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
Nonflammable, Hydrophobic Aerogel Composites for Insulation

Aerogel composites that are both nonflammable and hydrophobic have been developed for use as lightweight thermal- insulation materials for cryogenic systems. Aerogels are well known in the industry for their effectiveness as thermal insulators under cryogenic conditions, but the...

Briefs : Materials
Advanced Ablative Insulators and Methods of Making Them

Advanced ablative (more specifically, charring) materials that provide temporary protection against high temperatures, and advanced methods of designing and manufacturing insulators based on these materials, are undergoing development. These materials and methods were conceived in an effort...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Anode Coatings for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

Two perfluoroalkanesulfonic acids and perfluoroalkanesulfonimides have shown promise as anodecoating materials for improving the performances of direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Heretofore, the state-of-the-art material commonly used for coating anodes in DMFCs has been Nafion™-H — a...

Briefs : Software
Generic Kalman Filter Software

The Generic Kalman Filter (GKF) software provides a standard basis for the development of application-specific Kalman-filter programs. Historically, Kalman filters have been implemented by customized programs that must be written, coded, and debugged anew for each unique application, then tested and tuned with...

Briefs : Software
ANTLR Tree Grammar Generator and Extensions

A computer program implements two extensions of ANTLR (Another Tool for Language Recognition), which is a set of software tools for translating source codes between different computing languages. ANTLR supports predicated-LL(k) lexer and parser grammars, a notation for annotating parser grammars to...

Briefs : Software
Custom Sky-Image Mosaics From NASA's Information Power Grid

yourSkyG is the second generation of the software described in "yourSky: Custom Sky-Image Mosaics via the Internet" (NPO-30556), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 27, No. 6 (June 2003), page 45. Like its predecessor, yourSkyG supplies custom astronomical image mosaics of sky regions specified by...

Briefs : Software
Computing Gravitational Fields of Finite-Sized Bodies
A computer program utilizes the classical theory of gravitation, implemented by means of the finite-element method, to calculate the near gravitational fields of bodies of arbitrary size, shape, and mass distribution. The program was developed for application to a spacecraft and to floating...
Briefs : Software
Software for Optimizing Plans Involving Interdependent Goals
A computer program enables construction and optimization of plans for activities that are directed toward achievement of goals that are interdependent. Goal interdependence is defined as the achievement of one or more goals affecting the desirability or priority of achieving one or more...
Briefs : Software
International Space Station Electric Power System Performance Code - SPACE

The System Power Analysis for Capability Evaluation (SPACE) software analyzes and predicts the minute-byminute state of the International Space Station (ISS) electrical power system (EPS) for upcoming missions as well as EPS power generation capacity as a function of ISS...

Briefs : Software
Path Following With Slip Compensation for a Mars Rover

A software system for autonomous operation of a Mars rover is composed of several key algorithms that enable the rover to accurately follow a designated path, compensate for slippage of its wheels on terrain, and reach intended goals. The techniques implemented by the algorithms are visual...

Briefs : Software
Software for Automation of Real-Time Agents, Version 2

Version 2 of Closed Loop Execution and Recovery (CLEaR) has been developed. The previous version was reported in “Software for Automation of Real-Time Agents” (NPO-21040), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 26, No. 7 (July 2002), page 34. To recapitulate: CLEaR is an artificial intelligence computer...

Briefs : Software
LabVIEW Interface for PCI-SpaceWire Interface Card

This software provides a LabView interface to the NT drivers for the PCI-SpaceWire card, which is a peripheral component interface (PCI) bus interface that conforms to the IEEE-1355/ SpaceWire standard.

Briefs : Software
Software for Engineering Simulations of a Spacecraft

Spacecraft Engineering Simulation II (SES II) is a C-language computer program for simulating diverse aspects of operation of a spacecraft characterized by either three or six degrees of freedom.

Briefs : Software
Component-Based Visualization System

A software system has been developed that gives engineers and operations personnel with no "formal" programming expertise, but who are familiar with the Microsoft Windows operating system, the ability to create visualization displays to monitor the health and performance of aircraft/spacecraft.

Briefs : Software
Comprehensive Micromechanics-Analysis Code Version 4.0

Version 4.0 of the Micromechanics Analysis Code With Generalized Method of Cells (MAC/GMC) has been developed as an improved means of computational simulation of advanced composite materials.

Briefs : Software
Program for Weibull Analysis of Fatigue Data

A Fortran computer program has been written for performing statistical analysis of fatigue-test data that are assumed to be adequately represented by a two-parameter Weibull distribution. This program calculates the following:

Briefs : Software
Facilitating Navigation Through Large Archives

Automated Visual Access (AVA) is a computer program that effectively makes a large collection of information visible in a manner that enables a user to quickly and efficiently locate information resources, with minimal need for conventional keyword searches and perusal of complex hierarchical...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Treatments To Produce Stabilized Aluminum Mirrors for Cryogenic Uses

Five metallurgical treatments have been tested as means of stabilizing mirrors that are made of aluminum alloy 6061 and are intended for use in cryogenic applications. Aluminum alloy 6061 is favored as a mirror material by many scientists and engineers. Like other alloys, it...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Vehicle Maintenance Shelters Meet Structural Requirements Through FEA Analysis
Anchor Industries supplies tents and fabric products to the outdoor amusement and entertainment industries, and municipalities. With their experience in producing portable structures, Anchor re-entered the military market of vehicle maintenance shelters (VMS). The first...
Briefs : Physical Sciences
Compact Infrasonic Windscreen

A compact windscreen has been conceived for a microphone of a type used outdoors to detect atmospheric infrasound from a variety of natural and man-made sources. Wind at the microphone site contaminates received infrasonic signals (defined here as sounds having frequencies <20 Hz), because a microphone cannot...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Automated Counting of Particles To Quantify Cleanliness

A machine vision system, similar to systems used in microbiological laboratories to count cultured microbes, has been proposed for quantifying the cleanliness of nominally precisely cleaned hardware by counting residual contaminant particles. The system would include a microscope equipped...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Phase Correction for GPS Antenna With Nonunique Phase Center

A method of determining the position and attitude of a body equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver includes an accounting for the location of the nonunique phase center of a distributed or wraparound GPS antenna. The method applies, more specifically, to the case in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Sol-Gel Glass Holographic Light-Shaping Diffusers

Holographic glass light-shaping diffusers (GLSDs) are optical components for use in special-purpose illumination systems (see figure). When properly positioned with respect to lamps and areas to be illuminated, holographic GLSDs efficiently channel light from the lamps onto specified areas with...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Wavelength Translation Using SFP Transceivers Enables Extension of Optical-Communication Links

Optical-Electrical-Optical (OEO) wavelength translation (WT) based on small-form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceivers is meeting with increased interest in metro optical-network applications. It provides a flexible and low-cost solution when it...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Handheld Imaging Device for Security Applications

A standalone, handheld, through-wall radar unit is under development to provide three-dimensional feedback on the location and movement of people inside buildings. Applications include military and emergency service such as hostage situations and search and rescue. The unit, which can be held...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Software Analyzes Heat Buildup in VCSELs

Internal heating is a key issue for vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs), a semiconductor microlaser diode that emits light in a cylindrical beam vertically from the surface of a fabricated wafer. They generally have higher thermal impedance than edgeemitting lasers and are fairly efficient...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Broadband External-Cavity Diode Laser

A broadband external-cavity diode laser (ECDL) has been invented for use in spectroscopic surveys preparatory to optical detection of gases. Heretofore, commercially available ECDLs have been designed, in conjunction with sophisticated tuning assemblies, for narrow- band (and, typically, single-frequency)...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
High-Efficiency Solar Cells Using Photonic-Bandgap Materials

Solar photovoltaic cells would be designed to exploit photonic-bandgap (PBG) materials to enhance their energy- conversion efficiencies, according to a proposal. Whereas the energy-conversion efficiencies of currently available solar cells are typically less than 30 percent, it has...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Cambridge Consultants, Boston, Massachusetts

A standalone, handheld, through-wall radar unit is under development to provide three-dimensional feedback on the location and movement of people inside buildings. Applications include military and emergency service such as hostage situations and search and rescue. The unit, which can be held against...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Finisar Corporation, Sunnyvale, California, and COMSOL, Inc., Burlington, Massachusetts

Internal heating is a key issue for vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs), a semiconductor micro laser diode that emits light in a cylindrical beam vertically from the surface of a fabricated wafer. They generally have higher thermal impedance than...

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