Tech Briefs

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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: Information Technology
Link Complexity Scheduling Algorithm

NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) provides communication and other services for planetary exploration for both NASA and international users. The DSN operates antennas at three complexes in California, Spain, and Australia, with the longitudinal distribution of the complexes enabling full sky coverage and...

Briefs: Information Technology
BUMPER-CEV Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Risk Assessment Code Rev. A

BUMPER-CEV Version 1.71 is used to perform micrometeoroid/orbital debris (MMOD) risk assessments for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) spacecraft. BUMPER is the primary risk analysis program used by NASA to provide for reliable and safe operations of spacecraft...

Briefs: Software
Advanced Numerical Integration Techniques for High-Fidelity SDE Spacecraft Simulation

Simulation study is an integral part of the validation of navigation algorithms for spacecraft. While it is possible to come up with an estimate of a navigation algorithm’s performance with a low-fidelity system model, the mathematical analysis is intractable...

Briefs: Information Technology

One of the crucial ground structures employed at the launch pad during the Space Shuttle program is the rainbird nozzle system, whose primary objective is to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Seismometer Simulation Software

Seismometer Simulation Software (SEISim) is written to provide a simulation for the seismometer instrument in the Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) mission so that flight software developers can use it to develop and test their software applications. It can...

Briefs: Software

Numerical simulations of plume impingement heating to the International Space Station (ISS) and its visiting vehicles require a specific way to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Submersible Phase Change Float Sizing

This software allows sizing of submersibles powered by hydraulic generators that are pressurized by ocean thermal gradients at various depths. The software allows the operator to input the fixed size of the vessels containing the phase change material (PCM). The effective expansion of the PCM is also input,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Method for Evaluating the Pneumatic Hammer Stability of a Fluid-Film Bearing Using CFD

This invention relates to a fluid film bearing and a process for evaluating pneumatic hammer instability. Based on the stability criteria, a method was developed using 3D CFD (computational fluid dynamics) evaluation dynamics to evaluate the onset of pneumatic...

Briefs: Software
DAWN: a Simulation Model for Evaluating Costs and Tradeoffs of Big Data Science Architectures

Data science is emerging as a critical area of research and technology to advance scientific discovery, knowledge, and decision-making through systematic computational approaches to analyzing massive data sets. The sheer volume of data increase, coupled...

Briefs: Information Technology
Auxiliary Payload Sensor System Simulation Software

Auxiliary Payload Sensor System Simulation Software (APSSim) provides a simulation of the seismometer used in the Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) mission. The software takes recorded or simulated APSS data as an input, preprocesses the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Multiphysics Piezoelectric Finite Element Modeling for Designing a Piezoelectric Damping Treatment for Vibration Control of Rotating Blades

The requirements for advanced aircraft engine components lead to designs that are more lightweight and efficient, yet more susceptible to excessive vibration, complex dynamic behavior, and uncertain...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Decelerator System Simulation (DSS)

The Crew Exploration Vehicle Parachute Assembly System (CPAS) project conducts computer simulations to verify that requirements on flight performance, parachute loads, and terminal rate of descent are met. The objective of this work was to obtain a high-fidelity simulation of Orion crew capsule flight test...

Briefs: Materials
EXOS Software

An improved version of EXOS software allows for the modeling of fabrics, mixtures, and porous materials, and also provides the ability to accept hex mesh geometries. The code employs a novel numerical method, a hybrid particle finite element approach, as well as particles and elements in tandem, each modeling distinct aspects of...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wireless Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Microwave Heater System Using RFID-Based Temperature Feedback

This innovation has two main parts — a wireless, flexible film heater containing multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to convert radiated microwave energy into heat, and a radio frequency identification (RFID) temperature sensor to provide...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sub-Audible Speech Recognition Based on Electromyographic (EMG) Signals

Sub-audible speech is a new form of human communication that uses tiny neural impulses (EMG signals) in the human vocal tract instead of audible sounds. These EMG signals arise from commands sent by the brain’s speech center to tongue and larynx muscles that enable...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Precision Detector Conductance Definition via Ballistic Thermal Transport

The characteristics of a thermal detector, such as sensitivity, response time, and saturation power (or energy resolution), are functions of the thermal conductance of the detector to its cryogenic environment. The thermal conductance is specified to achieve a tradeoff...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) causes almost 100 deaths each year in the United States. Although warning systems have virtually eliminated CFIT for...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

New technology combines the benefits of non-contact linear position sensing with the programmability of a programmable controller in a relatively small sensor package. This...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

For a number of applications, the pointing direction towards the Sun must be known or measured. Con ventional Sun sensors determine the pointing direction towards the Sun while the Sun is in the field of view of the...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

A conventional Sun sensor determines the orientation of the Sun in two axes. If mounted on Earth in a known coordinate system, it can determine the azimuth and elevation of the Sun. When...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Venus Heat Flux Sensor

A sensor element that consists of a thermally resistive layer made of nand p-type semiconductor elements amplifies the temperature gradient in the resistive layer that results from heat flow through the sensor. The thermoelectric array provides greater accuracy and sensitivity over a traditional thermopile arrangement for...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags consist of an antenna and an integrated circuit. The antenna is typically the more costly of the two components, and, by far, the largest. As antenna size...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensor Planning Service for Submitting Requests to Task the EO-1

A Web interface framework has been developed that implements the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Sensor Planning Service (SPS) specification. The OGC defines the SPS to “provide information concerning content and encoding of the parameter data that has to be provided in order to...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Transparent and Ubiquitous Sensing Technology

Traditionally, sensor systems are considered independent systems that are separately designed, manufactured, and integrated into a target system such as an aircraft. In most cases, this is a complex and costly process including sensor design, installation, wiring, testing, and maintenance. The sensor...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Position Sensing and Formation Flying Using Optical Beacons

One way of imaging exoplanets around nearby stars is to use a starshade in conjunction with a space telescope. Typically, the starshade, which resembles a sunflower in outline, is ~ 30 meters in diameter. The starshade is flown about 50,000 km in front of the telescope, and when...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Multiple-Frequency-Band Software-Defined Radiometer

Remote sensing — the use of spacebased satellite technologies to obtain information on environmental variables — in combination with other types of data, can provide information on changes in the Earth’s surface and atmosphere that are critical for weather forecasting and responding to...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

All-solid-state, room-temperature, multipixel, sub milli meter-wave re ceiv ers are in demand for efficient spatial mapping of a planet’s atmosphere composition and...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
FPGA Reconfiguration with Accelerated Bitstream Relocation

Partial bitstream relocation (PBR) on field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) is a technique to re-scale parallelism of accelerator architectures at run time and enhance fault tolerance. PBR techniques have focused on reading inactive bitstreams stored in memory, on-chip or off-chip,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Real-Time LiDAR Signal Processing FPGA Modules

A scanning LiDAR, by its inherent nature, generates a great deal of raw digital data. To generate 3D imagery in real time, the data must be processed as quickly as possible. One method of discerning time-of-flight of a laser pulse for a LiDAR application is correlating a Gaussian pulse with a...

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