Special Coverage

How Model Rockets Launch Tomorrow's Engineers
Lost in Space: Smart Spacesuits Feature 'Home' Button
With a Commercial Printer, Researchers Manufacture Motion Sensors in Bulk
NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Is It Hot in Here? New Double-Sided Fabric Will Find Your 'Comfortable' Temperature
Sound-Off: Thermoset Composites vs. Traditional Metals
Electric ‘Smart’ Paper Picks Up on Pipe Leaks
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat

KSC Weather Data Archive

The Spaceport Weather Data Archive provides a fully searchable database of weather data gathered at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Not only can the user easily retrieve data and download it, but the user can also view graphically the weather data on a map overlay. The data are updated every hour for certain instruments, and as frequently as every 5 minutes for others. Data is available 24/7 over a publicly accessible Web site. The data is used by researchers to validate launch commit constraint criteria, and to ensure safe operations at KSC. The site provides links to technical publications and other resources, and allows data to be downloaded for further investigation.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing
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BOPPERS: Autonomous Underwater Environmental Monitoring System

A device has been developed that is capable of relatively lengthy unattended operations and high sampling frequency of underwater environmental data anywhere in the world. The Bio-Optical Physical Pop-Up Environmental Reconnaissance System (BOPPERS) is housed in a trawl-resistant case that has been field-tested to 90 m.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing
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Method for Tracking Moving Targets

Moving target indication (MTI) methodologies are essential tools to detect, locate, recognize, and track the moving targets of interest in a movie or video sequence. Different MTI methodologies can be characterized and compared by their hit rates (percentage of all available targets of interest detected and located), recognition rates (percentage of each of the existing target types correctly recognized), false-alarm rates (average number of false alarms reported per video frame), efficiency of operation (how much computational resources and time is needed for a given set of data), and robustness (how well the methodology is able to handle or adapt to different types of data). An ideal MTI methodology should generally be able to detect, recognize, and track all targets of interest without incurring an unacceptable number of false alarms under a very stringent computational requirement.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging
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Tunable, High-Isolation RF/Microwave Circulator

A new high-isolation RF circulator provides enhanced detection ranges (radar) and improved reception (communications) by reducing signal leakage and undesirable internal reflections between ports at a tuned frequency (or frequency range) of interest. Isolation values exceeding 70 dB have been demonstrated, which far exceeds the 20 dB typical to conventional three-port circulators.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications
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Method Uses Drones and WiFi to Enable 3D Through-Wall Imaging

WiFi signals are everywhere. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) are expected to become a larger part of everyday life. A new methodology was developed for high-resolution, 3D, through-wall imaging of completely unknown areas, using only WiFi signals and UAVs. The approach utilizes only WiFi received signal strength measurements, does not require prior measurements in the area of interest, and the objects do not have to move to be imaged.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging
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Autonomous Positioning and Navigation Network

Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a machine-to-machine (M2M) network navigation protocol to enable spacecraft to perform autonomous navigation and positioning, even in the most challenging environments. Designed to facilitate deep space communication between spacecraft without the need for ground system support, this enhancement of onboard navigation capabilities allows assets to operate accurately in GPS-denied areas, determine position fixes relative to other assets, and minimize reliance on operator intervention. Additionally, implementation of the network architecture may be as simple as a software update, with no requirement of extensive designated hardware. Through providing these benefits, the NASA technology could improve the operational capabilities of aircraft navigation systems; advance autonomy, coordination, and safety features in unmanned aerial vehicles; and serve as a substitute or supplement for GPS positioning.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications
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Aluminum Alloy for High-Temperature Applications

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center originally developed a high-performance piston alloy to meet U.S. legislative restrictions on vehicular exhaust hydrocarbon emissions. NASA 398 aluminum alloy exhibits excellent tensile and fatigue strength at elevated temperatures. NASA 398 alloy also offers superior wear resistance, surface hardness, dimensional stability, and lower thermal expansion compared to conventional aluminum alloys.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Strong, Self-Healing Rubber

Self-healing hydrogels rely on water to incorporate reversible bonds that can promote healing. Engineering self-healing properties in dry materials, such as rubber, has proven more challenging because rubber is made of polymers often connected by permanent, covalent bonds. In order to make a rubber self-healing, the bonds connecting the polymers have to be reversible so that the bonds could break and reform.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Electromagnetic Mop (EMop) for Oil Spill Cleanup

The spillage of oil into the environment is an ongoing concern. Marine oil spills draw much attention because the oil harms marine animals and floral life. Current methods to aid in cleaning up the oil include containment booms, oil skimmers, and dispersants. Chemical dispersants are a tradeoff between exposing coastal life to surface oil, and exposing aquatic life to dispersed oil. Traditional containment/diversion booms are very commonly used, but they alone cannot recover the oil. Additional machinery is necessary to aid in getting the oil out of the water. Other things such as large waves and wind can make the oil slip under or over the boom, causing it to become ineffective.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing
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Software Helps Optimize World’s Largest All-Composite Aircraft

Collier Research Corp.
Newport News, VA
HyperSizer.com

When the Stratolaunch aircraft rolled out of the Mojave, CA Air and Space Port hangar this spring in preparation for ground testing, it was a clear example of how far the design and manufacturing of composite materials has progressed. In September, the first phase of engine testing on the aircraft’s six Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines was completed.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Aviation, Composites, Materials, Software
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