Mechanical/​Mechatronics

Propulsion

Explore the key advances impacting propulsion technologies and applications involved in aircraft propulsion, turbo-electric distributed propulsion, and hybrid electric aircraft propulsion systems.

Latest Briefs & News

Briefs : Automotive
Inductive Power Transfer for Spaceflight Systems

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed technology that uses inductive power transfer (IPT) for wireless power interfaces between spaceflight elements (such as the payload, vehicle, and pad). Current spaceflight systems require traditional hardwire connections for power interfaces. This...

Articles : Materials
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

On September 1, 1961, NASA requested appropriations for initial land purchases on Merritt Island on Florida’s east coast to support the Apollo Lunar Landing Program. Designers quickly began developing...

NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
Articles : Transportation
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: Getting There, To a New Era of Space Exploration
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: Getting There, To a New Era of Space Exploration

For the first time in a generation, NASA is building a human spacecraft for deep-space missions that will usher in a new era of space...

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: Getting There, To a New Era of Space Exploration
Articles : Test & Measurement
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: Exploring Apollo's Impact Beyond 'One Small Step'
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: Exploring Apollo's Impact Beyond 'One Small Step'

On July 20, 1969, humans walked on another world for the first time in history. After a landing that included dodging a lunar crater and boulder...

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: Exploring Apollo's Impact Beyond 'One Small Step'
Articles : Propulsion
Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion
Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion

Employing fluid power to achieve mechanical motion can be implemented via hydraulics using uncompressible liquids or via pneumatics using compressible gasses; typically, air. The latter provides several...

Pneumatics for Mechanical Motion
Briefs : Energy
Double-Fed Induction Linear Alternator

This technology was developed to address the limitations of traditional, single-fed linear alternators that require permanent magnets, adhesive bonding organics, and heavy iron laminations for flux control. They experience eddy-current losses and require electromagnetic interference protection. Furthermore,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat
Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat

Directly converting electrical power to heat is easy; however, converting heat into electrical power is not as easy. To address this issue, a tiny silicon-based device was developed that can...

Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat
Briefs : Motion Control
Improved Directed Flux Motor

Electromagnetic motors typically convert electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy and are employed across a wide array of applications. While motors represent relatively mature technology, practitioners continue to seek ways to enhance motor operation including a decrease in cost, drop in size/weight,...

Blog : Electronics & Computers
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
Three new unmanned helicopters were unveiled at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL show in Chicago.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
News : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
A Navy Sea Glider can look for a target in mid-air or underwater.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
News : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
As always, the Air Force Research Laboratory had a huge presence at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL show in Chicago.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
Articles : Propulsion
Facility Focus: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Facility Focus: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Founded on July 1, 1960, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL is one of NASA’s largest field centers. Marshall engineers designed, built, tested, and helped launch the Saturn V...

Facility Focus: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Articles : Lighting Technology
LED Lighting Improves Efficiency and Imaging
LED Lighting Improves Efficiency and Imaging

Rocket engine testing requires a lot of light since all tests are filmed with high-speed cameras to monitor performance; however, those cameras have to adjust to the bright plume from a firing...

LED Lighting Improves Efficiency and Imaging
Blog : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
You think riding your Harley Davidson is exciting? Try the ElectraFly.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes
Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes

Mechanical systems such as engines and motors rely on two principal types of motions of stiff components: linear motion, which involves an object moving from one point to another in a straight...

Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes
Briefs : Propulsion
Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials
Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials

Making electric cars lighter also involves reducing the weight of the motor. One way to do that is by constructing it from fiber-reinforced polymer materials. A new cooling concept...

Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Achieving Carbon Footprint Reduction with Flywheel Technology
Achieving Carbon Footprint Reduction with Flywheel Technology

Recent technical advances have enabled flywheel energy storage systems (FESS) to become more compact and able to support higher-power applications. Due to their proven...

Achieving Carbon Footprint Reduction with Flywheel Technology
Articles : Materials
Organic Compound Turns Toxic Waste into Harmless Byproducts
Organic Compound Turns Toxic Waste into Harmless Byproducts

Spinoff is NASA’s annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in...

Organic Compound Turns Toxic Waste into Harmless Byproducts
Briefs : Propulsion
New Engine Optics to Fuel Future Research
New Engine Optics to Fuel Future Research

An optical setup developed by researchers at Sandia's Combustion Research Facility and the Technical University of Denmark can now quantify the formation of soot — particulate matter consisting...

New Engine Optics to Fuel Future Research
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Interoperable Intelligent Controllers for Process Management and Control Networks

NASA Johnson Space Center developed reprogrammable and interchangeable electronic controllers that can attach to a system or subsystem wirelessly or through plug-and-play capability. Originally designed to work with rocket engines, this technology can control...

Briefs : Propulsion
Green Electric Monopropellant (GEM)-Fueled Pulsed Plasma Thruster

NASA required a rocket thruster able to produce a number of pulses at high specific impulse at a relatively low voltage (~300 to 400V). The key problem was that existing propellants for liquid-fueled pulsed plasma thrusters (LPPTs) required high voltages to ablate and accelerate...

Articles : Data Acquisition
SAE WCX: Bringing You the Future of Mobility
SAE WCX: Bringing You the Future of Mobility

WCX™ World Congress Experience 2019 — presented by SAE International — is for forward-thinking engineers, executives, OEMs, suppliers, decision-makers, disruptors, and the entire spectrum of...

SAE WCX: Bringing You the Future of Mobility
Briefs : Aerospace
Real-Time, Fuel-Optimal, Powered Descent Guidance Using Interpolated Time-of-Flight and Propellant Mass

Soft landing using rockets requires a trajectory to be planned for the lander from rocket ignition — typically several kilometers in altitude and moving at up to 200 m/s — to the point near the surface with near-zero velocity. The exact...