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
Histogrammatic Method for Determining Relative Abundance of Input Gas Pulse

To satisfy the Major Constituents Analysis (MCA) requirements for the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor (VCAM), this software analyzes the relative abundance ratios for N2, O2, Ar, and CO2 as a function of time and constructs their...

Briefs : Software
Predictive Sea State Estimation for Automated Ride Control and Handling — PSSEARCH

PSSEARCH provides predictive sea state estimation, coupled with closedloop feedback control for automated ride control. It enables a manned or unmanned watercraft to determine the 3D map and sea state conditions in its vicinity in real time. Adaptive...

Briefs : Software
LEGION: Lightweight Expandable Group of Independently Operating Nodes

LEGION is a lightweight C-language software library that enables distributed asynchronous data processing with a loosely coupled set of compute nodes. Loosely coupled means that a node can offer itself in service to a larger task at any time and can withdraw itself from...

Briefs : Software
Real-Time Projection to Verify Plan Success During Execution

The Mission Data System provides a framework for modeling complex systems in terms of system behaviors and goals that express intent. Complex activity plans can be represented as goal networks that express the coordination of goals on different state variables of the system. Real-time...

Briefs : Software
Automated Performance Characterization of DSN System Frequency Stability Using Spacecraft Tracking Data

This software provides an automated capability to measure and qualify the frequency stability performance of the Deep Space Network (DSN) ground system, using daily spacecraft tracking data. The results help to verify if the DSN performance is...

Briefs : Software
Web-Based Customizable Viewer for Mars Network Overflight Opportunities

This software displays a full summary of information regarding the overflight opportunities between any set of lander and orbiter pairs that the user has access to view. The information display can be customized, allowing the user to choose which fields to view/hide and...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Graphene Transparent Conductive Electrodes for Next- Generation Microshutter Arrays

Graphene is a single atomic layer of graphite. It is optically transparent and has high electron mobility, and thus has great potential to make transparent conductive electrodes. This invention contributes towards the development of graphene transparent...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of a Cryogenic Terahertz Emitter for Bolometer Focal Plane Calibrations

A fabrication process is reported for prototype emitters of THz radiation, which operate cryogenically, and should provide a fast, stable blackbody source suitable for characterization of THz devices. The fabrication has been demonstrated and, at the time of this...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of an Absorber-Coupled MKID Detector

Absorber-coupled microwave kinetic inductance detector (MKID) arrays were developed for submillimeter and farinfrared astronomy. These sensors comprise arrays of lambda/2 stepped microwave impedance resonators patterned on a 1.5-mm-thick silicon membrane, which is optimized for optical coupling....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Long-Life, Lightweight, Multi-Roller Traction Drives for Planetary Vehicle Surface Exploration

NASA’s initiative for Lunar and Martian exploration will require long lived, robust drive systems for manned vehicles that must operate in hostile environments. The operation of these mechanical drives will pose a problem because of the existing...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Wavefront Compensation Segmented Mirror Sensing and Control

The primary mirror of very large submillimeter-wave telescopes will necessarily be segmented into many separate mirror panels. These panels must be continuously co-phased to keep the telescope wavefront error less than a small fraction of a wavelength, to ten microns RMS (root mean...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Free-Mass and Interface Configurations of Hammering Mechanisms

A series of free-mass designs for the ultrasonic/sonic driller/corer (USDC) has been developed to maximize the transfer of energy from the piezoelectric transducer through the horn to the bit, as well as to minimize potential jamming. A systematic development was made producing novel...

Briefs : Materials
Advanced Bonding Methods Incorporating Epoxy Resin Technology

Over the past 30 years, significant technology gains in polymer engineering have greatly expanded the applications suited to adhesive bonding with epoxy resins. Advanced bonding methods that incorporate epoxy resin technology are among the most reliable and cost-effective fastening...

Briefs : Materials
Electrochemical Ultracapacitors Using Graphitic Nanostacks

Electrochemical ultracapacitors (ECs) have been developed using graphitic nanostacks as the electrode material. The advantages of this technology will be the reduction of device size due to superior power densities and relative powers compared to traditional activated carbon electrodes....

Briefs : Medical
Monitoring Location and Angular Orientation of a Pill

A mobile pill transmitter system moves through, or adjacent to, one or more organs in an animal or human body, while transmitting signals from its present location and/or present angular orientation. The system also provides signals from which the present roll angle of the pill, about a...

Briefs : Medical
Molecular Technique to Reduce PCR Bias for Deeper Understanding of Microbial Diversity

Current planetary protection policies require that spacecraft targeted to sensitive solar system bodies be assembled and readied for launch in controlled cleanroom environments. A better understanding of the distribution and frequency at which high-risk...

Briefs : Medical
Improved Whole-Blood-Staining Device

Dramatic improvements have been made in NASA’s Whole Blood Staining Device (WBSD) since it was last described in “Whole-Blood- Staining Device,” NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 23, No. 10 (October 1999), page 64. The new system has a longer shelf life, a simpler and more effective operational procedure, improved...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
PRTs and Their Bonding for Long-Duration, Extreme- Temperature Environments

Research was conducted on the qualification of Honeywell platinum resistance thermometer (PRT) bonding for use in the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). This is the first time these sensors will be used for Mars-related projects. Different types of PRTs were employed for the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
3D Display Using Conjugated Multiband Bandpass Filters

Stereoscopic display techniques are based on the principle of displaying two views, with a slightly different perspective, in such a way that the left eye views only by the left eye, and the right eye views only by the right eye. However, one of the major challenges in optical devices is...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Real-Time, Non-Intrusive Detection of Liquid Nitrogen in Liquid Oxygen at High Pressure and High Flow

An integrated fiber-optic Raman sensor has been designed for real-time, nonintrusive detection of liquid nitrogen in liquid oxygen (LOX) at high pressures and high flow rates in order to monitor the quality of LOX used during rocket engine...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
High-Altitude MMIC Sounding Radiometer for the Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Microwave imaging radiometers operating in the 50–183 GHz range for retrieving atmospheric temperature and water vapor profiles from airborne platforms have been limited in the spatial scales of atmospheric structures that are resolved not because of antenna...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Laser Ablation Electrodynamic Ion Funnel for 'In Situ' Mass Spectrometry on Mars

A front-end instrument, the laser ablation ion funnel, was developed, which would ionize rock and soil samples in the ambient Martian atmosphere, and efficiently transport the product ions into a mass spectrometer for in situ analysis.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Mid- and Long-IR Broadband Quantum Well Photodetector

A single-stack broadband quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIP) has been developed that consists of stacked layers of GaAs/AlGaAs quantum wells with absorption peaks centered at various wavelengths spanning across the 9-to-11-μm spectral regions. The correct design of broadband QWIPs was...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dual-Compartment Inflatable Suitlock

A paper discusses a dual-compartment inflatable suitlock (DCIS) for Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA) that will allow for dust control, suit maintenance, and efficient EVA egress/ingress. The expandable (inflatable technologies) aspect of the design will allow the unit to stow in a compact package for...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Techniques for Solution-Assisted Optical Contacting

A document discusses a “solutionassisted contacting” technique for optical contacting. An optic of surface flatness Lambda/20 was successfully contacted with one of “moderate” surface quality, or Lambda/4. Optics used were both ultra-low expansion (ULE) glass (Lambda/4 and Lambda/20)...

Briefs : Materials
Large-Strain Transparent Magnetoactive Polymer Nanocomposites

A document discusses polymer nanocomposite superparamagnetic actuators that were prepared by the addition of organically modified superparamagnetic nanoparticles to the polymer matrix. The nanocomposite films exhibited large deformations under a magnetostatic field with a low loading...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Thermodynamic Vent System for an On-Orbit Cryogenic Reaction Control Engine

A report discusses a cryogenic reaction control system (RCS) that integrates a Joule-Thompson (JT) device (expansion valve) and thermodynamic vent system (TVS) with a cryogenic distribution system to allow fine control of the propellant quality (subcooled liquid) during...

Briefs : Information Technology
Time Distribution Using SpaceWire in the SCaN Testbed on ISS

A paper describes an approach for timekeeping and time transfer among the devices on the CoNNeCT project’s SCaN Testbed. It also describes how the clocks may be synchronized with an external time reference; e.g., time tags from the International Space Station (ISS) or RF signals...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Method of Bonding Optical Elements With Near-Zero Displacement

The International X-ray Project seeks to build an x-ray telescope using thousands of pieces of thin and flexible glass mirror segments. Each mirror segment must be bonded into a housing in nearly perfect optical alignment without distortion. Forces greater than 0.001 Newton, or...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Phase Recovery and Locking in a PPM Laser Communication Link

Free-space optical communication holds great promise for future space missions requiring high data rates. For data communication in deep space, the current architecture employs pulse position modulation (PPM). In this scheme, the light is transmitted and detected as pulses...