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
Mechanistic-Based Multiaxial- Stochastic-Strength Model for Transversely- Isotropic Brittle Materials

A methodology has been developed and the software written to predict the probability of failure of transversely isotropic (a type of anisotropy) materials under generalized thermomechanical loading. This methodology is mechanistic in that it is...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Dual-Leadframe Transient Liquid Phase Bonded Power Semiconductor Module Assembly and Bonding Process

A high-temperature-capable widebandgap semiconductor power module package, coupled with a new high-temperature- capable bonding process (with an optimized assembly and manufacturing process), has been developed that, together, can allow device...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Methods for Mitigating Space Radiation Effects, Fault Detection and Correction, and Processing Sensor Data

The Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architecture being developed for space applications requires that sensor data be autonomously sampled and transmitted to the system network. This transmission needs to occur on a predetermined, fixed...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Quad First Stage Processor: A Four-Channel Digitizer and Digital Beam-Forming Processor

A 4-channel digitizer was designed, built, and tested. The very large, complex board enables SweepSAR. The proposed Deformation, Eco-Systems, and Dynamics of Ice Radar (DESDynl-R) Lband SAR instrument employs multiple digital channels to optimize resolution...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Compact Ka-Band Antenna Feed with Double Circularly Polarized Capability

NASA has an interest in utilizing the Ka-band frequency allocation. One of the main reasons for migrating to Kaband is the need for higher frequency bandwidth to enable higher data rates. A dual circular polarized wideband antenna for Ka-band communications applications was...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
CubeSat Deployable Log Periodic Dipole Array

The antenna is composed of two main deployable structural components that help it achieve the large packing factor necessary to fit within the small volume of the CubeSat. The primary component of the antenna array is a tension stiffened truss, which is preloaded using a large tape spring. The truss...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Protective Sleeve for a Pyrotechnic Reefing Line

A metallic sleeve provides protection and guidance for the actuating lanyard pull of a parachute system reefing line cutter. This device ensures that the reefing line cutter is not damaged during packing or deployment. In addition, the device ensures that the actuating lanyard that initiates the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Metabolic Heat Regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption

Two fundamental problems facing the development of a portable system to sustain life on extraterrestrial surfaces are (1) heat rejection and (2) rejection of metabolically produced CO2 to an environment with a ppCO2 of 0.4 to 0.9 kPa as is present on Mars. Portable...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Variable Camber Aerodynamic Control Surfaces and Active Wing Shaping Control

A new concept of aircraft aerodynamic control surfaces has been developed in connection with another new concept of active wing shaping control for reducing aircraft drag that will result in less fuel burn. The first concept is referred to as a variable camber...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
NanoRacks-Scale MEMS Gas Chromatograph System

In order to study atmospheric or evolved gases, it is highly advantageous for an instrument (e.g. mass spectrometer (MS), thermal conductivity detector (TCD)) to simplify the gas stream with a front-end gas chromatograph (GC). When used for planetary missions, highperformance GCs have to satisfy the...

Briefs : Software
360° Visual Detection and Object Tracking on an Autonomous Surface Vehicle

This software addresses the problem of an autonomous vehicle patrolling a region for objects of interest using multiple cameras. The system must identify and track the objects over time and localize their positions in the world. It implements an autonomous perception and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Simulation of Charge Carrier Mobility in Conducting Polymers

Electric conduction in polymers is one of the key elements in avoiding catastrophic internal electrostatic discharge in dielectrics during space missions. This software package enables the simulation of carrier mobility for any given site concentration, which is a material design...

Briefs : Software
Observational Data Formatter Using CMOR for CMIP5

The current software has been developed to work on NASA instrument datasets, an upgrade over similar software that only worked on datasets from climate model output. NASA is attempting to reformat satellite data to fit the specific and highly detailed data format and metadata requirements for...

Briefs : Information Technology
Examination and A Priori Analysis of a Direct Numerical Simulation Database for High-Pressure Turbulent Flows

A previously created direct numerical simulation (DNS) database of mixing of species under supercritical pressure has been examined and analyzed for the purpose of understanding the modeling requirements in the context of large eddy...

Briefs : Information Technology
Propellant Loading Physics Model for Fault Detection Isolation and Recovery

A Fault Detection, Isolation and Recovery (FDIR) system needs some internal concept of how the monitored system operates. This “operating concept” needs mathematical logic to represent the cause and effect relationship between constituent components of the system,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Probabilistic Guidance for Swarms of Autonomous Agents

Available guidance approaches for large numbers (i.e., swarms) of artificial agents are currently very limited. Swarms in nature (e.g., bees, birds, ants) typically contain hundreds to thousands of agents. The problem is how to mimic nature, and develop guidance laws for artificial (manmade)...

Briefs : Information Technology
Future Air-Traffic Management Concepts Evaluation Tool

In the United States, as many as 7,000 commercial and private aircraft may be in the air simultaneously at any given time and date, and the total number of commercial flights in a given 24-hour period generally exceeds 50,000. To maintain the safety and efficiency of air travel, this...

Briefs : Imaging
Reducing Drift in Stereo Visual Odometry

Visual odometry (VO) refers to the estimation of vehicle motion using onboard cameras. A common mode of operation utilizes stereovision to tri angulate a set of image features, track these over time, and infer vehicle motion by computing the apparent point cloud motion with respect to the cameras. It has...

Briefs : Imaging
Resource-Constrained Application of Support Vector Machines to Imagery

Machine learning techniques have shown considerable promise for automating common visual inspection tasks. For example, Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifiers that have been learned from labeled training data deliver strong detection performance both for finding human faces...

Briefs : Imaging
Reducing Drift in Stereo Visual Odometry

Visual odometry (VO) refers to the estimation of vehicle motion using onboard cameras. A common mode of operation utilizes stereovision to tri angulate a set of image features, track these over time, and infer vehicle motion by computing the apparent point cloud motion with respect to the cameras. It has...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Technique for Finding Retro-Reflectors in Flash LIDAR Imagery

Orbital rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft is a topic of continued interest to NASA. For crewed missions, it is frequently the case that the target is cooperative (i.e., is equipped with some sort of navigation aid). If one of the relative navigation instruments is a Flash...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Novel Hemispherical Dynamic Camera for EVAs

A novel optical design for imaging systems is able to achieve an ultra-wide field of view (UW-FOV) of up to 208°. The design uses an integrated optical design (IOD). The UW-FOV optics design reduces the wasted pixels by 49% when compared against the baseline fisheye lens. The IOD approach results in a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ultrasonic Intake Airflow Meter for Testbeds

An ultrasonic intake airflow meter for engine testbed applications was developed. An automotive intake airflow meter must fulfill a series of requirements differentiating it from typical ultrasonic flow meters. First, the data sampling rate of the device must be as high as possible to be able to...

Briefs : Medical
Updated Facts on 2015 HCFC-225 Usage Ban

In 1974, Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina discovered that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were depleting the ozone layer, and in 1995, they received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work. In response, the United Nations Environment Programme called an international conference to discuss the issue....

Briefs : Medical
Using Molded Foam Makes Assembly a Snap

Today, medical devices are made using a variety of plastic materials and manufacturing processes. Advances in plastic processing make it possible to obtain virtually any shape, form, or function. In addition, the vast assortment of plastics available allows designers to design for the optimal balance of...

Briefs : Motion Control
Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM)

Autonomous robotic manipulators have the potential to increase manufacturing efficiency, provide in-home care, and reduce the risk to humans in hazardous situations. The current challenge in autonomous robotic manipulation is to approach the capabilities of dedicated, one-off manipulators in known...

Briefs : Motion Control
Sliding Gait for ATHLETE Mobility

ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) is a multipurpose mobility platform for planetary surfaces. It is a cross between a wheeled rover and a walking robot, and travels using powered wheels mounted on the end of each of six robotic limbs. Each limb is a fully articulated robotic manipulator...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Reworked CCGA-624 Interconnect Package Reliability for Extreme Thermal Environments

During the past two decades, large, high-density, high-input/output (I/O) electronic interconnect SMT (surface mount technology) packages such as ceramic column grid arrays (CCGAs) have increased usage in avionics hardware of NASA projects. The test boards built...

Briefs : Materials
Bulk Metallic Glasses and Matrix Composites as Spacecraft Shielding

Spacecraft shielding is defined as the outer layer of a satellite or spacecraft that protects it against micrometeorite and orbital debris (MMOD), radiation damage, and re-entry temperatures. There are several problems with the design and implementation of shields, particularly...

Briefs : Lighting
New Approach To Growing InGaN Crystals For Diodes Could Also Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

Crystals form the basis for the penetrating icy blue glare of car headlights and now they could be fundamental to the future in solar energy technology? Crystals are at the heart of diodes. Not the kind you might find in quartz, formed naturally, but...

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