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Putting VPX and Open VPX to Work

Before the advent of OpenVPX, designers of embedded systems took advantage of the extreme connectivity offered by VPX (VITA 46), but were faced with a virtually unlimited number of possible implementations. Specific choices for the control and data channel assignments for each slot, the backplane connectivity, and serial fabrics were often made somewhat arbitrarily to suit the particular needs of the current system. Although following the general framework of VITA 46, each system tended to be so unique, that the boards and backplanes designed for one system were seldom usable in other systems, even from the same vendor.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Electronics & Computers

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Laser-Based Navigation Sensor Could be Standard for Planetary Landing Missions

NDL is about the size of a breadbox and contains three lasers, each about the size of a piece of corn on the cob. (NASA/David C. Bowman) A laser-guided navigation sensor that could help future rovers make safe, precise landings on Mars or destinations beyond was developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center. The Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL) will act as a GPS for Mars spacecraft.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Sensors

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Researchers 3D-Print Operational Drone with Embedded Electronics

The fully functional quadcopter 3D-printed in ULTEM™ 9085 aerospace-grade material with embedded electronics was created in a single production step. Researchers at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 3D-printed a ready-to-fly drone with embedded electronics using aerospace-grade material. The electronics were incorporated in the drone during the 3D printing process, which used Stratasys ULTEM™ 9085 high-strength, lightweight FDM material certified for use in commercial aircraft.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling

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32-Bit MCUs

Mouser Electronics, Inc. (Mansfield, TX) is now stocking the MSP432 mixed-signal microcontrollers from Texas Instruments (TI). TI’s MSP432 microcontrollers are based on a powerful, 32-bit ARM® Cortex®‑M4F core with a floating point unit and memory protection management. The microcontroller includes two 16-bit timers, four 32-bit timers, and a 14-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) that converts at 1MSPS. The microcontroller also boasts four high-drive input and output (I/O) pins that can support up to 20mA. The microcontrollers support capacitive touch capability, as well as digital glitch filtering on some I/O pins.

Posted in: Products, Products, Semiconductors & ICs

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dB or not dB? Everything you ever wanted to know about decibels but were afraid to ask...

True or false: 30 dBm + 30 dBm = 60 dBm? Why does 1% work out to be -40 dB one time but then 0.1 dB or 0.05 dB the next time? These questions sometimes leave even experienced engineers scratching their heads. Decibels are found everywhere, including power levels, voltages, reflection coefficients, noise figures, field strengths and more. What is a decibel and how should we use it in our calculations? This Application Note is intended as a refresher on the subject of decibels.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Aeronautics, Defense, RF & Microwave Electronics

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New Grasses Neutralize Toxic Pollution From Bombs and Munitions

UW engineers have developed transgenic grass species that can eliminate RDX, a toxic compound widely used in explosives that contaminates military bases, battlegrounds and some drinking water wells. (Photo: Dennis Wise/ University of Washington) On military live fire training ranges, troops practice firing artillery shells, drop bombs on old tanks or derelict buildings and test the capacity of new weapons. But those explosives and munitions leave behind toxic compounds that have contaminated millions of acres of U.S. military bases — with an estimated cleanup bill ranging between $16 billion and $165 billion. However, University of Washington and University of York researchers recently described new transgenic grass species that can neutralize and eradicate RDX — a toxic compound that has been widely used in explosives since World War II.

Posted in: News, Defense, Environmental Monitoring, Recycling Technologies, Physical Sciences

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Researchers Develop High-Performance, Clean Solid Rocket Propellant

Chris Stoker, an Indiana University alumnus, and Brandon Terry, a Purdue postdoctoral research associate, are pictured burning samples of solid rocket fuel propellant in the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories at Purdue. (Photo: Purdue Research Foundation) A Purdue-related startup is developing a new rocket fuel formulation that could make rockets used in military and space applications travel further, carry greater payloads, and be safer for the environment. Brandon Terry, a Purdue alumnus and postdoctoral research associate in Purdue’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Chris Stoker, an Indiana University alumnus, co-founded the company Adranos Energetics to develop the technology to enhance rocket performance.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense, Materials, Propulsion

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Army Explores 3-D Printing's Future Applications

These parts were made using additive manufacturing, which creates plastic items and other durable components by adding material, layer by layer, using 3-D printers. (Photo: U.S. Army) A soldier heads back to camp, grabs a power bar and unloads his gear. The power bar, which was "printed" minutes earlier, contains all the nutrients his body currently needs, according to sensors that are embedded in his uniform. While this may sound like a scene from a sci-fi movie, engineers and scientists at the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) are looking at ways to use additive manufacturing (aka 3-D printing) to make it a reality.

Posted in: Articles, News, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Composites, Materials, Metals, Plastics

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Additive Manufacturing: How 3D Printing Will Transform the A&D Support Chain

3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM), is quickly becoming a 'must have' for aerospace and defense (A&D) manufacturers rather than just a luxury R&D project with the A&D sector now contributing 12 percent of 3D printing's $3.1 billion global revenue. A&D companies began experimenting with 3D printing as early as 1988, and industry leaders are now starting to recognize the unique capabilities of 3D printing, and searching for ways to exploit them. The U.S. Navy is currently working on 3D manufacturing at sea, which would revolutionize the military support chain, while in civil aviation, companies such as Boeing and Airbus have been using the process to manufacture components for over two years.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Aircraft structures, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Logistics, Additive manufacturing, Marine vehicles and equipment, Military vehicles and equipment

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Advances in Lightweight Electronics Protection

Conformal Coatings Increase Reliability of Aerospace and Military AssembliesLightweighting continues to be a key topic for the aerospace, avionics and defense industries as new metals and composites are being integrated into end products and assemblies with the goal of decreasing overall system weight. As technologies continue to evolve, with components often decreasing in size and increasing in complexity, the materials used to manufacture and protect the latest components and systems are also improving. Whether used in commercial or military aircraft, rockets, satellites, terrestrial or water vessels, or the latest in unmanned air, land and sea vehicles; systems within these industries must meet similar requirements – assemblies, components and electronics must be both lightweight and designed to withstand harsh operating conditions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics, Coatings & Adhesives, Avionics, Electronic equipment, Lightweight materials, Lightweighting, Military vehicles and equipment

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