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: 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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Systems, Methods, and Apparatus of a Low-Conductance Silicon Micro-Leak for Mass Spectrometer Inlet

Mass spectrometers on atmospheric entry probes require a method for introducing gas from high-pressure ambient regions to the vacuum of the mass spectrometer interior.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed three techniques and systems to calibrate and validate...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Because of the cost-effectiveness of flying smallsats compared to large flagship spacecraft, there is increasing interest in boosting their capabilities for...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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