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
Software for an Autonomous Constellation of Satellites

The Autonomous Sciencecraft Constellation (ASC) software has been developed for Techsat-21 — a group of small satellites, to be launched by the Air Force Research Laboratory in 2004, intended to demonstrate the feasibility of groups of satellites cooperating in the performance of tasks....

Briefs: Software
Training by Use of Games Played via the Internet

A software system that resides on a server delivers training via the Internet to users of client computers. Admin- istrators can also interact with the system via client computers. The training lessons are in the form of trivia games, which are implemented by a game-engine software subsystem that...

Briefs: Software
Software for Designing Thermal Protection for Spacecraft

Traj and Traj.CGI are computer programs for designing thermal-protection systems (TPSs) for spacecraft that must survive re-entry into planetary atmospheres. Together with a separately developed program denoted FIAT, Traj and Traj.CGI are integral parts of NASA’s Entry Vehicle Integrated...

Briefs: Software
Software for Validating Planetary Data Volumes

The PDS Validation Toolkit is an integrated set of scripts and computer programs for determining whether data recorded on compact disk (CD) or digital video disk (DVD) conform to the standards of the Planetary Data System (PDS). The software provides both command- line and graphical user interfaces,...

Briefs: Software
Java Version of Embedded Web Software Server

Tempest is a computer program that functions as a HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) server for embedded systems. Tempest enables remote command and control of embedded systems. Tempest accepts HTTP requests from standard Webbrowser programs running on remote client computers and returns HyperText...

Briefs: Software
Image Display Component of JADE

A Java bean that offers high performance display of images has been developed as a component of the Java Advanced Display Environment (JADE) computer program.

This component works asynchronously, loading and/or computing image tiles as needed in background threads. In so doing, it enables a main...

Briefs: Software
Software for Analyzing Scientific Data Aboard a Spacecraft

A computer program designed for execution aboard an exploratory spacecraft analyzes scientific data (especially image data) in order to (1) enable the reservation of limited communication resources for transmission of data likely to be of significant scientific value and (2) enable...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Variable Submillimeter-Wave Delay Line for Cryogenic Use

A variable delay line is being developed as part of a far-infrared or submillimeter- wavelength interferometer that would operate in a vacuum in the cryogenic temperature range. No such delay line for spatial interferometry has previously been built for operation under these...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Precise Air Bearings Redesigned

Highly precise air bearings for suspending objects over an epoxy flat floor in a laboratory have been developed. These bearings float on airgaps 3 to 5 mil (about 0.08 to 0.13 mm) thick. They are modern versions of precise air bearings, developed during the 1960s, that offer a working coefficient of friction of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
User’s Guide for ENSAERO

A report summarizes the development, applications, and procedures for use of ENSAERO, a computer program for simulating aeroelastic phenomena (e.g., wing flutter) of aircraft and spacecraft. ENSAERO computes aeroelastic responses by simultaneously numerically integrating Euler and/or Navier-Stokes equations of airflow...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Minimally Actuated Hopping Robot

A small robot that travels by hopping has been built and tested. This is a prototype of hopping robots that would carry video cameras and possibly other sensory devices and that are under consideration for...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mobile Robot With Foveal Machine Vision

The Foveal Extra-Vehicular Activity Helper-Retriever (FEVAHR) is a mobile robot that features a hierarchical foveal machine-vision system (HFMV). The FEVAHR is a prototype of future robots that could detect, recognize, track, and pursue objects and avoid obstacles while operating autonomously, controlled...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rotary Tool and Retractable Foot for Walking Robot

A mechanism has been developed to serve as an end effector for one of the legs of the Legged Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot (LEMUR) — a walking robot designed for demon- strating...

The figure depicts a proposed reconfigurable miniature exploratory robotic vehicle (mini- rover) that would serve as a versatile prototype in the development of exploratory robots...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Tool for Installing a Seal Ring Between Pipe Flanges

A tool has been devised to facilitate the accurate placement of a seal ring between the hubs of two pipe flanges that are to be clamped together. Heretofore, technicians have resorted to...

A diagnostic software system (DSS) now under development is intended to implement artificial neural networks (ANNs) that will analyze magnetoencephalographic (MEG) data to locate...

A proposed simple, portable, robust apparatus, capable of automated operation, has been proposed for collecting samples of selected biological or chemical species in harsh...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Radiometer for Measuring Cirrus-Cloud Ice and Water Vapor

An airborne submillimeter-wavelength radiometer, expected to be built and tested in the near future, is designed primarily to yield measurement data that can be processed to quantify the ice contents and mean sizes (and, to some extent, the shapes) of ice crystals in cirrus clouds that...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
System For Measuring Osmotic Transport Properties of a Membrane

The membrane test cell (MTC) is an automated laboratory apparatus that applies a known osmotic potential across a membrane and measures the kinetics of the resulting transport of solvents across the membrane as a function of time. Data acquired by use of the MTC should prove...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Vacuum Leak Detection Using Piezoelectric Film

A technique for detecting a small leak of gas into a vacuum involves the use of a diaphragm made of a thin film of poly (vinylidene fluoride) [PVDF]. To exploit the piezoelectricity of PVDF for this purpose, both sides of the film are coated with thin, electrically conductive layers that serve as...

Briefs: Information Technology
An Off-Line FQPSK-B Software Receiver

Software that performs the functions of an FQPSK-B receiver (and to some extent, an FQPSK-B transmitter) has been developed to reduce the risks and costs associated with the development of hardware FQPSK-B transmitters and receivers. (“FQPSK-B” signifies version B of Feher Quadrature-Phase-Shift Keying,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Update on Web Interactive Training

The Web Interactive Training (WIT) project at Kennedy Space Center has expanded its course offerings, enhanced its technical capabilities, and automated its administrative functions. Aspects of the WIT project at previous stages of development were reported in “Further Developments in Web Interactive...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Quasi-Decoupling of Shvab-Zel’dovich Variables

A paper presents some novel conclusions concerning the Shvab-Zel’dovich (SZ) vari- ables, which are linear combinations of dep- endent variables in mathematical models of multicomponent, chemically reacting flows. The SZ variables represent scalar quantities that are conserved, that is, are not...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanism for Docking a Miniature Spacecraft

This report discusses a proposed docking mechanism to be located in a small hangar on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). The mechanism would enable docking of a miniature robotic spacecraft (or free flyer) that would carry a video camera and would operate in the vicinity of the ISS....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Emergency Tether-Deployment-and-Recoil-Mitigating Systems

A report describes an emergency tether-deployment (ETD) system designed to minimize the harm caused by two events that can occur during deployment of tethered payloads from a space shuttle in orbit. One such event is snagging of the tether during payout while the payload is near the...

Briefs: Materials
Analysis of Multilayer Thermal Insulation for Reentry

A paper presents a study of multilayer thermal insulations for protecting spacecraft against aerodynamic heating during reentry into a planetary atmosphere. A multilayer insulation considered in the study comprised (1) thin ceramic/composite foils coated with gold for high reflectance...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Assessing Energetic-Ion Effects Using Energetic Protons Only

Two reports describe a method of assessing the susceptibility of digital electronic equipment to upsets (bit errors) caused by impingement of energetic ions (both protons and heavier ions) in outer space.

The method, which is applicable at the single-component, circuit-board,...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
System Would Detect Aircraft to Turn Off Upward-Aimed Laser

An electronic system based on long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) sensors is being developed to detect aircraft flying near an upward-aimed, high-power laser beam. In the intended application, the system would alert a human laser operator and/or generate a signal to turn off the laser...

The figure schematically depicts a proposed achromatic nulling beam combiner. This instrument is intended for use in astronomy - principally, for attenuating light from stars or other bright...

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