Briefs : Information Technology
Java Library for Input and Output of Image Data and Metadata

A Java-language library supports input and output (I/O) of image data and metadata (label data) in the format of the Video Image Communication and Retrieval (VICAR) image-processing software and in several similar formats, including a subset of the Planetary Data System (PDS) image...

Briefs : Information Technology
"Virtual Cockpit Window" for a Windowless Aerospacecraft

A software system processes navigational and sensory information in real time to generate a three- dimensional- appearing image of the external environment for viewing by crewmembers of a windowless aerospacecraft. The design of the particular aerospacecraft (the X-38) is such that the...

Briefs : Materials
Advancements in Technology for Controlling Fiber Orientation in Composite Parts

The performance of a composite part is primarily determined by the orientation of fibers in the plies. Designers wishing to exploit the full potential of composite materials, while avoiding manufacturing problems and part failures, must define and control fiber...

Briefs : Materials
Low-EC-Content Electrolytes for Low-Temperature Li-Ion Cells

Electrolytes comprising LiPF6 dissolved at a concentration of 1.0 M in three different mixtures of alkyl carbonates have been found well suited for use in rechargeable lithium-ion electrochemical cells at low temperatures. These and other electrolytes have been investigated...

Briefs : Materials
Alkaline Capacitors Based on Nitride Nanoparticles

High-energy-density alkaline electrochemical capacitors based on electrodes made of transition-metal nitride nanoparticles are undergoing development. Transition-metal nitrides (in particular, Fe3N and TiN) offer a desirable combination of high electrical conductivity and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Soft Landing of Spacecraft on Energy-Absorbing Self-Deployable Cushions

A report proposes the use of cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) foam structures to cushion impacts of small (1 to 50 kg) exploratory spacecraft on remote planets. Airbags, which are used on larger (800 to 1,000 kg) spacecraft have been found to (1) be too complex for...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Energy-Absorbing, Lightweight Wheels

Improved energy- absorbing wheels are under development for use on special-purpose vehicles that must traverse rough terrain under conditions (e.g., extreme cold) in which rubber pneumatic tires would fail. The designs of these wheels differ from those of prior non-pneumatic energy-absorbing wheels in ways...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Viscoelastic Vibration Dampers for Turbomachine Blades

Simple viscoelastic dampers have been invented for use on the root attachments of turbomachine blades. These dampers suppress bending- and torsion-mode blade vibrations, which are excited by unsteady aerodynamic forces during operation. In suppressing vibrations, these dampers reduce fatigue...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Evaluation of Charge Storage and Decay in Spacecraft Insulators

Two reports discuss methods for evaluating the magnitude of electrostatic charging that occurs in spacecraft dielectric materials (in particular, polyimides) during prolonged exposure to radiation in outer space. The reports describe experiments on the electrical resistivities and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nanoscale Hot-Wire Probes for Boundary-Layer Flows

Hot-wire probes having dimensions of the order of nanometers have been proposed for measuring temperatures (and possibly velocities) in boundary-layer flows at spatial resolutions much finer and distances from walls much smaller than have been possible heretofore. The achievable resolutions and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Silicon Membrane Mirrors With Electrostatic Shape Actuators

Efforts are under way to develop deformable mirrors equipped with microscopic electrostatic actuators that would be used to maintain their reflective surfaces in precise shapes required for their intended applications. Unlike actuators that depend on properties of materials (e.g.,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Fiber-Optic Ammonia Sensors
Reversible, colorimetric fiber-optic sensors are undergoing development for use in measuring concentrations of ammonia in air at levels relevant to human health [0 to 50 parts per million (ppm)]. A sensor of this type includes an optical fiber that has been modified by replacing a portion of its cladding with a polymer...
Briefs : Software
Software for a GPS-Reflection Remote-Sensing System

A special-purpose software Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver designed for remote sensing with reflected GPS signals is described in "Delay/Doppler-Mapping GPS-Reflection Remote-Sensing System" (NPO-30385), which appears on the previous page. The input accepted by this program comprises...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Stabilized Fiber-Optic Distribution of Reference Frequency

An optoelectronic system distributes a reference signal of low noise and highly stabilized phase and frequency (100 MHz) from an atomic frequency standard to a remote facility at a distance up to tens of kilometers. The reference signal is transmitted to the remote station as amplitude...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Calibrating Laser Gas Measurements by Use of Natural CO2

An improved method of calibration has been devised for instruments that utilize tunable lasers to measure the absorption spectra of atmospheric gases in order to determine the relative abundances of the gases. In this method, CO2 in the atmosphere is used as a natural...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Micro-Ball-Lens Optical Switch Driven by SMA Actuator

The figure is a simplified cross section of a microscopic optical switch that was partially developed at the time of reporting the information for this article. In a fully developed version, light would be coupled from an input optical fiber to one of two side-by-side output optical fibers....

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optoelectronic Tool Adds Scale Marks to Photographic Images

A simple, easy-to-use optoelectronic tool projects scale marks that become incorporated into photographic images (including film and electronic images). The sizes of objects depicted in the images can readily be measured by reference to the scale marks. The role played by the scale...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Aligning Three Off-Axis Mirrors With Help of a DOE

A proposed method based on the use of a special-purpose diffractive optical element (DOE) would simplify (relative to prior methods) the alignment of three off-axis mirrors that constitute an imaging optical system. The method would exploit the fact that a DOE can be fabricated lithographically...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Laser Ranging Simulation Program

Laser Ranging Simulation Program (LRSP) is a computer program that predicts selected aspects of the performances of a laser altimeter or other laser ranging or remote-sensing systems and is especially applicable to a laser-based system used to map terrain from a distance of several kilometers. Designed to run in...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Theodolite With CCD Camera for Safe Measurement of Laser-Beam Pointing

The simple addition of a charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera to a theodolite makes it safe to measure the pointing direction of a laser beam. The present state of the art requires this to be a custom addition because theodolites are manufactured without CCD cameras as standard...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Ladar System Identifies Obstacles Partly Hidden by Grass

A ladar-based system now undergoing development is intended to enable an autonomous mobile robot in an outdoor environment to avoid moving toward trees, large rocks, and other obstacles that are partly hidden by tall grass. The design of the system incorporates the assumption that the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Photodiode CMOS Imager With Column Feedback Soft Reset

A proposed complementary metal oxide/semiconductor (CMOS) photodiode integrated-circuit imaging device of the active-pixel-sensor (APS) type would include column feedback sub-circuits that would make it possible to reduce readout noise (thereby making it possible to image at lower light...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Digital Flash X-Ray Imager for Quantitative Physiology

An optoelectronic/digital flash x-ray imaging system has been invented for use in quantitative physiological studies and general radiology. The system could be implemented in a relatively compact, lightweight apparatus suitable for use aboard a spacecraft as well as on Earth. Applications...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Frame-Rate CCD Camera Having Subwindow Capability

A custom high-speed charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera that features a capability for real-time readout from multiple regions of interest (subwindows) within its field of view is undergoing development. The camera was designed initially as a means of tracking a remote laser beacon in a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Interface System for Downlinking Digital TV Signals From Spacecraft

A system of interface electronic circuitry that includes a data packetizer and a data depacketizer has been developed to enable the downlinking of both standard- and high-definition television (SDTV and HDTV) signals from a space shuttle or the International Space Station. The...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Stereoscopic Vision System Tracks Objects in Real Time

A stereoscopic machine-vision system offers a capability for robust tracking of objects in three dimensions (3D). The system is suitable for use in a variety of robotic applications. The system hardware includes a pan-tilt-verge camera and aiming mechanism assembly and a board that holds...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Efficiency Ultraviolet CCD Video Camera for Biology

A high-efficiency, high-frame-rate ultraviolet (UV) charge-coupled device (CCD) camera that is especially well suited for biological and defense applications was developed. This is the first high-frame rate camera using delta-doped CCDs, which is suitable for biological imaging having high...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Data Acquisition and Control Systems Laboratory

The Data Acquisition and Control Systems (DACS) Laboratory is a facility at Stennis Space Center that provides an off test-stand capability to develop data-acquisition and control systems for rocket-engine test stands. It is also used to train new employees in state-of-the-art systems, and provides...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Geography-Based Routing in an Ad Hoc Communication Network

The best-effort geographical multi-hop routing (BEGHR) protocol routes packets of data in an ad hoc digital radio-communication network on the basis of the current geographical positions of all the network nodes. This protocol was conceived especially for application to a network, (1)...

Briefs : Information Technology
Characteristics of Dynamics of Intelligent Systems

An investigation of nonlinear mathematical models of dynamics has led to the selection of characteristics that could be useful for distinguishing mathematically between the behaviors of (1) intelligent or living systems and (2) nonliving systems. As contemplated here, an intelligent or living...

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