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.

A continuing challenge for modern instrument pointing control systems is to meet the increasingly stringent pointing performance requirements imposed by emerging...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Visible-Infrared Hyperspectral Image Projector

The VisIR HIP generates spatially-spectrally complex scenes. The generated scenes simulate real-world targets viewed by various remote sensing instruments. The VisIR HIP consists of two subsystems: a spectral engine and a spatial engine. The spectral engine generates spectrally complex uniform...

Briefs: Software
Change_Detection.m

The Change_Detection.m MATLAB tool detects changes in an image by comparing the image to a background estimation. The change detection software is a MATLAB function designed to work on either a single image or a sequence of images, and computes changes with respect to a background image by one of four techniques:

Briefs: Information Technology
Ionospheric Simulation System for Satellite Observations and Global Assimilative Modeling Experiments (ISOGAME)

ISOGAME is designed and developed to assess quantitatively the impact of new observation systems on the capability of imaging and modeling the ionosphere. With ISOGAME, one can perform observation system simulation experiments (OSSEs)....

Briefs: Software
An Extensible, User- Modifiable Framework for Planning Activities

This software provides a development framework that allows planning activities for the Mars Science Laboratory rover to be altered at any time, based on changes of the Activity Dictionary. The Activity Dictionary contains the definition of all activities that can be carried out by...

Briefs: Software
Mission Operations Center (MOC) - Precipitation Processing System (PPS) Interface Software System (MPISS)

MPISS is an automatic file transfer system that implements a combination of standard and mission-unique transfer protocols required by the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) Precipitation Processing System (PPS) to control the...

Briefs: Software
AGATE: Adversarial Game Analysis for Tactical Evaluation

AGATE generates a set of ranked strategies that enables an autonomous vehicle to track/trail another vehicle that is trying to break the contact using evasive tactics. The software is efficient (can be run on a laptop), scales well with environmental complexity, and is suitable for use...

Briefs: Information Technology
Mixed Linear/Square-Root Encoded Single-Slope Ramp Provides Low-Noise ADC With High Linearity for Focal Plane Arrays

Single-slope analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) are particularly useful for on-chip digitization in focal plane arrays (FPAs) because of their inherent monotonicity, relative simplicity, and efficiency for column-parallel...

Briefs: Information Technology
X-Ray Detection and Processing Models for Spacecraft Navigation and Timing

The current primary method of deepspace navigation is the NASA Deep Space Network (DSN). High-performance navigation is achieved using Delta Differential One-Way Range techniques that utilize simultaneous observations from multiple DSN sites, and incorporate observations...

Briefs: Information Technology
RUSHMAPS: Real-time Uploadable Spherical Harmonic Moment Analysis for Particle Spectrometers

RUSHMAPS is a new onboard data reduction scheme that gives real-time access to key science parameters (e.g. moments) of a class of heliophysics science and/or solar system exploration investigation that includes plasma particle spectrometers (PPS), but...

Briefs: Information Technology
Automated 3D Damaged Cavity Model Builder for Lower Surface Acreage Tile on Orbiter

The 3D Automated Thermal Tool for Damaged Acreage Tile Math Model builder was developed to perform quickly and accurately 3D thermal analyses on damaged lower surface acreage tiles and structures beneath the damaged locations on a Space Shuttle Orbiter. The 3D...

Briefs: Information Technology
Powered Descent Guidance With General Thrust-Pointing Constraints

The Powered Descent Guidance (PDG) algorithm and software for generating Mars pinpoint or precision landing guidance profiles has been enhanced to incorporate thrust-pointing constraints. Pointing constraints would typically be needed for onboard sensor and navigation systems that...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Single-Photon-Sensitive HgCdTe Avalanche Photodiode Detector

The purpose of this program was to develop single-photon-sensitive shortwavelength infrared (SWIR) and midwavelength infrared (MWIR) avalanche photodiode (APD) receivers based on linear-mode HgCdTe APDs, for application by NASA in light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors....

A software package reads and analyzes pressure distributions from sensors mounted under a person’s feet. Pressure data from sensors mounted in shoes, or in a platform, can...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Using Silica Whispering- Gallery Mode Resonators

The motivation of this work was to have robust spectroscopic sensors for sensitive detection and chemical analysis of organic and molecular compounds. The solution is to use silica sphere optical resonators to provide surface-enhanced spectroscopic signal.

Briefs: Information Technology
3D Hail Size Distribution Interpolation/Extrapolation Algorithm

Radar data can usually detect hail; however, it is difficult for present day radar to accurately discriminate between hail and rain. Local ground-based hail sensors are much better at detecting hail against a rain background, and when incorporated with radar data, provide a much...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Color-Changing Sensors for Detecting the Presence of Hypergolic Fuels

Hypergolic fuel sensors were designed to incorporate novel chemo chromic pigments into substrates for use in various methods of leak detection. There are several embodiments to this invention that would provide specific visual indication of hypergols used during and after...

Briefs: Materials
Using Pre-Melted Phase Change Material to Keep Payloads in Space Warm for Hours Without Power

Adding phase change material (PCM) to a mission payload can maintain its temperature above the cold survival limit, without power, for several hours in space. For the International Space Station, PCM is melted by heaters just prior to the payload...

Briefs: Materials
Fibrillar Adhesive for Climbing Robots

A climbing robot needs to use its adhesive patches over and over again as it scales a slope. Replacing the adhesive at each step is generally impractical. If the adhesive or attachment mechanism cannot be used repeatedly, then the robot must carry an extra load of this adhesive to apply a fresh layer with...

Briefs: Materials
Transformers: Shape-Changing Space Systems Built With Robotic Textiles

Prior approaches to transformer-like robots had only very limited success. They suffer from lack of reliability, ability to integrate large surfaces, and very modest change in overall shape. Robots can now be built from two-dimensional (2D) layers of robotic fabric. This...

The harmful properties of lunar dust, such as small size, glass composition, abnormal surface area, and coatings of imbedded nanophase iron, lead to a unique coupling of...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Development of a Centrifugal Technique for the Microbial Bioburden Analysis of Freon (CFC-11)

NASA Procedural Requirement 8020.12C entitled “Planetary Protection Provisions for Robotic Extraterrestrial Missions” states that the source-specific encapsulated microbial density for encapsulated organisms (div(0)) in nonmetallic materials ranges...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
DSP/FPGA Design for a High-Speed Programmable S-Band Space Transceiver

Traditional command uplink receivers are very limited in performance capability, take a long time to acquire, cannot operate on both uplink bands (NASA & AFSCN), and only support low-rate communications. As a result, transceivers end up on many programs’ critical paths,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Memory Circuit Fault Simulator

Spacecraft are known to experience significant memory part-related failures and problems, both pre- and post-launch. These memory parts include both static and dynamic memories (SRAM and DRAM). These failures manifest themselves in a variety of ways, such as pattern-sensitive failures, timing- sensitive failures,...

A 1.6-THz power-combined Schottky frequency tripler was designed to handle approximately 30 mW input power. The design of Schottky-based triplers at this...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
FPGA Vision Data Architecture

JPL has produced a series of FPGA (field programmable gate array) vision algorithms that were written with custom interfaces to get data in and out of each vision module. Each module has unique requirements on the data interface, and further vision modules are continually being developed, each with their own custom...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-Compact Transputer-Based Controller for High-Level, Multi-Axis Coordination

The design of machines that rely on arrays of servomotors such as robotic arms, orbital platforms, and combinations of both, imposes a heavy computational burden to coordinate their actions to perform coherent tasks. For example, the robotic equivalent of a person...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetically Actuated Seal

This invention is a magnetically actuated seal in which either a single electromagnet, or multiple electromagnets, are used to control the seal’s position. This system can either be an open/close type of system or an actively controlled system.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot Excavator

The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) excavator robot is a teleoperated mobility platform with a space regolith excavation capability. This more compact, lightweight design (

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