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: Materials
Foam Core Shielding for Spacecraft

A foam core shield (FCS) system is now being developed to supplant multilayer insulation (MLI) systems heretofore installed on spacecraft for thermal management and protection against meteoroid impacts. A typical FCS system consists of a core sandwiched between a face sheet and a back sheet. The core can...

Briefs: Information Technology
PPC750 Performance Monitor

The PPC750 Performance Monitor (Perfmon) is a computer program that helps the user to assess the performance characteristics of application programs running under the Wind River VxWorks real-time operating system on a PPC750 computer. Perfmon generates a userfriendly interface and collects performance data by use of...

Briefs: Information Technology
Application-Program-Installer Builder

A computer program builds application programming interfaces (APIs) and related software components for installing and uninstalling application programs in any of a variety of computers and operating systems that support the Java programming language in its binary form. This program is partly similar in...

Briefs: Information Technology
Using Visual Odometry to Estimate Position and Attitude

A computer program in the guidance system of a mobile robot generates estimates of the position and attitude of the robot, using features of the terrain on which the robot is moving, by processing digitized images acquired by a stereoscopic pair of electronic cameras mounted rigidly on the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Design and Data Management System

The Design and Data Management System (DDMS) was developed to automate the NASA Engineering Order (EO) and Engineering Change Request (ECR) processes at the Propulsion Test Facilities at Stennis Space Center for efficient and effective Configuration Management (CM). Prior to the development of DDMS, the CM...

Briefs: Information Technology
Simple, Script-Based Science Processing Archive

The Simple, Scalable, Script-based Science Processing (S4P) Archive (S4PA) is a disk-based archival system for remote-sensing data. It is based on the data-driven framework of S4P and is used for data transfer, data preprocessing, metadata generation, data archive, and data distribution. New data...

Briefs: Information Technology
Automated Rocket Propulsion Test Management

The Rocket Propulsion Test-Automated Management System provides a central location for managing activities associated with Rocket Propulsion Test Management Board, National Rocket Propulsion Test Alliance, and the Senior Steering Group business management activities. A set of authorized users, both...

Briefs: Information Technology
Online Remote Sensing Interface

BasinTools Module 1 processes remotely sensed raster data, including multi- and hyper-spectral data products, via a Web site with no downloads and no plug-ins required. The interface provides standardized algorithms designed so that a user with little or no remote-sensing experience can use the site. This...

Briefs: Information Technology
Implementation of a Point Algorithm for Real-Time Convex Optimization

The primal-dual interior-point algorithm implemented in G-OPT is a relatively new and efficient way of solving convex optimization problems. Given a prescribed level of accuracy, the convergence to the optimal solution is guaranteed in a predetermined, finite number of...

Briefs: Information Technology
Handling Input and Output for COAMPS

Two suites of software have been developed to handle the input and output of the Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Prediction System (COAMPS), which is a regional atmospheric model developed by the Navy for simulating and predicting weather. Typically, the initial and boundary conditions for COAMPS are provided by a...

Briefs: Information Technology
Modeling and Grid Generation of Iced Airfoils

SmaggIce Version 2.0 is a software toolkit for geometric modeling and grid generation for two-dimensional, singleand multi-element, clean and iced airfoils. A previous version of SmaggIce was described in “Preparing and Analyzing Iced Airfoils,” NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 8 (August 2004),...

Briefs: Information Technology
Rocket Science 101 Interactive Educational Program

To better educate the public on the basic design of NASA's current mission rockets, Rocket Science 101 software has been developed as an interactive program designed to retain a user's attention and to teach about basic rocket parts. This program also has helped to expand NASA's presence on the...

Briefs: Information Technology
Automated Identification of Nucleotide Sequences

STITCH is a computer program that processes raw nucleotide-sequence data to automatically remove unwanted vector information, perform reverse-complement comparison, stitch shorter sequences together to make longer ones to which the shorter ones presumably belong, and search against the user's...

Briefs: Information Technology
Balloon Design Software

PlanetaryBalloon Version 5.0 is a software package for the design of meridionally lobed planetary balloons. It operates in a Windows environment, and programming was done in Visual Basic 6. By including the effects of circular lobes with load tapes, skin mass, hoop and meridional stress, and elasticity in the structural...

Briefs: Information Technology
Fusing Image Data for Calculating Position of an Object

A computer program has been written for use in maintaining the calibration, with respect to the positions of imaged objects, of a stereoscopic pair of cameras on each of the Mars Explorer Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The program identifies and locates a known object in the images. The...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Creep Forming of Carbon-Reinforced Ceramic-Matrix Composites

A set of lecture slides describes an investigation of creep forming as a means of imparting desired curvatures to initially flat stock plates of carbon-reinforced ceramic-matrix composite (C-CMC) materials. The investigation is apparently part of a continuing effort to develop improved...

A shape reminiscent of a dog bone has been found to be superior to other shapes for mechanical-amplification horns that are components of piezoelectrically driven actuators used in...

Briefs: Medical
Benchtop Detection of Proteins

A process, and a benchtop-scale apparatus for implementing the process, have been developed to detect proteins associated with specific microbes in water. The process and apparatus may also be useful for detection of proteins in other, more complex liquids. There may be numerous potential applications, including...

Briefs: Medical
Recombinant Collagenlike Proteins

A group of collagenlike recombinant proteins containing high densities of biologically active sites has been invented. The method used to express these proteins is similar to a method of expressing recombinant procollagens and collagens described in U. S. Patent 5,593,859, “Synthesis of human procollagens and...

Briefs: Medical
Remote Sensing of Parasitic Nematodes in Plants

A method and apparatus for remote sensing of parasitic nematodes in plants, now undergoing development, is based on measurement of visible and infrared spectral reflectances of fields where the plants are growing. Initial development efforts have been concentrated on detecting reniform nematodes...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Direct Coupling From WGM Resonator Disks to Photodetectors

Output coupling of light from a whispering- gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonator directly to a photodetector has recently been demonstrated. By "directly" is meant that the coupling is effected without use of intervening optical components. Heretofore, coupling of light into and out of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Multiple-Parameter, Low-False-Alarm Fire-Detection Systems

Fire-detection systems incorporating multiple sensors that measure multiple parameters are being developed for use in storage depots, cargo bays of ships and aircraft, and other locations not amenable to frequent, direct visual inspection. These systems are intended to improve upon...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Using Digital Radiography To Image Liquid Nitrogen in Voids

Digital radiography by use of (1) a field- portable x-ray tube that emits low- energy x rays and (2) an electronic imaging x-ray detector has been found to be an effective technique for detecting liquid nitrogen inside voids in thermal- insulation panels. The technique was conceived as...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plasmoid Thruster for High Specific-Impulse Propulsion

A report discusses a new multi-turn, multi-lead design for the first generation PT-1 (Plasmoid Thruster) that produces thrust by expelling plasmas with embedded magnetic fields (plasmoids) at high velocities. This thruster is completely electrodeless, capable of using in-situ resources, and...

Briefs: Information Technology
Analysis Method for Quantifying Vehicle Design Goals

A document discusses a method for using Design Structure Matrices (DSM), coupled with high-level tools representing important life-cycle parameters, to comprehensively conceptualize a flight/ground space transportation system design by dealing with such variables as performance, up-front...

Briefs: Information Technology
Improved Tracking of Targets by Cameras on a Mars Rover

A paper describes a method devised to increase the robustness and accuracy of tracking of targets by means of three stereoscopic pairs of video cameras on a Mars-rover-type exploratory robotic vehicle. Two of the camera pairs are mounted on a mast that can be adjusted in pan and tilt; the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sample Caching Subsystem

A paper describes the Sample Caching Subsystem (SCS), a method for storing planetary core and soil samples in a container that seals the samples away from the environment to protect the integrity of the samples and any organics they might contain. This process places samples in individual sleeves that are sealed within a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multistage Passive Cooler for Spaceborne Instruments

A document describes a three-stage passive radiative cooler for a cryogenic spectrometer to be launched into a low orbit around the Moon. This cooler is relatively lightweight and compact, and its basic design is scalable and otherwise adaptable to other applications in which there are...

Briefs: Information Technology
GVIPS Models and Software

Two reports discuss, respectively, (1) the generalized viscoplasticity with potential structure (GVIPS) class of mathematical models and (2) the Constitutive Material Parameter Estimator (COMPARE) computer program. GVIPS models are constructed within a thermodynamics- and potential-based theoretical framework, wherein...

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