Teleportation, a long-standing staple in the world of science fiction, has become a reality for scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in terms of battlefield data...

Since World War II, sea mines have damaged or sunk four times more U.S. Navy ships than all other means of attack combined, according to a Navy report on mine warfare. New sonar research...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Products of Tomorrow: July 2014

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft...

Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) controllers are used in most automatic process control applications in industry today to regulate flow, temperature, pressure, level, and many other...

A recent conversation with engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston revealed that there’s often “a world of difference” between the standards for circuit...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Torque Sensors Provide Force Feedback for Robotic Applications
Torque sensing technology
ATI Industrial Automation
Apex, NC
919-772-0115
www.ati-ia.com

ATI Industrial Automation is developing multi-axis,...

Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Heat Pipe Assembly Passes NASA Hypersonic Tests
Embedded heat pipe assembly
Thermacore
Lancaster, PA
717-569-6551
www.thermacore.com

A Thermacore heat pipe assembly recently completed testing at the NASA Ames Arc...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Liquid Flow Sensor Launches into Space
LS16 liquid flow sensor
Sensirion
Westlake Village, CA
805-409-4900
www.sensirion.com

A liquid flow sensor from Sensirion will measure the impact of microgravity on the...

In the beginning, safety outweighed comfort in spacecraft designs for human space travel. Capsules like Gemini and Apollo were small, and most of the flight activities were performed...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Strobing to Mitigate Vibration for Display Legibility

This method mitigates the motion blur introduced when a display, and/or the operator reading it, is undergoing vibration (e.g. during the launch phase of spaceflight). If both the operator and the display are undergoing vibration, their respective impulses need not be in phase. This...

Typically, the cost of a space observatory is driven by the size and mass of the primary aperture. Generally, a monolithic aperture is much heavier and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Image Processing Method To Determine Dust Optical Density

Image processing techniques for determining dust optical density in Apollo videos have been developed. The software generates histograms, and calculates the mean and standard deviation, which are then used to match dusty and clear images for the purpose of estimating an effective optical...

Briefs: Information Technology
Automatic Lunar Rock Detection and Mapping

Safe spacecraft landing on planetary and small body surfaces is of primary concern. Estimation of landing risk is a critical task when evaluating and certifying potential landing sites. Such analyses require the detection and mapping of all potential landing hazards such as rocks and boulders, craters,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Technique for Finding the Center of an Image of a Rising or Setting Sun Based on Simulated Images

A new JPL project requires that the center of the images of a rising or setting Sun be determined with certain accuracy — for example, within 1 km — when the Sun is observed from the International Space Station (ISS). This center-finding...

Low-temperature, contactless radio-frequency (RF) probing systems are necessary for characterizing sensors operating at liquid nitrogen...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Multi-Tone, High-Frequency Synthesizer for CubeSat-Borne Beacon Transmitter for Radio Wave Atmospheric Propagation Studies

This report presents the design, construction, and test results of a novel multitone, multi-band, high-frequency synthesizer for application in a space-borne (including a CubeSat) beacon transmitter for radio wave...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Dynamic Response Determination of an Electronic Printed Circuit Board

Most of today’s automotive electronic systems are composed of two major mechanical elements: an equipment chassis or enclosure, and a printed circuit board (PCB) assembly. The PCB is composed of laminated copper and FR-4 glass epoxy. These systems often operate in severe...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wii Nunchuk Controller for ATHLETE Operations

The Arduino platform was used to develop an interface between two otherwise incompatible commercial devices in order to drive the ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) rover over long distances. The Portable Operations Terminal consists of three distinct parts: a robot-mounted...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Full-Cell Evaluation/Screening Technique for New Battery Chemistries

A quick and cost-effective evaluation/screening technique for new battery chemistries was developed that integrates the individual advanced cell component in a full-cell format to identify the critical issues, such as cell component interaction and compatibility before...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Growth Method for Chalcongenide Phase-Change Nanostructures

Recently, one-dimensional (1-D) nanostructures, such as nanowires and nanotubes, have become the focal point of research in nanotechnology due to their fascinating properties. These properties are intrinsically associated with low dimensionality and small diameters, which may lead to...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
ELID Grinding of Large Aspheres

This work focused on a manufacturing process to produce silicon carbide optical surfaces with low mid-spatial surface errors. Mid-spatial frequency (MSF) and high-spatial frequency (HSF) surface errors in the grinding of fast aspheres are amplified in hard ceramics like silicon carbide due to cyclic tool wear...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Highly Aligned Electrospun Fibers and Mats

A modified electrospinning apparatus has been created for spinning highly aligned polymer fibers. Fiber placement, orientation, and porosity are difficult to control using conventional electrospinning apparatus. Conventional electrospinning creates randomly oriented fibers that are well suited to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact Regenerative Blower

The regenerative blower provides air flow through structures or systems that have relatively high flow resistance. Specifically, the regenerative blower was designed to provide a flow of ventilation gas through a spacesuit and its portable life support system (PLSS). Since the ventilation gas is primarily oxygen, fire...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shape-Memory-Alloy-Based Launch Lock

Most NASA missions require the use of a launch lock for securing moving components during the launch or securing the payload before release. A launch lock is used to prevent unwanted motion and secure the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rotary Microspine Technology

Mobility for small, man-portable reconnaissance robots in the past has been limited with regard to obstacles like curbs, stairs, and vertical walls. A previous innovation overcame these obstacles by introducing...

A piezoelectrically actuated percussive bit augments rotary drills to form a rotary-hammering drill/sampler. The Percussive Augmenter of Rotary Drills (PARoD) bit...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Non-Collinear Valve Actuator

Typical large aerospace valves use pneumatic actuators with large return springs to define a normal state. These springs are exclusively in line with the pneumatic actuator, and therefore are forced to have the same stroke and forces. These typical systems use either a large helical spring or a stack of Bellville...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Vibration and Thermal Cycling Apparatus for Cryogenic Tanks

Understanding thermal and mechanical behaviors and their inter-dependencies of complex tank systems is crucial to making proper design decisions. Low-maintenance, high-performance systems are becoming more important as global energy demands and efficiency requirements increase.

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Integrated Rate Isolation Sensor

Some vehicles use an internal measurement unit (IMU) system to determine the speed, acceleration, orientation, position, and/or direction of movement of the vehicle. Vehicles used for high-availability or life-critical systems may employ a fault-tolerant IMU design. Typically, such vehicles use three or more IMUs...

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