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
Visualization Component of Vehicle Health Decision Support System

The visualization front-end of a Decision Support System (DSS) also includes an analysis engine linked to vehicle telemetry, and a database of learned models for known behaviors. Because the display is graphical rather than text-based, the summarization it provides has a greater...

Briefs : Information Technology
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Uplink Analysis Tool

This software analyzes Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) orbital geometry with respect to Mars Exploration Rover (MER) contact windows, and is the first tool of its kind designed specifically to support MRO-MER interface coordination. Prior to this automated tool, this analysis was done manually...

Briefs : Information Technology
G-Guidance Interface Design for Small Body Mission Simulation

The G-Guidance software implements a guidance and control (G&C) algorithm for small-body, autonomous proximity operations, developed under the Small Body GN&C task at JPL. The software is written in Matlab and interfaces with G-OPT, a JPL-developed optimization package written...

Briefs : Information Technology
DSN Scheduling Engine

The DSN (Deep Space Network) Scheduling Engine targets all space missions that use DSN services. It allows clients to issue scheduling, conflict identification, conflict resolution, and status requests in XML over a Java Message Service interface. The scheduling requests may include new requirements that represent a set of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Replacement Sequence of Events Generator

The soeWINDOW program automates the generation of an ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)- compliant sub-RSOE (Replacement Sequence of Events) by extracting a specified temporal window from an RSOE while maintaining page header information. RSOEs contain a significant amount of information...

Briefs : Information Technology
Force-Control Algorithm for Surface Sampling

A G-FCON algorithm is designed for small-body surface sampling. It has a linearization component and a feedback component to enhance performance. The algorithm regulates the contact force between the tip of a robotic arm attached to a spacecraft and a surface during sampling. The control algorithm is...

Briefs : Information Technology
Problem Reporting System

The Problem Reporting System (PRS) is a Web application, running on two Web servers (load-balanced) and two database servers (RAID-5), which establishes a system for submission, editing, and sharing of reports to manage risk assessment of anomalies identified in NASA's flight projects. PRS consolidates diverse anomaly-...

Briefs : Information Technology
Tool for Merging Proposals Into DSN Schedules

A Practical Extraction and Reporting Language (Perl) script called "merge7da" has been developed to facilitate determination, by a project scheduler in NASA's Deep Space Network, of whether a proposal for use of the DSN could create a conflict with the current DSN schedule. Prior to the development...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Micromachined Slits for Imaging Spectrometers

Slits for imaging spectrometers can now be fabricated to a precision much greater than previously attainable. What makes this possible is a micromachining process that involves the use of microlithographic techniques. This micromachining process supplants a prior machine-shop process.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabricating Nanodots Using Lift-Off of a Nanopore Template

A process for fabricating a planar array of dots having characteristic dimensions of the order of several nanometers to several hundred nanometers involves the formation and use of a thin alumina nanopore template on a semiconductor substrate. The dot material is deposited in the...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Making Complex Electrically Conductive Patterns on Cloth

A method for automated fabrication of flexible, electrically conductive patterns on cloth substrates has been demonstrated. Products developed using this method, or related prior methods, are instances of a technology known as "e-textiles," in which electrically conductive patterns are...

Briefs : Materials
Special Polymer/Carbon Composite Films for Detecting SO₂

A family of polymer/ carbon films has been developed for use as sensory films in electronic noses for detecting SO2 gas at concentrations as low as 1 part per million (ppm). Most previously reported SO2 sensors cannot detect SO2 at concentrations below...

Briefs : Materials
Organic/Inorganic Polymeric Composites for Heat-Transfer Reduction

Organic/inorganic polymeric composite materials have been invented with significant reduction in heat-transfer properties. Measured decreases of 20–50 percent in thermal conductivity versus that of the unmodified polymer matrix have been attained. These novel composite...

Briefs : Materials
Composite Cathodes for Dual-Rate Li-Ion Batteries

Composite-material cathodes that enable Li-ion electrochemical cells and batteries to function at both high energy densities and high discharge rates are undergoing development. Until now, using commercially available cathode materials, it has been possible to construct cells that have either...

Briefs : Materials
Nickel-Based Superalloy Resists Embrittlement by Hydrogen

A nickel-based superalloy that resists embrittlement by hydrogen more strongly than does nickel alloy 718 has been developed. Nickel alloy 718 is the most widely used superalloy. It has excellent strength and resistance to corrosion as well as acceptably high ductility, and is recognized...

Briefs : Materials
Chemical Passivation of Li⁺-Conducting Solid Electrolytes

Plates of a solid electrolyte that exhibits high conductivity for positive lithium ions can now be passivated to prevent them from reacting with metallic lithium. Such passivation could enable the construction and operation of high-performance, long-life lithium-based rechargeable...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Descent-Rate Limiting Mechanism

An improved braking cable-payout mechanism has been developed. Like other such mechanisms, this mechanism can be used as a braking or shock-absorbing device for any of a variety of purposes — for example, enabling a person to descend from an upper floor of a burning building at a safe speed, capturing...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Alignment-Insensitive Lower-Cost Telescope Architecture

This architecture features an active wavefront sensing and control scheme along with methods for measuring the relative positions of the primary to aft optics, such as the secondary mirror, and should enable larger and cheaper telescope architectures needed for future applications. This...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Latching Valve

A miniature latching valve has been invented to satisfy a need for an electrically controllable on/off pneumatic valve that is lightweight and compact and remains in the most recently commanded open or closed state when power is not supplied. The valve (see figure) includes a poppet that is moved into or out of contact...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micro-Resistojet for Small Satellites

An efficient micro- resistojet has been developed with thrust in the millinewton level, with a specific impulse of approximately 250 seconds and power input of 20 watts or less that is useful for applications of up to 1,000 hours of operation or more. The essential feature of this invention is a gas-...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Using Piezoelectric Devices To Transmit Power Through Walls

A method denoted wireless acoustic- electric feedthrough (WAEF) has been conceived for transmitting power and/or data signals through walls or other solid objects made of a variety of elastic materials that could be electrically conductive or nonconductive. WAEF would make it...

Briefs : Medical
Apparatus for Sampling Surface Contamination

An apparatus denoted a swab device has been developed as a convenient means of acquiring samples of contaminants from surfaces and suspending the samples in liquids. (Thereafter, the liquids can be dispensed, in controlled volumes, into scientific instruments for analysis of the contaminants.) The...

Briefs : Medical
Novel Species of Non-Spore-Forming Bacteria

While cataloging cultivatable microbes from the airborne biological diversity of the atmosphere of the Regenerative Enclosed life-support Module Simulator (REMS) system at Marshall Space Flight Center, two strains that belong to one novel bacterial species were isolated. Based on 16S rRNA gene...

Briefs : Medical
Chamber for Aerosol Deposition of Bioparticles

The laboratory apparatus shown in the figure is a chamber for aerosol deposition of bioparticles on surfaces of test coupons. It is designed for primary use in inoculating both flat and three-dimensional objects with approximately reproducible, uniform dispersions of bacterial spores of the genus...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hyperspectral Sun Photometer for Atmospheric Characterization and Vicarious Calibrations

A hyperspectral sun photometer and associated methods have been developed and demonstrated. Sun photometers are used to measure total (global), direct, and diffuse at-surface solar irradiance. The data acquired by sun photometers are used in atmospheric,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Shaker Fatigue Testing of a Turbine Engine Compressor Blade

Hamler Test and Analysis (HTA) provides testing, design, and finite-element analysis (FEA) consulting services, specializing in vibration measurement and experimental vibration analysis tools such as tap testing, modal analysis, operating deflection shapes analysis, and rotating...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Dynamic Stability and Gravitational Balancing of Multiple Extended Bodies

Feasibility of a non-invasive compensation scheme was analyzed for precise positioning of a massive extended body in free fall using gravitational forces influenced by surrounding source masses in close proximity. The N-body problem of classical mechanics is a paradigm...

Briefs : Information Technology
Simulation of Stochastic Processes by Coupled ODE-PDE

A document discusses the emergence of randomness in solutions of coupled, fully deterministic ODE-PDE (ordinary differential equations-partial differential equations) due to failure of the Lipschitz condition as a new phenomenon. It is possible to exploit the special properties of ordinary...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cluster Inter-Spacecraft Communications

A document describes a radio communication system being developed for exchanging data and sharing data-processing capabilities among spacecraft flying in formation. The system would establish a high-speed, low- latency, deterministic loop communication path connecting all the spacecraft in a cluster. The...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Impact Mating System for Docking Spacecraft

A document describes a low-impact mating system suitable for both docking (mating of two free-flying spacecraft) and berthing (in which a robot arm in one spacecraft positions an object for mating with either spacecraft). The low-impact mating system is fully androgynous: it mates with a copy of...

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A Deep Dive into Metal 3D Printing

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Solving Complex Measurement Problems with PXI

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NASA Discusses Advances in Photonics for Space and Commercial...

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Using Portable Scenarios and Coverage Metrics to Ensure...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Impact of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles in New Product...

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Autonomous Vehicles Sensors: How to Ensure They Work Well and...