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: Electronics & Computers
Programmable Oscillator

A programmable oscillator is a frequency synthesizer with an output phase that tracks an arbitrary function. An offset, phase-locked loop circuit is used in combination with an error control feedback loop to precisely control the output phase of the oscillator.

Briefs: Software
Asynchronous Message Service Reference Implementation

This software provides a library of middleware functions with a simple application programming interface, enabling implementation of distributed applications in conformance with the CCSDS AMS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems Asynchronous Message Service) specification.

Briefs: Software
Zero-Copy Objects System

Zero-copy objects (ZCOs) are abstract data access representations designed to minimize I/O (input/output) in the encapsulation of application source data within one or more layers of communication protocol structure. They are constructed within the heap space of a “Simple Data Recorder” (SDR) data store to which all...

Briefs: Software
Delay and Disruption Tolerant Networking MACHETE Mode

To verify satisfaction of communication requirements imposed by unique missions, as early as 2000, the Communications Networking Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) saw the need for an environment to support interplanetary communication protocol design, validation, and...

Briefs: Software
Contact Graph Routing

Contact Graph Routing (CGR) is a dynamic routing system that computes routes through a time-varying topology of scheduled communication contacts in a network based on the DTN (Delay-Tolerant Networking) architecture. It is designed to enable dynamic selection of data transmission routes in a space network based on DTN. This...

Briefs: Software
Parallel Eclipse Project Checkout

Parallel Eclipse Project Checkout (PEPC) is a program written to leverage parallelism and to automate the checkout process of plug-ins created in Eclipse RCP (Rich Client Platform). Eclipse plug-ins can be aggregated in a “feature project.” This innovation digests a feature description (xml file) and...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Pallet Manufacturing Process and Machinery Using Recycled Plastic Materials

As the recycling of plastic continues in the United States, there is a great need for the increased utilization of recycled products. Some of the plastic being recycled is extruded into a product known as plastic lumber, which is similar in shape and texture to its wood...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Technique for Configuring an Actively Cooled Thermal Shield in a Flight System

Broad area cooling shields are a massefficient alternative to conductively cooled thermal radiation shielding. The shield would actively intercept a large portion of incident thermal radiation and transport the heat away using cryogenic helium gas. The design concept...

Briefs: Materials
Use of Additives to Improve Performance of Methyl Butyrate-Based Lithium-Ion Electrolytes

This work addresses the need for robust rechargeable batteries that can operate well over a wide temperature range. To this end, a number of electrolyte formulations have been developed that incorporate the use of electrolyte additives to improve the...

Briefs: Materials
Li-Ion Cells Employing Electrolytes With Methyl Propionate and Ethyl Butyrate Co-Solvents

Future NASA missions aimed at exploring Mars and the outer planets require rechargeable batteries that can operate at low temperatures to satisfy the requirements of such applications as landers, rovers, and penetrators. A number of terrestrial...

Briefs: Medical
Tissue Photolithography

Tissue lithography will enable physicians and researchers to obtain macromolecules with high purity (>90 percent) from desired cells in conventionally processed, clinical tissues by simply annotating the desired cells on a computer screen. After identifying the desired cells, a suitable lithography mask will be generated...

Briefs: Medical
External Cooling Coupled to Reduced Extremity Pressure Device

Although suited astronauts are currently cooled with a Liquid Cooled Ventilation Garment (LCVG), which can remove up to 85 percent of body heat, their effectiveness is limited because cooling must penetrate layers of skin, muscle, fat, bone, and tissue to reach the bloodstream, where...

Briefs: Medical
Method for Impeding Degradation of Porous Silicon Structures

This invention relates to surface modification of porosified silicon (pSi) structures with poly(alkylene) glycols for the purpose of controlled degradation of the silicon matrix and tailored release of encapsulated substances for biomedical applications. The pSi structures are...

To date, the method for astronauts to drink liquids in microgravity or weightless environments is to suck the liquid from a bag or pouch through a straw. A new beverage cup works in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Programmable Aperture With MEMS Microshutter Arrays

A microshutter array (MSA) has been developed for use as an aperture array for multi-object selections in James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) technology. Light shields, molybdenum nitride (MoN) coating on shutters, and aluminum/ aluminum oxide coatings on interior walls are put on each shutter...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Co-Flow Hollow Cathode Technology

Hall thrusters utilize identical hollow cathode technology as ion thrusters, yet must operate at much higher mass flow rates in order to efficiently couple to the bulk plasma discharge. Higher flow rates are necessary in order to provide enough neutral collisions to transport electrons across magnetic fields so...

Briefs: Information Technology
Lidar-Based Navigation Algorithm for Safe Lunar Landing

The purpose of Hazard Relative Navigation (HRN) is to provide measurements to the Navigation Filter so that it can limit errors on the position estimate after hazards have been detected. The hazards are detected by processing a hazard digital elevation map (HDEM). The HRN process takes...

Briefs: Information Technology
Tracking Object Existence From an Autonomous Patrol Vehicle

An autonomous vehicle patrols a large region, during which an algorithm receives measurements of detected potential objects within its sensor range. The goal of the algorithm is to track all objects in the region over time. This problem differs from traditional multi-target tracking...

Briefs: Information Technology
Adaptive System Modeling for Spacecraft Simulation

This invention introduces a methodology and associated software tools for automatically learning spacecraft system models without any assumptions regarding system behavior. Data stream mining techniques were used to learn models for critical portions of the International Space Station (ISS)...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Rad-Hard, Miniaturized, Scalable, High-Voltage Switching Module for Power Applications

A paper discusses the successful development of a miniaturized radiation hardened high-voltage switching module operating at 2.5 kV suitable for space application. The high-voltage architecture was designed, fabricated, and tested using a commercial process...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Architecture for a 1-GHz Digital RADAR

An architecture for a Direct RF-digitization Type Digital Mode RADAR was developed at GSFC in 2008. Two variations of a basic architecture were developed for use on RADAR imaging missions using aircraft and spacecraft. Both systems can operate with a pulse repetition rate up to 10 MHz with 8 received RF...

The “polished panel” optical receiver concept described here makes use of aluminum panels on the main reflector of the Deep Space Network’s...

Briefs: Medical
Improved Devices for Collecting Sweat for Chemical Analysis

Improved devices have been proposed for collecting sweat for biochemical analysis — especially for determination of the concentration of Ca2+ ions in sweat as a measure of loss of Ca from bones. Unlike commercially available sweat-collection patches used previously in...

Hybrid Power Management (HPM) is the integration of diverse, state-of-the-art power devices in an optimal configuration for space and terrestrial applications. The basic vehicle architecture...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Data Service Provider Cost Estimation Tool

The Data Service Provider Cost Estimation Tool (CET) and Comparables Database (CDB) package provides to NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) the ability to estimate the full range of year-by-year...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Dynamic Monitoring of Cleanroom Fallout Using an Air Particle Counter

The particle fallout limitations and periodic allocations for the James Webb Space Telescope are very stringent. Standard prediction methods are complicated by non-linearity and monitoring methods that are insufficiently responsive. A method for dynamically predicting the...

Briefs: Software
Test Generator for MATLAB Simulations

MATLAB Automated Test Tool, version 3.0 (MATT 3.0) is a software package that provides automated tools that reduce the time needed for extensive testing of simulation models that have been constructed in the MATLAB programming language by use of the Simulink and Real-Time Workshop programs. MATT 3.0 runs on...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Crush Test Abuse Stand

The purpose of this system is to simulate an internal short on battery cells by causing deformation (a crushing force) in a cell without penetration. This is performed by activating a hydraulic cylinder on one side of a blast wall with a hydraulic pump located on the other. The operator can control the rate of the crush by...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Fused Reality for Enhanced Flight Test Capabilities

The feasibility of using Fused Reality-based simulation technology to enhance flight test capabilities has been investigated. In terms of relevancy to piloted evaluation, there remains no substitute for actual flight tests, even when considering the fidelity and effectiveness of modern...

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