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.

An alternative method of low-temperature plasma functionalization of carbon nanotubes provides for the simultaneous attachment of molecular groups of multiple (typically two or three)...

Briefs: Materials
Catalyst for Carbon Monoxide Oxidation

In many applications, it is highly desirable to operate a CO2 laser in a sealed condition, for in an open system the laser requires a continuous flow of laser gas to remove the dissociation products that occur in the discharge zone of the laser, in order to maintain a stable power output. This...

Briefs: Materials
Titanium Hydroxide — a Volatile Species at High Temperature

Titanium hydroxide, TiO(OH)2 (g), has been identified as the primary reaction product of TiO2 (s) + H2O (g) at high temperatures (1,200–1,400 °C) through the use of the transpiration technique. This technique is a well-established method used to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Heat Exchangers

A hybrid light-weight heat exchanger concept has been developed that uses high-conductivity carbon-carbon (C–C) composites as the heat-transfer fins and uses conventional high-temperature metals, such as Inconel, nickel, and titanium as the parting sheets to meet leakage and structural requirements.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Orbital Winch for High-Strength, Space-Survivable Tethers

An Orbital Winch mechanism enables high-load, multi-line tethers to be deployed and retracted without rotating the spool on which the tether is wound. To minimize damage to the tether and the wound package during retraction or deployment under load, it can incorporate a Tension Management...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Steerable Hopping Six-Legged Robot

The figure depicts selected aspects of a six-legged robot that moves by hopping and that can be steered in the sense that it can be launched into a hop in a controllable direction. This is a prototype of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Launchable and Retrievable Tetherobot

A proposed robotic system for scientific exploration of rough terrain would include a stationary or infrequently moving larger base robot, to which would be tethered a smaller hopping robot of the type...

Briefs: Information Technology
Physics of Life: A Model for Non-Newtonian Properties of Living Systems

This innovation proposes the reconciliation of the evolution of life with the second law of thermodynamics via the introduction of the First Principle for modeling behavior of living systems. The structure of the model is quantum-inspired: it acquires the topology of the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Parameterized Linear Longitudinal Airship Model

A parameterized linear mathematical model of the longitudinal dynamics of an airship is undergoing development. This model is intended to be used in designing control systems for future airships that would operate in the atmospheres of Earth and remote planets.

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Water Membrane Evaporator

A water membrane evaporator (WME) has been conceived and tested at Johnson Space Center as an alternative to the contamination-sensitive and corrosion-prone evaporators currently used for dissipating heat from space vehicles.

A shielded radiator integrated within a solar concentrator was developed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems for applications that require protection from high ambient temperatures with little...

Determination of neutral winds and ion drifts in low-Earth-orbit missions requires measurements of the angular and energy distributions of the flux of neutrals and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Three Methods of Detection of Hydrazines

Three proposed methods for measuring trace quantities of hydrazines involve ionization and detection of hydrazine derivatives. These methods are intended to overcome the limitations of prior...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Cryogenic Moisture Apparatus

The Cryogenic Moisture Apparatus (CMA) is designed for quantifying the amount of moisture from the surrounding air that is taken up by cryogenic-tank-insulating material specimens while under typical conditions...

A transportable atom interferometer-based gravity gradiometer has been developed at JPL to carry out measurements of Earth’s gravity field at ever finer spatial resolutions,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Instrument for Analysis of Greenland’s Glacier Mills

A new instrument is used to study the inner workings of Greenland’s glacier mills by riding the currents inside a glacier’s moulin. The West Greenland Moulin Explorer instrument was deployed into a tubular shaft to autonomously record temperature, pressure, 3D acceleration, and location....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wavefront Correction for Large, Flexible Antenna Reflector

A wavefront-correction system has been proposed as part of an outer-space radio communication system that would include a large, somewhat flexible main reflector antenna, a smaller subreflector antenna, and a small array feed at the focal plane of these two reflector antennas. Part of...

Previous microstrip-to-waveguide transitions either required a hermetically sealed waveguide configuration, or a balun that needed to be tuned according to the frequency band...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Thin-Film Ferroelectric-Coupled Microstripline Phase Shifters With Reduced Device Hysteresis

This work deals with the performance of coupled microstripline phase shifters (CMPS) fabricated using BaxSr1-xTiO3 (BST) ferroelectric thin films. The CMPS were fabricated using commercially available pulsed laser...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Two-Stage, 90-GHz, Low-Noise Amplifier

A device has been developed for coherent detection of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). A two-stage amplifier has been designed that covers 75–110 GHz. The device uses the emerging 35-nm InP HEMT technology recently developed at Northrop Grumman Corporation primarily for use at...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
A 311-GHz Fundamental Oscillator Using InP HBT Technology

This oscillator uses a single-emitter 0.3-μm InP heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) device with maximum frequency of oscillation (fmax) greater than 500 GHz. Due to high conductor and substrate losses at submillimeter-wave frequencies, a primary challenge is to...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
FPGA Coprocessor Design for an Onboard Multi-angle Spectro-Polarimetric Imager

A multi-angle spectro-polarimetric imager (MSPI) is an advanced camera system currently under development at JPL for possible future consideration on a satellite-based Aerosol-Cloud-Environment (ACE) interaction study. The light in the optical system is subjected to a...

Briefs: Software
Integrated Budget Office Toolbox

The Integrated Budget Office Toolbox (IBOT) combines budgeting, resource allocation, organizational funding, and reporting features in an automated, integrated tool that provides data from a single source for Johnson Space Center (JSC) personnel. Using a common interface, concurrent users can utilize the data...

Briefs: Software
PLOT3D Export Tool for Tecplot

The PLOT3D export tool for Tecplot solves the problem of modified data being impossible to output for use by another computational science solver. The PLOT3D Exporter add-on enables the use of the most commonly available visualization tools to engineers for output of a standard format. The exportation of PLOT3D...

Briefs: Software
Math Description Engine Software Development Kit

The Math Description Engine Software Development Kit (MDE SDK) can be used by software developers to make computer-rendered graphs more accessible to blind and visually-impaired users. The MDE SDK generates alternative graph descriptions in two forms: textual descriptions and non-verbal sound...

Briefs: Software
Astronaut Office Scheduling System Software

AOSS is a highly efficient scheduling application that uses various tools to schedule astronauts’ weekly appointment information. This program represents an integration of many technologies into a single application to facilitate schedule sharing and management. It is a Windows-based application...

Briefs: Software
ISS Solar Array Management

The International Space Station (ISS) Solar Array Management (SAM) software toolset provides the capabilities necessary to operate a spacecraft with complex solar array constraints. It monitors spacecraft telemetry and provides interpretations of solar array constraint data in an intuitive manner. The toolset provides...

Briefs: Software
Probabilistic Structural Analysis Program

NASA/NESSUS 6.2c is a general-purpose, probabilistic analysis program that computes probability of failure and probabilistic sensitivity measures of engineered systems. Because NASA/NESSUS uses highly computationally efficient and accurate analysis techniques, probabilistic solutions can be obtained even...

Briefs: Software
SPOT Program

A Spacecraft Position Optimal Tracking (SPOT) program was developed to process Global Positioning System (GPS) data, sent via telemetry from a spacecraft, to generate accurate navigation estimates of the vehicle position and velocity (state vector) using a Kalman filter. This program uses the GPS onboard receiver measurements to...

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