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
Robot Task Commander with Extensible Programming Environment

As robotic systems are expected to perform complex tasks, system developers require tools for application programming that are more advanced than the current state of the art. Robot application programs need to allow the system to respond to different, and possibly unforeseen,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Multi-Spacecraft Autonomous Positioning System/Network-Based Navigation

Current deep spacecraft rely heavily on ground-based navigation and tracking for state measurement. The requirement for long ground navigation passes, coupled with analysis support, produces a large latency for updating a vehicle’s state. As the current infrastructure...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Heading Versus Tilt Chart for Assessing HGA Occlusion and Flop Risk in MSL Operations

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) high-gain antenna (HGA) sits low on the deck, leaving the sky occluded in many directions by other parts of the rover. Each drive must end with the rover at a heading where the Earth will be unoccluded during the next HGA...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rapid Forest Triage by Sub-Canopy Micro Air Vehicles

Today, tree distribution maps can only be generated manually in a very time-consuming process, and real-time microclimate mapping of a large 3D volume under tree canopy is not possible. A prototype small quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system was developed that is able to maneuver in...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Insertable, Miniature, In-Vivo Surgical Robot with Embedded Control

This innovation is a miniature, in-vivo surgical robot that is able to be inserted into the peritoneal cavity under insufflation. It is designed to perform Laparoendoscopic Single-Site Surgery (LESS). This robotic device is capable of direct visualization of the surgical...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
CMOS-Compatible Ohmic Contact RF MEMS Switch

Radio frequency (RF) microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switches have advantages over their solid-state counterparts. However, ohmic contact MEMS devices face several significant limitations, preventing entry into the mass market. These limitations are cost, reliability, packaging, and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Miller-Jogging for Synthesizer Lock Algorithm Extension

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has developed a wide range of CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) phase lock loop (PLL) chips with self-healing/self-calibration capabilities, allowing them to adapt, on the fly, to changes in temperature and other environment...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Deployable Antenna Circuit Board Material Design and Fabrication Process

The Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray (ISARA) antenna requires a rugged circuit board material that will meet the following requirements: (1) remains sufficiently flat over the required operating temperature range with solar cells mounted, and under full solar...

Briefs : Communications
Mini-Stamp as a Micro-Display for At-a-Glance Subsystem Information for DSN Links

Operators of the Deep Space Network (DSN) attend to numerous tasks with the overall goal of providing continuous support for the world’s deep space missions. This high-stakes operations environment requires operators to understand the state of the DSN and predict...

Briefs : Communications
Command and Data Handling for the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is the fourth mission of the Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) program. The MMS mission, consisting of four identically instrumented spacecraft, will use Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study magnetic reconnection, a...

Briefs : Communications
Ka-Band Parabolic Deployable Antenna (KaPDA)

CubeSats provide the ability to conduct relatively inexpensive space missions. Over the past several years, technology and launch opportunities for CubeSats have exploded, enabling a wide variety of missions. However, as instruments become more complex and CubeSats travel deeper into space, data...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pyrotechnically Actuated Gas Generator Using Aqueous Methanol

The largest supersonic parachute ever developed is one of the test articles on the Supersonic Flight Dynamics Test (SFDT) vehicle of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project. The typical method for deploying a supersonic parachute from an entry vehicle, by firing it from...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployable Perimeter Truss with Blade Reel Deployment Mechanism

Solar sail technology depends heavily on the total surface area of the sail. In other words, minimizing mass and volume of its support structure is the main objective, particularly when it comes to launch configuration, i.e. mass, volume constraints, etc. There is a need to develop...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cantera Integration with T-MATS

The Toolbox for the Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems (TMATS) software package is a library of building blocks that can be assembled to represent any thermodynamic system in the Simulink® (MathWorks, Inc.) environment. These elements, along with a Newton Raphson solver (also provided as part of the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rocket Sled Parachute Design Verification

Historically, parachutes have been load-tested by various methods including release from an aircraft, deploying in a wind tunnel, dragging through water, and shooting out of an air cannon. Each type of testing has its own advantages and drawbacks. Due to the loading mechanics particular to parachutes...

Briefs : Propulsion
Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes Integration for Shock Noise (RISN)

Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) Integration for Shock- Noise (RISN) is a computer program that evaluates acoustic analogies to predict jet noise. Jet noise is due to turbulence from the chaotic flow within the exhaust of a rocket or air-breathing jet engine. The source of...

Briefs : Aerospace
Regeneratively Cooled Porous Media Jacket

A non-toxic nitrous oxide fuel blend (NOFB) monopropellant with a high adiabatic flame temperature reaching and probably exceeding 3,450 K and a very high thermal decomposition limit (>390 °C) is under development. To design an optimal rocket engine that can handle the high adiabatic temperature...

Briefs : Aerospace
Multi-Pulse Motor (MPM) Designed for Use with Electric Solid Propellants

The multi-pulse motor is a solid-propellant rocket motor that is able to produce a number of pulses for various thrust levels (5 to 30 pulses and thrusts between 0.25 and 1.5 N, depending on electric power delivery system) and can be turned on and off through the...

Briefs : Propulsion
Adaptive Augmenting Control

Adaptive augmenting control (AAC) is a forward gain, multiplicative adaptive algorithm for launch vehicle flight control that meets three summary-level design objectives: Do no harm — return to baseline control design when not needed; respond to errors in the ability of the vehicle to track commands to increase...

Briefs : Aerospace
Daily Mesoscale Sea Surface Salinity from Evaporation and Precipitation

Quantification of salinity is hampered by the lack of time and space resolution of existing measurements and models. At present, skin salinity measurements are available every few days with limited spatial resolution. Daily skin salinity products are full of gaps, which some...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Software for Inferring the Aerosol Water and Soot Fractions from Remote Sensing Measurements

Aerosol water content and soot concentrations are important components of aerosol forcing. Aerosols contain varying amounts of water depending upon their aerosol hygroscopicity, and anthropogenic aerosols are among the most hygroscopic aerosols; hence,...

Briefs : Aerospace
Algae Photobioreactor Using Floating Enclosures With Semi-Permeable Membranes

Various species of algae are known to produce valuable products ranging from food to fertilizer to biofuels. Methods have been developed for producing biofuels by processing algae and other micro-organisms that grow in aquatic environments, but the largescale...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Parallelization of Snowflake Growth Simulation

Gravner and Griffeath have developed a serial numerical model that simulates the growth of snowflakes in three dimensions under the assumptions of 24-fold symmetry. To allow for much larger and asymmetric snowflakes as well as to reduce simulation time, their model was re-implemented using...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Soil Remediation with Plant-Fungal Combinations

This work applies to remediation and restoration of soil contaminated by fuel, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) wastes, etc. While there can be a beneficial effect of microbial communities, individual plant-fungus combinations can vary in their efficacy in removing pollutants from the environment....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Rigorous Antenna Noise Temperature Calculation Method for International Space Station Visiting Spacecraft

The temperature of the orbiting space station’s Sun-facing side could be up to 250 °F (≈120 °C) and will be a significant antenna noise temperature contributor for visiting spacecraft communication and tracking systems during...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Recurring Anomaly Detection System (ReADS)

NASA Engineering & Safety Center (NESC) subject matter experts analyze records in various International Space Station and shuttle databases to identify recurring anomalies. The key problems these experts face in analyzing such database records are:

Briefs : Software
Method for Automatic Optimization of Yaw Maneuvers for Orbiting Space Vehicles

A new method for optimizing yaw attitude maneuvers on the International Space Station (ISS) was developed. Docking and undocking operations often require 180° yaw rotations, which are the most common large maneuvers on the ISS. When optimized, some large maneuvers,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Architecture Framework for Fault Management Assessment and Design

Modern spacecraft, aircraft, and surface vehicles support complex science missions in harsh environments. These spacecraft and vehicles provide diverse functionality that is deployed on increasingly complex and heterogeneous hardware and mechanical systems, with stringent...

Briefs : Information Technology
Spacecraft Parameter Database Tool

The GOES-R Program has requirements to maintain knowledge of the GOES-R satellite onboard memory contents, including managing general satellite operations tables; processor memory dumps for memory verification; creating command loads, memory (table) loads, and command sequences to operate the satellite;...

Briefs : Information Technology
Eliminating the Need for Payload-Specific Coupled Loads Analyses Without Mission Risk

Amore efficient structural verification process for small satellites has been demonstrated. This new process eliminates the need for payload-specific coupled loads analysis (CLA) and simplifies structural testing while not increasing mission risk. The process...


Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Collaborative Robot Applications in the Automotive Industry

Upcoming Webinars: Aerospace

Update on Civil Certification of Multicore Processing Systems in...

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Metal 3D Printing

On-Demand Webinars: Materials

Enhance Product Design and Dependability with Advanced Coating Technologies

On-Demand Webinars: Green Design & Manufacturing

Rapid, Selective Volatile Emissions Testing for Vehicles and Components

Tech Talks: Medical

New Developments in Catheter Shaft Components – Part 2