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.

A family of tantalum-based ceramics has been invented as ingredients of high-temperature composite insulating tiles. These materials are suitable for coating and/or permeating the outer...

Briefs: Materials
Microsphere Insulation Panels

Microsphere insulation panels (MIPs) have been developed as lightweight, long lasting replacements for the foam and vacuum-jacketed systems heretofore used for thermally insulating cryogenic vessels and transfer ducts. Whether preformed or applied in place, foam insulation deteriorates fairly rapidly: on cryogenic...

In recent experiments, highly purified batches of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have shown promise as superior alternatives to the graphitic carbon-black anode materials heretofore...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fastener Options for Clinching Into Stainless

Designers often turn to self-clinching fasteners when they need a practical method to provide threads in thin metal sheets. The fasteners install permanently, reduce hardware, and promote thinner...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Integral Flexure Mounts for Metal Mirrors for Cryogenic Use

Semi-kinematic, six-degree-of-freedom flexure mounts have been incorporated as integral parts of metal mirrors designed to be used under cryogenic conditions as parts of an astronomical instrument. The design of the mirrors and their integral flexure mounts can also be adapted to other...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Cost Propellant Launch From a Tethered Balloon

A document presents a concept for relatively inexpensive delivery of propellant to a large fuel depot in low orbit around the Earth, for use in rockets destined for higher orbits, the Moon, and for remote planets. The propellant is expected to be at least 85 percent of the mass needed in low...

The variable terrain tilt platform (VTTP) is a means of providing simulated terrain for mobility testing of engineering models of the Mars Exploration Rovers. The VTTP could also be...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
On Release of Microbe-Laden Particles From Mars Landers

A paper presents a study in which rates of release of small particles from Mars lander spacecraft into the Martian atmosphere were estimated from first principles. Because such particles can consist of, or be laden with, terrestrial microbes, the study was undertaken to understand their...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stable Satellite Orbits for Global Coverage of the Moon

A document proposes a constellation of spacecraft to be placed in orbit around the Moon to provide navigation and communication services with global coverage required for exploration of the Moon. There would be six spacecraft in inclined elliptical orbits: three in each of two orthogonal...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Theodolite Ring Lights

Theodolite ring lights have been invented to ease a difficulty encountered in the well-established opticalmetrology practice of using highly reflective spherical tooling balls as position references. As described in...

A family of experimental highly miniaturized field-effect transistors (FETs) is based on exploitation of the electrical properties of nanofibers of polyaniline/ polyethylene oxide...

Briefs: Software
Software for Collaborative Use of Large Interactive Displays

The MERBoard Collaborative Workspace, which is currently being deployed to support the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Missions, is the first instantiation of a new computing architecture designed to support collaborative and group computing using computing devices situated in NASA...

Briefs: Software
Modified Recursive Hierarchical Segmentation of Data

An algorithm and a computer program that implements the algorithm that performs recursive hierarchical segmentation (RHSEG) of data have been developed. While the current implementation is for two-dimensional data having spatial characteristics (e.g., image, spectral, or spectral-image data),...

Briefs: Software
Integrated Modeling Environment

The Integrated Modeling Environment (IME) is a software system that establishes a centralized Web-based interface for integrating people (who may be geographically dispersed), processes, and data involved in a common engineering project. The IME includes software tools for life-cycle management, configuration...

Briefs: Software
Framework for Flexible Security in Group Communications

The Antigone software system defines a framework for the flexible definition and implementation of security policies in group communication systems. Antigone does not dictate the available security policies, but provides high-level mechanisms for implementing them. A central element of the...

Briefs: Software
Stress Testing of Data-Communication Networks
NetStress is a computer program that stress-tests a data-communication network and components thereof. NetStress comprises two components running, respectively, in a transmitting system and a receiving system connected to a network under test. The novelty of the program is that is has the capability to...
Briefs: Software
Sizing Structures and Predicting Weight of a Spacecraft

EZDESIT is a computer program for choosing the sizes of structural components and predicting the weight of a spacecraft, aircraft, or other vehicle. In designing a vehicle, EZDESIT is used in conjunction with a finite-element structural- analysis program: Each structural component is sized...

The figure is a simplified schematic diagram of a tilt-sensing unequal-path interferometer set up to measure the orientation of the normal vector of one surface of a cube mounted on a...

A molecular Rayleigh scattering based air density measurement system was built in a large nozzle and engine component test facility for surveying supersonic plumes from...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Gear Shapes for Face Worm Gear Drives

Shapes different from the traditional ones have been proposed for face worm gears and for conical and cylindrical worms that mesh with them. The proposed shapes are based on the concept of...

An electrochemical cell for making corrosion measurements has been designed to prevent or reduce crevice corrosion, which is a common source of error in prior such cells. In a typical...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Lightweight Electronic Camera for Research on Clouds

"Micro-CPI" (wherein "CPI" signifies "cloud-particle imager") is the name of a small, lightweight electronic camera that has been proposed for use in research on clouds. The Micro-CPI would be incorporated into a small autonomous or remotely piloted airplane of a type that is now used in...

An improved method of estimating the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of a phase-shift keying (PSK) communication link is founded on a rigorous statistical analysis of the input to, and the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Pilot Weather Advisor System Nears Realtime

The Pilot Weather Advisor (PWA) system is an automated satellite radio-broadcasting system that provides nearly realtime weather data to pilots of aircraft in flight anywhere in the continental United States. The system was designed to enhance safety in two distinct ways: First, the automated receipt...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
T-Shaped Emitter Metal Structures for HBTs

Metal emitter structures in a class of developmental InP-based high-speed heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) have been redesigned to have Tshaped cross sections. More precisely, the modified...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
EMI Filters for Low-Temperature Applications

Filters that suppress electromagnetic interference (EMI) on signal cables connected to cryogenic electronic equipment can be made from cores consisting of high-permeability materials. The basic...

A proposed Ka-band transmitting/ receiving system would embody a unique combination of established and semi-proven design features. Although this system is intended primarily for...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Repairing Chipped Silicide Coatings on Refractory Metal Substrates

The space shuttle orbiter's reaction control system (RCS) is a series of small thrusters that use hypergolic fuels to orient the orbiter in space. The RCS thrusters are constructed from a special niobium-based alloy — the C-103. This alloy retains excellent mechanical...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Simplified Fabrication of Helical Copper Antennas

A simplified technique has been devised for fabricating helical antennas for use in experiments on radio-frequency generation and acceleration of plasmas. These antennas are typically made of copper (for electrical conductivity) and must have a specific helical shape and precise diameter.

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