdoor environments...

Briefs : Materials
White, Electrically Dissipative Thermal Control Coating

A highly reflective, white conductive coating system was developed using various layered coatings to maximize the structural, electrical, and optical reflectance properties for spacecraft radiators. The top layer of the system contains a highly reflective white pigment within a dissipative...

Briefs : Materials
Ultra-High-Temperature Ceramic Composites with SiC Reinforcements

Future-generation materials for use on space transportation vehicles require substantial improvements in material properties, leading to increased reliability and safety, as well as intelligent design to allow for current materials to meet future needs. Ultra-high-temperature...

Briefs : Materials
Cathode Discharge Catalytic Systems for Hydrogen Recovery from Methane

In the process of recovery and regeneration of cabin atmosphere to supply oxygen to facilitate extended-duration manned missions, including expeditions to Mars or a return to the Moon, one of the byproducts of this reaction is waste methane, which is vented into space. This...

Briefs : Materials
Beneficiation of Planetary Regolith by Pneumatically Enhanced Tribocharging of Granular Material

Liberation of oxygen from the mineral ilmenite (FeTiO3), which may be found on the Moon, Mars, or asteroids, is inefficient due to the abundance of other minerals in the excavated regolith that are present but not needed during the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fourier Transform Spectrometer on Autonomous Self-Healing Hardware Platform

The autonomous self-healing (eDNA) hardware platform is a reconfigurable field-programmable gate-array (FPGA)-type platform developed by Technical University of Denmark (patent: WO/2010/060923). It is capable of autonomously reconfiguring itself in case a fault is...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Low-Temperature-Compatible Electronics for a Miniature Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer

Missions to Titan are severely limited in available mass and power because spacecraft have to travel over a billion miles to get there, consuming large masses of propellants. Thus low-mass, low-power instruments are a high priority need for Titan...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ionospheric Delay Compensation Using a Scale Factor Based on an Altitude of a Receiver

GPS receivers must compensate for the delay a GPS signal experiences as it passes through the ionosphere in order to accurately determine the position of the receiver. Receivers limited to terrestrial operation may utilize the Klobuchar parameters transmitted...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Microelectronic Repair Techniques for Wafer-Level Integration

Wafer-level integration was employed to mount the microshutter array for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the detector-read-out hybrid for TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor). In the case of the JWST substrate, two conductors (polysilicon and aluminum) separated by a silicon oxide...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Multi-Gigabit-Rate Radiation Hard Bus

A concept was developed for a multi-gigabit-rate, radiation-hardened (RH) bus that would support open-system architecture and provide a cost-effective, high-speed interconnect. This concept is based on Advanced Science and Novel Technology Company’s SerDes system, which supports a variety of interfaces,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hovercraft Landing System

A concept for recovering reusable spacecraft or capsules, or reusable rocket boosters, has them land on an airbag-based, cushioned platform positioned on a highly maneuverable hovercraft. This landing method would have performance advantages over conventional approaches to reusability by placing most of the landing...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Novel Catalytic Reactor System for CO2 Reduction via Sabatier Process

A novel, short-contact-time Microlith Sabatier reactor system for CO2 reduction offers a significant advance in support of manned spaceflight. Compared to the current and prospective alternatives (including microchannels), the reactor is much smaller and lighter,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Technology for a Comet Sample Return Mission Version 2

A standoff sample collection system would be capable of quickly obtaining a sample from environments as varied as comets, asteroids, and permanently shadowed craters on the Moon from vehicles ranging from traditional planetary spacecraft to platforms such as hovering rotorcraft or balloons...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nitrous Oxide Ethane-Ethylene Engine

The Nitrous Oxide Ethylene-Ethane (NEE) engine uses nitrous oxide as an autogenously pressurizing oxidizer, and a mixture of ethane and ethylene is used in the same manner as fuel. Initially, the ethane and ethylene mixture has the same vapor pressure as the nitrous oxide. By using the autogenous...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Method for Improved Gun-Drilled Cold Plate Fabrication and Inspection

A method was developed for obtaining proper fluid distribution through parallel gun-drilled passages and for being able to inspect the actual drilled passages to guarantee that the designed minimum wall thickness is not violated. This invention uses one feature that addresses...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Powder Handling Device for Analytical Instruments

A new technology provides for automated sample handling and movement of coarse-grained powder or other solid materials to enable analysis by a robotic or totally automated computer system. Currently, many analytical instruments require a powder sample to control the shape and/or volume of the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improved Light Injection and Detection Methods for fNIRS Headgear for Use in Avionics and Astronautics

Measuring hemoglobin concentration changes in the brain with functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a promising technique for monitoring cognitive state to optimize human performance during both aviation and space operations. The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
A High-Cross-Polarization-Isolation, Multi-Frequency Antenna for Cloud and Precipitation Research

The Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) has an immediate need for a matched-beam Ku-band/Ka-band antenna system that can be used as a component of a ground validation radar. Retrieval techniques based on both polarization and differential absorption...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
External Magnetic Field Reduction Technique for Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

Linear alternators coupled to Stirling power converters are promising candidates for high-efficiency heat-to-electricity power conversion in space. Presently, the external magnetic field emissions of such converters may exceed the allowed emission limits for...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Advanced P-Band Spaceborne Radar System

Low-cost, flexible spaceborne radar architectures are needed to provide critical data for Earth and science applications. An instrument concept was developed for an advanced spaceborne radar system that can measure terrestrial biomass (woody mass per unit area), ecosystem structure (height and density),...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Global Fire Detection Constellation

Wildfires that start in backcountry areas sometimes burn for hours before being detected and reported. Satellites offer a vantage point from which infrared sensors can detect fires. Individual satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) offer infrequent overpasses, making the delay from ignition to detection...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Compact Solid-State Entangled Photon Source

In the fields of quantum information, quantum optics, quantum cryptography, and quantum communications, there is a need to generate entangled photon pairs. The entangled photon pairs are described by an inseparable wave equation such that if a measurement is performed on one photon, its twin’s photon...

Briefs : Information Technology
Interface Validation for Distributed Software Systems

As a result of performing IV&V (Independent Verification and Validation) on Space Station software, a number of interface faults were found during integrated testing or actual software deployment. Faults found at this late phase of the software development lifecycle are very expensive to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Simple, Scalable, Script-Based Science Processing Archive

Simple, Scalable, Script-based, Science Processing (S4P) Archive (S4PA) is a disk-based data-archiving system for remote sensing data. It is based on the data-driven framework of S4P. The system is used for new data transfer, data preprocessing, metadata generation, and data archival. The...

Briefs : Information Technology
A Model-Driven Science Data Product Registration Service

The Planetary Data System (PDS) has undertaken an effort to overhaul the PDS data architecture (e.g., data model, data structures, data dictionary, etc.) and deploy a software system (online data services, distributed data catalog, etc.) that fully embraces the PDS federation as an...

Briefs : Information Technology
Design of Rate-Compatible Protograph LDPC Codes

The most common way to generate a rate-compatible family of codes is puncturing. In this method, one starts with a low-rate mother code and then selectively discards some of the coded bits to arrive at higher-rate codes. This approach is simple, but is not free of problems. Specifically, the mother...

Briefs : Information Technology
Model Predictive Automatic Recovery System

In commercial aviation, there have been several recent cases of unstabilized approaches that have resulted in crash landings short of the runway. Some of the direst consequences of these incidents may be prevented with the addition of a level of autonomy — a supervisory envelope protection scheme that...

Briefs : Information Technology
Rapid Prototyping Lab (RPL) Generic Display Engine

Spacecraft display software is very costly and requires extensive testing and certification. Much testing must be repeated if the display software is changed in any way. Additionally, hand-coded displays are costly to create and maintain. For certain types of display formats with limited...

Products : Information Technology
Product of the Month: October 2014

National Instruments, Austin, TX, has introduced the NI VirtualBench that combines five instruments in one device: a mixed-signal oscilloscope, a digital multimeter, a function generator, a programmable DC power supply, and digital I/O. The software-based device integrates with PCs and iPads, and offers WiFi...

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Would You Ride in a Flying Car?