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NASA seminar “Around the World in 80 Telescopes”


WASHINGTON — A collection of NASA missions will be involved in a live event April 3 that will allow the public to get an inside look at how these missions are run. “Around the World in 80 Telescopes” is a 24-hour webcast that is part of the “100 Hours of Astronomy” event for the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

During the webcast, viewers will be able to visit some of the most advanced telescopes on and off the planet. For NASA’s space-based missions, the webcast will be broadcast from control centers throughout the United States. To view the webcast, visit:

As part of the webcast, each mission will release a never-before-seen image from the telescope or observatory. The new images can be found on the websites listed below. Please note these times correspond to the beginning of each mission’s segment on the live webcast and when each new image will be available.

The NASA missions participating in the Webcast, in chronological order, are (times EDT, April 3):

Hubble Space Telescope: 1:20 p.m.

New Sonar Design 1171 Series

UK & Canada. Kongsberg Mesotech introduces new sonar products at Ocean Business

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Two new sonar products from Kongsberg Maritime’s specialist sonar division, Kongsberg Mesotech Ltd will be on display at Ocean Business 09. The 1171 Series is a complete range of multi-frequency, fast scanning obstacle avoidance imaging and profiling sonars offering unrivalled resolution, from an industry leader in sonar technology.

The 1171 Series of sonar heads has been developed to meet the requirements for both shallow and deep ocean applications. As well as the choice of operating frequencies, the new sonar heads feature faster scanning rates, improved range resolution and even clearer, sharper images, all in a more compact lighter housing.

1171 Series – Obstacle Avoidance Imaging Sonar Heads:
The dual transducer design allows optimised operational configuration for both long range obstacle avoidance and shorter range imaging detail. The transducer is protected within an oil-filled, pressure compensating dome. The telemetry is RS485 and RS232 compatible and is automatically sensed and configured at start up to match the telemetry link used. The sonar head operation is configured and controlled using the MS1000 Software Processor. Other features include:

-Dual transducers for multi purpose obstacle avoidance and inspection use.
-Multiple frequency capability (330 to 400 kHz and 450 to 700 kHz).
-Improved range and scanning rate.
-Improved sampling resolution & beam foot print resulting in clearer, sharper images.
-Improved Range Resolution.
-Lighter 4000m depth rated design.
-Optional Ethernet telemetry interface.

1171 Series – Multi Frequency Profiling Heads:
The Multi-Frequency design allows optimising of the profiling configuration for different applications. Like the sonar head, the transducer is protected within an oil-filled, pressure compensating dome and the telemetry is automatically sensed and configured at start up to match the telemetry link used. The sonar head operation is also configured and controlled using the MS1000 Software Processor.

-Multiple frequency capability (675kHz to 1.35 mHz).
-Improved range and scanning rate.
-Clearer, sharper images and a >0.5 cm range resolution.
-Sample resolution of > 0.5mm.
-Lighter 4000m depth rated design.
-Optional Ethernet telemetry interface.

Kongsberg Mesotech Ltd. is the Canadian subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime. Today the company supplies a worldwide customer base with a range of products for military, fisheries, oilfield, scientific, and other offshore market applications.

Kongsberg Mesotech’s strength lies in its unique engineering capabilities. Ongoing research and development has ensured the company’s position as a world-leader in high-resolution sonar systems, and acoustic technology. Kongsberg Mesotech manufactures over 100 models of multibeam, scanning, echo sounder, and altimeter sonar combinations.

Sonar used to locate wreckage of an airplane that crashed earlier this month

Uganda enlists help of U.S. sailors to locate plane crash wreckage

By Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, March 26, 2009
Sandra Jontz/S&S

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Beauregard, a sonar technician stationed in Sigonella, Sicily, crouches next to side-scan sonar unmanned underwater vehicle. He and two other sailors will take three units to Uganda.

NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Sicily — U.S. Navy sonar technicians from Sigonella are in Uganda helping to locate wreckage of an airplane that crashed earlier this month killing 11 onboard.

Sailors with Area Search Platoon 804, a support element to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Mobile Unit-8, began their work Tuesday, using unmanned underwater vehicles with side-scan sonar capability to search the depths of Lake Victoria, which at 26,560 square miles, is Africa’s largest lake.

“We’ve been called to assist … to locate and map out the debris field for the aircraft and assist divers in the recovery of bodies and the flight recorders,” Chief Petty Officer Manuel Ybarra, a sonar technician who has served in the Navy for 24 years, said in a recent interview.

The downed Ilyushin-76 cargo plane was en route to Mogadishu, Somalia, from Entebbe International Airport when it burst into flames and plunged into the lake after takeoff, according to a media report posted on A Burundian army general and his two senior colleagues, four Russian/Ukrainian crewmembers, a South African, an Indian and two Ugandans were killed in the crash, the site reported.

Using Sonar To Measure Ice Thickness

CLEVELAND (AP) – Flanked by wide-eyed colleagues, Lorry Wagner holds tight to the line that disappears into a frigid, murky Lake Erie.
The three men peer anxiously over the edge of a weather-beaten tugboat, 3-1/2 miles off Cleveland’s downtown shore.
At the end of the line is an 80-pound prize – not a monster fish, but a $20,000 sonar that measures ice thickness. It’s vital information, if wind turbines are to rise in these waters, near Cleveland’s water-intake crib.
The sonar – essentially, an upside-down fish finder, Wagner says – will sit till early April, pinging out sound waves that gauge the thickness of ice overhead.
To calculate the power of moving ice, Matthiesen and others at Case’s Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation will link the data on ice thickness with the movement of ice floes. A camera mounted nearby on the city’s water-intake crib is tracking that movement.
“ Nobody has this kind of data,” said Matthiesen, a task force member. “We’ve got to have it.”

Seeking Sea Based Strategic Deterrence and Future SSBNs

I found this interesting for my underwater acoustics readers.

U.S. Seeks Successor to Trident Submarine
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE KING’S BAY, Ga., Feb. 20, 2009 – The U.S. Navy has started the process to find a 21st-century successor to the Trident strategic missile submarine, senior Defense Department officials said here yesterday.
“We’re just at the opening phases right now, going through the proper systems engineering that will advance that particular design approach,” Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter told reporters at a news conference.

Tridents are nuclear-powered, Ohio-class submarines. At 560 feet long and 42 feet wide, Tridents are the largest submarines in the U.S. Navy’s inventory. The first Trident ballistic-missile submarine, the USS Ohio, was commissioned in 1981.

“A wide variety of options” are being considered for the Trident’s replacement, Winter said. However, the Navy secretary expressed his belief that the Trident system would be replaced by another undersea-going platform.

“I do fully expect that it is going to be a submarine,” Winter said of the Trident’s successor.

Prior to the news conference the Navy’s top leaders and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were among senior officials who attended a ceremony that paid tribute to the crew of the USS Wyoming Trident strategic missile submarine.

The USS Wyoming finished its 38th patrol Feb. 11, marking the 1000th completed patrol of a Trident submarine since the Ohio embarked on its initial patrol in October 1982. The Wyoming was commissioned in July 1996 and began its first patrol in August 1997.

Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed Winter’s belief that the Trident’s replacement “will be a submarine.”

Chief of Naval Operations Navy Adm. Gary Roughead told reporters of the resilience and independence exhibited by submariners’ families.

“I think the families of our submariners are really like submariners, a special breed,” Roughead said. “And, my hat’s off to them, and they have my utmost respect and support.”

The U.S. military is about to embark on its Quadrennial Defense Review and a Nuclear Posture Review, Cartwright said, to determine what types of defense capabilities will be required to maintain U.S. national security in the coming years. The QDR is performed every four years.

The threats America faces during the 21st century are much more diverse and involve “a much broader spectrum of conflict against a much broader number of enemies, to include those that are not nation-states,” Cartwright told reporters.

Gauging and evaluating future threats and determining what kinds of military capabilities and systems will be needed to deter them will be debated during the QDR and the nuclear posture review, Cartwright said.

U.S. defense planners are now seeking “to tailor our deterrence for the types of actors that were not present during the Cold War but are going to be present in the future,” Cartwright said.

And, “it will be the sailors that will make the difference in deterrence, not necessarily just the platforms,” Cartwright said of the Navy’s future nuclear-deterrent mission.

The 14 nuclear-missile carrying Trident submarines based here and at other Navy ports provide more than half of America’s strategic deterrent capability, King’s Bay officials said.

“The application of deterrence can be actually more complicated in the 21st century, but some fundamentals don’t change,” Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said. “And, the underlying strength of our deterrence force remains the nuclear deterrent force that we have today.”

The Trident submarine strategic missile force “is absolutely essential” to America’s nuclear-deterrent capability, Chilton said.

“And, it’s not just to deter nuclear conflict,” he said of the Tridents’ mission. “These forces have served to deter conflict in general, writ large, since they’ve been fielded.”

The U.S. government agreed to reduce the number of its strategic-missile submarines as part of the 1992 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Consequently, four of the Navy’s 18 Trident submarines were modified to exchange their nuclear missiles for Tomahawk-guided cruise missiles. These vessels carry the designator SSGN. In 2006, the USS Ohio was converted into a guided-missile submarine.

At the news conference, Roughead said the Navy is “really pleased” with the converted Trident submarines, which also carry a contingent of special operations troops, as well as the Tomahawks.

“That [type of] submarine has performed extremely well,” Roughead said of the cruise-missile carrying Tridents.

The facility here was established in 1980, replacing a closed U.S. ballistic submarine facility that had been based in Rota, Spain. In 1989, USS Tennessee was the first Trident submarine to arrive at the facility. Another Trident training facility is based in Bangor, Wash.

Vibration and Noise Control Class Offered

Media Contact:
Carolyn Cordrey
(888) 501-2100

Vibration and Noise Control Class Offered

Respected specialists Dr. Eric Ungar and Dr. James Moore will be teaching Applied Technology Institute’s “Vibration and Noise Control” course in 2009. The four-day course focuses on vibration reduction and quieting of vehicles, devices, and equipment. It will provide guidance relevant to design, problem solving, and development of improvements. Dr. Ungar has served as president of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, Chairman of the Design Engineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and has won awards for his work on vibrations of complex structures, structural damping, and isolation. Dr. Moore developed Statistical Energy Analysis models for the investigation of vibrations and noise in complex structures such as submarines, helicopters, and cars. He has participated in the development of active noise control systems, noise reduction coating, and signal conditioning means. Both have many years of teaching.

Dates and Locations: March 16-19, 2009 in Boston, MA and May 4-7, 2009 in Beltsville, MD

Dr Ungar has also published a humorous Acoustics from A to Z, that is available at

ATI is the leader in scientific and technical training since 1984. Regisration: call 410-956-8805 / 888-501/2100 or online at

Whales and the Navy

Whales and the Navy
By Susan Chambers, Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 |

The U.S. Navy, pressured by coastal residents has extended a comment period on its plans to double its area for training off the coasts of Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

News of the Navy’s plans spread through e-mails and on blogs on the Internet two weeks ago as notices about public meetings were sent out. But many folks were outraged, contending there was insufficient public notice and too few public meetings. The deadline has been extended to Wednesday, Feb. 18.

New national security challenges and advancement in technology make it necessary, the Navy said.

“Recent world events have placed the U.S. military on heightened alert in the defense of the U.S. and in defense of allied nations,” the Navy said.

The Navy started scoping meetings in 2007 to get input on its study for the training complex. The 60-day process started in July and included meetings held in September 2007.

The Navy received 50 comments, 23 of which expressed concerns or opposition to the training’s impact on marine mammals, such as whales.

Bruce Mate, the director of the marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, said in an e-mail the Navy plans to use high-energy sonar, up to 235 decibels. The National Marine Fisheries Service, he said, limits the sounds of human activities to no more than 160 decibels.

Editor Note: Mate does not seem to take into account that the sound pressure level decreases with range and the acoustic intensity decreases as 1/(range squared):

Navy Sonar and Marine Mammals off Hawaii

The U.S. Navy was granted a one-year permit to train with sonar and bombs in Hawaii waters so long as it tries to protect whales and other marine animals from harm. This is a controverial topic. It is covered in a full day in ATI’s course Advanced Topics In Underwater Acoustics.

  • Environmental Impact Considerations for Underwater Sound (Ellison) Anthropogenic sound impacts on marine animals. Permit requirements and process. US Federal Regulations, NEPA, MMPA, ESA, Magnuson-Stevens Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, National Marine Sanctuaries Act. International regulations and guidelines. Monitoring and mitigation.   
  • Marine Bioacoustics for Engineers (Ellison) Fundamentals of Marine Animal Hearing and Communication. Bioacoustic metrics. Acoustic exposure criteria for harm and significant behavior response for marine mammals. Developing criteria for fish and turtles. Behavioral testing techniques. 


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