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: Materials
Pt-Ni and Pt-Co Catalyst Synthesis Route for Fuel Cell Applications

Oxygen reduction reactions (ORRs) at the cathode are the rate-limiting step in fuel cell performance. The ORR is 100 times slower than the corresponding hydrogen oxidation at the anode. Speeding up the reaction at the cathode will improve fuel cell efficiency.

Briefs: Materials
Multi-scale CNT-Based Reinforcing Polymer Matrix Composites for Lightweight Structures

Reinforcing critical areas in carbon polymer matrix composites (PMCs), also known as fiber reinforced composites (FRCs), is advantageous for structural durability. Since carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have extremely high tensile strength, they can be used as a...

Briefs: Materials
Manufacturing of Nanocomposite Carbon Fibers and Composite Cylinders

Pitch-based nanocomposite carbon fibers were prepared with various percentages of carbon nanofibers (CNFs), and the fibers were used for manufacturing composite structures. Experimental results show that these nanocomposite carbon fibers exhibit improved structural and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Optimized Radiator Geometries for Hot Lunar Thermal Environments

The optimum radiator configuration in hot lunar thermal environments is one in which the radiator is parallel to the ground and has no view to the hot lunar surface. However, typical spacecraft configurations have limited real estate available for top-mounted radiators, resulting...

Future missions to Mars that would need a sophisticated lander, hopper, or rover could benefit from the REARM Arch i tecture. The mission concept REARM...

Future sustainable energy generation technologies such as photovoltaic and wind farms require advanced energy storage systems on a massive scale to make...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Reliability of CCGA 1152 and CCGA 1272 Interconnect Packages for Extreme Thermal Environments

Ceramic column grid array (CCGA) packages have been increasing in use based on their advantages of high interconnect density, very good thermal and electrical performance, and compatibility with standard surface-mount packaging assembly processes. CCGA...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Using a Blender to Assess the Microbial Density of Encapsulated Organisms

There are specific NASA requirementsfor source-specific encapsulated microbial density for encapsulated organisms in non-metallic materials. Projects such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) that use large volumes of non-metallic materials of planetary protection concern...

Briefs: Software
Sasquatch Footprint Tool

The Crew Exploration Vehicle Parachute Assembly System (CPAS) is the parachute system for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The test program consists of numerous drop tests, wherein a test article rigged with parachutes is extracted or released from an aircraft. During such tests, range safety is paramount, as is the...

Briefs: Software
Galactic Cosmic Ray Event- Based Risk Model (GERM) Code

This software describes the transport and energy deposition of the passage of galactic cosmic rays in astronaut tissues during space travel, or heavy ion beams in patients in cancer therapy. Space radiation risk is a probability distribution, and time-dependent biological events must be...

Briefs: Software
Multi-User Space Link Extension (SLE) System

The Multi-User Space (MUS) Link Extension system, a software and data system, provides Space Link Extension (SLE) users with three space data transfer services in timely, complete, and offline modes as applicable according to standards defined by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems...

Briefs: Information Technology
Control Software for Piezo Stepping Actuators

A control system has been developed for the Space Interferometer Mission (SIM) piezo stepping actuator. Piezo stepping actuators are novel because they offer extreme dynamic range (centimeter stroke with nanometer resolution) with power, thermal, mass, and volume advantages over existing motorized...

Briefs: Information Technology
Optimization of Turbine Blade Dovetail Geometry

The reliability of a gas or steam turbine is strongly dependent on the structural design of its blades. In land-based power generation units, turbine blades are connected to the turbine disk by...

Briefs: Information Technology
Mixed Integer Programming and Heuristic Scheduling for Space Communication

Optimal planning and scheduling for a communication network was created where the nodes within the network are communicating at the highest possible rates while meeting the mission requirements and operational constraints. The planning and scheduling problem was...

Briefs: Information Technology
Video Altimeter and Obstruction Detector for an Aircraft

Video-based altimetric and obstructiondetection systems for aircraft have been partially developed. The hardware of a system of this type includes a downward-looking video camera, a video digitizer, a Global Positioning System receiver or other means of measuring the aircraft velocity...

Amulti-university research team has used a new spectroscopic method to gain a key insight into how light is emitted from layered nanomaterials and other thin films. The technique, called...

Ateam of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has shown that by bringing gold nanoparticles close to the dots and using a DNA template to control the...

This work focused on developing, fabricating, and fully calibrating a flow-angle probe for aeronautics research by utilizing the latest...

Briefs: Medical
Nanoscale Surface Plasmonics Sensor With Nanofluidic Control

Conventional quantitative protein assays of bodily fluids typically involve multiple steps to obtain desired measurements. Such methods are not well suited for fast and accurate assay measurements in austere environments such as spaceflight and in the aftermath of disasters....

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Advanced Dispersed Fringe Sensing Algorithm for Coarse Phasing Segmented Mirror Telescopes

Segment mirror phasing, a critical step of segment mirror alignment, requires the ability to sense and correct the relative pistons between segments from up to a few hundred microns to a fraction of wavelength in order to bring the mirror system to its...

Briefs: Information Technology
Neural Network Back-Propagation Algorithm for Sensing Hypergols

Fast, continuous detection of a wide range of hazardous substances simultaneously is needed to achieve improved safety for personnel working with hypergolic fuels and oxidizers, as well as other hazardous substances, with a requirement for such detection systems to warn personnel...

Briefs: Medical
Bulk Moisture and Salinity Sensor

Measurement and feedback control of nutrient solutions in plant root zones is critical to the development of healthy plants in both terrestrial and reduced gravity environments. In addition to the water content, the amount of fertilizer in the nutrient solution is important to plant health. This typically...

Briefs: Software
Change-Based Satellite Monitoring Using Broad Coverage and Targetable Sensing

A generic software framework analyzes data from broad coverage sweeps or general larger areas of interest. Change detection methods are used to extract subsets of directed swath areas that intersect areas of change. These areas are prioritized and allocated to...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Circularly Polarized Microwave Antenna Element With Very Low Off-Axis Cross-Polarization

The goal of this work was to improve offaxis cross-polarization performance and ease of assembly of a circularly polarized microwave antenna element. To ease assembly, the initial design requirement of Hexweb support for the internal circuit part, as well as...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Flash Cracking Reactor for Waste Plastic Processing

Conversion of waste plastic to energy is a growing problem that is especially acute in space exploration applications. Moreover, utilization of heavy hydrocarbon resources (wastes, waxes, etc.) as fuels and chemicals will be a growing need in the future. Existing technologies require a...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ultra-Low Heat- Leak, High- Temperature Superconducting Current Leads for Space Applications

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has a need for current leads used in an adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) for space applications. These leads must comply with stringent requirements such as a heat leak of approximately 100 μW or less while...

The Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) program is building a sensor that enables a spacecraft to evaluate autonomously a potential landing area to...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
An Automated Safeto- Mate (ASTM) Tester

Safe-to-mate testing is a common hardware safety practice where impedance measurements are made on unpowered hardware to verify isolation, continuity, or impedance between pins of an interface connector. Performing this on critical flight hardware under test and its associated GSE ensures minimal risk when...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wireless Chalcogenide Nanoionic-Based Radio- Frequency Switch

A new nonvolatile nanoionic switch is powered and controlled through wireless radio-frequency (RF) transmission. A thin layer of chalcogenide glass doped with a metal ion, such as silver, comprises the operational portion of the switch. For the switch to function, an oxidizable...

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