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Space Debris Orbit and Attitude Prediction for Enhanced and Efficient Space Situational Awareness

This research deals with the problem of modelling the orbit and attitude motion of uncontrolled manmade objects in orbit about the Earth, which tumble due to the natural influences of the near-Earth space environment. A mathematical, physics-based and computational approach is taken to model the forces and torques that drive the orbit and attitude evolution of such objects. The main influence modelled is solar radiation pressure (SRP), which is the interaction of solar electromagnetic radiation with the surface of an object, leading to both forces and torques that influence the orbital and attitude motion. Other influences, such as the gravitational field of the Earth, are also modelled.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Imaging, Materials, Simulation Software, Transportation
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Fundamental Aspects of Single Molecule and Zeptomole Electroanalysis

The objective of this research program was to provide the fundamental understanding required for using the principles of electroanalytical chemistry to detect target molecules at very low concentration, including single molecules, with high specificity, simplicity, and low power.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Materials, Nanotechnology, Inspection Equipment, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures
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Preventing Premature Part Failures with Electropolishing

Design engineers in the aerospace industry are constantly challenged to improve fit and function of components used in commercial and military aircraft. Parts used in these aircraft must withstand high-stress, corrosive conditions with long-term use. They also must meet highly demanding cycle life specifications.

Posted in: News, News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Government, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Joining & Assembly, Machinery, Mechanical Components
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3 Key Benefits: Better Corrosion Resistance, Fatigue Life, Part Integrity

Electropolishing has become a common metal finishing process used in the aerospace industry to help improve the overall quality of metal components. These components come in many forms including high-performance fasteners, fittings, nozzles, housings, and welded assemblies. In order to maintain reliable performance, these components must be precisely manufactured and have an impeccable surface finish that is free of burrs and other contaminants.

Posted in: News, News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Metals, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components
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Advantages of Electropolishing for Penetrant Testing

It’s common, especially in the aerospace industry, for parts that are fracture critical to be Liquid Penetrant Inspected (LPI) prior to installation. Also known as Dye Penetrant Inspection (DPI) or simply Penetrant Testing (PT), this method is used to detect micro-cracks or other defects that could serve as an initiation site for failure. In order to properly execute a penetrant test, the surface of a metal part must be thoroughly clean of any debris, smeared metal, or any amorphous layer that may be hiding a hairline crack, thus yielding a false reading.

Posted in: News, News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Materials, Metals, Test & Measurement
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3D-Printed Turbine Extends Drone Power

A cooled, radial gas turbine was developed that provides thousands of hours of electricity to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a significant improvement to current UAV turbines that only operate a few hundred hours before wearing out.

To create the small, intricate design with internal air passages, engineers used selective laser melting, which builds metal parts layer by layer.

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Posted in: News, Defense
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De-Icing Without Power or Chemicals

A buildup of ice on an airplane wing can cause catastrophic failure. But preventing that buildup usually requires energy-intensive heating systems or chemical sprays that are environmentally harmful. A new system, based on a three-layered material, collects solar radiation, converts it to heat, and spreads that heat around so that the melting is not just confined to the areas exposed directly to the sunlight.

Once applied, it requires no further action or power source. It can even do its de-icing work at night using artificial lighting. The three layers, all made of inexpensive commercially available material, are bonded together, and then bonded to the surface that needs to be protected.

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Posted in: News, Defense
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NASA and Alaska Airlines Test Fuel-Saving Software

The Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR) project, a partnership between NASA and Alaska Airlines, is testing NASA’s Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) software that merges and evaluates an unprecedented combination of real-time flight data to provide pilots with optimized flight path options.

Route optimization through TASAR offers a number of benefits, such as saving fuel and flight time, and helping pilots make better, more informed route requests to air traffic controllers. On five of its first six flights with Alaska Airlines, TAP software made reroute recommendations that reduced flight time or saved fuel, and more often than not, both.

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Posted in: News, Defense
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Recycled Water Bottles Could Help Avoid Military Supply Snags

Soldiers on the battlefield or at remote bases often have to wait weeks for vital replacement parts. Now scientists report they have found a way to fabricate many of these parts within hours under combat conditions using water bottles, cardboard and other recyclable materials found on base as starting materials for 3D printing. They say this ‘game-changing’ advance could improve operational readiness, reduce dependence on outside supply chains, and enhance safety.

“Ideally, soldiers wouldn’t have to wait for the next supply truck to receive vital equipment,” Nicole Zander, Ph.D., says. “Instead, they could basically go into the cafeteria, gather discarded water bottles, milk jugs, cardboard boxes and other recyclable items, then use those materials as feedstocks for 3D printers to make tools, parts and other gadgets.”

Posted in: News, Defense, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Materials, Plastics
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Army to Purchase Additional Soldier Borne Sensor Systems

For soldiers in combat, situational awareness – knowing where the enemy is and where friendly forces are – is critical.

To help soldiers maintain situational awareness, the U.S. Army submitted a draft Request for Proposal for Soldier Borne Sensors, which will have two components – an unmanned aerial vehicle and a ground control station. With a camera in the air vehicle, soldiers will be able to see further and around obstacles that they previously wouldn't be able to see in near-real-time.

Posted in: News, Defense, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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