Implementing PCI Express on PC/104-Size Modules

As PC/104 celebrates its 20th anniversary as an open standard this year, it continues to grow in terms of new design-ins, applications, and integration of the latest technology. In today’s fast paced, throw-away world, this is a remarkable achievement. PC/104 users typically demand a long product life cycle of seven years or more, so for two decades, these small, stackable, embedded computer systems have found applications in military, medical, industrial, transportation, communications, pipelines, mining, utilities and a host of other industries. However, as technology changes and becomes more powerful and complex, challenges arise in implementation. This has never been truer than for the different implementation strategies for PCI Express on PC/104 size modules.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Reliability

COM Express Revision 2.0: What’s new in the latest specification?

The COM Express specification was first released in 2005. Its main target was, and still is, to define the mandatory requirements of COM Express modules and carrier boards as far as it is necessary to ensure interoperability between the products of different vendors. Nevertheless, with continuous technical progress, there is also the need for adjustments of the common interface — that being the COM Express connector.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Connectors and terminals, Performance upgrades, Parts, Reliability

Architecture of the Air Force Satellite Control Network

The Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) is a worldwide network of ground stations that supports a variety of users from NASA to the National Recon naissance Office (NRO). The network performs tracking, telemetry, and commanding (TT&C) for these users. Users, located at Satellite Operations Centers (SOCs), must compete for time on the AFSCN (see Figure 1).

Posted in: Articles, RFM Catchall, Aerospace, Architecture, Telemetry, Military vehicles and equipment, Satellites

Mission Data Transmitted Successfully With Network Gateway

In the 1990s, when laying the groundwork for its missile defense shield, the Pentagon realized that if it wanted to provide an effective defense against ballistic missile attack, it needed to create a quick and efficient method of detecting and tracking enemy launches. In other words, it needed to build a highly capable constellation of high-orbiting infrared satellites that would serve as the primary watchtower for the entire Ballistic Missile Defense System.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Data exchange, Satellite communications, Security systems, Military vehicles and equipment, Missiles

AWACS Real-Time Operating System

LynuxWorks, Inc. announced recently that the Mission Systems and Sensors Division (MS2) of Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY, selected the LynxOS real-time operating system (RTOS) and Luminosity Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for use in conjunction with the United Kingdom’s (UK) Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Computer software / hardware, Sensors and actuators, Suppliers

Silicone Cables: Silicone Encased Cables Make Military Robots More Reliable

Cicoil’s highly flexible and durable flat silicone cables are being used on unmanned ground based military robotic vehicles that require absolute reliability in mission critical and extreme environment conditions. Unlike bulky and stiffer round cables, flat silicone cables provide space and weight savings, enhanced flexibility, greater current carrying capacity, reduced skewing effects and better electrical characteristics.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electric cables, Robotics, Silicon alloys, Durability, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment


A broad operating temperature range, fuel resistance and long-term reliability are some of the unique properties of fluorosilicones that make them useful in aerospace applications. To demonstrate their effectiveness, NuSil recently compared fluorosilicones to standard dimethyl silicones in a series of tests.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Suppliers, Fluoride, Silicon alloys, Reliability, Performance tests

Computational Cameras

A computational camera uses a combination of optics and software to produce images that cannot be taken with traditional cameras. A variety of computational cameras has been demonstrated; some designed to achieve new imaging functionalities, and others to reduce the complexity of traditional imaging.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Imaging

Miniature Snapshot Multispectral Imager

Multispectral imagers use an optical device that can separate the colors to obtain the spectral content in the scene. Such an optical device could be a grating or prism, a filter wheel, a diffractive optic lens, a Fabry-Perot (F-P) etalon, or a tunable filter. All of these optical devices are used with a focal plane array (FPA) and suitable optics for a given spectral region. All such imagers collect images in a time-sequential manner. Recently, some multispectral imagers have been developed that collect images of the scene at all the spectral bands simultaneously.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Imaging, Microelectricmechanical device, Optics

Investigation of Basalt Woven Fabrics for Military Applications

Basalt rock is a black or gray fine-grained rock in the family of igneous rocks, formed by cooling of molten lava. It is commonly found in the Earth’s crust, is abundant throughout the world, and can be easily mined. Basalt rock possesses certain qualities similar to thermoplastics and metals, i.e., it melts when heated to specific temperatures (1100 to 1300 °C), and can be drawn into flexible fibers, a process similar to the manufacture of S-2 and E-glass fibers.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Defense industry, Fabrics, Fibers, Materials properties