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.

In recent years, better stabilizer formulations for ethylene vinyl-acetate have been developed, giving more confidence in the long-term stability of PV packaging materials. Because of this, some manufacturers have stopped using Ce-doped glass. National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers studied Ce-free glass.

Sensors for monitoring surface wear and/or temperature without need for wire connections have been developed. Excitation and interrogation of these sensors are accomplished by means of a...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Optical Pointing Sensor

The optical pointing sensor provides a means of directly measuring the relative positions of JPL’s Formation Control Testbed (FCT) vehicles without communication. This innovation is a steerable infrared (IR)...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Processing Nanostructured Sensors Using Microfabrication Techniques

Standard microfabrication techniques can be implemented and scaled to help assemble nanoscale microsensors. Currently nanostructures are often deposited onto materials primarily by adding them to a solution, then applying the solution in a thin film. This results in random...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Radio-Frequency Tank Eigenmode Sensor for Propellant Quantity Gauging

Although there are several methods for determining liquid level in a tank, there are no proven methods to quickly gauge the amount of propellant in a tank while it is in low gravity or under low-settling thrust conditions where propellant sloshing is an issue. Having the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
High-Temperature Optical Sensor

A high-temperature optical sensor (see Figure 1) has been developed that can operate at temperatures up to 1,000 °C. The sensor development process consists of two parts: packaging of a fiber Bragg grating...

A circuit topology has been designed to guarantee the output of intrinsically safe power for the operation of electrical devices in a hazardous environment. This...

Mechanical squeezing has been found to alter the frequency tuning of a whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonator that has an elliptical shape and is made of lithium niobate. It...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Configurable Multi-Purpose Processor

Advancements in technology have allowed the miniaturization of systems used in aerospace vehicles. This technology is driven by the need for next-generation systems that provide reliable, responsive, and cost-effective range operations while providing increased capabilities such as simultaneous mission...

Briefs: Software
Automated Computer Access Request System

The Automated Computer Access Request (AutoCAR) system is a Web-based account provisioning application that replaces the time-consuming paper-based computer-access request process at Johnson Space Center (JSC). AutoCAR combines rules-based and role-based functionality in one application to provide a...

Briefs: Software
Range Safety for an Autonomous Flight Safety System

The Range Safety Algorithm software encapsulates the various constructs and algorithms required to accomplish Time Space Position Information (TSPI) data management from multiple tracking sources, autonomous mission mode detection and management, and flight-termination mission rule evaluation....

Briefs: Software
Fast and Easy Searching of Files in Unisys 2200 Computers

A program has been written to enable (1) fast and easy searching of symbolic files for one or more strings of characters, dates, or numerical values in specific fields or columns and (2) summarizing results of searching other fields or columns. Intended for use in Unisys 2200-series...

Briefs: Software
Parachute Drag Model

DTV-SIM is a computer program that implements a mathematical model of the flight dynamics of a missile-shaped drop test vehicle (DTV) equipped with a multistage parachute system that includes two simultaneously deployed drogue parachutes and three main parachutes deployed subsequently and simultaneously by use of pilot...

Briefs: Software
Evolutionary Scheduler for the Deep Space Network

A computer program assists human schedulers in satisfying, to the maximum extent possible, competing demands from multiple spacecraft missions for utilization of the transmitting/receiving Earth stations of NASA’s Deep Space Network. The program embodies a concept of optimal scheduling to...

Modular, lightweight, fully equipped buildings comprising hybrids of rigid and inflatable structures can be assembled on Earth and then transported to and deployed on the Moon for use...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
More About N₂O-Based Propulsion and Breathable-Gas Systems

A concept was evaluated of using nitrous oxide as (1) a monopropellant in thrusters for space suits and spacecraft and (2) a source of breathable gas inside space suits and spacecraft, both by exploiting the controlled decomposition of N2O into N2 and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonic/Sonic Rotary-Hammer Drills

Ultrasonic/sonic rotary-hammer drill (USRoHD) is a recent addition to the collection of apparatuses based on ultrasonic/sonic drill corer (USDC). As described below, the USRoHD has several features, not...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lunar Soil Particle Separator

The Lunar Soil Particle Separator (LSPS) beneficiates soil prior to in situ resource utilization (ISRU). It can improve ISRU oxygen yield by boosting the concentration of ilmenite, or other iron-oxide-bearing materials found in lunar soils, which can substantially reduce hydrogen reduction reactor size, as well as...

The planned Mars Science Laboratory mission requires inlet funnels for channeling unconsolidated powdered samples from the sampling and sieving...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advanced Aerobots for Scientific Exploration

The Picosat and Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Systems Engineering (PAUSE) project is developing balloon-borne instrumentation systems as aerobots for scientific exploration of remote planets and for...

Briefs: Materials
Exfoliated Graphite Nano-Reinforcements With Surface Modifications to Improve Dispersability

Exfoliated graphite nanoflakes are a potential low-cost source of nano-reinforcement for making polymer composites with unique properties. The chemical nature of the graphitic surface leads to a low-surface energy as produced. This makes the nanoflakes...

Briefs: Materials
MicroGel® for Passivation of Pigment Degradation

MicroGel® is a unique, highly porous xero-gel silica formed using sol-gel techniques. The starting materials used are designed per guidance from molecular dynamic calculations, and are made up of mixed alkali silicates rather than normally used single alkali silicates that are gelled with...

A method was developed of synthesizing agglutinates as components of simulated Lunar regolith. The method is needed for further development of Lunar-exploration capabilities...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Fuel-Cell Power Source Based on Onboard Rocket Propellants

The use of onboard rocket propellants (dense liquids at room temperature) in place of conventional cryogenic fuel-cell reactants (hydrogen and oxygen) eliminates the mass penalties associated with cryocooling and boil-off. The high energy content and density of the rocket propellants...

In the polar regions of the Moon, some areas within craters are permanently shadowed from solar illumination and can drop to temperatures of 100 K or lower. These...

With this high-resolution imaging radar system, coherent illumination in the 576-to-589-GHz range and phase-sensitive detection are implemented in an all-solid-state design based on...

The temperature dependence of fluxoid quantization in a superconducting loop. The sensitivity of the device is expected to surpass that of other super-conducting-based bolometric devices, such...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Simultaneous Spectral Temporal Adaptive Raman Spectrometer — SSTARS

Raman spectroscopy is a prime candidate for the next generation of planetary instruments, as it addresses the primary goal of mineralogical analysis, which is structure and composition. However, large fluorescence return from many mineral samples under visible light excitation...

Briefs: Information Technology
Algorithms for Learning Preferences for Sets of Objects

A method is being developed that provides for an artificial-intelligence system to learn a user’s preferences for sets of objects and to thereafter automatically select subsets of objects according to those preferences. The method was originally intended to enable automated selection,...

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