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

ISO 26262 & Automotive Electronics Development

Compliance standards, especially those that involve relatively new functional safety elements, will likely add additional requirements to the development process. But ISO 26262, in particular, will add more than new requirements to the product life cycle for automotive hardware-software systems. This Functional Safety standard will act as a framework impacting integrated requirements traceability, risk management, validation, verification, documentation and collaboration throughout the systems engineering “V” model life cycle process (see Figure). ISO 26262 will also require the qualification of tools used to create automotive systems. This paper examines the impact of the standard on the development process and support tool chains for automotive electronics.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Semiconductors & ICs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Life cycle analysis, Safety regulations and standards
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Moon Tours Android

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

This Android app provides a native interface to the Lunar Mapping and Modeling Portal’s (LMMP) lunar data archive and analysis tools. It complements the iOS app previously released, incorporating a very similar feature set. Both apps contain a subset of the functionality available in the desktop/Web version. Compared to the iOS version of the LMMP, the Android version provides the additional tools necessary to perform elevation analysis and perimeter/area measurements.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Historical reference
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The Advanced Data Analytics Platform (ADAPT): Concept, Design, Architecture, and Operation

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

NASA scientists are uniquely positioned to research and understand the processes affecting the Earth’s climate. To study these important processes, scientists must address the Big Data challenges posed by working with massive amounts of observational and climate model output data. The Advanced Data Analytics Platform (ADAPT) is a cyber infrastructure resource specifically designed to reduce the friction between scientists and data. The system includes a high-performance storage cloud surrounded by large-scale compute resources. A very high-performing network enables fast access to the data stored within ADAPT. Furthermore, the system allows users to bring their applications to the data and define the environment in which those applications run. The science results can then be stored for future analysis or shared through static and dynamic data services within ADAPT without having to move the data or make additional copies. The agility, flexibility, and extensibility of the system make it ideal for NASA scientists to produce science results quickly by analyzing large data sets.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Analysis methodologies, Big data, Cloud computing, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Big data, Cloud computing, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Weather and climate
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Distributed User Interface Management System for Interactive Collaborative Environments

This technology can be used in applications with complex user interfaces, such as control rooms, emergency and combat operations, and telemedicine.

The Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Smart Firing Room Project aims to create a firing room using cutting-edge technologies of today that are expected to be the state-of-the-art for the 2020s. One aspect of this project is providing a seamless Interactive Collaborative Environment (ICE) across a diverse array of user-facing devices — numerous screens of varying sizes, personal mobile devices, and natural user interface (NUI) sensors for multi-touch, gesture, and voice inputs. Applications accessible through the ICE are expected to provide Distributed User Interfaces (DUIs) that support collaborative features such as sharing applications with remote users, multi-user interaction for collaborative editing, and modular User Interfaces (UIs) to support customized workspaces spread across multiple devices. Using current technologies, developing an application with a DUI supporting such a wide variety of platforms is extremely costly due to the tight coupling between UIs, host platforms, and the application logic.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Spacecraft
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Design Reference Mission Tool for Exoplanet Starshade Mission Study

This approach is nearly optimal for each observational tier.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

The Design Reference Mission (DRM) tool was developed to support the Exo-Starshade (Exo-S) Science and Technology Definition Team for modeling both the Dedicated (30-m starshade, 1.1-m telescope) and Rendezvous (34-m starshade, 2.4-m telescope) missions. The DRM describes the sequence of observations to be performed and estimates the number of planets that will be detected and characterized. It is executed with a MATLAB-based tool developed for the Exo-S Study.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, CAD / CAM / CAE, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Optics, Optics, Spacecraft
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Front End Data System (FEDS) Version 10.0

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

In traditional missions at NASA, ground systems were normally custom-built for each project. Additionally, there would be separate ground systems for each part of the spacecraft as well as a totally separate ground system for mission operations. Each of these generally interfaced through non-standard protocols. These ground systems were very expensive to develop, required expensive custom hardware, and required a large investment of time in order to verify the plethora of interfaces between the different ground systems. Non-standard interfaces between various components required extensive engineering and testing efforts.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Communication protocols, Communication protocols, Ground support, Spacecraft
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Link Complexity Scheduling Algorithm

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) provides communication and other services for planetary exploration for both NASA and international users. The DSN operates antennas at three complexes in California, Spain, and Australia, with the longitudinal distribution of the complexes enabling full sky coverage and generally providing some overlap in spacecraft visibility. Beginning in 2018, the DSN will be transitioning to a remote operations paradigm where local dayshift operators at each complex will be preparing and staffing the links (or contacts) for all antennas in the DSN. In addition, the number of simultaneous links an operator will be required to support will increase from two to three. Without tools to manage the increased link complexity, there is a risk that operators will be overloaded.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Mathematical models, Antennas, Satellite communications, Antennas, Satellite communications, Personnel
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Advanced Numerical Integration Techniques for High-Fidelity SDE Spacecraft Simulation

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Simulation study is an integral part of the validation of navigation algorithms for spacecraft. While it is possible to come up with an estimate of a navigation algorithm’s performance with a low-fidelity system model, the mathematical analysis is intractable for higher-fidelity models that include fuel slosh, flexible booms, sensor saturation, etc. Thus simulation study is a vital step in validating navigation algorithms before an actual satellite is launched.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer simulation, Mathematical analysis, Mathematical models, Spacecraft guidance, Spacecraft guidance
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Launch Environment Water Flow Simulations Using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics

This method has been used in applications involving ocean modeling, volcanic lava, sloshing, and fuel pumps.

One of the crucial ground structures employed at the launch pad during the Space Shuttle program is the rainbird nozzle system, whose primary objective is to suppress acoustic energy generated by the launch vehicle during pad abort and nominal operations. It is important that the rainbird water flow does not impinge on the rocket nozzles and other sensitive ground support elements. For the new Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle, the operation is similar, regardless of the new mobile launcher and new engine configurations. The goal of the rainbird nozzle system remains sound suppression (SS), and the rocket engines still cannot get wet. However, the rearrangement of the rainbird water system for the SLS mobile launcher locates the rainbirds closer to the first-stage rocket engines, which are positioned above the exhaust hole. The close proximity of the rainbird nozzle system could potentially cause vehicle wetting during liftoff.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer simulation, Water, Nozzles, Rocket engines, Launch vehicles
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The Space Station Modulator: A Configurable Surface Mesh Geometry Model for Aeroscience Analyses

Computational manipulation with solid bodies is improving ISS aeroscience analyses.

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Numerical simulations of plume impingement heating to the International Space Station (ISS) and its visiting vehicles require a specific way to represent the space station geometry in 3D. The tools that are used for plume impingement analyses at NASA’s Johnson Space Center — the Reaction Control System (RCS) Plume Model 3D (RPM3D) and Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) Analysis Code (DAC) — need the analysis geometry to be in the form of a triangulated surface mesh and water-tight (no gaps or holes). Until recently, 3D geometries for such analyses had to be generated manually, took a long time, and used very-low-fidelity geometry components, and as a result, the aeroscience analyses in 3D were not very frequent.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software, Computer simulation, Mathematical models, Spacecraft
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