Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Microelectronic Repair Techniques for Wafer-Level Integration

Wafer-level integration was employed to mount the microshutter array for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the detector-read-out hybrid for TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor). In the case of the JWST substrate, two conductors (polysilicon and aluminum) separated by a silicon oxide...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Multi-Gigabit-Rate Radiation Hard Bus

A concept was developed for a multi-gigabit-rate, radiation-hardened (RH) bus that would support open-system architecture and provide a cost-effective, high-speed interconnect. This concept is based on Advanced Science and Novel Technology Company’s SerDes system, which supports a variety of interfaces,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hovercraft Landing System

A concept for recovering reusable spacecraft or capsules, or reusable rocket boosters, has them land on an airbag-based, cushioned platform positioned on a highly maneuverable hovercraft. This landing method would have performance advantages over conventional approaches to reusability by placing most of the landing...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Novel Catalytic Reactor System for CO₂ Reduction via Sabatier Process

A novel, short-contact-time Microlith Sabatier reactor system for CO2 reduction offers a significant advance in support of manned spaceflight. Compared to the current and prospective alternatives (including microchannels), the reactor is much smaller and lighter,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Technology for a Comet Sample Return Mission Version 2

A standoff sample collection system would be capable of quickly obtaining a sample from environments as varied as comets, asteroids, and permanently shadowed craters on the Moon from vehicles ranging from traditional planetary spacecraft to platforms such as hovering rotorcraft or balloons...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nitrous Oxide Ethane-Ethylene Engine

The Nitrous Oxide Ethylene-Ethane (NEE) engine uses nitrous oxide as an autogenously pressurizing oxidizer, and a mixture of ethane and ethylene is used in the same manner as fuel. Initially, the ethane and ethylene mixture has the same vapor pressure as the nitrous oxide. By using the autogenous...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Method for Improved Gun-Drilled Cold Plate Fabrication and Inspection

A method was developed for obtaining proper fluid distribution through parallel gun-drilled passages and for being able to inspect the actual drilled passages to guarantee that the designed minimum wall thickness is not violated. This invention uses one feature that addresses...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Powder Handling Device for Analytical Instruments

A new technology provides for automated sample handling and movement of coarse-grained powder or other solid materials to enable analysis by a robotic or totally automated computer system. Currently, many analytical instruments require a powder sample to control the shape and/or volume of the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Improved Light Injection and Detection Methods for fNIRS Headgear for Use in Avionics and Astronautics

Measuring hemoglobin concentration changes in the brain with functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a promising technique for monitoring cognitive state to optimize human performance during both aviation and space operations. The...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
A High-Cross-Polarization-Isolation, Multi-Frequency Antenna for Cloud and Precipitation Research

The Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) has an immediate need for a matched-beam Ku-band/Ka-band antenna system that can be used as a component of a ground validation radar. Retrieval techniques based on both polarization and differential absorption...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
External Magnetic Field Reduction Technique for Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

Linear alternators coupled to Stirling power converters are promising candidates for high-efficiency heat-to-electricity power conversion in space. Presently, the external magnetic field emissions of such converters may exceed the allowed emission limits for...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Advanced P-Band Spaceborne Radar System

Low-cost, flexible spaceborne radar architectures are needed to provide critical data for Earth and science applications. An instrument concept was developed for an advanced spaceborne radar system that can measure terrestrial biomass (woody mass per unit area), ecosystem structure (height and density),...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

Wildfires that start in backcountry areas sometimes burn for hours before being detected and reported. Satellites offer a vantage point from which infrared sensors can detect fires. Individual satellites...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Compact Solid-State Entangled Photon Source

In the fields of quantum information, quantum optics, quantum cryptography, and quantum communications, there is a need to generate entangled photon pairs. The entangled photon pairs are described by an inseparable wave equation such that if a measurement is performed on one photon, its twin’s photon...

Briefs: Information Technology
Interface Validation for Distributed Software Systems

As a result of performing IV&V (Independent Verification and Validation) on Space Station software, a number of interface faults were found during integrated testing or actual software deployment. Faults found at this late phase of the software development lifecycle are very expensive to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Simple, Scalable, Script-Based Science Processing Archive

Simple, Scalable, Script-based, Science Processing (S4P) Archive (S4PA) is a disk-based data-archiving system for remote sensing data. It is based on the data-driven framework of S4P. The system is used for new data transfer, data preprocessing, metadata generation, and data archival. The...

Briefs: Information Technology
A Model-Driven Science Data Product Registration Service

The Planetary Data System (PDS) has undertaken an effort to overhaul the PDS data architecture (e.g., data model, data structures, data dictionary, etc.) and deploy a software system (online data services, distributed data catalog, etc.) that fully embraces the PDS federation as an...

Briefs: Information Technology
Design of Rate-Compatible Protograph LDPC Codes

The most common way to generate a rate-compatible family of codes is puncturing. In this method, one starts with a low-rate mother code and then selectively discards some of the coded bits to arrive at higher-rate codes. This approach is simple, but is not free of problems. Specifically, the mother...

Briefs: Information Technology

In commercial aviation, there have been several recent cases of unstabilized approaches that have resulted in crash landings short of the runway. Some of the direst consequences of these incidents...

Briefs: Information Technology
Rapid Prototyping Lab (RPL) Generic Display Engine

Spacecraft display software is very costly and requires extensive testing and certification. Much testing must be repeated if the display software is changed in any way. Additionally, hand-coded displays are costly to create and maintain. For certain types of display formats with limited...

Question of the Week
Are apps making us too lazy?

A San Francisco startup called Shyp is expanding to New York this week. For a small fee, the company will pick up your item, box it, and ship it. The app-based Shyp uses custom-made boxes and QR trackers, and its couriers currently have their own transportation, including bikes. Shyp is another example of an...

News: Electronics & Computers
3D Printer That Could Build a Home in 24 Hours Wins Global Design Competition

New York, NY – Contour Crafting, a computerized construction method that rapidly 3D prints large-scale structures directly from architectural CAD models, has been awarded the grand prize of $20,000 in the 2014 "Create the Future" Design Contest.

Contour...

News: Robotics, Automation & Control
'Cloaking' Device Uses Ordinary Lenses to Hide Objects

Inspired perhaps by Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, scientists have recently developed several ways to hide objects from view. The latest effort, begun at the University of Rochester, not only overcomes some of the limitations of previous devices, but also uses inexpensive, readily...

News: Materials
Robotic Fabric Moves and Contracts

Researchers are developing a robotic, sensor-embedded fabric that moves and contracts. Such an elastic technology could enable a new class of soft robots, stretchable garments, "g-suits" for pilots or astronauts to counteract acceleration effects, and lightweight, versatile robots to roam alien landscapes...

News: Aerospace

Objects in space tend to spin in a way that's totally different from the way they spin on Earth. Understanding how objects are spinning, where their centers of mass are,...

News: Test & Measurement

If joints do no longer work as usual, humans tend to compensate this by unconsciously adapting their motions. In the case of knee arthrosis, or excessive joint wear, they shift the weight to the...

Who's Who: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Dr. Ajay Koshti, Lead Nondestructive Evaluation Engineer, invented NASA Flash Infrared Thermography Software. Koshti also worked as a Non-Destructive...

News: Materials
3D Printer Heads to International Space Station

The first 3D printer is soon to fly into Earth orbit, finding a home aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The size of a small microwave, the unit is called Portal. The hardware serves as a testbed for evaluating how well 3D printing and the microgravity of space combine. The soon-to-fly 3D...

News: Lighting
Researchers Equip Robot with Novel Tactile Sensor

Researchers at MIT and Northeastern University have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port.

The sensor is an adaptation of a technology called GelSight, which was developed by the lab of Edward Adelson,...

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