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
Extended-Range Passive RFID and Sensor Tags

Extended-range passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and related sensor tags are undergoing development. A tag of this type incorporates a retroreflective antenna array, so that it reflects significantly more signal power back toward an interrogating radio transceiver than does a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hybrid Collaborative Learning for Classification and Clustering in Sensor Networks

Traditionally, nodes in a sensor network simply collect data and then pass it on to a centralized node that archives, distributes, and possibly analyzes the data. However, analysis at the individual nodes could enable faster detection of anomalies or other...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Self-Healing, Inflatable, Rigidizable Shelter

Any manned missions to extraterrestrial locations will require shelter structures for a variety of purposes ranging from habitat to biomass production. Such shelters need to be constructed in such a way as to minimize stowed volume and payload weight. The structures must also be very durable and have...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improvements in Cold-Plate Fabrication

Five improvements are reported in cold-plate fabrication. This cold plate is part of a thermal control system designed to serve on space missions.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Real-Time Cognitive Computing Architecture for Data Fusion in a Dynamic Environment

A novel cognitive computing architecture is conceptualized for processing multiple channels of multi-modal sensory data streams simultaneously, and fusing the information in real time to generate intelligent reaction sequences. This unique architecture is capable...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Use of CCSDS Packets Over SpaceWire to Control Hardware

For the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Command and Data Handling subsystem consisted of several electronic hardware assemblies that were connected with SpaceWire serial links. Electronic hardware would be commanded/controlled and telemetry data was obtained using the SpaceWire links....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Programmable Digital Controller

An existing three-channel analog servo loop controller has been redesigned for piezoelectric-transducer-based (PZTbased) etalon control applications to a digital servo loop controller. This change offers several improvements over the previous analog controller, including software control over...

Briefs : Software
Key Decision Record Creation and Approval Module

Retaining good key decision records is critical to ensuring the success of a project or operation. Having adequately documented decisions with supporting documents and rationale can greatly reduce the amount of rework or reinvention over a project’s, vehicle’s, or facility’s lifecycle....

Briefs : Software
Enhanced Graphics for Extended Scale Range

Enhanced Graphics for Extended Scale Range is a computer program for rendering fly-through views of scene models that include visible objects differing in size by large orders of magnitude. An example would be a scene showing a person in a park at night with the moon, stars, and galaxies in the...

Briefs : Software
Debris Examination Using Ballistic and Radar Integrated Software

The Debris Examination Using Ballistic and Radar Integrated Software (DEBRIS) program was developed to provide rapid and accurate analysis of debris observed by the NASA Debris Radar (NDR). This software provides a greatly improved analysis capacity over earlier manual processes,...

Briefs : Software
Data Distribution System (DDS) and Solar Dynamic Observatory Ground Station (SDOGS) Integration Manager

The DDS SDOGS Integration Manager (DSIM) provides translation between native control and status formats for systems within DDS and SDOGS, and the ASIST (Advanced Spacecraft Integration and System Test) control environment in the SDO MOC (Solar...

Briefs : Software
Eclipse-Free-Time Assessment Tool for IRIS

can be used to perform an Eclipse-Free-Time (EFT) assessment of IRIS (Infrared Imaging Surveyor) mission orbits. EFT is defined to be those time intervals longer than one day during which the IRIS spacecraft is not in the Earth’s shadow. Program IRIS_EFT implements a special perturbation of orbital...

Briefs : Software
Automated and Manual Rocket Crater Measurement Software An update has

An update has been performed to software designed to do very rapid automated measurements of craters created in sandy substrates by rocket exhaust on liftoff. The previous software was optimized for pristine lab geometry and lighting conditions. This software has been enhanced...

Briefs : Software
MATLAB Stability and Control Toolbox Trim and Static Stability Module

MATLAB Stability and Control Toolbox (MASCOT) utilizes geometric, aerodynamic, and inertial inputs to calculate air vehicle stability in a variety of critical flight conditions. The code is based on fundamental, non-linear equations of motion and is able to translate results...

Briefs : Software
Patched Conic Trajectory Code

PatCon code was developed to help mission designers run trade studies on launch and arrival times for any given planet. Initially developed in Fortran, the required inputs included launch date, arrival date, and other orbital parameters of the launch planet and arrival planets at the given dates. These parameters...

Briefs : Software
Ring Image Analyzer

Ring Image Analyzer software analyzes images to recognize elliptical patterns. It determines the ellipse parameters (axes ratio, centroid coordinate, tilt angle). The program attempts to recognize elliptical fringes (e.g., Newton Rings) on a photograph and determine their centroid position, the short-to-long-axis ratio, and...

Briefs : Software
SureTrak Probability of Impact Display

The SureTrak Probability of Impact Display software was developed for use during rocket launch operations. The software displays probability of impact information for each ship near the hazardous area during the time immediately preceding the launch of an unguided vehicle.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Implementation of a Non-Metallic Barrier in an Electric Motor

Electric motors that run in pure oxygen must be sealed, or “canned,” for safety reasons to prevent the oxygen from entering into the electrical portion of the motor. The current canning process involves designing a metallic barrier around the rotor to provide the separation. This...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
MicroProbe Small Unmanned Aerial System

The MicroProbe unmanned aerial system (UAS) concept incorporates twin electric motors mounted on the vehicle wing, thus enabling an aerodynamically and environmentally clean nose area for atmospheric sensors. A payload bay is also incorporated in the fuselage to accommodate remote sensing instruments.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Heat Exchangers for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover

The addition of the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover requires an advanced thermal control system that is able to both recover and reject the waste heat from the MMRTG as...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Uniform Dust Distributor for Testing Radiative Emittance of Dust-Coated Surfaces

This apparatus distributes dust (typical of the Martian surface) in a uniform fashion on the surface of multiple samples simultaneously. The primary innovation is that the amount of dust deposited on the multiple surfaces can be controlled by the time that the...

Briefs : Materials
Highly Stable and Active Catalyst for Sabatier Reactions

Highly active Ru/TiO2 catalysts for Sabatier reaction have been developed. The catalysts have shown to be stable under repeated shutting down/startup conditions. When the Ru/TiO2 catalyst is coated on the engineered substrate FeCrAlY felt, activity enhancement is more...

Briefs : Materials
Better Proton-Conducting Polymers for Fuel-Cell Membranes

Polyoxyphenylene triazole sulfonic acid has been proposed as a basis for development of improved proton-conducting polymeric materials for solidelectrolyte membranes in hydrogen/air fuel cells. Heretofore, the proton-conducting membrane materials of choice have been exemplified by a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
SOFIA Closed- and Open-Door Aerodynamic Analyses

Work to evaluate the aerodynamic characteristics and the cavity acoustic environment of the SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) airplane has been completed. The airplane has been evaluated in its closed-door configuration, as well as several open-door configurations (see...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ultra-Miniature Lidar Scanner for Launch Range Data Collection

The most critical component in lidar is its laser scanner, which delivers pulsed or CW laser to target with desirable field of view (FOV). Most existing lidars use a rotating or oscillating mirror for scanning, resulting in several drawbacks.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
CCD Camera Lens Interface for Real-Time Theodolite Alignment

Theodolites are a common instrument in the testing, alignment, and building of various systems ranging from a single optical component to an entire instrument. They provide a precise way to measure horizontal and vertical angles. They can be used to align multiple objects in a desired...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Peregrine 100-km Sounding Rocket Project

The Peregrine Sounding Rocket Program is a joint basic research program of NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Wallops, Stanford University, and the Space Propulsion Group, Inc. (SPG). The goal is to determine the applicability of this technology to a small launch system. The approach is to design, build, and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Sonic Thermometer for High-Altitude Balloons

The sonic thermometer is a specialized application of well-known sonic anemometer technology. Adaptations have been made to the circuit, including the addition of supporting sensors, which enable its use in the high-altitude environment and in non-air gas mixtures.

Briefs : Information Technology
Explanation Capabilities for Behavior-Based Robot Control

A recent study that evaluated issues associated with remote interaction with an autonomous vehicle within the framework of grounding found that missing contextual information led to uncertainty in the interpretation of collected data, and so introduced errors into the command logic of the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Shape and Color Features for Object Recognition Search

A bio-inspired shape feature of an object of interest emulates the integration of the saccadic eye movement and horizontal layer in vertebrate retina for object recognition search where a single object can be used one at a time. The optimal computational model for shape-extraction-based...

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