SPACEX

On September 15, a SPACEX rocket ship launched four people into earth’s orbit.  The purpose of this blog is not to share all the amazing facts; if you want to read them, you can do it here.  Yes, there has been a lot of space trips going on lately, but I think this one is […]

On September 15, a SPACEX rocket ship launched four people into earth’s orbit.  The purpose of this blog is not to share all the amazing facts; if you want to read them, you can do it here.  Yes, there has been a lot of space trips going on lately, but I think this one is different for a number of reasons.

First of all, the crew of this mission are all amateur astronauts.  Each of the astronauts have a reason for wanting to fly this mission, but the reasons seem to be more philanthropic than with recent space trips.  In fact, the financier for this mission was Jared Isaacman, founder and CEO of a financial services firm.  He financed this mission to raise awareness and donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Secondly, these astronauts are going to be spending days in orbit, not minutes.  The mission will last three days, from launch to splashdown.  For other missions, the goal for the astronauts was to simply check a box that said they entered space, for however brief a period.  For SPACEX, there was actually work done while in space.

Lastly, this mission will orbit at 363 miles above the earth, far higher than previous space trips.  In fact, for one of the previous space trips, it has been questioned whether or not the capsule even reached what is accepted as “space.”

This mission, still in progress at the time of this writing, is shaping up to be really spectacular.

ATI offers many courses related to Space exploration.  You can see our course list here.

And, as always, a full listing of ATI’s courses can be found here.

Advances in Satellite Antenna Technology

Most people know what Origami is.  In case you don’t, the goal of Origami is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques.  Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper.  So, you ask, how could Origami possibly be […]

Most people know what Origami is.  In case you don’t, the goal of Origami is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques.  Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper.  So, you ask, how could Origami possibly be related to anything of interest to rocket scientists?  As you will see, there most certainly is a connection between Origami and Antenna technology.

CubeSat is a miniaturized satellite, or nanosatellite, intended for space research.  Due to their small size, large numbers of CubeSats generally perform their unique tasks by working together in large constellations.  To date, there are about 1500 CubeSat satellites in orbit.

Although technology advances have allowed satellites to be effectively miniaturized, the antenna associated with each CubeSat can not be miniaturized; the laws of physics simply do not permit the antenna to be any smaller than it is.  And, since the antenna must remain large, it would not fit in the small area inside the miniature satellite.   Since the antenna is necessary to allow the satellite to communicate with other satellites, and with earth stations, there needed to be a way to get the large antenna into the small satellite. 

As explained here, Dr. Kim and his colleagues at Pusan National University and the University of Alabama, USA, developed a new deployable antenna for CubeSats.  Inspired by the mathematics which are the root of Origami, the team designed an antenna which could be folded and stored inside the Cubesat.  Once in orbit, the antenna would be deployed, and unfolded to its full and functional size.  This new advance in Antenna design now allows nanosatellites to be part of our satellite fleet.

So, although many may have thought that antenna design could not be pushed any further, Dr. Kim proved them wrong.  What other previously unimagined advances in antenna technology are yet to be imagined?

To learn more about Antennas, consider taking the upcoming ATI course entitled Antenna and Array Fundamentals.  You can learn more about this offering, and register, here.

Lastly, as always, a full listing of ATI’s courses can be found here.

Leading The Way, To Diversity

Leading by example, that is one of the things that I admire most. Leading people on, that is something I do not like at all. So, you may be asking, where am I going with this blog?  I am glad you asked. I have been active in STEM recruiting for many years.  I have always […]

Leading by example, that is one of the things that I admire most.

Leading people on, that is something I do not like at all.

So, you may be asking, where am I going with this blog?  I am glad you asked.

I have been active in STEM recruiting for many years.  I have always been of the belief that Science and Engineering stands to benefit immensely by having a diverse work force.  For that reason, I believe that it is important that smart and enthusiastic people be attracted to, and recruited by, the STEM workforce.  This should include males and females, young and old, minorities and non-minorities, democrats and republicans, straight and gay, I could go on and on.  But we must find people who are joining the STEM workforce for the right reasons.  I do not believe that anyone, regardless of their demographics, should be encouraged to enter the STEM workforce solely because jobs are plentiful or salaries are high.  To recruit someone using only these enticements would simply be “leading them on.”  It would set those individuals up for unhappiness and failure, and that would be wrong.  STEM workers need to love STEM, and find a job which allows them to love working in STEM.  A better way for recruiting a diverse STEM workforce would be for a STEM professional from one of the underrepresented groups “leading by example”, thus showing other members of that underrepresented group that STEM careers can be fun and rewarding as well as profitable.

I recently learned about Abagail Harrison, also known as Astronaut Abby.  She is a young  STEM professional from an underrepresented group, and she is effectively leading by example.  She generally does not call attention to the fact that she is a well-paid woman in STEM, but rather, she simply shows her excitement and her achievements in STEM, and thus becomes a role model that similar underrepresented people can aspire to, if, and only if, they are attracted to work in the STEM field.    Take a look at her Mars Generation Page, and you will see what I mean. 

Abagail does occasionally use her blog to salute certain underrepresented groups.  In one blog post, she identifies “11 Women Who Broke Barriers in the Space Industry”.  In another recent blog post, she identified “10 Black Americans Who Made Extraordinary Contributions to Space Exploration.”  In both these cases, she is providing a list of role models who our future STEM workforce can look up to.

So, what can a Technical Training company do to increase diversity in the STEM workforce?  We can continue to track our statistics, and watch to see if the situation is improving.  We look forward to a day in the future when the efforts of people like Abagail Harrison will result in a more diverse STEM workforce, a more diverse set of potential Instructors, and a more diverse Student pool.  When that day comes, ATI will be blessed with the opportunity to have more underrepresented Instructors, and more underrepresented students. 

In the meantime, please support businesses like ours that are making every effort to see more diversity in the STEM workforce.  To learn more about Applied Technology Institute, or to register for one of our courses, or to register for one of our free short courses, please visit us at www.ATIcourses.com.

You’re Going To The Moon, Alice

Mankind has always been fascinated with exploring the Moon, and that will probably always be the case.  At first, in the time leading up to the famous first moon landing in 1969, the goal was simply to reach the moon, and spend a short time looking around, and return to earth safely.  Now, 50 years […]

Mankind has always been fascinated with exploring the Moon, and that will probably always be the case.  At first, in the time leading up to the famous first moon landing in 1969, the goal was simply to reach the moon, and spend a short time looking around, and return to earth safely.  Now, 50 years later, the goal is more ambitious since technology can support so much more.  The first objective today is to reach the moon, and stay there.  The next goal would be to use the moon as a landing pad to support exploration of things beyond the moon, most notably Mars.  The NASA Artemis Missions will be the way these objectives are accomplished.  I am not sure about you, but this mission snuck up on me, and I am learning about it now. 

The Artemis Mission is comprised of six projects which together will allow NASA to accomplish its goals of reaching the moon, staying on the moon for long term exploration, and getting closer to ultimate goal of being able to send men (and women) beyond the moon.  The six projects include:

Ground Systems – Upgrading Earth ground systems to support the larger rockets which will be needed

Space Launch System – The new and more powerful rocket that will launch man toward the moon and beyond

Orion – The spacecraft that will bring astronauts to the moon’s orbit, and return them to earth from the moon’s orbit

Gateway – The outpost spacecraft which will orbit the moon and be living quarters for the astronauts when they are not on the moon surface

Lunar Landers – The spacecraft which will transfer astronauts between the Gateway and the moon Surface, and

Space Suits – The new and improved suits that the astronauts will need to carry out their mission.

The timeline for this mission has three major milestones, namely, the three Artemis missions, Artemis I, Artemis II, and Artemis III.

Artemis I – an unmanned flight to test the Space Launch System and Orion, scheduled for 2021

Artemis II – a manned flight to test the Space Launch System and Orion, scheduled for 2022

Artemis III – A manned flight to the moon that will return man to the moon.

This is a truly ambitious mission, and an even more ambitious schedule.

ATI offers a plethora of courses which relate to Space exploration.  Check out our list of Space related courses here.    If you are interested in the legal aspects of Space exploration, you can register for our upcoming Astropolitics class here

Although the author thinks Space Exploration is exciting and important, and I fully endorse all of the goals of the Artemis Mission, I can’t help but wonder why the Government is not spending at least as much money on exploration of the deep oceans.  I would challenge the US to start investing more money in Ocean Exploration, but not at the expense of Space Exploration.  Both of these are important.  I am curious what readers think about this issue, please leave your comments below.

And, if you are interested in Ocean Exploration, ATI has a few courses which may be of interest to you too.  Please check out our full list of offerings here.

And if you simply want to learn more about the Artemis Mission, you can go to the NASA Artemis site that describes the mission in more detail. 

SPACEX Is At It Again

There is a new record for the most spacecraft launched by a single rocket at one time.  In January, The Transporter-1 mission, part of  SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program, lifted off atop a Falcon 9 booster from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida with 143 satellites aboard.  Among the satellites […]

There is a new record for the most spacecraft launched by a single rocket at one time.  In January, The Transporter-1 mission, part of  SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program, lifted off atop a Falcon 9 booster from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida with 143 satellites aboard.  Among the satellites in the payload, 10 SpaceX STARLINK satellites, which will be added to a constellation which will provide a global internet system.

Many more details on this amazing accomplishment can be found at the SPACEX website, SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter 1 Rocket Launch – January 2021 – Space Coast Launches

Additional details on upcoming SPACEX Launches can also be found at this site.

To learn more about Space Missions like these, please consider taking one of the many Space Courses offered virtually at this time by Applied Technology Institute. 

A complete list of ATI Space Courses can be found at  https://aticourses.com/events/cat-5-space-satellite-and-aerospace/

Apollo Trash Talk

Since it has been 50 years since man first stepped on the Moon (Apollo 11), and since we are now winding down from the celebration of the 50th anniversary of that great event, we should remember that there are still physical remnants of that mission, and other missions, which remain on the surface of the […]

Since it has been 50 years since man first stepped on the Moon (Apollo 11), and since we are now winding down from the celebration of the 50th anniversary of that great event, we should remember that there are still physical remnants of that mission, and other missions, which remain on the surface of the moon, and that this landing site, and similar landing sites, have significant historical importance.  In fact, there is an organization called “For All Moonkind, Inc”, which has a stated mission to “protect each of the six human lunar landing and similar sites in outer space as part of our common human heritage.”  Learn more about this organization at https://www.forallmoonkind.org

So, what did mankind leave on the moon, and why did we leave it there?  A full catalog of items left behind can be found at https://history.nasa.gov/FINAL%20Catalogue%20of%20Manmade%20Material%20on%20the%20Moon.pdf    It is a fascinating read, but why was so much left behind?  Some of the things left behind were memorial or tributary items.  Other items were left purely to lighten the load and facilitate the return trip to earth.  And there were items left for scientific experiments.  For experiments, some items were left because engineers are simply hoping to examine them in the future to determine how they have fared after continuous exposure to the elevated radiation levels on the moon.  Other items, however, were part of actual moon experiments which delivered data to earth scientists.   The only remaining Apollo experiment that still returns data to earth after 50 years is NASA’s Lunar Ranging Experiment, LURE.

 The story of LURE is a fascinating one and can be found at https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-institute/ieee-history/one-apollo-11-experiment-is-still-going-50-years-later  LURE allows the precise measurement of the distance from the earth to the moon using high power laser on earth, and an array of mirrors, or retroreflectors, on the surface of the moon.  The first mirrors were placed on the moon by Apollo 11, but additional mirrors were placed on the moon by later Apollo missions.  Lunar laser ranging has allowed man to monitor the distance to the moon for the past 50 years, and we have noted that the distance to the moon increases by a very small amount each year.  Additionally, LURE has increased mankind’s fundamental understanding of things like the earth’s rotations, continental drift, and gravity itself.

As it is now 2019, and the world is more waste-conscious than it has ever been, we can only hope that there will be increased attention to reducing the amount we leave on the lunar surface, and in space.  Although some material will certainly be left during upcoming planned lunar landings, we can only hope that it will be done for rational reasons, and in a sensible way.

To learn more about working in Space, consider taking one of the many Space, Satellite, or Aerospace courses offered by ATI.  A complete listing of all ATI courses can be found at https://aticourses.com/courses    ATI does not currently offer any Space Archeology classes, but if anyone knows a qualified instructor for this class, we would be happy to talk to them.

Apollo 11- Remembering the “Great Leap for Mankind” 50 Years Later.

In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to the nation to have a U.S. manned mission land on the moon within a decade. With the Cold War ongoing and the Soviets leading in space efforts, Kennedy’s call served to unite America’s best and brightest scientists and engineers and to invigorate the space […]

In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to the nation to have a U.S. manned mission land on the moon within a decade. With the Cold War ongoing and the Soviets leading in space efforts, Kennedy’s call served to unite America’s best and brightest scientists and engineers and to invigorate the space dreams of the American people. The challenges in this endeavor meant that thousands of engineers, scientists and technicians would have to develop, create and test concepts and equipment that did not yet exist.

While mankind will always remember Neal Armstrong’s famous words and the names of the three Apollo 11 astronauts, what should not be forgotten is the remarkable achievements of the thousands of those who remained behind the scenes working and creating to bring about the ultimate success of the mission. All of NASA’s great achievements are and will continue to be the result of NASA employees and their dedicated and tireless work.

The Apollo 11 mission was the “proof of concept” mission that proved that NASA, with a dedicated country behind it, could achieve the “impossible”. The mission not only expanded our hopes, dreams and expectations but demonstrated our need for more NASA personnel engaged in all aspects of aerospace pursuits.

What must be remembered is that the moon landing was the culmination of many years of space efforts by NASA, building on the advances of prior space programs and achievements. Thousands of NASA pioneers worked on space programs such as Project Mercury, the first of NASA’s man-in-space programs and the Gemini Mission.

Fifty years ago, space technology was still in its infancy. The Apollo spacecraft computers that enabled men to walk on the moon had less processing power than that of a modern cellphone. So much progress has been made since that time, largely as a result of NASA’s commitment and the brilliant work of its dedicated personnel, that space exploration opportunities are now endless. Only imagination, training and funding are needed to reach new goals.

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin into history. Millions of people were glued to television sets as Armstrong’s first step on the moon was televised live on July 20, 1969. “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” became one of space histories most famous quotations even though there is confusion as to the actual quote. Armstrong states that he said, “one small step for a man, while most heard “for man”. Either way, it was most certainly a great leap forward for mankind.

Space exploration is still the realm of unbounded opportunities. Space News provides several articles in their July 15, 2019 issue.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/apollo-moon-landing-anniversary-books

A list of all the Space Related Courses offered by ATI can be found at
https://aticourses.com/catalog_of_all_ATI_courses.htm#space

The current schedule is at
https://aticourses.com/schedule.html#spaceSatellite

If you remember the Apollo landings, What effect did they have on your life and career choices? Please add your comments.

Continue reading “Apollo 11- Remembering the “Great Leap for Mankind” 50 Years Later.”

New Horizon’s Music and Video

New Horizon now has its own music. Listen to this video. See some of ATI’s previous posts about New Horizons

New Horizon now has its own music. Listen to this video.

http://bravewords.com/news/brian-may-posts-nasa-ultima-thule-flyby-in-one-minute-featuring-his-music-video

See some of ATI’s previous posts about New Horizons

https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2018/12/31/new-horizons-watch-the-ultima-thule-flyby-in-depth-coverage-starts-dec-31/
https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/category/new-horizons-space-mission/

Welcome to the US Space Force, ATI is here to support you

There are currently 5 branches of the Armed Forces, namely, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force,  and the Coast Guard.  However, in light of changing needs and priorities, President Trump issued a new directive in February to establish the US Space Force as the sixth military branch,  which will be within the Department of the Air […]

There are currently 5 branches of the Armed Forces, namely, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force,  and the Coast Guard.  However, in light of changing needs and priorities, President Trump issued a new directive in February to establish the US Space Force as the sixth military branch,  which will be within the Department of the Air Force. 

This directive can be found at  

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/text-space-policy-directive-4-establishment-united-states-space-force/

The directive states that “ Although United States space systems have historically maintained a technological advantage over those of our potential adversaries, those potential adversaries are now advancing their space capabilities and actively developing ways to deny our use of space in a crisis or conflict.  It is imperative that the United States adapt its national security organizations, policies, doctrine, and capabilities to deter aggression and protect our interests.”

The directive provides the following priorities for the Space Force:

(a)  Protecting the Nation’s interests in space and the peaceful use of space for all responsible actors, consistent with applicable law, including international law;

(b)  Ensuring unfettered use of space for United States national security purposes, the United States economy, and United States persons, partners, and allies;

(c)  Deterring aggression and defending the Nation,
United States allies, and United States interests from hostile acts in and from space;

(d)  Ensuring that needed space capabilities are integrated and available to all United States Combatant Commands;

(e)  Projecting military power in, from, and to space in support of our Nation’s interests; and

(f)  Developing, maintaining, and improving a community of professionals focused on the national security demands of the space domain.

The directive specifies that Space Force will be lead by a civilian to be known as the Undersecretary of the Air Force for Space, and will be appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.  The directive specifies that a senior military officer ( General or Admiral ) will serve as the Chief of Staff of the Space Force, and will serve as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Applied Technology Institute looks forward to providing training to the workforce which will be needed to support the US Space Force. 

A list of all the Space Related Courses offered by ATI can be found at

https://aticourses.com/catalog_of_all_ATI_courses.htm#space

 

Specific and upcoming Space-Related Courses include:

Communications Payload Design

Mar 19-22, 2019 Columbia, MD

 Tactical Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) System

Mar 25-28, 2019 Columbia, MD

 Space Mission Structures

Apr 16-18, 2019 Littleton, CO

 Vibration Testing of Small Satellites

Apr 30-May 1, 2019 Littleton, CO

 Satellite Communications- Introduction

May 1-3, 2019 Columbia, MD 

If your organization requires Space-Related Training which you do not currently see in our Course Offerings, please give us a call and we will try to accommodate your needs. 

Update on Story -Rover Was Delivered to Mars by an ATLAS Rocket Update

The Applied Technology Institute published (01/23/2019) a story on the Curiosity Rover Was Delivered to Mars in 2015. Space News posted a related article on (01/24/2019).https://www.space.com/43104-mars-rover-opportunity-landing-15th-anniversary.html? This was the original ATI posthttps://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2019/01/23/recall-that-curi…s-rocket-in-2011/ ‎

The Applied Technology Institute published (01/23/2019) a story on the Curiosity Rover Was Delivered to Mars in 2015. Space News posted a related article on (01/24/2019).
https://www.space.com/43104-mars-rover-opportunity-landing-15th-anniversary.html?

This was the original ATI post
https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2019/01/23/recall-that-curi…s-rocket-in-2011/ ‎

New Horizons’ Best-Yet Detailed View of Ultima Thule

The best-yet image of Ultima Thule taken by the wide-angle Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) is now online. The image shows a large circular depression, and many smaller depressions. These were not visible in the earlier, lower resolution image. Ultima Thule measures approximately 30 kilometers (18 miles) in diameter, and is irregularly shaped. Even better […]

The best-yet image of Ultima Thule taken by the wide-angle Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) is now online. The image shows a large circular depression, and many smaller depressions. These were not visible in the earlier, lower resolution image. Ultima Thule measures approximately 30 kilometers (18 miles) in diameter, and is irregularly shaped. Even better future images are expected.

The principal investigator, Alan Stern, as well as eight other systems designers, teach Spacecraft Design courses for the Applied Technology Institute (ATI or ATIcourses). If you are working in Space and Spacecraft it is good to take classes and learn from real-world experts who have designed and operated successful spacecraft. Why not learn from the best? Click on this blog post to see the New Horizons designers and the specific classes that they teach.

https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2018/12/19/new-horizons-spacecraft-approaches-ultima-thule/

Applied Technology Institute has been following the New Horizons Mission to Pluto for years (since launch in 2006). Now New Horizons continued to the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) nicknamed MU69 Ultima Thule. New Horizons fly past and imaged the Ultima Thule on January 1, 2019. High-resolution images are only now being transmitted back and released to the public.

The best source for these images is http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php
This link provides an ongoing source of featured images.

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Galleries/Featured-Images/index.php

New Horizons is approximately 4.13 billion miles (6.64 billion kilometers) from Earth, operating normally and speeding away from the Sun (and Ultima Thule) at more than 31,500 miles (50,700 kilometers) per hour. At that distance, a radio signal reaches Earth six hours and nine minutes after leaving the spacecraft.

Recall That Curiosity Rover Was Delivered to Mars by an ATLAS Rocket in 2011

There are so many Space Exploration Missions that are on the front page of the papers now, New Horizons for example.  Let us not forget about ongoing missions that are no longer getting as much publicity at they may deserve, JPL Mars Science Lab Curiosity Rover Mission for example.The Curiosity Rover Mission was launched in […]

There are so many Space Exploration Missions that are on the front page of the papers now, New Horizons for example.  Let us not forget about ongoing missions that are no longer getting as much publicity at they may deserve, JPL Mars Science Lab Curiosity Rover Mission for example.

The Curiosity Rover Mission was launched in November 2011 for an 8-month trip to Mars.  Once on Mars, the Curiosity Mission was expected to last 2 years.  Amazingly, the Curiosity Rover Mission is still in progress, and periodic updates on the status of that mission are still being posted at https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/mission/mars-rover-curiosity-mission-updates/

The success of that mission did not start when the Rover started sending back amazing pictures from Mars.  The success of that mission started when the Rocket and Launch Vehicle propelled Rover into Space.    The Atlas V-541 Rocket selected for this mission and built by Boeing Corp and Lockheed Martin Corp.  performed as designed.  If it had not performed as well as it did, the entire mission could have been in jeopardy.  Rockets and Launch Vehicles are truly acritical component of every mission.

ATI is offering a Course on Rocket and Launch Vehicles in Columbia, Maryland from February 11 to 14, 2019.  The course is being taught by Edward Keith, a multi-discipline Launch Vehicle System Engineer, specializing in integration of launch vehicle technology, design, modeling and business strategies.  There is still time to enroll in this class, and you will be finished in time to get home for dinner on Valentine’s day! 

Please consider learning more about this ATI offering, and enroll in the ATI class, by going to https://aticourses.com/rockets_launch_vehicles.html

 

New Horizons: Watch the Ultima Thule Flyby —- In-Depth Coverage Starts Dec 31

On New Year’s Day, the New Horizons spacecraft, which flew past Pluto in 2015, will be making another flyby. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been whizzing toward Ultima Thule ever since it completed its primary mission: the historic Pluto flyby of July 2015. The overall trip was 13 years and 4 Billion miles. NASA estimates […]

On New Year’s Day, the New Horizons spacecraft, which flew past Pluto in 2015, will be making another flyby. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been whizzing toward Ultima Thule ever since it completed its primary mission: the historic Pluto flyby of July 2015.

The overall trip was 13 years and 4 Billion miles. NASA estimates that the probe will arrive at its new destination at 12:33 A.M. Eastern time on New Year’s Day (01/01/2019) and engineers have devised a carefully-calculated trajectory to ensure it gets to Thule safely. This will be the most distant flyby ever conducted.

Follow the news at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Where-to-Watch.php

I have been personally inspired by the success of the New Horizons’ mission. I was present at JHU/APL for the July 2015 Pluto flyby and briefings. Many of the New Horizons engineers continue to teach ATI engineering and science training courses based on their first-hand real-world experience. This has been a high success, 13-year project that may continue to other new objects as the spacecraft is healthy and still performing well. I hope so.

See their information at
https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2018/12/19/new-horizons-spacecraft-approaches-ultima-thule/

Information Timeline ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Date Time Event
31 Monday December, 2018
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Ultima Thule flyby science and operations preview. Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Helene Winters, New Horizons project manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; John Spencer, New Horizons deputy project scientist, Southwest Research Institute; Frederic Pelletier, navigation team lead, KinetX, Inc.

3:00-4:00 pm EST Q&A: Ask the New Horizons Team. Questions from social media (#askNewHorizons) answered by Alex Parker, New Horizons co-investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Kelsi Singer, co-investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Gabe Rogers, New Horizons deputy mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

8:00-11:00 pm EST Panel discussion on the exploration of small worlds (8-9 pm); Ultima Thule flyby countdown events; mission updates

1 Tuesday January, 2019
12:02 am EST Global song release: Brian May, New Horizons contributing scientist and Queen guitarist, “New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix)”

12:15-12:45 am EST Live coverage of countdown to closest approach (12:33 am); real-time flyby simulations

10:15 – 10:45 am EST Live coverage of New Horizons signal-acquisition activities in the Mission Operations Center, confirming spacecraft status and flyby success

11:30 am– 12:30 pm EST Press briefing: Spacecraft status, latest images and data download schedule. Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Chris Hersman, New Horizons mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

2 Wednesday January, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Science results from Ultima Thule.Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Jeff Moore, New Horizons co-investigator, NASA Ames Research Center; Cathy Olkin, New Horizons deputy project scientist, Southwest Research Institute; Will Grundy, New Horizons co-investigator, Lowell Observatory.

3 Thursday January, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Science results from Ultima Thule.Panelists TBD.

Previous articles about New Horizons on ATI’s website.

Related blog post:
1. https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2018/12/19/new-horizons-spacecraft-approaches-ultima-thule/
2. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is 15.96 astronomical units (about 2.39 billion kilometers, or 1.48 billion miles) from the Sun
3. NASA New Horizons spacecraft on the way to rendezvous with planet Pluto
4. The New Horizons Mission to Pluto–Ten Experts Who Worked Behind-the-Scenes On the New Horizons Mission and Who Teach for ATIcourses.
5. New Horizons: Recollections of Ground System Engineer, Steve Gemeny
6. New Horizons – This was almost a disaster, but was saved by knowledgeable scientists.
7. New Horizons Flyover of Pluto

New Horizons Spacecraft Approaches Ultima Thule

The Kuiper Belt is a vastly-unexplored region of the solar system filled with Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), and NASA expects to learn more about these objects after the new year; that’s when the space agency’s New Horizons probe will visit an icy body known to astronomers as Ultima Thule(previously 2014 MU69).NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been […]

The Kuiper Belt is a vastly-unexplored region of the solar system filled with Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), and NASA expects to learn more about these objects after the new year; that’s when the space agency’s New Horizons probe will visit an icy body known to astronomers as Ultima Thule(previously 2014 MU69).

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been whizzing toward Ultima Thule ever since it completed its primary mission: the historic Pluto flyby of 2015. NASA estimates that the probe will arrive at its new destination at 12:33 A.M. Eastern time on New Year’s Day and engineers have devised a carefully-calculated trajectory to ensure it gets there safely.

The Kuiper Belt is full of variously-sized space rocks, much like the asteroid belt found between Mars and Jupiter. That said, NASA’s New Horizons hazard watch team has been on the constant lookout for any hazards that could prevent New Horizons from reaching its destination safely.

New Horizons Space craft has been in the news for a while.

A few of ATI instructors have been a part of this groundbreaking project.

1. Dr. Alan Stern https://aticourses.com/planetary_science.htm

2. Eric Hoffman

https://aticourses.com/effective_design_reviews.htm

https://aticourses.com/spacecraft_quality.htm

https://aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm

3. Chris DeBoy

https://aticourses.com/Satellite_Communications_Design_Engineering.htm

4. Dr. Mark E. Pittelkau https://aticourses.com/attitude_determination.htm

5. Douglas Mehoke https://aticourses.com/spacecraft_thermal_control.htm

6. John Penn https://aticourses.com/fundamentals_of_RF_engineering.html

7. Timothy Cole

https://aticourses.com/space_based_lasers.htm

https://aticourses.com/Tactical_Intelligence_Surveillance_Reconnaissance_System_Engineering.htm

https://aticourses.com/Wireless_Sensor_Networking.htm

8. Robert Moore https://aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm

9. Jay Jenkinshttps://aticourses.com/spacecraft_solar_arrays.htm

 

More info: 

 
 
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space and Satellite Technology https://aticourses.com/catalog_of_all_ATI_courses.htm#space

 

Related blog post:

https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2010/02/25/nasa%e2%80%99s-new-horizons-spacecraft-is-1596-astronomical-units-about-239-billion-kilometers-or-148-billion-miles-from-the-sun/

https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2015/01/20/nasa%e2%80%99s-new-horizons-spacecraft-on-the-way-to-rendezvous-with-planet-pluto/

https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2015/06/30/the-new-horizons-mission-to-plutoten-experts-who-worked-behind-the-scenes-on-the-new-horizons-mission-and-who-teach-for-aticourses/

https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2015/07/09/new-horizons-recollections-of-ground-system-engineer-steve-gemeny/

https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2015/07/11/new-horizons-2/

https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2017/07/17/new-horizons-flyover-of-pluto/

New Images Show the Record-Breaking Wildfire Season, California Shows Nine New Scars

Space remote sensing can provide the big picture of the Record-Breaking Fires in California. We had family members living in Paradise, California. Their home and their veterinary business were totally destroyed. They have to effectively restart their lives. Those burn scars include the traces of the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise in […]

Space remote sensing can provide the big picture of the Record-Breaking Fires in California. We had family members living in Paradise, California. Their home and their veterinary business were totally destroyed. They have to effectively restart their lives.

Those burn scars include the traces of the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise in mid-November. That fire became the deadliest fire in California’s history after it killed at least 85 people.

See
https://www.space.com/42554-california-wildfires-2018-burn-scars-from-space.htm

If you want to learn more about Space and Space-Based Remote Sensing visit our catalog-of-all courses
https://aticourses.com/catalog_of_all_ATI_courses.htm#space

It Will Be Historic: New Horizons Team Prepares for January 1, 2019 Flyby of Kuiper Belt Ultima Thule

Applied Technology Institute (ATI or ATIcourses) has been following the New Horizons Mission to Pluto for years (since launch in 2006). Now New Horizons is on to the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) nicknamed Ultima Thule. New Horizons will fly past and image the Ultima Thule on January 1, 2019. Several of ATI instructors have been […]

Applied Technology Institute (ATI or ATIcourses) has been following the New Horizons Mission to Pluto for years (since launch in 2006). Now New Horizons is on to the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) nicknamed Ultima Thule. New Horizons will fly past and image the Ultima Thule on January 1, 2019.

Several of ATI instructors have been lead scientists for the New Horizons mission. If you are working in Space and Spacecraft it is good to take classes and learn from real-world experts who have designed and operated successful spacecraft.

This is a good article to keep you up to date.
https://www.space.com/42252-new-horizons-team-ultima-thule-flyby.html?

If you have interest ATI can send you updates in on our blog and our newsletter.
https://secure.campaigner.com/CSB/Public/Form.aspx

Background

New Horizons is a space probe launched by NASA on 19 January 2006, to the dwarf planet Pluto and on an escape trajectory from the Sun. It is the first man-made spacecraft to go to Pluto. Its flight took eight years. It arrived at the Pluto–Charon system on July 14, 2015. It flew near Pluto and took photographs and measurements while it passed. At about 1 kilobit per second, it took 15 months to transmit them back to Earth.

ATI instructors who helped plan, develop and engineer the New Horizons Mission. These include the following engineers and scientists, with their bios and links to their related ATI courses.

1. Dr. Alan Stern https://aticourses.com/planetary_science.htm

Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and author. In 2010, he was elected to be the President and CEO of The Golden Spike Company, a commercial space corporation planning human lunar expeditions. Additionally, since 2009, he has been an Associate Vice President at the Southwest Research Institute, and since 2008 has had his own aerospace consulting practice.
Dr. Stern is the Principal Investigator (PI) of NASA’s $720M New Horizon’s Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission, the largest PI-led space mission ever launched by NASA. New Horizons launched in 2006 and arrived on July 14, 2015. Dr. Stern is also the PI of two instruments aboard New Horizons, the Alice UV spectrometer and the Ralph Visible Imager/IR Spectrometer.

2. Eric Hoffman
https://aticourses.com/effective_design_reviews.htm
https://aticourses.com/spacecraft_quality.htm

Eric Hoffman has designed space-borne communications and navigation equipment and performed systems engineering on many APL satellites and communications systems. He has authored over 60 papers and holds 8 patents in these fields. Mr. Hoffman was involved in the proposal (as well as several prior Pluto mission concepts). He chaired the major system-level design reviews (and now teaches the course Effective Design Reviews). He was Space Department Chief Engineer during the concept, design, fabrication, and test of New Horizons. His still actively consulting in the field. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and coauthor of the leading textbook Fundamentals of Space Systems

3. Chris DeBoy https://aticourses.com/Satellite_Communications_Design_Engineering.htm

Chris DeBoy leads the RF Engineering Group in the Space Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and is a member of APL’s Principal Professional Staff. He has over 20 years of experience in satellite communications, from systems engineering (he is the lead RF communications engineer for the New Horizons Mission to Pluto) to flight hardware design for both Low-Earth orbit and deep-space missions. He holds a BSEE from Virginia Tech, a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins, and teaches the satellite communications course for the Johns Hopkins University.

4. Dr. Mark E. Pittelkau https://aticourses.com/attitude_determination.htm

Dr. Pittelkau was previously with the Applied Physics Laboratory, Orbital Sciences Corporation, CTA Space Systems (now Orbital), and Swales Aerospace. His experience in satellite systems covers all phases of design and operation, including conceptual design, implementation, and testing of attitude control systems, attitude and orbit determination, and attitude sensor alignment and calibration, control-structure interaction analysis, stability and jitter analysis, and post-launch support. His current interests are precision attitude determination, attitude sensor calibration, orbit determination, and optimization of attitude maneuvers. Dr. Pittelkau earned the B.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and the M.S. degree in EE from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

5. Douglas Mehoke (and others) https://aticourses.com/spacecraft_thermal_control.htm

Douglas Mehoke is the Assistant Group Supervisor and Technology Manager for the Mechanical System Group in the Space Department at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He has worked in the field of spacecraft and instrument thermal design for 30 years, and has a wide background in the fields of heat transfer and fluid mechanics. He has been the lead thermal engineer on a variety spacecraft and scientific instruments, including MSX, CONTOUR, and New Horizons. He is presently the Technical Lead for the development of the Solar Probe Plus Thermal Protection System. He was the original thermal engineer for New Horizons, the mechanical system engineer, and is currently the spacecraft damage lead for the flyby Hazard Team. Other JHU/APL are currently teaching the Spacecraft Thermal Control course.

6. Steven Gemeny https://aticourses.com/ground_systems_design.htm

Steve Gemeny is a Principal Program Engineer and a former Senior Member of the Professional Staff at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he served as Ground Station Lead for the TIMED mission to explore Earth’s atmosphere and Lead Ground System Engineer on the New Horizons mission to explore Pluto by 2020. Mr. Gemeny is an experienced professional in the field of Ground Station and Ground System design in both the commercial world and on NASA Science missions with a wealth of practical knowledge spanning nearly three decades. Mr. Gemeny delivers his experiences and knowledge to his ATIcourses’ students with an informative and entertaining presentation style. Mr Gemeny is Director Business Development at Syntonics LLC, working in RF over fiber product enhancement, new application development for RF over fiber technology, oversight of advanced DOD SBIR/STTR research and development activities related to wireless sensors and software defined antennas.

7. John Penn https://aticourses.com/fundamentals_of_RF_engineering.html

John Penn is currently the Team Lead for RFIC Design at Army Research Labs. Previously, he was a full-time engineer at the Applied Physics Laboratory for 26 years where he contributed to the New Horizons Mission. He joined the Army Research Laboratory in 2008. Since 1989, he has been a part-time professor at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches RF & Microwaves I & II, MMIC Design, and RFIC Design. He received a B.E.E. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1980, an M.S. (EE) from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 1982, and a second M.S. (CS) from JHU in 1988.

8. Timothy Cole
https://aticourses.com/space_based_lasers.htm
https://aticourses.com/Tactical_Intelligence_Surveillance_Reconnaissance_System_Engineering.htm
https://aticourses.com/Wireless_Sensor_Networking.htm

Timothy Cole is a leading authority with 30 years of experience exclusively working in electro-optical systems as a system and design engineer. While at Applied Physics Laboratory for 21 years, Tim was awarded the NASA Achievement Award in connection with the design, development, and operation of the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Laser Radar and was also the initial technical lead for the New Horizons LOng-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI instrument). He has presented technical papers addressing space-based laser altimetry all over the US and Europe. His industry experience has been focused on the systems engineering and analysis associated development of optical detectors, wireless ad hoc remote sensing, exoatmospheric sensor design and now leads ICESat-2 ATLAS altimeter calibration effort.

9. Jay Jenkins https://aticourses.com/spacecraft_solar_arrays.htm

Jay Jenkins is a Systems Engineer in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA and an Associate Fellow of the AIAA. His 24-year aerospace career provided many years of experience in design, analysis, and test of aerospace power systems, solar arrays, and batteries. His career has afforded him opportunities for hands-on fabrication and testing, concurrent with his design responsibilities. He was recognized as a winner of the ASME International George Westinghouse Silver Medal for his development of the first solar arrays beyond Mars’ orbit and the first solar arrays to orbit the planet, Mercury. He was recognized with two Best Paper Awards in the area of Aerospace Power Systems.
See some of ATI’s earlier blog posts
https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/tag/douglas-mehoke/
https://aticourses.com/blog/index.php/tag/mission-operations-center-at-apl/

What was it exactly? Space history’s most fascinating misquote.

This is an interesting article. What was it exactly? History’s most fascinating misquote. “Houston, we have a problem’: The amazing history of the iconic Apollo 13 misquote. https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/retropod/historys-most-fascinating-misquote/ To me, the differences are small, especially since the problem was not resolved at the time of the radio message,and could have lead to the death of […]

This is an interesting article. What was it exactly? History’s most fascinating misquote.

“Houston, we have a problem’: The amazing history of the iconic Apollo 13 misquote.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/podcasts/retropod/historys-most-fascinating-misquote/

To me, the differences are small, especially since the problem was not resolved at the time of the radio message,
and could have lead to the death of the 3 astronauts.

“Houston, we have a problem’

and “Houston, we had a problem’ (That was apparently what was actually said).

If you want to know more about Space and Satellite Design, go to
https://aticourses.com/catalog_of_all_ATI_courses.htm#space

If you want more history od Apollo 13, see
https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/apollo/apo13hist.html

Bombers and Subs and Missiles, oh my!

Speaking for myself, I always considered the nuclear triad to include bombers, submarines, and missiles, but, I was wrong. Sandra Erwin points out in her Space News article, we really need to remember that these three components of the triad could not be effective without two other complimentary components, a competent work force to operate […]

Speaking for myself, I always considered the nuclear triad to include bombers, submarines, and missiles, but, I was wrong. Sandra Erwin points out in her Space News article, we really need to remember that these three components of the triad could not be effective without two other complimentary components, a competent work force to operate them, and a modern and reliable Nuclear Command, Control and Communications ( NC3 ) network.

Lt. Gen Jack Weinstein, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration recently pointed out that nuclear modernization efforts cannot be strictly focused on subs, bombers, and missiles, but must also be concerned about modernizing the NC3 system, causing him to remark “The Triad also means space capability.” The Nuclear Posture Review reported that many of the components of the current NC3 system are antiquated technology which has not been modernized in almost 30 years. 

Sandra Erwin reports that the Air Force does have programs under way to modernize communications and early-warning satellites, but integration of these new systems will be very complex, and highly trained work force will be needed to build the systems.

Interestingly, Lt. Gen Weinstein has confidence in the military’s ability to train their people to operate these systems, but he expresses concern about educating the civilian workforce which will also need to be involved.

Applied Technology Institute (ATI) can play an important role in preparing the workforce which will support the future nuclear Triad since it offers a diverse collection of courses which cover all of the domains where the Triad will need to operate; air, sea, and space. Please consider looking at the current set of course offerings at ATI and consider taking some of our courses to better position yourself to make significant contributions to solving the complex problems associated with Strategic Deterrence in the future.  

 

Launch Time

In less than a week, on April 16, a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket will launch NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite ( TESS ), and I will be watching. I am not going to be able to break away from my daily grind to go to Florida for the launch, but I will still have a […]
As a Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A. The rocket will boost a Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 5:55 p.m. EDT. On its 11th commercial resupply services mission to the space station, Dragon will bring up 6,000 pounds of supplies, such as the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER, instrument to study the extraordinary physics of neutron stars.
A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.

In less than a week, on April 16, a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket will launch NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite ( TESS ), and I will be watching. I am not going to be able to break away from my daily grind to go to Florida for the launch, but I will still have a really good view of the launch.  My plan it use an App that I recently loaded onto my Iphone.  “Launch 321” is an Augmented Reality (AR ) app created by USA TODAY that will give me a front row seat for the launch.  As explained by US TODAY, this app “fuses traditional Space Coast Rocket Launch coverage with augmented reality.”

April 16 will be my first live launch with “Launch 321”, but I am planning on a pretty spectacular experience.

Don’t wait until launch day to load the app because there lots of features in the App that allow you to learn about pre-launch procedures so that you will be ready to take full advantage of the app on the launch day, and future launch days.

Check back on this blog after April 16 and I will share what the experience was like.

You can read more about the App in the USA Today article.

And, if you want to learn more about Space, Satellite & Aerospace topics, consider taking one of the many courses offered by ATI. A complete list of offerings can be found here.

My Name Is Going to the Sun! What About Yours?

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe — designed, built and managed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) — will launch in summer 2018 and travel to our star on a historic mission to “touch the Sun.” Now you can get on board and be a part of this voyage of extreme exploration. NASA is giving everyone […]
Capture2CaptureNASA’s Parker Solar Probe — designed, built and managed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) — will launch in summer 2018 and travel to our star on a historic mission to “touch the Sun.” Now you can get on board and be a part of this voyage of extreme exploration. NASA is giving everyone across the world the opportunity to submit their names for a journey to the Sun. Names will be added to a microchip that will fly aboard Parker Solar Probe as it makes its way from Earth to the Sun — the first mission to ever do so. Along for the ride will be a revolutionary heat shield, which will protect the spacecraft from soaring temperatures as it plunges into the corona to get the first close-up view of Earth’s star. Name submissions will be accepted until April 27, 2018. Learn more and add your name to the mission here: http://go.nasa.gov/HotTicket. Contact me for more information at jim.jenkins@aticourses.com Also, see http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu/index.php#newscenter

China’s Tiangong-1 space station could come crashing down to Earth before the end of March

Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace. We beive the information below will be of interest to our readers. It’s now been several months since China admitted that it had completely lost control of its Tiangong-1 space station, explaining that without the ability to adjust its position in orbit the […]

Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace. We beive the information below will be of interest to our readers.

It’s now been several months since China admitted that it had completely lost control of its Tiangong-1 space station, explaining that without the ability to adjust its position in orbit the huge manmade object will eventually come falling back down to Earth. In late 2017 the Chinese government offered a very rough forecast of when the satellite could collide with our planet, and now it’s looking more and more like March might be the month when it happens.

According to the latest information from the European Space Agency,the space station is now expected to come tumbling down somewhere between March 24th and April 19th.  ESA says it’s more likely that the object will land somewhere in the northern latitudes, meaning the northern US, parts of Spain, Portugal, Greece, China, much of the Middle East, and a handful of other countries.

The space station, whose name means “Heavenly Palace,” will be subjected to the full brunt of friction from Earth’s atmosphere and, thankfully, will be incinerated almost completely before any remaining debris finally lands on the surface. However, it’s still possible that the spacecraft could cause some problems if it lands on hard ground, especially in a populated area.

Some of the material on board the space station is indeed toxic, including chemicals used in rocket fuel, and China has noted that if that material finds its way to the ground it could be hazardous to anyone who stumbles upon it.

That being said, the odds of any debris actually landing near you or, even worse, striking you is incredibly small. Space debris experts put the chances of being struck by space debris at around a million times less likely than winning the lottery.

In any case, the ESA and other space agencies will be keeping a close eye on the space station and will hopefully be able to forecast its fall from the sky with greater accuracy as the day draws near.

Read more.

The US Air Force Plans to buy new jam-resistant GPS satellites

Applied Technology Institute offers the following courses on the dates below: GPS & International Competitors 23-Apr-18 26-Apr-18 Columbia MD We think the news below will be of interest to our readers. The U.S. Air Force wants 22 new GPS satellites that are built to resist jamming and electronic interference. It would spend around $2 billion […]
Applied Technology Institute offers the following courses on the dates below: GPS & International Competitors
23-Apr-18 26-Apr-18 Columbia MD
We think the news below will be of interest to our readers.
The U.S. Air Force wants 22 new GPS satellites that are built to resist jamming and electronic interference. It would spend around $2 billion on the new satellites for the GPS 3 constellation in the next five years. The production of all 22 satellites is expected to be worth as much as $10 billion “The GPS 3 that we are moving toward is more jam-resistant, and it is intended to be able to operate in a contested environment,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said. The constellation of 31 GPS 2 satellites currently in orbit will remain operational until at least 2021. The Air Force has already ordered 10 GPS 3 satellites from Lockheed Martin. But, the Air Force has now decided it needs to quit buying up those GPS 3 satellites and go back to the drawing board. Lockheed Martin will most likely bid for the contract to build the new jam-resistant satellites, but other contractors like Boeing and Northrop Grumman are expected to try as well. Development of the new satellites would take place in 2019.

JPL’s Dressmaker

Did you read the recent story about JPL “dressmaker” Lien Pham who makes thermal blankets for spacecraft? The materials, methods, and techniques are an amazing combination of traditional and very techy. “What kind of materials go into a thermal blanket? We use multiple layers of Mylar films with Dacron netting to separate them. For the outermost surface, we use […]

Did you read the recent story about JPL “dressmaker” Lien Pham who makes thermal blankets for spacecraft? The materials, methods, and techniques are an amazing combination of traditional and very techy.

“What kind of materials go into a thermal blanket?

We use multiple layers of Mylar films with Dacron netting to separate them. For the outermost surface, we use Kapton film or Beta cloth, which resist temperature change. We also use gold Kapton, which is good for conducting electricity. There’s a black material called carbon field Kapton. That’s for a charged environment, with a lot of electricity. It dissipates the charge. What Kind of tools do you use? We use commercial sewing machines designed for thick material such as denim. It has a walking feed that pulls in the material and cuts our sewing thread automatically. We also use a variety of hand tools like a measuring scale, scissors, surgical scalpels, hole punches, a heat gun, leather punch and weight scale.”

BBC.com article on Lian Pham and the JPL seamstresses explains

“Nasa hires women with sewing experience for a reason. When engineers couldn’t figure out how to work with Teflon – the non-stick material that coats many saucepans – they were at a loss. Lien suggested folding the edge of the material and sewing it like a hem, as she would with a shirt at home. It worked.”

Science News Technology Space NASA Artificial Intelligence Weird Science Science of Sci-Fi Giant Exoplanet With Carbon Monoxide Atmosphere ‘Defies All Expectations’

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) is offering a brand new Exoplanets course.  The news below could be of interest to our readers. This is the kind of discovery that reminds you just how little weactually know about space. Scientists have found a mysterious exoplanet 10 times the size of Jupiter—and no one can quite explain it. […]
9ba340aa7f1de69ad6ad7f6ace4d13f9_LApplied Technology Institute (ATICourses) is offering a brand new Exoplanets course.  The news below could be of interest to our readers.
This is the kind of discovery that reminds you just how little weactually know about space. Scientists have found a mysterious exoplanet 10 times the size of Jupiter—and no one can quite explain it.
Wrapped in carbon monoxide and water-free, scientists located inhospitable exoplanet WASP-18b with the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes about 330 light years from Earth.
The exoplanet might be far away, but it’s a giant in its neck of the woods—it has the mass of approximately 10 Jupiters.
NASA researchers note it has a stratosphere, as does Earth, but unlike our stratosphere, where the abundance of ozone absorbs UV radiation and helps protect our planet, WASP-18b’s is loaded with carbon monoxide—a rare discovery.
“We find evidence for a strong thermal inversion in the dayside atmosphere of the highly irradiated hot Jupiter WASP-18b…based on emission spectroscopy from Hubble Space Telescope secondary eclipse observations and Spitzer eclipse photometry,” researcher Kyle Sheppard said. “The derived composition and profile suggest that WASP-18b is the first example of both a planet with a non-oxide driven thermal inversion and a planet with an atmospheric metallicity inconsistent with that predicted for Jupiter-mass planets.”
WASP-18b is a “hot Jupiter,” which unlike the gas giants of our solar system that are positioned with distance from the Sun, are especially close. Our Jupiter takes 12 years to orbit the sun once, WASP-18b circles its star every 23 hours.
Read more here.

NASA Wants Your Help to Name a Space Object, What Could Go Wrong

There’s a small, icy object floating at the outer edge of our Solar System, in the messy Kuiper belt. Or it could be two objects, astronomers are not sure. But NASA is on track to find out more, as that object has been chosen as the next flyby target for the New Horizons spacecraft – the […]
quaoar_animation_dark_crsub_circleThere’s a small, icy object floating at the outer edge of our Solar System, in the messy Kuiper belt. Or it could be two objects, astronomers are not sure. But NASA is on track to find out more, as that object has been chosen as the next flyby target for the New Horizons spacecraft – the same probe that gave us incredible photos of Pluto in 2015. And now they want your help to give that target a catchy name. Currently, the enigmatic Kuiper belt object is designated 2014 MU69, but that’s just the provisional string of letters and numbers any newly discovered object gets. “Yes, we’re going to give 2014 MU69 a real name, rather than just the “license plate” designator it has now,” New Horizons’ principal investigator Alan Stern wrote in a blog post earlier this year. “The details of how we’ll name it are still being worked out, but NASA announced a few weeks back that it will involve a public naming contest.” And now, folks, our time to shine has arrived. NASA has finally extended an invitation for people to submit their ideas for a name, although they note this is not going to be the officially-official name just yet, but rather a nickname to be used until the flyby happens. The team at New Horizons already have a bunch of ideas prepared, which now form the basis of the naming campaign, and anyone can already vote for those. Amongst current choices put forward by the team are Z’ha’dum – a fictional planet from the TV series Babylon 5; Camalor – a fictional city actually located in the Kuiper belt according to Robert L. Forward’s novel Camelot 30K; and Mjölnir – the name of Norse thunder god Thor’s epic hammer. One of the most interesting aspects of MU69 is that we’re not even sure whether the object is one body or two – telescope observations have hinted it could actually be two similarly-sized bodies either in close mutual orbit, or even stuck together. Read more.