Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Tool for Two Types of Friction Stir Welding

A tool that would be useable in both conventional and self-reacting friction stir welding (FSW) has been proposed. The tool would embody both a prior tooling concept for self-reacting FSW and an...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Spacecraft Escape Capsule

A report discusses the Gumdrop capsule — a conceptual spacecraft that would enable the crew to escape safely in the event of a major equipment failure at any time from launch through atmospheric re-entry. The scaleable Gumdrop capsule would comprise a command module (CM), a service module (SM), and a crew escape...

An improved method has been devised for using directed, hyperthermal beams of oxygen atoms and ions to impart desired textures to the tips of polymethylmethacrylate [PMMA] optical...
Briefs: Materials
SiC Composite Turbine Vanes

Turbine inlet guide vanes have been fabricated from composites of silicon carbide fibers in silicon carbide matrices. A unique design for a cloth made from SiC fibers makes it possible to realize the geometric...

Briefs: Materials
Thermoelectric Inhomogeneities in (Ag1-SbTe2)x(PbTe)1-x

A document presents a study of why materials of composition (Ag1–ySbTe2)0.05 (PbTe)0.95 [0=y=1] were previously reported to have values of the thermoelectric figure of merit [ZT (where Z = a2/??, a is the Seebeck coefficient, ? is electrical resistivity, ? is thermal conductivity, and T...

Membranes made of silanized alumina have been prepared and tested as prototypes of derivatized ceramic membranes that are both highly permeable to oxygen and hydrophobic. Improved...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tool for Torquing Circular Electrical-Connector Collars

An improved tool has been devised for applying torque to lock and unlock knurled collars on circular electrical connectors. The tool was originally designed for, and used by, astronauts working in outer space on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The tool is readily adaptable to terrestrial...

A device denoted as a bumper assembly for a spacecraft payload container comprises an interior structure surrounded by skin or some other protective enclosure (see figure)....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
On Release of Microbe-Laden Particles From Mars Landers

A paper presents a study in which rates of release of small particles from Mars lander spacecraft into the Martian atmosphere were estimated from first principles. Because such particles can consist of, or be laden with, terrestrial microbes, the study was undertaken to understand their...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Phase Sensor for Aligning a Segmented Telescope Mirror

A phase sensor has been developed for use in aligning a segmented telescope mirror to within a fraction of a wavelength in piston. (As used here, "piston" signifies displacement of a mirror segment along the optical axis of the telescope.) Such precise alignment is necessary in order to...

A recently proposed boundary condition for atomistic computational modeling of semiconductor nanostructures (particularly, quantum dots) is an improved alternative to two prior...

Prototype transducers based on integrated optical ring resonators have been demonstrated to be useful for detecting the protein avidin in extremely dilute solutions. In an experiment, one of...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Semiconductor Bolometers Give Background-Limited Performance

Semiconductor bolometers that are capable of detecting electromagnetic radiation over most or all of the infrared spectrum and that give background-limited performance at operating temperatures from 20 to 300 K have been invented. The term "background-limited performance" as applied...

A multichannel dielectric-resonator oscillator (DRO), built as a prototype of a local oscillator for an X-band transmitter or receiver, is capable of being electrically tuned among and...

Briefs: Software
Control Software for Advanced Video Guidance Sensor

Embedded software has been developed specifically for controlling an Advanced Video Guidance Sensor (AVGS). [As described in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles, a Video Guidance Sensor is an optoelectronic system that provides guidance for automated docking of two vehicles (space-craft...

Briefs: Software
Earth Observing System Data Gateway
The Earth Observing System Data Gateway (EDG) software provides a "onestop-shopping" standard interface for exploring and ordering Earth-science data stored at geographically distributed sites. EDG enables a user to do the following:
Briefs: Software
Mercury Shopping Cart

Mercury Shopping Cart Interface (MSCI) is a reusable component of the Power User Interface 5.0 (PUI) program described in the immediately preceding article. MSCI is a means of encapsulating the logic and information needed to describe an orderable item consistent with Mercury Shopping Cart service protocol. Designed to be...

Briefs: Software
Cassini Archive Tracking System

The Cassini Archive Tracking System (CATS) is a computer program that enables tracking of scientific data transfers from originators to the Planetary Data System (PDS) archives. Without CATS, there is no systematic means of locating products in the archive process or ensuring their completeness. By keeping a...

Briefs: Software
Computing Fault Displacements From Surface Deformations

Simplex is a computer program that calculates locations and displacements of subterranean faults from data on Earth-surface deformations. The calculation involves inversion of a forward model (given a point source representing a fault, a forward model calculates the surface deformations)...

The age-old tradition of using shaft keys in mechanical drives has served the power transmission industry well for many years. When appropriately sized, it guarantees that virtually no relative...

Application Briefs: Motion Control
Actuator Controls Valving in Micro-Satellite Thruster

In the 1980s and 1990s, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA) began developing advanced microsystems and microelectronics technologies and components for future space...

Application Briefs: Motion Control
Fiber Optic Rotary Encoder Helps Guide Aerial Tramways

In situations where human travel is necessary but where the geography is too steep or treacherous, aerial tramways often are used as a convenient alternative. Ski resorts, mountaineering...

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Pneumatic Cylinders Used in Robotic “Hand”

Robotics are now and have been an inextricable aspect of American industry, performing tasks as varied as the robots themselves. Robots can, in most cases, accommodate greater production speeds,...

Products: Motion Control
Servo Drive System

YET US (Manchester, NH) introduced the XtraDrive® servo system, configured for compatibility with all brushless servo motor technologies. The unit features patented non-linear control technology (NCT) for performance and...

Products: Motion Control
Angle Encoders

Heidenhain (Schaumburg, IL) expanded its ERA 4000 series of angle encoders with the ERA 4×80, 4×81, and 4×82 versions. The ERA 4x80 is mounted using a centering collar method, with a low profile encoder system. With seven...

Products: Motion Control
Linear-Arc Motor

Applimotion (Loomis, CA) offers the LARC Series of linear-arc motors, a combination of a disk drive voice coil motor and brushless linear motor. The units can be driven by three-phase brushless motor controllers from 24 to 300 volts with speeds ranging from 0.1 to 1000 rpm. Features include axial low profile, with options as low...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Angle Torque Motors

H2W Technologies, Inc. (Valencia, CA) released limited angle torque motors (“torquers”) that are single phase, brushless, low profile motors, vacuum compatible to 10^5 torr. Options include kit motors and housed...

Products: Motion Control
Magnetic Ring Encoder

Madison Electric Products (Mentor, OH) has released the Model HPRT C-Face Magnetic Ring Encoder, compatible with AC vector drive applications. Standard features include digital square wave quadrature-signal (064, 128,...

Products: Motion Control
Couplings

Helical Products Co. (Santa Maria, CA) introduced single-piece, flexible couplings to compensate for mechanical movement irregularities. The units require neither maintenance nor lubrication; they offer constant rotational...

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