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
Telemetry and Science Data Software System

The Telemetry and Science Data Software System (TSDSS) was designed to validate the operational health of a spacecraft, ease test verification, assist in debugging system anomalies, and provide trending data and advanced science analysis. In doing so, the system parses, processes, and organizes raw data...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Experiment in Onboard Synthetic Aperture Radar Data Processing

Single event upsets (SEUs) are a threat to any computing system running on hardware that has not been physically radiation hardened. In addition to mandating the use of performance- limited, hardened heritage equipment, prior techniques for dealing with the SEU problem often involved...

Briefs: Information Technology
CropEx Web-Based Agricultural Monitoring and Decision Support

CropEx is a Web-based agricultural Decision Support System (DSS) that monitors changes in crop health over time. It is designed to be used by a wide range of both public and private organizations, including individual producers and regional government offices with a vested interest in...

Briefs: Information Technology
High-Performance Data Analysis Tools for Sun-Earth Connection Missions

The data analysis tool of choice for many Sun-Earth Connection missions is the Interactive Data Language (IDL) by ITT VIS. The increasing amount of data produced by these missions and the increasing complexity of image processing algorithms requires access to higher computing...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Microfabrication of a High-Throughput Nanochannel Delivery/Filtration System

A microfabrication process is proposed to produce a nanopore membrane for continuous passive drug release to maintain constant drug concentrations in the patient’s blood throughout the delivery period. Based on silicon microfabrication technology, the dimensions of...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Monolithic Flexure Pre-Stressed Ultrasonic Horns

High-power ultrasonic actuators are generally assembled with a horn, backing, stress bolt, piezoelectric rings, and electrodes. The manufacturing process is complex, expensive, difficult, and time-consuming. The internal stress bolt needs to be insulated and presents a potential internal discharge...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Design and Fabrication of Hydrated-Salt Pills

A high-performance design, and fabrication and growth processes to implement the design, have been devised for encapsulating a hydrated salt in a container that both protects the salt and provides thermal conductance between the salt and the environment surrounding the container. The unitary...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wheel-Based Ice Sensors for Road Vehicles

Wheel-based sensors for detection of ice on roads and approximate measurement of the thickness of the ice are under development. These sensors could be used to alert drivers to hazardous local icing...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Broadband Via-Less Microwave Crossover Using Microstrip- CPW Transitions

The front-to-back interface between microstrip and CPW (coplanar waveguide) typically requires complex fabrication or has high radiation loss. The microwave crossover typically requires a complex fabrication step. The prior art in microstrip-CPW transition requires a...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Cryogenic Quenching Process for Electronic Part Screening

The use of electronic parts at cryogenic temperatures (

Briefs: Software
G-DYN Multibody Dynamics Engine

G-DYN is a multi-body dynamic simulation software engine that automatically assembles and integrates equations of motion for arbitrarily connected multibody dynamic systems.

Briefs: Software
Multibody Simulation Software Testbed for Small-Body Exploration and Sampling

G-TAG is a software tool for the multibody simulation of a spacecraft with a robotic arm and a sampling mechanism, which performs a touch-and-go (TAG) maneuver for sampling from the surface of a small celestial body. G-TAG utilizes G- DYN, a multi-body simulation...

Briefs: Software
Propulsive Reaction Control System Model

This software models a propulsive reaction control system (RCS) for guidance, navigation, and control simulation purposes. The model includes the drive electronics, the electromechanical valve dynamics, the combustion dynamics, and thrust. This innovation follows the Mars Science Laboratory entry reaction...

Briefs: Software
Licklider Transmission Protocol Implementation

This software is an implementation of the Licklider Transmission Protocol (LTP), a communications protocol intended to support the Bundle Protocol in Delay-Tolerant Network (DTN) operations. LTP is designed to provide retransmission- based reliability over links characterized by extremely long...

Briefs: Software
Core Recursive Hierarchical Image Segmentation

The Recursive Hierarchical Image Segmentation (RHSEG) software has been repackaged to provide a version of the RHSEG software that is not subject to patent restrictions and that can be released to the general public through NASA GSFC’s Open Source release process. Like the Core HSEG Software...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pressure Regulator With Internal Ejector Circulation Pump, Flow and Pressure Measurement Porting, and Fuel Cell System Integration Options

An advanced reactant pressure regulator with an internal ejector reactant circulation pump has been developed to support NASA’s future fuel cell power systems needs. These needs include reliable and safe...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two-Stage Centrifugal Fan

Fan designs are often constrained by envelope, rotational speed, weight, and power. Aerodynamic performance and motor electrical performance are heavily influenced by rotational speed. The fan used in this work is at a practical limit for rotational speed due to motor performance characteristics, and there is no more...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Combined Structural and Trajectory Control of Variable-Geometry Planetary Entry Systems

Some of the key challenges of planetary entry are to dissipate the large kinetic energy of the entry vehicle and to land with precision. Past missions to Mars were based on unguided entry, where entry vehicles carried payloads of less than 0.6 T and landed...

Briefs: Materials
Temperature-Sensitive Coating Sensor Based on Hematite

A temperature-sensitive coating, based on hematite (iron III oxide), has been developed to measure surface temperature using spectral techniques. The hematite powder is added to a binder that allows the mixture to be painted on the surface of a test specimen. The coating dynamically changes...

Briefs: Materials
Detection of Carbon Monoxide Using Polymer-Carbon Composite Films

A carbon monoxide (CO) sensor was developed that can be incorporated into an existing sensing array architecture. The CO sensor is a low-power chemiresistor that operates at room temperature, and the sensor fabrication techniques are compatible with ceramic substrates.

Briefs: Materials
Substituted Quaternary Ammonium Salts Improve Low-Temperature Performance of Double-Layer Capacitors

Double-layer capacitors are unique energy storage devices, capable of supporting large current pulses as well as a very high number of charging and discharging cycles. The performance of double-layer capacitors is highly dependent on the nature...

Briefs: Materials
Standardization of a Volumetric Displacement Measurement for Two-Body Abrasion Scratch Test Data Analysis

A limitation has been identified in the existing test standards used for making controlled, two-body abrasion scratch measurements based solely on the width of the resultant score on the surface of the material. A new, more robust method is...

Briefs: Materials
Sustainably Sourced, Thermally Resistant, Radiation Hard Biopolymer

This material represents a breakthrough in the production, manufacturing, and application of thermal protection system (TPS) materials and radiation shielding, as this represents the first effort to develop a non-metallic, nonceramic, biomaterial-based, sustainable TPS with the...

Future astrophysics and planetary experiments are expected to require large focal plane arrays with thousands of detectors. Feedhorns have excellent performance, but their mass, size,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Validating Phasing and Geometry of Large Focal Plane Arrays

The Kepler Mission is designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-sized and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone. The Kepler photometer is an array of 42 CCDs (charge-coupled devices) in the focal plane of a 95-cm Schmidt camera onboard...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
180-GHz Interferometric Imager

A 180-GHz interferometric imager uses compact receiver modules, combined high- and low-gain antennas, and ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) correlator technology, enabling continuous, all-weather observations of water vapor with 25-km resolution and 0.3-K noise in 15 minutes of observation for...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Maturation of Structural Health Management Systems for Solid Rocket Motors

Concepts of an autonomous and automated space-compliant diagnostic system were developed for conditioned- based maintenance (CBM) of rocket motors for space exploration vehicles. The diagnostic system will provide real-time information on the integrity of critical...

Briefs: Information Technology
Achieving Exact and Constant Turnaround Ratio in a DDS-Based Coherent Transponder

A report describes a non-standard direct digital synthesizer (DDS) implementation that can be used as part of a coherent transponder so as to allow any rational turnaround ratio to be exactly achieved and maintained while the received frequency varies. (A coherent...

Briefs: Information Technology
Surface Modeling to Support Small-Body Spacecraft Exploration and Proximity Operations

In order to simulate physically plausible surfaces that represent geologically evolved surfaces, demonstrating demanding surface-relative guidance navigation and control (GN&C) actions, such surfaces must be made to mimic the geological processes themselves. A...

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