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Lightcraft Propulsion for Launching a Small Satellite

A study of lightcraft propulsion systems in general has led to the conception and analysis of such a system for launching a small (having a mass no more than a few kilograms) satellite into a low orbit around the Earth. This study built on theoretical and experimental investigations of the feasibility of lightcraft, performed by a number of researchers during the past two decades. The word “lightcraft” signifies an aircraft or spacecraft that derives its propulsive energy from a laser beam aimed toward it from an external platform that, for the purpose of the present study, would be a ground station.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mirrors, Lasers, Propellants, Satellites
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Eccentric Mounting and Adjustment System for Belt-Driven Devices

This design relates to an eccentric mounting and adjustment (EMA) system for belt driving, or for belt-driven devices, that is installed and operated within the restricted confines of an engine compartment, typically a motor vehicle. It satisfies two essential requirements for automotive devices driven by an endless flexible belt, including a reliable mounting to the engine block assembly, and a continuous provision of a proper amount of tension to the belt for either driving or driven devices. As a result, there is minimal wear and tear on device bearings and the belt, which reduces operational failures and assures maximum efficiency for these devices.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mountings, Engine components
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Taking COTS to the Next Level in Vetronics Subsystems

Embedded vetronics (vehicle electronics) subsystems for rugged deployed ground vehicles have long benefited from the reduced risk, faster time to market, and long lifecycle support offered by COTS board vendors. Recent advances in open standards developments, namely the OpenVPX/VITA 65 specification that defines system-level interoperability profiles for VPX architecture boards and backplanes, promise to take the COTS model from the board to the subsystem level, enabling faster deployment of proven, standards-based fully integrated enclosures.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Integrated circuits
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Cooling Embedded Systems What Are The Options?

As the cooling challenges in embedded system applications have multiplied due to increased processing performance, smaller package and system footprints, and the requirement to operate in more rugged environments, new thermal management options and industry standards continue to evolve. Designers of systems for these markets, and especially those in remote or rugged, 24/7 operating environments, have always had to make difficult decisions regarding lifespan, reliability, and cost.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Embedded software, Cooling, Durability
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The Inner Workings of Solid State Flash: SLC versus MLC

Because all solid state flash products are not created equal and flash storage is finding its way into more and more embedded computing applications, system designers should understand the critical tradeoffs between competing technologies when evaluating flash products. Most commonly, the endurance and reliability required in end-user applications help dictate the appropriate storage technology to use. Two well-known flash storage technologies, Single Level Cell (SLC) and Multi Level Cell (MLC), offer distinct advantages, depending on a user’s needs.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Data management
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VITA 66 & 67 Bringing Fiber Optic and Mixed Signal Capability to VPX

Today’s rugged embedded computing industry demands the best of technology and reliability. Driven by requirements for higher performance solutions, platforms continually evolve. Standards organizations, such as the VSO (VMEbus Standards Organization), are diligently working to bring the technology for these solutions to the mainstream. The VSO’s VPX architecture, based on Tyco Electronics’ MULTIGIG RT2 backplane connector as qualified to the VITA 46.0 standard, is the latest technology to be applied to rugged embedded computing. In addition to dealing with escalating processing, power, and cooling requirements of leading edge solutions, the VSO is now addressing the need to realize high bandwidth and high fidelity transmission via alternative media — e.g. fiber optic and coaxial wave guides. This technology is crucial in realizing the full potential of today’s cutting edge C4ISR gear, including RF intensive radar, SIGINT and IED defeat gear, as well as systems benefiting from fiber optics, including secure, long distance and high data rate communications lines.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Fiber optics, Waveguides, Reliability
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PrPMC/XMC Module

Extreme Engineering Solutions (Middleton, WI) has introduced XPedite7201, a conduction- or aircooled PrPMC/XMC module, targeting the Intel® Atom™ processor running at up to 1.6 GHz at under 10W. This card comes with PCI Express or PCI interconnect and a Gigabit Ethernet port with integrated magnetics. XPedite7201 is ideal for highbandwidth data-processing applications. The module includes up to 1 GB of DDR2-533 SDRAM and up to 4 GB of NAND flash. P14 I/O includes two USB ports, two RS-232/422/485 serial ports, and Gigabit Ethernet.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Triaxial Cable Kits

Keithley Instruments (Cleveland, OH) has introduced triaxial cable kits for semiconductor device probers that are capable of handling I-V, C-V, and pulsed I-V signals. Model 4210-MMPC-C is optimized for use with Cascade Microtech probers, and Model 4210-MMPC-S for use with SUSS Microtech probers. The cables are designed for compatibility with Keithley’s Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System, as well as with other test instruments used for characterization.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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ESMexpress Modules

The XM2 from MEN Micro (Ambler, PA) is based on the latest Intel Core 2 Duo SP9300 processor with a clock frequency of up to 2.26 GHz. The advanced Intel processor, combined with the ruggedization and low development costs of the ESMexpress standard, make the XM2 a costeffective choice for a variety of harsh, mobile, and mission-critical environments found in the railway, avionics, industrial automation, and medical engineering industries.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Cryptographic Authentication ICs

The AT88SA family of low-cost, ultralow- power authentication ICs from Atmel® Corporation (San Jose, CA) have an embedded SHA-256 engine and 256-bit cryptographic key. The first device in the family, the AT88SA102S, is a general purpose CrytpoAuthentication™ IC designed to protect consumers from counterfeit electronic and medical consumables, such as batteries, ink cartridges, test strips, blood bags, and breathing tubes. They can be used in any microcontroller-based system to secure network data transmissions such as satellite radio broadcasts or medical records, protect end-products from bogus firmware updates, and validate software or media modules.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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