Unidentified Space Object Will Fall to Earth Nov. 13

An unidentified space object will fall to Earth on Friday Nov. 13, but don’t be alarmed; it poses very little risk. The unidentified object was first spotted in 2013 by astronomers in Arizona and it was appropriately dubbed WT1190F. It is believed to only be a couple feet in diameter and not very dense, which could […]
An unidentified space object will fall to Earth on Friday Nov. 13, but don’t be alarmed; it poses very little risk. The unidentified object was first spotted in 2013 by astronomers in Arizona and it was appropriately dubbed WT1190F. It is believed to only be a couple feet in diameter and not very dense, which could mean it’s a leftover piece of a rocket. The European Space Agency said the object has been orbiting Earth every three weeks in a “highly eccentric, non-circular orbit.” Both ESA and NASA are excited to see the object reenter Earth’s atmosphere because it’ll help with research. ESA said the event will provide an opportunity to gather data and improve space agencies’ knowledge of how objects interact with Earth’s atmosphere. “The first goal will be to better understand the reentry of satellites and debris from highly eccentric orbits,” Marco Micheli, astronomer at ESA’s NEO Coordination Centre, said in a statement. “Second, it provides an ideal opportunity to test our readiness for any possible future atmospheric entry events involving an asteroid, since the components of this scenario, from discovery to impact, are all very similar.” WT1190F is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere around 6 p.m. (Sri Lanka time) and fall into the Indian Ocean about 62 miles off the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Astronomers said the object will put on a spectacular show to those nearby as it turns into a bright strike against the mid-day sky.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

FINDING NEW WAYS TO COPE WITH SPACE DEBRIS-OR RISK IMPRISONING OURSELVES ON PLANET EARTH? by Tom Logsdon

For the past 58 years, starting in 1957, mankind has been launching enormous swarms of satellites and useless space debris in the vicinity of planet Earth. Many of these fragments swoop around our home planet at 17,000 miles per hour. When they collide at such high speeds, huge numbers of space debris fragments are instantly […]
FIGURE CAPTION: More than 20,000 space debris fragments are now orbiting the Earth and presenting serious collision hazards to their companions in space. In 1978 a NASA researcher, Donald Kessler, concluded that, if too many large objects were placed in low altitude orbits around the Earth, successive collisions between them could create a "chain reaction" that would, in turn, create so many additional objects, safe space launches could become impossible for future generations.
For the past 58 years, starting in 1957, mankind has been launching enormous swarms of satellites and useless space debris in the vicinity of planet Earth. Many of these fragments swoop around our home planet at 17,000 miles per hour. When they collide at such high speeds, huge numbers of space debris fragments are instantly created many of which continue to circle around the Earth with the possibility of further collisions. In the 1978 Donald Kessler, a talented researcher at NASA Houston, realized that successive collisions could create ever larger swarms of debris fragments that could, in turn, engage in further collisions to create even more dangerous fragments. Soon the space around the Earth would be swarming with dangerous, high-speed metallic shrapnel. This phenomenon has, in the meantime, then called the “Kessler Syndrome”. It is similar in concept to the nuclear chain reactions that make atomic bombs possible. Donald Kessler made careful estimates of the total tonnage of large objects in Earth orbit that could end up imprisoning us on our beautiful, blue planet. Flying space missions through swarms of high-speed debris could become much too dangerous for anyone to advocate. Separate studies have indicated that a highly energetic collision at a speed of about five miles per second (typical for low-altitude impacts) could create as many as 20 objects per pound of mass involved in the collision. What can be done to minimize the probability of a runaway “Kessler Syndrome” that could, theoretically, imprison all of us on planet Earth? 1. We could impose more stringent rules on the launching satellites and the debris fragments that typically result from such a launch. Some rules have already been established in conjunction with space exploration. These could be made more stringent. And they could be accompanied by fines or other penalties for those who fail to comply. 2. We could remove existing debris fragments from space to minimize the hazard of collisions. Some experts envision roving capture devices (e. g., spaceborne drones) that would rendezvous with — and remove — useless debris fragments from their orbits and hurl them back to Earth into remote oceans areas for safe disposal. 3. Ground-based lasers could illuminate selected debris fragments to push them out of orbit. Serious studies of this approach have been conducted at NASA headquarters, at NASA Houston, and at the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 4. Large debris fragments could be tracked with precision with ground-based and space-based sensors to pin down their trajectories to a high degree of accuracy. Probable collisions could then be predicted and spaceborne devices could be launched to nudge one or both of the objects onto safe collision-free trajectories. Among other approaches, puffs of air have been proposed to accomplish this goal. In 1978 Donald Kessler managed to develop a highly imaginative concept now called the Kessler Syndrome. His analysis indicated that, if we continue on our present path, we could all become prisoners on planet Earth unable to engage in the safe exploration of outer space. Fortunately, techniques are available to help mitigate this worrisome hazard. Tom Logsdon, who penned this account, tells the story of the space debris fragments now enveloping planet Earth in his special short course: “ORBITAL AND LAUNCH MECHANICS” which is being sponsored by the Applied Technology Institute on January 25 – 28, 2016, in Albuquerque, New Mexico and on March 1 – 4, 2016, in Columbia, Maryland These courses, which are lavishly illustrated with 400 full-color visuals, also include detailed explanations of the counterintuitive nature of powered flight maneuvers together with explanations of the new “Superhighways in Space”, and the contrasting philosophies of Russian and American booster rocket design. The illustrative calculations included in the course all employ realworld data values gleaned from the instructor’s professional experiences in the aerospace industry. Each student will receive a full-color version of every chart that appears on the screen, several pamphlets and written explanations of the concepts under review, and autographed copies of two of Logsdon’s published books. A few slots are still available in those two classes. Register early to assure your acceptance.  

Halloween asteroid 2015 TB145 will fly by Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. CST

Plenty of people are getting spooked by the news giant asteroid 2015 TB145 is set to buzz by Earth on Halloween night, Oct. 31. There’s no reason to worry about the space happenings on the bewitching night, according to NASA, who is keeping an eye on the space rock they’ve dubbed “The Great Pumpkin.” NASA’s […]
Plenty of people are getting spooked by the news giant asteroid 2015 TB145 is set to buzz by Earth on Halloween night, Oct. 31. There’s no reason to worry about the space happenings on the bewitching night, according to NASA, who is keeping an eye on the space rock they’ve dubbed “The Great Pumpkin.” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California said they are tracking 2015 TB145 through several optical observatories as well as by radar. The asteroid will fly by the Earth at a safe distance slightly farther than the moon’s orbit on Oct. 31 at around 12:05 p.m. CST. The asteroid, which was only discovered Oct. 10 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS-1 system, has a width of about 1,300 feet. Scientists are excited about the asteroid’s Earth close buzz since it’s the closest currently known approach by an object this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 makes its debut in August 2027. That asteroid is about 2,600 feet wide. Size aside, the Halloween space rock poses no danger to the Earth, according to NASA. “The trajectory of 2015 TB145 is well understood,” said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.. “At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than about 300,000 miles — 480,000 kilometers or 1.3 lunar distances. Even though that is relatively close by celestial standards, it is expected to be fairly faint, so night-sky Earth observers would need at least a small telescope to view it.” Scientists said the asteroid should have no “detectable effect” on the moon on anything on Earth, including the  tides or tectonic plates.
Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

ThumbSats: Itty-Bitty Satellites Could Carry Your Experiments To Space

  IT LOOKS LIKE an alien balloon. Except that it flies at 17,500 mph in near-Earth orbit and can carry a science experiment—potentially your science experiment—for two months before it burns up in the atmosphere. And early next year, 20 of these ThumbSats will beam data back to a network of 50 listening stations all over the world. […]
 
Each mini satellite measures 16 inches and includes a micro camera and GPS. Aerospace engineer Shaun Whitehead is putting a $15,000 price tag on each ThumbSat's launch cost. (Photo : Cristiano Rinaldi)
IT LOOKS LIKE an alien balloon. Except that it flies at 17,500 mph in near-Earth orbit and can carry a science experiment—potentially your science experiment—for two months before it burns up in the atmosphere. And early next year, 20 of these ThumbSats will beam data back to a network of 50 listening stations all over the world. Aerospace engineer Shaun Whitehead came up with the ThumbSat project because he wanted to help regular people send stuff into space. “We get slowed down by old-school ways of thinking,” he says. “I hope that ThumbSat accelerates progress in space, inspires everyone to look up.” His craft are so small that they fit into the nooks and crannies of commercial launchers, hitching a ride with bigger payloads and keeping costs down. The people conducting the first experiments are a diverse group. Engineers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory hope to use a cluster of connected ThumbSats to study gravitational waves. Three teenage sisters from Tennessee who go by the moniker Chicks in Space want to orbit algae and sea monkey eggs. Artist Stefan G. Bucher will deploy magnetized fluids and shape-memory alloys. Eventually a global network of volunteers, including a Boy Scout group in Wisconsin and a school in the Cook Islands, will monitor all the ThumbSat data. (Without receivers on those remote islands, there’d be a big gap in coverage out in the South Pacific.) Space is the place, and pretty soon anyone will be able to reach it.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

The Future Is Here: $75,000 Will Get You Into Space In 2017

World View Enterprises plans to offer balloon flights into space for private citizens. The trip into the stratosphere would give passengers a great view of Earth and a unique experience. Space.com reports that World View will carry a capsule containing six paying customers and two crew members to the edge of space using a huge […]
World View Enterprises plans to offer balloon flights into space for private citizens. The trip into the stratosphere would give passengers a great view of Earth and a unique experience. Space.com reports that World View will carry a capsule containing six paying customers and two crew members to the edge of space using a huge helium balloon. The capsule containing the space tourists weighs about 10,000 pounds (over 4,300 kilograms). The complete flight will last between five and six hours. The first 90 to 120 minutes involve the ascent to the stratosphere as the capsule is carried slowly up and up the balloon. The balloon will then cruise at 100,000 feet for about two hours. The return to Earth involves the separation of the balloon and the capsule. The capsule will be returned to Earth with the help of a device called a parafoil. World View has partnered with United Parachute Technologies (UPT) for the parafoil system. The companies announced earlier this year a successful flying of the first parafoil from the edge of space at a height of 102,200 earlier this year. This is right around the top height World View plans for its manned space tourist flights. Space.com says World View’s goal is start launching paying customers into space by late 2017. Tickets will cost $75,000 per seat. World View provides this video that shows what a trip aboard one of its flights might be like. Take a look:


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

MARS FOUR: Alarming Facts About Extraterrestrial Life On Mars

Last weekend, NASA called for a press conference to announce a major discovery regarding the planet Mars. During the meeting, they revealed some pretty shocking information, completely changing what we once thought about the “red” planet that, suddenly, doesn’t seem so red anymore. 1. Mars Has Flowing Rivers Of Water On It NASA announced that […]
Last weekend, NASA called for a press conference to announce a major discovery regarding the planet Mars. During the meeting, they revealed some pretty shocking information, completely changing what we once thought about the “red” planet that, suddenly, doesn’t seem so red anymore.

1. Mars Has Flowing Rivers Of Water On It

NASA announced that Mars actually has rivers of flowing water on it. What we once believed to be an arid and rocky desert of a planet is actually seasonal, not unlike our own planet Earth.

2. Mars Could Have Had Extraterrestrial Life Living On It

Obviously, with the announcement that there is water on Mars, the possibility of life near the surface becomes ever more plausible. Another interesting fact is that the possibility of life in the interior of Mars has always been quite high. “The possibility of life in the interior of Mars has always been very high. There’s certainly water somewhere in the crust of Mars … It’s very likely, I think, that there is life somewhere in the crust of Mars.” – Alfred McEwen, Principal Investigator, HiRISE, University of Arizona

3. Mars Was Once A Planet Very Much Like Earth, With A Giant Ocean

Mars is the planet most like Earth … [and in the past,] Mars was a very different planet, it had an extensive atmosphere, and in fact it had what is believed to have been a huge ocean, perhaps as large as two thirds the Northern Hemisphere. And that ocean may have been as much as a mile deep. So Mars indeed three billion years ago had extensive water resources. But something happened. Mars suffered a major climate change and lost its surface water.

4. Something Happened To The Planet That Drastically Changed Its Climate

Did historical intelligent life on the planet Mars have something to do with its drastic climate shift? At this point it’s impossible to say, but according to Dr. John Brandenburg, PhD, and plasma physicist, life on Mars was eradicated by nuclear war. He believes that a couple of intelligent civilizations from ancient history were responsbile for this, and in his published works, argues that the coloration and composition of Martian soil points to a series of “mixed-fission explosions” which lead to nuclear fallout on the planet. Regardless of what caused Mars’ climate shift, we’ve certainly been left with some fascinating information to consider.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

In Space, Yesterday’s Coffee is Today’s Coffee

Do you still wish you could be an astronaut after watching the lung-flattening launches and bone-crunching landings? Has the eyeball-oscillating gimbal failed to dampen your spirits? What if we told you that coffee, the most precious of nectars essential for civilized behavior, will be brewed from your own pee? When every gram lifted into orbit […]
Do you still wish you could be an astronaut after watching the lung-flattening launches and bone-crunching landings? Has the eyeball-oscillating gimbal failed to dampen your spirits? What if we told you that coffee, the most precious of nectars essential for civilized behavior, will be brewed from your own pee? When every gram lifted into orbit costs a fortune, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle” becomes more than just a trite saying. That covers everything, up to and including purifying liquid waste (ie, urine) into a more palatable beverage. Or, to put it more bluntly: yesterday’s coffee is today’s coffee. Suddenly that coffee spot with the greatest view imaginable is looking a bit less appealing, even if the mechanics of making it happen is impressive engineering. But recycling pee into water in space isn’t as easy as it is here on Earth. When the original Urine Processor Assembly went to the space station, it developed a “pee pancake,” a precipitate of that clogged up the system. The system needed to be modified to filter additional calcium ions: all that bone loss in microgravity resulted in astronauts peeing out double the normal concentration of calcium ions!


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

BOOZE IN SPACE! SUNTORY SENDING WHISKEY INTO ORBIT, IN SEARCH OF A SMOOTHER PRODUCT

Suntory is possibly best known to moviegoers as the client that brought “Bob Harris” to Japan to film a commercial, in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 gem Lost in Translation. It’s Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, and if that makes you think that it is in any way dusty or not keeping up with the current trends in […]

Suntory is possibly best known to moviegoers as the client that brought “Bob Harris” to Japan to film a commercial, in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 gem Lost in Translation. It’s Japan’s oldest whisky distillery, and if that makes you think that it is in any way dusty or not keeping up with the current trends in whiskeyology, note that just last year its Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 secured the award for “Best Whisky in the World.” Not only that, Suntory recently announced that it intends to send some of its delightful spirits to age in outer space. They suspect that the zero-gravity environment may result in nothing less than the smoothest whiskey ever produced. Suntory will be sending six varieties of whiskey, aged for 10, 18, and 21 years, along with recently distilled beverages, to outer space as part of an experiment. Their theory is that the weightlessness of space will result in a smoother aged whiskey than is possible to attain on Earth. Employees at JAXA’s Tsukuba City Space Center in Ibaraki Prefecture recently prepared glass flasks that will be used to transport the spirits when Konotori Vehicle 5 (HTV-5) launches from JAXA’s Tanegashima Space Center on August 16. The whiskey samples will be left on the International Space Station for an unspecified number of years before being brought home to be inspected. Unfortunately for drink connoisseurs, Suntory has already stated that they have no plans to sell space whiskey as a product to the general public. Take that, Wild Turkey!


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

New Horizons – This was almost a disaster, but was saved by knowledgeable scientists.

The people in the Mission Operations Center — “the MOC” — had been tracking NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft for 9½ years as it journeyed the breadth of the solar system. It was just 10 days away from the dwarf planet Pluto when, at 1:55 p.m. on July 4, it vanished. The disappearance of the spacecraft […]
The people in the Mission Operations Center — “the MOC” — had been tracking NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft for 9½ years as it journeyed the breadth of the solar system. It was just 10 days away from the dwarf planet Pluto when, at 1:55 p.m. on July 4, it vanished. The disappearance of the spacecraft challenged the New Horizons team to perform at its highest level and under the greatest of deadline pressures. They did work efficiently and saved the mission. We all wish the New Horizons team the best as they approach the busiest time of the fly-by encounter. I have known and respected many of the engineers and scientist for more than 20 years and am happy to praise their skills. The nature of the New Horizons mission did not permit any wiggle room, any delays, any do-overs, because it was a flyby. The spacecraft had one shot at Pluto, tightly scheduled: When it vanished, New Horizons was going about 32,000 miles per hour and on track to make its closest pass to Pluto, about 7,800 miles, at precisely 7:49 a.m. July 14. But as the New Horizons team gathered in the control room on July 4, no one knew whether their spacecraft was still alive.   Because New Horizons is so far away, it takes 4 1/2 hours for a one-way message between the spacecraft and the MOC. That means whatever happened to New Horizons on July 4 had actually happened 4 1/2 hours before the people in Mission Operations knew about it.   The team figured out what had gone wrong. The spacecraft’s main computer had been compressing new scientific data for downloading much later. At the same time, it was supposed to execute some previously uploaded commands. It got overloaded; the spacecraft has an “autonomy” system that can decide what to do if something’s not quite right. That system decided to switch from the main to the backup computer and go into safe mode. Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-inside-story-of-new-horizons-apollo-13-moment-on-its-way-to-pluto/2015/07/10/fb361248-25ad-11e5-b72c-2b7d516e1e0e_story.html Additional information about the start of the New Horizons mission and the key roles played by ATI instructors who worked (and are still working) on the New Horizons mission see 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/

New Horizons: Recollections of Ground System Engineer, Steve Gemeny

When we think about the ground system on a space mission we tend to consider all the systems associated with commanding, receiving and archiving telemetry, and all the communications systems and equipment that makes that all work.  We plan contingencies, and redundancies, we back up everything in multiple formats, and on long duration missions like […]
This image of Pluto from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) was received on July 8, and has been combined with lower-resolution color information from the Ralph instrument.

When we think about the ground system on a space mission we tend to consider all the systems associated with commanding, receiving and archiving telemetry, and all the communications systems and equipment that makes that all work.  We plan contingencies, and redundancies, we back up everything in multiple formats, and on long duration missions like New Horizons someone eventually has to address “how are we going to keep all that stuff on the ground running for 10 – 20 years”-  and produces a Longevity Plan.

But once everything is all setup, and operational, and all the staff are at their stations on launch day – having already given the first “Go For Launch” pole responses with 5 hours till launch – You have to wonder, did anyone ever consider what to do if the entire JHU/APL campus goes dark!

No one had.  And with a newly installed cutover for the main (PEPCO) power feed providing an automatic transfer to a backup (BGE) feed  no one expected to ever need the capability, let alone that it would failed to transfer.  It did- at about 5:30 am on launch day while I was on console at KSC.  The rapid application of backup generators to sustain the Mission Operations Center at APL only solved half of the issues…  Network switches and routers were scattered across campus, most only running on UPS Power until that failed too… there was no cooling air to keep everything operating within normal temperatures on January 18, 2006…  Things were going from bad to worse and the Mission System Engineer was heard to say “  I’ve seen how quickly a Launch day can get deep into the contingency  plan, I’m not starting a launch when we are already this deep into solving unplanned contingencies”. This resulted in the launch being scrubbed and resumed on January 19th after power and environmental control systems were restored campus wide at APL.

Fortunately, I spent the time that afternoon to write the whole thing up in case I was asked to give a report, I’ve got pictures of generators outside Building 13, with external air handlers and chillers hosed up to blowers and leaks flooding the hallways…  It was a ZOO!.  I was safe at KSC and we restarted the count for a successful launch on the 19th.

Steve Gemeny teaches Ground Systems Design & Operations https://aticourses.com/ground_systems_design.htm course for ATICourses.

Other scientists & engineers that worked on the New Horizons and also teach for ATI are:

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

 

Read more

 


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Attend Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Fundamentals (1-day) and the follow-on MBSE Applications courses (2-days)

My name is Zane Scott and I teach the Model-Based Systems Engineering courses for Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses).  I want to invite you the ATI’s Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Fundamentals (1-day) and the follow-on MBSE Applications courses (2-days). The Model-Based Systems Engineering Fundamentals course includes discussion of real-life benefits from this approach versus the traditional […]
My name is Zane Scott and I teach the Model-Based Systems Engineering courses for Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses).  I want to invite you the ATI’s Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Fundamentals (1-day) and the follow-on MBSE Applications courses (2-days). The Model-Based Systems Engineering Fundamentals course includes discussion of real-life benefits from this approach versus the traditional document-centric systems design methodology. The two-day follow-on class provides in-depth practical advice and case studies based on specific satellite and defense systems case studies.
Model-based Systems Engineering Fundamentals Aug 11, 2015 Columbia, MD
Model-based Systems Engineering (2 day) Aug 12-13, 2015 Columbia, MD
 
The benefits of MBSE from a program manager/sponsor perspective are emphasized in day 1, which is available as a stand-along course for Program Managers and other non-technical sponsors. The two-day follow-on class provides in-depth knowledge for the working systems engineer. These courses are practical and useful in managing complex systems design projects utilizing MBSE which promises to impact projects positively by improving communication among the team, promoting reuse (and associated cost/risk reduction), and maintaining traceability from the requirements through validation and verification. But are these promises fulfilled and results documented? Case studies are used to illustrate the practical benefits of MBSE.  MBSE was recently used on a student project at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. The student team was so impressed by the effectiveness of this approach that they recorded a 2014 case study webinar. This success story is especially beneficial for Systems Engineering Managers seeking to clearly understand the Return on Investment from MBSE. Systems Engineering practitioners will appreciate the in-depth practical system design process outlined in day 2 and 3 of this course with reference to the CubeSat program case study. The Embry-Riddle EagleSat program took off in 2012 as part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. The student-run, professor-guided organization has a goal of flying Embry-Riddle’s first satellite, a fully functioning 10-centimeter cube focused on analyzing the susceptibility of computer memory to solar radiation, while also mapping the body’s orbital decay over time.   The systems engineering effort, undertaken through the use of MBSE, has played a critical role in requirements management and maintaining design traceability throughout the development process and across all six subsystems. The choice to use MBSE comes from the approach’s inherent ability to document complex element relationships while easily and fully communicating these to other team members through generated reports and descriptive diagrams. Please consider attending either the 1-day Fundamentals class if you need an overview, or the full 3-day class to learn how to effectively apply MBSE to real-world, complex systems engineering projects.
Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Cubesats explained and why you should build one

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offer technical training on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. Ever wanted to make your own satellite? Now you can. Building a Cubesat is affordable and you may even qualify for a free ride from NASA. What are CubeSats? A CubeSat is a small satellite in the shape of a 10 centimeter cube and […]
Artist's illustration of NASA's Near-Earth Asteroid Scout cubesat, which is scheduled to launch aboard the maiden flight of the agency’s Space Launch System rocket in 2018. Credit: NASA
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offer technical training on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. Ever wanted to make your own satellite? Now you can. Building a Cubesat is affordable and you may even qualify for a free ride from NASA. What are CubeSats? A CubeSat is a small satellite in the shape of a 10 centimeter cube and weighs just 1 kilogram. That’s about 4 inches and 2 pounds. The design has been simplified so almost anyone can build them and the instructions are available for free online. CubeSats can be combined to make larger satellites in case you need bigger payloads. Deployable solar panels and antennas make Cubesats even more versatile. The cost to build one? Typically less than $50,000. CubeSats are carried into space on a Poly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployer or P-POD for short. The standard P-POD holds 3 Cubesats and fits on almost any rocket as a secondary payload. Over 100 Cubesats have been launched into space since they were first introduced by CalPoly and Stanford in 1999. To reduce space debris they are usually placed in low orbits and fall back to earth in a few weeks or months. Why are they so popular? Cubesats are popular with schools and governments because they are cheap and relatively easy to build. Because a lot of the hardware has been standardized, you can even buy Cubesat hardware online. NASA is offering free rides for science missions through their Cubesat Launch Initiative. If you don’t qualify for a free ride, launching a CubeSat is much cheaper than traditional satellites but still costs over $100,000. They might be small but you can do a lot with them. Including…Taking Pictures from space, Send radio communications, Perform Atmospheric Research, Do Biology Experiments and as a test platform for future technology. Cubesats have become THE standard microsatellite thanks to their Open Source Hardware design and will become even more popular as we find new uses for them. If launch costs can become more affordable in the next few years…we can see a new era of personal satellites. Only a few years ago you needed a degree in Engineering or millions of dollars to build a satellite. Now all you need is a credit card and some hard work. Launching it…is another story. Would you want your own personal satellite? Let us know in the comments below.
Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

The New Horizons Mission to Pluto–Ten Experts Who Worked Behind-the-Scenes On the New Horizons Mission and Who Teach for ATIcourses.

Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is proud to have several course authors, instructors and subject-matter experts that led portions of the New Horizons Mission and/or were directly involved in the project, which began in 2003. This is the countdown time to the New Horizons Missions closest point of approach to Pluto; The spacecraft is on track […]
American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, the ninth planet in our solar system, on February 18, 1930. Many key questions about Pluto, it's moon Charon, and the outer fringes of our solar system await close-up observations. A proposed NASA mission called New Horizons, depicted in the artist's concept above, would use miniature cameras, radio science experiments, ultraviolet and infrared spectrometers and space plasma experiments to study Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperatures, and examine Pluto's atmosphere in detail. Image Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is proud to have several course authors, instructors and subject-matter experts that led portions of the New Horizons Mission and/or were directly involved in the project, which began in 2003. This is the countdown time to the New Horizons Missions closest point of approach to Pluto; The spacecraft is on track toward an “aim point” approximately 7,750 miles above Pluto’s surface on July 14, but meaningful data is already streaming in to JHU/APL and NASA. http://seeplutonow.com/   On Sunday, June 20, 2015, the “Washington Post” published a front-page and extensive article on the New Horizons Mission to Pluto:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/pluto-poised-for-a-star-turn-as-nasa-probe-races-toward-historic-encounter/2015/06/20/46ffd54e-0d1f-11e5-a0dc-2b6f404ff5cf_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1   This is the original 2003 press release describing the New Horizons Mission. Boulder, Colo. – April 9, 2003 – This week NASA authorized the New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt (PKB) mission to go forward with preliminary spacecraft and ground system construction. New Horizons is led by the Southwest Research Institute(r) (SwRI(r)) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL).   Neither Pluto nor Kuiper Belt Objects have ever been explored by spacecraft. In July 2002, the National Research Council’s Decadal Survey for Planetary Science ranked the reconnaissance of Pluto-Charon and the Kuiper Belt as its highest priority for a new start mission in planetary science, citing the fundamental scientific importance of understanding this region of the solar system. Read more at http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=040903pr   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 is arriving 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 https://aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.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 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   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 systems 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. Robert Moore https://aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm Robert C. Moore worked in the Electronic Systems Group at the JHU/APL Space Department since 1965 and is now a consultant. He designed embedded microprocessor systems for space applications. He led the design and testing efforts for the New Horizons spacecraft autonomy subsystem. Mr. Moore holds four U.S. patents. He teaches for ATIcourses and the command-telemetry-data processing segment of “Space Systems” at the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering.   10. 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 in 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.   For more information on the New Horizons Mission, we encourage you to visit:   http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Participate/community/Plutopalooza-Toolkit.php   About Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses or ATI and ATII)   ATIcourses is a national leader in professional development seminars in the technical areas of space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, engineering, and signal processing. Since 1984, ATIcourses has presented leading-edge technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DOD and aerospace contractors. ATI’s programs create a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications. ATI offers customized on-site training at your facility anywhere in the United States, as well as internationally, and over 200 annual public courses in dozens of locations. ATI is proud to have world-class experts instructing courses. For more information, call 410-956-8805 or 1-888-501-2100 (toll free), or visit them on the web at www.ATIcourses.com and www.aticourse.com/atii   CONTACT: Jim Jenkins Phone: 1-888-501-2100 (toll free) or 410-956-8805 Fax: 410-956-5785 Email: jim.jenkins@aticourses.com


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Secretive US Air Force space plane X-37B back in orbit

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. The news on mysterious US Air Force X-37B space plane would be of interest to our readers. The US Air Force launched its robotic space plane into orbit for a fourth flight on May 19, 2015 aboard an Atlas 5 […]

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. The news on mysterious US Air Force X-37B space plane would be of interest to our readers. The US Air Force launched its robotic space plane into orbit for a fourth flight on May 19, 2015 aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, in a mission aimed at testing a new engine to steer satellites, officials said. The rocket carrying the X-37B successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida and officials said the scheduled return of the unmanned plane had yet to be determined. The mini-shuttle has been shrouded in secrecy and military officers have refused to discuss its purpose. But defense experts have speculated it might be meant for spying from space, fixing broken satellites or even as a space “bomber.” Captain Chris Hoyler, a spokesman for the US Air Force, told AFP the latest flight was part of efforts looking at the “technical parameters for an affordable, reusable space vehicle.” The X-37B will be testing a new orbital “thruster system” — which uses electricity and xenon — that could be employed to maneuver satellites in space, officials said. Asked if the plane could be used for surveillance, Hoyler declined to comment. The X-37B payload also includes a NASA experiment, which will study how a range of materials can endure conditions in space. The results could help scientists working on the possible design of future spacecraft. The last mission for the X-37B in 2014 extended over 674 days but officials never said what the plane was up to.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Applied Technology Institute Instructor, Tom Logsdon, Helps International Surveyors Master Their Craft

In June 2014 while on assignment for the Applied Technology Institute in Riva, Maryland, Logsdon and his professional colleague, Dr. Moha El-Ayachi, a professor at Rabat, Morocco, taught a group of international students who were flown into the United Nations Humanitarian Services Center in Brindisi, Italy. The students came in from such far-flung locales as […]
Instructor Tom Logsdon, turquoise shirt at front center, poses with some of his students at the United Nations Humanitarian Center located on the heel of the boot in Brindisi, Italy. Over a period of five days, the students learned how to use the GPS-based radio navigation system to survey their countries with extreme precision. The students and their instructors were flown into Brindisi by the United Nations from various other countries around the globe.
In June 2014 while on assignment for the Applied Technology Institute in Riva, Maryland, Logsdon and his professional colleague, Dr. Moha El-Ayachi, a professor at Rabat, Morocco, taught a group of international students who were flown into the United Nations Humanitarian Services Center in Brindisi, Italy. The students came in from such far-flung locales as Haiti, Liberia, Georgia, Western Sahara, the South Sudan, Germany, and Senegal to learn how to better survey land parcels in their various countries. Studies have shown that if clear, unequivocal boundaries defining property ownership can be assured to the citizens of a Third-World Country, financial prosperity inevitably follows. By mastering modern space-age surveying techniques using Trimble Navigation’s highly precise equipment modules, the international students were able to achieve quarter-inch (1 centimeter) accuracy levels for precise benchmarks situated all over the globe. This was Logsdon’s second year of teaching the course in Brindisi and the Applied Technology Institute has already been invited to submit bids for another, similar course with the same two instructors for the spring of 2015. The students who converged on Brindisi were all fluent in English and well-versed in American culture. Their special skills were especially helpful to their instructors, Tom and Moha, who trained them to use the precisely timed navigation signals streaming down from the 31 GPS satellites circling the Earth 12,500 miles high. The DOD’s Request for Proposal for the GPS navigation system was released in 1973. Rockwell International won that contract to build 12 satellites with the total contract value of $330 million. Over the next dozen years, the company was awarded a total of $3 billion in contracts to build more than 40 GPS navigation satellites. Today 1 billion GPS navigation receivers are serving satisfied users all around the globe. The course taught by Tom and Moha covered a variety of topics of interest to specialized GPS users: What is the GPS? How does it work? What is the best way to build or select a GPS receiver? How is the GPS serving its user base? And how can specialize users find clever new ways accentuate its performance? The GPS constellation currently consists of 31 satellites. That specialized constellation provides at least six-fold coverage to users everywhere in the world. Each of the GPS satellites transmits precisely timed electromagnetic pulses down to the ground, that require about one 11th of a second to make that quick journey. The electronic circuits inside the GPS receiver measure the signal travel time and multiply it by the speed of light to obtain the line-of-sight range to that particular satellite. When it has made at least four ranging measurements to a comparable number of satellites, the receiver employees a four-dimensional analogy of the Pythagorean theorem to determine its exact position and the exact time. This solution utilizes four equations in four unknowns: the receiver’s three position coordinates and the current time. The GPS system must keep track of time intervals to an astonishing level of precision. A radio wave moving through a vacuum travels a foot in a billionth of a second. So an accurate and effective GPS system must be able to keep track of time to within a few billionths of a second. This is accomplished by designing and building satellite clocks that are so accurate and reliable they would lose or gain only one second every 300,000 years. These amazingly accurate clocks are based on esoteric, but well-understood principles, from quantum mechanics. Despite their amazing accuracy, the clocks on board the GPS satellites must be re-synchronized using hardware modules situated on the ground three times each and every day. The timing measurements for the GPS system are so accurate and precise Einstein’s two famous Theories of Relativity come into play. The GPS receivers located on or near the ground are in a one-g environment and they are essentially stationary compared the satellites whizzing overhead. A GPS satellite travels around its orbit at a speed of 8600 miles per hour and the gravity at its 12,500-mile altitude above the earth is only six percent as strong as the gravity being experienced by a GPS receiver situated on or near the ground. The difference in speed creates a systematic distortion in time due to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. And the difference in gravitational attraction creates a systematic (and predictable) time distortion due to Einstein’s General Theory Of Relativity. If the designers of the GPS navigation system did not understand and compensate for these relativistic time-dilation effects, the GPS radionavigation system would, on average, be in error by about 7 miles. Fortunately, today’s scientists and engineers have gradually developed a firm grasp of the mathematics associated with relativity so they are able to make extremely accurate compensations to all of the GPS navigation solutions. The positions provided by the GPS, for rapidly moving users such as race cars and military airplanes, are typically accurate to within 15 or 20 feet. For the stationary benchmarks of interest to professional surveyors, the positioning solutions can be accurate to within one quarter of an inch, or about one centimeter. Tom Logsdon has been teaching short courses for the Applied Technology Institute (www.ATIcourses.com) for more than 20 years. During that interval, he has taught nearly 300 short courses, most of which have spanned 3 to 5 days. His specialties include “Orbital and Launch Mechanics”, “GPS Technology”, “Team-Based Problem Solving”, and “Strapped-Down Inertial Navigation Systems”. Logsdon has written and sold 1.8 million words including 33 nonfiction books. These have included The Robot Revolution (Simon and Schuster), Striking It Rich in Space (Random House), The Navstar Global Positioning System (Van Nostrand Reinhold), Mobile Communications Satellites (McGraw-Hill), and Orbital Mechanics (John Wiley & Sons). All of his books have sold well, but his best-selling work has been Programming in Basic, a college textbook that, over nine printings, has sold 130,000 copies. Logsdon also, on occasion, writes magazine articles and newspaper stories and, over the years, he has written 18,000 words for Encyclopaedia Britannica. In addition, he has applied for a patent, help design an exhibit for the Smithsonian Institution, and helped write the text and design the illustrations for four full-color ads that appeared in the Reader’s Digest. In 1973 Tom Logsdon received his first assignment on the GPS when he was asked to figure out how many GPS satellites would be required to provide at least fourfold coverage at all times to any receiver located anywhere on planet Earth. What a wonderful assignment for a budding young mathematician! Working in Technicolor— with colored pencils and colored marking pens on oversize quad-pad sheets four times as big as a standard sheet of paper— Logsdon used his hard-won knowledge of three-dimensional geometry, graphical techniques, and integral calculus to puzzle out the salient characteristics of the smallest constellation that would provide the necessary fourfold coverage. He accomplish this in three days— without using any computers! And the constellation he devised was the one that appeared in the winning proposal that brought in $330 million in revenues for Rockwell International. Even as a young boy growing up wild and free in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky, Tom Logsdon always seemed to have an intuitive understanding of and subtle mathematical relationships of the type that proved to be so useful in the early days of the American space program. His family had always been “gravel-driveway poor.” At age 18 he had never eaten in a restaurant; he had never stayed in a hotel; he had never visited a museum. But, somehow, he managed to work his way through Eastern Kentucky University as a math-physics major while serving as the office assistant to Dr. Smith Park, head of the mathematics department. He also worked as the editor of the campus newspaper, at a noisy Del Monte Cannery in Markesan, Wisconsin, and as a student trainee at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Silver Spring, Maryland. Later he earned a Master’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Kentucky where he wrote a regular column for the campus newspaper, played ping-pong with the number 9 competitor in the America, and specialized in a highly abstract branch of mathematics called combinatorial topology. In his 92-page thesis, jam-packed with highly abstract mathematical symbols, he evaluated the connectivity and orientation properties of simplicial and cell complexes and various multidimensional analogies of Veblin’s Theorem. Soon after he finished his thesis, Logsdon accepted a position as a trajectory and orbital mechanics expert at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California. His most famous projects there included the giant 135 foot-in-diameter Echo Balloon, the six Transit Navigation Satellites, the Thor-Delta booster, and the third stage of the Saturn V moon rocket. A few years later, he moved on to Rockwell International in Downey, California, where he worked his mathematical magic on the second stage of the Saturn V, the four manned Skylab missions, the 24-satellite constellation of GPS radionavigation satellites, the manned Mars mission of 2016, various unmanned asteroid and comet probes, and the solar-power satellite project which, if it had reached fruition, would have incorporated at least 100 geosynchronous satellites each with a surface area equal to that of Manhattan Island (about 20 square miles). Among his proudest accomplishments at Rockwell International was the clever utilization of nine different branches of advanced mathematics, in partnership with his friend, Bob Africano, to increase the performance capabilities of the Saturn V moon rocket by 4700 extra pounds of payload bound for the moon — each pound of which was worth five times its weight in 24 karat gold! These important performance gains were accomplished without changing any of the hardware elements on the rocket. Logsdon and Africano, instead, employed their highly specialized knowledge of mathematics and physics to work out ways to operate the mighty Saturn V more efficiently. This involved shaping the trajectories of the rocket for maximum propulsive efficiency, shifting the burning mixture ratio in mid flight in an optimal manner, and analyzing their six-degree-of-freedom post-flight trajectory simulations to minimize the heavy reserve propellants necessary to assure completion of the mission. These powerful breakthroughs in math and physics led to a saving of $3.5 billion for NASA – an amount equal to the lifetime earnings of 2000 average American workers! Currently, Logsdon and his wife, Cyndy, live in Seal Beach, California. Logsdon is now retired from Rockwell International, but he is still writing books, acting as an expert witness in a variety of aerospace-related legal cases, lecturing professionally at big conventions, and teaching short courses on rocket science, orbital mechanics, and GPS technology at major universities, NASA bases, military installations, and at a variety of international locations. Prior to his recent trips to Italy, Logsdon delivered two lectures at Hong Kong University in southern China and taught two short courses at Stellenbach University near Cape Town, South Africa. Over the past 30 years or so he has taught and lectured at 31 different countries scattered across six continents. At the International Platform Association meetings in Washington, DC, two of his presentations in successive years placed in the top 10 among the 45 professional platform lecturers making presentations there. Colleges and Universities that have sponsored his presentations have included Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, USC, Oxford, North Texas University, the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, Saddleback.

Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory launched in space

Recently, NASA along with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from GPM is helping to provide scientists with new insights into finding out how Earth works as a system and specific weather patterns including rain and snowfall.  Together with these missions, NASA […]
Recently, NASA along with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from GPM is helping to provide scientists with new insights into finding out how Earth works as a system and specific weather patterns including rain and snowfall.  Together with these missions, NASA now has 20 ongoing Earth-observing missions. The observations from these missions will be openly available to both scientists and decision makers worldwide.   “The highly accurate measurements from these new missions will help scientists around the world tackle some of the biggest questions about how our planet is changing,” said Peg Luce, deputy director of the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These new capabilities will also be put to work to help improve lives here on Earth and support informed decision-making by citizens and communities.”   In January, NASA released the most comprehensive global rain and snowfall product to date from the GPM mission that was comprised of data from a system of 12 international satellites and the Core Observatory. The Core Observatory combines measurements of other satellites, which offers a global picture of rain and snow, called the Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM, or IMERG. On Thursday February 26, 2015, the first global visualization of the initial IMERG data was released.   “The IMERG data gives us an unprecedented view of global precipitation every 30 minutes,” said Gail Skofronick-Jackson, GPM project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Knowing where, when and how much it rains and snows is vital to understanding Earth’s water cycle.”   NASA deployed two Earth-observing instruments to the International Space Station: ISS-RapidScat, in September of 2014 which is a scatterometer that is using wind measurements to help figure out how ocean winds differ from day and night, and the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS), in January of 2015 which is a lidar that measures the altitude of clouds and airborne particles (aerosols) which will help scientists determine the future potential impact of climate change.   The launch of the GPM core observatory will help scientists to study Earth’s interconnected natural systems and better understand how our planet is changing.  

NASA New Horizons spacecraft on the way to rendezvous with planet Pluto

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers Planetary Science for Aerospace Professionals course.  The news below could be of interest to our readers. The craft has officially begun its six month approach to the planet Pluto. This is the first time a human shuttle will flyby the icy dwarf planet. Pluto, the former planet, currently considered a dwarf […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers Planetary Science for Aerospace Professionals course.  The news below could be of interest to our readers. The craft has officially begun its six month approach to the planet Pluto. This is the first time a human shuttle will flyby the icy dwarf planet. Pluto, the former planet, currently considered a dwarf planet (a plutoid) is still interesting for astronomers, but its distance from the Earth makes it difficult to study and analyze. The main theory is that Pluto’s structure is differentiated, with the rocky material having settled into a dense core surrounded by a mantle of ice; it’s very possible that Pluto actually harbors a liquid ocean of water between the rock and the ice. The New Horizons shuttle is a NASA space probe launched to study the dwarf planet Pluto, its moons and anything else in the vicinity. Following a 3 billion mile trip, New Horizons has awaken from its hibernation and is now ready to start gathering data about Pluto.
“We’ve completed the longest journey any craft has flown from Earth to reach its primary target, and we are ready to begin exploring!” Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, said in a NASA statement.
Indeed, the name New Horizons is a very fitting name. The mission will reveal information about a class of planets we have no direct observations of, and of which we know very little. “New Horizons is on a journey to a new class of planets we’ve never seen, in a place we’ve never been before. For decades we thought Pluto was this odd little body on the planetary outskirts; now we know it’s really a gateway to an entire region of new worlds in the Kuiper Belt, and New Horizons is going to provide the first close-up look at them”, project leader Hal Weaver said. New Horizons is well equipped for this mission – its scientific instruments include spectrometers (a Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera with a near-infrared imaging spectrometer, an ultraviolet imaging spectrometer and Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation), direct imagers, a dust analyzer and a radio science experiment. These instruments will gather continuous data on the interplanetary environment where the planetary system orbits, We’ll keep you posted with developments and information as New Horizons sends it in.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Elon Musk- Mars transport system, spacesuit design, by the end of the year

While talking with participants in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) chat Elon Musk said that by the end of this year, his company will unveil a detailed transport system designed to take humans to Mars.   He made the statement on the day the scheduled launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9, which will attempt […]
At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40, liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been postponed. A thrust vector control actuator for the Falcon 9’s second stage failed to perform as expected, resulting in a launch abort. SpaceX is evaluating the issue and will determine the next opportunity to launch the company's fifth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The next available opportunity to launch to the station would be Friday, Jan. 9 at 5:09 a.m. EST.
While talking with participants in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) chat Elon Musk said that by the end of this year, his company will unveil a detailed transport system designed to take humans to Mars.   He made the statement on the day the scheduled launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9, which will attempt a daring landing of its 14-story first stage rocket on a floating launch pad after delivering supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), was scrapped due to technical problems. The Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral has been rescheduled for this Friday, January 9. Musk admitted during the talk that he does not know the chances of the Falcon 9 successfully executing the landing. He noted a spacecraft carrying people to Mars would require “100 metric tons of useful payload” and acknowledged having learned a lot from his company’s Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon vehicle, which brings supplies to the ISS. Such a large payload will require a large spacecraft and booster system, he added. His talk covered a variety of topics, including the design of spacesuits for astronauts to wear on the Martian surface. SpaceX plans to release a spacesuit design for Mars astronauts by the end of this year, noting work is already in progress toward this goal. “We are putting a lot of effort into design aesthetics, not just utility,” said Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla Motors. “It needs to both look like a 21st century spacesuit and work well.” Achieving both the practical and aesthetic objectives is a difficult task, he acknowledged. When asked whether SpaceX has plans to construct space elevators and/or “air-breathing rockets” that could enable super-fast travel, Musk said he prefers to stick with “pure rockets.” The European Space Agency (ESA) plans to develop “air-breathing rockets.” The SpaceX CEO also said he enjoys the Kerbal Space Program (KSP) video game, which allows players to simulate a space program, a move that prompted KSP to add his endorsement to its website.
Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Are We At The Brink Of Space War? Russian Object 2014-28E could be a satellite-killer.

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering and Radar, Missiles & Combat Systems.  We think the news on mysterious Object 2014-28E launched by Russian military could be of interest to our readers. A strange vehicle floating above our atmosphere could be Russia’s first piece of space weaponry launched since […]
Space debris populations seen from outside geosynchronous orbit (GEO). Note the two primary debris fields, the ring of objects in GEO, and the cloud of objects in low earth orbit (LEO).
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering and Radar, Missiles & Combat Systems.  We think the news on mysterious Object 2014-28E launched by Russian military could be of interest to our readers.
A strange vehicle floating above our atmosphere could be Russia’s first piece of space weaponry launched since the end of the Cold War.
Called Object 2014-28E, it has been making unusual movements towards other Russian space vehicles over the past few weeks, and last night it was spotted moving over Guatemala.
It is now being monitored by Norad, the US Military space defence command, since no one can work out for certain what it is.
On the one hand it could be nothing more than a civilian project to help clean up space junk, or a craft for refuelling Russian satellites already in space.
But another, more sinister theory, is that it has been designed to damage satellites belonging to other nations, such as those of the US. In other words, it could be a “satellite killer”.
Patricia Lewis, research director at think-tank Chatham House, told the FT: “It could have a number of functions, some civilian and some military. One possibility is for some kind of grabber bar.
“Another would be kinetic pellets which shoot out at another satellite. Or possibly there could be a satellite-to-satellite cyber attack or jamming.
She added that as long as countries are adopting military methods of attack on the ground, there is no reason why this shouldn’t extend to space. “It would be odd if space were to remain the one area that [militaries] don’t get their hands on,” she said.
It was only last week, after all, that hackers linked to the Chinese government infiltrated US federal weather satellites.
The fact that Russia has not declared the launch of this mysterious object has exacerbated fears of a revival of the Kremlin’s former project to destroy satellites. During the Cold War, Stalin introduced a project called Istrebitel Sputnikov for just this purpose, and sent military vehicles into space to damage US satellites.
The project came to an end in 1989 when the iron curtain fell – a time when many of the clandestine research projects Soviet and US engineers were working on were closed down.
But Russian military officials publicly stated that they would restart research if their relations with the US over anti-missile defence treaties deteriorated.
Given the many sanctions the West is currently placing on Russia due to its involvement in the Ukraine crisis, it seems like the time is ripe for Moscow to take up its space weapons once more.

Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Can US private space survive two explosions in four days?

Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below could be of interest to our readers. Fiery failures are no stranger to the space game. It’s what happens when you push the boundaries of what technology can do, where people can go. And it […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below could be of interest to our readers. Fiery failures are no stranger to the space game. It’s what happens when you push the boundaries of what technology can do, where people can go. And it happened again to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. In the past decade, the space industry has tried to go from risky and government-run to routine private enterprise — so routine that if you have lots of money you can buy a ticket on a private spaceship and become a space tourist. More than 500 people have booked a flight, including Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and little known space scientist Alan Stern. But it all depends on flying becoming safe and routine. This week hasn’t helped. Three days after a private unmanned Orbital Sciences rocket taking cargo up to the International Space Station blew up six seconds into its flight, a test flight of SpaceShipTwo exploded over the Mojave Desert with two people on board, killing one crew member. The developments reignited the debate about the role of business in space and whether it is or will ever be safe enough for everyday people looking for an expensive 50-mile (80-kilometre)-high thrill ride. “It’s a real setback to the idea that lots of people are going to be taking joyrides into the fringes of outer space any time soon,” said John Logsdon, retired space policy director at George Washington University. “There were a lot of people who believed that the technology to carry people is safely at hand.” The question for space tourism might be, “if it survives,” Logsdon said. But he thinks its momentum in recent years will keep it alive. Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson expressed the same view on November 1 after arriving in Mojave, California, to meet with the project workforce reeling from the accident. “We would love to finish what was started some years ago, and I think pretty well all our astronauts would love us to finish it, love to go to space,” he said. “Millions of people in the world would love to one day have the chance to go to space.” Federal estimates of the commercial space industry —only a little of it involving tourism — exceed US$200 billion. NASA is counting on private companies such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences to haul cargo to the space station. They are also spending billions to help SpaceX and Boeing build ships that will eventually take people there, too.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Google vs. Red Bull: Point To Google Thanks To Stratosphere Jump

Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below would be on interest to our readers. Two years ago Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium balloon and fell 128,100 feet (24 miles) back to Earth at 843.6 mph. The funding was provided by Red Bull.  He […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below would be on interest to our readers. Two years ago Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium balloon and fell 128,100 feet (24 miles) back to Earth at 843.6 mph. The funding was provided by Red Bull.  He broke the sound barrier and set a world record. But Google’s senior vice president has taken the stunt new heights. Last Friday Alan Eustace road a helium balloon more than 25 miles off the ground and jumped. The dive wasn’t sponsored by Google, though. In fact Eustace declined the company’s offer for help with the jump because he didn’t want it to be a corporate stunt.  Also, Eustace didn’t use a capsule to protect him during his ascent, and he asked Paragon Space Development, the company that made his suit, to create a pared-down pressure suit that would enable him to breathe pure oxygen during his fall. Mr. Eustace planned his jump in the utmost secrecy.   He carried modest GoPro cameras aloft, connected to his ground-control center by an off-the-shelf radio.
Eustace fell farther than Baumgartner but at a slower speed of 822 mph. But he still broke the sound barrier, and observers reported hearing the sonic boom. He also did two backflips before using a parachute to steady himself.
Eustace told the Times, “It was amazing. … It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”   Well, who hasn’t seen the layers of the atmosphere?  Oh right, almost everyone!
 


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Name NASA New Free-Flying Robot and Win $1,000!

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below will be of interest to our readers. NASA has a new “free-flying robot” they’ll be sending up to help out the International Space Station crew in 2017. But let’s be honest: “free-flying robot” is kind of […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below will be of interest to our readers. NASA has a new “free-flying robot” they’ll be sending up to help out the International Space Station crew in 2017. But let’s be honest: “free-flying robot” is kind of a mouthful. That’s why the space agency wants help creating a name for the little guy, as well as a new mission patch design! Of course, this robot isn’t the first free-flyer to hop aboard the ISS—NASA has a whole fleet of “SPHERES” (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, a clever acronym that would make Marvel jealous) which assist the crew in a myriad of ways. All of them are able to move autonomously throughout the outpost, but can also be controlled remotely by crew members; the new fleet, according to Topcoder, “will eventually extend the research and exploration capabilities of astronauts, as they are capable of working during off-hours and (eventually) in extreme environments.”” The full guidelines for the contest can be found at Topcoder, but here’s the main gist: to enter the contest, all you have to do is sign up and then create a name and custom graphic for the mission patch, which also needs to have the name of the space mission on it somewhere. Preliminary feedback on the initial designs will be given out on October 22nd, and the contest ends on the 27th. Oh, and there’s also cash prizes for winning, in case the thought of naming a robot wasn’t a cool enough draw for you. So start designing, team! To participate in the challenge and learn more about it, go to http://www.topcoder.com/challenge-details/30046039/?type=design&noncache=true.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Two Galileo Satellites Are Parked In the Wrong Spots

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on spacecraft design. spacecraft quality control or spacecraft thermal design. We think the news below could be of interest to our readers. An international inquiry is under way into an embarrassing error which has left two multi-million European satellites that were launched from French Guiana in […]
The satellites were launched on Friday from French Guiana
The satellites were launched on Friday from French Guiana
Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on spacecraft design. spacecraft quality control or spacecraft thermal design. We think the news below could be of interest to our readers. An international inquiry is under way into an embarrassing error which has left two multi-million European satellites that were launched from French Guiana in the wrong orbit. On 22 August, a Soyuz rocket launched the fifth and sixth satellites of Europe’s Galileo project, a satellite navigation system that will eventually comprise 30 satellites designed to make Europe independent of U.S., Russian, and other GPS systems. Unlike most Soyuz launches, the rocket did not lift off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, but from Kourou, Europe’s space center in French Guiana.  Apparently the launch went off without incident, but it soon became apparent that the two satellites were injected into the wrong orbits. The upper stage of the Soyuz rocket, the Fregat-MT, injected them into elliptical orbits instead of circular ones, making the satellites unusable for GPS navigation. The issue was the result of a frozen full pipe that delivered hydrazine to thrusters necessary to align the Fregat upper stage ready for correct orbital injection. The freeze was the result of cold helium feed lines being installed in close proximity to the hydrazine fuel lines. They were collectedly the same support structure which led to a thermal bridge. This sequence of events occurred due to a design ambiguity which failed to recognize the possibility of thermal transfer between these components. While it doesn’t help the two satellites that are now effectively lost to the Galileo network, it is at least a simple fix and will not result in delays to the next launch scheduled for December.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Space Taxis by 2017-Compliments of Boeing & SpaceX

Applied Technology Institute (ATICorses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below would be of interest to our readers. NASA has selected Boeing and SpaceX to resume U.S. human spaceflight. The two companies are newly contracted to become NASA’s space taxis, flying American astronauts to and from the […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATICorses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. We think the news below would be of interest to our readers. NASA has selected Boeing and SpaceX to resume U.S. human spaceflight. The two companies are newly contracted to become NASA’s space taxis, flying American astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and eventually ending the county’s reliance on Russia for transport. Since the shuttle program was retired [in 2011], NASA crew members have been hitching rides on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $70 million per seat.  The agency typically purchases six seats per year. NASA’s partnership with the companies is part of the Commercial Crew Program. The program is intended to help private companies develop spacecraft to carry astronauts into low Earth orbit by 2017. Once built, the seven passenger shuttle capsules will be owned by the private companies, not NASA. Both companies will design crafts and undergo safety testing before manned flights are booked. Once certified, each company will launched an estimated two to six missions. Boeing is set to build three of its CST-100 — seven passenger — crafts at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. Space X will build its first passenger craft, since its existing SpaceX Dragon delivers only cargo to the space station currently. Space X Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft for cargo in 2012. The contracts with NASA are worth $6.8 billion. Boeing has the larger share with $4.2 billion, and Space X receives $2.6 billion.


Sign Up For ATI Courses eNewsletter

Technology to Solve the Mystery in the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 Shoot Down

Technology to Solve the Mystery in the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 Shoot Down Posted by Jim Jenkins (ATIcourses.com) on 7/19/2014 The exact cause of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 remains uncertain, but there seems a good deal of evidence that a sophisticated aircraft defense system such as the SA-11 (Gadfly 1979) or SA-17 […]
Technology to Solve the Mystery in the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 Shoot Down Posted by Jim Jenkins (ATIcourses.com) on 7/19/2014 The exact cause of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 remains uncertain, but there seems a good deal of evidence that a sophisticated aircraft defense system such as the SA-11 (Gadfly 1979) or SA-17 “Buk Mk. 2” missile (Grizzly 2007) was used. The aircraft was flying above 30,000 feet altitude, so man portable anti-aircraft systems could not have reached the Flight 370 aircraft. I will continue to post news articles that relate to the missile and radars used in this tragedy. The shoot down was eerie as the same day (July 17,2014) ATIcourses was covering the acoustic essentials of side-scan sonar for the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 underwater search. As we took a lunch break the news was streaming on CNN. These are interesting posts that argue that it is unlikely to have been Ukrainian air defense systems as the aircraft was flying eastward toward Russia over separatist held territory and the separatist’s forces do not have an air force. The Pentagon’s top spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, demurred on most questions about the tragedy, citing the ongoing investigation, but he did make some blunt statements. “The SA-11 [missile], the one we believe was used to down Flight 17, is a sophisticated piece of technology,” Kirby said. “It strains credulity to think it could be used by separatists without at least some measure of Russian support and technical assistance.” ATIcourses will continue to follow the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 shoot down news and especially the radar and tracking surveillance technology used to reconstruct where the missile was fired from and the technical questions. I invite you to post additional comments and links to high quality news articles. This link goes a CNN video about locating the firing location. http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/07/18/tsr-foreman-malaysia-airlines-mh17-tracking-missile.cnn.html   This post is “Avoiding the rush to judgment on”  7/18/2014. It has good information. http://csis.org/publication/downing-malaysian-airliner-avoid-rushing-judgment This post is “2 Overlooked Clues Russians Or Proxies Shot Down Malaysian Jetliner” By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR. on 7/18/2014
2 Overlooked Clues in Malaysian Jet Shoot Down