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: Physical Sciences
Autonomous System for Monitoring the Integrity of Composite Fan Housings

A low-cost and reliable system assesses the integrity of composite fan-containment structures. The system utilizes a network of miniature sensors integrated with the structure to scan the entire structural area for any impact events and resulting structural damage, and to...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Advanced Flip Chips in Extreme Temperature Environments

The use of underfill materials is necessary with flip-chip interconnect technology to redistribute stresses due to mismatching coefficients of thermal expansion (CTEs) between dissimilar materials in the overall assembly. Underfills are formulated using organic polymers and possibly...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Adaptation of the Camera Link Interface for Flight-Instrument Applications

COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) hardware using an industry-standard Camera Link interface is proposed to accomplish the task of designing, building, assembling, and testing electronics for an airborne spectrometer that would be low-cost, but sustain the required data...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Performance CCSDS AOS Protocol Implementation in FPGA

The Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Advanced Orbiting Systems (AOS) space data link protocol provides a framing layer between channel coding such as LDPC (low-density parity-check) and higher-layer link multiplexing protocols such as CCSDS Encapsulation Service,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Performance CCSDS Encapsulation Service Implementation in FPGA

The Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Encapsulation Service is a convergence layer between lower-layer space data link framing protocols, such as CCSDS Advanced Orbiting System (AOS), and higher-layer networking protocols, such as CFDP (CCSDS File Delivery...

Briefs: Software
World Wide Web Metaphors for Search Mission Data

A software program that searches and browses mission data emulates a Web browser, containing standard metaphors for Web browsing. By taking advantage of back-end URLs, users may save and share search states. Also, since a Web interface is familiar to users, training time is reduced. Familiar back...

Briefs: Software
Phenological Parameters Estimation Tool

The Phenological Parameters Estimation Tool (PPET) is a set of algorithms implemented in MATLAB that estimates key vegetative phenological parameters. For a given year, the PPET software package takes in temporally processed vegetation index data (3D spatio-temporal arrays) generated by the time series...

Briefs: Software
Numerical Mean Element Orbital Analysis With Morbiter

The Morbiter software numerically averages an osculating orbit’s equations of motion (EOM) to arrive at the mean orbit’s EOMs, which are then numerically propagated to obtain the long-term orbital ephemerides. The long-term evolution characteristics, and stability, of an orbit are best...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Producing Hydrogen by Plasma Pyrolysis of Methane

Plasma pyrolysis of methane has been investigated for utility as a process for producing hydrogen. This process was conceived as a means of recovering hydrogen from methane produced as a...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Self-Deployable Membrane Structures

Currently existing approaches for deployment of large, ultra-lightweight gossamer structures in space rely typically upon electromechanical mechanisms and mechanically expandable or inflatable booms for deployment and to maintain them in a fully deployed, operational configuration. These support structures,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Reactivation of a Tin-Oxide-Containing Catalyst

The electrons in electric-discharge CO2 lasers cause dissociation of some CO2 into O2 and CO, and attach themselves to electronegative molecules such as O2, forming negative O2 ions, as well as larger negative ion clusters by collisions with CO...

Briefs: Materials
Low-Outgassing Adhesives

Products and manufacturing processes can be sensitive to outgassed chemical compounds, resulting in the use of adhesives, encapsulants, and sealants that have been specially formulated for low-outgassing performance....

Briefs: Materials
Functionalization of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes by Photo-Oxidation

A new technique for carbon nanotube oxidation was developed based upon the photo-oxidation of organic compounds. The resulting method is more benign than conventional oxidation approaches and produces single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) with higher levels of oxidation.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Piezoelectric Macro-Mass Balance

Mass balances usually use a strain gauge that requires an impedance measurement and is susceptible to noise and thermal drift. A piezoelectric balance can be used to measure mass directly by...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Acoustic Liner for Turbomachinery Applications

The purpose of this innovation is to reduce aircraft noise in the communities surrounding airports by significantly attenuating the noise generated by the turbomachinery, and enhancing safety by providing a containment barrier for a blade failure. Acoustic liners are used in today’s turbofan...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Water Tank With Capillary Air/Liquid Separation

A bladderless water tank (see figure) has been developed that contains capillary devices that allow it to be filled and emptied, as needed, in microgravity. When filled with water, the tank...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Large-Flow-Area Flow-Selective Liquid/Gas Separator

This liquid/gas separator provides the basis for a first stage of a fuel cell product water/oxygen gas phase separator. It can separate liquid and gas in bulk in multiple gravity environments. The system separates fuel cell product water entrained with circulating oxygen gas from the outlet of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Metering Gas Strut for Separating Rocket Stages

A proposed gas strut system would separate a liquid-fueled second rocket stage from a solid-fueled first stage using an array of pre-charged struts. The strut would be a piston-and-cylinder mechanism containing a compressed gas. Adiabatic expansion of the gas would drive the extension of the strut....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Counterflowing Jet Subsystem Design

A counterflowing jet design (a spacecraft and trans-atmospheric subsystem) employs centrally located, supersonic cold gas jets on the face of the vehicle, ejecting into the oncoming free stream. Depending on the supersonic free-stream conditions and the ejected mass flow rate of the counterflowing jets, the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
True Shear Parallel Plate Viscometer

This viscometer (which can also be used as a rheometer) is designed for use with liquids over a large temperature range. The device consists of horizontally disposed, similarly sized, parallel plates with a precisely known gap. The lower plate is driven laterally with a motor to apply shear to the liquid in...

An improved magnetic levitation apparatus (“Maglev Facility”) has been built for use in experiments in which there are requirements to impose variable gravity (including zero gravity) in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Focusing Diffraction Grating Element With Aberration Control

Diffraction gratings are optical components with regular patterns of grooves, which angularly disperse incoming light by wavelength in a single plane, called dispersion plane. Traditional gratings on flat substrates do not perform wavefront transformation in the plane perpendicular to...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Universal Millimeter-Wave Radar Front End

A quasi-optical front end allows any arbitrary polarization to be transmitted by controlling the timing, amplitude, and phase of the two input ports. The front end consists of two independent channels — horizontal and vertical. Each channel has two ports — transmit and receive. The transmit signal is...

Briefs: Information Technology
3D GeoWall Analysis System for Shuttle External Tank Foreign Object Debris Events

An analytical, advanced imaging method has been developed for the initial monitoring and identification of foam debris and similar anomalies that occur post-launch in reference to the space shuttle’s external tank (ET). Remote sensing technologies have been used...

Briefs: Information Technology
Hidden Statistics Approach to Quantum Simulations

Recent advances in quantum information theory have inspired an explosion of interest in new quantum algorithms for solving hard computational (quantum and non-quantum) problems. The basic principle of quantum computation is that the quantum properties can be used to represent structure data, and...

Briefs: Information Technology
Determining Atmospheric-Density Profile of Titan

A method was developed for measuring the atmospheric density of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, to create an accurate density profile as a function of altitude. This will allow mission planners to select safe flyby altitudes, and for navigation engineers to accurately predict the delta-v...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Plenoptic Imager for Automated Surface Navigation

An electro-optical imaging device is capable of autonomously determining the range to objects in a scene without the use of active emitters or multiple apertures. The novel, automated, low-power imaging system is based on a plenoptic camera design that was constructed as a breadboard system....

Briefs: Imaging
Reconstituted Three-Dimensional Interactive Imaging

A method combines two-dimensional images, enhancing the images as well as rendering a 3D, enhanced, interactive computer image or visual model. Any advanced compiler can be used in conjunction with any graphics library package for this method, which is intended to take digitized images and...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Qualification and Selection of Flight Diode Lasers for Space Applications

The reliability and lifetime of laser diodes is critical to space missions. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission includes a metrology system that is based upon laser diodes. An operational test facility has been developed to qualify and select, by...

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