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
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,...

Two image-data-processing algorithms are essential to the successful operation of a system of electronic hardware and software that noninvasively tracks the direction of a person’s...

Briefs: Information Technology
Model for Simulating a Spiral Software-Development Process

A discrete-event simulation model, and a computer program that implements the model, have been developed as means of analyzing a spiral software-development process. This model can be tailored to specific development environments for use by software project managers in making...

Briefs: Information Technology
Adapting ASPEN for Orbital Express

By studying the Orbital Express mission, modeling the spacecraft and scenarios, and testing the system, a technique has been developed that uses recursive decomposition to represent procedural actions declaratively, schemalevel uncertainty reasoning to make uncertainty reasoning tractable, and lightweight,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Algorithm That Synthesizes Other Algorithms for Hashing

An algorithm that includes a collection of several subalgorithms has been devised as a means of synthesizing still other algorithms (which could include computer code) that utilize hashing to determine whether an element (typically, a number or other datum) is a member of a set (typically,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Holographic Vortex Coronagraph

A holographic vortex coronagraph (HVC) has been proposed as an improvement over conventional coronagraphs for use in high-contrast astronomical imaging for detecting planets, dust disks, and other broadband...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Photon Counting Using Edge-Detection Algorithm

New applications such as high-data-rate, photon-starved, free-space optical communications require photon counting at flux rates into gigaphoton-per-second regimes coupled with sub-nanosecond timing accuracy. Current single-photon detectors that are capable of handling such operating conditions are...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Optical Structural Health Monitoring Device

This non-destructive, optical fatigue detection and monitoring system relies on a small and unobtrusive light-scattering sensor that is installed on a component at the beginning of its life in order to periodically scan the component in situ. The method involves using a laser beam to scan the surface...

An activated metal treatment system (AMTS) removes and destroys polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in painted structures or within the binding or...

A method gathers scene information from a low-cost camera system. Existing surveillance systems using sufficient cameras for continuous coverage of a large field necessarily generate...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Data Acquisition System for Multi-Frequency Radar Flight Operations Preparation

A three-channel data acquisition system was developed for the NASA Multi-Frequency Radar (MFR) system. The system is based on a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) industrial PC (personal computer) and two dual-channel 14-bit digital receiver cards. The decimated complex...

Briefs: Software
Integrating Radar Image Data With Google Maps

A public Web site has been developed as a method for displaying the multitude of radar imagery collected by NASA’s Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (AIR-SAR) instrument during its 16-year mission. Utilizing NASA’s internal AIRSAR site, the new Web site features more sophisticated visualization...

Briefs: Software
Mercury Toolset for Spatiotemporal Metadata

Mercury http://mercury.ornl.gov is a set of tools for federated harvesting, searching, and retrieving metadata, particularly spatiotemporal metadata. Version 3.0 of the Mercury toolset provides orders of magnitude improvements in search speed, support for additional metadata formats, integration with...

Briefs: Software
Social Tagging of Mission Data

Mars missions will generate a large amount of data in various forms, such as daily plans, images, and scientific information. Often, there is a semantic linkage between images that cannot be captured automatically. Software is needed that will provide a method for creating arbitrary tags for this mission data so...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Interface Supports Lightweight Subsystem Routing for Flight Applications

A wireless avionics interface exploits the constrained nature of data networks in flight systems to use a lightweight routing method. This simplified routing means that a processor is not required, and the logic can be implemented as an intellectual property (IP) core in a...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Demonstration of a Submillimeter-Wave HEMT Oscillator Module at 330 GHz

In this work, radial transitions have been successfully mated with a HEMT-based MMIC (high-electron-mobility-transistor-based monolithic microwave integrated circuit) oscillator circuit. The chip has been assembled into a WR2.2 waveguide module for the basic implementation...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Flexible Peripheral Component Interconnect Input/Output Card

The Flexible Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) Input/Output (I/O) Card is an innovative circuit board that provides functionality to interface between a variety of devices. It supports user-defined interrupts for interface synchronization, tracks system faults and failures, and...

Several different experimental monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) amplifiers have been designed to operate in frequency bands ranging from 350 to 500 GHz and were undergoing...

Briefs: Software
Public Risk Assessment Program

The Public Entry Risk Assessment (PERA) program addresses risk to the public from shuttle or other spacecraft re-entry trajectories. Managing public risk to acceptable levels is a major component of safe spacecraft operation. PERA is given scenario inputs of vehicle trajectory, probability of failure along that...

Briefs: Software
Particle Swarm Optimization Toolbox

The Particle Swarm Optimization Toolbox is a library of evolutionary optimization tools developed in the MAT-LAB environment. The algorithms contained in the library include a genetic algorithm (GA), a single-objective particle swarm optimizer (SOPSO), and a multi-objective particle swarm optimizer (MOPSO)....

Briefs: Software
Telescience Support Center Data System Software

The Telescience Support Center (TSC) team has developed a database-driven, increment-specific Data Requirement Document (DRD) generation tool that automates much of the work required for generating and formatting the DRD. It creates a database to load the required changes to configure the TSC data...

Briefs: Software
Update on PISCES

An updated version of the Platform Independent Software Components for the Exploration of Space (PISCES) software library is available. A previous version was reported in “Library for Developing Spacecraft-Mission-Planning Software” (MSC-22983), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 25, No. 7 (July 2001), page 52. To recapitulate: This...

Briefs: Software
Ground and Space Radar Volume Matching and Comparison Software

This software enables easy comparison of ground- and space-based radar observations. The software was initially designed to compare ground radar reflectivity from operational, ground based S- and C-band meteorological radars with comparable measurements from the Tropical Rainfall...

Briefs: Software
Web-Based Interface for Command and Control of Network Sensors

This software allows for the visualization and control of a network of sensors through a Web browser interface. It is currently being deployed for a network of sensors monitoring Mt. Saint Helen’s volcano; however, this innovation is generic enough that it can be deployed for any...

Briefs: Software
Orbit Determination Toolbox

The Orbit Determination Toolbox is an orbit determination (OD) analysis tool based on MATLAB and Java that provides a flexible way to do early mission analysis. The toolbox is primarily intended for advanced mission analysis such as might be performed in concept exploration, proposal, early design phase, or rapid...

Briefs: Software
Distributed Observer Network

The Distributed Observer network (DON) is a NASA-collaborative environment that leverages game technology to bring three-dimensional simulations to conventional desktop and laptop computers in order to allow teams of engi-

neers working on design and operations, either individually or in groups, to view and...

Briefs: Software
Computer-Automated Evolution of Spacecraft X-Band Antennas

A document discusses the use of computer-aided evolution in arriving at a design for X-band communication antennas for NASA’s three Space Technology 5 (ST5) satellites, which were launched on March 22, 2006. Two evolutionary algorithms, incorporating different representations of the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Practical Loop-Shaping Design of Feedback Control Systems

An improved methodology for designing feedback control systems has been developed based on systematically shaping the loop gain of the system to meet performance requirements such as stability margins, disturbance attenuation, and transient response, while taking into account the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fully Printed High-Frequency Phased-Array Antenna on Flexible Substrate

To address the issues of flexible electronics needed for surface-to-surface, surface-to-orbit, and back-to-Earth communications necessary for manned exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond, a room-temperature printing process has been developed to create active,...

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