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: Software
Interactive Diagnostic Modeling Evaluator

NASA’s Ames Research Center has developed an interactive diagnostic modeling evaluator (i-DME) tool to aid in modeling for noise and lag in the data and debugging of system models when fault detection, isolation, and recovery results are incorrect. i-DME is designed to dramatically speed up the...

Briefs: Software
High-Fidelity 3D Electromagnetic (E&M) Propagation Modeling Tools

For a future potential radar sounder mission to small celestial bodies like comets and asteroids, it is important to understand the interaction between propagating waves and interior geophysical structures. In general, it is not easy to build a software model capable of handling...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
In-Flight Pitot-Static Calibration

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a new method for calibrating pitot-static air data systems used in aircraft. Pitot-static systems are pressure-based instruments that measure the aircraft’s...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Real-Time Radiation Monitoring Using Nanotechnology

NASA has patented a unique chemical sensor array leveraging nanostructures for monitoring the concentration of chemical species or gas molecules that is not damaged when exposed to protons and other high-energy particles over time. The nanotechnology-enabled chemical sensor array uses single...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
External Diagnostic Method to Detect Electrical Charging in Complex Ion Trapping Systems

Electron-ionized atom trapping technology is widely used in mass spectrometry and atomic clocks. The complexity of the trapping configuration operating in an ultra-high vacuum system is driven by demands for ultimate sensitivity, performance, and fundamental...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Modules for Inspection, Qualification, and Verification of Pressure Vessels

After decades of composite over-wrapped pressure vessel (COPV) development, manufacturing variance is still high, and has necessitated higher safety factors and additional mass to be flown on spacecraft, reducing overall performance. When liners are used in COPVs, they...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Hermetic Seal Leak Detection Apparatus with Variable Size Test Chamber

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a unique apparatus ideal for use in nondestructive testing (NDT) of hermetic seals of containers or instrumentation. The device is capable of detecting both large and small leaks and can be calibrated to characterize the...

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a system to detect and locate atmospheric clear air turbulence (CAT) by means of a ground-based infrasonic array to serve as an early warning...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Low-Temperature Radiometer

Many present and future NASA missions require high-performance, large-scale cryogenic systems, such as the sunshields and cold instruments for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Testing these systems is...

The suspension system of parachutes is typically made from ropes (referred to as cordage). Measuring loads in the suspension system cordage has thus far proven very...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Improved Method to Quantify Leak Rates

One existing method to quantify the gas loss from a closed system is the mass point leak rate method. This traditional empirical method is capable of quantifying the loss of a known type of gas from a...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Flight Test System for Accurately Predicting Flutter

Traditional methods of flight flutter testing analyze system parameters such as damping levels that vary with flight conditions to monitor aircraft stability. In the past, the actual flight envelope developed for aircraft operation was essentially determined only by flight testing. The edges...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
TestEVAL Software to Assist in Mechanical Testing

Typically, mechanical test data has been reviewed and processed using a combination of Excel, PDF Viewer, MATLAB, and other tools. TestEVAL provides a central tool for all these tools, and enhances their capability. Having been developed in Python, it is expendable and portable. It uses no...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Technique to Measure Degradation of Submillimeter-Wave Spectrometer Response to Local Oscillator Phase Noise

High-resolution submillimeter-wave spectroscopy is based on the heterodyne principle, where the incident signal is down-converted to a low intermediate frequency (IF) by nonlinear mixing with a local oscillator (LO) signal. The IF...

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed a groundbreaking new microsensor that detects toxic gases and explosives in a variety of environments. Most...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Method of Fault Detection and Rerouting

NASA seeks partners interested in the commercial application of the In Situ Wire Damage Detection and Rerouting System (ISWDDRS). NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is soliciting licensees for this...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Metal Oxide Vertical Graphene Hybrid Supercapacitors

NASA has developed a novel hybrid supercapacitor system utilizing vertical graphene as an electrode material grown directly on collector metals using a plasma enhanced chemical vapor de - position. Supercapacitors are an alternative to batteries for energy storage, offering high power density...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Reconfigurable Drive Current System

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) has developed compact, reconfigurable electronic devices to drive and control avionics instruments. Typical avionics systems function through centralized power distribution units (PDUs), which have complex, expensive, and time-consuming design, development, test,...

Briefs: Aerospace
System and Method for Aiding Pilot Preview, Rehearsal, Review, and Real-Time Visual Acquisition of Flight Mission Progress

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a synthetic 3D visualization flight display that presents flight data information in an intuitive way using 3D computer graphic capabilities. The flight crew can preview and...

Innovators at NASA’s Johnson Space Center have developed a novel footpedal-operated system and device to control movement of an object in three-dimensional (3D) space. The system enables...

Briefs: Aerospace
RapidScat Flight Software

The legacy SeaWinds scatterometer radar needed to be interfaced to the International Space Station (ISS) without any modifications. It had been designed to fly on the Adeos II spacecraft. An interface to...

Briefs: Aerospace
Achieving a Realistic Model of Flight Dynamics and Aeroelasticity of Flexible Aircraft

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a method that allows for the translation of frequency-domain aerodynamics from commercial code (e.g., ZAERO™ or NASTRAN®) to a time-domain formulation that can be easily understood by...

Briefs: Aerospace
AutoNav: Navigation Flight Software on a Smartphone

Today’s mobile computing platforms (phones and tablets) contain considerable computing power and are instrumented similar to spacecraft. They have cameras, accelerometers, gyros, magnetometers, GPS, and multiple radios for communication. It was postulated that a modern commercial smartphone...

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed a method and apparatus for in-situ health monitoring of solar cells. The innovation is a novel approach to solar cell...

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is developing a lightweight space-based solar power array with a high power-to-stowed-volume and weight ratio. The system provides power to small...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Solid-State Ultracapacitor

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a solid-state ultracapacitor utilizing a novel nanocomposite dielectric material. The material’s design is based on the internal barrier layer capacitance (IBLC) concept, and it uses novel dielectric and metallic conductive ink formulations.

Power generation from an external or internal heat source using thermal energy conversion technologies such as solid-state thermionics and thermoelectrics or dynamic conversion...

Briefs: Energy
Chassis Short Mitigation and Characterization Technique for the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator

The radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) is a flight-proven, capable source of power that reliably converts heat into electricity. NASA and the Department of Energy (DoE) have developed a new generation of such power systems...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dust Tolerant Connectors

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has developed a novel ruggedized housing for an electrical or fluid umbilical connector that prevents intrusion of dust, sand, dirt, mud, and moisture during field use under harsh...

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