Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

Converting From CVF to AAF

A computer program called “dsn config converter” automates what had been a manual process for updating the multi-mission adaptation file (multi.aaf) used by a multiple- mission- command- sequence- generating process comprised of a combination of the AUTOGEN and APGEN programs mentioned in the immediately preceding article. The program converts the dsn_config.cvf file that provides DSN (Deep Space Network) antenna configuration code mappings from a context variable file (CVF) format used in another part of the command generation process to an APGEN activity file (AAF) format used by AUTOGEN and APGEN.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight management systems, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight management systems, Automation
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Documenting AUTOGEN and APGEN Model Files

A computer program called “autogen hypertext map generator” satisfies a need for documenting and assisting in visualization of, and navigation through, model files used in the AUTOGEN and APGEN software mentioned in the two immediately preceding articles. This program parses autogen script files, autogen model files, PERL scripts, and apgen activity-definition files and produces a hypertext map of the files to aid in the navigation of the model. This program also provides a facility for adding notes and descriptions, beyond what is in the source model represented by the hypertext map. Further, this program provides access to a summary of the model through variable, function, sub routine, activity and resource declarations as well as providing full access to the source model and source code. The use of the tool enables easy access to the declarations and the ability to traverse routines and calls while analyzing the model.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Cartography, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Cartography, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Human machine interface (HMI)
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Sequence History Update Tool

The Sequence History Update Tool performs Web-based sequence statistics archiving for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Using a single UNIX command, the software takes advantage of sequencing conventions to automatically extract the needed statistics from multiple files. This information is then used to populate a PHP database, which is then seamlessly formatted into a dynamic Web page.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Statistical analysis, Internet, Internet, Documentation, Spacecraft
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Extraction and Analysis of Display Data

The Display Audit Suite is an integrated package of software tools that partly automates the detection of Portable Computer System (PCS) Display errors. [PCS is a laptop computer used onboard the International Space Station (ISS).] The need for automation stems from the large quantity of PCS displays (6,000+, with 1,000,000+ lines of command and telemetry data). The Display Audit Suite includes data-extraction tools, automatic error detection tools, and database tools for generating analysis spreadsheets.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, On-board diagnostics, On-board diagnostics (OBD), Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, On-board diagnostics, On-board diagnostics (OBD), Displays, Displays, Automation, Spacecraft
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MRO DKF Post-Processing Tool

This software tool saves time and reduces risk by automating two labor-intensive and error- prone post-processing steps required for every DKF [DSN (Deep Space Network) Keyword File] that MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) produces, and is being extended to post-process the corresponding TSOE (Text Sequence Of Events) as well. The need for this post- processing step stems from limitations in the seq-gen modeling resulting in incorrect DKF generation that is then cleaned up in post-processing.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Telemetry, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Telemetry, Performance upgrades, Reliability, Reliability, Spacecraft
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Rig Diagnostic Tools

Rig Diagnostic Tools is a suite of applications designed to allow an operator to monitor the status and health of complex networked systems using a unique interface between Java applications and UNIX scripts. The suite consists of Java applications, C scripts, VxWorks applications, UNIX utilities, C programs, and configuration files. The UNIX scripts retrieve data from the system and write them to a certain set of files. The Java side monitors these files and presents the data in user-friendly formats for operators to use in making troubleshooting decisions. This design allows for rapid prototyping and expansion of higher-level displays without affecting the basic data-gathering applications. The suite is designed to be extensible, with the ability to add new system components in building block fashion without affecting existing system applications. This allows for monitoring of complex systems for which unplanned shutdown time comes at a prohibitive cost.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Electronic equipment, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Electronic equipment, Diagnostics
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MRO Sequence Checking Tool

The MRO Sequence Checking Tool program, mro_check, automates significant portions of the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) sequence checking procedure. Though MRO has similar checks to the ODY’s (Mars Odyssey) Mega Check tool, the checks needed for MRO are unique to the MRO spacecraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Automation, Reliability, Reliability, Spacecraft
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Science Activity Planner for the MER Mission

The Maestro Science Activity Planner is a computer program that assists human users in planning operations of the Mars Explorer Rover (MER) mission and visualizing scientific data returned from the MER rovers. Relative to its predecessors, this program is more powerful and easier to use. This program is built on the Java Eclipse open-source platform around a Web-browser- based user-interface paradigm to provide an intuitive user interface to Mars rovers and landers.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight management systems, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight management systems, Human machine interface (HMI), Performance upgrades, Spacecraft
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UAVSAR Flight-Planning System

A system of software partly automates planning of a flight of the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) — a polarimetric synthetic-aperture radar system aboard an unpiloted or minimally piloted airplane. The software constructs a flight plan that specifies not only the intended flight path but also the setup of the radar system at each point along the path.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight management systems, Radar, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Flight management systems, Radar, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Templates for Deposition of Microscopic Pointed Structures

These structures can be used as field emitters in plasma television screens.

Templates for fabricating sharply pointed microscopic peaks arranged in nearly regular planar arrays can be fabricated by a relatively inexpensive technique that has recently been demonstrated. Depending on the intended application, a semiconducting, insulating, or metallic film could be deposited on such a template by sputtering, thermal evaporation, pulsed laser deposition, or any other suitable conventional deposition technique. Pointed structures fabricated by use of these techniques may prove useful as photocathodes or field emitters in plasma television screens. Selected peaks could be removed from such structures and used individually as scanning tips in atomic force microscopy or mechanical surface profiling.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Microscopy, Microscopy, Fabrication
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