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
Using CTX Image Features to Predict HiRISE-Equivalent Rock Density

Methods have been developed to quantitatively assess rock hazards at candidate landing sites with the aid of images from the HiRISE camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. HiRISE is able to resolve rocks as small as 1-m in diameter. Some sites of interest do not have...

Briefs: Information Technology
Inversion Method for Early Detection of ARES-1 Case Breach Failure

A document describes research into the problem of detecting a case breach formation at an early stage of a rocket flight. An inversion algorithm for case breach allocation is proposed and analyzed. It is shown how the case breach can be allocated at an early stage of its...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Use of ILTV Control Laws for LaNCETS Flight Research

A report discusses the Lift and Nozzle Change Effects on Tail Shock (LaNCETS) test to investigate the effects of lift distribution and nozzle-area ratio changes on tail shock strength of an F-15 aircraft. Specific research objectives are to obtain in-flight shock strength for multiple...

Briefs: Information Technology
Evaluating Descent and Ascent Trajectories Near Non-Spherical Bodies

Spacecraft landing on small bodies pass through regions where conventional gravitation formulations using exterior spherical harmonics are inaccurate. An investigation shows that a formulation using interior solid spherical harmonics might be satisfactory. Interior spherical...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process To Produce Iron Nanoparticle Lunar Dust Simulant Composite

A document discusses a method for producing nanophase iron lunar dust composite simulant by heating a mixture of carbon black and current lunar simulant types (mixed oxide including iron oxide) at a high temperature to reduce ionic iron into elemental iron. The product is a...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Optical Sidebands Multiplier

Optical sidebands have been generated with relative frequency tens to hundreds of GHz by using optical sidebands that are generated in a cascade process in high-quality optical resonators with Kerr nonlinearity, such as whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators. For this purpose, the WGM resonator needs to be...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Maximum Likelihood Time-of-Arrival Estimation of Optical Pulses via Photon-Counting Photodetectors

Many optical imaging, ranging, and communications systems rely on the estimation of the arrival time of an optical pulse. Recently, such systems have been increasingly employing photon-counting photodetector technology, which changes the statistics...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Single Spatial-Mode Room-Temperature-Operated 3.0 to 3.4 μm Diode Lasers

Compact, highly efficient, 3.0 to 3.4 μm light emitters are in demand for spectroscopic analysis and identification of chemical substances (including methane and formaldehyde), infrared countermeasures technologies, and development of advanced infrared scene projectors....

A portable instrument incorporates both mass spectrometry and dew point measurement to provide real-time, quantitative gas measurements of helium, nitrogen,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Self-Nulling Beam Combiner Using No External Phase Inverter

A self-nulling beam combiner is proposed that completely eliminates the phase inversion subsystem from the nulling interferometer, and instead uses the intrinsic phase shifts in the beam splitters. Simplifying the flight instrument in this way will be a valuable enhancement of mission...

Strobe or rotating beacon-type emergency lighting is a requirement on all Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) maintenance and construction vehicles. There is an effort...

This report describes the process and results of a demonstration of solid-state lighting (SSL) technology combined with occupancy sensors in a set of upright grocery store freezer cases....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Nickel-Zinc Battery System Technology

Société de Conseil et de Prospective Scientifique (SCPS), located in Rosny-sous-Bois, France, developed a technology that allows the nickel-zinc battery system to work as close as possible to its...

An analysis of the classical method of calculating the zero-gravity surface figure of a mirror from surface-figure measurements in the presence of gravity has led to improved...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Fiber-Coupled Planar Light-Wave Circuit for Seed Laser Control in High Spectral Resolution Lidar Systems

Precise laser remote sensing of aerosol extinction and backscatter in the atmosphere requires a high-power, pulsed, frequency doubled Nd:YAG laser that is wavelength-stabilized to a narrow absorption line such as found in iodine vapor. One...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Hybrid Architecture Active Wavefront Sensing and Control

A method was developed for performing relatively high-speed wavefront sensing and control to overcome thermal instabilities in a segmented primary mirror telescope [e.g., James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at L2], by using the onboard fine guidance sensor (FGS) to minimize expense and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Aerogel-Positronium Technology for the Detection of Small Quantities of Organic and/or Toxic Materials

The Ps-aerogel system [Ps is positronium (an electron-positron-hydrogen-like atom)] has been evaluated and optimized as a potential tool for planetary exploration missions. Different configurations of use were assessed, and the results provide...

Conventional thermal conductivity gauges (e.g. Pirani gauges) lend themselves to applications such as leak detectors, or in gas chromatographs for identifying various gas species. However, these...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Graphene-Based Reversible Nano-Switch/ Sensor Schottky Diode

This proof-of-concept device consists of a thin film of graphene deposited on an electrodized doped silicon wafer. The graphene film acts as a conductive path between a gold electrode deposited on top of a silicon dioxide layer and the reversible side of the silicon wafer, so as to...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Inductive Non-Contact Position Sensor

Optical hardware has been developed to measure the depth of defects in the Space Shuttle Orbiter’s windows. In this hardware, a mirror is translated such that its position corresponds to the defect’s depth, so the depth measurement problem is transferred to a mirror-position measurement problem. This is...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
High-Temperature Surface-Acoustic-Wave Transducer

Aircraft-engine rotating equipment usually operates at high temperature and stress. Non-invasive inspection of microcracks in those components poses a challenge for the non-destructive evaluation community. A low-profile ultrasonic guided wave sensor can detect cracks in situ. The key feature of...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Grid-Sphere Electrodes for Contact With Ionospheric Plasma

Grid-sphere electrodes have been proposed for use on the positively biased end of electrodynamic space tethers. A grid-sphere electrode is fabricated by embedding a wire mesh in a thin film from which a spherical balloon is formed. The grid-sphere electrode would be deployed from compact...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Robust Optimization Design Algorithm for High-Frequency TWTs

Traveling-wave tubes (TWTs), such as the Ka-band (26-GHz) model recently developed for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, are essential as communication amplifiers in spacecraft for virtually all near- and deep-space missions. This innovation is a computational design algorithm that,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Optimal and Local Connectivity Between Neuron and Synapse Array in the Quantum Dot/Silicon Brain

This innovation is used to connect between synapse and neuron arrays using nanowire in quantum dot and metal in CMOS (complementary metal oxide semi-conductor) technology to enable the density of a brainlike connection in hardware. The hardware...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Enabling IP Header Compression in COTS Routers via Frame Relay on a Simplex Link

NASA is moving toward a network-centric communications architecture and, in particular, is building toward use of Internet Protocol (IP) in space. The use of IP is motivated by its ubiquitous application in many communications networks and in available commercial...

A fully integrated, front-end Ka-band monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) was developed that houses an LNA (low noise amplifier) stage, a down-conversion stage, and...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Method and Circuit for In-Situ Health Monitoring of Solar Cells in Space

This innovation represents a method and circuit realization of a system designed to make in-situ measurements of test solar-cell operational parameters on orbit using readily available high-temperature and high-ionizing-radiation-tolerant electronic components. This...

Briefs: Software
BGen: A UML Behavior Network Generator Tool

BGen software was designed for auto-generation of code based on a graphical representation of a behavior network used for controlling automatic vehicles. A common format used for describing a behavior network, such as that used in the JPL-developed behavior-based control system, CARACaS [“Control...

Briefs: Software
Platform for Post-Processing Waveform-Based NDE

Signal- and image-processing methods are commonly needed to extract information from the waves, improve resolution of, and highlight defects in an image. Since some similarity exists for all waveform-based nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods, it would seem that a common software platform...

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