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: Robotics, Automation & Control
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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Ultra-Compact Motor Controller

This invention is an electronically commutated brushless motor controller that incorporates Hall-array sensing in a small, 42-gram package that provides 4096 absolute counts per motor revolution position sensing. The unit is the size of a miniature hockey puck, and is a 44-pin male connector that provides many I/O...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printing with FDM: Real Parts, Real Possibilities
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The terms “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing” refer to processes that automatically build objects layer-by-layer from computer data. The technology is...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Lightweight, Miniature Inertial Measurement System

accurate inertial navigation system (INS) is coupled with GPS receivers to provide stable and highly accurate positioning, attitude, and inertial measurements while being subjected to highly dynamic maneuvers. In contrast to conventional methods that use extensive, ground-based, real-time...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Optical Density Analysis of X-Rays Utilizing Calibration Tooling to Estimate Thickness of Parts

This process is designed to estimate the thickness change of a material through data analysis of a digitized version of an xray (or a digital x-ray) containing the material (with the thickness in question) and various tooling. Using this process, it...

Briefs: Medical
Beat-to-Beat Blood Pressure Monitor

This device provides non-invasive beat-to-beat blood pressure measurements and can be worn over the upper arm for prolonged durations. Phase and waveform analyses are performed on filtered proximal and distal photoplethysmographic (PPG) waveforms obtained from the brachial artery. The phase analysis is used...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Measurement Techniques for Clock Jitter

NASA is in the process of modernizing its communications infrastructure to accompany the development of a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to replace the shuttle. With this effort comes the opportunity to infuse more advanced coded modulation techniques, including low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes that...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Fuel Cell/ Electrochemical Cell Voltage Monitor

A concept has been developed for a new fuel cell individual-cell-voltage monitor that can be directly connected to a multi-cell fuel cell stack for direct substack power provisioning. It can also provide voltage isolation for applications in high-voltage fuel cell stacks. The technology consists of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Anomaly Detection Techniques With Real Test Data From a Spinning Turbine Engine-Like Rotor

Online detection techniques to monitor the health of rotating engine components are becoming increasingly attractive to aircraft engine manufacturers in order to increase safety of operation and lower maintenance costs. Health monitoring remains a...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Measuring Air Leaks Into the Vacuum Space of Large Liquid Hydrogen Tanks

Large cryogenic liquid hydrogen tanks are composed of inner and outer shells. The outer shell is exposed to the ambient environment while the inner shell holds the liquid hydrogen. The region between these two shells is evacuated and typically filled with a powder-like...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Antenna Calibration and Measurement Equipment

A document describes the Antenna Calibration & Measurement Equipment (ACME) system that will provide the Deep Space Network (DSN) with instrumentation enabling a trained RF engineer at each complex to perform antenna calibration measurements and to generate antenna calibration data. This data...

High-precision mirrors for space applications are traditionally manufactured from one piece of material, such as lightweight glass “sandwich” or...

The sounding rocket experiment FIRE (Far-ultraviolet Imaging Rocket Experi ment) will improve the science community’s ability to image a spectral region hitherto unexplored...

On medium- to long- duration human spaceflight missions, latency in communications from Earth could reduce efficiency or hinder local operations, control, and monitoring of the various...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Single-Pole Double-Throw MMIC Switches for a Microwave Radiometer

In order to reduce the effect of gain and noise instabilities in the RF chain of a microwave radiometer, a Dicke radiometer topology is often used, as in the case of the proposed surface water and ocean topography (SWOT) radiometer instrument. For this topology, a single-pole...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
On Shaft Data Acquisition System (OSDAS)

On Shaft Data Acquisition System (OSDAS) is a rugged, compact, multiple-channel data acquisition computer system that is designed to record data from instrumentation while operating under extreme rotational centrifugal or gravitational acceleration forces. This system, which was developed for the Heritage...

Commonly, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) being developed in cPCI embedded systems include the bus interface in the FPGA. This complicates the development because the interface is...

Ablative materials are required to protect a space vehicle from the extreme temperatures encountered during the most demanding (hyperbolic) atmospheric...

A long-term space mission requires efficient air revitalization performance to sustain the crew. Prefilter and particulate air filter media are susceptible to rapid fouling that adversely affects...

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...

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...

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...

Briefs: Medical
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: Medical
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...

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