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 : Robotics, Automation & Control
Release of a Stuck Solar Array or Antenna

Satellite launches experience approximately one deployment failure every two years. These failures include a solar array or antenna that fails to deploy because it is stuck due to a mechanism failure, or is snagged by a cable or thermal blanket. Knowledge of the exact circumstances of the deployable...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
High-Heat-Flux-Capable Boundary Layer Vortex Generator and Boundary Layer Transition Device

Afixed geometry device has been developed to promote boundary layer transition and generation of streamwise vorticity, and is capable of withstanding entry heating environments for the Space Shuttle Orbiter. Designed to have a total height above the...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
GEMINI Stability Control for Reducing Pointing Jitter in CubeSats and Smallsats

Because of the cost-effectiveness of flying smallsats compared to large flagship spacecraft, there is increasing interest in boosting their capabilities for supporting precision science payloads and sophisticated instrumentation. Unfortunately, a major current...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectric-Actuated Rotary Ultrasonic Motor

This actuator was developed out of a need for a cryogenic actuator that can operate effectively in spite of the thermal mismatch involved with construction materials that have different expansion coefficients. Also, there is a need for a cryogenic motor that can drive infrared systems and produce...

Briefs : Materials
Method for Exfoliation of Hexagonal Boron Nitride

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method for exfoliating commercially available hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN) into nanosheets a few atomic layers thick. Currently, hBN has limited use because it is insoluble with limited dispersibility, despite hBN having excellent thermal...

Briefs : Materials
Sucrose-Treated Carbon Nanotube and Graphene Yarns and Sheets

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method to consolidate carbon nanotube yarns and woven sheets and graphene sheets via the dehydration of sucrose. The resulting materials are lightweight and high strength. Sucrose is relatively inexpensive and readily available;...

Briefs : Materials
Method for Manufacturing a Thin Film Structural System

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a technology that uses commercially available additive print manufacturing to add various levels of structural hierarchy to thin-film surfaces. The approach adds very little mass to thin films, but provides substantial performance enhancements,...

Briefs : Materials
Integrated Ceramic Matrix Composite-Carbon/Carbon Structures for Large Rocket Engine Nozzles and Nozzle Extensions

Low-cost access to space demands durable, cost-effective, efficient, and low-weight propulsion systems. Key components include boost and upper stage rocket engine nozzles and extensions. Nozzle material options include ablatives,...

Briefs : Materials
Aromatic Thermosetting coPolyester (ATSP) Composites for High-Temperature and Cryogenic Applications

Advanced composite materials processable by cost-effective manufacturing play an important role in developing lightweight structures for future space and planetary exploration missions. With the growing demand for improved performance in the...

Briefs : Materials
Ultralow-Temperature-Operable Solid Propellant Binder

A unique binder was developed that exhibits a glass transition temperature of –100 °C, which is more than 50 °C lower than that of traditional HTPB (hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene) and CTPB (carboxyl-terminated polybutadiene) binders. This innovation would be a solid propellant that...

Briefs : Materials
Carbon Nanotube-Assisted Microwave Healing of Thermally Re-Mendable Composites

A method creates thermally healable composites using carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotube microwave heating provides a pathway to overcome issues associated with electrical resistive heating networks. Carbon nanotubes embedded within a thermally reversible polymer can be...

Briefs : Materials
Aluminoborosilicate Supplement for Thermal Protection of a Re-entrant Vehicle

The Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Com posite (TUFROC) allows for much more affordable and sustainable operations involving Space Launch Services and other systems that utilize Earth reentry vehicles. TUFROC has an exposed surface design and...

Briefs : Materials
Processing and Manufacture of Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Syntactic Structural Cryogenic Insulator

Reducing the cost and weight of launch structures is essential to meeting NASA goals for reliable access to space. Currently, separate systems are used for structure and pressure containment, cryogenic insulation, and high-temperature insulation. One...

Briefs : Medical
Computer-Controlled Solid-State Lighting Assembly to Emulate Diurnal Cycle and Improve Circadian Rhythm Control

The Lighting System to Improve Circadian Rhythm Control was designed and built to help regulate the sleep cycles of astronauts working on the International Space Station (ISS) and during long-duration spaceflight. In space, the lack of...

Briefs : Medical
Capillary Driven Microorganism Cultivation Platform for Human Life Support

The high water-to-biomass ratio characteristic of conventional algae cultivation systems requires large energy inputs for pumping and mixing the culture during cultivation, as well as for dewatering and harvesting the resultant biomass. In light of this challenge, the...

Briefs : Medical
Device and Method for Healing Wounds

This technology is a device that uses electrical activity to facilitate the wound healing process while protecting the wound. The bandage is made of an electroactive material (see figure) that is stimulated by the heat of the body and the pressure of cell growth, thus no external power source is required.

Briefs : Medical
Portable Acoustic Holography Systems for Therapeutic Ultrasound Sources

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a rapidly developing medical technology that relies on focusing acoustic waves to treat remote tissue sites inside the body without damaging intervening tissues. HIFU can be used to treat benign and malignant tumors, dissolve blood...

Briefs : Medical
Probiotic Therapy for Astronauts, and During Radiation Therapy

A new method to screen the gastrointestinal (GI) tract for radiation sensitivity and radiation-induced gene damage has a number of applications. This technology could be used to assess radiation susceptibility in individuals, such as astronauts, nuclear reactor workers, those...

Briefs : Medical
Methods of Manufacturing Bioactive Gels from Extracellular Matrix Material

Biologic scaffolds composed of extracellular matrix material (ECM) have been used for the repair of a variety of tissues including the lower urinary tract, esophagus, myocardium, and musculotendinous tissues, often leading to tissue-specific constructive remodeling with...

Briefs : Medical
Multi-Parameter Biodosimetric HemoDose Tools

There are continuous concerns about the possibility of nuclear and radiological terrorism or accidents that may result in mass casualties in densely populated areas. To guide medical personnel in their clinical decisions for effective medical management and treatment of exposed individuals, biomarkers...

Briefs : Medical
Soft-Tissue Emulsification Using a Mechanism of Ultrasonic Atomization Inside Gas or Vapor Cavities

The current method of emulsifying tissue employs focused ultrasound with microsecond pulses and cavitation. This invention emulsifies soft tissue using a mechanism of ultrasonic atomization inside gas or vapor cavities.

The method of...

Briefs : Information Technology
System and Method for Transferring Telemetry Data Between a Ground Station and a Control Center

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) employs many advanced innovations developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and in collaboration with other organizations. The applications and benefits for these technologies are advantageous for many...

Briefs : Information Technology
Method and Apparatus for Generating Flight-Optimizing Trajectories

NASA’s Langley Research Center is developing Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR). TASAR features a cockpit automation system that monitors for potential flight trajectory improvements and displays them to the pilot. These wind-optimized flight trajectory changes...

Briefs : Software
Systems, Methods, and Apparatus for Developing and Maintaining Evolving Systems with Software Product Lines

Physical manufacturers have been taking advantage of mass manufacturing ideas for a long time, increasing their productivity, cutting their costs, and ensuring the quality and uniformity of their products. Now, this idea is being applied...

Briefs : Information Technology
Team Electronic Gameplay Combining Different Means of Control

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a technology at the forefront of a new generation of computer and video game environments that trains valuable mental skills, beyond eye-hand coordination, for the personal improvement, not just the diversion, of the user.

Briefs : Software
The K Development Language

Graphical modeling tools have gained popularity within engineering communities, but such languages are known to suffer from lack of semantics and mathematical rigor. By supporting a graphical language with a textual language, and mapping graphical models to the textual language, one ensures proper unique semantics of...

Briefs : Software
Mission Assurance Systems (MAS) Software Used for Engineering Data Sets Across NASA

In the 2006 timeframe NASA’s Constellation Program was looking to address several issues with the way Problem Reporting data had been collected for the Shuttle Program including multiple systems across groups and centers (20+ for Shuttle), inconsistent schemas...

Briefs : Software
MATTC Method for Efficient Prediction of Boundary Layer Transition

The objective of the current innovation was to develop a simple but accurate method for predicting boundary layer transition that would include the growth characteristics of laminar boundary layer disturbances while requiring only the pressure distribution over an aerodynamic...

Briefs : Information Technology
Google Earth Offline Cache Pre-loader v1 (GEOCP)

Google Earth is a geospatial browser produced by Google that allows interactive exploration of the world from data servers on the Internet. An integral part of Google Earth is a built-in “cache” that is stored locally on the user’s computer, and allows the user to later revisit previously...

Briefs : Information Technology
Robustness Analysis and Robust Design of Uncertain Systems

A methodology was developed for the analysis and design of systems subject to parametric uncertainty in which design requirements are specified via hard inequality constraints. Hard constraints are those that must be satisfied for all parameter realizations within a given uncertainty...