Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

Reducing Spaceborne-Doppler-Radar Rainfall-Velocity Error

A combined frequency- time (CFT) spectral moment estimation technique has been devised for calculating rainfall velocity from measurement data acquired by a nadir-looking spaceborne Doppler weather radar system. Prior spectral moment estimation techniques used for this purpose are based partly on the assumption that the radar resolution volume is uniformly filled with rainfall. The assumption is unrealistic in general but introduces negligible error in application to airborne radar systems. However, for spaceborne systems, the combination of this assumption and inhomogeneities in rainfall [denoted non-uniform beam filling (NUBF)] can result in velocity measurement errors of several meters per second.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Measurements, Radar, Radar, Water, Weather and climate

Stochastic Analysis of Orbital Lifetimes of Spacecraft

A document discusses (1) a Monte-Carlo-based methodology for probabilistic prediction and analysis of orbital lifetimes of spacecraft and (2) Orbital Lifetime Monte Carlo (OLMC) — a Fortran computer program, consisting of a previously developed long-term orbit-propagator integrated with a Monte Carlo engine.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Finite element analysis, Life cycle analysis, Spacecraft

Visual Data Analysis for Satellites

The Visual Data Analysis Package is a collection of programs and scripts that facilitate visual analysis of data available from NASA and NOAA satellites, as well as dropsonde, buoy, and conventional in-situ observations. The package features utilities for data extraction, data quality control, statistical analysis, and data visualization.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Statistical analysis, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Data management, Satellites

A Data Type for Efficient Representation of Other Data Types

Some obstacles to programming of parallel computers are removed.

A self-organizing, monomorphic data type denoted a sequence has been conceived to address certain concerns (summarized below) that arise in programming parallel computers. [“Sequence” as used here should not be confused with “sequence” as the word is commonly understood or with “sequence” as used elsewhere to denote another, polymorphic data type that is also relevant to computer programming.] A sequence in the present sense can be regarded abstractly as a vector, set, bag, queue, or other construct. A sequence is defined in terms of the behavior of the operators that can be applied to it without any foreknowledge of the underpinnings of its representation or particular implementation.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Architecture, Architecture, Data management

Providing Goal-Based Autonomy for Commanding a Spacecraft

A computer program for use aboard a scientific- exploration spacecraft autonomously selects among goals specified in high-level requests and generates corresponding sequences of low-level commands, understandable by spacecraft systems. (As used here, “goals” signifies specific scientific observations.) From a dynamic, onboard set of goals that could oversubscribe spacecraft resources, the program selects a non-oversubscribing subset that maximizes a quality metric. In an early version of the program, the requested goals are assumed to have fixed starting times and durations. Goals can conflict by exceeding a limit on either the number of separate goals or the number of overlapping goals making demands on the same resource.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Automatic pilots, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance, Automatic pilots, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance, Logistics

Optimal Planning and Problem-Solving

CTAEMS MDP Optimal Planner is a problem- solving software designed to command a single spacecraft/rover, or a team of spacecraft/ rovers, to perform the best action possible at all times according to an abstract model of the spacecraft/rover and its environment. It also may be useful in solving logistical problems encountered in commercial applications such as shipping and manufacturing.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft guidance, Logistics, Manufacturing processes, Materials handling

Attitude-Control Algorithm for Minimizing Maneuver Execution Errors

A G-RAC attitude- control algorithm is used to minimize maneuver execution error in a spacecraft with a flexible appendage when said spacecraft must induce translational momentum by firing (in open loop) large thrusters along a desired direction for a given period of time. The controller is dynamic with two integrators and requires measurement of only the angular position and velocity of the spacecraft. The global stability of the closed-loop system is guaranteed without having access to the states describing the dynamics of the appendage and with severe saturation in the available torque.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Mathematical models, Attitude control, Attitude control, Booster rocket engines, Spacecraft

Grants Document-Generation System

The Grants Document- Generation System (GDGS) software allows the generation of official grants documents for distribution to the appropriate parties. The documents are created after the selection and entry of specific data elements and clauses. GDGS is written in Cold Fusion that resides on an SQL2000 database and is housed on-site at Goddard Space Flight Center. It includes access security written around GSFC’s (Goddard Space Flight Center’s) LIST system, and allows for the entry of Procurement Request information necessary for the generation of the resulting Grant Award.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Documentation, Financial management

Automated Production of Movies on a Cluster of Computers

Processing is faster, easier, more flexible, and more collaborative than before.

A method of accelerating and facilitating production of video and film motion- picture products, and software and generic designs of computer hardware to implement the method, are undergoing development. The method provides for automation of most of the tedious and repetitive tasks involved in editing and otherwise processing raw digitized imagery into final motion-picture products. The method was conceived to satisfy requirements, in industrial and scientific testing, for rapid processing of multiple streams of simultaneously captured raw video imagery into documentation in the form of edited video imagery and video derived data products for technical review and analysis. In the production of such video technical documentation, unlike in production of motion-picture products for entertainment, (1) it is often necessary to produce multiple video derived data products, (2) there are usually no second chances to repeat acquisition of raw imagery, (3) it is often desired to produce final products within minutes rather than hours, days, or months, and (4) consistency and quality, rather than aesthetics, are the primary criteria for judging the products.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Collaboration and partnering, Data management, Automation

Lossless, Multi-Spectral Data Compressor for Improved Compression for Pushbroom-Type Instruments

A modified data compression algorithm could be used on commercial satellites or other applications with multispectral imaging instruments.

A low-complexity lossless algorithm for compression of multispectral data has been developed that takes into account pushbroom-type multispectral imagers’ properties in order to make the file compression more effective. These types of imagers use a detector array to acquire data in spatial-spectral slices. Each detector element corresponds to a specific spectral band and cross-track position. Because the characteristics of detector elements generally vary somewhat from element to element, cross-track adjacent samples in a given spectral band are not as similar as they are in an instrument that uses the same detector for all samples in a given spectral band (e.g. in a whiskbroom-type instrument). Along-track adjacent samples will tend to be very similar.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Mathematical models, Data acquisition and handling, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Data acquisition and handling, Imaging, Imaging and visualization

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