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: Robotics, Automation & Control
Reducing Power-On/Off Glitches in Precision DACs: Part 2

Part 1 of this article introduced a phenomenon called power-on/off glitch. The example discussed the impact of this phenomenon on a motor control system. We limited our analysis to a...

Resistance thermometers, also called resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), are very common sensors used for temperature measurement. Their reliability, ruggedness, wide range,...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Microwave Radar Sensor Module

Existing implementations of continuous wave (CW) radar are not packaged appropriately for use as part of a heartbeat detection system for disaster search and rescue. They use separately packaged microwave...

A system has been developed using sound to detect problems on rovers or other remote platforms autonomously. It consists of a sensor array of microphones and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
MEMS Gyroscope with Dual Interferometric Sense Elements

High-performance inertial sensors, such as ring laser gyroscopes or fiber optic gyroscopes, have sufficient performance to enable “dead reckoning” navigation for adequate periods of time. Smaller microelectromechanical system (MEMS) inertial sensors, such as MEMS gyroscopes and MEMS...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
MMOD Risk Mitigation Technology for Spacecraft Thermal Protection Systems

The proposed concept uses sensors to detect high-temperature plasma ingestion during entry through a breach in the thermal protection system (TPS) caused by a micrometeoroid orbital debris (MMOD) impact. It uses consumables usually available on human-rated spacecraft such...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Shock-Sensing Apparatus

Acompact shock-sensing device, which employs an innovative light sheet generator, has been created. The device may be used either as a solo aerodynamic shock detector or in combination with a scanning mode shock...

Physical and chemical properties of nanomaterials are known to be significantly different from those having larger crystallites (i.e. bigger than nano),...

Briefs: Materials
White, Electrically Conductive, Radiation-Stable, Thermal Control Coating

A highly reflective, white conductive coating system was developed using a layered approach with a combination of commercially available white conductive pigments within a conductive binder system. The top coating is a space-stable, radiation-resistant, highly reflective...

Briefs: Materials
Plasma-Assisted Thin Film Coatings to Create Highly Hydrophobic Porous Structures

Gas-distribution layers (GDLs) are water-management structures used in fuel cells and electrolyzers. GDLs are critical components that prevent flooding of the fuel cell electrode by product water, thus preserving open channels for reactant gas to reach the...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
High-Performance Photocatalytic Oxidation Reactor System

As crewed space missions extend beyond low Earth orbit, the need to reliably recover potable water is critical. Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the water is recycled from cabin humidity condensate, urine distillate, and hygiene wash wastes. In spacecraft cabin air...

Briefs: Aerospace
ACS Anchor Guide Stud and Caddy

An alignment guide and a mounting interface for two of the repair tools on orbit during the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4 (see SM4) were developed. This design can be installed in a timely manner, and was specifically developed for a worksite with minimal access and minimal visual line-of-sight to the...

Briefs: Aerospace
Next-Generation, Lightweight Hard Upper Torso/Hatch Assembly

The current MK-III carbon-graphite/epoxy Hard Upper Torso (HUT)/hatch assembly represented an 8.3 psi (≈57 kPa) technology demonstrator model of a zero pre-breathe suit. In this configuration, the MK-III suit weighed about 120 lb (≈54 kg). Since future lunar/planetary suits will...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Elastic Deployable Composite Tubular Roll-Out Boom

The objective of this work was to develop an innovative deployable boom/structure technology that is ultra-lightweight (<30-grams/meter potential), and has extremely compact stowage volume (>100:1 compaction ratio), broad scalability (no size limits envisioned), high deployed frequency,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Reduced-Speed Duplex-Ring Seal

Ring seals are used in rotating union applications where a fluid flow or hydraulic pressure signal is transferred from a static reference frame to a rotating component, such as a shaft, for the purpose of providing lubrication and/or a hydraulic signal to a component(s) in a rotating frame of reference. Ring seals...

Briefs: Aerospace
Performing Launch Depressurization Test on Large Test Articles Using Two Vacuum Chambers in Tandem

Two vacuum chambers were used in tandem to perform a launch depressurization test. The test article was mounted in a 10-ft (≈3 m) Vertical Vacuum Chamber (Chamber 248-10). The 25-ft (≈7.6-m) Space Simulator (Chamber 150-25) was rough-pumped and...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Pyramid Micro-Electrofluidic-Spray Propulsion Thruster with Integrated Attitude and Thrust Vector Control

A micro-electrofluidic-spray propulsion (MEP) system was built on a micro scale, in which arrays of hundreds of nano-thrusters are etched on silicon wafers like ICs, only a centimeter on a side. Many dozens of these thruster chips can be...

Sample return missions have the ability to vastly increase scientific understanding of the origin, history, current status, and resource potential of solar system objects including...

The work described here is part of the U.S. Air Force-sponsored Operational Based Vision Assessment (OBVA) program that has been tasked with developing a high-fidelity flight...

Briefs: Aerospace
Ad Hoc Adaptive Pitch Axis Pilot Model

Flight research has shown that adaptive flight control systems can be susceptible to adverse pilot-controller interactions, including pilot-in-the-loop oscillations (PIO). Conventional PIO analysis is performed using a static pilot model and a linear, time-invariant model of the aircraft and its control...

Briefs: Data Acquisition
Development of a Turnkey Clear Air Turbulence Detection System

Currently, the only available means of reporting clear air turbulence (CAT) is the pilot report (PIREP), whereby a pilot experiencing turbulence reports their location and associated data. In this report, a system is proposed that would allow the detection of CAT through infrasonic...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Lunar Cold Trap Contamination by Landing Vehicles

The emerging interest in lunar mining poses a threat of contamination to pristine craters at the lunar poles, which act as cold traps for water, and may harbor other valuable minerals. Lunar Prospector type missions will be looking for volatile (molecular) compounds that may be masked by the...

Briefs: Software
Visualization of Terascale Datasets with Imposters

The interactive visualization of large astrophysical datasets is a formidable challenge. Cosmological simulations performed on current terascale facilities typically generate datasets up to 100 gigabytes in size. In order to understand the complex three-dimensional structure within these...

Briefs: Software
Transforming DAVE-ML Models to Executable C/C++

DMLtoC.xsl is an XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) transform that converts a vehicle model described in DAVE-ML (an XML markup language) into a “C” language version of the same model. DAVE-ML is a markup language for describing aerodynamic vehicle models. A DAVE-ML...

Briefs: Software
Context-Based Configuration Management System

This invention provides a visual and textual system, including a set of intuitive icons representing different activities, for indicating status of and/or change in a document or documents and/or in project operations, using the icons to indicate the presence of different classes of changes that have...

Briefs: Software
Mesh: Lightweight Grid Middleware Using Existing Secure Shell Infrastructure

A software-based innovation called Mesh was developed that provides a single sign-on capability to the built-in public key authentication mechanism of Secure Shell (SSH) using system call interposition. Mesh is a secure, lightweight grid middleware. Each Mesh...

Briefs: Software
Delay Tolerant Networking Contact Graph Routing MACHETE Model

This simulation environment of Contact Graph Routing that uses the QualNet network simulator leverages the previously developed space communication models. This software models the Contact Graph Routing (CGR) system proposed for future NASA missions and used in DINETl and DINET2...

Briefs: Software
JavaGenes Data Optimization

JavaGenes is a general-purpose software program that implements several different data optimization techniques. The program is intended for problems that have no gradient, comparing genetic algorithms with stochastic hill climbing and simulated annealing to generate optimal design solutions. JavaGenes can create many...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Low Er-Doped Yttrium Gallium Garnet (YGG) as Active Media for Solid-State Lasers at 1651 nm

The typical approach for producing laser output at the 1651-nm wavelength is via nonlinear frequency conversion. Lasers based on nonlinear conversion are complex, and it is very difficult to provide stability over time and over a wide range of operating...

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