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
Replication of Space-Shuttle Computers in FPGAs and ASICs

A document discusses the replication of the functionality of the onboard space-shuttle general-purpose computers (GPCs) in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). The purpose of the replication effort is to enable utilization of proven...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Demisable Reaction-Wheel Assembly

A document discusses the concept of a demisable motor-drive-and-flywheel assembly [reaction-wheel assembly (RWA)] used in controlling the attitude of a spacecraft. “Demisable” as used here does not have its traditional legal meaning; instead, it signifies susceptible to melting, vaporizing, and/or otherwise...

Briefs: Information Technology
Spatial and Temporal Low-Dimensional Models for Fluid Flow

A document discusses work that obtains a low-dimensional model that captures both temporal and spatial flow by constructing spatial and temporal four-mode models for two classic flow problems. The models are based on the proper orthogonal decomposition at two reference Reynolds numbers....

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Electrocatalytic Reduction of Carbon Dioxide to Methane

A room-temperature electrocatalytic process has been investigated as a means of removing carbon dioxide from air and restoring oxygen to the air. The process was originally intended for...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Oxide Fiber Cathode Materials for Rechargeable Lithium Cells

Fibers have been investigated at Johnson Space Center as alternatives to other powders used as lithium-intercalation compounds in cathodes of rechargeable lithium-ion electrochemical cells. The fibers can be pressed and sintered to form a cathode, without need for a binder or a...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Electromagnetically Clean Solar Arrays
The term “electromagnetically clean solar array” (EMCSA) refers to a panel that contains a planar array of solar photovoltaic cells. The cells are laminated with shielding, narrow-current-loop wiring, and structural supports. EMCSAs could be useful in applications that require limited electromagnetic interference.
Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
System for Removing Pollutants From Incinerator Exhaust

A system for removing pollutants - primarily sulfur dioxide and mixed oxides of nitrogen - from incinerator exhaust has been demonstrated at Johnson Space Center. The system is also designed secondarily to remove particles, hydrocarbons, and CO, and is intended for use in an enclosed...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Range Imaging Without Moving Parts

Range-imaging instruments of a type now under development are intended to generate the equivalent of three-dimensional images from measurements of the round-trip times of flight of laser pulses along known directions. These instruments could also provide information on characteristics of targets, including...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Advanced Land Imager Assessment System

The Advanced Land Imager Assessment System (ALIAS) supports radiometric and geometric image processing for the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) instrument onboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. ALIAS consists of two processing subsystems for radiometric and geometric processing of the ALI’s...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Delivering Images for Mars Rover Science Planning

A methodology has been developed for delivering, via the Internet, images transmitted to Earth from cameras on the Mars Explorer Rovers, the Phoenix Mars Lander, the Mars Science Laboratory, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. The images in question are used by geographically...

The figure depicts two digital waveforms and a block diagram of a digital phase meter for measuring the difference between their phases. This digital phase meter is being developed...

To support NASA's planned 20-year mission to provide sustained global precipitation measurement (EOS-9 Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)), a deployable antenna has been...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Vision System Measures Motions of Robot and External Objects

A prototype of an advanced robotic vision system both (1) measures its own motion with respect to a stationary background and (2) detects other moving objects and estimates their motions, all by use of visual cues. Like some prior robotic and other optoelectronic vision systems, this...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Wide-Band Radar for Measuring Thickness of Sea Ice

A wide-band penetrating radar system for measuring the thickness of sea ice is under development. The need for this or a similar system arises as follows: Spatial and temporal variations in the thickness of sea ice are important indicators of heat fluxes between the ocean and atmosphere and,...

Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) has been shown to provide very sensitive measurements of surface deformation and displacement on the order of 1 cm. Future...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Microwave Power Combiner/Switch Utilizing a Faraday Rotator

A proposed device for combining or switching electromagnetic beams would have three ports, would not contain any moving parts, and would be switchable among three operating states:

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Compact Low-Loss Planar Magic-T

This design allows broadband power combining with high isolation between the H port and E port, and achieves a lower insertion loss than any other broadband planar magic-T. Passive micro wave/millimeter-wave signal power is combined both in-phase and out-of-phase at the ports, with the phase error being less than...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Next Generation Flight Controller Trainer System

The Next Generation Flight Controller Trainer (NGFCT) is a relatively inexpensive system of hardware and software that provides high- fidelity training for space-shuttle flight controllers. NGFCT provides simulations into which are integrated the behaviors of emulated space-shuttle vehicle onboard...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Quasi-Optical Transmission Line for 94-GHz Radar

A quasi-optical transmission line (QOTL) has been developed as a low-loss transmission line for a spaceborne cloud-observing radar instrument that operates at a nominal frequency of 94 GHz. This QOTL could also readily be redesigned for use in terrestrial millimeter- wave radar systems and...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Using Pipelined XNOR Logic to Reduce SEU Risks in State Machines

Single-event upsets (SEUs) pose great threats to avionic systems' state machine control logic, which are frequently used to control sequence of events and to qualify protocols. The risks of SEUs manifest in two ways: (a) the state machine's state information is changed, causing the...

In a proposed improvement in complementary metal oxide/semi con ductor (CMOS) image detectors, two additional implants in each pixel would effect vertical isolation between the metal oxide/...

Briefs: Information Technology
Converting From DDOR SASF to APF

A computer program called “ddor_sasf2apf” converts delta-door (delta differential one-way range) request from an SASF (spacecraft activity sequence file) format to an APF (apgen plan file) format for use in the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) mission-planning-and- sequencing process. The APF is used as an...

Briefs: Information Technology
Converting From CVF to AAF

A computer program called “dsn config converter” automates what had been a manual process for updating the multi-mission adaptation file (multi.aaf) used by a multiple- mission- command- sequence- generating process comprised of a combination of the AUTOGEN and APGEN programs mentioned in the immediately preceding...

Briefs: Information Technology
Documenting AUTOGEN and APGEN Model Files

A computer program called “autogen hypertext map generator” satisfies a need for documenting and assisting in visualization of, and navigation through, model files used in the AUTOGEN and APGEN software mentioned in the two immediately preceding articles. This program parses autogen script files,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Sequence History Update Tool

The Sequence History Update Tool performs Web-based sequence statistics archiving for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Using a single UNIX command, the software takes advantage of sequencing conventions to automatically extract the needed statistics from multiple files. This information is then used to populate a...

Briefs: Software
Extraction and Analysis of Display Data

The Display Audit Suite is an integrated package of software tools that partly automates the detection of Portable Computer System (PCS) Display errors. [PCS is a laptop computer used onboard the International Space Station (ISS).] The need for automation stems from the large quantity of PCS displays...

Briefs: Information Technology
MRO DKF Post-Processing Tool

This software tool saves time and reduces risk by automating two labor-intensive and error- prone post-processing steps required for every DKF [DSN (Deep Space Network) Keyword File] that MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) produces, and is being extended to post-process the corresponding TSOE (Text Sequence Of Events)...

Briefs: Software
Rig Diagnostic Tools

Rig Diagnostic Tools is a suite of applications designed to allow an operator to monitor the status and health of complex networked systems using a unique interface between Java applications and UNIX scripts. The suite consists of Java applications, C scripts, VxWorks applications, UNIX utilities, C programs, and...

Briefs: Information Technology
MRO Sequence Checking Tool

The MRO Sequence Checking Tool program, mro_check, automates significant portions of the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) sequence checking procedure. Though MRO has similar checks to the ODY's (Mars Odyssey) Mega Check tool, the checks needed for MRO are unique to the MRO spacecraft.

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