Air Caster Technology

If there is a prime example of the need for friction-free, precise and delicate equipment movement in the aerospace and defense industries, satellite positioning during the testing cycle should be at the top of the list. Whether in a clean room or another environment, there is no margin for error when it's time to move the “bird” even a short distance. Anything short of a smooth relocation means unacceptable property loss and project delays if this most intricate piece of aerospace equipment is damaged. Disassembly is hardly an option.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Positioning Equipment, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Shape-Shifting Origami Could Help Antenna Systems Adapt On-the-Fly

Conventional reconfigurable electrical and radio frequency (RF) structures commonly used in applications involving real-time reconfigurability in response to fast varying operational scenarios require specialized substrates or complex electrical circuits. Origami-based RF reconfigurable components and modules offer a solution with unique properties. First, they enable re-configurability over continuous-state ranges (as opposed to discrete states). Second, they do not require specialized mechanical support for multilayer frequency-selective surface structures. Moreover, deployable origami-based RF structures can achieve large surface re-configurability ratios from folded to unfolded states. Finally, these structures allow for independent control of multiple figures of merit: bandwidth, frequency of operation, and angle of incidence.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Defense, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Harvesting, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs, Sensors

Operational Considerations for High-Reliability Interconnects in Military and Aerospace Applications

In the recent past, military acquisition has shifted from being locked into large long-term contracts to developing complex systems in discrete increments that can be further optimized in future design cycles. These shorter design cycles allow for equipment to be deployed more rapidly, thereby mitigating the risk of subsystems going obsolete as increasing proportions of budget dollars go towards operation and support (O&S). This transition to evolutionary acquisition (EA) leaves a major opportunity for vendors to develop commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components that are military-compliant.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fastening, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs, Test & Measurement

NASA Eyes GPS at the Moon for Artemis Missions

The Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite-based navigation system used by an estimated four billion people worldwide to figure out where they are on Earth at any moment, could be used to pilot in and around lunar orbit during future Artemis missions to the Moon.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Positioning Equipment, Antennas

Acceleration Resistant HiK Heat Spreader

As electronic technologies advance in defense and aerospace applications, heat fluxes are becoming larger and more centralized[1,2]. In order to meet the performance specifications of new technologies, thermal solutions must also advance. The push for more capable thermal technologies is evident with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) signing an agreement with private companies and contractors for the development of innovative vapor cooling technologies capable of handling high heat fluxes[2].

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Materials, Metals, Power, Semiconductors & ICs

Understanding Fiber Optic Transceiver Design and Test Rules

The design of avionics systems must balance several factors. First, engineers want to increase the performance of the systems installed in aircraft or spacecraft. Second, they want to reduce the size and weight of the equipment that must be carried. Third, they want to maximize the safety of the in-flight systems and maintain communication between the aircraft or spacecraft and other flight vessels and the command center, regardless of the circumstances.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management, Mechanical Components, Fiber Optics, Optical Components, Optics, Inspection Equipment, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Microturbine Propulsion for UAVs

Seventy years ago, military aviation moved from reciprocating engines to vastly more reliable turbo jets and turboprops. Shortly after, the commercial air transport industry followed suit, enabling modern air transport. Today, virtually all large aircraft rely on turbine propulsion, yet small aircraft, both manned and unmanned, have not exploited the advantages of turbines for propulsion.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Power Supplies, Mechanical Components, Power, Power Transmission, Propulsion

How Miniaturized Distributed Modular Architecture Advances Avionics Design

Most of today’s collision-avoidance, in-flight-entertainment (IFE), air-to-ground-communications, and other avionics systems employ electronics packaging based on the Aeronautics Radio INC (ARINC) 600 standard. Compared to the older ARINC 404 standard dating from the 1970s that defined “black box” enclosures and racks within aircraft, ARINC 600 specified a Modular Concept Unit (MCU) – the basic building block module for avionics. An ARINC 600 metal enclosure can hold up to 12 MCUs, allowing a lot of computing power to be placed in a centralized “box.” By making it possible to run numerous applications over a real-time network, ARINC 600 enabled “next generation” integrated modular avionics (IMA).

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Wireless, Data Acquisition, Defense, Internet of Things, Fastening, Joining & Assembly, Fiber Optics, Optics, Data Acquisition, Sensors

Pathfinder Radar ISR and SAR Systems: Tactical Eyes for the Warfighter

Sandia National Laboratories’ (Albuquerque, NM) Radar Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems enable a new product paradigm in radar capabilities and modalities. With the ability to shrink sensor size, increase resolution, raise image quality, and advance realtime onboard processing, Sandia has been producing next-generation systems for nearly three decades. Sandia specializes in the full system design of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI), target recognition, and other sensor systems for the Department of Defense, other government agencies, and industry partners.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Defense, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition

Preventing Ice Buildup on Electric Aircraft

Fuel economy is one of the biggest challenges facing the aviation industry. To overcome these challenges, researchers are working on next generation aviation systems.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Power Management, Thermal Management, Cameras, Imaging, Composites, Materials, Fluid Handling, Mechanical Components, MEMs, Power, Power Transmission