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
Development of the Code RITRACKS

A document discusses the code RITRACKS (Relativistic Ion Tracks), which was developed to simulate heavy ion track structure at the microscopic and nanoscopic scales. It is a Monte- Carlo code that simulates the production of radiolytic species in water, eventby- event, and which may be used to simulate tracks and...

Permanent magnet machines are used in many industrial applications because of their ability to produce high power densities. The market for such machines has been...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Fast, High-Precision Readout Circuit for Detector Arrays

The GEO-CAPE mission described in NASA’s Earth Science and Applications Decadal Survey requires high spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution measurements to monitor and characterize the rapidly changing chemistry of the troposphere over North and South Americas. High-frame-rate focal...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
A System for Measuring the Sway of the Vehicle Assembly Building

A system was developed to measure the sway of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center. This system was installed in the VAB and gathered more than one total year of data. The building movement was correlated with measurements provided by three wind towers in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
ISS Ammonia Leak Detection Through X-Ray Fluorescence

Ammonia leaks are a significant concern for the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS has external transport lines that direct liquid ammonia to radiator panels where the ammonia is cooled and then brought back to thermal control units. These transport lines and radiator panels are...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Hydrometeor Size Distribution Measurements by Imaging the Attenuation of a Laser Spot

The optical extinction of a laser due to scattering of particles is a well-known phenomenon. In a laboratory environment, this physical principle is known as the Beer-Lambert law, and is often used to measure the concentration of scattering particles in a fluid...

Testing of victim detection radars has traditionally used human subjects who volunteer to be buried in, or climb into a space within, a rubble pile. This is not only uncomfortable, but can be...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Vibration-Powered Lowpass Filter

The Mixed Signal Radio Frequency Interface Front (MSRFIF) end is an energy harvesting product that can work from low frequencies (60 Hz or less) up to 250 MHz. Since analog signal processing may be needed for...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Quasi-Linear Circuit

This work involved developing space qualifiable switch mode DC/DC power supplies that improve performance with fewer components, and result in elimination of digital components and reduction in magnetics. This design is for missions where systems may be operating under extreme conditions, especially at elevated temperature...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Speed, High-Resolution Time-to-Digital Conversion

This innovation is a series of time-tag pulses from a photomultiplier tube, featuring short time interval between pulses (e.g., 2.5 ns). Using the previous art, dead time between pulses is too long, or too much hardware is required, including a very-high-speed demultiplexer. A faster method...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Li-Ion Battery and Supercapacitor Hybrid Design for Long Extravehicular Activities

With the need for long periods of extravehicular activities (EVAs) on the Moon or Mars or a near-asteroid, the need for long-performance batteries has increased significantly. The energy requirements for the EVA suit, as well as surface systems such as rovers,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ultrasonic Low-Friction Containment Plate for Thermal and Ultrasonic Stir Weld Processes

The thermal stir welding (TSW) process is finding applications in fabrication of space vehicles. In this process, workpieces to be joined by TSW are drawn, by heavy forces, between “containment plates,” past the TSW tool that then causes joining of the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Powered, Ultrasonically Assisted Thermal Stir Welding

This method is a solid-state weld process capable of joining metallic alloys without melting. The weld workpieces to be joined by thermal stir welding (TSW) are drawn, by heavy forces, between containment plates past the TSW stir tool that then causes joining of the weld workpiece.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Next-Generation MKIII Lightweight HUT/Hatch Assembly

The MK III (H-1) carbon-graphite/ epoxy Hard Upper Torso (HUT)/Hatch assembly was designed, fabricated, and tested in the early 1990s. The spacesuit represented an 8.3 psi (≈58 kPa) technology demonstrator model of a zero prebreathe suit. The basic torso shell, brief, and hip areas of the...

Briefs: Materials
Centrifugal Sieve for Gravity-Level-Independent Size Segregation of Granular Materials

Conventional size segregation or screening in batch mode, using stacked vibrated screens, is often a time-consuming process. Utilization of centrifugal force instead of gravity as the primary body force can significantly shorten the time to segregate feedstock...

Briefs: Materials
Ion Exchange Technology Development in Support of the Urine Processor Assembly

The urine processor assembly (UPA) on the International Space Station (ISS) recovers water from urine via a vacuum distillation process. The distillation occurs in a rotating distillation assembly (DA) where the urine is heated and subjected to sub-ambient pressure....

Next-generation high-temperature thermoelectric-power-generating devices will employ segmented architectures and will have to reliably withstand thermally induced...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
UltraSail CubeSat Solar Sail Flight Experiment

UltraSail is a next-generation, high-risk, high-payoff sail system for the launch, deployment, stabilization, and control of very large (km2 class) solar sails enabling high payload mass fractions for interplanetary and deep space spacecraft. UltraSail is a non-traditional approach to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Acquisition and Retaining Granular Samples via a Rotating Coring Bit

This device takes advantage of the centrifugal forces that are generated when a coring bit is rotated, and a granular sample is entered into the bit while it is spinning, making it adhere to the internal wall of the bit, where it compacts itself into the wall of the bit. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Counterflow Regolith Heat Exchanger

A problem exists in reducing the total heating power required to extract oxygen from lunar regolith. All such processes require heating a great deal of soil, and the heat energy is wasted if it cannot be recycled from processed material back into new material.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Very-Low-Cost, Rugged Vacuum System

NASA, DoD, DHS, and commercial industry have a need for miniaturized, rugged, low-cost vacuum systems. Recent advances in sensor technology have led to the development of very small mass spectrometer detectors as well as other miniature analytical instruments. However, the vacuum systems to support these...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanism for Deploying a Long, Thin-Film Antenna From a Rover

Observations with radio telescopes address key problems in cosmology, astrobiology, heliophysics, and planetary science including the first light in the Universe (Cosmic Dawn), magnetic fields of extrasolar planets, particle acceleration mechanisms, and the lunar ionosphere. The Moon...

Briefs: Medical
FRET-Aptamer Assays for Bone Marker Assessment, C-Telopeptide, Creatinine, and Vitamin D

Astronauts lose 1.0 to 1.5% of their bone mass per month on long-duration spaceflights. NASA wishes to monitor the bone loss onboard spacecraft to develop nutritional and exercise countermeasures, and make adjustments during long space missions. On Earth,...

Sterile delivery devices can be created by integrating a medicine delivery instrument with surfaces that are coated with germicidal and anti-fouling material. This requires...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Complementary Barrier Infrared Detector (CBIRD) Contact Methods

The performance of the CBIRD detector is enhanced by using new device contacting methods that have been developed. The detector structure features a narrow gap adsorber sandwiched between a pair of complementary, unipolar barriers that are, in turn, surrounded by contact layers. In...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Multimode Directional Coupler for Utilization of Harmonic Frequencies From TWTAs

A novel waveguide multimode directional coupler (MDC) intended for the measurement and potential utilization of the second and higher order harmonic frequencies from high-power traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs) has been successfully designed, fabricated, and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
High-Power, High-Speed Electro-Optic Pockels Cell Modulator

Electro-optic modulators rely on a change in the index of refraction for the optical wave as a function of an applied voltage. The corresponding change in index acts to delay the wavefront in the waveguide. The goal of this work was to develop a high-speed, high-power waveguide-based...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Autonomous Control of Space Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear reactors to support future robotic and manned missions impose new and innovative technological requirements for their control and protection instrumentation. Long-duration surface missions necessitate reliable autonomous operation, and manned missions impose added requirements for failsafe...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Dual-Polarization, Multi-Frequency Antenna Array for use with Hurricane Imaging Radiometer

Advancements in common aperture antenna technology were employed to utilize its proprietary genetic algorithm-based modeling tools in an effort to develop, build, and test a dual-polarization array for Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD) applications....

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