Tech Briefs

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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
Remote Data Access with IDL

A tool based on IDL (Interactive Data Language) and DAP (Data Access Protocol) has been developed for user-friendly remote data access. A difficulty for many NASA re searchers using IDL is that often the data to analyze are located remotely and are too large to transfer for local analysis. Researchers have developed a...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Data Compression Algorithm Architecture for Large Depth-of- Field Particle Image Velocimeters

A large depth-of-field particle image velocimeter (PIV) is designed to characterize dynamic dust environments on planetary surfaces. This instrument detects lofted dust particles, and senses the number of particles per unit volume, measuring their...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Planar, semiconductor heat arrays have been previously proposed and developed; however, this design makes use of a novel, microscale black silicon wick structure that provides...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Analog Signal Correlating Using an Analog-Based Signal Conditioning Front End

This innovation is capable of correlating two analog signals by using an analog- based signal conditioning front end to hard-limit the analog signals through adaptive thresholding into a binary bit stream, then performing the correlation using a Hamming...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Robust Multivariable Optimization and Performance Simulation for ASIC Design

Application-specific-integrated-circuit (ASIC) design for space applications involves multiple challenges of maximizing performance, minimizing power, and ensuring reliable operation in extreme environments. This is a complex multidimensional optimization problem, which...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

The use of mirror assemblies is commonplace in the aerospace industry, as most satellites and spacecraft contain optics. The fabrication of these mirrors is extremely complex due to the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A fluid pump has been developed for mechanically pumped fluid loops for spacecraft thermal control. Lynntech’s technology utilizes a proprietary electrochemically driven pumping mechanism. Conventional...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Next-generation heat-pipe radiator technologies are being developed at the NASA Glenn Research Center to provide advancements in heat-rejection systems for space power and...

Briefs: Materials
Non-Toxic, Non-Flammable, –80 ºC Phase Change Materials

The objective of this effort was to develop a non-toxic, non-flammable, –80 °C phase change material (PCM) to be used in NASA’s ICEPAC capsules for biological sample preservation in flight to and from Earth orbit. A temperature of about –68 °C or lower is a critical temperature...

Briefs: Materials
Soft-Bake Purification of SWCNTs Produced by Pulsed Laser Vaporization

The “soft-bake” method is a simple and reliable initial purification step first proposed by researchers at Rice University for single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) produced by high-pressure carbon mon - oxide disproportionation (HiPco). Softbaking consists of annealing...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Wide Operating Temperature Range of Li-Ion Cells

Future NASA missions aimed at exploring the Moon, Mars, and the outer planets require rechargeable batteries that can operate over a wide temperature range (–60 to +60 ºC) to satisfy the requirements of various applications including landers, rovers, penetrators, CEV, CLV, etc. This...

Briefs: Medical

An improved method for culturing immature muscle cells (myoblasts) into a mature skeletal muscle overcomes some of the notable limitations of prior culture methods....

Briefs: Medical
Hand-Based Biometric Analysis

Hand-based biometric analysis systems and techniques provide robust handbased identification and verification. An image of a hand is obtained, which is then segmented into a palm region and separate finger regions. Acquisition of the image is performed without requiring particular orientation or placement...

Briefs: Medical
The Next Generation of Cold Immersion Dry Suit Design Evolution for Hypothermia Prevention

A body at sea is vulnerable to hypothermia, which often leads to loss of life. Hypothermia is caused by the differences between the core body temperature and the surrounding air and seawater temperatures. The greater the differences between the body core...

Briefs: Software
Integrated Lunar Information Architecture for Decision Support Version 3.0 (ILIADS 3.0)

ILIADS 3.0 provides the data management capabilities to access CxP-vetted lunar data sets from the LMMP-provided Data Portal and the LMMP-provided OnMoon lunar data product server. (LMMP stands for Lunar Mapping and Modeling Project.) It also provides...

Briefs: Software
Relay Forward-Link File Management Services (MaROS Phase 2)

This software provides the service-level functionality to manage the delivery of files from a lander mission repository to an orbiter mission repository for eventual space-link relay by the orbiter asset on a specific communications pass. It provides further functions to deliver and...

Briefs: Software
Two Mechanisms to Avoid Control Conflicts Resulting from Uncoordinated Intent

This software implements a real-time access control protocol that is intended to make all connected users aware of the presence of other connected users, and which of them is currently in control of the system. Here, “in control” means that a single user is...

Briefs: Software
XTCE GOVSAT Tool Suite 1.0

The XTCE GOVSAT software suite contains three tools: validation, search, and reporting. The Extensible Markup Language (XML) Telemetric and Command Exchange (XTCE) GOVSAT Tool Suite is written in Java for manipulating XTCE XML files. XTCE is a Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) and Object Management...

Briefs: Information Technology
Remote Data Exploration with the Interactive Data Language (IDL)

A difficulty for many NASA researchers is that often the data to analyze is located remotely from the scientist and the data is too large to transfer for local analysis. Researchers have developed the Data Access Protocol (DAP) for accessing remote data. Presently one can use DAP...

Briefs: Information Technology
Mixture-Tuned, Clutter Matched Filter for Remote Detection of Subpixel Spectral Signals

Mapping localized spectral features in large images demands sensitive and robust detection algorithms. Two aspects of large images that can harm matched-filter detection performance are addressed simultaneously. First, multimodal backgrounds may thwart the...

Briefs: Information Technology
SequenceL: Automated Parallel Algorithms Derived from CSP-NT Computational Laws

With the introduction of new parallel architectures like the cell and multicore chips from IBM, Intel, AMD, and ARM, as well as the petascale processing available for high-end computing, a larger number of programmers will need to write parallel codes. Adding the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Determining Temperature Differential to Prevent Hardware Cross- Contamination in a Vacuum Chamber

When contamination-sensitive hardware must be tested in a thermal vacuum chamber, cross-contamination from other hardware present in the chamber, or residue from previous tests, becomes a concern. Typical mitigation strategies involve maintaining...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

The proposed quantum receiver in this innovation partitions each binary signal interval into two unequal segments: a short “pre-measurement” segment in the beginning of the...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

A prime focus spectrometer (PFS), along with corrective optics, will mount in place of the secondary mirror of the Subaru telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. This will allow simultaneous observations of...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Practical UAV Optical Sensor Bench With Minimal Adjustability

A multiple-pass optical platform eliminates essentially all optical alignment degrees of freedom, save one. A fourpass absorption spectrometer architecture is made rigid by firmly mounting dielectric-coated mirror prisms with no alignment capability to the platform. The laser diode...

Briefs: Lighting

Solid-state lighting (SSL) is increasingly being introduced into the market and it is expected that many of the light sources currently used for general illumination will...

Briefs: Lighting

InfiniLED’s latest MicroLEDs (μLEDs) have produced record optical beam intensity. This new device is capable of producing up to 1mW of light from a single 20μm pixel at 405nm. This is...

Briefs: Lighting

If you want to create a moving light source, you have a few possibilities. One is to mount a light emitter in some kind of mechanical housing — the approach used in, for example, theatrical spotlights, which...

Briefs: Information Technology
Measurements of Ultra-Stable Oscillator (USO) Allan Deviations in Space

Researchers have used data from the GRAIL mission to the Moon to make the first in-flight verification of ultra-stable oscillators (USOs) with Allan deviation below 10–13 for 1-to-100-second averaging times. USOs are flown in space to provide stable timing...

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