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 : Physical Sciences
External Magnetic Field Reduction Technique for Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator

Linear alternators coupled to Stirling power converters are promising candidates for high-efficiency heat-to-electricity power conversion in space. Presently, the external magnetic field emissions of such converters may exceed the allowed emission limits for...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Advanced P-Band Spaceborne Radar System

Low-cost, flexible spaceborne radar architectures are needed to provide critical data for Earth and science applications. An instrument concept was developed for an advanced spaceborne radar system that can measure terrestrial biomass (woody mass per unit area), ecosystem structure (height and density),...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Global Fire Detection Constellation

Wildfires that start in backcountry areas sometimes burn for hours before being detected and reported. Satellites offer a vantage point from which infrared sensors can detect fires. Individual satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) offer infrequent overpasses, making the delay from ignition to detection...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Compact Solid-State Entangled Photon Source

In the fields of quantum information, quantum optics, quantum cryptography, and quantum communications, there is a need to generate entangled photon pairs. The entangled photon pairs are described by an inseparable wave equation such that if a measurement is performed on one photon, its twin’s photon...

Briefs : Information Technology
Interface Validation for Distributed Software Systems

As a result of performing IV&V (Independent Verification and Validation) on Space Station software, a number of interface faults were found during integrated testing or actual software deployment. Faults found at this late phase of the software development lifecycle are very expensive to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Simple, Scalable, Script-Based Science Processing Archive

Simple, Scalable, Script-based, Science Processing (S4P) Archive (S4PA) is a disk-based data-archiving system for remote sensing data. It is based on the data-driven framework of S4P. The system is used for new data transfer, data preprocessing, metadata generation, and data archival. The...

Briefs : Information Technology
A Model-Driven Science Data Product Registration Service

The Planetary Data System (PDS) has undertaken an effort to overhaul the PDS data architecture (e.g., data model, data structures, data dictionary, etc.) and deploy a software system (online data services, distributed data catalog, etc.) that fully embraces the PDS federation as an...

Briefs : Information Technology
Design of Rate-Compatible Protograph LDPC Codes

The most common way to generate a rate-compatible family of codes is puncturing. In this method, one starts with a low-rate mother code and then selectively discards some of the coded bits to arrive at higher-rate codes. This approach is simple, but is not free of problems. Specifically, the mother...

Briefs : Information Technology
Model Predictive Automatic Recovery System

In commercial aviation, there have been several recent cases of unstabilized approaches that have resulted in crash landings short of the runway. Some of the direst consequences of these incidents may be prevented with the addition of a level of autonomy — a supervisory envelope protection scheme that...

Briefs : Information Technology
Rapid Prototyping Lab (RPL) Generic Display Engine

Spacecraft display software is very costly and requires extensive testing and certification. Much testing must be repeated if the display software is changed in any way. Additionally, hand-coded displays are costly to create and maintain. For certain types of display formats with limited...

Briefs : Medical
Managing Post-Traumatic Pain With Ultrasound Neuromodulation

The objective of this effort was to demonstrate the feasibility of using ultrasound induced neuromodulation (UNMOD) to manage pain. Pain management for acute trauma is generally accomplished with narcotics, which is less than ideal in a battlefield scenario. The technology of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Universal Mechanical Testers for Tribology Testing in the Automotive Industry

Very few industries are as affected by strict test standards as the automotive sector. Nearly every automobile component (engine parts, accelerators, clutches, brakes, tires, seatbelts, etc.) must exhibit adequate tribological properties in accordance with ASTM, DIN,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Photogrammetric Recession Measurement

The testing of materials that ablate as a design function requires detailed time history of the ablation process. The rate at which the surface recedes during testing is a critically important measure of the performance of thermal protection system (TPS) materials like heat shields for aerospace vehicles....

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Tissue-Equivalent Radiation Dosimeteron-a-Chip with Plastic Scintillation Material

The complexity of spaceflight design requires reliable, fault-tolerant equipment capable of providing real-time dosimetry during a mission, which is not feasible with existing thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) technology. Real-time monitoring is important for...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Measurement of Cryogenic Fluid Level with Laser Propagation and Surface Floor Reflection

The risks associated with introducing new hardware and methods into an operational environment have in part prohibited cryogen level measurement technology from advancing. In prior art, measurements have been made with invasive probes immersed in the...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Video Acuity Measurement System

There is a widely acknowledged need for metrics to quantify the performance of video systems. Existing metrics are either difficult to measure or are largely theoretical. They do not reflect the full range of effects to which video may be subject, or do not relate easily to video performance in real-world tasks....

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Heat-Flow Probe Design and Development

The lunar regolith exhibits extremely low conductivity. Penetrating the regolith presents problems if the geo-technical properties of the regolith are not well understood and accounted for.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Dust Removal from Solar Cells

Photovoltaic cell arrays are used on robotic rovers on the Mars surface, but dust accumulation on the surface of the solar cells reduces their exposure to light radiation and thus degrades their performance. Dust that accumulates without being removed limits the life of the rover’s power systems. Similarly,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Minimally Obstructed Communication via Acoustic Modems in Fluid-Filled Pipes

An acoustic modem that uses a separate phased-array transmitter and receiver has been conceived that allows the communication of high-frequency acoustic waves sideways to the transducer along the fluid-filled pipe. The transducer allows directing waves between the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Biofeedback System for Optimal Athletic Performance

ZONE (Zeroing Out Negative Effects) is a method of biofeedback training for optimal athletic performance. ZONE is designed to improve athletes’ responses to stress, anxiety, and loss of concentration during competition. In the training environment, when the user successfully attains an...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Methods for Clock and Reset Synchronization in a CMOS Integrated Circuit

In high-integrity systems, a method of assuring integrity called a self-checking pair is employed. A self-checking pair is a logical grouping of two of the same devices performing the same operation and cross-checking each other to ensure correct operation. In this manner,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wideband MMIC Distributed Amplifier-Based Microwave Power Module

This innovation is a wideband, high-power, high-efficiency, all-solid-state microwave power module (SSMPM) or amplifier for a multifunction spacecraft payload that operates, depending on the need, as a radar system, communication system, or navigation system. The construction of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Communication Monitoring System for Enhanced Situational Awareness

The system and method of reconfigurable Auditory-Visual Display creates a multi-mode communications environment with the express intent of increasing situational awareness for the operator (controller), and for reducing operator fatigue. Situational awareness is increased by a...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Durable Joining Technology for Uniformly-Curved Composite Sandwich Structures

NASA’s next-generation launch vehicles will be enabled by high-performance composite materials and innovative manufacturing methods. As such, NASA uses adhesively bonded joints where possible instead of mechanically fastened (bolted) joints to design and manufacture...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ohmic Contact to N- and P-Type Silicon Carbide

Electrical ohmic contacts can be simultaneously formed on silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors having donor and acceptor impurities (n- and p-type doping, respectively). This implies that such contacts can be formed on SiC layers in one process step during the fabrication of the semiconductor...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Flap Edge Noise Reduction Fins

Aircraft noise is a significant problem with both economic and public health implications, especially for communities near airports. As a result, increasingly stringent constraints are being placed on aircraft carriers worldwide to reduce this noise. The current disclosure focuses on airframe noise generated at or...

Briefs : Materials
Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC)

TUFROC has an exposed surface edge design and an appropriate materials combination for a space vehicle that will survive the mechanical stresses induced in the initial ascent, and will subsequently survive the extreme heating and mechanically stressful environment of...

Briefs : Materials
High-Efficiency Tantalum-Based Ceramic Composite Structures

High-efficiency tantalum-based ceramic (HETC) composite structures are suitable for use in thermal protection systems. These composite structures have high-efficiency surfaces (low catalytic efficiency and high-emittance), thereby reducing heat flux to a spacecraft during planetary...

Briefs : Materials
Use of Solvent-Free Conditions/Dry Mixing for Functionalizing Carbon Nanotubes

Two methods have been developed for functionalizing carbon nanotubes in solvent-free conditions. In one method, purified single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and a diazonium salt are added to a metal vial, which is loaded with a stainless steel ball bearing. The...

Briefs : Materials
Synthesis of Novel Copoly(alkyl ether imide)s With Unique Surface Properties

Copoly(alkyl ether imide)s were synthesized for the purposes of tailoring surface chemistry. Alkyl ether oligomers with amine end groups were synthesized from the hydroxyl-terminated species, and subsequently reacted with aromatic dianhydrides and diamines to make the...

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