All posts by Jim

New Horizon’s Music and Video

New Horizon now has its own music. Listen to this video.

See some of ATI’s previous posts about New Horizons

New Horizons: Watch the Ultima Thule Flyby —- In-Depth Coverage Starts Dec 31

Bill Gates Reveals The 10 Breakthrough Technologies That Will Change The World in 2019

Here’s the full 2019 selection, as picked by Gates – a comprehensive exploration of each idea will be published in the March/ April edition of MIT Technology Review, released on March 5.

1. Robot dexterity—robot hands that can learn to manipulate unfamiliar objects on their own.
2. Predicting preemies—a simple blood test to warn of a preterm birth, potentially saving many children’s lives.
3. Gut probe in a pill—a swallowable device that can image the digestive tract and even perform biopsies.
4. Custom cancer vaccines—a treatment that uses the body’s own immune system to target only tumor cells.
5. The cow-free burger—both plant-based and lab-grown meat alternatives that could drastically cut emissions from the food industry.
6. Carbon dioxide catcher—techniques for absorbing CO2 from the air and locking it away that may finally become economic.
7. An ECG on your wrist—the ability for people with heart conditions to continuously monitor their health and get early warnings of problems.
8. Sanitation without sewers—a self-contained toilet that could tackle disease and unpleasant living conditions in much of the developing world.
9. Smooth-talking AI assistants—new advances in natural language processing that make digital assistants capable of greater autonomy.
10. New-wave nuclear power—both fission and fusion reactor designs that could help bring down carbon emissions.

To learn about Technology advances and Artifical Intelligence and Deep Learning go to

To give credit to the sources, I first learned about this list of advances through an email newsletter published via Bernard Marr.

Update on Story -Rover Was Delivered to Mars by an ATLAS Rocket Update

The Applied Technology Institute published (01/23/2019) a story on the Curiosity Rover Was Delivered to Mars in 2015. Space News posted a related article on (01/24/2019).

This was the original ATI post…s-rocket-in-2011/ ‎

Funny Military Dog Photos

I enjoyed these funny Military Dog Photos. These have nothing to do with ATI’s technical training classes, but I have always enjoyed dogs. None of these military dogs will attend ATI’s courses.

The Postal Service saw my Funny Military Dog Photos.
It will recognize the Military Dogs with stamps this year.

There will be one stamp each for the German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Belgian Malinois and Dutch shepherd breeds, which are all types of military working dogs.

New Horizons’ Best-Yet Detailed View of Ultima Thule

The best-yet image of Ultima Thule taken by the wide-angle Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) is now online. The image shows a large circular depression, and many smaller depressions. These were not visible in the earlier, lower resolution image. Ultima Thule measures approximately 30 kilometers (18 miles) in diameter, and is irregularly shaped. Even better future images are expected.

The principal investigator, Alan Stern, as well as eight other systems designers, teach Spacecraft Design courses for the Applied Technology Institute (ATI or ATIcourses). If you are working in Space and Spacecraft it is good to take classes and learn from real-world experts who have designed and operated successful spacecraft. Why not learn from the best? Click on this blog post to see the New Horizons designers and the specific classes that they teach.

New Horizons Spacecraft Approaches Ultima Thule

Applied Technology Institute has been following the New Horizons Mission to Pluto for years (since launch in 2006). Now New Horizons continued to the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) nicknamed MU69 Ultima Thule. New Horizons fly past and imaged the Ultima Thule on January 1, 2019. High-resolution images are only now being transmitted back and released to the public.

The best source for these images is
This link provides an ongoing source of featured images.

New Horizons is approximately 4.13 billion miles (6.64 billion kilometers) from Earth, operating normally and speeding away from the Sun (and Ultima Thule) at more than 31,500 miles (50,700 kilometers) per hour. At that distance, a radio signal reaches Earth six hours and nine minutes after leaving the spacecraft.

Video – USS South Dakota SSN 790 will join the U.S. Navy submarine force in February 2019

Take a Tour of America’s Newest Nuclear Submarine Virginia class
USS South Dakota SSN 790 will join the U.S. Navy submarine force in February 2019

Overall Length: 377 ft
Extreme Beam: 33 ft
Max Navigational Draft: 32 ft
Full Displacement: 7800 tons

Hull Material: Steel hull, steel superstructure.
No. of Propellers: 1
Propulsion Type: Steam Turbine (Nuclear)
Accommodations: Officers: 15
Enlisted: 117
Total 132 people onbord
Video Link

Also see ATI’s submarines course.

This three-day course is designed for engineers in the field of submarine R&D and Operational Test and Evaluation. It is an introductory course presenting the fundamental philosophy of submarine design, submerged operation and combat system employment as they are managed by a battle-tested submarine organization that all-in-all make a US submarine a very cost-effective warship at sea—and under it.

Today’s US submarine tasking is discussed in consonance with the strategy and policy of the US, and the goals, objectives, mission, functions, tasks, responsibilities, and roles of the US Navy as they are so funded. Submarine warfare is analyzed referencing some calculations for a Benefits-to-Cost analysis, in that, Submarines Sink Ships!

From this course you will gain a better understanding of submarine warships being stealth-oriented, cost-effective combat systems at sea. Those who have worked with specific submarine sub-systems will find that this course will clarify the rationale and essence of their interface with one another. Attendees will receive copies of the presentation along with some relevant white papers.

What You Will Learn
Differences in submarine types (SSN/SSBN/ SSGN)
Submarine onboard organization and day to day operations
Basic Fundamentals of submarine systems and sensors
Submarine Mission profiles
Basics of Submarine Warfare tactical and operational control
How submarines support national military objectives
Makeup and function of the Submarine Support Enterprise
How the sea impacts submarine operations
Submarine Maintenance Cycles – Supporting the Tip of the Spear

New Horizons: Watch the Ultima Thule Flyby —- In-Depth Coverage Starts Dec 31

On New Year’s Day, the New Horizons spacecraft, which flew past Pluto in 2015, will be making another flyby. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has been whizzing toward Ultima Thule ever since it completed its primary mission: the historic Pluto flyby of July 2015.

The overall trip was 13 years and 4 Billion miles. NASA estimates that the probe will arrive at its new destination at 12:33 A.M. Eastern time on New Year’s Day (01/01/2019) and engineers have devised a carefully-calculated trajectory to ensure it gets to Thule safely. This will be the most distant flyby ever conducted.

Follow the news at

I have been personally inspired by the success of the New Horizons’ mission. I was present at JHU/APL for the July 2015 Pluto flyby and briefings. Many of the New Horizons engineers continue to teach ATI engineering and science training courses based on their first-hand real-world experience. This has been a high success, 13-year project that may continue to other new objects as the spacecraft is healthy and still performing well. I hope so.

See their information at

New Horizons Spacecraft Approaches Ultima Thule

Information Timeline ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Date Time Event
31 Monday December, 2018
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Ultima Thule flyby science and operations preview. Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Helene Winters, New Horizons project manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; John Spencer, New Horizons deputy project scientist, Southwest Research Institute; Frederic Pelletier, navigation team lead, KinetX, Inc.

3:00-4:00 pm EST Q&A: Ask the New Horizons Team. Questions from social media (#askNewHorizons) answered by Alex Parker, New Horizons co-investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Kelsi Singer, co-investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Gabe Rogers, New Horizons deputy mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

8:00-11:00 pm EST Panel discussion on the exploration of small worlds (8-9 pm); Ultima Thule flyby countdown events; mission updates

1 Tuesday January, 2019
12:02 am EST Global song release: Brian May, New Horizons contributing scientist and Queen guitarist, “New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix)”

12:15-12:45 am EST Live coverage of countdown to closest approach (12:33 am); real-time flyby simulations

10:15 – 10:45 am EST Live coverage of New Horizons signal-acquisition activities in the Mission Operations Center, confirming spacecraft status and flyby success

11:30 am– 12:30 pm EST Press briefing: Spacecraft status, latest images and data download schedule. Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Chris Hersman, New Horizons mission systems engineer, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

2 Wednesday January, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Science results from Ultima Thule.Panelists include Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Jeff Moore, New Horizons co-investigator, NASA Ames Research Center; Cathy Olkin, New Horizons deputy project scientist, Southwest Research Institute; Will Grundy, New Horizons co-investigator, Lowell Observatory.

3 Thursday January, 2019
2:00-3:00 pm EST Press briefing: Science results from Ultima Thule.Panelists TBD.

Previous articles about New Horizons on ATI’s website.

Related blog post:
2. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is 15.96 astronomical units (about 2.39 billion kilometers, or 1.48 billion miles) from the Sun
3. NASA New Horizons spacecraft on the way to rendezvous with planet Pluto
4. The New Horizons Mission to Pluto–Ten Experts Who Worked Behind-the-Scenes On the New Horizons Mission and Who Teach for ATIcourses.
5. New Horizons: Recollections of Ground System Engineer, Steve Gemeny
6. New Horizons – This was almost a disaster, but was saved by knowledgeable scientists.
7. New Horizons Flyover of Pluto

New Images Show the Record-Breaking Wildfire Season, California Shows Nine New Scars

Space remote sensing can provide the big picture of the Record-Breaking Fires in California. We had family members living in Paradise, California. Their home and their veterinary business were totally destroyed. They have to effectively restart their lives.

Those burn scars include the traces of the Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise in mid-November. That fire became the deadliest fire in California’s history after it killed at least 85 people.


If you want to learn more about Space and Space-Based Remote Sensing visit our catalog-of-all courses

Layered Missile Defense Article and Comments

Missile Defense is a complex problem for the US and US allies such as Israel and Poland. The US Department of Defense has a layered approach of different systems to detect threat missile launches and then to intercept and destroy the incoming missiles.

 Defense systems include

1. Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS)

2. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)

3. Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System

4. Israel’s Iron Dome

5. SkyCeptor This is a good summary article sponsored by Raytheon.

Equally as interesting are the detailed comments from the Breaking Defense readers that appear at the end of the article. The comments focus on costs and the relative costs of the missiles used by the attackers (say for example North Korea or Iran) and the missile defense system missiles. ATI is interested in your comments about the article and open source articles about Missile Defense Systems cost and performance. ATI has many relevant technical training courses that help to understand the technology and components of Missile Defense Systems. These courses can be presented on-site at your facility or at publically scheduled open enrollment courses. Please email your requests to These courses help understand the Missile Defense technologies

1. Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense-

2. Aegis Combat System Engineering-

3. AESA Radar and Its Applications

4. C4ISR Requirements, Principles& Systems

5. Electronic Warfare Against the New Threat

These courses directly focus on missiles and missile defense.

1. Making Decisions in Missile Defense-

2. Missile Analysis-

3. Missile Guidance

4. Missile System Design

5. Modeling, Simulation of Aerospace Vehicles

6. Modeling & Simulation of Missiles in 6 DoF

7. Tactical Strategic Missile Guidance Please email your requests for more information to

It Will Be Historic: New Horizons Team Prepares for January 1, 2019 Flyby of Kuiper Belt Ultima Thule

Applied Technology Institute (ATI or ATIcourses) has been following the New Horizons Mission to Pluto for years (since launch in 2006). Now New Horizons is on to the Kuiper Belt object (KBO) nicknamed Ultima Thule. New Horizons will fly past and image the Ultima Thule on January 1, 2019.

Several of ATI instructors have been lead scientists for the New Horizons mission. If you are working in Space and Spacecraft it is good to take classes and learn from real-world experts who have designed and operated successful spacecraft.

This is a good article to keep you up to date.

If you have interest ATI can send you updates in on our blog and our newsletter.


New Horizons is a space probe launched by NASA on 19 January 2006, to the dwarf planet Pluto and on an escape trajectory from the Sun. It is the first man-made spacecraft to go to Pluto. Its flight took eight years. It arrived at the Pluto–Charon system on July 14, 2015. It flew near Pluto and took photographs and measurements while it passed. At about 1 kilobit per second, it took 15 months to transmit them back to Earth.

ATI instructors who helped plan, develop and engineer the New Horizons Mission. These include the following engineers and scientists, with their bios and links to their related ATI courses.

1. Dr. Alan Stern

Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and author. In 2010, he was elected to be the President and CEO of The Golden Spike Company, a commercial space corporation planning human lunar expeditions. Additionally, since 2009, he has been an Associate Vice President at the Southwest Research Institute, and since 2008 has had his own aerospace consulting practice.
Dr. Stern is the Principal Investigator (PI) of NASA’s $720M New Horizon’s Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission, the largest PI-led space mission ever launched by NASA. New Horizons launched in 2006 and arrived on July 14, 2015. Dr. Stern is also the PI of two instruments aboard New Horizons, the Alice UV spectrometer and the Ralph Visible Imager/IR Spectrometer.

2. Eric Hoffman

Eric Hoffman has designed space-borne communications and navigation equipment and performed systems engineering on many APL satellites and communications systems. He has authored over 60 papers and holds 8 patents in these fields. Mr. Hoffman was involved in the proposal (as well as several prior Pluto mission concepts). He chaired the major system-level design reviews (and now teaches the course Effective Design Reviews). He was Space Department Chief Engineer during the concept, design, fabrication, and test of New Horizons. His still actively consulting in the field. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and coauthor of the leading textbook Fundamentals of Space Systems

3. Chris DeBoy

Chris DeBoy leads the RF Engineering Group in the Space Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and is a member of APL’s Principal Professional Staff. He has over 20 years of experience in satellite communications, from systems engineering (he is the lead RF communications engineer for the New Horizons Mission to Pluto) to flight hardware design for both Low-Earth orbit and deep-space missions. He holds a BSEE from Virginia Tech, a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins, and teaches the satellite communications course for the Johns Hopkins University.

4. Dr. Mark E. Pittelkau

Dr. Pittelkau was previously with the Applied Physics Laboratory, Orbital Sciences Corporation, CTA Space Systems (now Orbital), and Swales Aerospace. His experience in satellite systems covers all phases of design and operation, including conceptual design, implementation, and testing of attitude control systems, attitude and orbit determination, and attitude sensor alignment and calibration, control-structure interaction analysis, stability and jitter analysis, and post-launch support. His current interests are precision attitude determination, attitude sensor calibration, orbit determination, and optimization of attitude maneuvers. Dr. Pittelkau earned the B.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and the M.S. degree in EE from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

5. Douglas Mehoke (and others)

Douglas Mehoke is the Assistant Group Supervisor and Technology Manager for the Mechanical System Group in the Space Department at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He has worked in the field of spacecraft and instrument thermal design for 30 years, and has a wide background in the fields of heat transfer and fluid mechanics. He has been the lead thermal engineer on a variety spacecraft and scientific instruments, including MSX, CONTOUR, and New Horizons. He is presently the Technical Lead for the development of the Solar Probe Plus Thermal Protection System. He was the original thermal engineer for New Horizons, the mechanical system engineer, and is currently the spacecraft damage lead for the flyby Hazard Team. Other JHU/APL are currently teaching the Spacecraft Thermal Control course.

6. Steven Gemeny

Steve Gemeny is a Principal Program Engineer and a former Senior Member of the Professional Staff at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he served as Ground Station Lead for the TIMED mission to explore Earth’s atmosphere and Lead Ground System Engineer on the New Horizons mission to explore Pluto by 2020. Mr. Gemeny is an experienced professional in the field of Ground Station and Ground System design in both the commercial world and on NASA Science missions with a wealth of practical knowledge spanning nearly three decades. Mr. Gemeny delivers his experiences and knowledge to his ATIcourses’ students with an informative and entertaining presentation style. Mr Gemeny is Director Business Development at Syntonics LLC, working in RF over fiber product enhancement, new application development for RF over fiber technology, oversight of advanced DOD SBIR/STTR research and development activities related to wireless sensors and software defined antennas.

7. John Penn

John Penn is currently the Team Lead for RFIC Design at Army Research Labs. Previously, he was a full-time engineer at the Applied Physics Laboratory for 26 years where he contributed to the New Horizons Mission. He joined the Army Research Laboratory in 2008. Since 1989, he has been a part-time professor at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches RF & Microwaves I & II, MMIC Design, and RFIC Design. He received a B.E.E. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1980, an M.S. (EE) from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 1982, and a second M.S. (CS) from JHU in 1988.

8. Timothy Cole

Timothy Cole is a leading authority with 30 years of experience exclusively working in electro-optical systems as a system and design engineer. While at Applied Physics Laboratory for 21 years, Tim was awarded the NASA Achievement Award in connection with the design, development, and operation of the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Laser Radar and was also the initial technical lead for the New Horizons LOng-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI instrument). He has presented technical papers addressing space-based laser altimetry all over the US and Europe. His industry experience has been focused on the systems engineering and analysis associated development of optical detectors, wireless ad hoc remote sensing, exoatmospheric sensor design and now leads ICESat-2 ATLAS altimeter calibration effort.

9. Jay Jenkins

Jay Jenkins is a Systems Engineer in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA and an Associate Fellow of the AIAA. His 24-year aerospace career provided many years of experience in design, analysis, and test of aerospace power systems, solar arrays, and batteries. His career has afforded him opportunities for hands-on fabrication and testing, concurrent with his design responsibilities. He was recognized as a winner of the ASME International George Westinghouse Silver Medal for his development of the first solar arrays beyond Mars’ orbit and the first solar arrays to orbit the planet, Mercury. He was recognized with two Best Paper Awards in the area of Aerospace Power Systems.
See some of ATI’s earlier blog posts