Over the next two years, the Defense Department will launch the first of hundreds of small satellites populating Low Earth Orbit, that can directly link to and benefit from the megaconstellations being built by SpaceX, Telesat, and other commercial vendors. Its level of success could radically change the military satellite industry.
By Vivienne Machi – U.S. Defense Department agencies are working with a who’s-who of military contractors, commercial satellite operators, and technology companies to finally demonstrate the feasibility of a proliferated constellation of satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).
The concept of using hundreds of small satellites spread out across that orbit to perform communications, missile warning, and other military missions, has been discussed for years. But it was often dismissed as a pipe dream due to the immense launch cost projections, and size, weight, and power constraints required to operate and maintain capabilities in Low-Earth Orbit.
But thanks to recent, rapid technology advancements in the commercial sector, that pipe dream is now becoming a reality, and many former skeptics have come along for the ride.
When Derek Tournear was a program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 10 to 15 years ago, he was unconvinced that small satellites operating together in a constellation could be powerful enough to enable those crucial missions.
Now, as the director of the DoD’s Space Development Agency (SDA), Tournear is a little over a year away from launching the initial satellites for the U.S. military’s first proliferated LEO constellation, which will eventually include layers of hundreds of sensors. “I’ve completely changed my tune,” he says. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, How to, Net, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
World Space Week: How ITU improves life on Earth by supporting satellites
By Mario Maniewicz – The theme of this year’s World Space Week, ‘satellites improve life,’ reminds us that satellite applications are ubiquitous in our daily lives, even if we barely notice them.
Watching your favorite TV series, finding your way to the restaurant you booked tonight, having access to broadband Internet while at home, work or on the move, consulting the weather forecast when planning tomorrow’s picnic… all of these activities rely on the use of satellite systems. They also take care of your safety when you are traveling by air, sea or land, and they have been saving human lives by providing communication services to assist in disaster response and relief efforts for decades. And the technologies and applications that power satellites depend on the same physical phenomenon: radio waves.
But did you know that the radio-frequency spectrum is a finite natural resource? This is where the pivotal role of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) comes into play.
Since no national sovereignty exists in outer space, the international regulations adopted within ITU directly shape most legal and regulatory frameworks for space systems.
One of these international treaties governs the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and associated satellite orbits, both geostationary and non-geostationary: the Radio Regulations. Together with numerous standards, ITU uses the Radio Regulations to ensure that the use of radio frequencies on Earth and in outer space are managed in a way that allows for the harmonious coexistence of the various radio systems we use every day.
A long tradition of supporting space applications
In 1963, just six years after the historic launch of the first-ever satellite, Sputnik, ITU organized a conference to allocate frequency bands for space radiocommunication purposes. At the Extraordinary Administrative Radio Conference, more than 400 delegates from 70 ITU Member States gathered in Geneva to allocate radio frequencies to outer space activities for the first time in history. more>
Posted in Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, How to, Net, Regulations, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology, Telecom industry
By John Blyler – The U.S. Space Force is being brought to life with federal funding and contractor rockets and electronics. This might be a good time to remember the lesson’s learned from the earlier Reagon era Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program.
First, let’s check out what’s behind the Space Force. A few years back, President Trump floated the idea of a space force as a new branch of the military. The Pentagon was quick to remind the president that a space force already existed in the armed services, mainly under the purview of the Air Force. No matter, the White House believed a new initiative was needed especially in light of the tensions and trade war with China. Dominance in space was the rallying call.
For those of us working in the defense industry in the 1980s and 90s, this all seemed eerily reminiscent of the famous “Star Wars” program initiated by former US President Ronald Reagan during the Cold War era. Officially known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the program focused mainly around a space-based anti-missile system aimed at protecting US from potential preemptive military strikes from the former Soviet Union.
At the time, the main components of the SDI were considered technologically impossible – i.e., anti-ballistic missiles including lasers and electromagnetic weapons. While there were some successes, the program failed to meet its loftier technical goals.
Now let’s fast forward to today. While many dangers persist in the world, it’s not clear that the most imminent threat is from space. For example, it would be far easier and less costly to launch a cyberattack against an enemy’s infrastructures, steal technology IP, rig an election process or upset financial markets than to dominate in space. Regardless, the race to create a space force has been awakened and – more importantly – funded. more>
Posted in Business, CONGRESS WATCH, Economy, Education, History, How to, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Congress Watch, Satellite, Space, star wars, Technology
Looking Back in Time to Watch for a Different Kind of Black Hole
By John Toon – Black holes form when stars die, allowing the matter in them to collapse into an extremely dense object from which not even light can escape. Astronomers theorize that massive black holes could also form at the birth of a galaxy, but so far nobody has been able to look far enough back in time to observe the conditions creating these direct collapse black holes (DCBH).
The James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2021, might be able look far enough back into the early Universe to see a galaxy hosting a nascent massive black hole. Now, a simulation done by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology has suggested what astronomers should look for if they search the skies for a DCBH in its early stages.
DCBH formation would be initiated by the collapse of a large cloud of gas during the early formation of a galaxy, said John H. Wise, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Physics and the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics. But before astronomers could hope to catch this formation, they would have to know what to look for in the spectra that the telescope could detect, which is principally infrared.
Black holes take about a million years to form, a blip in galactic time. In the DCBH simulation, that first step involves gas collapsing into a supermassive star as much as 100,000 times more massive than our sun. The star then undergoes gravitational instability and collapses into itself to form a massive black hole. Radiation from the black hole then triggers the formation of stars over period of about 500,000 years, the simulation suggested. more>
- Synthetic Organelle Shows How Tiny Puddle-Organs in our Cells Work, Ben Brumfield
- 3D-Printed Tracheal Splints Used in Groundbreaking Pediatric Surgery, John Toon
- Summer Lab Experience Helps Launch Industry and Research Careers, John Toon
- Trailblazing Molecular Jungles with New Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Consortium, Ben Brumfield, Maureen Rouhi
- Buzzing Cancer Drugs into Malignancies in the Brain, Ben Brumfield
- Boron Nitride Separation Process Could Facilitate Higher Efficiency Solar Cells, John Toon
- Genomic Study of 412 Anthrax Strains Provides New Virulence Clues, John Toon
- Control System Simulator Helps Operators Learn to Fight Hackers, John Toon
- Dehydration Alters Human Brain Shape and Activity, Slackens Task Performance, Ben Brumfield
- Laughing Gas May Have Helped Warm Early Earth and Given Breath to Life, Ben Brumfield
- More Workers Working Might Not Get More Work Done, Ants (and Robots) Show, John Toon
- Erasing Stop Signs: ShapeShifter Shows Self-Driving Cars Can Still Be Manipulated, Kristen Perez
- New Research Center for Atlanta, Holly Korschun
- Silica May Have Helped Form Protein Precursors in Prebiotic Earth, A. Maureen Rouhi
- Cracking the Cancer Code, Georgia Parmelee
- Georgia Tech Award Equips Coda’s Data Center with New Supercomputer
Posted in Business, Economy, Education, Energy & emissions, Healthcare, History, Nature, Net, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Earth, Electronics, Georgia Tech, Internet, Physics, Productivity, Technology
Human Factors Research Helps Accelerate Mission Planning
By John Toon – The key to a successful flight mission is planning – sometimes several hours of it. Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) specialists in human factors and human computer interfaces are working with NAVAIR PMA-281, Strike Planning and Execution Systems in Patuxent River, Maryland, to streamline the current mission planning process and identify user interface requirements supporting multi-domain mission management in next-generation naval planning capabilities.
With guidance from the GTRI researchers, the project will improve usability of the mission planning software tools, creating a more consistent and intuitive screen design that’s easier to learn and more logical to follow. This effort could benefit all Department of Defense (DoD) agencies for collaborative mission planning.
“We are working with Navy and Marine Corps aviators to identify areas in mission planning where work-flow can be streamlined, reducing the time required to mission plan,” said Marcia Crosland, project director for GTRI’s Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) User Interface Design and Usability efforts. “Our task has been to define the user interface concepts and decision-making tools to help reduce the time required for mission planning. We’ve created detailed designs and specifications to direct current and future development of mission planning systems.” more>
- Faster Detection, Cleanup of Network Infections are Goals of $12.8 Million Project, John Toon
- Robot Teaches Itself How to Dress People, Jason Maderer
- Wearable Ring, Wristband Allow Users to Control Smart Tech With Hand Gestures, David Mitchell
- Helping the Air Force Search for Actionable Intelligence Worldwide, John Toon
- Flexible, Wearable Oral Sodium Sensor Could Help Improve Hypertension Control, John Toon
- Uncovering a Hidden Protein “Tail” that Puts the Brakes on Cell Signaling, John Toon
- Chemical Octopus Catches Sneaky Cancer Clues, Trace Glycoproteins, Ben Brumfield
- Ultrafast Compression Offers New Way to Get Macromolecules into Cells, John Toon
- Researchers Chosen to Examine Antarctic Glacier at Risk of Collapsing, Jason Maderer
- Remote-Control Shoots Laser at Nano-Gold to Turn on Cancer-Killing Immune Cells, Ben Brumfield
- Severe Storms Research Center Works to Improve Tornado Warning Time, John Toon
- New Technologies are Helping Connect and Protect the Internet of Things, Josh Brown
- Robot Designed to Defend Factories Against Cyberthreats, Josh Brown
- The Next Frontier in Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Parmelee
- A Close Look at Measles Virus Assembly, Quinn Eastman
- Mini-vessel device probes blood interactions in malaria, sickle cell disease, Quinn Eastman
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, EARTH WATCH, Economy, Education, Healthcare, Media, Net, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Earth, Ecology, Georgia Tech, Internet, Mission Planning, Organization, Productivity, Technology
Robot Monitors Chicken Houses and Retrieves Eggs
By John Toon – “Today’s challenge is to teach a robot how to move in environments that have dynamic, unpredictable obstacles, such as chickens,” said Colin Usher, a research scientist in GTRI’s Food Processing Technology Division.
“When busy farmers must spend time in chicken houses, they are losing money and opportunities elsewhere on the farm. In addition, there is a labor shortage when it comes to finding workers to carry out manual tasks such as picking up floor eggs and simply monitoring the flocks. If a robot could successfully operate autonomously in a chicken house 24 hours a day and seven days a week, it could then pick up floor eggs, monitor machinery, and check on birds, among other things. By assigning one robot to each chicken house, we could also greatly reduce the potential for introductions of disease or cross-contamination from one house to other houses.”
The autonomous robot is outfitted with an ultrasonic localization system similar to GPS but more suited to an indoor environment where GPS might not be available. This system uses low-cost, ultrasonic beacons indicating the robot’s orientation and its location in a chicken house. The robot also carries a commercially available time-of-flight camera, which provides three-dimensional (3D) depth data by emitting light signals and then measuring how long they take to return. The localization and 3D data together allow the robot’s software to devise navigation plans around chickens to perform tasks. more>
- Real-Time Captcha Technique Improves Biometric Authentication, John Toon
- Data Detectives Shift Suspicions in Alzheimer’s from Usual Suspect to Inside Villain, Ben Brumfield
- Why Bees Soared and Slime Flopped as Inspirations for Systems Engineering, Ben Brumfield
- Asteroid “Time Capsules” May Help Explain How Life Started on Earth, John Toon
- Georgia Tech Trio Selected to National Academy of Engineering, Jason Maderer/Kay Kinard
- Successful SpaceX Launch Clears Way for Historic Georgia Tech Spacecraft, Jason Maderer
- Hatchet Enzyme, Enabler of Sickness and of Health, Exposed by Neutron Beams, Ben Brumfield
- Neurons Get the Beat and Keep It Going in Drumrolls, Ben Brumfield
- Yeast Assay Helps Reveal Genesis of Amyloids and Prions, A. Maureen Rouhi
- Self-assembled “Hairy” Nanoparticles Could Give a Double Punch to Cancer, John Toon
- Manufacturing Disaster Assistance Program to help Georgia companies prepare for natural disasters, Ben Cheeks
- Disclosing Weaknesses Can Undermine Some Workplace Relationships, Josh Brown
- Maelstroms in the Heart Confirmed
- The Next Frontier in Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Parmelee
- Air Force Grant Enables Quantum Simulation Using Cold Atoms, A. Maureen Rouhi
Posted in EARTH WATCH, Education, Energy & emissions, Healthcare, Nature, Net, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Climate change, Earth, Health, Industrial economy, Physics, Productivity, Technology
By Andrew Rush – Just as the early railroads transformed the American West and spurred an economic boom across our then young nation, commercial activity in space is blossoming. Expansion of these activities, especially in-space manufacturing, will expand human activity outward and lead to new American economic booms. While the promise of commercial activities in space may be as vast as the promise of the American West, actions must be taken now in order to stay on the path of converting this promise to economic value.
Much of our current progress in space-based operations such as manufacturing can be credited to the multibillion dollar investment in the creation of International Space Station (ISS) and the designation of the U.S. segment of ISS as a National Lab for conducting space-based research for economic development in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
With the direct U.S. support of the ISS proposed to end in the 2025 timeframe, there’s an industry imperative to scale up and accelerate planning for transition from ISS to commercial space stations or other Private-Public Partnership (PPP) models.
If action is not taken, investment in the ISS and the ISS National Lab, private investment in ISS-based activity, and budding space-based products and services will be wasted. more>
Posted in Broadband, CONGRESS WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Capital, Government, Industrial economy, International Space Station, Manufacturing, Technology, United States
Researchers Boost Efficiency and Stability of Optical Rectennas
By John Toon – The research team that announced the first optical rectenna in 2015 is now reporting a two-fold efficiency improvement in the devices — and a switch to air-stable diode materials. The improvements could allow the rectennas – which convert electromagnetic fields at optical frequencies directly to electrical current – to operate low-power devices such as temperature sensors.
Optical rectennas operate by coupling the light’s electromagnetic field to an antenna, in this case an array of multiwall carbon nanotubes whose ends have been opened. The electromagnetic field creates an oscillation in the antenna, producing an alternating flow of electrons. When the electron flow reaches a peak at one end of the antenna, the diode closes, trapping the electrons, then re-opens to capture the next oscillation, creating a current flow.
The switching must occur at terahertz frequencies to match the light. The junction between the antenna and diode must provide minimal resistance to electrons flowing through it while open, yet prevent leakage while closed.
“The name of the game is maximizing the number of electrons that get excited in the carbon nanotube, and then having a switch that is fast enough to capture them at their peak,” Baratunde Cola, explained. “The faster you switch, the more electrons you can catch on one side of the oscillation.” more>
- Four Georgia Tech Faculty Named IEEE Fellows, Jackie Nemeth
- Sticking to the Schedule was Difficult for Apollo Astronauts, Jason Maderer
- Using Data Mining to Make Sense of Climate Change, Jason Maderer
- Nanostructured Gate Dielectric Boosts Stability of Organic Thin-Film Transistors, John Toon
- Georgia Tech Researchers Awarded $7.5 Million from Office of Naval Research for Secure Stack, Tess Malone
- Hide or Get Eaten, Urine Chemicals Tell Mud Crabs, Ben Brumfield
- Want to Beat Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs? Rethink Strep Throat Remedies, Ben Brumfield
- Project Will Provide Reaction Kinetics Data for Deterministic Synthesis of Metallic Nanocrystals, John Toon
- WWII Code-Breaking Techniques Inspire Interpretation of Brain Data, Evan Lerner and Ben Brumfield
- One in Five Materials Chemistry Papers May be Wrong, Study Suggests, John Toon
- Piezoelectric Tiles Light the Way for Kennedy Space Center Visitors, John Tibbetts
- Gecko Adhesion Technology Moves Closer To Industrial Uses, Josh Brown
- Nanotexturing Creates Bacteria-Killing Spikes on Stainless Steel Surfaces, John Toon
- Perking Up and Crimping the ‘Bristles’ of Polyelectrolyte Brushes, Ben Brumfield
- Cold Suns, Warm Exoplanets and Methane Blankets, Ben Brumfield
- The Force is Strong: Amputee Controls Individual Prosthetic Fingers, Jason Maderer
- IMPAX Program Accelerates Technology Transition into the Navy, John Toon
- AAAS Honors Cola, Fox and Weitz as Fellows, Ben Brumfield
- A Startup for Every Student, Georgia Parmelee
- The Next Frontier in Industrial Engineering, Georgia Parmelee
Posted in Broadband, EARTH WATCH, Education, Energy & emissions, Healthcare, History, Nature, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Climate change, Earth, Ecology, Georgia Tech, Manufacturing, Technology
Aalto-1 satellite sends first image
By Jaan Praks, Antti Kestilä – Launched on the morning of 23 June from India, the Aalto-1 satellite’s first month in space has gone according to plan.
‘We have run checks on the majority of the satellite’s systems and found that the devices are fully functional,’ Professor Jaan Praks, who is heading the satellite project, explains.
‘We have also downloaded the first image sent by Aalto-1, which is also the first ever image taken from a Finnish satellite. It was taken while on orbit over Norway at an altitude of about 500 kilometres. The image shows the Danish coast as well as a portion of the Norwegian coastline.
Unlike traditional cameras, which measure three colours, the hyperspectral camera is able to measure dozens of freely selected narrow color channels. For this reason, it can be utilised for example in surveying forest types, algae and vegetation and as a tool in geological research. more> https://goo.gl/QGMNGu
Posted in Broadband, Communication industry, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Nature, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
Tagged Aalto University, Business improvement, Earth, Ecology, Leadership, Technology