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 : Physical Sciences
Internalization of Non-Spherical Particles

This invention specifically relates to an interchangeable sleeve that encompasses a rotating, substantially cylindrical bioreactor. The sleeve supplies a time-varying electromagnetic force of from 0.05 to 0.5 gauss to the culture chamber of the bioreactor in order to increase cell growth and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
System for Observing Dynamic Atmospheric Phenomena

Existing observing systems are inadequate to measure a variety of dynamic atmospheric processes. Ground-based or airborne systems do not observe over sufficiently large regions to capture the context or time history of many phenomena. Space-based systems do not observe a specific region over...

Briefs : Software
Weekly Status Reporting & Approval Application Revision 2

The Weekly Status Reporting & Approval Application is a Web application that enables organizations to gather weekly or monthly (periodically) statuses electronically from all employees using a time-based process. Users input their status, which may include uploaded images, into...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
CoolSPICE: SPICE Simulator for Cryogenic Electronics

Accurate assessment of circuits at cold temperatures is extremely difficult due to lack of models and tools that can simulate circuit behavior at cryogenic temperatures. A library of cryogenic temperature models was built, as well as a circuit simulator that can use those models and simulate...

Briefs : Software
Telescience Resource Kit, Release 3

Release 3 of the Telescience Resource Kit (TReK) has become available. TReK 3 is a suite of application programs that can be used to monitor and control a payload aboard the International Space Station. TReK provides both local ground support system services and an interface to utilize remote services provided...

Briefs : Software
Software Tools for Fault Management Technologies

The ability to detect, diagnose, and respond to faults and anomalies in a timely fashion is a major concern in space missions. Fault Management (FM) primarily concerns operational mitigations of spacecraft failures. Qualtech Systems worked towards development of software tools for facilitating FM...

Briefs : Information Technology
Atmospheric Turbulence Modeling for Aero Vehicles

Atmospheric turbulences are fractional order, and because of that, it is difficult to simulate these disturbances. Past models fall short in providing sufficiently accurate simulation of atmospheric turbulence, especially at high altitudes, for control designs of high-speed atmospheric vehicles....

Briefs : Information Technology
Autonomic Quiescence

Biologically inspired autonomous and autonomic systems (AAS) are essentially about creating self-directed and self-managing systems based on metaphors such as that of the autonomic nervous system. Agent technologies have been identified as a key enabler for engineering autonomy and autonomicity in systems, both in terms of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Optimization of OT-MACH Filter Generation for Target Recognition

An automatic Optimum Trade-Off Maximum Average Correlation Height (OT-MACH) filter generator for use in a gray-scale optical correlator (GOC) has been developed for improved target detection. While the OT-MACH filter has been shown to be an optimal filter for target detection,...

Briefs : Information Technology
A Decision Support Tool to Assess Upper-Level Winds for Space Launch

An Excel-based graphical user interface (GUI) was developed for the 45th Weather Squadron (45 WS) Launch Weather Officers (LWOs), allowing them to assess numerical weather prediction model forecasts of upper-level winds and compare the forecasts to observations from Cape...

Briefs : Information Technology
Change Detection in Orbital Images Using Relative Landmark Graphs

Traditional methods for change detection involve the pixel-wise registration of two images and a subsequent differencing operation that highlights any changes at the individual pixel level. These methods have two limitations: (1) they are computationally expensive, and (2) they...

Briefs : Information Technology
Heavy-Alkane Oxidation Kinetic-Mechanism Reduction

Oxidation chemical reactions of many practical fuels encompass thousands of species. When simulating complex turbulent reactive flows, it is impossible to account for the time and spatial evolution of all these species given current and foreseeable-future computer memory and time. This...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Covariance Analysis of Astrometric Alignment Estimation Architectures for Precision Dual-Spacecraft Formation Flying

A paper highlights analysis of proposed navigation systems and architectures for achieving precise dual-spacecraft astrometric alignment. The dynamics of dual-spacecraft relative motion, within a restricted n-body problem...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Porous Media Jacket for Use in Regeneratively Cooled Rocket Engines

A paper describes a method for regeneratively cooling worst-case gas-phase thrusters using porous media integrated into a regenerative cooling jacket. The enhanced surface area in the jacket compensates for the much lower effective heat transfer coefficients of gases as compared...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Automated Purgatoid Identification

An algorithm was developed that automatically processes images captured by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to identify and locate the presence of purgatoids in monochrome images.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Interplanetary CubeSats

A report describes upgraded CubeSat satellite elements for the interplanetary environment, with solar sail propulsion and the interplanetary superhighway for navigation and maneuvering. They can host small, capable instruments and optical telecommunications on a mission to map the composition of a sequence of near-Earth...

Briefs : Medical
$19 Million Funding Awarded for Additive Manufacturing Projects

America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, announced the 15 awardees of its second call for additive manufacturing (AM) applied research and development projects. Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, America Makes will...

Briefs : Medical
Making Injection Molding More Energy Efficient

In the future, thin-film heating will allow plastic parts to be produced with greatly improved surface quality. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM, Freiburg, Germany, say they have found a way to make the whole process more energy efficient.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Re-entry Vehicle Shape for Enhanced Performance

A vehicle entering the atmosphere of a planet will do so at hypersonic speeds and will need to decelerate and maneuver through that atmosphere while protecting its payload from excessive heating. As a consequence, the vehicle shape must be designed to provide optimal aerodynamic lift and drag...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Spacecraft Line-of- Sight Stabilization Using LWIR Earth Signature

Until the time of this reporting, when a space vehicle required a reference signal for inertial pointing, the choices were a signal beacon from an Earth location, the Earth radiance in the visible spectrum, or a star tracker. However, limitations can arise from using these...

Briefs : Software
Data Acquisition and Processing Software — DAPS

DAPS was designed to support the DAWN-AIR project participating in the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) hurricane campaign. It controls the data acquisition system consisting of a scanner that directs the lidar beam, an inertial navigation system/GPS (INS/GPS) unit for...

Briefs : Information Technology
Debris & Ice Mapping Analysis Tool — Database

The Debris & ICE Mapping Analysis Tool (DIMAT) system is a Web-based system that supports communication, data integration, data sharing, and problem definition/resolution through use of an integrated presentation framework for ice and debris description and analysis. It provides an integrated...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Data Fusion for Global Estimation of Forest Characteristics From Sparse Lidar Data

This lidar data fusion approach is based on associating samples from sparse lidar data with groups of region objects determined by a unique image segmentation approach, HSeg (Hierar - chical Segmentation). This segmentation approach, which was previously developed...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Transportable Instrumentation Package for In-Vehicle On-Road Data Acquisition

The study of driver behavior can provide a wealth of information that can be useful in the design of automobiles including active safety features and functions. There may be differences in driver behavior, as reflected in driver state, and these differences may be...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Virtual Testing of High Lift Systems

For aircraft system certification, a huge amount of testing is required to guarantee safe, robust, and error-free behavior under all operating and environmental conditions. Typically, these tests on the system level are performed on physical test benches (left, in figure) where all the relevant components...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Integrated PEMFC Flow Field Design for Gravity-Independent Passive Water Removal

A gravity-independent PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell stack has been developed that will operate at high-pressure H2 and O2 conditions with the requirement for relatively modest H2 and O2 gas circulation. Until...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Metal-Assisted Fabrication of Biodegradable Porous Silicon Nanostructures

Porous silicon nanowires are fabricated by two-step, metal-assisted electroless chemical etching of p-type or n-type silicon wafers. This method, in combination with nanolithography or nanopatterning, can be applied to fabricate porous silicon nanostructures of different...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Post-Growth, In Situ Adhesion of Carbon Nanotubes to a Substrate for Robust CNT Cathodes

The field emission electron sources using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being targeted for low-power vacuum microelectronic applications for harshenvironment operation (high temperature, pressure, and corrosive atmosphere). While CNTs have demonstrated...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thermal Mechanical Preparation of Glass Spheres

Samples of lunar regolith have included small glass spheres. Most literature has suggested the small spheres were formed by meteorite impacts. The resulting transformation of kinetic energy to thermal energy caused the lunar surface to melt. The process yielded glass spheres. Recreating a meteorite...

Briefs : Materials
Improving Material Property Measurement Using Multi- Camera Digital Image Correlation

The automotive industry faces growing pressure for more efficient vehicles. This pressure comes from many sources including government regulations, decreasing natural resources, and consumer demand. As the pressure begins to rise, automakers have a growing need...

Technology Leaders