News : Aerospace
NASA Teams with Microsoft to Let Scientists “Work” on Mars

NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to develop software called OnSight, a new technology that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens. OnSight will give scientists a means to plan and, along with the Mars Curiosity rover,...

Briefs : Aerospace
Modeling for Partitioned and Multicore Flight Software Systems

The current flight software approach is monolithic in nature. Every module has tentacles that reach deep within dozens of other software modules. Because of these interdependencies between modules, functionality is difficult to extract and reuse for other missions.

Briefs : Software
ATLAS Collaborative Spacecraft and Mission Software Design Tool

This software conducts preliminary design studies for spacecraft missions. It supports a collaborative work environment that allows multiple engineers to work simultaneously on the same design. When designing a spacecraft or mission, it is important that each engineer has concurrent...

Briefs : Motion Control
Evaluation of Rail Gun Technology for Launch Assist of Air-Breathing Rockets

A prototype horizontal electromagnetic rail launcher has been demonstrated along with a corresponding theory. This system builds out of published work in augmented rail guns, but modifies this technology so that the motor can operate for seconds rather than...

Briefs : Propulsion
Using Harmonics to Control Flutter in Wings with Electrical Motors

As aeronautics engineers develop innovative distributed electric propulsion systems, they face new challenges in ensuring that these innovative aircraft are safe as well as fuel efficient. In particular, these systems involve a large number of electrically driven fan motors...

Briefs : Propulsion
Micropulse Detonation Rocket Engine for Nano-Satellite Propulsion

An efficient propulsion system would use a micropulse detonation rocket engine (–PDRE) for nano-satellite maneuverability in space. Technical objectives are to design, build, and conduct a small detonation tube experiment in order to explore the feasibility of using –PDRE for...

Briefs : Aerospace
Experimental Testbed for 1-MW Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion Aircraft

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are developing a concept aircraft for testing turbo-electric distributed propulsion (TeDP) experiments. TeDP generally involves providing thrust to an aircraft via wing-mounted ducted electric fans, which consist...

Briefs : Information Technology
Habitat Demonstration Unit Core Avionics Software

The Habitat Demonstration Unit Core Avionics Software (HDU-CAS) is designed to provide the required functionality for an engineering prototype of a highly autonomous space habitat element, and to provide an opportunity for new software technologies to be tested in an environment that provides...

Briefs : Aerospace
Mars Science Laboratory Second-Chance Flight Software

Mars lander spacecraft, beginning with Mars Pathfinder (MPF), have been designed to tolerate flight computer resets during the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase despite having only a single flight computer. This capability was enabled by a predictable, non-dynamic EDL architecture. The...

Articles : Aerospace
NACA to NASA: 100 Years of Aeronautics Innovation

Streamlined aircraft bodies, quieter jet engines, techniques for preventing icing, drag-reducing winglets, lightweight composite structures, and so much more are an everyday part of flying thanks to NASA research that traces its origins back to the earliest days of aviation.

Articles : Aerospace
NACA Technology: Then and Now

“Be patient, if you want to see the concrete benefits of space research. I am confident that the benefits are there. We at NASA have been given a big job— planning and executing the nation’s civilian space program. But I would first like to dispose of a question that is asked of me quite often: Why venture at...

Articles : Aerospace
Tech Briefs Interview: NASA’s Kathy Lueders

At the annual meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in Detroit on January 14, 1959, NASA’s first Administrator, Dr. T. Keith Glennan, said: “I can imagine a remote future when spaceflight, in some form, might become nearly as commonplace as air travel is today.”

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Aircraft with Hybrid Engine Can Recharge in Flight

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, in association with Boeing, have successfully tested the first aircraft to be powered by a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system, where an electric motor and gas engine work together to drive the propeller. The demonstrator aircraft uses up to...

News : Test & Measurement
Energy Harvesting Could Help Power Spacecraft of the Future

A consortium is working on a project to maximize energy harvesting on a spacecraft of the future. The initiative seeks to find energy-saving and -maximizing solutions to enable eco-friendly aircraft to stay in space for long periods of time without the need to return to Earth to...

News : Data Acquisition
Mini Solar Observatory Can Be Used on Manned Spacecraft

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) developed a miniature portable solar observatory for use onboard a commercial, manned, suborbital spacecraft. The SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (SSIPP) uses a classic, two-stage pointing system similar to larger spacecraft, but in this case, the...

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