July 1999

Briefs : Materials
Separating Ethanol From Water Via Differential Miscibility

The differential miscibility of castor oil in ethanol and water would be exploited to separate ethanol from water, according to a proposal. Burning the separated ethanol would produce more energy than would be consumed in the separation process. In contrast, the separation of a small...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Seven-Element Circularly Polarized Patch Antenna

A seven-element microstrip patch antenna is designed to operate with circular polarization and high gain at a frequency of 2.2875 GHz. The antenna was developed in the early 1990s as a potential replacement for a helical antenna aboard the Advanced Tracking and Data Relay Satellite. Recently, the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
MMIC Converters for K- and Ka-Band Communications

Monolithic microwave integrated-circuit (MMIC) frequency converters have been developed for use in satellite- and ground-based communications (see figure) at frequencies from about 18 to...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Mars Ascent Propulsion System

A report presents an overview of continuing efforts to develop an advanced propulsion system for a spacecraft that would ascend from Mars to bring samples to Earth. The system is required to be smaller and to weigh and cost less, in comparison with a conventionally designed system of equal capability. The...

Briefs : Materials
Fabricating Diamond Membranes Using Reactive-Ion Etching

A process for the fabrication of a polycrystalline diamond membrane involves chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of diamond onto a silicon substrate, followed by conventional photolithography and subsequent reactive-ion etching to remove part of the substrate (see figure). This process is an...

Briefs : Medical
Portable Device for Chemical Fixation of a Biological Sample

The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) fixation tube is a device for chemical fixation of a biological sample. It is mechanically resilient, small, and easy to use, and is thus well suited to use in the field as well as in the laboratory. Because typical chemical fixatives are extremely...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Low-Current Cathodic Protection of Metal

A proposed extension of the impressed-current method of cathodic protection of metal against corrosion in wet environments would reduce the current and power needed. The proposal involves (1) the...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Development of Gear Technology and Theory of Gearing

A NASA Reference Publication discusses gear technology from mathematical and historical perspectives. Following a preface containing historical and philosophical observations, the first of three chapters presents mathematical details of the theory of gearing, including recent developments...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Integrated Environmental Monitoring System for Clean Rooms

A system of electronic monitoring equipment under central computer control records and displays the readouts of environmental-quality instrumentation in clean rooms in the Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center. The instruments include airborne-particle counters,...

Improved successive-approximation analog-to-digital converter (ADC) circuits are undergoing development for eventual incorporation into focal-plane arrays of photodetectors. These...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Series-Connected Boost Regulators

A series-connected boost regulator (SCBR) is, as its name suggests, an electronic circuit for boosting a power-supply voltage to a higher and regulated value. The distinguishing feature of an SCBR is an interconnection topology in which one utilizes the input/output dc-isolating quality of a dc-to-dc converter....

Briefs : Medical
Wicks for Initiating Hydroponic Growth

A material developed for space suits has been found useful in a completely different application: making wicks to support seedlings and to carry water and nutrients to them during the initial stages of hydroponic growth. A modified version of the wick material may also prove useful in wick-based...

Redundant fiber-optic transceivers have been incorporated into the High Speed Data Acquisition System (HSDAS) at Stennis Space Center, where they are used to communicate data acquired by...

There are a number of important OEM photonic applications based on the detection of low incident light levels, including flow cytometry, PET (positron emission tomography) imaging,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved Q-Switch Drivers

Improved circuits that generate high-voltage pulses for driv-ing Q-switched lasers have been devised. To extract maximum energy from a laser cavity in the form of consistent laser pulses, the Q-switch pulses must...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Durability Studies on the F-15B Flight-Test Fixture

NASA's F-15B #836 is a two-seat version of the F-15, which is a high-performance, supersonic, all-weather fighter airplane. The F-15B is used as a test-bed aircraft for a wide variety of...

Briefs : Materials
Separating Ethanol From Water Via Differential Solubility

The differential solubility of sulfur in ethanol and water could be exploited to separate ethanol from water. The energy that could be produced by burning the separated ethanol would be more than that required in the separation process. In contrast, the separation of a small amount of...

A special-purpose multispectral video camera has been designed to provide an enhanced capability for viewing hydrogen fires. Hydrogen fires do not emit sufficient visible light to be...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Suspension Devices for Vibration Testing of Structures

Space structures in general experience free-free vibrational boundary conditions that are not readily replicable on the ground. To conduct vibration tests of such structures on Earth, special devices must be used to support the weight of the structures without introducing any constraining...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Apparatus for Testing Vacuum Torsional Dampers

A laboratory apparatus called a "vacuum damper investigation and performance evaluation robot" ("V-DIAPER") affords capabilities for vacuum dynamic testing of torsional dampers. The apparatus...

Briefs : Software
Automating Work-Time and Attendance Recording on an Intranet

The OMNI time and attendance system is a workstation software system for automated, centralized recording of work time and attendance, and for flexible scheduling of work by employees in an organization. The OMNI system makes it unnecessary to perform the time-consuming and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Determining Superconductor Inhomogeneity at Room Temperature

A technique for determining inhomogeneities in a specimen of a high-critical-temperature superconductor involves scanning a small eddy-current probe over a flat surface of the specimen at room temperature while monitoring the inductance of the probe. In contrast, older techniques for...

Briefs : Materials
Metal-Surfaced Ceramic Insulating Blankets

Flexible thermal-insulation blankets made of ceramic fibers can be protected against weather and handling by attaching thin metal face sheets. In applications in which the blankets are exposed to gas flows, the face sheets also afford protection against flow-induced stresses and help reduce aerodynamic...

Corrugated quantum-well infrared photodetector (C-QWIPs) arrays are sensitive and high-resolution thermal imaging devices. They are not only suitable for a wide range of conventional...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Rapid Thermal-Cycle Life Testing of Thin Films

An automated heating/cooling laboratory apparatus enables the accelerated thermal-cycle life testing of thin-film samples and other small material samples. In the original application for which the apparatus was constructed, the thin-film samples are candidates for use as components of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Documents on Flight Software for the SAMPEX Spacecraft

A collection of four documents contains information on various aspects of the flight software of the Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX) spacecraft. The first document is part of a longer paper that presents design requirements for the software; the information in...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA Developing Crew-Return Vehicle

Up a creek without a paddle? Not if you're an International Space Station astronaut with a CRV. That's short for Crew Return Vehicle, and it's being developed following an innovative approach in the X-38...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Pistol-Grip Torque-Measuring Power Tool

The figure shows one aspect of the exterior appearance of a pistol-grip torque-measuring power tool. The tool is a self-contained, computer controlled, 3/8-in. (~9.5-mm) drive pistol-grip style tool. The tool is intended for use in assembly operations in which application of precise torques to fasteners is...

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