Tech Briefs

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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: Information Technology
Condition Assessment and End-of-Life Prediction System for Electric Machines and Their Loads

An end-of-life prediction system developed for electric machines and their loads could be used in integrated vehicle health monitoring at NASA and in other government agencies. This system will provide on-line, real-time condition assessment and...

Briefs: Software
Program Facilitates CMMI Appraisals

A computer program has been written to facilitate appraisals according to the methodology of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). [CMMI is a government/ industry standard, maintained by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, for objectively assessing the engineering...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Program Computes Sound Pressures at Rocket Launches

Launch Vehicle External Sound Pressure is a computer program that predicts the ignition-overpressure and the acoustic pressure on the surfaces and in the vicinity of a rocket and launch pad during launch. The program generates a graphical user interface (GUI) that gathers input data from the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Ground-probing radar systems featuring medium-frequency carrier signals phase-modulated by binary pseudonoise codes have been proposed. These systems would be used to locate and detect movements of...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

An improved design concept for a printed-circuit patch antenna and the transmission line that feeds the patch calls for (1) a microstrip transmission line on the front (radiative)...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A rugged iris mechanism has been designed to satisfy several special requirements, including a wide aperture in the “open” position, full obscuration in the “closed” position, ability to function in a cryogenic...

Briefs: Information Technology
Generating Solid Models From

A method of generating solid models of terrain involves the conversion of topographical data into a form useable by a rapid-prototyping (RP) machine. The method was developed to enable the use of the RP machine to make solid models of Martian terrain from Mars Orbiter laser-altimeter topographical data. The method is...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs

A technique based on accelerating positive nitrogen ions onto an aluminum layer has been demonstrated to be effective in forming thin (<2 nm thick) layers of aluminum...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs

A process that employs silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrates and silicon (Si) micromachining has been devised for fabricating wide intermediate frequency band (wide-IF)...

Briefs: Materials
Low-Density, Aerogel-Filled Thermal- Insulation Tiles

Aerogel fillings have been investigated in a continuing effort to develop low-density thermal-insulation tiles that, relative to prior such tiles, have greater dimensional stability (especially less shrinkage), equal or lower thermal conductivity, and greater strength and durability. In...

Briefs: Materials
Diamond-Coated Carbon Nanotubes for Efficient Field Emission

Field-emission cathodes containing arrays of carbon nanotubes coated with diamond or diamondlike carbon (DLC) are undergoing development. Multiwalled carbon nanotubes have been shown to perform well as electron field emitters. The idea underlying the present development is that by...

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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A three degree of freedom alignment stage has been designed and built for use in a cryogenic dilatometer that is used to measure thermal strains. The alignment stage enables precise adjustments of...

Briefs: Information Technology
Computationally Lightweight Air-Traffic-Control Simulation

An algorithm for computationally lightweight simulation of automated airtraffic control (ATC) at a busy airport has been derived. The algorithm is expected to serve as the basis for development of software that would be incorporated into flight-simulator software, the ATC component of...

Briefs: Materials

High-performance polymers that have improved processing characteristics, and a method of making them, have been invented. One of the improved characteristics is low (relative to...

Briefs: Materials

Compositions of, and processes for fabricating, high-temperature composite materials from phenylethynyl-terminated imide (PETI) oligomers by resin-transfer molding (RTM) and resin...

Briefs: Materials

Two perfluoroalkanesulfonic acids and perfluoroalkanesulfonimides have shown promise as anodecoating materials for improving the performances of direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs)....

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.

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