Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Synchronizing Attitudes and Maneuvers of Multiple Spacecraft

A report discusses the problem of controlling the maneuvers of multiple spacecraft flying in formation and, more specifically, making the entire formation rotate about a given axis and synchronizing the rotations of the individual spacecraft with the rotation of the formation. Such...

Briefs : Materials
Lightweight Solar Sail for a Spacecraft Flying Near the Sun

A report proposes a high-temperature- resistant solar sail with an areal mass density less than 1 g/m2, for a spacecraft that would approach the Sun to within a distance of 0.2 astronomical unit (≈3 × 107 km). The sail would be made in multiple segments of a carbon...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mesoscopic Winch for Precise Extension and Retraction

A proposed lightweight, micromachined winch would have microscopic structural details and mesoscopic overall dimensions and would be capable of generating bidirectional macro- scopic motion (maximum cable extension or retraction ≈1 m) with submicron increments. Winches like this one could...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Further Advances in Cooperative Transport by Mobile Robots

Hardware and decentralized-control algorithms have been developed during continued research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and functional requirements for systems of multiple mobile robots cooperating in the performance of tightly coupled tasks — for example, grasping...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Electrohydrodynamic Conduction Pumps

Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) conduction pumps have been investigated in theo- retical and experimental studies. In general, EHD pumps contain no moving parts. They generate pressure gradients and/or flows in dielectric liquids via any of a variety of inter- actions between (1) applied electric fields and (2)...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process for Rapid Prototyping in Ceramic-Matrix Composites

The ceramic-composite advanced tow-placement (CCATP) process is a means of laying down continuous-fiber-reinforced, ceramic-matrix composite (CMC) materials in patterned layers to form objects that could have complex three-dimensional shapes. The CCATP process is a member of the growing...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Self-Aligning Fiber Couplers for Microsphere Resonators

Fiber-optic couplers for spherical, toroidal, and other, similarly shaped microscopic optical resonators that operate in whispering-gallery (WG) modes would be fabricated with integral alignment features, according to a proposal. These alignment features would facilitate coupling...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Spotlight Radiometer

A proposed radiometric instrument denoted the spotlight radiometer (SLR) would operate in a frequency band centered at ≈557 GHz and would scan in a conical or circular pattern. The SLR was conceived for use in obtaining spatially and spectrally resolved indications of CO and H2O molecules in the Martian...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Relatively Inexpensive Unobscured Large-Aperture Laser-Beam Expander

A design for an unobscured, large-aperture but otherwise compact laser-beam expander relies solely on spherical reflecting and refracting surfaces, yet provides a reasonably well corrected wavefront suitable for most applications. This design results from a tradeoff among...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
General-Purpose Stereo Imaging Velocimetry

An improved and expanded method of stereo imaging velocimetry (SIV) for diagnosing three-dimensional flows of gases, liquids, and other fluids involves the use of standard charge-coupled-device cameras positioned orthogonally to each other. In addition to providing a full-field, quantitative,...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Infrared Fiber-Optic Endoscope

A proposed infrared transmitting fiber-optic endoscope, which would partly resemble a visible-light fiber-optic endoscope, instrument could be used to perform thermal imaging in harsh environments and/or confined spaces in a variety of situations in aerospace, industrial, automotive, and medical settings.

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Adjusting Polarization To Reduce Error in an Interferometer

An unconventional and highly effective technique has been devised to reduce cyclic errors that arise in the operation of a displacement-measuring heterodyne optical interferometer. The cyclic errors are attributable largely to undesired small exchanges of power between light beams that...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Fiber-Optic Probe Uses Evanescent Waves To Sense Biofilm

A compact instrument includes a fiber-optic probe that utilizes the evanescent-wave interaction to measure the accumulation of a biofilm. This instrument is a prototype of instruments that could be used to effect continuous monitoring and provide early warning of biofilms associated with...

Briefs : Materials
Fabricating Better PSSA-PVDF-Based MEAs for Fuel Cells

Some changes have been made in the fabrication of PSSA/ PVDF-based membrane/electrode assemblies for direct methanol fuel cells. The effect of the changes is to improve the electrochemical performances of the cells.

Briefs : Software
Software for Capturing Software-Design Rationale

Better Elicitation and Communication of Arguments Underlying Software Engineering (BECAUSE) is a computer program that records and codifies the rationale that underlies decisions made in the course of developing software. To minimize the additional sensory, cognitive, and motor demands upon the...

Briefs : Software
Software for Scientific Exploration by Multiple Rovers

Multi-Rover Integrated Science Understanding System (MISUS) is a computer program designed to coordinate the activities of multiple small, instrumented robotic vehicles (rovers) engaged in autonomous scientific exploration of the surface of Mars. MISUS includes a component that utilizes...

Briefs : Software
Software Accelerates and Standardizes Procurement by NASA

Virtual Procurement Office (VPO) is a Web-based application program designed for use by procurement professionals throughout NASA. Prior to the development of VPO, each of the 700+ NASA procurement pro- fessionals had to spend much time searching numerous locations on-line and off-line...

Briefs : Software
Software for Managing a Health and Environmental Database

Health and Environ- mental Resource System (HERS) is a relational-database computer program with a graphical user interface that assists members of an envi- ronmental health organization in the collection, analysis,

and reporting of data pertaining to industrial hygiene, radiation...

Briefs : Software
GUI Software for Managing Router Configuration Files

Cisco IOS Manager (CIOSMAN) is a computer program that generates a graphical user interface for managing configuration files for an Internet-Protocol router. [In this context, “IOS” signifies the Cisco Internet- working Operating System and “router” signifies a system of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Making Audible Alarms More Noticeable in Noisy Environments

An improved method of generating audible alarms has been invented for stressful environments in which there may be consid- erable background noise and where the intended recipients of the alarms also need to pay att- ention to sounds other than the alarms. An aircraft cockpit is a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Clamps for Testing Cable Shields and Connector Shells

Connector test clamps (CTCs) are clamping electrical connectors designed for use in testing electrical continuity from the backshell of a connector at one end of a shielded electrical cable, through the cable shield, to the backshell at the other end of the cable. CTCs increase the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Remote Sense Helps Power Sources Accurately Simulate Batteries and Charger Operation

During development and production, cell phones and other portable devices must be tested and calibrated with a power source that accurately simulates battery operation. To avoid erroneous calibration and false failure indications in devices under test (DUTs),...

Briefs : Information Technology
Methods and Software for Mining Data in Context

The Perilog methods and software provide a suite of data-mining tools. Perilog retrieves and organizes data from any sequence of terms that are contextually associated (e.g., text, music, genetic sequences). Perilog data mining includes: (1) keyterm-in-context search; (2) flexible, model-based...

Briefs : Information Technology
Beacon-Based Exception Analysis for Multimissions

BEAM is a method of real-time, automated analysis and diagnosis applicable to a broad class of complex electromechanical systems, including spacecraft, aircraft, and process-control systems. Some aspects of its operation were described in “Reusable Software for Autonomous Diagnosis of Complex...

Briefs : Information Technology
Generalized Pre-Processor for Block and Convolutional Codes

A generalized data processor, proposed for use in the reception of binaryphase-shift-keyed (BPSK) radio signals, provides preliminary estimates of the block and convolutionally encoded symbols that are meant to be con- veyed by the BPSK modulation. In a process denoted...

Briefs : Information Technology
Improved Transponder for Earth/Spacecraft Communication

A prototype of a relatively inexpensive S-band transponder has been developed for use aboard a spacecraft as part of a NASA space- craft tracking and data network (STDN). The transponder design incorporates recent advances in digital processing of received radio signals. Notable features of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Analyzing Multispectral Signatures and Images of Biomaterials Through Neural Computing

A method of semi- automated ident- ification of biomaterials, now under development, is based on the use of a combination of neural-network and of self- organizing, molecular, and supervised-learning algorithms to analyze multispectral images. The method is...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Extending the Life of a Linear Tape-Open (LTO) Backup Tape

Data is any company’s most valuable asset. Archiving systems are essential to ensuring that valuable data is preserved. A wide variety of technologies exists, but tape medium remains a popular choice for data backup due to its comparatively low cost and large capacity for data storage....

Briefs : Materials
Making Hydrophobic Cathodes for MEAs in Fuel Cells

The fabrication of membrane/electrode assemblies (MEAs) for direct methanol fuel cells can be modified to make the cathodes hydro- phobic. These modifications improve the performances of the fuel cells, as explained below.

Briefs : Materials
Improved Polymer/Solid-Electrolyte Membranes for Fuel Cells

A class of developmental membrane electrolyte materials for methanol/air and hydrogen/air fuel cells is exemplified by a composite of (1) a melt-processable polymer [in particular, poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF)] and (2) a solid proton conductor (in particular, cesium hydrogen...

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CNC Machining: How to Reduce Costs and Accelerate Production

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Testing and Inspecting 3D-Printed Parts

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Optical Coating Design

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Advanced Quality Planning and Production Part Approval Process...

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How to Avoid PCB Re-spins when IC’s Change or are Obsoleted

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Non-Contact Strain and Displacements Measurements in the Automotive Industry