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: Information Technology
SpaceCube Demonstration Platform

A document discusses how the HST SM4 SpaceCube flight spare was modified to create an experiment called the SpaceCube Demonstration Platform (SC DP) for use on the MISSE7 Space Station payload (in collaboration with NRL). It is designed to serve as an on-orbit platform for demonstrating advanced fault tolerance...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Aperture Mask for Unambiguous Parity Determination in Long Wavelength Imagers

A document discusses a new parity pupil mask design that allows users to unambiguously determine the image space coordinate system of all the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) science instruments by using two out-of-focus images. This is an improvement over existing...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Spaceflight Ka-Band High-Rate Radiation-Hard Modulator

A document discusses the creation of a Ka-band modulator developed specifically for the NASA/GSFC Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). This flight design consists of a high-bandwidth, Quadriphase Shift Keying (QPSK) vector modulator with radiation-hardened, high-rate driver circuitry that...

Briefs: Medical
Enabling Disabled Persons To Gain Access to Digital Media

A report describes the first phase in an effort to enhance the NaviGaze software to enable profoundly disabled persons to operate computers. (Running on a Windows-based computer equipped with a video camera aimed at the user’s head, the original NaviGaze software processes the user’s...

Spaceflight system electronic devices must survive a wide range of radiation environments with various particle types including energetic protons, electrons,...

A test port designed as part of a fiber-optic-coupled laser altimeter receiver optical system allows for the back-illumination of the optical system for alignment verification, as well as...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Phase Retrieval System for Assessing Diamond Turning and Optical Surface Defects

An optical design is presented for a measurement system used to assess the impact of surface errors originating from diamond turning artifacts. Diamond turning artifacts are common by-products of optical surface shaping using the diamond turning process (a...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Laser Oscillator Incorporating a Wedged Polarization Rotator and a Porro Prism as Cavity Mirror

A laser cavity was designed and implemented by using a wedged polarization rotator and a Porro prism in order to reduce the parts count, and to improve the laser reliability. In this invention, a z-cut quartz polarization rotator is used to compensate...

An important aspect of wind power plant impact studies is to evaluate the short-circuit current (SCC) contribution of the plant into the...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
The Invasive Species Forecasting System

The Invasive Species Forecasting System (ISFS) provides computational support for the generic work processes found in many regional-scale ecosystem modeling applications. Decision support tools helps...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Stereo Imaging Miniature Endoscope

Stereo imaging requires two different perspectives of the same object and, traditionally, a pair of side-by-side cameras would be used but are not feasible for something as tiny as a less than 4-mm-diameter...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Wind and Temperature Spectrometry of the Upper Atmosphere in Low-Earth Orbit

Wind and Temperature Spectrometry (WATS) is a new approach to measure the full wind vector, temperature, and relative densities of major neutral species in the Earth’s thermosphere. The method uses an energy-angle spectrometer moving through the tenuous upper...

Briefs: Information Technology
Health Monitor for Multitasking, Safety-Critical, Real-Time Software

Health Manager can detect “Bad Health” prior to a failure occurring by periodically monitoring the application software by looking for code corruption errors, and sanity-checking each critical data value prior to use. A processor’s memory can fail and corrupt the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Parallel Wavefront Analysis for a 4D Interferometer

This software provides a programming interface for automating data collection with a PhaseCam interferometer from 4D Technology, and distributing the image-processing algorithm across a cluster of general-purpose computers.

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Early Oscillation Detection Technique for Hybrid DC/DC Converters

Oscillation or instability is a situation that must be avoided for reliable hybrid DC/DC converters. A real-time electronics measurement technique was developed to detect catastrophic oscillations at early stages for hybrid DC/DC converters. It is capable of identifying low-level...

Compact THz receivers with broad bandwidth and low noise have been developed for the frequency range from 100 GHz to 1 THz. These receivers meet the requirements for high-resolution...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Coaxial Cables for Martian Extreme

Work was conducted to validate the use of the rover external flexible coaxial cabling for space under the extreme environments to be encountered during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. The antennas must survive all ground operations plus the nominal 670-Martian-day mission that includes summer and...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Carbon Nanofiber-Based, High-Frequency, High-Q, Miniaturized Mechanical Resonators

High Q resonators are a critical component of stable, low-noise communication systems, radar, and precise timing applications such as atomic clocks. In electronic resonators based on Si integrated circuits, resistive losses increase as a result of the continued...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Using Spare Logic Resources To Create Dynamic Test Points

A technique has been devised to enable creation of a dynamic set of test points in an embedded digital electronic system. As a result, electronics contained in an application specific circuit [e.g., gate array, field programmable gate array (FPGA)] can be internally “probed,” even...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Ultracapacitor-Based Uninterrupted Power Supply System

The ultracapacitor-based uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system enhances system reliability; reduces life-of-system, maintenance, and downtime costs; and greatly reduces environmental impact when compared to conventional UPS energy storage systems. This design provides power when required...

Briefs: Software
Autonomous Coordination of Science Observations Using Multiple Spacecraft

This software provides capabilities for autonomous cross-cueing and coordinated observations between multiple orbital and landed assets. Previous work has been done in re-tasking a single Earth orbiter or a Mars rover in response to that craft detecting a science event....

Briefs: Software
EOS MLS Level 1B Data Processing Software, Version 3

This software is an improvement on Version 2, which was described in “EOS MLS Level 1B Data Processing, Version 2.2,” NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 33, No. 5 (May 2009), p. 34. It accepts the EOS MLS Level 0 science/engineering data, and the EOS Aura spacecraft ephemeris/attitude data, and...

Briefs: Software
Cassini Tour Atlas Automated Generation

During the Cassini spacecraft’s cruise phase and nominal mission, the Cassini Science Planning Team developed and maintained an online database of geometric and timing information called the Cassini Tour Atlas. The Tour Atlas consisted of several hundreds of megabytes of EVENTS mission planning software...

Briefs: Software
Software Development Standard Processes (SDSP)

A JPL-created set of standard processes is to be used throughout the lifecycle of software development. These SDSPs cover a range of activities, from management and engineering activities, to assurance and support activities. These processes must be applied to software tasks per a pre- scribed set...

Briefs: Software
Autonomous Phase Retrieval Calibration

The Palomar Adaptive Optics System actively corrects for changing aberrations in light due to atmospheric turbulence. However, the underlying internal static error is unknown and uncorrected by this process. The dedicated wavefront sensor device necessarily lies along a different path than the science...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Graphite Composite Panel Polishing Fixture

The use of high-strength, lightweight composites for the fixture is the novel feature of this innovation. The main advantage is the light weight and high stiffness-to-mass ratio relative to aluminum.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Modifying Matrix Materials to Increase Wetting and Adhesion

In an alternative approach to increasing the degrees of wetting and adhesion between the fiber and matrix components of organic-fiber/polymer matrix composite materials, the matrix resins are modified. Heretofore, it has been common practice to modify the fibers rather than the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ridge Waveguide Structures in Magnesium-Doped Lithium Niobate

This work proposes to establish the feasibility of fabricating isolated ridge waveguides in 5% MgO:LN. Ridge waveguides in MgO:LN will significantly improve power handling and conversion efficiency, increase photonic component integration, and be well suited to space-based...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Material Gradients in Oxygen System Components Improve Safety

Oxygen system components fabricated by Laser Engineered Net Shaping™ (LENS™) could result in improved safety and performance. LENS™ is a near-net shape manufacturing process fusing powdered materials injected into a laser beam. Parts can be fabricated with a variety of elemental...

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