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.

On planetary surfaces, pressurized human habitable volumes will require a means to carry equipment around within the volume of the habitat, regardless of the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Impact-Actuated Digging Tool for Lunar Excavation

NASA’s plans for a lunar outpost require extensive excavation. The Lunar Surface Systems Project Office projects that thousands of tons of lunar soil will need to be moved. Conventional excavators dig through soil by brute force, and depend upon their substantial weight to react to the forces...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Conical Seat Shut- Off Valve

A moveable valve for controlling flow of a pressurized working fluid was designed. This valve consists of a hollow, moveable floating piston pressed against a stationary solid seat, and can use the working fluid to seal the valve. This open/closed, novel valve is able to use metal-to-metal seats, without requiring...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible Mechanical Conveyors for Regolith Extraction and Transport

A report describes flexible mechanical conveying systems for transporting fine cohesive regolith under microgravity and vacuum conditions. They are totally enclosed, virtually dust-free, and can include enough flexibility in the conveying path to enable an expanded range of...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Remote Memory Access Protocol Target Node Intellectual Property

The MagnetoSpheric Multiscale (MMS) mission had a requirement to use the Remote Memory Access Protocol (RMAP) over its SpaceWire network. At the time, no known intellectual property (IP) cores were available for purchase. Additionally, MMS preferred to implement the RMAP...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Minimal Power Latch for Single-Slope ADCs

Column-parallel analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) for imagers involve simultaneous operation of many ADCs. Single-slope ADCs are well adapted to this use because of their simplicity. Each ADC...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Soft Decision Analyzer

The Soft Decision Analyzer (SDA) is an instrument that combines hardware, firmware, and software to perform realtime closed-loop end-to-end statistical analysis of single- or dual- channel serial digital RF communications systems operating in very low signal-to-noise conditions. As an innovation, the unique SDA...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Distributed Prognostics and Health Management With a Wireless Network Architecture

A heterogeneous set of system components monitored by a varied suite of sensors and a particle-filtering (PF) framework, with the power and the flexibility to adapt to the different diagnostic and prognostic needs, has been developed. Both the diagnostic and...

The use of additive manufacturing technologies in aerospace applications has presented both opportunities and challenges. The ability to produce parts and...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bismuth Passivation Technique for High-Resolution X-Ray Detectors

The Athena-plus team requires X-ray sensors with energy resolution of better than one part in 3,000 at 6 keV X-rays. While bismuth is an excellent material for high X-ray stopping power and low heat capacity (for large signal when an X-ray is stopped by the absorber), oxidation of...

Briefs: Materials
Microgravity Storage Vessels and Conveying-Line Feeders for Cohesive Regolith

Under microgravity, the usual methods of placing granular solids into, or extracting them from, containers or storage vessels will not function. Alternative methods are required to provide a motive force to move the material. New configurations for microgravity...

In a previous disclosure, the use of 60-NiTiNOL, an ordered intermetallic compound composed of 60 weight percent nickel and 40 weight percent titanium, was investigated as a material for advanced...

Briefs: Materials
Cu-Cr-Nb-Zr Alloy for Rocket Engines and Other High-Heat- Flux Applications

Rocket-engine main combustion chamber liners are used to contain the burning of fuel and oxidizer and provide a stream of high-velocity gas for propulsion. The liners in engines such as the Space Shuttle Main Engine are regeneratively cooled by flowing fuel, e.g.,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Atomic Force Microscope Mediated Chromatography

The atomic force microscope (AFM) is used to inject a sample, provide shear-driven liquid flow over a functionalized substrate, and detect separated components. This is demonstrated using lipophilic dyes and normal phase chromatography. A significant reduction in both size and separation time...

Oxygen used for extravehicular activities (EVAs) must be free of contaminants because a difference in a few tenths of a percent of argon or nitrogen content can mean...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
CRUQS: A Miniature Fine Sun Sensor for Nanosatellites

A new miniature fine Sun sensor has been developed that uses a quadrant photodiode and housing to determine the Sun vector. Its size, mass, and power make it especially suited to small satellite applications, especially nanosatellites. Its accuracy is on the order of one arcminute, and it...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
On-Chip Microfluidic Components for In Situ Analysis, Separation, and Detection of Amino Acids

The Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory at GSFC has identified amino acids in meteorites and returned cometary samples by using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LCMS). These organic species are key markers...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Method of Separating Oxygen From Spacecraft Cabin Air to Enable Extravehicular Activities

Extravehicular activities (EVAs) require high-pressure, high-purity oxygen. Shuttle EVAs use oxygen that is stored and transported as a cryogenic fluid. EVAs on the International Space Station (ISS) presently use the Shuttle cryo O2, which is transported to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Simulator

The Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument Simulator (SAMSIM) is a numerical model dedicated to plan and validate operations of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the surface of Mars. The SAM instrument suite, currently operating on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), is an analytical...

Briefs: Information Technology
Access Control of Web- and Java-Based Applications

Cybersecurity has become a great concern as threats of service interruption, unauthorized access, stealing and altering of information, and spreading of viruses have become more prevalent and serious.

Briefs: Information Technology
Tool for Automated Retrieval of Generic Event Tracks (TARGET)

Methods have been developed to identify and track tornado-producing mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) automatically over the continental United States, in order to facilitate systematic studies of these powerful and often destructive events. Several data sources were combined to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Bilayer Protograph Codes for Half-Duplex Relay Channels

Direct to Earth return links are limited by the size and power of lander devices. A standard alternative is provided by a two-hops return link: a proximity link (from lander to orbiter relay) and a deep-space link (from orbiter relay to Earth). Although direct to Earth return links are...

Briefs: Information Technology
Influence of Computational Drop Representation in LES of a Droplet-Laden Mixing Layer

Multiphase turbulent flows are encountered in many practical applications including turbine engines or natural phenomena involving particle dispersion. Numerical computations of multiphase turbulent flows are important because they provide a cheaper alternative...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Dielectrophoresis-Based Particle Sensor Using Nanoelectrode Arrays

A method has been developed for concentrating, or partly separating, particles of a selected species from a liquid or gas containing these particles, and flowing in a channel. An example of this is to promote an accumulation (and thus concentration) of the selected particle...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Global Shutter Imaging

In order to deliver crisp images in high-speed machine vision applications, image sensors require high-speed shuttering ability. The industry has traditionally relied on charge-coupled device (CCD) image sensors using...

Briefs: Software
ULTRA: Underwater Localization for Transit and Reconnaissance Autonomy

This software addresses the issue of underwater localization of unmanned vehicles and the inherent drift in their onboard sensors. The software gives a 2 to 3 factor of improvement over the state-of-the-art underwater localization algorithms.

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Multi-Dimensional Damage Detection for Surfaces and Structures

Current designs for inflatable or semirigidized structures for habitats and space applications use a multiple-layer construction, alternating thin layers with thicker, stronger layers, which produces a layered composite structure that is much better at resisting damage. Even though...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Autonomous Cryogenic Leak Detector for Improving Launch Site Operations

NASA, military, and commercial satellite users need launch services that are highly reliable, less complex, easier to test, and cost effective. This project has developed a tapered optical fiber sensor for detecting hydrogen. The invention involves incorporating chemical...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Submillimeter Planetary Atmospheric Chemistry Exploration Sounder

A report describes the Submillimeter Planetary Atmospheric Chemistry Exploration Sounder (SPACES), a highsensitivity laboratory breadboard for a spectrometer targeted at orbital planetary atmospheric analysis. The frequency range is 520 to 590 GHz, with a target noise temperature...

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