A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated PreLaunch Loads Estimation (APLLE)

Over the past year, the Structural Dynamics and Loads Branch of Marshall Space Flight Center has been calculating prelaunch ground winds for several different launch-vehicle configurations....

The figure schematically shows a micromachined Fabry-Perot interferometer that, when fully developed, would be part of a two-dimensional array of such interferometers in a...

The Automated Nonconformance System, based at Stennis Space Center, is a computer network dedicated to administration of inspections and repairs of rocket engines. This automated...

External-cavity diode lasers (ECDLs) have been commercially available for several years. Since their introduction, they have found applications ranging from telecommunications to...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Performance of a Soft Digital-Data-Transition Tracking Loop

A report discusses the performance of a soft digital-data-transition tracking loop (DTTL) in a radio receiver that recovers digital data conveyed by binary phase-shift keying. The DTTL is used as a symbol synchronizer; it provides symbol timing to essential parts of the receiver. The...

Research conducted at the Pittsburgh Research Center (formerly U.S. Bureau of Mines) developed technology that will allow computer-assisted operation of mechanized equipment normally used...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Solar/Infrared Aerobots for Exploring Several Planets

A report discusses a class of balloon-borne robotic instrumentation systems that have been proposed for use in exploring Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The balloons would be of the Montgolfier type; that is, buoyancy would be achieved through heating of atmospheric gases...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Computer System for Managing Construction Projects

An automated system of computer hardware and software has been developed for managing construction projects at Stennis Space Center. This system replaces an older collection of paper-based subsystems, wherein documents were copied, filed, and distributed in labor-intensive processes. Data...

Briefs: Motion Control
Hydraulically Driven High-Speed Spindle for General Machining

A hydraulically driven high-speed spindle system for milling, machining, facing, drilling, and joining metallic and nonmetallic materials has been developed. Spindles are the most critical elements of high-speed milling machines. The keys to successful design of high-speed spindles...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Analysis of Stresses and Deflections in RTDs

A report presents an analysis of stresses and deflections in resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) of various model numbers with standard sizes and shapes. The RTDs are assumed to be installed in pipes that contain flows of oxygen and hydrogen in a test facility at Stennis Space Center. The...

The Nondestructive Inspection and Evaluation Management System (NIMS), based at Stennis Space Center, is a computer network dedicated to administration of a large data base pertaining to...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Improved Hybrid System Protects Airfoils Against Icing

An improved hybrid thermal/mechanical system has been developed to protect airplane wings and other airfoils against the accretion of ice, which degrades aerodynamic performance. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The Modified Fully Utilized Design Method

The modified fully utilized design (MFUD) method is undergoing development for use by engineers who favor traditional methods of designing structures over methods based on advanced calculus and...

A robust, optimal, adaptive technique for compensating rate and position limits in the joints of a six-degree-of-freedom manipulator has been developed. In this new algorithm,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Carbon/Carbon Shield/Antenna Structure

A proposed lightweight, off-axis reflector structure for a microwave communication antenna would be made of a carbon/carbon composite material. The structure was conceived for use aboard the Solar Probe spacecraft, where it would also serve as a shield to protect the spacecraft against solar radiation at...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
ASIC Physical Layout for the HCD ASIC

An integrated circuit (IC) physical layout has been developed for the HCD ASIC - an application-specific integrated circuit that decodes digital command signals transmitted from a ground station to a spacecraft (uplink commands). The HCD ASIC is described in "Hardware-Command-Decoding ASIC" (NPO-19615),...

The Reed-Solomon downlink application-specific integrated circuit (RSDL ASIC) performs Reed-Solomon encoding of telemetry data, internally generates all timing and control signals necessary...

Figure 1 shows an apparatus for growing a single-crystal fiber by solidification from a floating zone of laser-heated molten material on the tip of a feed rod. The apparatus can...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Evaluation of a "Smart" Aircraft Control Actuator

An aircraft control actuator that incorporates self-contained control electronics has been installed in the F-18 Systems Research Aircraft and evaluated in flight tests. This "smart"...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Micromachined Tunneling Accelerometer for Use in Outer Space

Two short reports describe a micromachined quantum-mechanical-tunneling accelerometer and radiation-hardened support electronics designed for use in outer space. Like the micromachined tunneling accelerometers described previously in NASA Tech Briefs, this device is based on the use...

Briefs: Materials
Muscle Wires for Planetary-Exploration Robots

A report proposes the use of muscle wires as mechanical actuators for planetary-exploration robots. Muscle wires are commercially available in kit form in the hobby market, and have been described (though not explicitly called "muscle wires") in previous articles in NASA Tech Briefs. A muscle wire...

A wavelet-based modal-parameter-extraction procedure has been developed to augment wavelet filtering and thereby produce more-realistic, robust aeroservoelastic-stability margins....

Briefs: Propulsion
Hybrid Propulsion System for Returning a Sample From Mars

A paper suggests the development of a hybrid rocket engine and associated equipment for returning a sample of material from Mars at relatively low cost. In a hybrid rocket engine, a solid fuel is burned by use of a liquid or gaseous oxidizer, the flow of which can be throttled to control...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Optoelectronic System Measures Tile Cavities

A hand-held optoelectronic shop tool measures cavities of the order of 6 in. (15 cm) in length and width, 2 to 4 in. (5 to 10 cm) in depth, with nominally flat side walls, and either curved or...

Equations have been derived to fill a gap in previously published standard collections of stress-and-strain formulas: These are equations for deflection of a thin circular membrane...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Plasma Window Technology for Propagating Particle Beams and Radiation from Vacuum to Atmosphere

Plasma windows can separate vacuum and atmosphere, or regions of high and low vacuums, in a way which facilitates transmission of various particle beams and/or radiation from low- to high-pressure regions. In a prototype device, a stabilized plasma...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Bounceless Switch/Monostable Multivibrator

A circuit has been designed to debounce a mechanical switch, which is used to activate a digital circuit. Contacts tend to make and break connections several times until the switch contacts settle...

Engineers at Rockwell International Corporation's Space System Division have developed a new method of insulating composite structural...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployable and Restowable Protective Dome

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