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 : Electronics & Computers
Modularized SIR-to-NetCDF Conversion Command-Line Tool

This innovation reads in a proprietary formatted binary data format known as Scatterometer Image Reconstruction (SIR), and converts these data files to netCDF-classic format. This software is provided as a command-line tool for Linux/UNIX-based systems, and includes built-in regression...

Briefs : Imaging
Stereoscopic Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence Imaging for Time-Resolved 3D Movies in Hypersonic Flow

Understanding and predicting transition from laminar to turbulent flow in hypersonic boundary layers is an active and important field of research because transitional and turbulent heating can be four or more times higher than laminar heating on...

Briefs : Imaging
Modified-Wolter-Schwarzschild X-ray Telescope

X-ray survey missions require nested grazing incidence telescopes with a large field of view (1° or larger) and moderately high resolution across the field of view. This cannot be accomplished using flat focal plane detectors. The telescopes have excellent on-axis resolution, but unacceptable...

Briefs : Imaging
Machine Vision-Based Pose Estimation System

During on-orbit servicing of non-cooperative satellites, the relative position of the satellite with respect to the servicing vehicle is needed. Non-cooperative satellites do not have devices to assist the pose estimation (such as markers or reflector), so a system that uses the natural features of the...

Briefs : Imaging
Solar Doppler Shift-Based Solar Tracker

This solar tracker integrates a camera with a field of view (FOV) large enough to easily image the entire solar disc — co-boresited with a narrow-band spectrometer that measures the frequency of a Doppler shifted line — with an algorithm designed to drive zero Doppler shift rotation axis of the...

Briefs : Imaging
Beam Shaping for CARS Measurements in Turbulent Environments

Taking measurements in a scramjet engine is particularly challenging because of the harsh testing environment. Any probe inserted in the flow would generate shock waves, strongly perturbing the flow. Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) is a non-intrusive laser-based...

Briefs : Materials
Using Paraffin Phase Change Material to Make Optical Communication-Type Payloads Thermally Self-Sufficient for Operation in Orion Crew Module

The Orion Crew Module has a pressurized cabin of approximately 20 m3 in volume. There are a number of cold plates within the Crew Module for thermal management. An optical communication type of payload...

Briefs : Materials
Aerogel-Filled Foam Core Insulation for Cryogenic Propellant Storage

Current cryogenic insulation materials suffer from various drawbacks including high cost and weight, lack of structural or load-bearing capability, fabrication complexity, and property anisotropy. A need clearly exists for lightweight thermal insulation that is isotropic and...

Briefs : Materials
Multifunctional B/C Fiber Composites for Radiation Shielding

A versatile, novel, multifunctional hybrid structural composite of a high-hydrogen epoxy matrix (UN-10) coupled with boron and carbon fibers (IM-7) has been developed. Prototype laminates of 18×18 in. (≈46×46 cm), with the nominal areal density of 0.35 g/cm2, were...

Briefs : Materials
Smart MMOD Thermal Blanket

This innovation provides for significantly improved protection from micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) particles, and reliably determines the location, depth, and extent of MMOD impact damage.

Briefs : Materials
Using Black Polyimide/Kevlar as a Metering Structure Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI)

Metering structures of remote sensing instruments often have large openings or access holes. Shear panels that are X-shaped, such as those proposed for the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), generally consist of C-channels and L-brackets to...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR)

Convective weather systems, i.e., thunderstorms, are the leading cause of flight delay in U.S. airspace. Airline dispatchers must file their flight plans 1 to 2 hours before takeoff, and are often required to incorporate large buffers to forecast weather. Weather changes as flights progress, and airline dispatchers,...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
ATMS Antenna Beam Analysis Software

The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) Antenna Beam Analysis Software uses a suite of test data to calculate the ATMS instrument beam pointing, and secondarily, the polarization state, in the coordinates of the onboard optical cube. The software uses measurement inputs of RF radiation pattern...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
LabNotes Mobile App for Instrument Control and Data Collection

Most instruments under development rely on a traditional computer or laptop, LabVIEW software, and data acquisition (DAQ) components (which interface between the instrument and the computer) to operate an instrument and collect data. While this solution is extremely versatile, it is...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
GRAVITE Incinerator

Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) system is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) system, developed and deployed by Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Ground Project to support Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val), Data Quality Monitoring, and...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
GRAVITE Distribution

Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) system is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) system, developed and deployed by Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Ground Project to support Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val), Data Quality Monitoring, and...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
GRAVITE Planner

Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) system is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) system, developed and deployed by Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Ground Project to support Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val), Data Quality Monitoring, and Algorithm...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
GRAVITE Upload Tool

Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) system is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) system, developed and deployed by Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Ground Project to support Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val), Data Quality Monitoring, and...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
SMAP SDS Science Processing and Data Management System

The Science Processing and Data Management (SPDM) system’s primary functions are to control and monitor science processes and data products for Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Science Data System (SDS). SPDM adapts the Apache/OODT Framework 0.3 as the basic infrastructure. Although the...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Hyperlinked Overview of Piloted Evaluations (HOPE) Web- Based Data Archive

The Hyperlinked Overview of Piloted Evaluations (HOPE) application provides an interface for users to enter data on pilots, metrics, configurations, tasks, and data collection sessions, as well as descriptive information for each item and the experiment as a whole. As...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
GRAVITE Database

Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) system is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) system, developed and deployed by Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Ground Project to support Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val), Data Quality Monitoring, and Algorithm...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
GRAVITE Monitor

Government Resource for Algorithm Verification, Independent Test, and Evaluation (GRAVITE) system is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad - ministration (NOAA) system, developed and deployed by Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Ground Project to support Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val), Data Quality Monitoring, and...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Signal Processing for High-Temperature Health Monitoring of Condensed Water Height in Steam Pipes

An algorithm for analyzing wave reflections and time-of-flight ultrasonic pulse-echo data has been developed for monitoring the health of steam pipes to determine the height of condensed water through the wall in real time, at temperatures up to 250...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Satellite Situation Update

Satellite Situation Update (SSUP) software shows the current locations of a selected set of orbiting spacecraft, along with each satellite’s ground track and/or orbit shape. SSUP is intended as a real-time display, showing multiple spacecraft, that is suitable for a large wall monitor meant to be in public spaces for...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicle Flight Using Optical Flow and Inertial Cues

Micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) are agile and have unstable flight dynamics. They require a failsafe method to be navigated through areas even without GPS coverage. The approach of this work is to use only the feature matches between two consecutive images, i.e. optical...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Universal Robotically Operated Leave-Behind Gripper

This universal robotically operated leavebehind gripper allows robotic (or extravehicular activity — EVA) attachment capability of any object at eight existing types of attachments at the International Space Station (ISS). It enables expansion of external stowage and payload sites to include...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
DshellCommon Simulation Framework

DshellCommon software has been developed for specifying and executing generic multibody system simulations. This innovation helps the user create and execute simulations for mechanisms, vehicles, spacecraft, or other systems by making it easier to write simulation “run scripts” for systems that vary from...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Neutrally Buoyant Tank Inspection and Cleaning Robot

Huge savings in cost and inspection times (as well as improved safety) could be obtained by performing in-service inspection of tank floors and walls with robotic devices. This would have a reduced environmental impact and meet EPA and state regulations.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Visualization and Introspection for Teleoperation of Robotic Systems

The Space Exploration and Analysis Simulations (SEAS) project at JPL performs analysis of advanced mission and system concepts on behalf of NASA. One of the concepts being explored involves operation of robotic rovers on the Moon from a remote operator station located either at...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Exoskeleton (EXO)

The Exoskeleton (EXO) is a device that falls into a new classification of robotics called wearable robots. On-orbit applications include countermeasures and dynamometry, allowing for continual assessment of a person’s muscle strength while aboard the International Space Station. Due to its small, compact size and...