NASA Tech Briefs

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is required by its charter to report to industry any new, commercially significant technologies developed in the course of their R&D. For more than three decades, this has been accomplished primarily through the publication of NASA Tech Briefs.

Originally issued as single sheet reports in the 1960s, NASA Tech Briefs has been a joint publishing venture of NASA and Tech Briefs Media Group, a unit of SAE International, since 1985. Today, NASA Tech Briefs’ circulation surpasses 190,000.

The monthly magazine, which as of 2013 is still available in paper form, features reports of innovations developed by NASA and its industry partners/contractors. NASA Tech Briefs also contains articles on NASA spinoffs, NASA tech transfer resources, and application stories. Regular columns describe new patents, industry products, software, and literature.

The associated commercial ad-supported web site is privately owned and is not an official Web site of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, nor is it sponsored by NASA.[1]



  1. ^ "NASA Tech Briefs - legal disclaimer". SAE International. November 7, 2013. Archived from the original on October 4, 2014.

External links

Adrian Ponce

Adrian Ponce (born 12 March 1971) is the manager for the Higher Education outreach group and former Deputy Section Manager for the Planetary Science and Life Detection Section at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and is also a visiting faculty member at Caltech. he received a BS in Chemistry from Michigan State University, and then went on to obtain a PhD in Chemistry from Caltech in 2000.

Behrokh Khoshnevis

Behrokh Khoshnevis is the President and CEO of Contour Crafting Corporation and the Louise L. Dunn Chair in Engineering, at the University of Southern California where he has affiliations with Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Astronautics Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering and Industrial & Systems Engineering departments. He is the Director of the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT) at the University of Southern California (USC). He is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow Member of the National Academy of Inventors and is a member of the EU Academy of Sciences. He is also a Fellow member of the Society for Computer Simulation, a Fellow member of the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineering and a Fellow member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. He is also a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Fellow.He is active in CAD/CAM-, robotics- and mechatronics-related research projects that include the development of three novel 3D Printing processes called Contour Crafting, SIS and SSS.

In 2014, Khoshnevis was selected as the recipient of the Grand Prize of the Creating the Future design contest for invention of the Contour Crafting robotic construction technology. The program was organized by NASA Tech Briefs Media Group and sponsored by major industries including Intel and HP. The Grand Prize was given to only one of the more than 1000 globally competing technologies.Contour Crafting was selected as one of the top 25 out of more than 4000 candidate inventions by the History Channel Modern Marvels program and the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame; and has been identified as one of the major disruptive technologies of our time.In 2016 Khoshnevis' other invention, SSS, won another NASA international top prize for the In-Situ Challenge Competition which concerned technologies that can build structures on the Moon and Mars out of local planetary materials. Khoshnevis proposed a proven approach using his SSS technology for autonomous construction of landing pads and roads as well as fabrication of interlocking bricks and other objects such as metallic tools and spare parts using in-situ materials (

In 2017 Khoshnevis was recognized by the Connected World Magazine as one of top 10 academic pioneers in Internet of Things (IoT), joining, for example, Elon Musk as another IoT pioneer.

Khoshnevis' inventions have received worldwide attention by the acclaimed media such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Business Week, Der Spiegel, New Scientist, and national and international television and radio networks.


Busek Co. Inc. is a spacecraft propulsion company providing thrusters, electronics, and complete systems for spacecraft.Busek spaceflight heritage includes the first US Hall thruster in space (TacSat-2), the first electrospray thruster in space (LISA Pathfinder), four micro-pulsed plasma thrusters flown aboard FalconSat-3, and a BHT-200 Hall thruster flown aboard FalconSat-5.


CoolSPICE is a computer aided design tool for electronic circuit development. It is a version of the SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) simulation tool with focuses on design and simulation for circuit operation at cryogenic temperatures, circuits operating with Wide-bandgap semiconductors, and simulation of thermal effects on circuit performance.


DADiSP (Data Analysis and Display, pronounced day-disp) is a numerical computing environment developed by DSP Development Corporation which allows one to display and manipulate data series, matrices and images with an interface similar to a spreadsheet. DADiSP is used in the study of signal processing, numerical analysis, statistical and physiological data processing.


earthmine, inc. is a company located in Berkeley, California devoted to "indexing reality". The company uses vehicle mounted camera rigs to capture imagery and three dimensional data of the urban environment. It was founded in 2006 by John Ristevski and Anthony Fassero.

Erkin Sidick

Erkin Sidick is a Uyghur, ئۇيغۇر, a NASA Senior Optical Engineer and a member of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

IRIS engine

The IRIS Engine is a design for a new type of internal combustion engine. Its inventors say that engines constructed using this design can be smaller, lighter and significantly more efficient than traditional engines of comparable horsepower and displacement. The design replaces the piston and cylinder architecture of conventional engines with a purportedly novel mechanism called the Internally Radiating Impulse Structure, or IRIS.In January 2008, the IRIS Engine design won first prize for transportation technology in NASA's annual "Create the Future" design competition. In October 2008, the Radial Expansion Engine (RXE), a variant of the IRIS design, won second prize in the ConocoPhillips Energy Prize competition.

Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment

Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE) is an instrument that detects and measures ions and electrons around the a spacecraft. It is a suite of detectors on the Juno Jupiter orbiter (launched 2011, orbiting Jupiter since 2016). JADE includes JADE-E, JADE-I, and the EBox. JADE-E and JADE-I are sensors that are spread out on the spacecraft, and the EBox is located inside the Juno Radiation Vault. EBox stands for Electronics Box. JADE-E is for detecting electrons from 0.1 to 100 keV, and there are three JADE-E sensors on Juno. JADE-I is for detecting ions from 5 eV to 50 keV. It is designed to return data in situ on Jupiter's auroral region and magnetospheric plasmas, by observing electrons and ions in this region. It is primarily focused on Jupiter, but it was turned on in January 2016 while still en route to study inter-planetary space (It was several million miles from Jupiter at that time).JADE was built by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), located in the United States in Texas. Two other instruments help understand the magnetosphere of Jupiter, WAVES and MAG. The JEDI instrument measures higher energy ions and electrons and JADE lower energy ones, they are complimentary.The JADE sensors, in addition to other materials, also use a special plastic designed to endure the spaceflight conditions. The instrument uses special molded rings of polyether ether ketone (PEEK).By May 2017, some of the first science analysis reported that JADE observed plasma coming up from the upper atmosphere of Jupiter into the Magnetosphere. Some auroral process were compared to ones at Earth, but there seemed to be other processes at work creating the auroras at Jupiter said the JADE project leader, in early 2017. Like Earth's aurora, scientists noted Jupiter's could be effected by the Solar wind, however, many of the ions in the Jupiter aurora were different from those in Earth's.

Marvin Simon

Marvin Kenneth Simon (1939 – September 23, 2007) was a telecommunication engineer who worked extensively for 35 years in the area of modulation, coding, and synchronization for space, satellite, radio, and military communications and also performance evaluation of wireless telecommunication systems over fading channels.

Simon got his PhD from New York University in 1966, and worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the past few decades of his life. The fruits of his research have been successfully applied to the design of many of NASA's deep space and near-earth missions for which he has been earned 11 patents, 25 NASA Tech Briefs, 4 Space Act awards, and over 200 technical papers. He died of brain cancer in September 2007.

He was a Fellow of the IEEE, Fellow of the Iowa Academy of Education (IAE), and winner of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal both in recognition of outstanding contributions in analysis and design of space communications systems. In addition, he is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America and other similar compilations.

In 1997 he was the recipient of the IEEE Edwin H. Armstrong Achievement Award for seminal contributions spanning three decades in the design and analysis of novel coherent digital communication systems, including synchronization and tracking, differential modulation and signal design, spread spectrum techniques, and trellis-coded modulation for fading channels. Most recently he was awarded the IEEE Third Millennium Medal for outstanding contributions to communications technology.

He was also the co-recipient of the 1986 Prize Paper Award in Communications of the IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology for his work on trellis coded differential detection systems and the 1999 Prize Paper Award of the Vehicular Technology Conference for his work on generalized selection combining performance evaluation over fading channels.

His paper on multiple-symbol differential detection of M-PSK was included in the IEEE Communications Society's 50th Anniversary Journal Collection – as one of the 50 key papers published in the IEEE Transactions on Communications and the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, over the past 50 years.

Mcor Technologies Ltd

Mcor Technologies Ltd is engaged in the design, development and manufacture of paper-based 3D printing systems. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in Dunleer, County Louth, Ireland.

NASA spinoff technologies

NASA spinoff technologies are commercial products and services which have been developed with the help of NASA, through research and development contracts, such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or STTR awards, licensing of NASA patents, use of NASA facilities, technical assistance from NASA personnel, or data from NASA research. Information on new NASA technology that may be useful to industry is available in periodical and website form in "NASA Tech Briefs", while successful examples of commercialization are reported annually in the NASA publication "Spinoffs".

In 1979, notable science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein helped bring awareness to the spinoffs when he was asked to appear before Congress after recovering from one of the earliest known vascular bypass operations to correct a blocked artery; in his testimony, reprinted in the book Expanded Universe, he claimed that four NASA spinoff technologies made the surgery possible, and it was a few from a long list of NASA spinoff technologies from space development.For more than 50 years, the NASA Technology Transfer Program has connected NASA resources to private industry, referring to the commercial products as spinoffs. Well-known products that NASA claims as spinoffs include memory foam (originally named temper foam), freeze-dried food, firefighting equipment, emergency "space blankets", DustBusters, cochlear implants, LZR Racer swimsuits, and CMOS image sensors. As of 2016, NASA claims that there are nearly 2,000 other spinoffs in the fields of computer technology, environment and agriculture, health and medicine, public safety, transportation, recreation, and industrial productivity. Contrary to common belief, NASA did not invent Tang, Velcro or Teflon.In 2008, NASA announced an interactive Web feature, NASA @ Home and City which uses Flash animation to show some examples of everyday products claimed to be spinoffs.

NEi Fusion

NEi Fusion is a finite element analysis program sold by NEi Software that is used by engineers to build and analyze 3D models of parts and assemblies of various products. NEi Fusion digital-simulation software virtually applies forces, pressures, vibration, acceleration loads, or thermal conditions to 3D models of parts, structures, and assemblies. It obtains results of various engineering parameters, such as deformation, stresses, strains, temperature distributions, and modal shapes the design would experience if implemented. The results, which range from tables of data to contour plots and animations, provide engineering insight. For example, result visualizations like color-coded, contour plots can help deepen understanding of physical phenomena in complex geometry. NEi Fusion consists of a 3D parametric CAD modeler powered by SolidWorks with NEi Nastran finite element analysis solvers. NEi Fusion runs on Microsoft Windows and provides CAD modeling, import and meshing tools.

Plasma window

The plasma window (not to be confused with a plasma shield) is a technology that fills a volume of space with plasma confined by a magnetic field. With current technology, this volume is quite small and the plasma is generated as a flat plane inside a cylindrical space.

Plasma is any gas whose atoms or molecules have been ionized, and is a separate phase of matter. This is most commonly achieved by heating the gas to extremely high temperatures, although other methods exist. Plasma becomes increasingly viscous at higher temperatures, to the point where other matter has trouble passing through.

A plasma window's viscosity allows it to separate gas at standard atmospheric pressure from a total vacuum, and can reportedly withstand a pressure difference of up to nine atmospheres. At the same time, the plasma window will allow radiation such as lasers and electron beams to pass. This property is the key to the plasma window's usefulness — the technology of the plasma window permits for radiation that can only be generated in a vacuum to be applied to objects in an atmosphere. Electron-beam welding is a major application of plasma windows, making EBW practical outside a hard vacuum.

R. K. Chetty Pandipati

Radha Krishnaiah Chetty Pandipati (also known as R. K. Chetty Pandipati and P. R. K. Chetty) is an Electronics and Communications Engineer. Currently, he works at NASA as a contractor.

RF Micropower

RF Micropower is a fabless semiconductor company based in Phoenix, Arizona that sells and licenses the RFuP technology that was initially developed by SJT Micropower, Inc. The company's proprietary technology enables high voltage Si-MESFET transistors to be fabricated on commercial SOI CMOS processes without altering the native process or adding additional fabrication steps which allows high levels of monolithic integration. These power transistors can operate at voltages that are 20 times higher than the baseline CMOS transistors and at several Watts of power. The technology has been implemented in various integrated circuit solutions including RF power amplifiers and power regulation circuits. According to their website, they have demonstrated Si-MESFETs at the 350 nm, 250 nm, 150 nm, 45 nm and 32 nm process nodes. The smallest process node for MESFETs on any type of substrate is currently 32 nm.

Robot welding

Robot welding is the use of mechanized programmable tools (robots), which completely automate a welding process by both performing the weld and handling the part. Processes such as gas metal arc welding, while often automated, are not necessarily equivalent to robot welding, since a human operator sometimes prepares the materials to be welded. Robot welding is commonly used for resistance spot welding and arc welding in high production applications, such as the automotive industry.

Robot welding is a relatively new application of robotics, even though robots were first introduced into US industry during the 1960s. The use of robots in welding did not take off until the 1980s, when the automotive industry began using robots extensively for spot welding. Since then, both the number of robots used in industry and the number of their applications has grown greatly. In 2005, more than 120,000 robots were in use in North American industry, about half of them for welding. Growth is primarily limited by high equipment costs, and the resulting restriction to high-production applications.

Robot arc welding has begun growing quickly just recently, and already it commands about 20% of industrial robot applications. The major components of arc welding robots are the manipulator or the mechanical unit and the controller, which acts as the robot's "brain". The manipulator is what makes the robot move, and the design of these systems can be categorized into several common types, such as SCARA and cartesian coordinate robot, which use different coordinate systems to direct the arms of the machine.

The robot may weld a pre-programmed position, be guided by machine vision, or by a combination of the two methods. However, the many benefits of robotic welding have proven to make it a technology that helps many original equipment manufacturers increase accuracy, repeat-ability, and throughput The technology of signature image processing has been developed since the late 1990s for analyzing electrical data in real time collected from automated, robotic welding, thus enabling the optimization of welds.

TZ Limited

TZ Ltd. known previously by various other names, is a company that develops and licenses proprietary technologies.

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