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
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.

The addition of the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover requires an...

This apparatus distributes dust (typical of the Martian surface) in a uniform fashion on the surface of multiple samples simultaneously. The primary innovation...

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...

Polyoxyphenylene triazole sulfonic acid has been proposed as a basis for development of improved proton-conducting polymeric materials for solidelectrolyte membranes in hydrogen/air...

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...

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.

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...

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...

Users are pushing for greater physical mobility with their network and Internet access. Mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) can provide an efficient mobile network...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Corner-Cube Retroreflector Instrument for Advanced Lunar Laser Ranging

A paper describes how, based on a structural-thermal-optical-performance analysis, it has been determined that a single, large, hollow corner cube (170-mm outer diameter) with custom dihedral angles offers a return signal comparable to the Apollo 11 and 14 solid-corner-cube...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Electrospray Collection of Lunar Dust

A report describes ElectroSpray Ionization based Electrostatic Pre cip itation (ESIEP) for collecting lunar dust particles. While some HEPA filtration processes may remove a higher fraction (>99.9 percent) of the particles, the high efficiency may not be appropriate from an overall system standpoint,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of a Kilopixel Array of Superconducting Microcalorimeters With Microstripline Wiring

A document describes the fabrication of a two-dimensional microcalorimeter array that uses microstrip wiring and integrated heat sinking to enable use of high-performance pixel designs at kilo - pixel scales (32×32). Each pixel is the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Spacecraft Attitude Tracking and Maneuver Using Combined Magnetic Actuators

A paper describes attitude-control algorithms using the combination of magnetic actuators with reaction wheel assemblies (RWAs) or other types of actuators such as thrusters. The combination of magnetic actuators with one or two RWAs aligned with different body axis...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Coherent Detector for Near-Angle Scattering and Polarization Characterization of Telescope Mirror Coatings

A report discusses the difficulty of measuring scattering properties of coated mirrors extremely close to the specular reflection peak. A prototype Optical Hetero - dyne Near-angle Scatterometer (OHNS) was developed. Light from a...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
High-Speed Digital Interferometry

Digitally enhanced heterodyne interferometry (DI) is a laser metrology technique employing pseudo-random noise (PRN) codes phase-modulated onto an optical carrier. Combined with heterodyne interferometry, the PRN code is used to select individual signals, returning the inherent interferometric sensitivity...

This innovation will replace a beam combiner, a phase shifter, and a mode conditioner, thus simplifying the system design and alignment, and saving weight and space in future...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Near-Infrared Photon-Counting Camera for High-Sensitivity Observations

The dark current of a transferred-electron photocathode with an InGaAs absorber, responsive over the 0.9-to-1.7-μm range, must be reduced to an ultralow level suitable for low signal spectral astrophysical measurements by lowering the temperature of the sensor incorporating...

Acost-competitive solution for increasing the light extraction efficiency of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) with efficient and stable color rendering index (CRI) for solid-state lighting (SSL)...

The use of a material development method known as high-throughput experimentation (HTE), which allows for the screening of large composition areas of complex material systems, has led to the discovery...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
SNE Industrial Fieldbus Interface

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) have very limited diagnostic and no prognostic capabilities, while current smart sensor designs do not have the capability to communicate over Fieldbus networks. The aim is to interface smart sensors with PLCs so that health and status information, such as failure mode...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Cryogenic 160-GHz MMIC Heterodyne Receiver Module

A cryogenic 160-GHz MMIC heterodyne receiver module has demonstrated a system noise temperature of 100 K or less at 166 GHz. This module builds upon work previously described in “Development of a 150-GHz MMIC Module Prototype for Large-Scale CMB Radiation” (NPO-47664), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Onboard Interferometric SAR Processor for the Ka-band Radar Interferometer (KaRIn)

An interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) onboard processor concept and algorithm has been developed for the Ka-band radar interferometer (KaRIn) instrument on the Surface and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. This is a mission-critical subsystem that will...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
XMOS XC-2 Development Board for Mechanical Control and Data Collection

The scanning microwave limb sounder (SMLS) will use technological improvements in low-noise mixers to provide precise data on the Earth’s atmospheric composition with high spatial resolution. This project focuses on the design and implementation of a real-time control...

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