Briefs : Physical Sciences
Compact Microwave Fourier Spectrum Analyzer

A compact photonic microwave Fourier spectrum analyzer [a Fourier-transform microwave spectrometer, (FTMWS)] with no moving parts has been proposed for use in remote sensing of weak, natural microwave emissions from the surfaces and atmospheres of planets to enable remote analysis and determination of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Non-Contact Measurement of Density and Thickness Variation in Dielectric Materials

This non-contact, single-sided terahertz electromagnetic measurement and imaging method characterizes micro-structural (e.g., spatially-lateral density) and thickness variation in dielectric (insulating) materials. This method was demonstrated for space shuttle...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
The Mars Science Laboratory Touchdown Test Facility

In the Touchdown Test Program for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, a facility was developed to use a full-scale rover vehicle and an overhead winch system to replicate the Skycrane landing event. A driving requirement for the testing facility was the need to support a load of 5,000 lb...

Briefs : Software
Combinatorial Generation of Test Suites

Testgen is a computer program that generates suites of input and configuration vectors for testing other software or software/hardware systems. As systems become ever more complex, often, there is not enough time to test systems against all possible combinations of inputs and configurations, so test...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
InP Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor Amplifiers to 255 GHz

Two single-stage InP heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) amplifiers operate at 184 and 255 GHz, using Northrop Grumman Corporation’s InP HBT MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) technology. At the time of this reporting, these are reported to be the highest HBT...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
In-Phase Power-Combined Frequency Tripler at 300 GHz

This design starts with commercial 85- to 115-GHz sources that are amplified to as much as 250 mW using power amplifiers developed for the Herschel Space Observatory. The frequency is then tripled using a novel waveguide GaAs Schottky diode frequency tripler. This planar diode produces 26 mW...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Smaller But Fully Functional Backshell for Cable Connector

An improved design for the backshell of a connector for a shielded, multiple-wire cable reduces the size of the backshell, relative to traditional designs of backshells of otherwise identical cable connectors. Notwithstanding the reduction in size, the design provides all the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Electronic System for Preventing Airport Runway Incursions

The figure is a block diagram of a proposed system of portable illuminated signs, electronic monitoring equipment, and radio-communication equipment for preventing (or taking corrective action in response to) improper entry of aircraft, pedestrians, or ground vehicles onto active airport...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Glove-Box or Desktop Virtual-Reality System

The figure depicts salient features of the optical layout of a desktop-scale virtual-reality system that is specialized for simulating a glove-box work space. The system generates stereoscopic left- and right-eye images of the interior of the work space that show (1) a user extension (defined here as...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Composite Layer Manufacturing With Fewer Interruptions

An improved version of composite layer manufacturing (CLM) has been invented. CLM is a type of solid freeform fabrication (SFF) — an automated process in which a three-dimensional object is built up, point-by-point, through extrusion of a matrix/fiber composite-material precursor. The...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Photoresist Coating for Making CNT Field Emitters

An improved photoresist-coating technique has been developed for use in the fabrication of carbon-nanotube- (CNT)- based field emitters of the type described in “Fabrication of Improved Carbon- Nanotube Field Emitters” (NPO-44996), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 32, No. 4 (April 2008), page...

Briefs : Information Technology
Integrated System Health Management Development Toolkit

This software toolkit is designed to model complex systems for the implementation of embedded Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) capability, which focuses on determining the condition (health) of every element in a complex system (detect anomalies, diagnose causes, and predict...

Briefs : Information Technology
TCP/IP Interface for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP)

The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) interface for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP) provides the means for the software to establish real-time interfaces with other software. Such interfaces can operate between two programs, either on the same...

Briefs : Software
Autonomous Instrument Placement for Mars Exploration Rovers

Autonomous Instrument Placement (AutoPlace) is onboard software that enables a Mars Exploration Rover to act autonomously in using its manipulator to place scientific instruments on or near designated rock and soil targets. Prior to the development of AutoPlace, it was necessary for...

Briefs : Software
Mission and Assets Database

Mission and Assets Database (MADB) Version 1.0 is an SQL database system with a Web user interface to centralize information. The database stores flight project support resource requirements, view periods, antenna information, schedule, and forecast results for use in mid-range and long-term planning of Deep Space...

Briefs : Software
Trajectory Calculator for Finite-Radius Cutter on a Lathe

A computer program calculates the two- dimensional trajectory (radial vs. axial position) of a finite-radius-of- curvature cutting tool on a lathe so as to cut a workpiece to a piecewise-continuous, analytically defined surface of revolution. (In the original intended application, the...

Briefs : Materials
A Simplified Diagnostic Method for Elastomer Bond Durability

A simplified method has been developed for determining bond durability under exposure to water or high humidity conditions. It uses a small number of test specimens with relatively short times of water exposure at elevated temperature. The method is also gravimetric; the only equipment...

Briefs : Materials
Very High Output Thermoelectric Devices Based on ITO Nanocomposites

A material having useful thermoelectric properties was synthesized by combining indium-tin-oxide (ITO) with a NiCoCrAlY alloy/alumina cermet. This material had a very large Seebeck coefficient with electromotive- force-versus- temperature behavior that is considered to be...

Briefs : Materials
Complex Multifunctional Polymer/Carbon-Nanotube Composites

A methodology for developing complex multifunctional materials that consist of or contain polymer/ carbon-nanotube composites has been conceived. As used here, “multifunctional” signifies having additional and/or enhanced physical properties that polymers or polymer- matrix...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonic/Sonic Anchor

The ultrasonic/sonic anchor (U/S anchor) is an anchoring device that drills a hole for itself in rock, concrete, or other similar material. The U/S anchor is a recent addition to a series of related devices, the first of which were reported in “Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors” (NPO-20856), NASA...

Articles : Medical
Medical Design Advances Provide New Diagnostic and Treatment Options

Advances in medical design are paving the way for diagnostic and treatment options that previously were thought to be impossible. Today, surgeons, emergency medical personnel, and other healthcare professionals have a myriad of tools and techniques at their fingertips to help...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Grooved Fuel Rings for Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engines

An alternative design concept for nuclear thermal rocket engines for interplanetary spacecraft calls for the use of grooved-ring fuel elements. Beyond spacecraft rocket engines, this concept also has potential for the design of terrestrial and spacecraft nuclear electric-power plants.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Pulsed Operation of an Ion Accelerator

Electronic circuitry has been devised to enable operation of an ion accelerator in either a continuous mode or a high-peak-power, low-average-power pulsed mode. In the original intended application, the ion accelerator would be used as a spacecraft thruster and the pulse mode would serve to generate small...

Application Briefs : Communications
Communications and Tracking Services Support Near-Earth Missions
Telemetry, tracking, and command services
ITT Corporation
White Plains, NY

ITT Corporation has been selected by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to perform telemetry, tracking, and command services for near-Earth...

Application Briefs : Test & Measurement
Measurement Systems Aid NASA in Study of Space Station Solar Array Anomaly
Surface and roundness measurement systems
Taylor Hobson
West Chicago, IL

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama is using the Form Talysurf PGI 1230 Surface Measurement and the Talyrond 295...

NASA Tech Needs
NASA Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Monitoring

The Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) mission has been recommended for launch in the 2013-2016 time frame by the National Research Council. The mission’s purpose is to gather science that identifies human versus natural sources of aerosols and ozone precursors,...

An Innovative Approach to Shaker Testing

When it comes to testing products for long-term durability, shock exposure survival, or accelerated life testing, the classic technique most engineers turn to is vibration testing with a shaker table. These controlled experimental tests have been successfully employed in the worlds of automotive,...

Model RPM10 Photo/Contact Tachometer

Extech Instruments, Waltham, MA, has introduced the Model RPM10 photo/contact tachometer that includes a built-in, noncontact infrared thermometer with laser pointer that provides surface temperature measurement ranging from -4 to 572°F in locations that are unsafe or hard to reach. It features a 6:1 field...

Who's Who
Glenn Rakow, SpaceWire Development Lead, Goddard Space Flight Center

Glenn Rakow is the Development Lead for SpaceWire, a high-speed communications protocol for space-flight electronics originally developed in 1999 by the European Space Agency (ESA). Under Rakow’s leadership, the SpaceWire standard was developed into a network of nodes and...

Techs for License
Lossy Compression Technique Varies Data Quality in Response to Bandwidth or Time

Looking at ways to encode an image as a file, one byte in the file contributes information to one pixel (PPM files) or a small group of pixels (GIF, JPEG). In other image technologies such as wavelets, certain bytes contribute much more information than others....

Technology Leaders