NEWS | Jan. 15, 2015

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Top Stories of 2014

By NRL Public Affairs Office

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) was in the news a lot in 2014. Such public interest in NRL is a testimony to our people and their creativity when it comes to answering the nation's research needs.

Below are the 10 most-viewed stories on our website in 2014, ordered by publication date.

NRL Restores World War II-Era Equipment for Today's Research Needs (Jan 7)
NRL has taken a 96,000-pound piece of equipment that was used in the 1940s and is refurbishing it for use in research today.

Solar Power When It's Raining: NRL Builds Space Satellite Module to Try (Mar 12)
Dr. Paul Jaffe, a spacecraft engineer at NRL, has built and tested a module to capture and transmit solar power; including a 'step' variation, which is in the patent process. Assembled in satellite array, modules could beam power to an on-Earth receiver, providing sustainable, base-load power for a city or military missions.

NRL Autonomy Lab Hosts Shipboard Fire Robotics Consortium (Mar 24)
Robotics research teams from Virginia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania demonstrated the most current developments in advanced autonomous systems to assist in discovery, control, and damage control of shipboard fires using humanoid robots.

Scale Model WWII Craft Takes Flight With Fuel From the Sea Concept (Apr 7)
Navy researchers demonstrate proof-of-concept in first flight of an internal combustion-powered model aircraft fueled by a novel gas-to-liquid process that uses seawater as carbon feedstock.

Clothes That Self-Decontaminate; NRL Material May Also Purify Biofuel (Apr 17)
Dr. Brandy White, in the NRL Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, is making materials that capture entire classes of contaminants, then break them down into something harmless. Her technology is stable and can be used for clothing, air filters, or even coated on windows and vehicles.

NRL Researchers Develop Harder Ceramic for Armor Windows (Apr 29)
NRL scientists have developed a method to fabricate nanocrystalline spinel that is 50% harder than the current spinel armor materials used in military vehicles. This harder spinel offers the potential for better armor windows in military vehicles, which would provide improved protection and other benefits for personnel and equipment.

NRL Simulates IED-Like Blast Waves Against Army Helmet Prototypes (Jul 17)
The U.S. Army's looking at helmet prototypes with optional parts to protect the face and jaw from various threats, including blast waves. But, as Dr. David Mott—an aerospace engineer at the NRL—says, more parts lead to more surprises. He and colleagues Ted Young and Doug Schwer have published their findings with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

New York City Tracks Firefighters to Scene with NRL Radio Tags, Automated Display (Aug 26)
On 15 of its vehicles, Fire Department New York (FDNY) can now automatically see which firefighters are nearby from the onboard computer and relay that information to the city's Operations Center. The system was invented by David DeRieux of NRL Space Systems, along with Michael Manning of Manning RF and in close partnership with FDNY.

NRL Invents CubeSat Release Mechanism: To Deploy Solar Panels, Tethers (Sep 3)
When a satellite is launched into space, there's sometimes room on the rocket for a few mini satellites to hitch a ride, too. Adam Thurn, an Aerospace Engineer at NRL, has invented a nichrome burn wire mechanism for these CubeSats, as they're called, to deploy something once in orbit. This is developed as a low-cost, simple mechanism that would do different deployables on a satellite like that, he says.

With SpinSat Mission, NRL Will Spin Small Satellite in Space with New Thruster Technology (Sep 18)
On September 20, NRL will launch a small, spherical satellite called SpinSat. It's a multifold mission, says Andy Nicholas, the Primary Investigator, but the primary mission is demonstration of a new thruster technology. SpinSat will also be used to test the space surveillance network and monitor the effects of atmospheric drag.