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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
All-Organic Electroactive Device Fabricated with Single- Wall Carbon Nanotube Film Electrode

A novel, all-organic electroactive device system has been fabricated with a single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) film used as an alternative electrode. This system was fabricated with LaRC-Electro Active Polymer (LaRC-EAP) active layer and the SWCNT films...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Purifying Hydrogen for a Life Support Process

NASA’s endeavor to further enable long-duration manned space exploration requires further closure of the oxygen loop of the life support system that is currently realized aboard the International Space Station. Currently, oxygen is recovered from crew-generated carbon dioxide via the use of a...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Low-Pressure Casting of Bulk Metallic Glasses for Gears and Other Applications

With the correct selection of composition, some bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) have been demonstrated that have excellent combinations of hardness, fracture toughness, and wear resistance so that their use in gears and gearboxes is a potentially commercially viable...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Lunar Materials Handling System

A method was developed for transfer of lunar soil into and out of process equipment. The Lunar Materials Handling System (LMHS) conveys solids to a process vessel, provides a gas-tight seal, prevents seal contamination, and minimizes wear from abrasive particles. The LMHS increases equipment life and minimizes...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Two-Dimensional Dropped Sensor Suite

There are locations that are either too hazardous to land and gather data, or not practical to land. Also, data may need to be gathered from multiple (tens to hundreds) locations (sometimes at once). This is not feasible with a single lander or rover. A single lander does not provide any redundancy in case...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Controlling Execution Sequence Using Tactile-Classification During Manipulation by a Humanoid Robot

It is necessary to track system state during robotic manipulation. System state is defined to be manipulator and environment configuration. Without tracking, the robot is ignorant of the outcomes of its actions. State tracking enables the robot to...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Guidance Algorithm to Auto-Pilot Spacecraft in the Vicinity of Primitive Celestial Bodies

The dynamics in the vicinity of small bodies are highly nonlinear. Trajectory design in small-body environments requires accurate gravity and solar radiation pressure models to guarantee the satisfaction of spacecraft operational constraints such...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Safe Maritime Autonomous Path Planning in a High Sea State

The goal of this work was to develop algorithms and software to generate a path that takes into account the direction of waves and wind as much as possible in order to mitigate potential damage to an autonomous underwater vehicle. A risk-based path planning algorithm to analyze...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Human Grasp Assist

Repetitive manual operations can degrade the work efficiency of a human operator over time, with the cumulative stresses of repetitive motion potentially affecting the resultant product quality and/or process efficiency. Accordingly, a lightweight, motorized device has been created that a user/operator may wear on a hand and...

Briefs : Aerospace
Scientific Balloons as Solar Sails

Existing scientific research balloons such as those launched from Wallops Flight Facility could be placed in near- Earth space where they would perform as solar sails, providing relatively inexpensive propulsion systems for interplanetary missions. The balloons would accelerate at rates comparable with the ion...

Briefs : Aerospace
Non-Thermal, Plasma-Assisted Catalytic Reactor for CO2 Methanation

Converting in-situ resources such as CO2, which is the main component of the Mars atmosphere, into methane for rocket propellants can significantly reduce the cost and risk of human exploration while at the same time enabling new mission concepts and long-term...

Briefs : Aerospace
Sea-Level Flight Demonstration Altitude Characterization of a LO2/LCH4-Based Ascent Propulsion Lander

A recently developed 1,500-lbf (6,672-N) thrust-class liquid oxygen/liquid methane (LO2/LCH4) rocket engine was tested at both sea level and simulated altitude conditions. Sea-level tests were conducted using both a static...

Briefs : Aerospace
Improved Hall Thrusters Fed by Solid Phase Propellant

Hall thrusters normally use Xe propellant, which is expensive and scarce in the solar system. The weight of Xe is such that typical Hall thrusters are limited in specific impulse to approximately 3,000 s. The objective of this program was to improve and demonstrate Mg Hall thruster systems....

Briefs : Aerospace
Aerodynamics Model for a Solid Rocket Booster

NASA required an aerodynamics model of a spent solid rocket booster (SRB) to predict trajectory and impact location of the Ares I first stage after separation. The software needed to be integrated into new simulations written in C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) had previously developed a solid...

Briefs : Medical
Intranasal Scopolamine — INSCOP

Space motion sickness (SMS) commonly experienced by astronauts during a space mission often requires treatment with medication. However, exposure to a microgravity environment results in a myriad of physiological changes that alter bioavailability. In particular, studies indicate that the bioavailability of oral...

Briefs : Medical
Microbial Isolates from Research Activities as a Biological Resource

International treaty requires spacecraft landing on planetary surfaces that may have water present, or may have supported life in the past, to adhere to strict guidelines governing the microbial contaminants that are incidentally present in, and on, spacecraft hardware...

Briefs : Medical
Chromatid Painting for Chromosomal Inversion Detection

Chromosomal inversions, such as those occurring following exposure to ionizing radiation, are especially difficult to detect by current techniques. Therefore, their true frequency and importance have been underappreciated. Even the impressive technology of whole genome sequencing, which is...

Briefs : Medical
Guidelines for Meal Replacement Bars in a Space Food System

To decrease the mass of the space food system and still maintain the nutritional intake of a mission crew, meal replacement bars and beverages are desired to supplement the menu and serve as meal alternatives. Nutritional requirements for such replacement products for breakfast and...

Briefs : Information Technology
Selective Access and Editing in a Database

A complex organization with many tasks and sub-tasks, many phases, and many workers often will have an associated database with many users and groups, each of whom has a limited “need to know” (e.g. fine-grained security access controls) that does not extend to all information in the database. A...

Briefs : Information Technology
Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) Reconfigurable Packet Tool

This tool supports the development of table loads required to inform the flight software of new on-the-fly packet definitions. The main outcome of the processing includes all the database products needed by the ground system to process the newly created packets. The tool...

Briefs : Information Technology
Bug View

This hardware-independent, Web-based service provides the capabilities to improve software assurance by streamlining the management of the analysis tools, the code being analyzed, and the results that are generated. The service is a GUI (graphical user interface) application that addresses the needs of software developers and supporting...

Briefs : Software
Program Determines When MRO Observations Span More Than One Spacecraft Sequencing Period

Previously, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) did not allow observations to go beyond the end of a planning period. However, opportunities for observing the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover occur close enough to these boundaries to require the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Integrated Ground Supported Systems Equation Processor

The Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) Ground Support System (IGSS) Equation Processor (IEP) allows for the general production of “derived” telemetry products in the Raytheon Eclipse ground system used to support the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project. The IEP works...

Briefs : Software
Perilog

Perilog measures the degree of contextual association of large numbers of term pairs in text to produce network models that capture the structure of the text and, by virtue of Perilog’s validated theory of iconicity, the structure of the domains, situations, and concerns expressed by the author of the text. Given alphanumeric...

Briefs : Information Technology
Build, Assemble, Test (BAT) Planning and Execution Resources Application

BAT is a Web-based application used for the assembly and inspection of critical flight and associated ground support hardware for JPL missions that are developed in-house. It is used to capture and communicate data that is unique to a part or assembly that cannot be...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Domain-Engineered Magnesium-Oxide-Doped Lithium Niobate for Lidar-Based Remote Sensing

There are several frequency conversion applications associated with lidar-based remote sensing that would benefit from the use of high-quality, complex (i.e., chirped, multi-section, or otherwise modulated) domain-engineered magnesiumoxide- doped lithium...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Fiber-Optic Sensor for Aircraft and Structure Lightning Measurement

An optical-fiber sensor based on Faraday Effect was developed for measuring total lightning current. Designed for aircraft installation, it is lightweight, non-conducting, structure conforming, and is immune to electromagnetic interference, hysteresis, and saturation. It can...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Generating Broadband Terahertz Radiation from Microplasma in Air

Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics have shown that a laser-generated microplasma in air can be used as a source of broadband terahertz radiation. Fabrizio Buccheri and Xi-Cheng Zhang recently demonstrated that an approach for generating terahertz...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Free Space Optical Receiver for Data Detection and Radio Science Measurements

For deep space communication systems, the decision of whether or not to suppress the transmitted carrier has always been an issue. For certain missions that use high data rates, the available bandwidth might be a limiting factor. In such cases, it is preferred to use a...

Briefs : Data Acquisition
Precision Miniature Attitude Determination and Control System

The MAI-400SS Space Sextant is a turnkey Attitude Determination And Control System (ADACS) for CubeSats and nanosatellites. It is an enhanced version of the MAI-400, which is a precision CubeSat ADACS incorporating three reaction wheels, three electromagnets, and an ADACS computer in...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Using Portable Scenarios and Coverage Metrics to Ensure...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Impact of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles in New Product...

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Autonomous Vehicles Sensors: How to Ensure They Work Well and...

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Connectivity Solutions for Robust Data Transmission in Future...

Upcoming Webinars: Transportation

Transforming the Grid: New Technologies for the Transmission and...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Military Robotics