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U.S. Naval Academy Videos

ATI is proud that several of our instructors and friends are U.S. Naval Academy graduates or instructors.

The U.S. Naval Academy was founded in Annapolis on Oct. 10, 1845. This video highlights the Naval Academy and Its traditions.

With over 80,000 graduates, the US Naval Academy has created a legacy for many to follow, including a former President of the United States, Super Bowl MVP, Heisman Trophy winners, Olympic gold medalists, CEOs, astronauts, entrepreneurs, Rhodes scholars, Medal of Honor winners, noted scholars, and fellow alumni who have achieved greatness in every field they entered.

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ELON MUSK AND COLLEAQGUES RESURRECTING THE GIANT TELEDESIC S CONSTELLATION

Elon Musk in SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, seems to become enamored by a new grandiose idea every week or so. And this week was no exception. This time he and his well-heeled colleagues are trying to find a way to serve the 3 billion earthlings hunkering down at scattered locations around the globe lacking service by modern cellphones or conventional telephones.

The solution? Launch a giant swarm of broadband communication satellites into low-altitude circular orbits flying in a tight formation with one another as they circle around the globe. It is called OneWeb.

300-pound satellites are to be launched into 18 orbit planes with 40 satellites following one another in single file around each plane. Ku-band transmitters will provide satellite-based cellphone services to remote and underserved users everywhere in the world. Mass production techniques and the economies of scale should help keep the cost of each individual satellite in the $500,000 range. Recently the OneWeb satellites passed their preliminary design review at the famous satellite design center in Toulouse, France. OneWeb’s total network cost, including a widely dispersed network of gateway Earth stations, is expected to come in at about $3.5 billion, provided the cost-conscious satellite-makers in Exploration Park, Florida, can come in within their target budget. Company spokesmen ha ve indicated that, so far, their team members are on schedule and within 5% of their estimated costs.

About 15-percent of the $3.5 billion has been raised and has been funding about 300 full-time experts. Present schedules call for initial money-raising services to being in 2019. Some industry experts have been calling the concept the O3b “other three billion”, for the three billion widely distributed individuals unserved by mobile or hard-wired telephones.

Elon Musk is famous for turning wild ideas into practical reality and squeezed out impressive profits along the way. Many of his ideas have been floating around for some time when he decides to take a shot at turning them into reality. An earlier version of OneWeb was touted by Edward Tucks in the 1970’s. It was called Teledesic.

The Teledesic concept sprang to life because Tucks read that “40 million people (were) on the waiting list for telephone services around the world.” He quietly sketched up the plans for an 840-satellite constellation of communication satellites flitting through space in 435-mile orbits.

Launch costs were a big barrier then. But Elon Musk can now put a big dent in that problem with his surprisingly inexpensive Falcon boosters.

Tom Logsdon, the author of this blog teaches short courses for the Applied Technology Institute in Riva, Maryland. He will be discussing, in detail, the rapidly evolving OneWeb plans as they are springing from the drawing boards in the following short courses:

The author of this article, Tom Logsdon, teaches short courses, on a regular basis, for the Applied Technology Institute in Riva, Maryland. Here is his upcoming schedule of courses:

GPS and International Competitors Dec 5-8, 2016 Colorado Springs, CO
GPS and International Competitors Apr 17-20, 2017 Columbia,MD
Orbital & Launch Mechanics – Fundamentals Jan 23-26, 2017 Albuquerque, NM
Orbital & Launch Mechanics – Fundamentals Feb 28-Mar 3, 2017 Columbia, MD

Click here for further information: ATIcourses, Tom Logsdon

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Review of “12 Popular Software Defined Radios”

John Reyland, PhD
Instructor of ATI’s “Signal Processing for Software Defined Radio”
ATI offers two scheduled courses on Software Defined Radios (SDR). Additional courses are offered on-site at your facility worldwide to groups of 8 or more.

Practical Software Defined Radio Development

Software Defined Radio Development- Practical Applications
The schedule for these SDR courses is provided at the link below. Check frequently as additional courses are added based on the demand. If you are interested in courses for the SDR area, please post a comment on the ATI blog and send an email to ati@aticourses.com. Visit:
http://www.aticourses.com/schedule.htm#radar

First we should define what is a Software Defined Radio (SDR). The author of the reviewed article neglects to do this so I will provide a definition. In my view an SDR is a radio system with control and reconfiguration defined by a highly organized SDR frameworks. This frame work reads configuration files and reconfigures radio hardware and software to bring about the desired radio operation. An example of a standardized set of SDR configuration files is the Software Communication Architecture (SCA) domain profile. SCA domain profile is a set of Extensible Markup Language (XML) files that describe waveform components and interconnections. One example of an SDR that meets this definition is at: http://redhawksdr.github.io/Documentation/

This is a useful article on examples of Software Defined Radios and the source of inspiration for this tutorial blog post.
http://blog.bliley.com/12-popular-software-defined-radios-sdrs

None of the radios in the reviewed article meet this strict definition. So here is a simpler definition that will cover most of them. An SDR is a hardware device that tunes to a range of radio frequency carriers. The selected carrier is down converted to an intermediate frequency, filtered and converted to a stream of digital samples. Ironically, this definition does not imply any user changeable software at all! Indeed, there is very little user changeable software in most of these 12 devices. The author neglects to mention that the “software defined” part is written in GNU radio, Simulink or some pre-written third party software (for example, see http://airspy.com ) running on the computer the SDR is connected to. These products are more properly called SDR front end tuners. To be fair, I will admit that common usage seems to prefer calling them SDRs.

A disappointment with these products is that most of them do not have a sensitivity spec. This would be, for a digital signal, the minimum bit error rate for a certain low receive level (for example -100 dBm on the antenna input). For a voice signal sensitivity could be the signal to noise and distortion (SINAD) for a similar low level signal. In my opinion, the lack of serious specs like sensitivity puts these products in the hobby or educational category. A professional application would need a link budget and other parameters like probability of outage. Lack of a sensitivity spec makes these difficult.

Another observation is that most of these SDRs do not tune down into the 3 – 30 MHz HF band, where most of the ham radio signals are. This may be because the tuner chips they use were designed for applications, such as TV and commercial wireless, that did not need these low frequencies. There are a few that offer adapters to reach these low frequencies.

This article provides sparse comments about 12 SDR products. Prices, applications, frequencies and ease of use are given as the reason these 12 were chosen. In what follows I am going to reorder the author’s choices, starting with the products that seem to offer the most usefulness to the average SDR experimenter.

RTL-SDR
This is a low cost (about $25) 24 MHz to 1.8GHz tuner with a USB interface. You can put together a complete SDR receiver by controlling the RTL-SDR with pre-written SDR software (for example SDR#). The well written book “The Hobbyist’s Guide to the RTL-SDR” by Carl Laufer is an absolute must for getting the most out of this receiver.

NooElec NESDR
This is made by the same company (NooElec) and is very similar to the RTL-SDR. The RTL-SDR started out as a TV tuner for use in countries other than the US. The NESDR is specifically designed for SDR use. A primary difference is the TCXO (Temperature Controlled Crystal Oscillator) in the NESDR has much better specs then the cheap crystal in the RTL-SDR.

HackRF One
This is a higher performance wide range tuning version of the RTL-SDR. With 1-6GHz tuning range and both transmit and receive capability, this may be the best value of any of these SDRs. Price is only $299.00. However, for those who want to program receiver DSP into an on-board FPGA, the USRP may be a better value. The HackRF is RF only, no FPGA.

AirSpy
With a $199 price tag, this is another upgrade from the low cost RTL-SDR. However, unlike the HackRF, the 24MHz – 1.8 GHz tuning range is not much better than the RTL-SDR. Also, unlike the HackRF, the AirSpy does not seem to include a transmitter.

Ubertooth One
This is a USB dongle based SDR with better specs than the RTL-SDR. Tuning range is restricted to the 2.4 GHz ISM bands, not as versatile as the HackRF.

National Instruments USRP
This is similar to Ettus USRP. These devices are both based the Analog Devices AD9361 transceiver chip. The Ettus USRP is commonly used with GNU radio and the NI USRP is probably designed specifically for Labview, a block diagram oriented signal processing tool from National Instruments.

Other devices called SDR

The reset of this list has various circuit cards that could possibly be used as SDRs, however they either have high prices or they simply do not include any radio tuning or they simply were not designed to be SDRs.
Red Pitaya
Surprise, surprise, this is not an SDR even with our simpler definition. There is a 125MHz analog to digital converter (ADC) and a 125 MHz digital to analog converter (DAC). However, there is no antenna matching, AGC, tuning or IF filtering. Seems like the Red Pitaya is more suited to some kind of electrical mechanical control. Now that I have bashed it as an SDR I will point out a very positive feature. The Red Pitaya has a Xilinx ZYNQ FPGA. Some of the other SDRs have a smaller FPGA that, with some effort, the user can implement radio digital signal processing. The Red Pitaya has a much larger FPGA that could possibly perform all the signal processing need to completely decode the received message – if it was a radio.

Quadrus SDR
Except for a much smaller FPGA, Quadrus SDR is similar to the Red Pataya. There are four channels of phase coherent sampling but no front end RF components. Most radio front end circuits provide frequency down converting, filtering and up to about 100 dB of gain to match the receive signal to the ADC dynamic range. Here, we have up to 30 dB gain going directly into the ADC input. Coupled with properly designed radio front end hardware this device could be a good platform for multiple input multiple output (MIMO) signal processing.

RDP-100
This is a 6U Compact-PCI form factor hardware platform that can be used for SDR. This hardware is quite large compared with the other products discussed here. The fact that a card this large only has a Virtex 5 FPGA and no radio hardware tells me it is probably not a good choice for an SDR. The Rad Pitaya will perform better for less money.

ThinkRF WSA5000
With a tuning range up to 27 GHz, this SDR is unique. The pricing starts at $3500, a bit outside the hobby category and more like professional test equipment. Comes with spectrum analysis software.
SignalHound BB60C
This has radio front end components however is it is designed for use as a spectrum analyzer and is not an SDR.

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Cole Attack – 12 October 2000 and Mason Missile Attack Oct 11, 2016

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mason pulls into the port of Djibouti in July. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Ahearn/U.S. Navy)
The guided-missile destroyer USS Mason pulls into the port of Djibouti in July. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy M. Ahearn/U.S. Navy)

The USS Cole bombing was a terrorist attack against the United States Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Cole on 12 October 2000, while it was harbored and being refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden.

Start date: October 12, 2000 Executed by: Al-Qaeda

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cole_bombing

October 11 – USS Mason launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) on to intercept the two missiles that were launched about 7 P.M. local time. In addition to the missiles, the ship used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy, the sources confirmed. Mason was operating in international waters north of the strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the time of the attack.
https://news.usni.org/2016/10/11/uss-mason-fired-3-missiles-to-defend-from-yemen-cruise-missiles-attack
October 12, 2016 – U.S. Military Strikes Against Radar Sites in Yemen
The U.S. military struck three radar sites using cruise missiles in Houthi-controlled territory on Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Initial assessments show the sites were destroyed. The strikes — authorized by President Obama at the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford — targeted radar sites involved in the recent missile launches threatening USS Mason and other vessels operating in international waters in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb.
http://usdefensewatch.com/2016/10/u-s-military-strikes-yemen-after-missile-attacks-on-u-s-navy-ship/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/10/12/more-missiles-fired-from-rebel-held-territory-in-yemen-at-u-s-navy-ships/

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Storing Terabytes of TS Documents at Home Is Not A Good Idea!!

Many ATI instructors and course attendees have US government clearances. Clearly Storing Terabytes of TS Documents at Home Is Not A Good Idea!!

“The digital media contained many terabytes of information that must be reviewed by appropriate authorities,” according to the motion. In it, a footnote describes a terabyte as equivalent to 500 hours of digital video, 200,000 image files or 1 million electronic books.

See the reference links below for more information.
http://www.databreachtoday.com/nsa-contractor-accused-taking-top-secret-documents-a-9438

ATI has Cyber Security courses. See the outlines at
http://www.aticourses.com/schedule.htm#communications

This is Hal Marin’s LinkedIn profile. I would not recommend asking to connect on LI with him unless you are an investigative journalist.

He only had 70 LI connections. I am glad that I am not one of them. He is a local UMBC PhD student since 2007-2017. Clearly completing a PhD dissertation was not a high priority for this character. The profile was still available on 10/06/2016.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/hal-martin-a2b51921

I have excerpted some in case it is taken down in the next few days.

Technical Advisor & Investigator on Offensive Cyber issues

Contractor and Consultant

July 2015 – Present (1 year 4 months)OSD – CYBER
Cyber (CNO) Engineering Advisor – Supporting OSD Leadership in pursuit of program oversight, management excellence, and optimal outcomes on issues for various Cyber related Initiatives across DoD and the IC. Committed to Excellence in Defense of the Nation.
Contractor and Consutant

Various

1996 – Present (20 years) Community
This account is for personal business and research; it does not represent any employer’s viewpoint, previous or current. I am presently with a very good firm of top-notch people.
ISSE

Various Consultants and Contractors

2001 – 2014 (13 years)Maryland and Northern Virginia
CNO – CND/CNE/CNA across the Community.

U.S. Naval Officer

U.S.Navy

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Highlights from a Recent INCOSE Gathering

On Monday, September 19th, I attended an INCOSE gathering. It was organized by the Chesapeake Chapter of Women in Systems Engineering (WISE), with a presentation by Courtney Wright, who is an SEP-Acq. Ms. Wright gave an overview of the INCOSE Certification Program, focused primarily on the growth of the program and the benefits of certification. Since I am responsible for marketing and business development efforts in Canada and overseas, there were several interesting data points, which I caught my attention and that I would like to share:

  • Applicants have 1 year from the time of their application is received to complete their certification.
  • A CSEP is valid for 3 years, while an ASEP is valid for 5 years. An ESEP, which is the highest level of certification is valid indefinitely.
  • The top 6 organizations with active SEPs are:
    1. Airbus
    2. Lockheed Martin
    3. Booz Allen Hamilton
    4. Northrop Grumman
    5. Thales
    6. Honeywell
  • Out of approximately 10,000 INCOSE members, approximately 2,600 (or 26%) are SEPs.
  • A steady growth of active SEPs was reported from 2004 to present day.

ATI provides in-classroom, instructor-led CSEP course for those individuals who prefer this format:

http://www.aticourses.com/CSEP_preparation.htm

One reason why the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) also provides an online instructor-led ASEP and CSEP course that allows those systems engineers, who wish to take and pass the exam, a flexible alternative and the option the study at their own pace.

 

http://aticourses.com/ASEP_CSEP_Preparation.html

 

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Russian Frigate Yaroslav Mudryy Harasses the San Jacinto

Christopher P. Cavas, Defense News6:18 p.m. EDT June 30, 2016

This petty harassment by Russian ships continues!

At the time, the USS San Jacinto was enacting plans against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria along with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, an aircraft carrier. This is a mission that both the US and our “friend”  Russia jointly support. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

This is personal to me.  He was also onboard in October 2012 when the San Jacinto and the USS MONTPELIER (SSN 765) collided while both vessels are conducting exercises off the coast of Florida. I have a son-in-law on the USS San Jacinto (CG-56). He has posted on Facebook that things were very tense and there was some concern about an attempt to board as a possibility.

USS San Jacinto involved in incident

http://navysite.de/cg/cg56.html
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/3271959/russian-warship-accused-of-aggressive-maneuvers-near-us-navy-ship-the-second-cold-war-style-action-in-weeks/#hpqrL3K0RAV11MIi.99

For more details and photos see the links below and the source article at

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense-news/2016/06/28/russia-navy-destroyer-frigate-gravely-yaroslav-mudry-neustrashimy-mediterranean-truman-carrier-collision-encounter/86481616/

WASHINGTON — The same Russian frigate that, according to the US Navy, spent more than an hour June 17 maneuvering erratically and unsafely near a US aircraft carrier and destroyer in the Mediterranean Sea was at it again Thursday June 30, this time near a different carrier. And this time, the ship’s reputation as a dangerous driver was anticipated.

The Yaroslav Mudryy, a Project 1154 Neustrashimy-class frigate wearing pennant number 777 was, according to a US Navy report, conducting shadowing operations of the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group as the flattop was flying combat operations against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.

The Russian frigate closed on the cruiser San Jacinto, operating as the carrier’s air defense commander, in an action a Navy message characterized as “abnormal, [un]safe and unprofessional.”

The message details how the Yaroslav Mudryy was observed by the San Jacinto to be approaching “with ten personnel topside and weapons uncovered but unmanned.”

“The actions of FF-777 were abnormal as they displayed maneuvers rarely seen by professional mariners at sea combined with an aggressive approach of [the San Jacinto],” the message continued.

The Yaroslav Mudryy, after the close approach, took station in the San Jacinto’s wake about 3,000 yards astern of the cruiser and, according to the message, began broadcasting “do not cross my bow,” an action the US characterized as “inconsistent with the spirit of the [Incidents at Sea] agreement,” a longstanding agreement between the US and Russia to deal with such situations.

“I think it is very important that sailors and officers on the bridge of a ship —whatever nationality it is—act prudently and communicate frequently to avoid any mistakes or miscalculations,” Vice Adm. James G. Foggo IIIwho is simultaneously commander of the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet, Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Europe and NATO’s Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO

https://news.usni.org/2016/06/30/truman-strike-group-flight-operations

 

 

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ISIS hackers respond to US cyberattacks with threat

 

Uniformed and civilian cyber and military intelligence specialists monitor Army networks in the Cyber Mission Unit’s Cyber Operations Center at Fort Gordon, Ga. U.S. Army photo by Michael L. Lewis 0 Monitor Networks Uniformed and civilian cyber and military intelligence specialists monitor Army networks in the Cyber Mission Unit’s Cyber Operations Center at Fort Gordon, Ga. U.S. Army photo by Michael L. Lewis

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on Cyber Security, Communications & Networking, We think the recent developments below would be of interest to our readers.

A group of pro-ISIS hackers known as the United Cyber Caliphate responded to cyber attacks mounted by the U.S. against the terror group with a threat.

In a post uncovered on the messaging app Telegram, the hackers declared the U.S. is their target and said President Barack Obama “should afford all the consequences.” “#Expect the Islamic state #SOON,” it said in a post published late Tuesday.

The group also slammed the “technical US-led war” against the Islamic State as “fake” and said it doesn’t harm ISIS.

The message is not an official statement by the terror group, but marks the time ISIS-affiliated hackers have responded to U.S. cyber attacks. It follows an April 24 New York Times report that Washington is taking the battle against ISIS online, directing its Cyber Command to wage computer attacks that aim to undermine ISIS’ abilities to draw new supporters, distribute orders and execute daily functions like pay fighters. “We are dropping cyberbombs,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work told the paper. “We have never done that before.”

It is unclear if the United Cyber Caliphate has been effected by the attacks. They may have offered a response since they’re the main group associated with Islamic State’s hacking activities. Earlier this week, Vocativ discovered that the group distributed a “kill” list that appeared to include dozens of U.S. government personnel — people linked to the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the departments of defense, energy, commerce and health and services.

Read the original report on US Cyber Attacks here.

 


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Bounce House For The Astronauts!

Applied Technology Institute offers a variety of course on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering.

When Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon cargo ship lifts off from Cape Canaveral on April 8, there’ll be a little treat for the astronauts on the International Space Station nestled among all the supplies and consumables: a whole new room for the ISS! How’d NASA fit an entire room onto a space craft with only as much cargo room as a small U-Haul? The same way you squeeze a camping mattress into the trunk of your car: make it inflatable.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, is about 8 feet in diameter in its compacted state. Once it reaches the ISS and is attached to the wing known as the Tranquility Node, it’ll be filled with air until the aluminum-and-fabric structure swells to 565 cubic feet. It will then spend the next two years attached to the ISS, before being jettisoned and left to burn up in the atmosphere. As NASA says it has no plans to store equipment inside the module, astronauts will presumably use it as a tiny, zero-g bounce house.

BEAM, which was developed in conjunction with Bigelow Aerospace, isn’t going into orbit simply so the astronauts can have a place to let loose their inner child. The module’s main purpose is to serve as a test bed for inflatable space habitats. Astronauts will measure how much radiation is entering the chamber, how much heat is leaking out, and how well it holds air, among other factors.

If the BEAM proves successful at holding its shape and deflecting nasty radiation and micrometeoroids, the basic concept could be a huge breakthrough for future deep-space missions. As anyone who’s read “The Martian” knows, inflatable habitats would be ideal for the lunar or Martian surface; they could be transported and air-dropped in compact form, then blown up to create living space.

NASA has released a quick video showing the basics of how the BEAM will be installed. Don’t worry about pausing that playlist for it, though; there’s no sound. In space, no one can hear you inflate your bounce house.


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