Aircraft Automation System

Aurora Flight Sciences
Manassas, VA

Aurora Flight Sciences is breaking ground in the world of automated flight through its work on the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program. Aurora recently demonstrated automated flight capabilities with ALIAS flying a Cessna Caravan through basic maneuvers under the supervision of a pilot.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Flight control actuators, Optics, Human machine interface (HMI), Flight tests, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Luminescence Materials as Nanoparticle Thermal Sensors

The purpose of this research program was to create and study novel luminescence particles (phosphors} capable of sensing and retaining the time-temperature information to which they were exposed, therefore acting as nano- and microsized thermosensors. The thermometric property is the latent thermoluminescence (TL) signal associated with electron/hole pairs trapped at defect energy levels, which are differently affected by the environmental temperature.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Defense, Nanotechnology, Photonics, Sensors, Architecture, Sensors and actuators, Research and development, Nanomaterials, Thermal testing

Pulse Analysis Techniques for Radar and Electronic Warfare

Pulsed signals are widespread in radar and other electronic warfare (EW) applications, and they must be accurately measured for manufacturing, design of countermeasures, and threat assessment. Pulse measurements are an especially challenging area for signal analysis due to a combination of factors. Fortunately, many of the improving signal processing and analog-digital conversion technologies behind the generation of complex pulse environments also enable new techniques for effective pulse analysis.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Mathematical analysis, Measurements, Radar, Military vehicles and equipment

Flat Cable Technology for Aerospace Applications

There are those who think all cables are created equal. Well, they're not.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Downsizing, Wiring, Product development

Using Dempster-Shafer Fusion for Personnel Intrusion Detection

The Dempster-Shafer (D-S) mass function is used in effect as a common representation of heterogeneous sensor data. In order to cast each data source in this form, first the raw data is reduced to points in a multi-dimensional feature space specific to each sensor. From there, an approach is outlined that uses a distance metric in the feature space to assign mass to each state in the class hierarchy. This hierarchy begins with the full frame of discernment which represents complete uncertainty. From there it proceeds as an n-array tree broken down into further subclasses until the finest granularity of classification for the specific sensor is reached.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Detectors, Sensors, Mathematical models, Sensors and actuators, Data management, Reliability

Reconfigurable Radio Tracks Flights Worldwide

When Malaysia Air Flight 370 disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean in 2014, it had flown far beyond radar range. Under a new space-based air tracking system — starting with a reconfigurable radio developed by NASA — no plane would ever be off the grid that way.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Radio equipment, Satellite communications, Air traffic control

Using Fisher Information Criteria for Chemical Sensor Selection via Convex Optimization Methods

The design of chemical sensor arrays from the standpoint of chemical sensor selection and error quantification has historically proceeded as an ad hoc process. Frequently, chemical sensors are developed not as general purpose sensing devices, but as analyte or chemical class specific detectors. When such single purpose devices are integrated together as a chemical sensor array, it is unclear a priori how well they will function in concert with each other to provide expanded capabilities, an observation that is true of the integration of analytical instruments as well.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Sensors, Optimization, Neural networks, Sensors and actuators, Identification, Chemicals

Development of an Optically Modulated Scatterer Probe for a Near-Field Measurement System

Near-field radiation patterns are useful in diagnosing antenna array defects, measuring far-field antenna patterns where the far-field is prohibitively far, and locating field concentrations in high power microwave applications, which could lead to material breakdown. There are two categories of near-field measurements: direct and indirect. In a direct measurement, the field from the antenna-under-test (AUT) is directly measured by a probe whereas, in an indirect measurement, the field is inferred from the scattering off of a probe that is placed in the near-field.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Sensors, Finite element analysis, Measurements, Antennas, Radiation

Electric Rockets and the Future of Satellite Propulsion

Humans have been using rocket propulsion for almost a millennium, starting with Chinese rockets and “fire arrows” in the 13th century and continuing to the modern era's powerful Space Shuttle and Falcon rockets. For most of that history, rockets have been chemically fueled, but in the past century scientists and engineers have also experimented with electric rockets, also known as ion engines or ion propulsion systems.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electric power, Product development, Rocket engines, Satellites, Spacecraft

Designing Electronic Warfare to Regain Airborne Military Dominance

For decades, military aircraft have relied on electronic warfare (EW) solutions to protect assets and dominate airspace. The ability of the United States to detect and track aircraft, or avoid detection has played a major role in its ability to project power globally and maintain freedom of operation in the air.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic equipment, Security systems, Defense industry, Military aircraft