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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Demonstration of a Pyrotechnic Bolt-Retractor System

A paper describes a demonstration of the X-38 bolt-retractor system (BRS) on a spacecraft-simulating apparatus, called the Large Mobility Base, in NASA Flight Robotics Laboratory (FRL). The BRS design was proven safe by testing in NASA Pyrotechnic Shock Facility (PSF) before being demonstrated...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Low-Cutoff, High-Pass Digital Filtering of Neural Signals

The figure depicts the major functional blocks of a system, now undergoing development, for conditioning neural signals acquired by electrodes implanted in a brain. The overall functions to be performed by this system can be summarized as preamplification, multiplexing,digitization, and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Iterative Demodulation and Decoding of Non-Square QAM

It has been shown that a non-square (NS)22n+1-ary (where n is a positive integer) quadrature amplitude modulation [(NS)2 22n+1-QAM] has inherent memory that can be exploited to obtain coding gains. Moreover, it should not be necessary to build new hardware to realize...

Briefs : Information Technology
Further Improvement in 3DGRAPE

"3DGRAPE/AL:V2" denotes version 2 of the Three - Dimensional Grids About Anything by Poisson's Equation with Upgrades from Ames and Langley computer program. The preceding version, 3DGRAPE/AL, was described in "Improved 3DGRAPE" (ARC-14069) NASA Tech Briefs ,Vol.21, No.5 (May 1997), page 66....

Briefs : Information Technology
Ground Support Software for Spaceborne Instrumentation

ION is a system of ground support software for the ion and neutral mass spectrometer (INMS) instrument aboard the Cassini spacecraft. By incorporating commercial off - the - shelf database, Web server, and Java application components, ION offers considerably more ground - support - service...

Briefs : Information Technology
MER SPICE Interface

MER SPICE Interface is a software module for use in conjunction with the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission and the SPICE software system of the Navigation and Ancillary Information Facility (NAIF) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (SPICE is used to acquire, record, and disseminate engineering, navigational, and other...

Briefs : Information Technology
Analyzing Contents of a Computer Cache

The Cache Contents Estimator (CCE) is a computer program that provides information on the contents of level-1 cache of a PowerPC computer. The CCE is configurable to enable simulation of any processor in the PowerPC family. The need for CCE arises because the contents of level-1 caches are not available to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Discrepancy Reporting Management System

Discrepancy Reporting Management System (DRMS) is a computer program designed for use in the stations of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) to help establish the operational history of equipment items; acquire data on the quality of service provided to DSN customers; enable measurement of service performance;...

Briefs : Information Technology
Simultaneous Product Development Provides a New Approach to Design Collaboration

Product development is becoming increasingly global and as a result, new challenges have emerged,such as coordinating geographically dispersed teams of suppliers and partners. Consequently, the modern enterprise is more similar to a network of interconnected nodes...

Briefs : Materials
Brazing SiC/SiC Composites to Metals

Experiments have shown that active brazing alloys (ABAs) can be used to join SiC/SiC composite materials to metals, with bond strengths sufficient for some structural applications. The SiC/SiC composite coupons used in the experiments were made from polymer-based SiC fiber preforms that were chemical-vapor-...

Briefs : Materials
Composite-Material Tanks With Chemically Resistant Liners

Lightweight composite-material tanks with chemically resistant liners have been developed for storage of chemically reactive and/or unstable fluids — especially hydrogen peroxide. These tanks are similar, in some respects, to the ones described in — Lightweight...

Briefs : Materials
Improved BN Coatings on SiC Fibers in SiC Matrices

Modifications of BN-based coatings that are used as interfacial layers between the fibers and matrices of SiC-fiber/SiC-matrix composite materials have been investigated to improve the thermomechanical properties of these materials. Such interfacial coating layers, which are also known as...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Simulating Operation of a Planetary Rover

Rover Analysis, Modeling, and Simulations (ROAMS) is a computer program that simulates the operation of a robotic vehicle (rover) engaged in exploration of a remote planet. ROAMS is a rover-specific extension of the DARTS and Dshell programs, described in prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, which afford...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Silicone-Rubber Microvalves Actuated by Paraffin

Microvalves containing silicone-rubber seals actuated by heating and cooling of paraffin have been proposed for development as integral components of microfluidic systems. In comparison with other microvalves actuated by various means (electrostatic, electro-magnetic, piezoelectric, pneumatic, and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible Shields for Protecting Spacecraft Against Debris

A report presents the concept of Flexshield —a class of versatile, light-weight, flexible shields for protecting spacecraft against impacts by small meteors and orbiting debris. The Flexshield concept incorporates elements of, but goes beyond, prior space-craft-shielding concepts,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Controllable Curved Mirrors Made From Single-Layer EAP Films

A document proposes that light-weight, deployable, large- aperture, controllable curved mirrors made of reflectively coated thin electroactive-polymer (EAP) films be developed for use in spaceborne microwave and optical systems. In these mirrors, the EAP films would serve as both...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thermally Conductive Metal-Tube/Carbon-Composite Joints

An improved method of fabricating joints between metal and carbon-fiber-based composite materials in lightweight radiators and heat sinks has been devised. Carbon-fiber-based composite materials have been used in such heat-transfer devices because they offer a combination of high thermal...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Discrete Wavelength-Locked External Cavity Laser

A prototype improved external cavity laser (ECL) was demonstrated in the second phase of a continuing effort to develop wavelength-agile lasers for fiber-optic communications and trace-gas-sensing applications. This laser is designed to offer next-generation performance for incorporation into...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optoelectronic Instrument Monitors pH in a Culture Medium

An optoelectronic instrument monitors the pH of an aqueous cell-culture medium in a perfused rotating-wall-vessel bioreactor. The instrument is designed to satisfy the following requirements:

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Heat Control via Torque

In a proposed advance in friction stir welding, the torque exerted on the workpiece by the friction stir pin would be measured and controlled in an effort to measure and control the total heat input to the workpiece. The total heat input to the workpiece is an important parameter of any welding process (fusion or...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Setup for Visual Observation of Carbon-Nanotube Arc Process

A simple optical setup has been devised to enable safe viewing of the arc and measurement of the interelectrode gap in a process in which carbon nanotubes are produced in an arc between a catalyst-filled carbon anode and a graphite cathode. This setup can be used for visually guided...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Manufacturing High-Quality Carbon Nanotubes at Lower Cost

A modified electric-arc welding process has been developed for manufacturing high-quality batches of carbon nanotubes at relatively low cost. Unlike in some other processes for making carbon nanotubes, metal catalysts are not used and, consequently, it is not necessary to perform...

Briefs : Medical
Using an Ultrasonic Instrument to Size Extravascular Bubbles

In an ongoing development project, microscopic bubbles in extravascular tissue in a human body will be detected by use of an enhanced version of the apparatus described in "Ultrasonic Bubble- Sizing Instrument" (MSC-22980), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol.24, No.10 (October 2000), page 62. To...

Briefs : Medical
Transplanting Retinal Cells Using Bucky Paper for Support

A novel treatment for retinal degenerative disorders involving transplantation of cells into the eye is currently under development at NASA Ames Research Center and Stanford University School of Medicine. The technique uses bucky paper as a support material for retinal pigment epithelial...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Data Relay Board With Protocol for High-Speed, Free-Space Optical Communications

In a free-space optical communication system, the mitigation of transient out-ages through the incorporation of error-control methods is of particular concern, the outages being caused by scintillation fades and obscurants. The focus of this innovative technology is...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Analyzing Spacecraft Telecommunication Systems

Multi-Mission Telecom Analysis Tool (MMTAT) is a C-language computer program for analyzing proposed spacecraft telecommunication systems. MMTAT utilizes parameterized input and computational models that can be run on standard desktop computers to perform fast and accurate analyses of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
FPGA-Based, Self-Checking, Fault-Tolerant Computers

A proposed computer architecture would exploit the capabilities of commercially available field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to enable computers to detect and recover from bit errors. The main purpose of the proposed architecture is to enable fault-tolerant computing in the presence of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ultralow-Power Digital Correlator for Microwave Polarimetry

A recently developed high-speed digital correlator is especially well suited for processing readings of a passive microwave polarimeter. This circuit computes the auto-correlations of, and the cross-correlations among, data in four digital input streams representing samples of in-phase...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Grounding Headphones for Protection Against ESD

A simple alternative technique has been devised protecting delicate equipment against electrostatic discharge (ESD) in settings in which workers wear communication headsets. In the original setting in which the technique was devised, the workers who wear the headsets also wear anti-ESD grounding...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Highly Efficient Vector-Inversion Pulse Generators

Improved transmission-line pulse generators of the vector-inversion type are being developed as lightweight sources of pulsed high voltage for diverse applications, including spacecraft thrusters, portable x-ray imaging systems, impulse radar systems, and corona-discharge systems for sterilizing...

Question of the Week
Will Cooling Coatings Catch On?

Webcasts

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Using Simulation to Design Robust Adhesively Bonded Structures

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Electric-Vehicle Transmission Development and Simulation

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Thermal Management Crisis: Knowing Your Passive Solution Options

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IoT’s Role in Today’s Transportation Systems

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Testing and Inspecting 3D-Printed Parts

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

3D Printed Metals Are Not All the Same