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
Algorithm for Wavefront Sensing Using an Extended Scene

A recently conceived algorithm for processing image data acquired by a Shack-Hartmann (SH) wavefront sensor is not subject to the restriction, previously applicable in SH wavefront sensing, that the image be formed from a distant star or other equivalent of a point light source. That is to...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Onboard Data Processor for Change-Detection Radar Imaging

A computer system denoted a change-detection onboard processor (CDOP) is being developed as a means of processing the digitized output of a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) apparatus aboard an aircraft or spacecraft to generate images showing changes that have occurred in the terrain below...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
System for Measuring Flexing of a Large Spaceborne Structure

An optoelectronic metrology system is used for determining the attitude and flexing of a large spaceborne radar antenna or similar structure. The measurements are needed for accurate pointing of the antenna and correction and control of the phase of the radar signal wavefront. The...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
VHF Wide-Band, Dual-Polarization Microstrip-Patch Antenna

The figure depicts selected aspects of a very-high-frequency (VHF) microstrip-patch antenna designed and built to satisfy requirements specific to an airborne synthetic-aperture radar system for measuring the thickness of sea ice. One of the requirements is that the antenna be capable of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Using LDPC Code Constraints To Aid Recovery of Symbol Timing

A method of utilizing information available in the constraints imposed by a low-density parity-check (LDPC) code has been proposed as a means of aiding the recovery of symbol timing in the reception of a binary-phase- shift-keying (BPSK) signal representing such a code in the presence...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Integrated Formation Optical Communication and Estimation System

An architecture has been designed that integrates formation estimation methodologies, precision formation sensing, and high- bandwidth formation communication into a robust, strap-on system that meets knowledge and communication requirements for the majority of planned, precision...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Making Superconducting Welds Between Superconducting Wires

A technique for making superconducting joints between wires made of dissimilar superconducting metals has been devised. The technique is especially suitable for fabrication of superconducting circuits needed to support persistent electric currents in electromagnets in diverse cryogenic...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Method for Thermal Spraying of Coatings Using Resonant-Pulsed Combustion

A method has been devised for high-volume, high-velocity surface deposition of protective metallic coatings on otherwise vulnerable surfaces. Thermal spraying is used whereby the material to be deposited is heated to the melting point by passing through a flame. Rather than...

Briefs : Materials
Coating Reduces Ice Adhesion

The Shuttle Ice Liberation Coating (SILC) has been developed to reduce the adhesion of ice to surfaces on the space shuttle. SILC, when coated on a surface (foam, metal, epoxy primer, polymer surfaces), will reduce the adhesion of ice by as much as 90 percent as compared to the corresponding uncoated surface. This...

Briefs : Materials
Hybrid Multifoil Aerogel Thermal Insulation

This innovation blends the merits of multifoil insulation (MFI) with aerogel-based insulation to develop a highly versatile, ultra-low thermally conductive material called hybrid multifoil aerogel thermal insulation (HyMATI). The density of the opacified aerogel is 240 mg/cm3 and has thermal...

Briefs : Information Technology
XML-Based SHINE Knowledge Base Interchange Language

The SHINE Knowledge Base Interchange Language software has been designed to more efficiently send new knowledge bases to spacecraft that have been embedded with the Spacecraft Health Inference Engine (SHINE) tool. The intention of the behavioral model is to capture most of the information...

Briefs : Information Technology
SHINE Virtual Machine Model for In-flight Updates of Critical Mission Software

This software is a new target for the Spacecraft Health Inference Engine (SHINE) knowledge base that compiles a knowledge base to a language called Tiny C — an interpreted version of C that can be embedded on flight processors. This new target allows portions of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Mars Image Collection Mosaic Builder

A computer program assembles images from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Observer Camera Narrow Angle (MOCNA) collection to generate a uniform-high-resolution, georeferenced, uncontrolled mosaic image of the Martian surface. At the time of reporting the information for this article, the mosaic covered 7...

Briefs : Information Technology
Providing Internet Access to High-Resolution Mars Images

The OnMars server is a computer program that provides Internet access to high-resolution Mars images, maps, and elevation data, all suitable for use in geographical information system (GIS) software for generating images, maps, and computational models of Mars. The OnMars server is an...

Briefs : Information Technology
Providing Internet Access to High-Resolution Lunar Images

The OnMoon server is a computer program that provides Internet access to high-resolution Lunar images, maps, and elevation data, all suitable for use in geographical information system (GIS) software for generating images, maps, and computational models of the Moon. The OnMoon server...

Briefs : Information Technology
Expressions Module for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program

The Expressions Module is a software module that has been incorporated into the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP). The module includes an expressions-parser submodule built on top of an analytical system, enabling the user to define logical and numerical variables and constants....

Briefs : Information Technology
Virtual Satellite

Virtual Satellite (VirtualSat) is a computer program that creates an environment that facilitates the development, verification, and validation of flight software for a single spacecraft or for multiple spacecraft flying in formation. In this environment, enhanced functionality and autonomy of navigation, guidance, and control...

Briefs : Information Technology
Small-Body Extensions for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP)

An extension to the SOAP software allows users to work with tri-axial ellip-soid-based representations of planetary bodies, primarily for working with small, natural satellites, asteroids, and comets. SOAP is a widely used tool for the visualization and analysis of space...

Briefs : Information Technology
Scripting Module for the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP)

This add-on module to the SOAP software can perform changes to simulation objects based on the occurrence of specific conditions. This allows the software to encompass simulation response of scheduled or physical events. Users can manipulate objects in the simulation environment...

Briefs : Information Technology
Core Technical Capability Laboratory Management System

The Core Technical Capability Lab - oratory Management System (CTCLMS) consists of dynamically generated Web pages used to access a database containing detailed CTC lab data with the software hosted on a server that allows users to have remote access. Users log into the system with their KSC...

Briefs : Information Technology
MRO SOW Daily Script

The MRO SOW daily script (wherein "MRO" signifies "Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter" and "SOW" signifies "sequence systems engineer of the week") is a computer program that automates portions of the MRO daily SOW procedure, which includes checking file-system sizes and automated sequence processor (ASP) log files. The MRO SOW...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tool for Inspecting Alignment of Twinaxial Connectors

A proposed tool would be used to inspect alignments of mating twinaxial-connector assemblies on interconnecting wiring harnesses. More specifically, the tool would be used to inspect the alignment of each contact pin of each connector on one assembly with the corresponding socket in the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
An ATP System for Deep-Space Optical Communication

An acquisition, tracking, and pointing (ATP) system is proposed for aiming an optical- communications downlink laser beam from deep space. In providing for a direction reference, the concept exploits the mature technology of star trackers to eliminate the need for a costly and potentially...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Polar Traverse Rover Instrument

A Polar Traverse Rover (PTR) is a device designed to determine the role of Antarctica in the global climate system by determining typical paths of continental air that passes the South Pole, and by obtaining insight into the relationship between events at the Antarctic and the meteorology of sub- polar altitudes....

Briefs : Medical
Detecting Phycocyanin-Pigmented Microbes in Reflected Light

A recently invented method of measuring concentrations of phycocynanin- pigmented algae and bacteria in water is based on measurement of the spectrum of reflected sunlight. When present in sufficiently high concentrations, phycocynanin- pigmented microorganisms can be hazardous to the...

Briefs : Medical
Expert System Control of Plant Growth in an Enclosed Space

The Expert System is an enclosed, controlled environment for growing plants, which incorporates a computerized, knowledge-based software program that is designed to capture the knowledge, experience, and problem-solving skills of one or more human experts in a particular discipline. The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
DMAC and NMP as Electrolyte Additives for Li-Ion Cells

Dimethyl acetamide (DMAC) and N-methyl pyrrolidinone (NMP) have been found to be useful as high- temperature- resilience-enhancing additives to a baseline electrolyte used in rechargeable lithium-ion electrochemical cells. The baseline electrolyte, which was previously formulated to improve...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Mass Spectrometer Containing Multiple Fixed Collectors

A miniature mass spectrometer that incorporates features not typically found in prior mass spectrometers is undergoing development. This mass spectrometer is designed to simultaneously measure the relative concentrations of five gases (H2, He, N2, O2, and Ar)...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Waveguide Harmonic Generator for the SIM

A second-harmonic generator (SHG) serves as the source of the visible laser beam in an onboard calibration scheme for NASA's planned Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), which requires an infrared laser beam and a visible laser beam coherent with the infrared laser beam. The SHG includes...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Whispering Gallery Mode Resonator With Orthogonally Reconfigurable Filter Function

An optical resonator has been developed with reconfigurable filter function that has resonant lines that can be shifted precisely and independently from each other, creating any desirable combination of resonant lines. This is achieved by changing the axial...


Articles: Motion Control

The Modern Industrial Workhorse: PID Controllers

Briefs: Information Technology

Software for Analyzing Root Causes of Process Anomalies

Podcasts: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Here's an Idea: Apollo 11

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Induced-Eddy-Current-Sensor Measurement of Semiconductor Performance

Articles: Photonics/Optics

Nd:YAG or Fiber Laser for Micro Welding?

Articles: Photonics/Optics

Custom Optomechanics in Industrial UV Lasers