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
Planar Submillimeter-Wave Mixer Technology With Integrated Antenna

High-performance mixers at terahertz frequencies require good matching between the coupling circuits such as antennas and local oscillators and the diode embedding impedance. With the availability of amplifiers at submillimeter wavelengths and the need to have multi-pixel imagers...

Briefs: Information Technology
Reactive Collision Avoidance Algorithm

The reactive collision avoidance (RCA) algorithm allows a spacecraft to find a fuel-optimal trajectory for avoiding an arbitrary number of colliding spacecraft in real time while accounting for acceleration limits. In addition to spacecraft, the technology can be used for vehicles that can accelerate in any...

Briefs: Information Technology
Modeling Common-Sense Decisions in Artificial Intelligence

A methodology has been conceived for efficient synthesis of dynamical models that simulate common-sense decision-making processes. This methodology is intended to contribute to the design of artificial-intelligence systems that could imitate human commonsense decision making or assist...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Graph-Based Path-Planning for Titan Balloons

A document describes a graph-based path-planning algorithm for balloons with vertical control authority and little or no horizontal control authority. The balloons are designed to explore celestial bodies with atmospheres, such as Titan, a moon of Saturn. The algorithm discussed enables the balloon to...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Nanolaminate Membranes as Cylindrical Telescope Reflectors

A document discusses a proposal to use axially stretched metal nanolaminate membranes as lightweight parabolic cylindrical reflectors in the Dual Anamorphic Reflector Telescope (DART) — a planned spaceborne telescope in which the cylindrical reflectors would be arranged to obtain a...

Briefs: Information Technology
Fast Solution in Sparse LDA for Binary Classification

An algorithm that performs sparse linear discriminant analysis (Sparse-LDA) finds near-optimal solutions in far less time than the prior art when specialized to binary classification (of 2 classes). Sparse-LDA is a type of feature- or variable-selection problem with numerous applications in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Air-Sea Spray Airborne Radar Profiler Characterizes Energy Fluxes in Hurricanes

A report discusses ASAP (Air-sea Spray Airborne Profiler), a dual-wavelength radar profiler that provides measurement information about the droplet size distribution (DSD) of sea-spray, which can be used to estimate heat and moisture fluxes for hurricane research....

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Large Telescope Segmented Primary Mirror Alignment

A document discusses a broadband (white light) point source, located at the telescope Cassegrain focus, which generates a cone of light limited by the hole in the secondary mirror (SM). It propagates to the aspheric null-mirror, which is optimized to make all the reflected rays to be normal to...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Simplified Night Sky Display System

A document describes a simple night sky display system that is portable, lightweight, and includes, at most, four components in its simplest configuration. The total volume of this system is no more than 106 cm3 in a disassembled state, and weighs no more than 20 kilograms. The four basic...

Specially designed focusing of light beams has been proposed as a means of improving the performances of optical buffers based on cells containing hot atomic vapors (e.g., rubidium...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Active and Passive Hybrid Sensor

A hybrid ocean wind sensor (HOWS) can map ocean vector wind in low to hurricane-level winds, and non-precipitating and precipitating conditions. It can acquire active and passive measurements through a single aperture at two wavelengths, two polarizations, and multiple incidence angles. Its low profile, compact...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Quick-Response Thermal Actuator for Use as a Heat Switch

This work improves the performance of a heat switch, or a thermal actuator, by delivering heat to the actuator in a more efficient manner. The method uses a heat pipe as the plunger or plug instead of just using a solid piece of metal. The heat pipe could be one tailored for fast transient...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
AlGaN Ultraviolet Detectors for Dual-Band UV Detection

This innovation comprises technology that has the ability to measure at least two ultraviolet (UV) bands using one detector without relying on any external optical filters. This allows users to build a miniature UVA and UVB monitor, as well as to develop compact, multicolor imaging...

Perlite is the most typical insulating powder used to separate the inner and outer shells of cryogenic tanks. The inner tank holds the low-temperature commodity, while the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Directional Spherical Cherenkov Detector

A proposed radiation-detecting apparatus would provide information on the kinetic energies, directions, and electric charges of highly energetic incident subatomic particles. The apparatus was...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Using Thin-Film Thermometers as Heaters in Thermal Control Applications

A cryogenic sensor maintains calibration at ≈4.2 K to better than 2 mK (

Briefs: Physical Sciences
System for Hydrogen Sensing

A low-power, wireless gas-sensing system is designed to safeguard the apparatus to which it is attached, as well as associated personnel. It also ensures the efficiency and operational integrity of the hydrogen-powered apparatus. This sensing system can be operated with lower power consumption (less than 30...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
K-Band Traveling-Wave Tube Amplifier

A new space-qualified, high-power, high-efficiency, K-band traveling-wave tube amplifier (TWTA), shown in the figure, will provide high-rate, high-capacity, direct-to-Earth communications for science data...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Sideband-Separating, Millimeter-Wave Heterodyne Receiver

Researchers have demonstrated a sub-millimeter-wave spectrometer that combines extremely broad bandwidth with extremely high sensitivity and spectral resolution to enable future spacecraft to measure the composition of the Earth’s troposphere in three dimensions many times per day at...

A simplified load-following control scheme has been proposed for a fuel cell power system. The scheme could be used to control devices that are important parts of a fuel cell system...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Loosely Coupled GPS-Aided Inertial Navigation System for Range Safety

The Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) aims to replace the human element of range safety operations, as well as reduce reliance on expensive, downrange assets for launches of expendable launch vehicles (ELVs). The system consists of multiple navigation sensors and flight...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Modified Phasemeter for a Heterodyne Laser Interferometer

Modifications have been made in the design of instruments of the type described in “Digital Averaging Phasemeter for Heterodyne Interferometry” (NPO-30866), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 9 (September 2004), page 6a. To recapitulate: A phasemeter of this type measures the difference...

An improved design concept for coaxial propellant injectors for a rocket engine (or perhaps for a non-rocket combustion chamber) offers advantages of greater robustness, less...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Adaptable Diffraction Gratings With Wavefront Transformation

Diffraction gratings are optical components with regular patterns of grooves, which angularly disperse incoming light by wavelength. Traditional diffraction gratings have static planar, concave, or convex surfaces. However, if they could be made so that they can change the surface...

Briefs: Software
Natural-Language Parser for PBEM

A computer program called “Hunter” accepts, as input, a colloquial-English description of a set of policy-based-management rules, and parses that description into a form useable by policy-based enterprise management (PBEM) software.

Briefs: Software
Policy Process Editor for P³BM Software

A computer program enables generation, in the form of graphical representations of process flows with embedded natural-language policy statements, input to a suite of policy-, process-, and performancebased management (P3BM) software developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Like the...

Briefs: Software
A Quality System Database

A quality system database (QSD), and software to administer the database, were developed to support recording of administrative nonconformance activities that involve requirements for documentation of corrective and/or preventive actions, which can include ISO 9000 internal quality audits and customer complaints....

Briefs: Software
Trajectory Optimization: OTIS 4

The latest release of the Optimal Trajectories by Implicit Simulation (OTIS4) allows users to simulate and optimize aerospace vehicle trajectories. With OTIS4, one can seamlessly generate optimal trajectories and parametric vehicle designs simultaneously. New features also allow OTIS4 to solve non-aerospace...

Briefs: Software
Computer Software Configuration Item-Specific Flight Software Image Transfer Script Generator

A K-shell UNIX script enables the International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control Team (FCT) operators in NASA’s Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston to transfer an entire or partial computer software configuration item (CSCI) from a flight...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Reducing the Cost of Quality in Automotive BiW

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Electric-Vehicle Transmission Development Priorities

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The Critical Role of Fiber Optic Temperature Sensors in Medical...

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Zinc Die Casting Concepts to Achieve Precision, Performance, and...

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Radar Measurements: Triggering, Analysis, and Generation

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Designing with Silicone for Space

Videos