September 2008

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Interview with Ray Alderman, Executive Director of VITA

Founded in 1984 to promote VMEbus technology, VITA is a non-profit organization of more than 125 vendor companies who share a common interest in real-time, modular embedded computing systems. In August 2008, VITA's Executive Director, Ray Alderman, agreed to speak with Embedded Technology's...

Podcasts
Interview with Dr. Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS Principal Investigator, Ames Research Center
LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite), which will travel to the moon aboard the launch vehicle for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), will test for the presence of water beneath the lunar surface by crashing a pair of heavy impactors...
Podcasts
Interview with John Dunec, Branch Manager of COMSOL, Inc.

In this podcast John Dunec, Branch Manager of COMSOL, Inc., discusses how the breakthrough of multiphysics modeling techniques is making waves in the electronics industry. Applications cover everything from modeling p-n junctions in semiconductors and joule heating in circuits to forced...

Podcasts
Interview with Ray Alderman, Executive Director of VITA

Founded in 1984 to promote VMEbus technology, VITA is a non-profit organization of more than 125 vendor companies who share a common interest in real-time, modular embedded computing systems. In August 2008, VITA's Executive Director, Ray Alderman, agreed to speak with Embedded Technology's...

Briefs : Materials
Directed Growth of Carbon Nanotubes Across Gaps

An experiment has shown that when single- walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are grown by chemical vapor deposition in the presence of an electric field of suitable strength, the nanotubes become aligned along the electric field. In an important class of contemplated applications, one would exploit...

Briefs : Materials
Nanotip Carpets as Antireflection Surfaces

Carpetlike random arrays of metal-coated silicon nanotips have been shown to be effective as antireflection surfaces. Now undergoing development for incorporation into Sun sensors that would provide guidance for robotic exploratory vehicles on Mars, nanotip carpets of this type could also have many uses...

Briefs : Materials
Nano-Engineered Catalysts for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

Nano-engineered catalysts, and a method of fabricating them, have been developed in a continuing effort to improve the performances of direct methanol fuel cells as candidate power sources to supplant primary and secondary batteries in a variety of portable electronic products. In order to...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Capillography of Mats of Nanofibers

Capillography (from the Latin capillus, “hair”, and the Greek graphein, “to write”) is a recently conceived technique for forming mats of nanofibers into useful patterns. The concept was inspired by experiments on carpetlike mats of multiwalled carbon nanotubes. Capillography may have the potential to...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
HEMT Amplifiers and Equipment for Their On-Wafer Testing

Power amplifiers comprising InP-based high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) in coplanar-waveguide (CPW) circuits designed for operation at frequencies of hundreds of gigahertz, and a test set for on-wafer measurement of their power levels have been developed. These amplifiers utilize...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
On-Wafer Measurement of a Silicon-Based CMOS VCO at 324 GHz

The world’s first silicon- based complementary metal oxide/semi- conductor (CMOS) integrated-circuit voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) operating in a frequency range around 324 GHz has been built and tested. Concomitantly, equipment for measuring the performance of this oscillator...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Voltage, Asymmetric-Waveform Generator

The shapes of waveforms generated by commercially available analytical separation devices, such as some types of mass spectrometers and differential mobility spectrometers are, in general, inadequate and result in resolution degradation in output spectra. A waveform generator was designed that would be...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Group-III Nitride Field Emitters

Field-emission devices (cold cathodes) having low electron affinities can be fabricated through lattice- mismatched epitaxial growth of nitrides of elements from group III of the periodic table. Field emission of electrons from solid surfaces is typically utilized in vacuum microelectronic devices, including some...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Magic-T Junction Using Microstrip/Slotline Transitions

An improved broadband planar magic-T junction that incorporates microstrip/slotline transitions has been developed. In comparison with a prior broadband magic-T junction incorporating microstrip/slotline transitions, this junction offers superior broadband performance. In addition, because...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Gas Filling and Sealing of an HC-PCF

An improved packaging approach has been devised for filling a hollow-core photonic-crystal fiber (HC-PCF) with a gas, sealing the HC-PCF to retain the gas, and providing for optical connections and, optionally, a plumbing fitting for changing or augmenting the gas filling. Gas-filled HC-PCFs can be...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thermal Spray Formation of Polymer Coatings

This innovation forms a sprayable polymer film using powdered precursor materials and an in-process heating method. This device directly applies a powdered polymer onto a substrate to form an adherent, mechanically-sound, and thickness-regulated film. The process can be used to lay down both fully...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Embedded Computing Options Meet Rugged Industrial Requirements

While industrial applications typically require high levels of reliability, availability, ruggedness, and longevity, there often is a set of unique system requirements dependent upon the specific goals of the system. For instance, an industrial automation application may call for a...

Briefs : Materials
Making More-Complex Molecules Using Superthermal Atom/Molecule Collisions

A method of making more-complex molecules from simpler ones has emerged as a by-product of an experimental study in outer-space atom/ surface collision physics. The subject of the study was the formation of CO2 molecules as a result of impingement of O atoms at...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Image Sensors Provide Mission-Critical Data for Space Flight
Kodak CCD image sensors
Eastman Kodak, Image Sensor Solutions
Rochester, NY
585-722-4385
www.kodak.com/go/imagers

Kodak digital technology was used on the Space Shuttle Discovery, which was launched on May 28, to capture critical images and help...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Image of Spacecraft Landing on Mars Captured by Image Sensors
e2v CCD image sensors
e2v technologies plc
Elmsford, NY
914-592-6050
www.e2v.com

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is currently on Mars using the probe’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument to gather data on the...

Articles : Software
NASA Awards 2007 Software of the Year

Software from Jet Propulsion Laboratory for detecting planets outside our solar system, and from Ames Research Center for defining safety margins for fiery spacecraft re-entries have been named co-winners of the 2007 NASA Software of the Year Award.

The NASA Software of the Year competition was...

NASA Tech Needs
Lunar Science Instrumentation: Understanding and Characterizing the Moon Through Challenging Measurements

NASA lunar robotic science missions support the high-priority goals identified in the 2007 National Research Council report, The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon: Final Report (National Academies Presses, 2007). Future missions...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Silica Aerogel Composite Materials

A family of aerogel-matrix composite materials having thermal-stability and mechanical-integrity properties better than those of neat aerogels has been developed. Aerogels are known to be excellent thermal- and acoustic-insulation materials because of their molecular-scale porosity, but heretofore, the...

Who's Who
Dr. Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS Principal Investigator, Ames Research Center

LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite), which will travel to the moon aboard the launch vehicle for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), will test for the presence of water beneath the lunar surface by crashing a pair of heavy impactors into one of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Alignment Pins for Assembling and Disassembling Structures

Simple, easy-to-use, highly effective tooling has been devised for maintaining alignment of bolt holes in mating structures during assembly and disassembly of the structures. The tooling was originally used during removal of a body flap from the space shuttle Atlantis, in which...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Capacitive Sensor

Balluff, Florence, KY, has introduced a new capacitive sensor line for proximity and level detection applications. The line features more than 250 models in a variety of body styles, sensing ranges, harsh environmental ratings, and advanced functionality. The line's level-control capacitive sensors can detect solids or liquids...

Techs for License
Irrigation Water Extracted from Air and Soil Moisture Through Solar Power

By condensing water from the air and soil on chilled pipes, this invention attempts to alleviate both water and food shortage problems. It offers the ability to produce agricultural crops in most hot and humid climates by watering plants with condensation from...

Techs for License
Aircraft Support Via a Vortex-Ring Cushion Projector

An all-terrain, multi-role, hover-capable aircraft has a fuelefficient, rugged, vertical take-off and hover propulsion system. A raised-height, dispersal-resistant hover cushion is projected over the ground by the device as two bisected concentric streams of rotating and counter-rotating torus...

NASA Tech Needs
Wireless Communication for Factory Automation

A company seeks technology that is applicable to automated assembly lines; specifically, a reliable and fast short-range wireless technology that can take the place of wired connections for robots and factory automation equipment. Equipment with appendages in motion, such as robots, is fundamentally...

NASA Tech Needs
Powder Atomization Technology

A company seeks an innovative powder atomization technology, which will produce dense, highly spherical, satellitefree metal powders in the size range 50 to 1000 microns. Coating and surface modification technologies are sought for applications including aerospace, medical, and industrial power generation markets....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A New, Highly Improved Two-Cycle Engine

The figure presents a cross-sectional view of a supercharged, variable-compression, two-cycle, internal-combustion engine that offers significant advantages over prior such engines. The improvements are embodied in a combination of design changes that contribute synergistically to improvements in...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible Structural-Health-Monitoring Sheets

A generic design for a type of flexible structural- health- monitoring sheet with multiple sensor/actuator types and a method of manufacturing such sheets has been developed. A sheet of this type contains an array of sensing and/or actuation elements, associated wires, and any other associated circuit...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Microgravity, Mesh-Crawling Legged Robots

The design, fabrication, and microgravity flight-testing are part of a continuing development of palm-sized mobile robots that resemble spiders (except that they have six legs apiece, whereas a spider has eight legs). Denoted SpiderBots (see figure), they are prototypes of proposed product line of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advanced Active-Magnetic-Bearing Thrust-Measurement System

An advanced thrust-measurement system utilizes active magnetic bearings to both (1) levitate a floating frame in all six degrees of freedom and (2) measure the levitation forces between the floating frame and a grounded frame. This system was developed for original use in measuring the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Thermally Actuated Hydraulic Pumps

Thermally actuated hydraulic pumps have been proposed for diverse applications in which direct electrical or mechanical actuation is undesirable and the relative slowness of thermal actuation can be tolerated. The proposed pumps would not contain any sliding (wearing) parts in their compressors and, hence,...

Briefs : Medical
Purifying Nucleic Acids From Samples of Extremely Low Biomass

A new method is able to circumvent the bias to which one commercial DNA extraction method falls prey with regard to the lysing of certain types of microbial cells, resulting in a truncated spectrum of microbial diversity. By prefacing the protocol with glass-bead-beating agitation...

Briefs : Medical
Adjustable-Viewing-Angle Endoscopic Tool for Skull Base and Brain Surgery

The term “Multi-Angle and Rear Viewing Endoscopic tooL” (MARVEL) denotes an auxiliary endoscope, now undergoing development, that a surgeon would use in conjunction with a conventional endoscope to obtain additional perspective. The role of the MARVEL in endoscopic...

Briefs : Medical
UV-Resistant Non-Spore-Forming Bacteria From Spacecraft-Assembly Facilities

Four species of non-spore-forming bacteria collected from clean-room surfaces in spacecraft-assembly facilities could survive doses of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that would suffice to kill most known cultivable bacterial species. In a previous study, high UV resistance...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Near-Field Spectroscopy With Nanoparticles Deposited by AFM

An alternative approach to apertureless near- field optical spectroscopy involving an atomic-force microscope (AFM) entails less complexity of equipment than does a prior approach. The alternative approach has been demonstrated to be applicable to apertureless near-field optical...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Simplified Modeling of Oxidation of Hydrocarbons

A method of simplified computational modeling of oxidation of hydrocarbons is undergoing development. This is one of several developments needed to enable accurate computational simulation of turbulent, chemically reacting flows. At present, accurate computational simulation of such flows is...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hard-X-Ray/Soft-γ-Ray Imaging Sensor Assembly for Astronomy

An improved sensor assembly has been developed for astronomical imaging at photon energies ranging from 1 to 100 keV. The assembly includes a thallium-doped cesium iodide scintillator divided into pixels and coupled to an array of high-gain avalanche photodiodes (APDs). Optionally, the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hyperspectral Fluorescence and Reflectance Imaging Instrument

The system is a single hyperspectral imaging instrument that has the unique capability to acquire both fluorescence and reflectance high-spatial-resolution data that is inherently spatially and spectrally registered. Potential uses of this instrument include plant stress monitoring,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Light Collimator and Monitor for a Spectroradiometer

A system that comprises optical and electronic subsystems has been developed as an infrastructure for a spectroradiometer that measures time- dependent spectral radiance of the daylight sky, in a narrow field of view (having angular width of the order of 1°) centered on the zenith, in...

Briefs : Information Technology
Toward Better Modeling of Supercritical Turbulent Mixing

A study was done as part of an effort to develop computational models representing turbulent mixing under thermodynamic supercritical (here, high pressure) conditions. The question was whether the large-eddy simulation (LES) approach, developed previously for atmospheric-pressure...

Briefs : Information Technology
JPEG 2000 Encoding With Perceptual Distortion Control

An alternative approach has been devised for encoding image data in compliance with JPEG 2000, the most recent still-image data- compression standard of the Joint Photographic Experts Group. Heretofore, JPEG 2000 encoding has been implemented by several related schemes classified as...

Briefs : Information Technology
Intelligent Integrated Health Management for a System of Systems

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...

Briefs : Information Technology
Delay Banking for Managing Air Traffic

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...

Briefs : Information Technology
Spline-Based Smoothing of Airfoil Curvatures

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...

Briefs : Information Technology
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...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Progress in Acoustic Transmission of Power Through Walls

A document presents updated information on implementation of the wireless acoustic-electric feed-through (WAEF) concept, which was reported in "Using Piezoelectric Devices To Transmit Power Through Walls" (NPO-41157), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 32, No. 6 (June 2008), page 70. To recapitulate:...

Briefs : Information Technology
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...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Carbon-Carbon High-Temperature Space Radiator

A document summarizes the development of a carbon-carbon composite radiator for dissipating waste heat from a spacecraft nuclear reactor. The radiator is to be bonded to metal heat pipes and to operate in conjunction with them at a temperature approximately between 500 and 1,000 K. A goal...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Transmissive Diffractive Optical Element Solar Concentrators

Solar-thermal-radiation concentrators in the form of transmissive diffractive optical elements (DOEs) have been proposed as alternatives to mirror- type solar concentrators now in use. In comparison with functionally equivalent mirror-type solar concentrators, the transmissive,...

Briefs : Materials
Nematic Cells for Digital Light Deflection

Smectic A (SmA) materials can be used in non-mechanical, digital beam deflectors (DBDs) as fillers for passive birefringent prisms based on decoupled pairs of electrically controlled, liquid crystalline polarization rotators, like twisted nematic (TN) cells and passive deflectors. DBDs are used in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ultra-Stable Beacon Source for Laboratory Testing of Optical Tracking

The ultra-stable beacon source (USBS) provides a laser-beam output with a very low angular jitter and can be used as an absolute angular reference to simulate a beacon in the laboratory. The laser is mounted on the top of a very short (≈1 m) inverted pendulum (IP) with...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Delaying Trains of Short Light Pulses in WGM Resonators

Suitably configured whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonators have been proposed as delay lines for trains of short light pulses. Until now, it has been common practice to implement an optical delay line as a coiled long optical fiber, which is bulky and tends to be noisy. An...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improving the Optical Quality Factor of the WGM Resonator

Resonators usually are characterized with two partially dependent values: finesse (ℱ) and quality factor (Q). The finesse of an empty Fabry-Perot (FP) resonator is defined solely by the quality of its mirrors and is calculated as

ℱ = πR1/2/(1 – R).

Briefs : Software
Multiphysics Modeling Simplifies Analysis of Electrical and Electromagnetic Effects

The Saab Group has 17 business units, which are split into defense and security, systems and products, and aeronautics. Over the years, the company has taken advantage of the many paradigm shifts that have taken place in engineering analysis. One example is...

Briefs : Software
Geophysical Wave Propagation Calculation Using Multiphysics

The propagation of shear (S) and compression (P) waves within the Earth represents a critically important phenomenon for geologists. For many years, geologists have developed specialized computational programs to calculate wave propagation within complex geophysical regions. These...

Briefs : Software
Simulating the Manufacturing Process of Ceramic Matrix Composites

Increasing the temperature at which jet aircraft engines operate would significantly improve thrust and fuel efficiency with reduced emissions. However, current engines operate within 50 degrees of the inherent melting point of the conventional materials used in engine...

Briefs : Software
3D Program Aids Design of Custom Iron Work

Keuka Studios designs and manufactures custom architectural iron work and cable railings for commercial and home use. Keuka Studios first designs a product in CAD, CNC machines it to shape, and then takes the assembly to their forge, which adds the design elements. Dan White, founder and president of...

Briefs : Software
Displaying CFD Solution Parameters on Arbitrary Cut Planes

USMC6 is a Fortran 90 computer program for post-processing in support of visualization of flows simulated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The name "USMC6" is partly an abbreviation of "TetrUSS — USM3D Solution Cutter," reflecting its origin as a post-processor for use with...

Briefs : Software
Flow Solver for Incompressible 2-D Drive Cavity

This software solves the Navier- Stokes equations for the incompressible driven cavity flow problem. The code uses second-order finite differencing on a staggered grid using the Chorin projection method. The resulting intermediate Poisson equation is efficiently solved using the fast Fourier...

Briefs : Software
Flow Solver for Incompressible Rectangular Domains

This is an extension of the Flow Solver for Incompressible 2-D Drive Cavity software described in the preceding article. It solves the Navier- Stokes equations for incompressible flow using finite differencing on a uniform, staggered grid. There is a runtime choice of either central differencing...

Briefs : Software
Simulating Avionics Upgrades to the Space Shuttles

Cockpit Avionics Prototyping Envi - ronment (CAPE) is a computer program that simulates the functions of proposed upgraded avionics for a space shuttle. In CAPE, pre-existing space-shuttle-sim - ulation programs are merged with a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) display- development program,...

Briefs : Software
Simulating the Phoenix Landing Radar System

Phoenix Mission Lander on Mars, artist’s concept.A computer program called "phxlrsim" simulates the behavior of the radar system used as an altimeter and vel - ocimeter during the entry, descent, and landing phases of the Phoenix lander spacecraft. The simulation includes modeling of internal...

Briefs : Software
Injecting Artificial Memory Errors Into a Running Computer Program

Single-event upsets (SEUs) or "bitflips" are computer memory errors caused by radiation. BITFLIPS (Basic Instrumentation Tool for Fault Localized Injection of Probabilistic SEUs) is a computer program that deliberately injects SEUs into another computer program, while the latter...

Briefs : Software
Fault-Tolerant, Multiple-Zone Temperature Control

A computer program has been written as an essential part of an electronic temperature control system for a spaceborne instrument that contains several zones. The system was developed because the temperature and the rate of change of temperature in each zone are required to be maintained to within...

Briefs : Software
Implementing a Digital Phasemeter in an FPGA

Firmware for implementing a digital phasemeter within a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) has been devised. In the original application of this firmware, the phase that one seeks to measure is the difference between the phases of two nominally- equal-frequency heterodyne signals generated by two...

Briefs : Software
Post-Flight Estimation of Motion of Space Structures: Part 1

A computer program estimates the relative positions and orientations of two space structures from data on the angular positions and distances of fiducial objects on one structure as measured by a targettracking electronic camera and laser range finders on another structure. The program...

Briefs : Software
Post-Flight Estimation of Motion of Space Structures: Part 2

A computer program related to the one described in the immediately preceding article estimates the relative position of two space structures that are hinged to each other. The input to the program consists of time-series data on distances, measured by two range finders at different...

Briefs : Software
Simulating Operation of a Large Turbofan Engine

The Commercial Modular Aero- Propulsion System Simulation (CMAPSS) is a computer program for simulating transient operation of a commercial turbofan engine that can generate as much as 90,000 lb (≈0.4 MN) of thrust. It includes a power-management system that enables simulation of openor...

Briefs : Software
Automated Assistance for Designing Active Magnetic Bearings

MagBear12 is a computer code (see figure) that assists in the design of radial, heteropolar active magnetic bearings (AMBs). MagBear12 was developed to help in designing the system described in "Advanced Active-Magnetic-Bearing Thrust-Measurement System" (SSC- 00177-1), which appears in...

Briefs : Software
Computational Simulation of a Water-Cooled Heat Pump

A Fortran-language computer program for simulating the operation of a water-cooled vapor-compression heat pump in any orientation with respect to gravity has been developed by modifying a prior general-purpose heat-pump design code used at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Al - though it...

Briefs : Software
Computational Model of Heat Transfer on the ISS

SCRAM Lite ("SCRAM" signifies "Station Compact Radiator Analysis Model") is a computer program for analyzing convective and radiative heat transfer and heat-rejection performance of coolant loops and radiators, respectively, in the active thermal-control systems of the International Space Station...

Briefs : Software
Optimization of Angular-Momentum Biases of Reaction Wheels

RBOT [RWA Bias Optimization Tool (wherein "RWA" signifies "Reaction Wheel Assembly")] is a computer program designed for computing angular momentum biases for reaction wheels used for providing spacecraft pointing in various directions as required for scientific observations. RBOT is...

Briefs : Software
Short- and Long-Term Propagation of Spacecraft Orbits

The Planetary Observer Planning Software (POPS) comprises four computer programs for use in designing orbits of spacecraft about planets. These programs are the Planetary Observer High Precision Orbit Propagator (POHOP), the Planetary Observer Long-Term Orbit Predictor (POLOP), the Planetary...

Briefs : Software
Monte Carlo Simulation To Estimate Likelihood of Direct Lightning Strikes

A software tool has been designed to quantify the lightning exposure at launch sites of the stack at the pads under different configurations. In order to predict lightning strikes to generic structures, this model uses leaders whose origins (in the x–y plane) are...

Briefs : Software
Adaptive MGS Phase Retrieval

Adaptive MGS Phase Retrieval software uses the Modified Gerchberg-Saxton (MGS) algorithm, an image-based sensing method that can turn any focal plane science instrument into a wavefront sensor, avoiding the need to use external metrology equipment. Knowledge of the wavefront enables intelligent control of active...

Briefs : Software
Predicting Boundary-Layer Transition on Space-Shuttle Re-Entry

The BLT Prediction Tool ("BLT" signifies "Boundary Layer Transition") is provided as part of the Damage Assessment Team analysis package, which is utilized for analyzing local aerothermodynamics environments of damaged or repaired space-shuttle thermal protection tiles. Such analyses...

Briefs : Software
Calculations for Calibration of a Mass Spectrometer

A computer program performs calculations to calibrate a quadrupole mass spectrometer in an instrumentation system for identifying trace amounts of organic chemicals in air. In the operation of the mass spectrometer, the massto- charge ratio (m/z) of ions being counted at a given instant of time...

Briefs : Software
Simulating the Gradually Deteriorating Performance of an RTG

Degra (now in version 3) is a computer program that simulates the performance of a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) over its lifetime. Degra is provided with a graphical user interface that is used to edit input parameters that describe the initial state of the RTG and the...

Briefs : Software
2D/3D Synthetic Vision Navigation Display

Flight-deck display software was designed and developed at NASA Langley Research Center to provide two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) terrain, obstacle, and flightpath perspectives on a single navigation display. The objective was to optimize the presentation of synthetic vision (SV) system...

Briefs : Software
Automated Camera Array Fine Calibration

Using aerial imagery, the JPL FineCalibration (JPL FineCal) software automatically tunes a set of existing CAHVOR camera models for an array of cameras. The software finds matching features in the overlap region between images from adjacent cameras, and uses these features to refine the camera models. It...

Briefs : Software
Multichannel Networked Phasemeter Readout and Analysis

Netmeter software reads a data stream from up to 250 networked phasemeters, synchronizes the data, saves the reduced data to disk (after applying a low-pass filter), and provides a Web server interface for remote control. Unlike older phasemeter software that requires a special, real-time...

Briefs : Software
MISR Instrument Data Visualization

The MISR Interactive eXplorer (MINX) software functions both as a general-purpose tool to visualize Multiangle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument data, and as a specialized tool to analyze properties of smoke, dust, and volcanic plumes. It includes high-level options to create map views of MISR orbit...

Briefs : Software
Platform for Postprocessing Waveform-Based NDE

Taking advantage of the similarities that exist among all waveform-based non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methods, a common software platform has been developed containing multiple-signal and image-processing techniques for waveforms and images. The NASA NDE Signal and Image Processing software has...

Briefs : Software
System for Continuous Delivery of MODIS Imagery to Internet Mapping Applications

This software represents a complete, unsupervised processing chain that generates a continuously updating global image of the Earth from the most recent available MODIS Level 1B scenes.

Briefs : Software
Automatic Rock Detection and Mapping from HiRISE Imagery

This system includes a C-code software program and a set of MATLAB software tools for statistical analysis and rock distribution mapping. The major functions include rock detection and rock detection validation. The rock detection code has been evolved into a production tool that can be...

Briefs : Software
Parallel Computing for the Computed-Tomography Imaging Spectrometer

This software computes the tomographic reconstruction of spatial-spectral data from raw detector images of the Com - puted-Tomography Imaging Spec trom - eter (CTIS), which enables transient-level, multi-spectral imaging by capturing spatial and spectral information in a single...

Briefs : Software
Processing LiDAR Data To Predict Natural Hazards

ELF-Base and ELF-Hazards (wherein "ELF" signifies "Extract LiDAR Features" and "LiDAR" signifies "light detection and ranging") are developmental software modules for processing remotesensing LiDAR data to identify past natural hazards (principally, landslides) and predict future ones. ELF-Base...

Briefs : Software
Rock Segmentation Through Edge Regrouping

Rockster is an algorithm that automatically identifies the locations and boundaries of rocks imaged by the rover hazard cameras (hazcams), navigation cameras (navcams), or panoramic cameras (pancams). The software uses edge detection and edge regrouping to identify closed contours that separate the rocks...

Briefs : Software
DSN Array Simulator

The DSN Array Simulator (wherein "DSN" signifies NASA's Deep Space Network) is an updated version of software previously denoted the DSN Receive Array Technology Assessment Simulation. This software (see figure) is used for computational modeling of a proposed DSN facility comprising userdefined arrays of antennas and...

Briefs : Software
Estimating Software-Development Costs With Greater Accuracy

COCOMOST is a computer program for use in estimating software development costs. The goal in the development of COCOMOST was to increase estimation accuracy in three ways: (1) develop a set of sensitivity software tools that return not only estimates of costs but also the estimation...

Briefs : Software
Visual Target Tracking on the Mars Exploration Rovers

Functional Flow of VTT integrated into MER flight software. VTT module functions (square boxes) are additions to the existing MER flight software (circles).Visual target tracking (VTT) software has been incorporated into Release 9.2 of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) flight software, now...

Briefs : Software
Parametric-Studies and Data-Plotting Modules for the SOAP

“Parametric Studies” and “Data Table Plot View” are the names of software modules in the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP). Parametric Studies enables parameterization of as many as three satellite or ground-station attributes across a range of values and computes the...

Briefs : Software
Testing of Error-Correcting Sparse Permutation Channel Codes

A computer program performs Monte Carlo direct numerical simulations for testing sparse permutation channel codes, which offer strong error-correction capabilities at high code rates and are considered especially suitable for storage of digital data in holographic and volume memories....

Briefs : Software
SPICE Module for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP)

A SPICE module for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP) precisely represents complex motion and maneuvers in an interactive, 3D animated environment with support for user-defined quantitative outputs. (“SPICE” stands for Spacecraft, Planet, Instrument, Camera-matrix, and...

Briefs : Software
Enhanced Reporting of Mars Exploration Rover Telemetry

Figure 1. This top view of a METERS Auto-Generated Main Web Pageincludes a motion summary in plain textMars Exploration Rover Enhanced Telemetry Extraction and Reporting System (METERS) is software that generates a human-readable representation of the state of the mobility and arm-related...

Briefs : Software
Facilitating Analysis of Multiple Partial Data Streams

Robotic Operations Automation: Mechanisms, Imaging, Navigation report Generation (ROAMING) is a set of computer programs that facilitates and accelerates both tactical and strategic analysis of time-sampled data — especially the disparate and often incomplete streams of Mars Explorer...

Briefs : Software
Service-Oriented Architecture for NVO and TeraGrid Computing

The National Virtual Observatory (NVO) Extensible Secure Scalable Service Infrastructure (NESSSI) is a Web service architecture and software framework (see figure) that enables Web-based astronomical data publish - ing and processing on grid computers such as the National Science Foun...

Briefs : Software
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Wrapper Script

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on the launch padThe MRO OLVM wrapper script software allows Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) sequence and spacecraft engineers to rapidly simulate a spacecraft command product through a tool that simulates the onboard sequence management software (OLVM). This script parses...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Modeling System Architecture and Resource Constraints Using Discrete-Event Simulation

Optimizing system resource utilization is a key design objective for system engineers in communications, electronics, and other industries. System resources such as processors, memory, or bandwidth on a communication bus are often shared by various components...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
RapidIO vs. Ethernet A Practical Technical Comparison

Ethernet is currently the incumbent backplane technology across a wide range of storage, wireless, wireline, military, industrial, and other embedded applications as developers move away from proprietary implementations in an effort to reduce development time and cost while increasing...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Designing Software Radio Systems With FPGAs

Software defined radio technology has been widely adopted for new military and aerospace platforms, government signal intelligence and homeland security systems, and now more extensively in commercial wireless voice and data networks as well. These modern communication systems need to squeeze more...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Front Panel Hardware Considerations For ATCA, AMC, and MicroTCA Telecom Equipment

Acceptance of telecom industry standards for rack-mounted server equipment — in the form of the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer’s Group (PICMG) standards — is gaining momentum throughout global market channels. The objectives of those standards are...

Products : Electronics & Computers
System-On-Module Standard

MEN Micro Inc. (Ambler, PA) has announced the ESMexpress® System-On-Module Standard, a new computing standard in development to be the ANSIVITA 59 (RSE Rugged System- On-Module Express) standard. In conjunction with the new standard, they have also an - nounced the XM1 featuring the first-generation Intel®...

Products : Electronics & Computers
FPGA Mezzanine Card Module

VMETRO (Houston, TX) has released a FPGA Mezzanine Card (FMC/VITA 57) module. The ADC510, available in air-cooled and conduction- cooled rugged versions, integrates two 12-bit 500MHz A/D chips for use in DSP applications such as signal intelligence (SIGINT), electronic counter measures (ECM), and radar. This design,...

Products : Electronics & Computers
MCU/iChip Evaluation Board

Connect One™ (San Jose, CA) offers a reference design and a corresponding evaluation board that bring together Microchip's PIC24FJ64GA006 16-bit microcontroller (MCU) for application control, and the CO2128 iChip for secure, reliable TCP/IP connectivity to LAN and GPRS networks. Using the evaluation board,...

Products : Electronics & Computers
1U MicroTCA Platform

The MTC5070 from Performance Technologies (Rochester, NY) is a highly integrated 1U MicroTCA™- compliant platform that can support up to six mid-size, single AdvancedMC™ (AMC) modules. The fully deployable MicroTCA platform meets the needs for high-performance, cost-effective, and modular processing in...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Fiber Optic Bus Extension Systems

AIM-USA (St. Omaha, NE) has introduced the new FOMIS and FOL429 fiber optic bus extension systems. The FOMIS (Fiber Optic MILbus Stub Extension) product provides a highly modular and scalable system capable of extending MIL-STD-1553 bus stubs up to 500 meters. FOMIS systems can also be combined with the FOL429...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Ruggedized MicroTCA Chassis

Elma Electronic Inc. (Fremont, CA) has introduced a ruggedized ATR chassis for MicroTCA. The MicroTCA chassis is an ARINC 404A Full- Size ATR Long Enclosure, often used in commercial and military aviation. The rugged enclosure features modified front panels that can be secured to the chassis, providing more protection...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Multi-core Industrial Servers

Kontron (Poway, CA) has released 2U and 4U KISS industrial servers that bring Intel® Core™2 Duo processor performance to PICMG 1.0 based PCI/ISA applications. The ultra quiet (<35 dB) industrial servers are designed for applications that require high data processing performance without the need for...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Using Laser Vibrometry to Validate Gossamer Space Structures

NASA has been developing large ultra-lightweight structures commonly referred to as Gossamer space structures for many years to reduce launch costs and to exploit the unique capabilities of particular concepts. For instance, dish antennas are currently being pursued because they can be...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Nanophotonics Principles and Applications

The term “nanophotonics” is used to encompass the scientific study of the interaction of matter and light at the nanometer scale. It is possible to design nanometer scale devices to slow down, enhance, produce, or manipulate light by understanding how light behaves as it travels through, or otherwise...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Nematic Cells for Digital Light Deflection

Smectic A (SmA) materials can be used in non-mechanical, digital beam deflectors (DBDs) as fillers for passive birefringent prisms based on decoupled pairs of electrically controlled, liquid crystalline polarization rotators, like twisted nematic (TN) cells and passive deflectors. DBDs are used in...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Improving the Optical Quality Factor of the WGM Resonator

Resonators usually are characterized with two partially dependent values: finesse (F) and quality factor (Q). The finesse of an empty Fabry-Perot (FP) resonator is defined solely by the quality of its mirrors and is calculated as

F = πR1/2/(1 – R).

The maximum...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Ultra-Stable Beacon Source for Laboratory Testing of Optical Tracking

The ultra-stable beacon source (USBS) provides a laser-beam output with a very low angular jitter and can be used as an absolute angular reference to simulate a beacon in the laboratory. The laser is mounted on the top of a very short (≈1 m) inverted pendulum (IP) with its...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Delaying Trains of Short Light Pulses in WGM Resonators

Suitably configured whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonators have been proposed as delay lines for trains of short light pulses. Until now, it has been common practice to implement an optical delay line as a coiled long optical fiber, which is bulky and tends to be noisy. An...

Products
Product of the Month: LED Light Source

Carl Zeiss MicroImaging (Thornwood, NY) introduces the Colibri, a patented, high-performance light emitting diode (LED) light source for fluorescence microscopy. The narrow band LEDs replace conventional white light sources to produce extremely high contrast images with an excellent signal-to-noise ratio,...

Products
UV Spectral Metal Coating

Deposition Sciences, Inc. (Santa Rosa, CA) has released the UV Spectral Metal hybrid coating for ultraviolet (UV) curing and UV printing industries. The highly durable, advanced dichroic metal coating is used as the reflector behind the curing lamp. It is designed to maximize curing wavelengths between 220 nm and 400 nm...

Products
Laser Diode Driver and Temperature Controller

Wavelength Electronics (Bozeman, MT) introduces the LDTC 2/2 laser diode driver for integrated laser diode or LED modules that include temperature control, often utilized in medical diagnostic equipment, remote sensing, analytical instrumentation, military, and communication design. The unit combines...

Products
Picosecond Cold Processing Laser

The RAPID picosecond cold processing laser from RPMC (O’Fallon, MO) has up to 50W TEMoo average power and pulse repetition rates of up to 1MHz. The lasers are ideal for high quality industrial micromachining. Over 10mm3 of material per minute can be abated coldly, without thermal side effects and...

Products
Diode Pumped Gain Module

Cutting Edge Optronics (St. Charles, MO) has expanded its line of high power diode pumped gain modules with the release of a Nd:YVO4 version of its RBA pump head. The pump module features a side pumped Nd:Vanadate crystal that delivers over 30 watts of Q Switched average power at 1.064 microns in a linear...

Products
Display Production Test Sequencer

Radiant Imaging (Duvall, WA) introduces the Production Test Sequencer 3.0 (PM-PTS) for production line testing and calibration of displays, including LCD, plasma, and front and rear projection systems. PM-PTS 3.0 is designed for use in production environments to allow automated, objective display performance...

Products
Laser Diode Controller

VueMetrix Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) has released the Vue-MV-40 laser diode controller with DiodeGuard, VueMetrix’s proprietary laser diode protection circuitry. The high-power, low-noise controller is ideal for applications that use 15-20 discrete diodes operated in series, including fiber lasers and amplifiers, materials...

Products
Flat Panel Heaters

Watlow® (St. Louis, MO) offers large thick film flat panel heaters ideal for the photovoltaic (PV) industry’s transition to processing PV cells on large glass, stainless steel, and polymer substrates. The large thick film heater plate can be produced in single sheets or an array of small heaters to achieve dimensions of...

Products
Radhard Fiber Optic Cable

Linden Photonics (Westford, MA) has developed the Strong Tether Fiber Optic Cable (STFOC), a 0.030"diameter cable with a tensile strength in excess of 50 lbs. STFOC is radhard, impervious to moisture and oxygen, chemically stable, and capable of operating at up to 250°C. Custom versions are designed to work over...

Products
Galvanometer Mirrors

Reynard Corporation (San Clemente, CA) has released high precision coatings Galvanometer mirrors for laser system applications such as scanners, bar code readers, sweeping remote sensors, marking systems, and laser light shows. A mirror is modulated on its centered axis, causing a static laser beam to scan in a...

Products
Optical Edge Filters

Semrock (Rochester, NY) has introduced optical edge filters for Raman spectroscopy and fluorescence imaging. The EdgeBasicTM long-wave-pass filters are hard-coated optical filters that have high transmission of 98% typically, and laser-line blocking with an optical density greater than 6. The filters have an edge...

Products
Turnkey Diode Laser System

A new turnkey diode laser system from Coherent, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) delivers 75W of power at either 808 nm from a 200 μm core 0.22 NA (numerical aperture) fiber, or 976 nm from a 400 μm core 0.22 NA fiber. The HB-diode system is a fully integrated, microprocessor controlled instrument that operates from 110/220...

Products
Fiber Optic Rotary Encoder

The EC-TD5207 ZapFreeTM Fiber Optic Rotary Encoder from Micronor Inc. (Newbury Park, CA) is a passive, safe, non-metallic fiber optic rotary encoder designed specifically for use in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems used in hospitals, medical research, and industrial applications. The MR310 Remote...

Products
LED-Based Backlights

Global Lighting Technologies (Brecksville, OH) has introduced LED-based high-brightness backlights that offer thinness down to 0.4 mm for backlighting LCDs in consumer electronics products such as the keypads/keyboards used in mobile phones, laptops, and desktop PCs. The BLUs offer the thinness of electroluminescent (EL)...

Products
Spectral Irradiance Meter

The BSR112 is a miniature Spectral Irradiance Meter from B&W Tek, Inc. (Newark, DE) designed for field, industrial, and lab applications. BSR112 comes with a plug-and-play USB 2.0/1.1 interface. Standard software features include timeline recording, data smoothing, color measurement, chromaticity, color temperature,...

Products
Reflective Electro-Absorption Modulator

CIP Technologies (Ipswich, UK) offers a reflective electro-absorption modulator (R-EAM) for applications including 10 Gbit/s wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) passive optical networks (PONs). The R-EAM-1550-LS operates in the C band (1550 nm), and has a very low optical insertion loss of 3.5 dB...

Products
InGaAs Pin Photodiodes

GPD Optoelectronics Corp. (Salem, NH) offers 1.5 mm diameter InGaAs pin photodiodes. The GAP1500 series detectors are available in bare die and packaged form. The photodiodes are available in TO-46 or TO-5 cans with flat or lensed cap or on ceramic submounts, and feature sensitivity to 2.6 microns.

Products
Lasers

Universal Laser Systems, Inc. (ULS) (Scottsdale, AZ) offers VersaLASER® VLS3.60, VLS4.60, and VLS6.60, a broad range of entry-level, powerful, and versatile laser solutions that can process multiple materials and diverse applications with speed, accuracy, and fine feature detail. The VersaLASER platform series offers laser power up to 60...

Products
Single Mode Coupler/Splitter

Timbercon, Inc. (Lake Oswego, OR) offers standard single mode coupler/splitters, which are used to either combine two or more signals into one, or split one signal into multiple paths. They are available in 1×2, 1×3, 1×4, 1×8, 1×16, 1×32, 2×2, and 2×4 configurations with all industry standard fiber optic...

Products
DC-AC Inverter

The W10M Series DC-AC inverter from Endicott Research Group (Endicott, NY) provides a wide input voltage of 8V-24V for powering the backlights of LCDS used in portable medical equipment and other equipment where input is usually sustained by a battery or charger. W10M inverters provide from 2 to 12 Watts of output power, multiple...

Products
Wavelength Stabilized Lasers

Ondox, Inc. (Monrovia, CA) has added a 10mW, 405nm diode to its product line of wavelength stabilized lasers. The single longitudinal mode 405nm lasers have coherent length >1m, side mode suppression >25dB, and the wavelength is stable to approximately 3pm.. They are available in 5.6mm TO cans and fiber coupled...

Products
Optical Communication System Design Tool

Optiwave Systems Inc. (Ottawa, Ontario) has released the OptiSystem 6.0, the latest version of its optical communication system engineering design and validation tool. The system’s new features facilitate the simulation and design of optical communications technologies including WDM Passive Optical...

Products
Precision Filament Supply

The FIL-5V-3A precision filament supply, offered by UltraVolt, Inc. (Ronkonkoma, NY), is a center-tapped, non-isolated, low-voltage filament supply rated for 0 to 5 VDC at 0 to 3 Amps. The supply is designed for a variety of beam applications from electron guns to ion beams in devices such as scanning electron...

Products
DC/DC Converter

The BPS Series high-voltage DC/DC converters from BEAR Power Supplies (Phelps, NY) power avalanche photodiodes (APDs) and piezoelectric actuators in optical systems, lasers, and other industrial and scientific instruments. The high-reliability isolated 1.5W converters come in an ultra-miniature encapsulated package of 0.5 × 0.5...

Products
Ceramic Capacitor

Morgan Electro Ceramics (Bedford, OH) introduces a high voltage discharge ceramic capacitor with a high break-down strength up to 10 kVmm-1 and an inherently low dielectric loss. This combination of properties makes the capacitor ideal for circuits with high peak current and repetition rates, such as power-pulse applications...

Articles : Imaging
Infrared Radiation Detectors for Thermographic Imaging

Thermographic imaging is accomplished with a camera that converts infrared radiation (IR) into a visual image that depicts temperature variations across an object or scene. The main IR camera components are a lens, a detector in the form of a focal plane array (FPA), possibly a cooler for...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Real-Time Web-Based Image Distribution Using an Airborne GPS/Inertial Image Server

The use of geo-referenced imagery across the Internet is becoming prevalent thanks to the development of Web-based location servers such as Google Earth, TerraServer, and Yahoo Local. But users of these services are continually asking for more timely...

Products : Imaging
In-Camera GigE Board

Pleora Technologies, Ottawa, ON, Canada, has introduced the iPORT NTx-Mini in-camera IP Engine for Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) connectivity. It enables image streaming at the full GigE rate, and features a 42 × 42-mm form factor and 1.45 Watts of power consumption. It provides a main board that interfaces to optional...

Products : Imaging
Gigabit Ethernet Cameras

The uEye® Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) USB camera from IDS Imaging Development Systems, Cambridge, MA, is designed for machine vision and image processing applications. Cable lengths of up to 100 meters are possible. The cameras are equipped with a C-mount lens connector with adjustable mounting dimensions. A...

Products : Imaging
Wide-VGA Cameras

PixeLINK, Ottawa, ON, Canada, has introduced the PL-B761 monochrome and PL-B762 color wide-VGA cameras that feature a global shutter CMOS sensor providing 60 frames per second at a resolution of 752 × 480 pixels. The 1⁄3" optical format sensor has a 6.0 μm pixel pitch, and a 50 μs minimum exposure time. The sensor also...

Products : Imaging
Image Processing Software

The NI Vision Development Module from National Instruments, Austin, TX, consists of image processing and machine vision functions for various programming languages. It lets users enhance images, check for presence, locate features, identify objects, and measure parts. It includes NI Vision Assistant and NI Vision...

Products : Imaging
Thermal Imaging Camera

The M7816 Dual Vision thermal imaging camera from Mikron Infrared, Oakland, NJ, is designed for radiometric thermal imaging and features a 160 × 120 pixel resolution, 3.5" display, temperature ranges from -40 to 500°C, resolution of 0.1°C, and MikroSpec 4.0 software. The camera features the company’s Dual Vision...

Products : Imaging
Linear Arrays

Sensors Unlimited, Goodrich Corp., Princeton, NJ, offers the LC Series shortwave infrared linear photodiode array for imaging applications from 0.9 microns to 2.6 microns. The device features no moving parts, integration into existing systems, fast signal readout, and real-time measurement results. The arrays are suitable for...

Products : Imaging
Camera Electronics

BAP Image Systems, Fort Worth, TX, offers 100-MHz digital grayscale camera electronics that provide up to 600 dpi resolution, 12-bit processing and image output, adjustable line length, selectable working frequency, and curve-based contrast and brightness enhancement through LUT. Interfaces include RS-232 for camera set-up,...

Products : Imaging
Machine Vision Cameras

Sony Electronics, Park Ridge, NJ, has released the XCI Series Smart Cameras for machine vision applications that include color capabilities. The four new cameras are offered in VGA and SXGA resolutions, in color or monochrome. Other features include support for C and CS mounts, additional SDRAM memory, and ×86 CPU...

Products : Imaging
CMOS USB Camera

Lumenera Corp., Ottawa, ON, Canada, offers the Lm085 mini CMOS USB 2.0 camera for industrial applications with high-contrast-light scenes, tight space constraints, and rugged environmental conditions. The camera can be used in areas with variable lighting conditions and provides a dynamic range of 100 dB. It features a form...

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