Wow, just Wow!

Happy 118th Birthday US Submarine Force!


Happy 118th Birthday US Submarine Force!

Take a look at an inspirational video at  made by COMSUBLANT commemorating this anniversary.

My first inclination after watching this video was to join the US Navy and become a submariner. If you want to do that, you can go to the US Navy homepage.  The Navy is always looking for good people.

Since I am too old to join the Navy, my second inclination was to learn more about Submarines and Submariners. Lucky for me, ATI has just such a course.  You can learn by taking the ATI “Submarines and Submariners Course” taught by two retired Submarine Commanders.  Check out the Submarine Course at

Launch Time

As a Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A. The rocket will boost a Dragon resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 5:55 p.m. EDT. On its 11th commercial resupply services mission to the space station, Dragon will bring up 6,000 pounds of supplies, such as the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER, instrument to study the extraordinary physics of neutron stars.
A Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.

In less than a week, on April 16, a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket will launch NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite ( TESS ), and I will be watching. I am not going to be able to break away from my daily grind to go to Florida for the launch, but I will still have a really good view of the launch.  My plan it use an App that I recently loaded onto my Iphone.  “Launch 321” is an Augmented Reality (AR ) app created by USA TODAY that will give me a front row seat for the launch.  As explained by US TODAY, this app “fuses traditional Space Coast Rocket Launch coverage with augmented reality.”

April 16 will be my first live launch with “Launch 321”, but I am planning on a pretty spectacular experience.

Don’t wait until launch day to load the app because there lots of features in the App that allow you to learn about pre-launch procedures so that you will be ready to take full advantage of the app on the launch day, and future launch days.

Check back on this blog after April 16 and I will share what the experience was like.

You can read more about the App in the USA Today article.

And, if you want to learn more about Space, Satellite & Aerospace topics, consider taking one of the many courses offered by ATI. A complete list of offerings can be found here.

The Need for Agile in Government

The Need for Agile in Government


It’s a balancing act. We all know what we want, capable and effective systems which meet or exceed all requirements, built on smaller budgets and tighter schedules. But, how do we get there?

Government work requires using Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) processes, but that can be slow and cumbersome.   Non-Government work often uses Agile processes which are typically more streamlined and produce results in more timely manner.   So, are JCIDS and Agile processing diametrically opposed, or are they processes that can be used together in order to take advantage of the benefits of each?

Elbridge Colby, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, expressed his frustration recently at the annual Directed Energy Summit, co-sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. As reported by Paul McLeary in the Breaking Defense Blog, Mr. Colby said that for the past two decades, Americans have used overpowering might to fight wars, but “the Chinese and the Russians have been working to undermine that model,” Mr. McLeary believes that by spending billions on modernizing their militaries and fielding new technologies like artificial intelligence and hypersonic missiles at a faster clip than the Americans, the two countries have changed the way the United States must approach future conflict.

Mr. McLeary states that Colby underscored the view that Washington has entered an era of “long-term strategic competition” with Moscow and Beijing, and Colby used his remarks to lay down a series of challenges for defense industry types in the audience.

The traditional method of slowly testing and evaluating new technologies for year, or even decades, “ain’t gonna work any more…we need to change,” Colby said. He then went on to say that Chinese and Russian defense officials don’t keep such long development schedules, and the U.S. tech industry has scoffed at working with the Pentagon thanks in part to the cautious, time-consuming schedules so anathema to tech Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Taking decades to field aircraft like the F-35 or Ford-class carriers might provide long-term stability, but “it doesn’t matter if we’re stronger in the global context if we lose in the Pacific or Europe” tomorrow, Colby warned.

To the defense industry, Colby said bluntly, “we’re not interested in something that’s kind of a whiz-bang thing that’s not connected to a plausible deployment or not nestled within operational concepts. We do want to encourage breakthrough and creative, kind of, activity and investment in technology, but it’s got to be something that we can actually use.”

 So, how do we deliver on the challenges proposed by Mr. Colby. This author believes that the JCIDS process is an effective one, and that it should continue to be used.   In fact, such an assertion is essential because there are no signs that the JCIDS process requirements are going anywhere soon.   We must, however, smartly integrate Agile Processes within the JCIDS methods, so that the JCID timeline can be shortened so that we are producing technology for the fleet that “they can actually use.” 

The U.S. Federal TechFAR Handbook highlights six key reasons why government should adopt agile for IT project management and development. They are as follows.

  1. Improvement in investment manageability and budgetary feasibility
  2. Reduction of overall risk
  3. Frequent delivery of usable capabilities that provide value to customers more rapidly
  4. Increased flexibility
  5. Creation of new opportunities for small businesses
  6. Greater visibility into contractor performance 

To learn more about how you might incorporate Agile Processes into your government projects, consider taking ATI courses found at the following link.


Chinese Naval Plans for Subs and Carriers

Do your friends tell you that you surf the Internet too much, or do you tell others that they spend too much time surfing the Internet?

Well, it is lucky that someone was surfing, and had the foresight to grab some Chinese Documents during the brief period when they were available online. As reported in Popular Science on March 16, “For a brief moment, the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), put online China’s next big naval projects (but quickly pulled them down).” Sure, some conspiracy theorists may claim this was nothing more than a clever way to spread disinformation, but to others, it represents a wealth of accidentally released information about “ China’s ambitions for a world class navy.” What do you think? The article explains that CSIC is a PLAN shipbuilder with a history of building Carriers and Submarines. It is believed that they will build the Type 095 Nuclear Attack Submarine. “The Type 095 SSN will include new noise reduction measures, like an integrated electric propulsion system and possibly a shaftless rim drive, single hull, and electronic noise cancellation.”
The Chinese continue to be concerned about area denial. The article describes that “To defend Chinese home waters and expand the anti-access/area denial umbrella underwater, CSIC is designing an underwater attack and defense system. It could likely be an armed variant of the “Underwater Great Wall” of UUVs, other maritime robots, and seafloor sensors.”

You can read the full article here…..

Or if you want to learn more about the concepts detailed in this article, consider taking an ATI course such as the following.
Submarines and Submariners

My Name Is Going to the Sun! What About Yours?

Capture2CaptureNASA’s Parker Solar Probe — designed, built and managed by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) — will launch in summer 2018 and travel to our star on a historic mission to “touch the Sun.” Now you can get on board and be a part of this voyage of extreme exploration.

NASA is giving everyone across the world the opportunity to submit their names for a journey to the Sun. Names will be added to a microchip that will fly aboard Parker Solar Probe as it makes its way from Earth to the Sun — the first mission to ever do so.

Along for the ride will be a revolutionary heat shield, which will protect the spacecraft from soaring temperatures as it plunges into the corona to get the first close-up view of Earth’s star.

Name submissions will be accepted until April 27, 2018. Learn more and add your name to the mission here:

Contact me for more information at

Also, see

China’s Tiangong-1 space station could come crashing down to Earth before the end of March

27250243350_5563fbc72b_oApplied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace. We beive the information below will be of interest to our readers.

It’s now been several months since China admitted that it had completely lost control of its Tiangong-1 space station, explaining that without the ability to adjust its position in orbit the huge manmade object will eventually come falling back down to Earth. In late 2017 the Chinese government offered a very rough forecast of when the satellite could collide with our planet, and now it’s looking more and more like March might be the month when it happens.

According to the latest information from the European Space Agency,the space station is now expected to come tumbling down somewhere between March 24th and April 19th.  ESA says it’s more likely that the object will land somewhere in the northern latitudes, meaning the northern US, parts of Spain, Portugal, Greece, China, much of the Middle East, and a handful of other countries.

The space station, whose name means “Heavenly Palace,” will be subjected to the full brunt of friction from Earth’s atmosphere and, thankfully, will be incinerated almost completely before any remaining debris finally lands on the surface. However, it’s still possible that the spacecraft could cause some problems if it lands on hard ground, especially in a populated area.

Some of the material on board the space station is indeed toxic, including chemicals used in rocket fuel, and China has noted that if that material finds its way to the ground it could be hazardous to anyone who stumbles upon it.

That being said, the odds of any debris actually landing near you or, even worse, striking you is incredibly small. Space debris experts put the chances of being struck by space debris at around a million times less likely than winning the lottery.

In any case, the ESA and other space agencies will be keeping a close eye on the space station and will hopefully be able to forecast its fall from the sky with greater accuracy as the day draws near.

Read more.

The US Air Force Plans to buy new jam-resistant GPS satellites

Applied Technology Institute offers the following courses on the dates below:

GPS & International Competitors

23-Apr-18 26-Apr-18 Columbia MD

We think the news below will be of interest to our readers.

The U.S. Air Force wants 22 new GPS satellites that are built to resist jamming and electronic interference. It would spend around $2 billion on the new satellites for the GPS 3 constellation in the next five years. The production of all 22 satellites is expected to be worth as much as $10 billion

“The GPS 3 that we are moving toward is more jam-resistant, and it is intended to be able to operate in a contested environment,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said.

The constellation of 31 GPS 2 satellites currently in orbit will remain operational until at least 2021. The Air Force has already ordered 10 GPS 3 satellites from Lockheed Martin. But, the Air Force has now decided it needs to quit buying up those GPS 3 satellites and go back to the drawing board.

Lockheed Martin will most likely bid for the contract to build the new jam-resistant satellites, but other contractors like Boeing and Northrop Grumman are expected to try as well. Development of the new satellites would take place in 2019.

JPL’s Dressmaker

Did you read the recent story about JPL “dressmaker” Lien Pham who makes thermal blankets for spacecraft? The materials, methods, and techniques are an amazing combination of traditional and very techy.

“What kind of materials go into a thermal blanket?

We use multiple layers of Mylar films with Dacron netting to separate them. For the outermost surface, we use Kapton film or Beta cloth, which resist temperature change.

We also use gold Kapton, which is good for conducting electricity. There’s a black material called carbon field Kapton. That’s for a charged environment, with a lot of electricity. It dissipates the charge.

What Kind of tools do you use?

We use commercial sewing machines designed for thick material such as denim. It has a walking feed that pulls in the material and cuts our sewing thread automatically. We also use a variety of hand tools like a measuring scale, scissors, surgical scalpels, hole punches, a heat gun, leather punch and weight scale.” article on Lian Pham and the JPL seamstresses explains

“Nasa hires women with sewing experience for a reason. When engineers couldn’t figure out how to work with Teflon – the non-stick material that coats many saucepans – they were at a loss.

Lien suggested folding the edge of the material and sewing it like a hem, as she would with a shirt at home.

It worked.”

Science News Technology Space NASA Artificial Intelligence Weird Science Science of Sci-Fi Giant Exoplanet With Carbon Monoxide Atmosphere ‘Defies All Expectations’

9ba340aa7f1de69ad6ad7f6ace4d13f9_LApplied Technology Institute (ATICourses) is offering a brand new Exoplanets course.  The news below could be of interest to our readers.

This is the kind of discovery that reminds you just how little weactually know about space. Scientists have found a mysterious exoplanet 10 times the size of Jupiter—and no one can quite explain it.
Wrapped in carbon monoxide and water-free, scientists located inhospitable exoplanet WASP-18b with the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes about 330 light years from Earth.
The exoplanet might be far away, but it’s a giant in its neck of the woods—it has the mass of approximately 10 Jupiters.
NASA researchers note it has a stratosphere, as does Earth, but unlike our stratosphere, where the abundance of ozone absorbs UV radiation and helps protect our planet, WASP-18b’s is loaded with carbon monoxide—a rare discovery.
“We find evidence for a strong thermal inversion in the dayside atmosphere of the highly irradiated hot Jupiter WASP-18b…based on emission spectroscopy from Hubble Space Telescope secondary eclipse observations and Spitzer eclipse photometry,” researcher Kyle Sheppard said.

“The derived composition and profile suggest that WASP-18b is the first example of both a planet with a non-oxide driven thermal inversion and a planet with an atmospheric metallicity inconsistent with that predicted for Jupiter-mass planets.”

WASP-18b is a “hot Jupiter,” which unlike the gas giants of our solar system that are positioned with distance from the Sun, are especially close. Our Jupiter takes 12 years to orbit the sun once, WASP-18b circles its star every 23 hours.