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
Polyurea-Based Aerogel Monoliths and Composites

A flexible, organic polyurea-based aerogel insulation material was developed that will provide superior thermal insulation and inherent radiation protection for government and commercial applications. The rubbery polyurea-based aerogel exhibits little dustiness, good flexibility and toughness, and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Modular, Rapid Propellant Loading System/Cryogenic Testbed

The Cryogenic Test Laboratory (CTL) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has designed, fabricated, and installed a modular, rapid propellant-loading system to simulate rapid loading of a launch-vehicle composite or standard cryogenic tank. The system will also function as a cryogenic testbed...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact, Low-Force, Low-Noise Linear Actuator

Actuators are critical to all the robotic and manipulation mechanisms that are used in current and future NASA missions, and are also needed for many other industrial, aeronautical, and space activities. There are many types of actuators that were designed to operate as linear or rotary motors, but...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Loop Heat Pipe With Thermal Control Valve as a Variable Thermal Link

Future lunar landers and rovers will require variable thermal links that allow for heat rejection during the lunar daytime and passively prevent heat rejection during the lunar night. During the lunar day, the thermal management system must reject the waste heat from the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Process for Measuring Over-Center Distances

Over-center mechanisms were used in the orbiter payload bay to lock down the robotic arm during the launch of the space shuttle. These mechanisms were unlocked while in orbit in order to release the arm for use. Adjusting the mechanism such that it would not inadvertently release during launch, but...

Briefs : Software
Developing Physiologic Models for Emergency Medical Procedures Under Microgravity

Several technological enhancements have been made to METI’s commercial Emergency Care Simulator (ECS) with regard to how microgravity affects human physiology. The ECS uses both a software only lung simulation, and an integrated mannequin lung that uses a...

Briefs : Medical
Improving Balance Function Using Low Levels of Electrical Stimulation of the Balance Organs

Crewmembers returning from long duration space flight face significant challenges due to the microgravity induced inappropriate adaptations in balance/sensorimotor function. The Neuroscience Laboratory at JSC is developing a method based on stochastic...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Hands-Free Transcranial Color Doppler Probe

Current transcranial color Doppler (TCD) transducer probes are bulky and difficult to move in tiny increments to search and optimize TCD signals. This invention provides miniature motions of a TCD transducer probe to optimize TCD signals.

Briefs : Medical
Portable Intravenous Fluid Production Device for Ground Use

There are several medical conditions that require intravenous (IV) fluids. Limitations of mass, volume, storage space, shelf-life, transportation, and local resources can restrict the availability of such important fluids. These limitations are expected in long-duration space...

Briefs : Medical
Adaptation of a Filter Assembly to Assess Microbial Bioburden of Pressurant Within a Propulsion System

A report describes an adaptation of a filter assembly to enable it to be used to filter out microorganisms from a propulsion system. The filter assembly has previously been used for particulates >2 μm. Projects that utilize large volumes of...

Briefs : Medical
PMA-Linked Fluorescence for Rapid Detection of Viable Bacterial Endospores

The most common approach for assessing the abundance of viable bacterial endospores is the culture-based plating method. However, culture-based approaches are heavily biased and oftentimes incompatible with upstream sample processing strategies, which make viable...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Vision-Aided Autonomous Landing and Ingress of Micro Aerial Vehicles

Micro aerial vehicles have limited sensor suites and computational power. For reconnaissance tasks and to conserve energy, these systems need the ability to autonomously land at vantage points or enter buildings (ingress). But for autonomous navigation, information is needed to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Whispering Gallery Mode Optomechanical Resonator

Great progress has been made in both micromechanical resonators and microoptical resonators over the past decade, and a new field has recently emerged combining these mechanical and optical systems. In such optomechanical systems, the two resonators are strongly coupled with one influencing the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Self-Sealing Wet Chemistry Cell for Field Analysis

In most analytical investigations, there is a need to process complex field samples for the unique detection of analytes, especially when detecting low-concentration organic molecules that may identify extraterrestrial life. Wet chemistry based instruments are the techniques of choice for most...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multiplexed Force and Deflection Sensing Shell Membranes for Robotic Manipulators

Force sensing is an essential requirement for dexterous robot manipulation, e.g., for extravehicular robots making vehicle repairs. Although strain gauges have been widely used, a new sensing approach is desirable for applications that require greater robustness,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mars Technology Rover with Arm-Mounted Percussive Coring Tool, Microimager, and Sample-Handling Encapsulation Containerization Subsystem

A report describes the PLuto (programmable logic) Mars Technology Rover, a mid-sized FIDO (field integrated design and operations) class rover with six fully drivable and steerable cleated wheels, a...

Briefs : Software
Conjugate Heat Transfer

The controlled transfer of heat from a component to its surroundings is critical for the operation of many industrial processes. For example, cooling of electronics components is needed to maintain safe operation and extend operating lifetime, while quenching of materials from elevated temperatures is often required to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Surface Plasmon Resonance

Surface plasmons are coherent electron oscillations that exist at the interface between any two materials where the real part of the dielectric function changes sign across the interface. Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) can be used to detect molecular adsorption on surfaces, and consequently is of significance for...

Briefs : Software
Software Creates and Analyzes Lightning Protection Solutions for Wind Turbines

Highvoltage.dk is a Danish consulting engineering firm with expertise in lightning protection and high-voltage engineering. The company, founded in 2005, tackles complex problems such as general high-voltage design engineering for the power industry, lightning...

Briefs : Software
Computing Radiative Transfer in a 3D Medium

A package of software computes the time-dependent propagation of a narrow laser beam in an arbitrary threedimensional (3D) medium with absorption and scattering, using the transientdiscrete- ordinates method and a direct integration method. Unlike prior software that utilizes a Monte Carlo method, this...

Briefs : Software
Water Detection Based on Object Reflections

Water bodies are challenging terrain hazards for terrestrial unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for several reasons. Traversing through deep water bodies could cause costly damage to the electronics of UGVs. Additionally, a UGV that is either broken down due to water damage or becomes stuck in a water...

Briefs : Software
SATPLOT for Analysis of SECCHI Heliospheric Imager Data

Determining trajectories of solar transients such as coronal mass ejections is not always easy. White light images from SECCHI’s (Sun Earth Connection Coronal and Heliospheric Investigation) heliospheric imagers are difficult to interpret because they represent a lineof- sight projection...

Briefs : Software
Low-Cost Telemetry System for Small/Micro Satellites

A Software Defined Radio (SDR) concept uses a minimum amount of analog/radio frequency components to up/downconvert the RF signal to/from a digital format. Once in the digital domain, all other processing (filtering, modulation, demodulation, etc.) is done in software. The project will...

Briefs : Software
Plug-in Plan Tool v3.0.3.1

The role of PLUTO (Plug-in Port UTilization Officer) and the growth of the International Space Station (ISS) have exceeded the capabilities of the current tool PiP (Plug-in Plan). Its users (crew and flight controllers) have expressed an interest in a new, easy-touse tool with a higher level of interactivity and...

Briefs : Software
Architectural Implementation of NASA Space Telecommunications Radio System Specification

This software demonstrates a working implementation of the NASA STRS (Space Telecommunications Radio System) architecture specification. This is a developing specification of software architecture and required interfaces to provide commonality among future...

Briefs : Software
Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets

This software controls a rover platform to traverse rocky terrain autonomously, plan paths, and avoid obstacles using its stereo hazard and navigation cameras. It does so while continuously tracking a target of interest selected from 10–20 m away. The rover...

Briefs : Software
Operator Interface and Control Software for the Reconfigurable Surface System Tri-ATHLETE

Graphical operator interface methods have been developed for modular, reconfigurable articulated surface systems in general, and a specific instantiation thereof for JPL’s Tri-ATHLETE. The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra- Terrestrial Explorer Robot (ATHLETE)...

Briefs : Software
Nonlinear Estimation Approach to Real-Time Georegistration from Aerial Images

When taking aerial images, it is important to know locations of specific points of interest in an Earth-centered coordinate system (latitude, longitude, height) (see figure). The correspondence between a pixel location in the image and its Earth coordinate is known as...

Briefs : Software
Optimal Force Control of Vibro-Impact Systems for Autonomous Drilling Applications

The need to maintain optimal energy efficiency is critical during the drilling operations performed on future and current planetary rover missions (see figure). Specifically, this innovation seeks to solve the following problem. Given a spring-loaded percussive...

Briefs : Software
Journal and Wave Bearing Impedance Calculation Software

The wave bearing software suite is a MALTA application that computes bearing properties for user-specified wave bearing conditions, as well as plain journal bearings. Wave bearings are fluid film journal bearings with multi-lobed wave patterns around the circumference of the bearing...

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A Deep Dive into Metal 3D Printing

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Solving Complex Measurement Problems with PXI

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NASA Discusses Advances in Photonics for Space and Commercial...

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Using Portable Scenarios and Coverage Metrics to Ensure...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Impact of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles in New Product...

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Autonomous Vehicles Sensors: How to Ensure They Work Well and...