Invention of the Year Award for 2009
The Government Invention of the Year for 2009 is the Ultrasonic Wire Crimp Inspection Technology, developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center. This technology uses ultrasonic wave transmission through ferrule-wire joints (perpendicular to the geometric axis) to inspect a mechanically crimped electrical connection for internal defects. It is much more informative than pull testing samples, which is the current standard. It can be applied to many different crimping operations, especially critical connections such as those on flight vehicles. Due to the huge number of crimped connections on military and civilian aircraft, there is interest in making this technique a requirement for all crimps. This technique stands to have a huge impact in all technical areas due to the huge number of crimped connections in electrical systems. This technology is currently being used as part of the Aircraft Aging and Durability Project and to investigate failure of electrical wiring systems in both commercial and military aircraft.
Software of the Year Award for 2009
The World Wind Java (WWj) Software Development Kit (SDK), developed at NASA’s Ames Research Center, consists of modular components that can be combined to operate as a single system. The architecture of the heritage "World Wind.net" version restricted its use because it was an application instead of SDK plug-in technology. For these reasons, World Wind was refactored into cross-platform Java and rearchitectured into a highly portable API-centric SDK. Because World Wind, the client, is "not" an application but a software development kit (SDK), it allows applications to focus on information intelligence, "their" value-added. The modular architecture also improves the ability to advance the overall technology due to the increased ability to optimize individual components.
World Wind, by providing access to sophisticated technology based on open standards, increases the opportunity for competition and entrepreneurial enterprise while simultaneously helping to standardize the infrastructure for information exchange. The WWj SDK accomplishes this by being engineered in compliance with internationally embraced Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Mapping Service (WMS), to which NASA is a signatory (along with DHS, NOAA, NGA, EPA, and the USGS). These OGC WMS are protocols for requesting and delivering geospatial data. The WWj WMS server supports these protocols while allowing for any degree of additional innovation or customized application.
Users include the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, PEMEX (Mexico Petroleum Company), General Dynamics, World Bank, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Northrop Grumman, and the Government of Australia. Geoscience Australia (USGS equivalent) is using World Wind for public access to geologic data.
Runner up awards were given to:
Spacecraft Planet Instrument C-Matrix Events (SPICE) Toolkit from Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Copernicus Trajectory Design and Optimization System from Johnson Space Center
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Wave & Image Processor Software (A Software Platform for Post-Processing Waveform-Based NDE) from Glenn Research Center
Lightning Protection Design and Verification Tool from Kennedy Space Center
System IDentification Programs for AirCraft (SIDPAC) from Langley Research Center