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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rolling-Tooth Core Breakoff and Retention Mechanism

Sampling cores requires the controlled breakoff of the core at a known location with respect to the drill end. An additional problem is designing a mechanism that can be implemented at a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System for Spacecraft Exercise Treadmill Devices

A novel, passive system has been developed for isolating an exercise treadmill device from a spacecraft in a zero-G environment. The Treadmill 2 Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System (T2-VIS) mechanically isolates the exercise treadmill from the...

Briefs: Medical
Microgravity-Enhanced Stem Cell Selection

Stem cells, both embryonic and adult, promise to revolutionize the practice of medicine in the future. In order to realize this potential, a number of hurdles must be overcome. Most importantly, the signaling mechanisms necessary to control the differentiation of stem cells into tissues of interest...

Briefs: Medical
Diagnosis and Treatment of Neurological Disorders by Millimeter-Wave Stimulation

Increasingly, millimeter waves are being employed for telecomm, radar, and imaging applications. To date in the U.S, however, very few investigations on the impact of this radiation on biological systems at the cellular level have been undertaken. In the beginning,...

Multi-point, multi-axis measurement of position can be valuable in a variety of applications that require high-speed data acquisition and a high degree...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Passive Vaporizing Heat Sink

A passive vaporizing heat sink has been developed as a relatively lightweight, compact alternative to related prior heat sinks based, variously, on evaporation of sprayed liquids or on sublimation of solids. This heat sink is designed for short-term dissipation of a large amount of heat and was originally intended...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Remote Sensing and Quantization of Analog Sensors

This method enables sensing and quantization of analog strain gauges. By manufacturing a piezoelectric sensor stack in parallel (physical) with a piezoelectric actuator stack, the capacitance of the sensor stack varies in exact proportion to the exertion applied by the actuator stack. This, in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Helium-Cooled Black Shroud for Subscale Cryogenic Testing

This shroud provides a deep-space simulating environment for testing scaled-down models of passively cooling systems for spaceflight optics and instruments. It is used inside a liquid-nitrogen-cooled vacuum chamber, and it is cooled by liquid helium to 5 K. It has an inside geometry of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Phase Retrieval for Radio Telescope and Antenna Control

Phase-retrieval is a general term used in optics to describe the estimation of optical imperfections or “aberrations.” The purpose of this innovation is to develop the application of phase retrieval to radio telescope and antenna control in the millimeter wave band.

Briefs: Information Technology
Receive Mode Analysis and Design of Microstrip Reflectarrays

Traditionally microstrip or printed reflectarrays are designed using the “transmit mode” technique. In this method, the size of each printed element is chosen so as to provide the required value of the reflection phase such that a collimated beam results along a given direction....

Briefs: Information Technology
Chance-Constrained Guidance With Non-Convex Constraints

Missions to small bodies, such as comets or asteroids, require autonomous guidance for descent to these small bodies. Such guidance is made challenging by uncertainty in the position and velocity of the spacecraft, as well as the uncertainty in the gravitational field around the small body....

A design of a highly efficient and lightweight space magnetic cooler has been developed at Goddard Space Flight Center that can continuously provide remote/distributed cooling at temperatures in the range of 2 K with a heat sink at about 15 K. The innovative design uses a cryogenic circulator that enables the cooler to operate at a high cycle frequency to achieve a large cooling capacity.

Polymer nanofibers are nanoscale materials whose properties can be adjusted to provide desirable light management performance for high efficiency solid-state lighting...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Improved, Low-Stress Economical Submerged Pipeline

A preliminary study has shown that the use of a high-strength composite fiber cloth material may greatly reduce fabrication and deployment costs of a subsea offshore pipeline. Above-water pipelines are often not feasible due to safety, cost, and environmental problems, and present, fixed-wall,...

This innovation from Goddard Space Flight Center is an antibacterial, anti-contamination, and self-cleaning coating that...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
High-Temperature Thermometer Using Cr-Doped GdAlO3 Broadband Luminescence

A new concept has been developed for a high-temperature luminescence-based optical thermometer that both shows the desired temperature sensitivity in the upper temperature range of present state-of-the-art luminescence thermometers (above 1,300 °C), while maintaining...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Method to Estimate the Dissolved Air Content in Hydraulic Fluid

In order to verify the air content in hydraulic fluid, an instrument was needed to measure the dissolved air content before the fluid was loaded into the system. The instrument also needed to measure the dissolved air content in situ and in real time during the de-aeration process....

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Method for Measuring Collimator-Pointing Sensitivity to Temperature Changes

For a variety of applications, it is important to measure the sensitivity of the pointing of a beam emerging from a collimator, as a function of temperature changes. A straightforward method for carrying out this measurement is based on using interferometry for...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Metrology Arrangement for Measuring the Positions of Mirrors of a Submillimeter Telescope

The position of the secondary mirror of a submillimeter telescope with respect to the primary mirror needs to be known ≈0.03 mm in three dimensions. At the time of this reporting, no convenient, reasonably priced arrangement that offers this capability...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
On-Wafer S-Parameter Measurements in the 325-508-GHz Band

New circuits have been designed and fabricated with operating frequencies over 325 GHz. In order to measure S-parameters of these circuits, an extensive process of wafer dicing and packaging, and waveguide transition design, fabrication, and packaging would be required. This is a costly...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Reconfigurable Microwave Phase Delay Element for Frequency Reference and Phase-Shifter Applications

A technique was developed to provide a reconfigurable high-precision microwave electrical phase delay for resonators and phase shifters. The invention employs multiple branches of transmission lines with open-ended or ground-ended terminations as...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Throughput, Adaptive FFT Architecture for FPGA-Based Spaceborne Data Processors

Exponential growth in microelectronics technology such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) has enabled high-performance spaceborne instruments with increasing onboard data processing capabilities. As a commonly used digital signal processing (DSP) building...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Speed Isolation Board for Flight Hardware Testing

There is a need to provide a portable and cost-effective galvanic isolation between ground support equipment and flight hardware such that any unforeseen voltage differential between ground and power supplies is eliminated. An interface board was designed for use between the ground support...

Briefs: Software
3D Orbit Visualization for Earth-Observing Missions

This software visualizes orbit paths for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), but was designed to be general and applicable to any Earth-observing mission. The software uses the Google Earth user interface to provide a visual mechanism to explore spacecraft orbit paths, ground footprint...

Briefs: Software
MaROS: Web Visualization of Mars Orbiting and Landed Assets

Mars Relay operations currently involve several e-mails and phone calls between lander and orbiter teams in order to settle on an agreed time for performing a communication pass between the landed asset (i.e. rover or lander) and orbiter, then back to Earth. This new application aims to...

Briefs: Software
RAPID: Collaborative Commanding and Monitoring of Lunar Assets

RAPID (Robot Application Programming Interface Delegate) software utilizes highly robust technology to facilitate command-ing and monitoring of lunar assets. RAPID provides the ability for intercenter communication, since these assets are developed in multiple NASA centers.

Briefs: Software
Image Segmentation, Registration, Compression, and Matching

A novel computational framework was developed of a 2D affine invariant matching exploiting a parameter space. Named as affine invariant parameter space (AIPS), the technique can be applied to many image-processing and computer-vision problems, including image registration, template...

Briefs: Software
Image Calibration

Calibrate_Image calibrates images obtained from focal plane arrays so that the output image more accurately represents the observed scene. The function takes as input a degraded image along with a flat field image and a dark frame image produced by the focal plane array and outputs a corrected image. The three most prominent...

Briefs: Software
Rapid ISS Power Availability Simulator

The ISS (International Space Station) Power Resource Officers (PROs) needed a tool to automate the calculation of thousands of ISS power availability simulations used to generate power constraint matrices. Each matrix contains 864 cells, and each cell represents a single power simulation that must be run....

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