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 : Aerospace
Blended Cutout Flap for Reduction of Jet-Flap Interaction Noise

An aircraft trailing edge device, coupled with an aircraft wing, provides a reduction in jet-flap interaction noise while preserving the aerodynamic load capacity of the trailing edge. Embodiments of the present invention provide a trailing edge flap device that includes a center...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fault Recovery for Multi-Phase Power Converters

A fault recovery method for multiphase power converters enables delivery of reduced output power of as much as 66% of normal power in the event of a shorted power switch component. The need for redundant power converters in conventional multi-phase space power systems is reduced, if not eliminated....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Isolated Bidirectional DC Converters for Distributed Battery Energy Applications

Power systems are the core heartbeat of any advanced vehicle. Reliability and flexibility of these systems are of the highest priority. This innovation is a highly efficient and modular isolated bidirectional DC converter for battery energy applications that has...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Device Accommodating Volume Expansion and Contraction for Water-Ice Phase Change Material Heat Sinks

This invention accommodates the volume expansion and contraction of water ice as it freezes and thaws, thus enabling the use of water as a phase change material (PCM) for thermal energy storage. Due to the relatively large volume expansion of...

Briefs : Aerospace
High-Power, Solid-State Power Amplifier System

The purpose of the invention was to increase the operational power levels of solid-state power amplifiers using state-ofthe- art power amplifier design and combining methodology. Using 1-kW RF modules and proper RF combining techniques, a system was built that generated 16 kW of RF power for use in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
H2O/NaCl-Based Radio Frequency Power Load

The purpose of the invention was to increase the operational power levels of power loads as well as improve the overall reliability and safety of existing systems. Using water (H2O), table salt (NaCl) or some other form of salt, and a matching network, an RF power load can be built to absorb...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Discovery Through Eigenbasis Modeling of Uninteresting Data

When presented with a new data set, a common initial goal is to explore its contents in a discovery mode to find items of interest. However, each user who views the data set may have a different scientific goal in mind, and therefore a different desired prioritization of the items for...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Obstacle Avoidance Methods

Obstacle avoidance is a difficult problem due to the non-convex state constraints. Therefore, the feasible state space needs to be convexified, or split, into convex regions at which point the search for an optimal solution among those convex regions is done. Methods for obstacle avoidance include two mixed integer...

Briefs : Software
Bar Code Scanner to Supplement Property Inventory Process

Within NASA Goddard, property inventories outside of the formal inventories had no automated method to perform quick checks of equipment location, especially during periods leading up to a formal inventory. One method that existed simply involved printing out an end-user’s equipment in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Semantic Language and Tools for Reporting Human Factors Incidents

This human factors incident reporting tool for authoring and using human factors incident data combines semantic Web technologies with automated assistive technologies to aid users in finding relationships among incidents. The semantic indexing provided by the use of incident...

Briefs : Information Technology
Control Software for Integrated CW Radar Module

This software controls the behavior of a miniaturized microwave radar module. It controls the hardware, digitizes raw samples from the analog output of the module, and applies DSP (digital signal processing) algorithms to the data stream to reduce the bandwidth and data rate. It also implements an...

Briefs : Software
Furuno Radar/SureTrak Interface Software

The Wallops Flight Facility Launch Range has a need to interface data from ship surveillance Furuno radar to an existing surveillance display system (SureTrak). SureTrak is a multi-sensor waterway and air surveillance system. The display of Furuno radar data by the SureTrak system will be used for risk...

Briefs : Information Technology
An Empirical Metric of Individual Datapoint Utility Given Ample Metadata as Applied to the OCO-2 Flight System

Traditionally, quality flags provided a binary yes/no estimation of a datapoint’s utility. However, in modern instrumentation, significant auxiliary information for each datapoint can be obtained. This permits prediction of more than...

Briefs : Information Technology
Gravitational Compensation Onboard a Comsat

This technique for compensating the gravitational attraction experienced by a test-mass freely floating onboard a satellite is new, and solves an important problem that all gravitational wave missions face. Its application to the geostationary Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (gLISA) mission concept...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Open Scheduling and Planning Interface for Exploration (Open SPIFe)

In order to accomplish mission objectives, NASA must be able to plan and sequence assets (spacecraft and astronauts) in a short amount of time. Planning is a complex process that involves reasoning about thousands of constraints and uncertain conditions in order to produce a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
AMMOS-PDS Pipeline Service (APPS) — Label Design Tool (LDT)

A software program builds PDS4 science product label (metadata) and automatically generates its description as part of the software interface specification (SIS) document. This software allows the mission system engineer to interact programmatically with the PDS4 information model,...

Briefs : Software
Activity Model Problem Translator

The Problem Translator is a software program that translates functional Unified Modeling Language (fUML) activity models into a behavior-based computational problem representation language called Behavior XML (BXML). The BXML translation may then be solved by engines such as the Behavior and Analysis Engine. The...

Briefs : Information Technology
Ontological System for Context Artifacts and Resources (OSCAR)

Current data systems catalog and link data using a synthetic modeling approach that requires much domain knowledge in order to interact with the system. Domain knowledge includes what keyword to look for and how data artifacts are linked. OSCAR offers a semantic solution to data...

Briefs : Information Technology

SPSCGR generates a contact graph suitable for use by the ION (Interplanetary Overlay Network) DTN (Delay/Disruption Tolerant Network) implementation from data provided by the JPL SPS (Service Preparation System) Portal. Prior to SPSCGR, there was no way for a mission or other entity to route DTN traffic across the DSN without manually...

Briefs : Software
Retools: Restriping Tools for Lustre

Modern parallel file systems achieve high performance by distributing (“striping”) the contents of a single file across multiple physical disks to overcome single-disk I/O bandwidth limitations. The striping characteristics of a file determine how many disks it will be striped across and how large each...

Briefs : Software
Method and Program Code for Improving Machine Efficiency in the Computation of Nearly-Singular Integrals

Currently, there is a need for the computational handling of near-singularities that arise in many branches of physics, particularly for handling near-strong singularities. An example of such singularities is presented by the case of...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Alignment of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Spacecraft

Theodolite autocollimation metrology continues to play an important part in spacecraft optical alignment. Spacecraft optical alignment is both art and science for using optical instruments to place or determine the orientation and envelope of critical components on...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Low-Excess-Noise, High-Gain Avalanche Photodiodes

Avalanche photodiodes (APDs) are widely used to sense and amplify optical signals into electric signals based on their high quantum efficiency of photon detection and desirable internal gain. The high internal gain associated with APDs, however, may also lead to increased levels of excess noise...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
A Novel Approach to Liquid-Level Sensing Using Fiber Bragg Grating Technology (CryoFOSS)

The Cryogenic Fiber Optic Sensing System (CryoFOSS) offers an approach to liquid-level sensing that uses fiber optic Bragg sensor technology. The innovation is able to sense liquid levels to within 1/4-inch spatial resolution and can actively discern between...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Radiation Design of Ion Mass Spectrometer for Europa

An ion mass spectrometer was developed (IMS) that can operate in the high radiation environment of Jupiter’s magnetosphere and its icy moons. If successful, this instrument will provide the first plasma composition measurements within Jupiter’s magnetosphere. This entails development of...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Algorithm for Determining Solar Aspect from Images Generated by the HEROES Mission

The goal of the High Energy Replicated Optics to Explore the Sun (HEROES) mission was to adapt an existing balloon payload, known as High Energy Replicated Optics (HERO), for solar observation. HERO used an on-axis star camera for fine aspect sensing, but this...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Semiconductor Quantum Cascade Lasers Fabricated Without Epitaxial Regrowth

Laser absorption spectroscopy has emerged as one of the most important applications for semiconductor quantum cascade (QC) lasers, particularly in the mid-infrared spectral regime where many gases of interest exhibit fundamental absorption features. Laser absorption...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
MEMS Glow Discharge Plasma Electron and Ion Source

A microelectromechanical system (MEMS) glow discharge plasma electron and ion source (GDEIS) was designed for operation in high-pressure environments such as planetary atmospheres for mass spectroscopy. Glow discharge electron/ ion sources create electrons and ions from gas molecules in an...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Conformal Nanotube Baffle for a Compact Coronagraph

The development of a conformal nanotube process is enabling for many applications in solar physics and space astrophysics (e.g., direct detection and imaging of exoplanets). Coronagraphs are key heliophysics instruments because they image coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are the most...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Fabrication of Ion Optics Using Additive Manufacturing

Ion optics, or grids, for ion thrusters or ion sources are traditionally made by subtractive manufacturing methods such as milling/drilling or chemically etching holes from thin sheets of bulk material. This innovation uses additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, to build the grids from...

Question of the Week
Will Cooling Coatings Catch On?


Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

3D Printed Metals Are Not All the Same

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Testing and Inspecting 3D-Printed Parts

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Using Simulation to Design Robust Adhesively Bonded Structures

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Electric-Vehicle Transmission Development and Simulation

Upcoming Webinars: Energy

Thermal Management Crisis: Knowing Your Passive Solution Options

Upcoming Webinars: Internet of Things

IoT’s Role in Today’s Transportation Systems


Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition

5G in Manufacturing: What’s Here and What’s to Come

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping

A Guide to Collaborative Robot Safety

Products: Motion Control

Voice Coil Motor

Articles: Photonics/Optics

Mode-Field Diameter and “Spot Size” Measurements of Lensed and Tapered Specialty Fibers

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Process Synthesizes Carbon Nanotubes Using Carbon Dioxide

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Welding Ceramics with Lasers