information technology and software
Radiation Hardened 10BASE-T Ethernet Physical Interface
Currently there is no radiation hardened Ethernet interface device/circuit available commercially. In this Ethernet solution, the portion of the PHY in the FPGA is responsible for meeting the IEEE 802.3 protocol, decoding received packets and link pulses, and encoding transmitted data packets. The decoded payload data is sent to a user interface internal to the FPGA which sends data for transmission back to the FPGA PHY. The transmit portion is composed of two AD844 op amps from Analog Devices with appropriate filtering. The receive portion is composed of a transformer, an Aeroflex Low-Voltage Differential Multi-drop device, and appropriate filtering.
information technology and software
Automatic Extraction of Planetary Image Features and Multi-Sensor Image Registration
NASAs Goddard Space Flight Centers method for the extraction of Lunar data and/or planetary features is a method developed to extract Lunar features based on the combination of several image processing techniques. The technology was developed to register images from multiple sensors and extract features from images in low-contrast and uneven illumination conditions. The image processing and registration techniques can include, but is not limited to, a watershed segmentation, marked point processes, graph cut algorithms, wavelet transforms, multiple birth and death algorithms and/or the generalized Hough Transform.
information technology and software
Space Link Extension Return Channel Frames (SLE-RCF) Software Library
The Space Link Extension Return Channel Frames (SLE-RCF) software library helps to monitor the health and safety of spacecraft by enabling space agency ground support and mission control centers to develop standardized and interoperable mission control applications for space telemetry data. The software library eliminates the need for missions to implement custom data communication designs to communicate with any ground station. The two main tasks accomplished via the SLE-RCF software library are processing user requests and receiving data from ground stations and ground support assets. The software library contains three layers: -SLE (Space Link Extension) for the abstract workings of the protocol -DEL (Decoding and Encoding Layer) to decode and encode the abstract messages used by the SLE layer -TML (Transport Mapping Layer) to transfer the encoded messages via some underlying transport layer protocol, such as as the transmission control protocol (TCP) The library accepts configuration or SLE-RCF directives from the user and responds accordingly. Incoming data, both telemetry frames and status messages, are processed and the appropriate callback routines are triggered by the library.
information technology and software
Hierarchical Image Segmentation (HSEG)
Currently, HSEG software is being used by Bartron Medical Imaging as a diagnostic tool to enhance medical imagery. Bartron Medical Imaging licensed the HSEG Technology from NASA Goddard adding color enhancement and developing MED-SEG, an FDA approved tool to help specialists interpret medical images. HSEG is available for licensing outside of the medical field (specifically for soft-tissue analysis).
Aeroelastic Wing Shaping
Distributed propulsion and lightweight flexible structures on air vehicles pose a significant opportunity to improve mission performance while meeting next generation requirements including reduced fuel burn, lower emissions, and enhanced takeoff and landing performance. Flexible wing-shaping aircraft using distributed propulsion enable the ability to achieve improved aerodynamic efficiency while maintaining aeroelastic stability. Wing shaping concepts using distributed propulsion leverage the ability to introduce forces/ moments into the wing structure to affect the wing aerodynamics. This can be performed throughout the flight envelope to alter wing twist, hence local angle of attack, as the wing loading changes with air vehicle weight during cruise. Thrust-induced lift can be achieved by distributed propulsion for enhanced lift during take-off and landing. For a highly flexible wing structure, this concept could achieve a 4% improvement in lift-to-drag ratio, hence reduced fuel burn, as compared to a conventional stiff wing. This benefit is attributed to a reduction in lift-induced drag throughout the flight envelope by actively shaping the spanwise lift distribution using distributed propulsion. Vertical tail size could be reduced by utilizing differential thrust flight-propulsion control. This will result in weight reduction to achieve further fuel savings. Aeroelastic stability is addressed in the design process to meet flutter clearance requirements by proper placement of the propulsion units. This technology enables synergistic interactions between lightweight materials, propulsion, flight control, and active aeroelastic wing shaping control for reducing the environmental impact of future air vehicles.
Co-Optimization of Blunt Body Shapes for Moving Vehicles
Vehicles designed for purposes of exploration of the planets and other atmospheric bodies in the Solar System favor the use of mid-Lift/Drag blunt body geometries. Such shapes can be designed so as to yield favorable hypersonic aerothermodynamic properties for low heating and hypersonic aerodynamic properties for maneuverability and stability. The entry trajectory selected influences entry peak heating and integrated heating loads which in turn influences the design of the thermal protection system. A nominal is used to compare each shape considered. The vehicle will be subject to both launch and entry loading along with structural integrity constraints that may further influence shape design. Further, such vehicles must be sized so as to fit on existing or realizable launch vehicles, often within existing launch payload shroud constraints.
Solid-State Microwave Power Module
Typically, microwave power modules (MPMs) are useful only for radar and navigation purposes because they lack the linearity and efficiency required for communications. In standard configurations, conventional MPMs require both a solid-state amplifier at the front end and a microwave vacuum electronics amplifier at the back end. By contrast, Glenn's design features a wideband multi-stage distributed amplifier system. The low-power stage is a high-efficiency gallium arsenide (GaAs) pseudomorphic high-electron-mobility transistor (pHEMT)-based monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) distributed amplifier. The medium-power stage is configured to pick up and amplify the low-power signal. This stage can be either another high-efficiency GaAs pHEMT or a gallium nitride (GaN) HEMT-based MMIC distributed amplifier, depending on the need. The high-power stage, configured to pick up the signal from the second amplifier, is a high-efficiency GaN HEMT-based MMIC distributed amplifier, which supplants the traveling-wave tube amplifier found in most microwave power modules. In Glenn's novel MPM, the radar functions as a scatterometer, radiometer, and synthetic aperture imager. The high-speed communications system down-links science data acquired by Earth-observing instruments. The navigation system functions like a transponder for autonomous rendezvous and docking, and estimates the range information. Glenn's MPM gives systems the versatility to use a single power module to drive not only radar and navigation but also communications systems.
A Portable Impactor Device
The NASA impactor is a fully portable device that propels an instrumented projectile so that it impacts a vehicle, structural component, or test specimen. The device includes a projectile inside an exterior tube. The projectile itself contains a commercial load cell designed to obtain the dynamic force response during the impact event. Furthermore, a digital oscilloscope and optical sensor are combined to measure the velocity just prior to impact so that the impact energy of the projectile onto the test surface can be calculated. In the current configuration, impacts with energies between 4 and 40 J (between about 3 and 30 ft-lbs) are obtainable, and could be adjusted by changing the spring to one with a different spring constant. The tube can be handheld or rigidly mounted at any angle such that the impact response can be evaluated at specified positions throughout the test article. The impactor device is primarily designed for use on composite structures to investigate the structural response from a low-velocity impact, as composite materials are highly susceptible to damage from low-velocity impacts where the damage may not be visible but results in great loss of strength. If the damage cannot be detected visually, it can be seen through nondestructive testing (ultrasonic, flash thermography or X-ray). However, the device may also be used on structures to evaluate and tune structural health monitoring systems. The technology has been designed, prototyped, and implemented in four military or government programs for impact testing on metallic and composite structures, including a helicopter roof in 2013. The cost of the parts for the prototype was approximately $9,000. Production costs are expected to be lower.
Lower Chatter Friction Pull Plug Welding (FPPW)
The new friction pull plug design is optimized to reduce chatter that results as a fast rotating plug enters the hole in the part. The plug design is based on a shank with multiple frustoconical sections shown in the figure to the right. The sections are carefully sized to ensure that the spinning plug contacts the edge of the hole at just the right position to minimize chatter. It keeps the machine from stalling when the plug enters the hole. This new design makes FPPW more practical, perhaps even as a future rivet replacement.
Video Acuity Measurement System
The Video Acuity metric is designed to provide a unique and meaningful measurement of the quality of a video system. The automated system for measuring video acuity is based on a model of human letter recognition. The Video Acuity measurement system is comprised of a camera and associated optics and sensor, processing elements including digital compression, transmission over an electronic network, and an electronic display for viewing of the display by a human viewer. The quality of a video system impacts the ability of the human viewer to perform public safety tasks, such as reading of automobile license plates, recognition of faces, and recognition of handheld weapons. The Video Acuity metric can accurately measure the effects of sampling, blur, noise, quantization, compression, geometric distortion, and other effects. This is because it does not rely on any particular theoretical model of imaging, but simply measures the performance in a task that incorporates essential aspects of human use of video, notably recognition of patterns and objects. Because the metric is structurally identical to human visual acuity, the numbers that it yields have immediate and concrete meaning. Furthermore, they can be related to the human visual acuity needed to do the task. The Video Acuity measurement system uses different sets of optotypes and uses automated letter recognition to simulate the human observer.