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 : Software
Test Waveform Applications for JPL STRS Operating Environment

This software demonstrates use of the JPL Space Telecommunications Radio System (STRS) Operating Environment (OE), tests APIs (application programming interfaces) presented by JPL STRS OE, and allows for basic testing of the underlying hardware platform. This software uses the JPL...

Briefs : Medical
Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Signals Measure Neuronal Activity in the Cortex

Functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is an emerging optical neuroimaging technology that indirectly measures neuronal activity in the cortex via neurovascular coupling. It quantifies hemoglobin concentration ([Hb]) and thus measures the same...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
ESD Test Apparatus for Soldering Irons

ESDA (Electrostatic Discharge Association) ESD STM 13.1-2000 requires frequent testing of the voltage leakage from the tip of a soldering iron and the resistance from the tip of the soldering iron to the common point ground. Without this test apparatus, the process is time-consuming and requires several...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Pneumatic Proboscis Heat-Flow Probe

Heat flow is a fundamental property of a planet, and provides significant constraints on the abundance of radiogenic isotopes, the thermal evolution and differentiation history, and the mechanical properties of the lithosphere. Heat-flow measurements are also essential in achieving at least four of the goals...

Briefs : Information Technology
Sequential Probability Ratio Test for Spacecraft Collision Avoidance Maneuver Decisions

A document discusses sequential probability ratio tests that explicitly allow decision-makers to incorporate false alarm and missed detection risks, and are potentially less sensitive to modeling errors than a procedure that relies solely on a probability of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
FPGA-Based X-Ray Detection and Measurement for an X-Ray Polarimeter

This technology enables detection and measurement of x-rays in an x-ray polarimeter using a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). The technology was developed for the Gravitational and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (GEMS) mission. It performs precision energy and timing...

Briefs : Information Technology
Cursor Control Device Test Battery

The test battery was developed to provide a standard procedure for cursor control device evaluation. The software was built in Visual Basic and consists of nine tasks and a main menu that integrates the set-up of the tasks. The tasks can be used individually, or in a series defined in the main menu.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Method to Measure Total Noise Temperature of a Wireless Receiver During Operation

A method has been developed to measure the total effective noise power in a GPS receiver, including contributions from the system temperature, the antenna temperature, interference, lossy components, etc. A known level of noise is periodically injected before the...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Advanced Materials and Fabrication Techniques for the Orion Attitude Control Motor

Rhenium, with its high melting temperature, excellent elevated temperature properties, and lack of a ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT), is ideally suited for the hot gas components of the ACM (Attitude Control Motor), and other hightemperature...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Silicon/Carbon Nanotube Photocathode for Splitting Water

A proof-of-concept device is being developed (see figure) for hydrogen gas production based on water-splitting redox reactions facilitated by cobalt tetra-aryl porphyrins (Co[TArP]) catalysts stacked on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that are grown on n-doped silicon substrates. The operational...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Flight Hardware Packaging Design for Stringent EMC Radiated Emission Requirements

This packaging design approach can help heritage hardware meet a flight project’s stringent EMC radiated emissions requirement. The approach re quires only minor modifications to a hardware’s chassis and mainly concentrates on its connector interfaces. The...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
An Offload NIC for NASA, NLR, and Grid Computing

This work addresses distributed data management and access — dynamically configurable high-speed access to data distributed and shared over wide-area high-speed network environments. An offload engine NIC (network interface card) is proposed that scales at n×10- Gbps increments through 100-Gbps...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
RF Reference Switch for Spaceflight Radiometer Calibration

The goal of this technology is to provide improved calibration and measurement sensitivity to the Soil Moisture Active Passive Mission (SMAP) radiometer. While RF switches have been used in the past to calibrate microwave radiometers, the switch used on SMAP employs several techniques...

Briefs : Materials
Self-Healing Nanocomposites for Reusable Composite Cryotanks

Composite cryotanks, or composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), offer advantages over currently used aluminum- lithium cryotanks, particularly with respect to weight savings. Future NASA missions are expected to use COPVs in spaceflight propellant tanks to store fuels,...

Briefs : Materials
Ceramic Adhesive and Methods for On-Orbit Repair of Re-Entry Vehicles

This adhesive is capable of repairing damaged leading edge components of re-entry vehicles while in space, and is novel with regard to its ability to be applied in the vacuum of space, and in a microgravity environment. Once applied, the adhesive provides thermal and oxidation...

Briefs : Materials
Aerogel-Based Multilayer Insulation With Micrometeoroid Protection

Ultra-low-density, highly hydrophobic, fiber-reinforced aerogel material integrated with MLI (aluminized Mylar reflectors and B4A Dacron separators) offers a highly effective insulation package by providing unsurpassed thermal performance and significant robustness, delivering...

Briefs : Materials
Pt-Ni and Pt-Co Catalyst Synthesis Route for Fuel Cell Applications

Oxygen reduction reactions (ORRs) at the cathode are the rate-limiting step in fuel cell performance. The ORR is 100 times slower than the corresponding hydrogen oxidation at the anode. Speeding up the reaction at the cathode will improve fuel cell efficiency.

Briefs : Materials
Multi-scale CNT-Based Reinforcing Polymer Matrix Composites for Lightweight Structures

Reinforcing critical areas in carbon polymer matrix composites (PMCs), also known as fiber reinforced composites (FRCs), is advantageous for structural durability. Since carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have extremely high tensile strength, they can be used as a...

Briefs : Materials
Manufacturing of Nanocomposite Carbon Fibers and Composite Cylinders

Pitch-based nanocomposite carbon fibers were prepared with various percentages of carbon nanofibers (CNFs), and the fibers were used for manufacturing composite structures. Experimental results show that these nanocomposite carbon fibers exhibit improved structural and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Optimized Radiator Geometries for Hot Lunar Thermal Environments

The optimum radiator configuration in hot lunar thermal environments is one in which the radiator is parallel to the ground and has no view to the hot lunar surface. However, typical spacecraft configurations have limited real estate available for top-mounted radiators, resulting...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Mission Concept: Re-Entry Hopper-Aero-Space-Craft System on-Mars (REARM-Mars)

Future missions to Mars that would need a sophisticated lander, hopper, or rover could benefit from the REARM Arch i tecture. The mission concept REARM Architecture is designed to provide unprecedented capabilities for future Mars exploration missions, including...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
New Class of Flow Batteries for Terrestrial and Aerospace Energy Storage Applications

Future sustainable energy generation technologies such as photovoltaic and wind farms require advanced energy storage systems on a massive scale to make the alternate (green) energy options practical. The daunting requirements of such large-scale energy systems...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Reliability of CCGA 1152 and CCGA 1272 Interconnect Packages for Extreme Thermal Environments

Ceramic column grid array (CCGA) packages have been increasing in use based on their advantages of high interconnect density, very good thermal and electrical performance, and compatibility with standard surface-mount packaging assembly processes. CCGA...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Using a Blender to Assess the Microbial Density of Encapsulated Organisms

There are specific NASA requirementsfor source-specific encapsulated microbial density for encapsulated organisms in non-metallic materials. Projects such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) that use large volumes of non-metallic materials of planetary protection concern...

Briefs : Software
Sasquatch Footprint Tool

The Crew Exploration Vehicle Parachute Assembly System (CPAS) is the parachute system for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The test program consists of numerous drop tests, wherein a test article rigged with parachutes is extracted or released from an aircraft. During such tests, range safety is paramount, as is the...

Briefs : Software
Galactic Cosmic Ray Event- Based Risk Model (GERM) Code

This software describes the transport and energy deposition of the passage of galactic cosmic rays in astronaut tissues during space travel, or heavy ion beams in patients in cancer therapy. Space radiation risk is a probability distribution, and time-dependent biological events must be...

Briefs : Software
Multi-User Space Link Extension (SLE) System

The Multi-User Space (MUS) Link Extension system, a software and data system, provides Space Link Extension (SLE) users with three space data transfer services in timely, complete, and offline modes as applicable according to standards defined by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems...

Briefs : Information Technology
Control Software for Piezo Stepping Actuators

A control system has been developed for the Space Interferometer Mission (SIM) piezo stepping actuator. Piezo stepping actuators are novel because they offer extreme dynamic range (centimeter stroke with nanometer resolution) with power, thermal, mass, and volume advantages over existing motorized...

Briefs : Information Technology
Optimization of Turbine Blade Dovetail Geometry

The reliability of a gas or steam turbine is strongly dependent on the structural design of its blades. In land-based power generation units, turbine blades are connected to the turbine disk by a dovetail joint or fastener. As the turbine rotates, the dovetail experiences centrifugal loading...

Briefs : Information Technology
Mixed Integer Programming and Heuristic Scheduling for Space Communication

Optimal planning and scheduling for a communication network was created where the nodes within the network are communicating at the highest possible rates while meeting the mission requirements and operational constraints. The planning and scheduling problem was...