The FCC has denied a space startup permission to launch a collection of communications satellites after discovering that it had already launched some — after being told not to. Swarm Technologies, still in stealth mode, appears to have gone ahead with the deployment of four satellites deemed too small to be tracked and therefore unsafe to put into orbit.
.. the small size meant the satellites couldn’t be tracked with existing space monitoring technology, and the FCC, which must approve communications satellite launches, considered this too great a risk and declined to authorize Swarm’s proposed deployment.
Source: FCC accuses stealth space startup of unauthorized satellite deployment | TechCrunch
Essentially, FlightAware combines datalink data from companies like Inmarsat and Iridium, available ATM data and is now partnering with Aireon — an Iridium company that puts ADS-B on satellites — to create a clear an up-to-date picture of where aircraft are and share that with users.
Daniel Baker, CEO of FlightAware, said that FlightAware sees a big challenge to Inmarsat’s plan as being the requirement for new hardware. FlightAware’s solution requires no retrofit. Recovery of crashed aircraft is still needed, and because of more up-to-date information about where they were prior to loss, it can happen much more swiftly, he said.
Source: SATELLITE 2018 Show Daily – Wrap-up – Satellite Can Prevent Another MH370, Though Difficult | Via Satellite
Less than two months after October’s U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FBI joint technical alert confirmed cyberattacks against industrial control systems, a new type of malware targeting industrial processes struck an unnamed critical infrastructure facility. The TRITON/TRISIS/HatMan malware is the first designed to attack an industrial plant’s safety systems. Since the attack, security firms and the safety system supplier have provided detailed analyses of the attack and the malware.
A team from FireEye’s Mandiant cybersecurity service wrote in a December blog that it responded to the attack when the new malware took remote control of a workstation running a Schneider Electric Triconex Safety Instrumented System (SIS). The SIS, used in oil and gas plants and nuclear facilities, monitors critical industrial processes and automatically shuts them down if they exceed safety limits.
Source: First Malware to Attack Industrial Control Safety Systems | EE Times
Some parts — particularly memory chips — are in short supply, lead times are getting longer across the board, and chip suppliers have found amid boom times a swagger that seemed to have been missing for years.
What’s more, even as PC shipments continue to spiral downward, prospects for the future look bright, with evermore semiconductor content being designed into cars and technologies associated with artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things opening up whole new swaths of applications.
It’s the best of times, right? Except that anyone who has been around the semiconductor industry for any length of time is just kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Inevitably, healthy cynicism tells us, euphoria will lead chipmakers to expand production capacity too fast, lead times will shrink, market drivers will stall, and the industry will suddenly find itself in that dreaded state of overcapacity. The sunlight of prosperity will slip below the horizon, plunging the industry into another dark, dreary downturn.
Source: Cyclicality in the Age of IoT | EE Times
The mobile industry’s goal is to get the 5G network up and running as early as 2019.
However, behind all the happy talk, it was palpable that U.S. cellular operators, who must depend on millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequency bands to launch their 5G networks, are wrestling with a host of unprecedented design, validation, and implementation issues.
5G’s mmWave frequency bands are notorious for high propagation loss, directivity, and sensitivity to blockage.
Source: MWC: Are Your 5 Fingers Blocking Your 5G? | EE Times
A startup designing a new kind of smart, networked motor provides a view into the state of the Internet of Things. So far, Software Motor Company (SMC) has found that lowering costs through integrated designs may be one key to success in an IoT market that has not yet lived up to its hype.
SMC makes switched reluctance motors that it claims are more efficient and reliable than traditional inductance motors. It currently sells a 5-horsepower motor for five- to 15-ton HVAC systems that draw nearly half a building’s energy use. Test customers include national retail grocery and restaurant chains and biomedical and professional offices.
Source: Motor Maker Revs Up for IoT | EE Times
Romain Fraux, chief technology officer at System Plus Consulting (Nante, France), told us that his team, who just finished the preliminary teardown of the S9 handset (designed for the European market), has observed several hardware innovations in S9. System Plus is Lyon, France-based Yole Développement’s reverse-cost engineering partner.
Among various sensors embedded in S9, Fraux sees STMicroelectronics as the big winner. S9 uses ST’s 6-axis IMU in addition to ST’s pressure sensor.
Packed inside the S9 camera module are Samsung’s own dual camera. Architecturally, this is a Samsung variation on the triple-stacked image sensor with DRAM designed by Sony a year ago.
Inside the camera module comes a 2-axis gyroscope from ST, which offers optical image stabilization. Unique to S9’s camera module is a new variable aperture technology. It allows the camera to automatically adjust the aperture according to the available light on the subject.
Source: Teardown: ST Grows Inside Samsung’s S9 | EE Times
The deal would significantly expand Microchip’s presence in several end markets, including the communications and aerospace and defense markets, which make up about 60 percent of Microsemi’s sales.
Microchip said the acquisition would expand its serviceable market by about $18 billion to more than $50 billion.
The combined company would have annual sales of about $5.8 billion, based on each firm’s revenue in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Source: Microchip to Buy Microsemi for $8.35 Billion | EE Times
The technical issues of 5G are manifold. Among them, smart antennas and RF front ends for 5G mmWave — typically expected to operate at frequencies such as 28 GHz, 39 GHz, or 60 GHz — could seriously affect the performance of yet-to-emerge 5G mmWave mobile phones.
Given that 5G’s mmWave frequency bands are notorious for high propagation loss, directivity, and sensitivity to blockage, it’s no small feat to design a 5G handset that works all the time without losing signals. Picture consumers might well be forced to stay — literally — on their toes, turning and pacing in search of a signal.
Source: 5G to Alter RF Front-End Landscape | EE Times
The Wall Street Journal article, which characterizes an Intel bid for Broadcom as the most dramatic of a number of acquisitions Intel is considering, maintains that Intel is concerned that the acquisition of Qualcomm by Broadcom would create a powerhouse in both smartphones and data centers, two areas where Intel hopes to grow. The article noted that any attempt by Intel to acquire Broadcom is likely to face heavy scrutiny by antitrust regulators throughout the world.
Source: Intel Reportedly Mulls Broadcom Bid | EE Times