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Advanced Methodology for Precisely Simulating RTD Sensor Types

This technology has applications in plant process simulation, hardware-in-the loop testing of electronic control units in automobiles and avionics, and spacecraft and satellite systems testing.
VTI Instruments Corporation, Irvine, California
Resistance thermometers, also called resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), are very common sensors used for temperature measurement. Their reliability, ruggedness, wide range, and value make them popular in the process industry and research laboratories alike. Read more »

Microwave Radar Sensor Module

Applications include detection of humans from a distance for search and rescue, and non-contact detection of a patient’s vital signs.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Existing implementations of continuous wave (CW) radar are not packaged appropriately for use as part of a heartbeat detection system for disaster search and rescue. They use separately packaged microwave components and laboratory test equipment, and require substantial skill to operate properly, including setup, calibration, and interpretation of the data.

Microphones and Accelerometer Sensors Network for Acoustic Diagnostics (MASNAD)

This network of sensors can pinpoint sounds in any mobile platform.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
A system has been developed using sound to detect problems on rovers or other remote platforms autonomously. It consists of a sensor array of microphones and accelerometers that uses the differences in the sounds generated by the motors, gears, instruments, or other devices being monitored to determine abnormal operation conditions.

MEMS Gyroscope with Dual Interferometric Sense Elements

This sensing technique enables the use of a large proof mass with very low thermomechanical noise.
John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida
High-performance inertial sensors, such as ring laser gyroscopes or fiber optic gyroscopes, have sufficient performance to enable “dead reckoning” navigation for adequate periods of time. Smaller microelectromechanical system (MEMS) inertial sensors, such as MEMS gyroscopes and MEMS accelerometers, typically have relevant performance characteristics that are 10 or 100 times worse than high-performance inertial sensors. Read more »

MMOD Risk Mitigation Technology for Spacecraft Thermal Protection Systems

The ingestion of high-temperature plasma through a small breach could be prevented by providing adequate counter pressure.
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
The proposed concept uses sensors to detect high-temperature plasma ingestion during entry through a breach in the thermal protection system (TPS) caused by a micrometeoroid orbital debris (MMOD) impact. Read more »

NASA Demonstrates Aircraft Electric Propulsion

NASA’s Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech) project will test the premise that tighter propulsion-airframe integration, made possible with electric power, will deliver improved efficiency and safety, as well as environmental and economic benefits. NASA researchers will perform ground testing of a 31-foot-span, carbon composite wing section with 18 electric motors powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries.
The experimental wing, called the Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (HEIST), is mounted on a specially modified truck. Read more »

Second, Smaller Rotor Increases Wind Turbine Efficiency

Large wind turbine blades disturb the wind, creating a wake behind them and reducing the energy harvest of any downwind turbines. A turbine sitting in the slipstream of another can lose 8 to 40 percent of its energy production, depending on conditions. By adding a smaller, secondary rotor mounted mounted in front of the big rotor, the two sets of blades are separated by the nacelle that houses the generating machinery on top of the tower.
The extra blades can increase a wind farm’s energy harvest by 18 percent. Read more »

Orion's Launch Abort System Motor Exceeds Expectations

NASA has tested the attitude control motor of the Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) to prove that its material can survive not only the intense temperatures, pressures, noise, and vibrations experienced during a launch emergency, but also 40 percent beyond. The LAS is being designed to bring a crew to safety should there be a problem in the launch pad or during ascent.
Built by Orbital ATK, the motor consists of a solid propellant gas generator with eight proportional valves equally spaced around the outside of the three-foot-diameter motor. Read more »

RR1P Rugged ATR Pluggable Canister RAID Data Storage Delivers Continuous Data Recording for ISR

RR1P removable canister RAID data storage system enables military ISR data to be removed from a plane, ship or ground vehicle in under two minutes. The canister connects to the ¾ ATR chassis with a military grade connector designed for 10,000 insertion cycles. It weighs only 25 pounds including a five pound removable canister with up to 19.2 TB of compact, rugged, high performance mobile RAID data storage.

The Less is More Approach to Robotic Cable Management

In recent years, cable management has come into the limelight because machine reliability has increased dramatically, even though robots have grown more complex. Unfortunately, the methods used to attach and guide cables have not quite followed suit. While managing cables and hoses is often an afterthought in most designs, it is truly a vital part of any well-functioning robot.

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