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 : Test & Measurement
Dielectric Heaters for Testing Spacecraft Nuclear Reactors

Like the electrical-resistance heaters used heretofore for such testing, the dielectric heaters would be inserted in the reactors in place of nuclear fuel rods. A typical heater according to the proposal would consist of a rod of lossy dielectric material sized and shaped like a fuel rod...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Modular, Microprocessor-Controlled Flash Lighting System

A microprocessor- controlled lighting system generates brief, precisely timed, high- intensity flashes of light for scientific imaging at frame rates up to about 1 kHz. The system includes an array of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that are driven in synchronism with an externally generated...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Highly Efficient Multilayer Thermoelectric Devices

Multilayer thermoelectric devices now at the prototype stage of development exhibit a combination of desirable characteristics, including high figures of merit and high performance/cost ratios. These devices are capable of producing temperature differences of the order of 50 K in operation at or...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Using Doppler Shifts of GPS Signals To Measure Angular Speed

A method has been proposed for extracting information on the rate of rotation of an aircraft, spacecraft, or other body from differential Doppler shifts of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals received by antennas mounted on the body. In principle, the method should be capable of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Very High-Speed Digital Video Capability for In-Flight Use

A digital video camera system has been qualified for use in flight on the NASA supersonic F-15B Research Testbed aircraft. This system is capable of very-high-speed color digital imaging at flight speeds up to Mach 2. The components of this system have been ruggedized and shock-mounted...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
MMIC DHBT Common-Base Amplifier for 172 GHz

Figure 1 shows a single-stage monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) power amplifier in which the gain element is a double-heterojunction bipolar transistor (DHBT) connected in common-base configuration. This amplifier, which has been demonstrated to function well at a frequency of 172 GHz, is...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Tunable-Bandwidth Filter System

A tunable-bandwidth filter system (TBFS), now undergoing development, is intended to be part of a remote-sensing multispectral imaging system that will operate in the visible and near infrared spectral region (wavelengths from 400 to 900 nm). Attributes of the TBFS include rapid tunability of the pass band over a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Polarization Phase-Compensating Coats for Metallic Mirrors

A method of compensating for or minimizing phase differences between orthogonal polarizations of light reflected from metallic mirrors at oblique incidence, as, for example, from weakly curved mirrors, is undergoing development. The method is intended to satisfy a need to maintain...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Monitoring Temperatures of Tires Using Luminescent Materials

A method of noncontact, optical monitoring of the surface temperature of a tire has been devised to enable the use of local temperature rise as an indication of potential or impending failures. The method involves the use of temperature-sensitive paint (or filler):...

Briefs : Information Technology
Methodology for Designing Fault-Protection Software

A document describes a methodology for designing fault-protection (FP) software for autonomous spacecraft. The methodology embodies and extends established engineering practices in the technical discipline of Fault Detection, Diagnosis, Mitigation, and Recovery; and has been successfully...

Briefs : Information Technology
Ground-Based Localization of Mars Rovers

The document discusses a procedure for localizing the Mars rovers in site frame, a locally defined reference frame on the Martian surface. MER onboard position within a site frame is estimated onboard and is based on wheel odometry. Odometry estimation of rover position is only reliable over relatively...

Briefs : Materials
Polyimides From a-BPDA and Aromatic Diamines

Polymers having low color and a favorable combination of other properties, including high glass-transition temperature (Tg) and high mechanical properties (strength, tensile modulus, and toughness) will find use in a variety of terrestrial and space applications. Some of the space...

Briefs : Materials
Making Plant-Support Structures From Waste Plant Fiber

Environmentally benign, biodegradable structures for supporting growing plants can be made in a process based on recycling of such waste plant fiber materials as wheat straw or of such derivative materials as paper and cardboard. Examples of structures that can be made in this way include...

Briefs : Software
Analyzing Power Supply and Demand on the ISS

Station Power and Energy Evaluation Determiner (SPEED) is a Java application program for analyzing the supply and demand aspects of the electrical power system of the International Space Station (ISS). SPEED can be executed on any computer that supports version 1.4 or a subsequent version of the Java...

Briefs : Software
X-Windows Information Sharing Protocol Widget Class

The X-Windows Information Sharing Protocol (ISP) Widget Class ("Class" is used here in the object-oriented -programming sense of the word) was devised to simplify the task of implementing ISP graphical-user-interface (GUI) computer programs. ISP programming tasks require many method calls to...

Briefs : Software
X-Windows Socket Widget Class

The X-Windows Socket Widget Class ("Class" is used here in the object-oriented -programming sense of the word) was devised to simplify the task of implementing network connections for graphical-userinterface (GUI) computer programs. UNIX Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) socket programming...

Briefs : Software
Simulating Humans as Integral Parts of Spacecraft Missions

The Collaborative-Virtual Environment Simulation Tool (C-VEST) software was developed for use in a NASA project entitled "3-D Interactive Digital Virtual Human." The project is oriented toward the use of a comprehensive suite of advanced software tools in computational simulations for...

Briefs : Software
Processing Raman Spectra of High-Pressure Hydrogen Flames

The Raman Code automates the analysis of laser-Raman- spectroscopy data for diagnosis of combustion at high pressure. On the basis of the theory of molecular spectroscopy, the software calculates the rovibrational and pure rotational Raman spectra of H2, O2,...

Briefs : Software
Modular Aero-Propulsion System Simulation

The Modular Aero-Propulsion System Simulation (MAPSS) is a graphical simulation environment designed for the development of advanced control algorithms and rapid testing of these algorithms on a generic computational model of a turbofan engine and its control system. MAPSS is a nonlinear, non-real- time...

Briefs : Software
Generic Environment for Simulating Launch Operations

GEM-FLO (A Generic Simulation Environment for Modeling Future Launch Operations) is a computer program that facilitates creation of discreteevent simulation models of ground processes in which reusable or expendable launch vehicles (RLVs) are prepared for flight. GEM-FLO includes a component,...

Briefs : Software
Infrastructure for Rapid Development of Java GUI Programs

The Java Application Shell (JAS) is a software framework that accelerates the development of Java graphical-userinterface (GUI) application programs by enabling the reuse of common, proven GUI elements, as distinguished from writing custom code for GUI elements. JAS is a software...

Briefs : Software
DCS-Neural-Network Program for Aircraft Control and Testing

A computer program implements a dynamic-cell-structure (DCS) artificial neural network that can perform such tasks as learning selected aerodynamic characteristics of an airplane from windtunnel test data and computing realtime stability and control derivatives of the airplane for use...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Large Deployable Reflectarray Antenna

A report discusses a 7-meter-diameter reflectarray antenna that has been conceived in a continuing effort to develop large reflectarray antennas to be deployed in outer space. Major underlying concepts were reported in three prior NASA Tech Briefs articles: "Inflatable Reflectarray Antennas" (NPO-20433),...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Periodically Discharging, Gas-Coalescing Filter

A proposed device would remove bubbles of gas from a stream of liquid (typically water), accumulate the gas, and periodically release the gas, in bulk, back into the stream. The device is intended for use in a flow system (1) in which there is a requirement to supply bubble-free water to a...

Briefs : Software
Analysis Software Used in Liquids Berth Trestle Structure Design

Madsen Giersing, an Australian consulting engineering firm that specializes in marine engineering and construction solutions, was commissioned to design a new bulk liquids berth at Dampier, Australia, one of the country's largest ports. The berth or dock consists of four...

Briefs : Medical
Biomimetic/Optical Sensors for Detecting Bacterial Species

Biomimetic/optical sensors have been proposed as means of real-time detection of bacteria in liquid samples through real-time detection of compounds secreted by the bacteria. Bacterial species of interest would be identified through detection of signaling compounds unique to those...

Briefs : Medical
Analysis of Membrane Lipids of Airborne Micro-Organisms

A method of characterization of airborne micro-organisms in a given location involves (1) large-volume filtration of air onto glass-fiber filters; (2) accelerated extraction of membrane lipids of the collected micro-organisms by use of pressurized hot liquid; and (3) identification and...

Briefs : Medical
Noninvasive Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease Using 12-Lead High-Frequency Electrocardiograms

A noninvasive, sensitive method of diagnosing certain pathological conditions of the human heart involves computational processing of digitized electrocardiographic (ECG) signals acquired from a patient at all 12 conventional ECG electrode positions....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
System Would Detect Foreign-Object Damage in Turbofan Engine

A proposed data-fusion system, to be implemented mostly in software, would further process the digitized and preprocessed outputs of sensors in a turbofan engine to detect foreign-object damage (FOD) [more precisely, damage caused by impingement of such foreign objects as birds, pieces...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Recovering Residual Xenon Propellant for an Ion Propulsion System

Future nuclear-powered Ion-Propulsion- System-propelled spacecraft such as Jupiter Icy Moon Orbiter (JIMO) will carry more than 10,000 kg of xenon propellant. Typically, a small percentage of this propellant cannot be used towards the end of the mission because of the pressure...

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