Invention of the Year

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Government Award Winner

Award Title:

Future Air Traffic Management Concepts Evaluation Tool

Lead NASA Center:

Ames Research Center (ARC)

Award Category:

Government

Case Number:

ARC-14653

Summary:

  • FACET is a flexible software-based simulation environment for exploration, development, and evaluation of advanced Air Traffic Management (ATM) concepts.
  • Examples of concepts studied using FACET are: aircraft self-separation for Free Flight, modeling and prediction of air traffic controller workload, a decision support tool for direct routing, integration of space launch vehicle operations into the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS), and advanced traffic flow management techniques using rerouting, metering and ground delay.
  • FACET models system-wide airspace operations over the contiguous United States. Airspace models (e.g., Center/sector boundaries, airways, locations of navigation aids and airports) are available from databases.
  • Weather models (winds, temperature, bad weather cells, etc.) are also available.
  • FACET models aircraft trajectories using spherical-earth equations; aircraft can be flown along either flight plan routes or direct (great circle) routes as they climb, cruise and descend according to their individual aircraft-type performance models.
  • FACET’s modular software is written in the Java and C programming languages and currently has approximately 200,000 lines of code.
  • The architecture of FACET is balanced between flexibility and fidelity.
  • This innovative feature enables FACET to model airspace operations at the U.S. national level, and process over 10,000 aircraft on a single desktop/laptop computer for a variety of operating systems.

Commercial Award Winner

Award Title:

Powder Handling Device For Analytical Instruments

Lead NASA Center:

Ames Research Center (ARC)

Award Category:

Commercial

Case Number:

ARC-15101

Summary:

  • This invention takes coarse powders and shakes them at sonic frequencies so that the powdered material within the cell (a disc-shaped volume that is 8 mm diameter and 170 Fm thick) undergoes granular convection similar to a heated liquid, causing the individual grains to move past the X-ray beam in a randomized orientation over time.
  • The result is an X-ray diffraction pattern with the correct diffracted intensities from a compact instrument with no moving parts.
  • pXRD devices utilizing this invention can be extremely small, and do not require X-ray source, sample and X-ray detector movements, specialized divergence or convergence of the diffracted beams.
  • This is critical for NASA spaceflight applications where small size, low mass, low power and uncomplicated sample preparation are important, as well as for in situ analysis of materials at remote localities using portable equipment.
  • Furthermore, in applications such as analysis of synthesized pharmaceuticals, small quantities of asgrown crystallites (as for example are prepared in pharmaceutical research laboratories) can be analyzed without further sample preparation.