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Innovative Techniques Developed from NESC Assessments


Identification of Noise Sources During Launch Using Phased Array Microphone Systems

The NESC activity is performing verification and validation tests to determine the MPA’s environmental survivability and validate the beamforming capability.

Operational Modal Analysis of the Artemis I Dynamic Rollout Test

NASA is developing the SLS to support lunar and deep space exploration. SLS is integrated inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on the mobile launcher (ML), which supports the integrated SLS launch vehicle during transport to the pad through lift-off.

Trajectory Reverse Engineering

The TRE technique was developed as part of the NESC study, Flight Mechanics Analysis Tools Interoperability and Component Sharing, to develop interfaces to support interoperability between several of NASA’s institutional flight mechanics tools. 


New Transient Finite Energy Shock Prediction Methodology

In a major departure from prior methodologies, a physics-based shock prediction method has been created, executed, and compared against test results.


Magnetically Levitated Space Mechanisms

The NESC sponsored an in-depth study of the state of the art in magnetic and other bearing technologies to identify the key pros and cons of each technology.

Strain-Hardness Correlation Testing Technique

A new material analysis technique was developed at the MSFC Materials & Processes Lab to efficiently generate correlation curves between indentation hardness measurements and localized material strain.

Lift-off Modeling & Simulation of T-0 Umbilicals Using a Flexible Multibody Dynamic Model Framework

The NESC has developed a fully nonlinear lift-off pad separation capability inclusive of umbilical separation dynamics for the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Exploration Ground Systems programs.

Innovation that Impacts All NASA Missions: Improving How We Engineer Our Systems

John F. Kennedy set the tone for NASA’s culture in 1961 during his famous speech on going to the Moon, “We choose to go to the Moon not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone…”  


Uncertainty Propagation for Model Validation Using a Hybrid Parametric Variation Method

An alternate technical approach for addressing model uncertainty at the component level and propagating it to system-level results.

Nonlinear Joint Modeling of Complex Systems Using a Quasi-Static Modal Analysis Approach

As an alternative to direct integration of the nonlinear equations of motion, a quasi-static modal analysis (QSMA) was developed to determine the dependence of frequency and damping on response amplitude using results from nonlinear static analyses.


Deformed Geometry Coupling Technique for Determining Preload of a Stacked Launch Vehicle

A new approach has been developed in coupling deformed geometry for determining prelaunch stacking loads and to compute vehicle load indicators, inclusive of stacking-induced preloads, for all vehicle system stacking stages.

Fast Attitude Maneuvers for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

A new operational capability for fast attitude maneuvering is being developed and tested in preparation for operational implementation on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

Heading Advisory Tool for Crew Module Recovery

In response to an NESC request from the KSC Office of the Chief Engineer, the Navy’s Environmental and Ship Motion Forecasting (ESMF) system, developed by Applied Physical Sciences Corp., has been transformed into a ship Heading Advisory Tool (HAT) to support CM recovery activities.

NiTi-Hf Alloy for Corrosion Immune, Shockproof Bearings

NASA has developed a new ball bearing material, Nickel Titanium-Hafnium (NiTi-Hf), to replace 60NiTi in many flight applications.

COPV Test and Measurement Techniques

The NESC integrated instrumentation and NDE expertise from AFRC, LaRC, MSFC, and WSTF along with contract partners, to pioneer diagnostics that have enhanced our fundamental understanding of COPV mechanical and thermal responses.


High Speed Structural Measurement Technique Development and Validation

The NESC team was faced with the challenge of making accurate structural response measurements for an event lasting just microseconds. The final results were validated Digital Image Correlation and Photon Doppler Velocimetry measurement systems.

Deterministic System Design of Experiments for Frangible Joint Design Reliability

A deterministic system Design of Experiments (dsDOE) method was developed for frangible joints (FJ) to enable rapid estimation of their design reliability.

Spacecraft Proximity Analysis Using the Exploration Visualization Environment

A graphical proximity analysis tool has been developed to aid in the study of spacecraft separation events.

Advanced Modeling of Rocket Explosion Events

A new capability for modeling propellant explosion events has been developed. Testing and launching of chemical rocket propulsion systems inherently involve the risk of large energy explosions. The ability to predict these blast environments is critical to the safety of the facility, test article, and possibly flight crew members.

Accelerance Decoupling for Modal Test

A new methodology for modal tests has been developed called Accelerance Decoupling (AD), which overcomes the problem that free-free modal data could not be directly obtained from the integrated vehicle while on launch platform.

Calorimetry of Lithium-ion Cells During Thermal Runaway

Recent well-publicized events involving Li-Ion batteries have drawn attention to the phenomenon of thermal runaway – where stored energy within the cell is rapidly released as heat along with vented effluents. With increased use of Li-Ion cells in space applications such as extravehicular activity hardware, care must be taken to ensure the battery design does not promote propagation of thermal runaway to adjacent cells. 

Fast Coupled Loads Analysis Method: Norton-Thevenin Receptance Coupling

A new method called Norton-Thevenin Receptance Coupling (NTRC) has been developed to perform coupled loads analysis (CLA).


Large Point Load Application Technique

The NESC investigated the construction and testing techniques of a composite pressure vessel for the Orion crew module. The main test matrix included 11 load cases consisting mostly of combined point loads and internal pressure.

Bond Quality Inspection for Orion Heatshield Blocks

The NESC is supporting an effort to inspect the condition of the bondline between the thermal protection system and the composite substrate of the Orion spacecraft.

Spreadsheet-Based Wire Bundle Thermal Modeling Tools

Spreadsheet-based thermal analysis tools have been developed to analyze current carrying capacity of wire bundle configurations.

Mode-I Fracture Toughness of Complex Materials with the nDCB Test

The notched double cantilever beam (nDCB) test has been successfully used to measure the mode-I fracture toughness of an anisotropic ablative material used on the Orion crew module heatshield.

Measuring Window Flatness using Optical Interferometry

The NESC and KSC’s Applied Physics Laboratory partnered in the development of a wavefront measurement capability for uninstalled flight window assemblies to verify minimal wavefront variation.

Pressure Sensitive Paint for Measuring Unsteady Launch Vehicle Aerodynamic Buffet

A new approach has been developed for measuring fluctuating aerodynamic-induced pressures on wind tunnel models using unsteady pressure sensitive paint (uPSP).


Apollo Era Drogue Damping Estimation Technique

An analytical technique developed during the Apollo Program for predicting the effect of a drogue parachute on the vehicle’s oscillatory motion was rediscovered and applied during an NESC assessment to the Orion crew module (CM) drogue system with improved prediction results over current methods.

Improved Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Damage Prediction

A tool developed by two members of the NESC team assessing improved International Space Station (ISS) micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) damage shielding designs will provide more accurate prediction of damage produced by MMOD impacts.

Development of CPV Laser Profilometry and Eddy Current Scanning System

Composite pressure vessels (CPVs) are used widely in spacecraft and other applications to obtain significant weight savings over metal pressure vessels. However, CPV variability has continued to be relatively high even though significant effort has been placed on ensuring manufacturing consistency.

Statistical Sampling Plan Calculators

When engineers need to verify compliance with a design requirement using Monte Carlo simulation, they need to know how many trials to run and if the requirement was met. A set of plan calculators is now available to help.

Center of Gravity Determination Using Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry could eliminate the costly and complex equipment required for center of gravity determination via traditional methods.

New Photogrammetry Technique is Accurate and Adaptable

A new photogrammetry technique has been developed that allows accurate six degrees of freedom (6-DOF) orientation measurements to be made of large, moving rigid bodies.

Flying Through Periods of Instability

When stability robustness margin requirements cannot be satisfied using frequency-domain methods, alternative methods are then needed to ensure that deficient stability margins do not present a high risk of a flight control issue (e.g., loss of control) during the mission.