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 : Software
Readout of DSN Monitor Data

DSN Monitor Data Reader is a computer program that, as its name suggests, reads file of monitor data from the Deep Space Network (DSN). The monitor data constitute information on the status and performance of tracking, telemetry, command, and pointing equipment at the DSN antennas. The DSN has recently introduced a...

Briefs : Software
Viewing ISS Data in Real Time via the Internet

EZStream is a computer program that enables authorized users at diverse terrestrial locations to view, in real time, data generated by scientific payloads aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The only computation/ communication resource needed for use of EZStream is a computer equipped with...

Briefs : Software
Software for Optimizing Quality Assurance of Other Software

Software assurance is the planned and systematic set of activities that ensures that software processes and products conform to requirements, standards, and procedures. Examples of such activities are the following: code inspections, unit tests, design reviews, performance analyses,...

Briefs : Software
The TechSat 21 Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment

Software has been developed to perform a number of functions essential to autonomous operation in the Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment (ASE), which is scheduled to be demonstrated aboard a constellation of three spacecraft, denoted TechSat 21, to be launched by the Air Force into orbit around...

Briefs : Software
Software for Analyzing Laminar-to-Turbulent Flow Transitions

Langley Stability and Transition Analysis Codes (LASTRAC) is a set of engineering software tools developed with the C++ language and modern software technologies for use in analyzing transition from laminar to turbulent flows. LASTRAC is a product of on-going NASA Langley research...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Multiphysics Software for Designing Planar-Lightwave Photonic Processors

Advances in the development and manufacturing of photonic processors have reached a critical stage where their mass applications are becoming commercially viable. LNL Optenia utilized the FEMLAB multiphysics package from COMSOL to design inexpensive planar-lightwave...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Curved-Focal-Plane Arrays Using Deformed-Membrane Photodetectors

A versatile and simple approach to the design and fabrication of curved-focal-plane arrays of silicon-based photodetectors is being developed. This approach is an alternative to the one described in "Curved Focal-Plane Arrays Using Back-Illuminated High-Purity Photodetectors"...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Phased Array Improves Liquid Crystal Devices Used in Laser Beam Steering Subsystems

Under a DARPA program known as Steered Agile Beams (STAB), novel liquid-crystal devices are being developed by Rockwell Scientific Company (RSC) to enable compact, high-speed laser beam steering subsystems for applications in free-space laser...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Strain-Gauge Measurement of Weight of Fluid in a Tank

A method of determining the amount of fluid in a tank is based on measurement of strains induced in tank supports by the weight of the fluid. Unlike most prior methods, this method is nonintrusive: there is no need to insert instrumentation in the tank and, hence, no need to run wires,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Aligning Arrays of Lenses and Single-Mode Optical Fibers

A procedure now under development is intended to enable the precise alignment of sheet arrays of microscopic lenses with the end faces of a coherent bundle of as many as 1,000...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advanced Docking System With Magnetic Initial Capture

An advanced docking system is undergoing development to enable softer, safer docking than was possible when using prior docking systems. This system is intended for original use in docking of visiting spacecraft and berthing the Crew Return Vehicle at the International Space Station (ISS)....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Modifying Ship Air-Wake Vortices for Aircraft Operations

Columnar-vortex generators (CVG) have been proposed as means to increase the safety of takeoffs and landings of aircraft on aircraft or helicopter carriers and other ships at sea. According to the proposal, CVGs would be installed at critical edge locations on ships to modify the vortices...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Automatic Control of Arc Process for Making Carbon Nanotubes

An automatic-control system has been devised for a process in which carbon nanotubes are produced in an arc between a catalyst-filled carbon anode and a graphite cathode. The control system includes a motor-driven screw that adjusts the distance between the electrodes. The system also...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Electronic Tongue for Quantitation of Contaminants in Water

An assembly of sensors, denoted an electronic tongue, is undergoing development as a prototype of compact devices for use in measuring concentrations of contaminants in water. Thus far, the electronic tongue has been tested on ions of Cu, Zn, Pb, and Fe and shown to respond to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Radar for Measuring Soil Moisture Under Vegetation

A two-frequency, polarimetric, spaceborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) system has been proposed for measuring the moisture content of soil as a function of depth, even in the presence of overlying vegetation. These measurements are needed because data on soil moisture under vegetation canopies...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Modular Wireless Data-Acquisition and Control System

A modular wireless data-acquisition and control system, now in operation at Kennedy Space Center, offers high performance at relatively low cost. The system includes a central station and a finite number of remote stations that communicate with each other through low-power radio-frequency (RF)...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Microwave System for Detecting Ice on Aircraft

A microwave-based system has been developed as a means of detecting ice on aircraft surfaces, with enough sensitivity to provide a warning before the ice accretes to a dangerous thickness. The system can measure the thickness of ice from a few mils (1 mil = 0.0254 mm) to about 1/4 in. (≈6 mm) and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Routing Algorithm Exploits Spatial Relations

A recently developed routing algorithm for broadcasting in an ad hoc wireless communication network takes account of, and exploits, the spatial relationships among the locations of nodes, in addition to transmission power levels and distances between the nodes. In contrast, most prior algorithms for...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Two-Finger EKG Method of Detecting Evasive Responses

A system based on acquisition and processing of electrocardiographic (EKG) signals from two fingers has been proposed as a means of determining whether a person is answering questions evasively. The system — in effect, a "lie detector" of sorts, would be used to gauge...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Tailoring Ion-Thruster Grid Apertures for Greater Efficiency

A report proposes tailoring the diameters of the apertures in the accelerator grid of an ion thruster to reduce the open grid area through which un-ionized propellant gas can escape. The result would be a reduction in the loss of propellant gas and a corresponding increase in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Lidar for Guidance of a Spacecraft or Exploratory Robot

A report describes the Laser Mapper (LAMP) — a lightweight, compact, low-power lidar system under development for guidance of a spacecraft or exploratory robotic vehicle (rover) at Mars or another planet. The LAMP is intended especially for use during rendezvous of two spacecraft in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Electrochemical, H2O2-Boosted Catalytic Oxidation System

An improved water-sterilizing aqueous-phase catalytic oxidation system (APCOS) is based partly on the electrochemical generation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). This H2O2-boosted system offers significant improvements over prior dissolved-oxygen...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Permanent Sequestration of Emitted Gases in the Form of Clathrate Hydrates

Underground sequestration has been proposed as a novel method of permanent disposal of harmful gases emitted into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. The method was conceived primarily for disposal of carbon dioxide (CO2, greenhouse gas causing global...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Miniature Radioisotope Thermoelectric Power Cubes

Cube-shaped thermoelectric devices energized by a particles from radioactive decay of 244Cm have been proposed as long-lived sources of power. These power cubes are intended especially for incorporation into electronic circuits that must operate in dark, extremely cold locations (e.g.,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ultraviolet-Absorption Spectroscopic Biofilm Monitor

An ultraviolet-absorption spectrometer system has been developed as a prototype instrument to be used in continuous, real-time monitoring to detect the growth of biofilms. Such monitoring is desirable because biofilms are often harmful. For example, biofilms in potable-water and hydroponic...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Robotic Spacecraft for Inspecting Other Spacecraft

A report discusses the Miniature Autonomous Extravehicular Robotic Camera (Mini AERCam) — a compact robotic spacecraft intended to be released from a larger spacecraft for exterior visual inspection of the larger spacecraft. The Mini AERCam is a successor to the AERCam Sprint...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Ring-Shaped Perisaltic Pump

An experimental miniature peristaltic pump exploits piezoelectrically excited flexural waves that travel around a ring: A fluid is carried in the containers formed in the valleys between the peaks of the flexural waves (see Figure 1). The basic action of this pump is similar to that described in...

Briefs : Materials
Reproducible Growth of High-Quality Cubic-SiC Layers

Semiconductor electronic devices and circuits based on silicon carbide (SiC) are being developed for use in high-temperature, high-power, and/or high-radiation conditions under which devices made from conventional semiconductors cannot adequately perform. The ability of SiC-based devices to...

Briefs : Materials
Nonlinear Thermoelastic Model for SMAs and SMA Hybrid

A constitutive mathematical model has been developed that predicts the nonlinear thermomechanical behaviors of shape-memory alloys (SMAs) and of shape- memory-alloy hybrid composite (SMAHC) structures, which are composite-material structures that contain embedded SMA actuators. SMAHC...

Briefs : Materials
Liquid-Crystal Thermosets, a New Generation of High-Performance Liquid-Crystal Polymers

One of the major challenges for NASA's next-generation reusable-launch-vehicle (RLV) program is the design of a cryogenic lightweight composite fuel tank. Potential matrix resin systems need to exhibit a low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), good...

Question of the Week
Will Cooling Coatings Catch On?

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Using Simulation to Design Robust Adhesively Bonded Structures

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Electric-Vehicle Transmission Development and Simulation

Upcoming Webinars: Energy

Thermal Management Crisis: Knowing Your Passive Solution Options

Upcoming Webinars: Internet of Things

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