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
Automated System for Fluid and Electrical Connections

The Smart Umbilical Mating System (SUMS) is an automated, three-degreeof- freedom, scalable system for quickly mating, demating, and/or remating ganged umbilicals. SUMS connects electrical and fluid paths between spacecraft and ground support equipment whether liftoff or side mount for NON...

A partly lithographic method of fabrication is being developed to enable the economical mass production of mesoscale electrically conductive coils for miniature electro- magnets,...

Particles of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) entrained in gas flows would be used during machining to cool cutting tools and workpieces, according to a proposal. Solid carbon dioxide particles...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Automated Apparatus for Welding to Seal Pyrotechnic Devices

An automated, remotely controllable apparatus has been developed for resistance welding for hermetic sealing of pyrotechnic devices, as a substitute for special-purpose welding equipment that is no longer commercially available. Hermetic sealing of a pyrotechnic device involves a...

A technique for detecting bacterial endospores via luminescence affords a sensitivity much greater than that of a prior luminescence-based technique from which it is derived. The...

Compact, lightweight, sensitive correlation spectrometers for detecting gaseous byproducts of the onset of fire are under development. These spectrometers would be installed in...

An instrumentation system measures the concentrations of three principal contaminants (nonvolatile residue, hydrocarbon vapor, and particle fallout) in real time. The system...

Briefs: Information Technology
A Bit-Wise Adaptable Entropy Coding Technique

A recently invented coding technique for data compression is based on recursive interleaving of variable-to-variable-length binary source codes. The technique can be used as a key component in...

The Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Facilities Functional Review web site provides dynamic electronic publication of select portions of MSFC’s facility-management database. This...

Briefs: Information Technology
Software for Internet Collaboration on Mars Rover Operations

A report provides additional information about two major sub- systems of the software system described in “Software for Ground Operations for a Prototype Mars Rover” (NPO-21235), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 25, No. 11 (November 2001), page 46. The software system was designed for, and...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Deep-Space Ranging Using Pseudonoise Codes

A report discusses aspects of a ranging system in which the distance between the Earth and a spacecraft is determined from the difference between the phases of (1) modulation on a radio signal trans- mitted to the spacecraft and (2) a replica of the modulation transmitted back to Earth by a transponder...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sonic-Boom Tests of Model of a Supersonic Business Jet Plane

A report discusses wind-tunnel tests of a scale model of a con- ceptual two-engine jet airplane designed to carry 10 passengers, have a range of 4,000 miles (≈6,400 km), cruise at a mach number of 2.0, and generate a low sonic boom [char- acterized by a shock overpressure of ≤ 0.5...

Briefs: Medical
Use of Mechanical Event Simulation Software for Bio-Mechanical Eye Research

This report examines the simulation of eye move- ment and resulting stresses with mech- anical event simulation software to research retinal detachments, a condition that affects 25,000 people annually. The set-up of the bio- mechanical finite element model of the eye,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Optimization of Synthetic Jet Actuators

A report presents a study oriented toward optimization of synthetic jet actuators. [A syn- thetic jet actuator is a fluidic control device that partly resembles a loudspeaker. It typically comprises a piezo- electric actuator/ diaphragm situated in a cavity, facing an orifice or nozzle at the opposite end...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Multiple-Beam System for Fast Raman Spectrometry

A developmental instrumentation system rapidly acquires full Raman spectra of gas molecules. The system is based on the principle of multiplex coherent antistokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) and incorporates improvements over prior multiplex CARS systems. Among the potential applications for systems...

According to a proposal, laser-induced acoustic shock waves would be used to lyse cells as needed for biomolecular investigations, including, for example, diagnosis of diseases,...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Profile Refractometry for Measuring the Soret Effect

Profile refractometry is a laser-based technique for measuring the index of refraction of a fluid as a function of time and position in a fluid. The technique was developed for use in quantifying the Soret effect in a binary fluid subject to an applied thermal gradient. (The Soret effect is...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Synthesis of Optical Pulses Using Brillouin Amplification

A technique for Fourier synthesis of optical pulses involves radio-frequency (RF) phase modulation of laser beams, Brillouin selective amplification of modulation sidebands, and, finally, generation of pulses through coherent superposition of (and thus interference among) the sidebands....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hexfoil Rotary Flexures

Hexfoil rotary flexures have been proposed as pivots suitable for use in precise optical instruments. In the application that inspired the hexfoil concept, there is a requirement for a limited-rotation mirror gimbal...

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are developing apparatuses for electrolysis of methanol to produce pure hydrogen for use at industrial sites, in scientific laboratories, and in fuel...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Remote Monitoring and Alarm System

The Remote Monitoring and Alarm System (RMAS) is a system of electronic hardware and software for monitoring of fiber-optic video transmission equipment at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The RMAS could also monitor other equipment that generates discrete contact closures and/or analog voltages. The hardware...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Failure-Reporting Device Concept for Spacecraft and Remote Vehicles

Failure-reporting devices somewhat similar to the “black box” data recorders on aircraft have been proposed. These devices were conceived for use on spacecraft, but might also be useful on terrestrial autonomous underwater vessels or terrestrial remote exploratory robots....

Briefs: Software
Program Uses Terrain-Image Data To Locate Safe Landing Site

A computer program under continuing development strives to locate a safe landing site for a spacecraft through realtime processing of image data acquired by a video camera aimed at the terrain below while the spacecraft descends. The program might also be useful for aiding the selection...

A proposed technique of bistatic radar altimetry would utilize information available in Global Positioning System (GPS) signals reflected from the ocean surface. The signals would be...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Hybrid Electric-Field Sensor

The hybrid electric-field sensor (HEFS) has been proposed for measuring quasi-static electric fields — especially those associated with thunderstorms. The HEFS would combine the relative compactness, low cost, and low power consumption of prior inductionprobe- type electric-field sensors with the higher sensitivity...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Communication Antenna in a Helicopter Rotor

A proposed communication antenna for a helicopter would feature radiating elements in or on the blades of the main rotor, with a novel rotary radio-frequency coupling between the antenna and the...

A method of determining the attitude of a vehicle equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver with multiple nonaligned antennas has been invented. As used here, “nonaligned...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
A Semiautomated Coordinate-Measuring System

The Advanced Payload Transfer Measurement System (APTMS) comprises electromechanical sensors and sensor output-processing circuits. Designed specifically for measuring offsets between spacecraft payload trunnions and trunnion supports during ground-based payload-transfer operations, the APTMS could be...

Briefs: Software
Software Provides Thermal Optimization of a Computer CPU

Heat is the primary enemy of any electronic component. In order for an electronic device to have a long, problem-free life, cooling must be an important design consideration. The problem of cooling CPUs, in particular, has grown as processors have become more powerful. Water cooling...

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