Tech Briefs

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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: 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...

Briefs: Software
Integrated Hybrid System Architecture for Risk Analysis

A conceptual design has been announced of an expert-system computer program, and the development of a prototype of the program, intended for use as a project-management tool. The program integrates schedule and risk data for the purpose of determining the schedule applications of safety...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Proposed special-purpose turbomolecular pumps denoted turbotraps would be designed, along with mating open containers, to prevent the escape of relatively slowly (thermal) moving gas...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

A method of ensuring the complete transfer of liquid droplets from nozzles in microfluidic devices to nearby surfaces involves relatively simple geometric modification of the nozzle...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Triaxial Swirl Injector Element for Liquid-Fueled Engines

A triaxial injector is a single bi-propellant injection element located at the center of the injector body. The injector element consists of three nested, hydraulic swirl injectors. A small portion of the total fuel is injected through the central hydraulic injector, all of the oxidizer...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A system is proposed for packaging material samples on a remote planet (especially Mars) in sealed sample tubes in preparation for later return to Earth. The sample tubes (Figure 1)...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Offset Compound Gear Drive

The Offset Compound Gear Drive is an in-line, discrete, two-speed device utilizing a special offset compound gear that has both an internal tooth configuration on the input end and external tooth configuration on the output end, thus allowing it to mesh in series, simultaneously, with both a smaller external tooth...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A simple design concept for check valves has been adopted for microfluidic devices that consist mostly of (1) deformable fluorocarbon polymer membranes sandwiched between (2) borosilicate float...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Dead-Volume Inlet for Vacuum Chamber

Gas introduction from near-ambient pressures to high vacuum traditionally is accomplished either by multi-stage differential pumping that allows for very rapid response, or by a capillary method that allows for a simple, single-stage introduction, but which often has a delayed response. Another means to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The invention, a static phase separator (SPS), uses airflow and capillary wetting characteristics to passively separate a two-phase (liquid and air) flow. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Heat Pipes Made From Magnesium

Magnesium has shown promise as a lighter-weight alternative to the aluminum alloys now used to make the main structural components of axially grooved heat pipes that contain ammonia as the working fluid. Magnesium heat-pipe structures can be fabricated by conventional processes that include extrusion,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

This elemental space radiator heat pipe is designed to operate in the 700 to 875 K temperature range. It consists of a C–C (carbon-carbon) shell made from poly-acrylonitride...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Non-lubricated ball bearings featuring rail races have been proposed for use in mechanisms that are required to function in the presence of mineral dust particles in very low-pressure, dry environments with...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gimballing Spacecraft Thruster

A gimballing spacecraft reaction-control-system thruster was developed that consists of a small hydrogen/oxygen-burning rocket engine integrated with a Canfield joint. (Named after its inventor, a Canfield joint is a special gimbal mount that is strong and stable yet allows a wide range of motion.) One especially...

Briefs: Unmanned Systems

An ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), now undergoing development, is a less-massive, more-efficient means of exploiting the same basic principle as that of the proposed system described in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Reflector Surface Error Compensation in Dual-Reflector Antennas

By probing the field on a small subreflector at a minimal number of points, the main reflector surface errors can be obtained and subsequently used to design a phase-correction subreflector that can compensate for main reflector errors. The compensating phase-error profile across...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

The name “enriched storable oxidizers” (ESOs) has been coined for a family of optimized mixtures of between two and four oxidizer fluids. For most applications, the constituents of these...

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...

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