Tech Briefs

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 : Materials
Electride Mediated Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

A new sensor substrate supports Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. A ceramic electride is demonstrated to provide surface enhanced Raman scattering. This provides a sensitive method for monitoring the chemistry and electronic environment at the electride surface. The electride, an ionic...

Briefs : Materials
Patterned Carbon Nanotube Arrays for Displays

Multi-colored electronic displays that are dynamically reconfigurable require substantial electrical power and are limited in the amount of fine detail provided by the physical size of the light sources. For example, where phosphor elements are used, as in a television screen or computer monitor, the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pneumatic Sample Acquisition and Transfer System

Sampling, sample handling, and sample transfer to lander platforms of in situ exploration missions involve great technical challenges. These challenges are even harder to address when the planetary bodies have extreme environments. For example, Venus has an ambient temperature of around 460 °C,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Brine Residual in Containment

Improvements in brine water recovery are critical to advancing NASA’s goals for human exploration of space. Water recovery systems must minimize the need for new supplies of clean water by closing the water loop. To accomplish this, water losses must be minimized or eliminated. A major loss of water is the brine...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Locking Orifice Retaining Nut

Fluid flow systems often require orifices to control pressure drop or flow rate. These orifices are often retained in bolted housings that require seals and introduce potential leak points into the system.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Mechanical Electrostatic Actuator for Deformable Mirrors

A hybrid mechanical/electrostatic force actuator has been developed for use in deformable mirror applications. Some deformable mirrors, designed to correct errors in optical systems, use electrostatic forces between the flexible mirror surface and a backplane to control the shape of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Reconfigurable Structural Joint

This technique allows for rapid joining of reconfigurable structures. Currently, permanent structural joints are made in factory settings or in situ. However, reconfigurable structures require appropriate structural joints that must be made in situ, and must join/disjoin without inflicting any damage on the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Lithium-Ion Battery Technologies with High Energy Density

There is a need to advance the development of high energy density batteries, along with other efficient alternative energy sources. The need for batteries having a higher energy capacity, versus a lower weight, is simple to understand when stated in a battery’s Watt hour per kilogram...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Low-Cost Communications Concept for Smallsats: Opportunistic MSPA

Multiple Spacecraft Per Antenna (MSPA) techniques have been used for well over a decade to increase the efficient utilization of ground network assets while decreasing the antenna fees allocated to the missions. In the Deep Space Network’s traditional MSPA service, two missions...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Spatial Standard Observer

This invention relates to the devices and methods for the measurement and/or for the specification of the perceptual intensity of a visual image, or the perceptual distance between a pair of images. Grayscale test and reference images are processed to produce test and reference luminance images. A luminance filter...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Use of Selective Oxidation Catalyst for Amperometric Sensing Electrode

A modified oxidation catalyst material can be used to build a carbon-monoxide-sensing electrode for amperometric sensors to overcome the typical cross-sensitivity of these sensors toward hydrogen. The technology will have applications in the emerging hydrogen fuel cell...

Briefs : Software
NASA Experiment Designer: A Tool for Running Scientific Workflows

The NASA Experiment Designer (NED) is a client-server application that enables end-to-end support for driving long-running scientific computer simulations such as climate and weather models. The tool provides a friendly, single point of entry for configuring parameters associated...

Briefs : Software
SensorWeb Campaign Manager API Client

This software was designed to automate delivery of tasking requests to a central queue, enabling integrated observation scenarios across multiple assets. It is a JAVA code application that enables machine-to-machine access between a client platform and the Campaign Manager application program interface (API)...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Simple Subset Wizard

The Simple Subset Wizard (SSW) was developed for the Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) to simplify the myriad ways of ordering or obtaining subsets of satellite data from EOSDIS’ different data centers. It provides a simple, coherent interface to a variety of subsetters at ten of the centers. The...

Briefs : Software
Kameleon-Plus: Data Access, Interpolation, and Fieldline Tracing Library for Space Weather Simulation Data

This library provides an abstraction layer that an end user can access, interpolate, and perform fieldline integration for space weather simulation data. Normally, accessing and interpolating space weather simulation data requires knowledge...

Briefs : Software
Software for Lossless Data Compression

Lossless data compression has been employed in space to reduce communication bandwidth requirements for onboard storage for more than 15 years. A widely used space compression standard is the recommendation published by the Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems (CCSDS). The standard describes a...

Briefs : Software
Asynchronous Message Service (AMS) Software Libraries

This software implements the protocols described in the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) publication CCSDS 735.1-B-1. The purpose of the protocols is to enable the exchange of messages among a group of applications. The protocols provide several mechanisms for message...

Briefs : Software
Software for Executing International Standard CCSDS 123B

Advanced remote-sensing instruments in recent years often employ multiple wavelengths for maximal science return. Many of them comprise hundreds to over a thousand spectral bands. These instruments multiply the data volume and stress the communication bandwidth. With previously deployed...

Briefs : Software
TASAR and TAP: Airborne Trajectory Management Enabled by Traffic-Aware Software

This innovation consists of the Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Request (TASAR) concept and the associated Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) software. TASAR is intended to enable pilots to discover trajectory improvement opportunities while en route that will result in...

Briefs : Software
Module::Build::Database

Module::Build::Database was developed as part of the Atmospheric Composition Processing System, which works with the Science Investigator-Led Processing System for the Ozone Monitoring Instrument. The technology allows the user to distribute changes to the schema in a database alongside software that relies on the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Safety Analysis of Conflict Prevention Algorithms

Different types of information are used to help aircraft maintain separation standards. At the lowest level, information is needed to indicate if separation standards will be violated in the near future, called a conflict. Once a conflict is detected, then conflict resolution information may be...

Briefs : Information Technology
CT-CURS: Unwrapping/Re-slicing Software for Cylindrical Objects Inspected Using Computed Tomography

Ultra-thin-wall metallic cylinders are extremely difficult to analyze for flaws from top-view X-ray computed tomography (CT) slices and volume renderings. A protocol has been developed using software to unwrap and re-slice the ultra-thinwall...

Briefs : Information Technology
Trajectory Specification for High-Capacity Air Traffic Control

The doubling or tripling of airspace capacity that will be needed over the next several decades will require that tactical separation guidance be automated for appropriately equipped aircraft in high-density airspace. Four-dimensional (4D) trajectory assignment (three-dimensional...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Barrel Distortion Correction Image Processing Algorithm for Fish-Eye Lenses

Immediately following firing of the solid rocket booster (SRB) separation motors during STS-134 ascent, an unknown object resembling a headless bolt was captured by one of the SRB onboard cameras. This object had a length-to-width ratio of approximately 4:1 and appeared...

Briefs : Information Technology
Whole Symbol Moments SNR Estimator Analysis and Implementation

A data-dependent algorithm was developed for estimating symbol signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) with a non-integral number of samples per symbol. The classical split symbol SNR estimator algorithm was adapted to incorporate the whole symbol by removing the data polarity.

Briefs : Information Technology
Identification of Abnormal Noise Temperature Patterns in Deep Space Network Antennas Using Fuzzy Logic

The communication between NASA space mission operations teams and their respective spacecraft in outer space is accomplished via the Deep Space Network (DSN). To ensure proper operations in returning telemetry data to mission operations,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Controllable V-Notch in Spacecraft Antenna Pattern for Spacecraft Pointing and Orientation Determination

A spacecraft high-gain antenna (HGA) was designed with a sharp Vnotch in its far-field cross-pole pattern to determine the spacecraft pointing and attitude relative to the Earth receiving antenna station. The notch depth, relative to the...

Briefs : Materials
Puncture Self-Healing Polymer for Aerospace Applications

A document discusses a puncture self-healing polymer for space exploration that is capable of puncture healing upon impact. Puncture healing occurs instantaneously, providing mechanical property retention in lightweight structures.

Briefs : Information Technology
Quick Thrust Profile Design Analysis for Verifying Spacecraft Operational Capabilities

A paper describes a process for imposing safety constraints on a spacecraft trajectory design. The conventional process has the ACS (Attitude Control System) team define geometric constraints, then the NAV (Navigation) team produces a compliant thrust...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Co-Optimized, Blunt-Body Re-entry Vehicle Design Process

A document describes a design optimization method for determining optimal shapes for vehicles with mid-range lift-to-drag ratios that are entering or re-entering planetary atmospheres. The design space includes consideration of hypersonic aerothermodynamic properties (for minimizing...

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