NASA and Industry Take Next Step Toward X-Plane

Four companies were awarded contracts to come up with five configurations on paper that met very specific operational criteria for NASA’s next commercial X-plane aircraft.

Posted in: News, Aviation, Defense

Radiation Tolerant “Smart Backplanes” for Spacecraft Avionics

In recent years there has been a trend towards the wider use of COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) equipment in space missions. This trend has been mainly driven by the restrictions in R&D budgets and a growing demand for shorter design cycles. Funding Agencies are encouraging designers of spacecraft systems to identify and overcome the obstacles that previously prevented the use of COTS products for space missions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Architecture, Avionics, Reliability, Radiation, Radiation protection, Spacecraft

Torpedo Transducer Array/Nose Shell Assembly

Northrop Grumman Corporation
Falls Church, VA

The U.S. Navy recently awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $9.6 million contract, with options up to $40.5 million, to produce the Transducer Array/Nose Shell Assembly of the MK 48 heavyweight torpedo. The MK 48 is the primary offensive weapon deployed from all U.S. Navy submarines.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Sensors and actuators, Suppliers, Production, Marine vehicles and equipment, Missiles

On-Orbit Satellite Refueling Flow Measurement

Over 7000 satellites have been placed in Earth-orbit since the beginning of the space age. 3000 are currently in orbit, of which 1000 are active, making our near space neighborhood a pretty crowded place. Now, plans are in motion to launch constellations of globe-girding communication satellites that will number in the thousands to provide worldwide internet connectivity. This is in addition to the ever-expanding constellation of LEO, geo synchronous and geo stationary satellites. Clearly, the number of satellites in orbit is on a trajectory of significant growth and we are approaching a point when the economics will demand longer life from these expensive assets just as the costs to put them in orbit continue to fall. NASA’s Restore-L mission, under the direction of the Agency’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD) headquartered at the Goddard Space Center, is a major step towards realizing key technologies needed to provide in-space satellite servicing in order to increase on-orbit asset life.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Measurements, Refueling, Satellites

Hydrodynamic Drag Force Measurement of a Functionalized Surface Exhibiting Superhydrophobic Properties

With superhydrophobic properties being extended to a variety of metallic substrates through the process of ablation due to femto-second laser surface processing (FLSP), it is important to understand the hydrodynamic benefits of such a material, as well as its resiliency. This research focuses on the skin friction drag effects of a superhydrophobic flat plate compared to an untreated flat plate of the same material and geometry. The resiliency of this material will also be tested through the use of an accelerated corrosion fog chamber using both treated and untreated aluminum samples.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Lasers, Metal finishing, Aluminum alloys, Corrosion resistant alloys, Materials properties

New Products: September 2017 Aerospace & Defense Technology

Measurement Software

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (North Kingstown, RI) has launched PC-DMIS 2017 R2, the latest edition of their popular measurement software. This is the second of two major releases scheduled for PC-DMIS in 2017, with continued service pack updates to ensure maximum reliability of the platform.

Posted in: Products, Aerospace

Missile Test System

Marvin Test Solutions
Irvine, CA

The Indonesian Air Force recently selected Marvin Test Solutions’ MTS-206A Maverick Field Test Set and MTS-916-3 Modular Target Simulator to support testing of their AGM-65 (Maverick) missile and launcher systems, as part of an FMS (Foreign Military Sale) contract. Part of Marvin Test Solutions’ comprehensive suite of test solutions for both legacy and today’s precision-guided “smart” weapon systems, the MTS-206A and MTS-916 provide advanced testing capabilities to maintainers at the intermediate and depot levels.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Test equipment and instrumentation, Military vehicles and equipment, Missiles

NASA Miniaturizes Century-Old Radio Sounder Technology

A century-old technology that scientists use to probe the ionosphere — the important atmospheric layer that can interfere with the transmission of radio waves — is getting smaller.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, RF & Microwave Electronics, Downsizing, Radio equipment

High-Power Broadband Multispectral Source on a Hybrid Silicon Chip

For applications in manufacturing, remote sensing, medicine, military, and fundamental science, an ideal laser would have high output power and a diffraction-limited beam. The figure-of-merit to describe this property is the brightness, which scales proportional to output power and inverse to the beam quality factor M2.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Integrated circuits, Lasers, Waveguides, Silicon alloys

Eliminating Electrical Arcing in Satellite Systems

In 1995, Boeing Satellite Systems introduced a new family of communication satellite buses, with bodies that contain power, control, and propulsion systems. They used a high-voltage bus connected to a 100V stabilized power source, instead of the standard 27V. This introduced an increase in operating voltage that decreased operating currents and lowered the corresponding ohmic losses in the conductors. However, it also introduced a potentially catastrophic failure to the satellites’ electronic systems: electrical arcing (Figure 1).

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Architecture, Connectors and terminals, High voltage systems, Reliability, Satellites