Briefs : Materials
Stable, Thermally Conductive Fillers for Bolted Joints

A commercial structural epoxy [Super Koropon (or equivalent)] has been found to be a suitable filler material for bolted joints that are required to have large thermal conductances. The contact area of such a joint can be less than 1 percent of the apparent joint area, the exact value...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Deployable Spring-Strip Booms

Booms and other structures consisting mainly of thin spring strips are undergoing development. These structures are designed to be lightweight, to be compactly stowable, and to be capable of springing to stable configurations at full extension once released from stowage. Conceived for use as self-deploying...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Automated Serial Sectioning for 3D Reconstruction

Figure 1 depicts some aspects of an apparatus and method for automated serial sectioning of a specimen of a solder, aluminum, or other relatively soft opaque material. The apparatus includes a small milling machine (micromiller) that takes precise, shallow cuts (increments of depth as small as 1...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Variable Frequency Drives For More Efficient Manufacturing Operations

Energy savings is one of the key ingredients in reducing costs for any manufacturing operation. A simple, but very effective, way to save energy is by making fans run more efficiently. Almost every manufacturing application uses fans, and variable frequency drives (VFDs)...

Briefs : Software
Time Analyzer For Time Synchronization and Monitor of the Deep Space Network

A software package has been developed to measure, monitor, and archive the performance of timing signals distributed in the NASA Deep Space Network. Timing signals are generated from a central master clock and distributed to over 100 users at distances up to 30...

Briefs : Software
Program for Computing Albedo

Simple Thermal Environment Model (STEM) is a FORTRAN-based computer program that provides engineering estimates of top-of-atmosphere albedo and outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) for use in analyzing thermal loads on spacecraft near Earth. The thermal environment of a spacecraft is represented in STEM as consisting...

Briefs : Software
Integrated Software for Analyzing Designs of Launch Vehicles

Launch Vehicle Analysis Tool (LVA) is a computer program for preliminary design structural analysis of launch vehicles. Before LVA was developed, in order to analyze the structure of a launch vehicle, it was necessary to estimate its weight, feed this estimate into a program to obtain...

Briefs : Software
Abstract-Reasoning Software for Coordinating Multiple Agents

A computer program for scheduling the activities of multiple agents that share limited resources has been incorporated into the Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) software system, aspects of which have been reported in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles. In...

Briefs : Software
Software Searches for Better Spacecraft-Navigation Models

ADAPT is a computer program that searches for better mathematical models for spacecraft navigation. The task of tuning trajectory-determination models for interplanetary navigation is complex, requiring an intensive search of multiple dynamical and nondynamical models that yield...

Briefs : Software
Software for Partly Automated Recognition of Targets

The Feature Analyst is a computer program for assisted (partially automated) recognition of targets in images.

This program was developed to accelerate the processing of high-resolution satellite image data for incorporation into geographic information systems (GIS). This program creates an...

Briefs : Medical
Real-Time, High-Frequency QRS Electrocardiograph

An electronic system that performs real-time analysis of the low-amplitude, high-frequency, ordinarily invisible components of the QRS portion of an electrocardiographic signal in real time has been developed. Whereas the signals readily visible on a conventional electrocardiogram (ECG) have...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Radio System for Locating Emergency Workers

A system based on low-power radio transponders and associated analog and digital electronic circuitry has been developed for locating firefighters and other emergency workers deployed in a building or other structure. The system has obvious potential for saving lives and reducing the risk of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Capacitor-Chain Successive-Approximation ADC

A proposed successive approximation analog-to-digital converter (ADC) would contain a capacitively terminated chain of identical capacitor cells (see figure). Like a conventional successive approximation ADC containing a bank of binary scaled capacitors, the proposed ADC would store an input voltage...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Simpler Alternative to an Optimum FQPSK-B Viterbi Receiver

A reduced-complexity alternative to an optimum FQPSK-B Viterbi receiver has been invented. As described below, the reduction in complexity is achieved at the cost of only a small reduction in power performance [performance expressed in terms of a bit-energy-to-noise-energy ratio (Eb/N0)...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Multilayer Patch Antenna Surrounded by a Metallic Wall

A multilayer patch antenna, similar to a Yagi antenna, surrounded by a metallic wall has been devised to satisfy requirements to fit within a specified size and shape and to generate a beam with a half-power angular width of ≤40°. This antenna provides a gain of about 14 dB; in contrast,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Analysis of Designs of Space Laboratories

A report presents a review of the development of laboratories in outer space, starting from the pioneering Skylab and Salyut stations of the United States and the former Soviet Union and progressing through current and anticipated future developments. The report includes textual discussions of...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Relatively Inexpensive Rapid Prototyping of Small Parts

Parts with complex three-dimensional shapes and with dimensions up to 8 by 8 by 10 in. (20.3 by 20.3 by 25.4 cm) can be made as unitary pieces of a room- temperature- curing polymer, with relatively little investment in time and money, by a process now in use at Johnson Space Center. The...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Dry Process for Making Polyimide/Carbon-and-Boron-Fiber Tape

A dry process has been invented as an improved means of manufacturing composite prepreg tapes that consist of high- temperature thermoplastic polyimide resin matrices reinforced with carbon and boron fibers. Such tapes are used (especially in the aircraft industry) to fabricate strong,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Modeling and Control of Aerothermoelastic Effects

Aerothermoelasticity comprises those aspects of the dynamics of an aircraft that are caused by flexibility and heating during flight. The concept of aerothermoelasticity is particularly important for hypersonic vehicles that operate at extremely high dynamic pressures. The design requirements for...

Briefs : Information Technology
Algorithms for Haptic Rendering of 3D Objects

Algorithms have been developed to provide haptic rendering of three-dimensional (3D) objects in virtual (that is, computationally simulated) environments. The goal of haptic rendering is to generate tactual displays of the shapes, hardnesses, surface textures, and frictional properties of 3D objects...

Briefs : Information Technology
Prognostics Methodology for Complex Systems

An automatic method to schedule maintenance and repair of complex systems is produced based on a computational structure called the Informed Maintenance Grid (IMG). This method provides solutions to the two fundamental problems in autonomic logistics: (1) unambiguous detection of deterioration or...

Briefs : Materials
Shields for Enhanced Protection Against High-Speed Debris

A report describes improvements over the conventional Whipple shield (two thin, spaced aluminum walls) for protecting spacecraft against high-speed impacts of orbiting debris. The debris in question arises mainly from breakup of older spacecraft. The improved shields include exterior...

Briefs : Materials
Transparent Metal-Salt-Filled Polymeric Radiation Shields

"COR-RA" (colorless atomic oxygen resistant — radiation shield) is the name of a transparent polymeric material filled with x-ray-absorbing salts of lead, bismuth, cesium, and thorium. COR-RA is suitable for use in shielding personnel against bremsstrahlung radiation from electron-beam...

Briefs : Materials
Meshed-Pumpkin Super-Pressure Balloon Design

An improved, lightweight design has been proposed for super-pressure balloons used to carry scientific instruments at high altitudes in the atmosphere of Earth for times as long as 100 days. [A super- pressure balloon is one in which the pressure of the buoyant gas (typically, helium) is kept somewhat...

Briefs : Materials
Corrosion Inhibitors as Penetrant Dyes for Radiography

Liquid/vapor-phase corrosion inhibitors (LVCIs) have been found to be additionally useful as penetrant dyes for neutron radiography (and perhaps also x-radiography). Enhancement of radiographic contrasts by use of LVCIs can reveal cracks, corrosion, and other defects that may be undetectable...

Briefs : Materials
Explicit Pore Pressure Material Model in Carbon-Cloth Phenolic

An explicit material model that uses predicted pressure in the pores of a carbon-cloth phenolic (CCP) composite has been developed. This model is intended to be used within a finite-element model to predict phenomena specific to CCP components of solid-fuel-rocket nozzles subjected...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Brush-Wheel Samplers for Planetary Exploration

A report proposes brush-wheel mechanisms for acquiring samples of soils from remote planets. In simplest terms, such a mechanism would contain brush wheels that would be counter-rotated at relatively high speed. The mechanism would be lowered to the ground from a spacecraft or other exploratory...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Energy Absorbers for Blast Containers

Kinetic-energy- absorbing liners made of aluminum foam have been developed to replace solid lead liners in blast containers on the aft skirt of the solid rocket booster of the space shuttle. The blast containers are used to safely trap the debris from small explosions that are initiated at...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Tilt-Sensitivity Analysis for Space Telescopes

A report discusses a computational- simulation study of phase- front propagation in the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), in which space telescopes would transmit and receive metrological laser beams along 5-Gm interferometer arms. The main objective of the study was to determine the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Study of Dislocation-Ordered InₓGa₁₋ₓAs/GaAs Quantum Dots

A report describes an experimental study of dislocation-induced spatial ordering of quantum dots (QDs) comprising nanometer-sized InxGa1–xAs islands surrounded by GaAs. Metastable hetero-epitaxial structures were grown by molecular-beam epitaxy of...

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