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: Physical Sciences
Per-Pixel, Dual-Counter Scheme for Optical Communications

Free space optical communications links from deep space are projected to fulfill future NASA communication requirements for 2020 and beyond. Accurate laser-beam pointing is required to achieve high data rates at low power levels. For the highest pointing accuracy, a laser beacon...

Briefs: Information Technology
Certification-Based Process Analysis

Space mission architects are often challenged with knowing which investment in technology infusion will have the highest return. Certification-based analysis (CBA) gives architects and technologists a means to communicate the risks and advantages of infusing technologies at various points in a process....

Briefs: Information Technology
Surface Navigation Using Optimized Waypoints and Particle Swarm Optimization

The design priority for manned space exploration missions is almost always placed on human safety. Proposed manned surface exploration tasks (lunar, asteroid sample returns, Mars) have the possibility of astronauts traveling several kilometers away from a home base....

Briefs: Information Technology
Smart-Divert Powered Descent Guidance to Avoid the Backshell Landing Dispersion Ellipse

A smart-divert capability has been added into the Powered Descent Guidance (PDG) software originally developed for Mars pinpoint and precision landing. The smart-divert algorithm accounts for the landing dispersions of the entry backshell, which separates...

Briefs: Information Technology
Adaptive Sampling of Spatiotemporal Phenomena With Optimization Criteria

This work was designed to find a way to optimally (or near optimally) sample spatiotemporal phenomena based on limited sensing capability, and to create a model that can be run to estimate uncertainties, as well as to estimate covariances. The goal was to maximize (or...

Briefs: Information Technology
Estimating Foreign-Object- Debris Density From Photogrammetry Data

Within the first few seconds after launch of STS-124, debris traveling vertically near the vehicle was captured on two 16-mm film cameras surrounding the launch pad. One particular piece of debris caught the attention of engineers investigating the release of the flame trench...

Briefs: Information Technology
Building a 2.5D Digital Elevation Model From 2D Imagery

When projecting imagery into a georeferenced coordinate frame, one needs to have some model of the geographical region that is being projected to. This model can sometimes be a simple geometrical curve, such as an ellipse or even a plane. However, to obtain accurate projections, one needs...

Briefs: Software
Eyes on the Earth 3D

Eyes on the Earth 3D software gives scientists, and the general public, a realtime, 3D interactive means of accurately viewing the real-time locations, speed, and values of recently collected data from several of NASA’s Earth Observing Satellites using a standard Web browser (climate.nasa.gov/eyes). Anyone with Web access...

Briefs: Information Technology
Target Trailing With Safe Navigation for Maritime Autonomous Surface Vehicles

This software implements a motionplanning module for a maritime autonomous surface vehicle (ASV). The module trails a given target while also avoiding static and dynamic surface hazards. When surface hazards are other moving boats, the motion planner must apply...

Briefs: Software
Adams-Based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Simulator — ARTEMIS

The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs), Spirit and Opportunity, far exceeded their original drive distance expectations and have traveled, at the time of this reporting, a combined 29 kilometers across the surface of Mars. The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP), the...

Briefs: Information Technology
ISTP CDF Skeleton Editor

Basic Common Data Format (CDF) tools (e.g., cdfedit) provide no specific support for creating International Solar-Terrestrial Physics/Space Physics Data Facility (ISTP/SPDF) standard files. While it is possible for someone who is familiar with the ISTP/SPDF metadata guidelines to create compliant files using just the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Uplink Summary Generator (ULSGEN) Version 1.0

The Uplink Summary Generator (ULSGEN) provides a convenient means of gathering together a set of uplink related files, parsing and analyzing these files, and producing a summary of their contents, which may then be electronically signed by one or more reviewers to verify the commands. Spacecraft...

Briefs: Information Technology
Robotics On-Board Trainer (ROBoT)

ROBoT is an on-orbit version of the ground-based Dynamics Skills Trainer (DST) that astronauts use for training on a frequent basis. This software consists of two primary software groups. The first series of components is responsible for displaying the graphical scenes. The remaining components are responsible...

Briefs: Information Technology
Software Engineering Tools for Scientific Models

Software tools were constructed to address issues the NASA Fortran development community faces, and they were tested on real models currently in use at NASA. These proof-of-concept tools address the High-End Computing Program and the Modeling, Analysis, and Prediction Program. Two examples are the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Automatic Data Filter Customization Using a Genetic Algorithm

This work predicts whether a retrieval algorithm will usefully determine CO2 concentration from an input spectrum of GOSAT (Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite). This was done to eliminate needless runtime on atmospheric soundings that would never yield useful results. A...

Briefs: Software
Tracker Toolkit

This software can track multiple moving objects within a video stream simultaneously, use visual features to aid in the tracking, and initiate tracks based on object detection in a subregion. A simple programmatic interface allows plugging into larger image chain modeling suites. It extracts unique visual features for aid in...

Briefs: Software
Towards Efficient Scientific Data Management Using Cloud Storage

A software prototype allows users to backup and restore data to/from both public and private cloud storage such as Amazon’s S3 and NASA’s Nebula. Unlike other off-the-shelf tools, this software ensures user data security in the cloud (through encryption), and minimizes users’...

Briefs: Information Technology
On a Formal Tool for Reasoning About Flight Software Cost Analysis

A report focuses on the development of flight software (FSW) cost estimates for 16 Discovery-class missions at JPL. The techniques and procedures developed enabled streamlining of the FSW analysis process, and provided instantaneous confirmation that the data and processes used...

Briefs: Materials
A Nanostructured Composites Thermal Switch Controls Internal and External Short Circuit in Lithium Ion Batteries

A document discusses a thin layer of composite material, made from nano scale particles of nickel and Teflon, placed within a battery cell as a layer within the anode and/or the cathode. There it conducts electrons at room...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Spacecraft Crew Cabin Condensation Control

A report discusses a new technique to prevent condensation on the cabin walls of manned spacecraft exposed to the cold environment of space, as such condensation could lead to free water in the cabin. This could facilitate the growth of mold and bacteria, and could lead to oxidation and weakening of the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Display Provides Pilots with Real-Time Sonic-Boom Information

Supersonic aircraft generate shock waves that move outward and extend to the ground. As a cone of pressurized air spreads across the landscape along the flight path, it creates a continuous sonic boom along the flight track. Several factors can influence sonic booms: weight, size, and...

Briefs: Information Technology
Vectorized Rebinning Algorithm for Fast Data Down-Sampling

A vectorized rebinning (down-sampling) algorithm, applicable to Ndimensional data sets, has been developed that offers a significant reduction in computer run time when compared to conventional rebinning algorithms. For clarity, a two-dimensional version of the algorithm is discussed to...

Briefs: Software
Monitoring and Acquisition Realtime System (MARS)

MARS is a graphical user interface (GUI) written in MATLAB and Java, allowing the user to configure and control the Scalable Parallel Architecture for Real-Time Acquisition and Analysis (SPARTAA) data acquisition system. SPARTAA not only acquires data, but also allows for complex algorithms to be...

Briefs: Information Technology
Onboard Algorithms for Data Prioritization and Summarization of Aerial Imagery

Many current and future NASA missions are capable of collecting enormous amounts of data, of which only a small portion can be transmitted to Earth. Communications are limited due to distance, visibility constraints, and competing mission downlinks. Long missions and...

Briefs: Software
Remote Data Access with IDL

A tool based on IDL (Interactive Data Language) and DAP (Data Access Protocol) has been developed for user-friendly remote data access. A difficulty for many NASA re searchers using IDL is that often the data to analyze are located remotely and are too large to transfer for local analysis. Researchers have developed a...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Data Compression Algorithm Architecture for Large Depth-of- Field Particle Image Velocimeters

A large depth-of-field particle image velocimeter (PIV) is designed to characterize dynamic dust environments on planetary surfaces. This instrument detects lofted dust particles, and senses the number of particles per unit volume, measuring their...

Planar, semiconductor heat arrays have been previously proposed and developed; however, this design makes use of a novel, microscale black silicon wick structure that provides...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Analog Signal Correlating Using an Analog-Based Signal Conditioning Front End

This innovation is capable of correlating two analog signals by using an analog- based signal conditioning front end to hard-limit the analog signals through adaptive thresholding into a binary bit stream, then performing the correlation using a Hamming...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Robust Multivariable Optimization and Performance Simulation for ASIC Design

Application-specific-integrated-circuit (ASIC) design for space applications involves multiple challenges of maximizing performance, minimizing power, and ensuring reliable operation in extreme environments. This is a complex multidimensional optimization problem, which...

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