Category Archives: General

Applied Technology Institute sponsors this blog. The blog posts news about scientific and engineering topics, including links to industry news and articles, and announcements of continuing education for professionals who are working in the field. ATI’s instructors are the primary contributors.

Welcome to the US Space Force, ATI is here to support you

There are currently 5 branches of the Armed Forces, namely, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force,  and the Coast Guard.  However, in light of changing needs and priorities, President Trump issued a new directive in February to establish the US Space Force as the sixth military branch,  which will be within the Department of the Air Force. 

This directive can be found at

The directive states that “ Although United States space systems have historically maintained a technological advantage over those of our potential adversaries, those potential adversaries are now advancing their space capabilities and actively developing ways to deny our use of space in a crisis or conflict.  It is imperative that the United States adapt its national security organizations, policies, doctrine, and capabilities to deter aggression and protect our interests.”

The directive provides the following priorities for the Space Force:

(a)  Protecting the Nation’s interests in space and the peaceful use of space for all responsible actors, consistent with applicable law, including international law;

(b)  Ensuring unfettered use of space for United States national security purposes, the United States economy, and United States persons, partners, and allies;

(c)  Deterring aggression and defending the Nation,
United States allies, and United States interests from hostile acts in and from space;

(d)  Ensuring that needed space capabilities are integrated and available to all United States Combatant Commands;

(e)  Projecting military power in, from, and to space in support of our Nation’s interests; and

(f)  Developing, maintaining, and improving a community of professionals focused on the national security demands of the space domain.

The directive specifies that Space Force will be lead by a civilian to be known as the Undersecretary of the Air Force for Space, and will be appointed by the President and approved by the Senate.  The directive specifies that a senior military officer ( General or Admiral ) will serve as the Chief of Staff of the Space Force, and will serve as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Applied Technology Institute looks forward to providing training to the workforce which will be needed to support the US Space Force. 

A list of all the Space Related Courses offered by ATI can be found at


Specific and upcoming Space-Related Courses include:

Communications Payload Design

Mar 19-22, 2019 Columbia, MD

 Tactical Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) System

Mar 25-28, 2019 Columbia, MD

 Space Mission Structures

Apr 16-18, 2019 Littleton, CO

 Vibration Testing of Small Satellites

Apr 30-May 1, 2019 Littleton, CO

 Satellite Communications- Introduction

May 1-3, 2019 Columbia, MD 

If your organization requires Space-Related Training which you do not currently see in our Course Offerings, please give us a call and we will try to accommodate your needs. 

Happy Groundhog Day!

We are halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, also known as, Groundhog day!  If you want to know more about the origins of this tradition, you can find that at the link below, but the story involves bears and badgers, and Germans and Christians, and superstition and science.  You can’t make this stuff up, and you can’t tell the story any better than The Old Farmers Almanac.  Check it out at….

It will be a stretch to relate Groundhog day to courses offered by ATI, but we will give it a try.   That pesky groundhog needs to draw on his Remote Sensing abilities in order to have such a wonderful batting average. 

If you want to learn more about Remote Sensing, consider one of the Remote Sensing Courses offered by ATi, like perhaps…
Optical & Remote Sensing
or Microwave Remote Sensing
or Geomatics – GIS, GPS and Remote Sensing
or Directions in Space Remote Sensing.

Lastly, and SPOILER ALERT….Spring will be coming early this year.  I can’t wait.

Groundhog Day 2019:The Prediction and Photos

Recall That Curiosity Rover Was Delivered to Mars by an ATLAS Rocket in 2011

There are so many Space Exploration Missions that are on the front page of the papers now, New Horizons for example.  Let us not forget about ongoing missions that are no longer getting as much publicity at they may deserve, JPL Mars Science Lab Curiosity Rover Mission for example.

The Curiosity Rover Mission was launched in November 2011 for an 8-month trip to Mars.  Once on Mars, the Curiosity Mission was expected to last 2 years.  Amazingly, the Curiosity Rover Mission is still in progress, and periodic updates on the status of that mission are still being posted at

The success of that mission did not start when the Rover started sending back amazing pictures from Mars.  The success of that mission started when the Rocket and Launch Vehicle propelled Rover into Space.    The Atlas V-541 Rocket selected for this mission and built by Boeing Corp and Lockheed Martin Corp.  performed as designed.  If it had not performed as well as it did, the entire mission could have been in jeopardy.  Rockets and Launch Vehicles are truly acritical component of every mission.

ATI is offering a Course on Rocket and Launch Vehicles in Columbia, Maryland from February 11 to 14, 2019.  The course is being taught by Edward Keith, a multi-discipline Launch Vehicle System Engineer, specializing in integration of launch vehicle technology, design, modeling and business strategies.  There is still time to enroll in this class, and you will be finished in time to get home for dinner on Valentine’s day! 

Please consider learning more about this ATI offering, and enroll in the ATI class, by going to


Coding for kids: Alice’s Story

Nothing is cuter than pictures of kids sitting at their computers, mastering skills their parents never dreamed of. And nothing is more popular than the current idea that all children should learn to code.

My husband, Philip,  & I strongly support this idea.  He has been in IT since he was 18 years old and wants our oldest daughter, Alice, to get involved in the IT field as well.

Alice is an 8 year old and extremely active child.  When we introduced her to coding she was hooked!  She spent hours working on her coding projects.  It was so wonderful to see her working with her father and asking questions when she hit a difficult task.

Yesterday, she received a certificate of completion stating that she has demonstrated an understanding of basic concepts of Computer Science.  

We couldn’t be more proud!

Here is the list of the main sources that could be tapped for teaching kids how to code:
This nonprofit foundation website is a great starting point for coding novices. It shares plenty of useful online resources, apps, and even local schools that teach coding. Be sure to watch the inspirational video on the main page. Updated periodically, the current iteration features some of the biggest names in tech talking about how they got started in coding.

This interactive website is user-friendly and teaches kids basic code through fun, simple exercises that feel like games.

Code Avengers
While Code Avengers lacks the eye-catching graphics of other options, it does offer a series of free intro classes in building web pages, apps, and games. Get started with the 7-day free trial, which grants access to the first five lessons in each course, ranging from Python, to web development, JavaScript, and more. If you like what you see, register for a membership plan that cost $29/month and requires no long-term commitment. A six-month plan costs $120.

Code Combat
Best for older kids, Code Combat uses an interactive, competitive gameplay mode to stimulate learning. Once you set up your parent account, kids can be online, playing in seconds. FREE

Put those ubiquitous emojis to work in an educational way with this website that eschews complex codes for user-friendly expressions, quite literally. Kids learn to code by using emojis to substitute for html or css codes. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t realize the work they’re putting in. Codemoji plans start at $9.99 for three months, but include up to five kids’ accounts in that price.

Code Monster
Particularly good for kids, Code Monster features two adjacent boxes. One displays code, the other shows what the code does. As you play with the code (with some help from a prompt), you learn what each command does. FREE

Khan Academy
Known for its extensive and challenging math games, Khan Academy also has basic programming tutorials that teach kids how to build graphics, animations, interactive visualizations, and more. FREE

Predominantly an app-based program, Lightbot offers a FREE demo online as part of its Hour of Code. Like what you see? Its pair of low-cost programming apps are all-ages friendly. Available for iOs, Android, and Amazon devices for $2.99.

Designed by MIT students and aimed at children ages 8 to 16, this easy-to-use programming language lets kids build almost anything they can dream. There are no obscure lines of code here. Instead, arrange and snap together Scratch blocks as if they were virtual Legos. But it’s more than just a coding guide, it’s a vibrant online community of programmers who swap ideas and inspiration. FREE

Inspired by Scratch’s snapping blocks system, this software allows users to create simple games for iOS, Android, Flash, Windows, Linux, and Mac systems. If your child is serious about it, there are paid pro plans that come with advanced functionality.

Tech Rocket
Founded by iD Tech, Tech Rocket’s free platform allows access to a dozen classes. For those looking for a more advanced experience, paid subscriptions are $19 per month.


Bombers and Subs and Missiles, oh my!

Speaking for myself, I always considered the nuclear triad to include bombers, submarines, and missiles, but, I was wrong. Sandra Erwin points out in her Space News article, we really need to remember that these three components of the triad could not be effective without two other complimentary components, a competent work force to operate them, and a modern and reliable Nuclear Command, Control and Communications ( NC3 ) network.

Lt. Gen Jack Weinstein, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration recently pointed out that nuclear modernization efforts cannot be strictly focused on subs, bombers, and missiles, but must also be concerned about modernizing the NC3 system, causing him to remark “The Triad also means space capability.” The Nuclear Posture Review reported that many of the components of the current NC3 system are antiquated technology which has not been modernized in almost 30 years. 

Sandra Erwin reports that the Air Force does have programs under way to modernize communications and early-warning satellites, but integration of these new systems will be very complex, and highly trained work force will be needed to build the systems.

Interestingly, Lt. Gen Weinstein has confidence in the military’s ability to train their people to operate these systems, but he expresses concern about educating the civilian workforce which will also need to be involved.

Applied Technology Institute (ATI) can play an important role in preparing the workforce which will support the future nuclear Triad since it offers a diverse collection of courses which cover all of the domains where the Triad will need to operate; air, sea, and space. Please consider looking at the current set of course offerings at ATI and consider taking some of our courses to better position yourself to make significant contributions to solving the complex problems associated with Strategic Deterrence in the future.  


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

NASA Wants Your Help to Name a Space Object, What Could Go Wrong

quaoar_animation_dark_crsub_circleThere’s a small, icy object floating at the outer edge of our Solar System, in the messy Kuiper belt. Or it could be two objects, astronomers are not sure.

But NASA is on track to find out more, as that object has been chosen as the next flyby target for the New Horizons spacecraft – the same probe that gave us incredible photos of Pluto in 2015. And now they want your help to give that target a catchy name.

Currently, the enigmatic Kuiper belt object is designated 2014 MU69, but that’s just the provisional string of letters and numbers any newly discovered object gets.

“Yes, we’re going to give 2014 MU69 a real name, rather than just the “license plate” designator it has now,” New Horizons’ principal investigator Alan Stern wrote in a blog post earlier this year.

“The details of how we’ll name it are still being worked out, but NASA announced a few weeks back that it will involve a public naming contest.”

And now, folks, our time to shine has arrived.

NASA has finally extended an invitation for people to submit their ideas for a name, although they note this is not going to be the officially-official name just yet, but rather a nickname to be used until the flyby happens.

The team at New Horizons already have a bunch of ideas prepared, which now form the basis of the naming campaign, and anyone can already vote for those.

Amongst current choices put forward by the team are Z’ha’dum – a fictional planet from the TV series Babylon 5; Camalor – a fictional city actually located in the Kuiper belt according to Robert L. Forward’s novel Camelot 30K; and Mjölnir – the name of Norse thunder god Thor’s epic hammer.

One of the most interesting aspects of MU69 is that we’re not even sure whether the object is one body or two – telescope observations have hinted it could actually be two similarly-sized bodies either in close mutual orbit, or even stuck together.

Read more.

NASA Center Directors Launch World Series Bragging Rights Duel


Following up on our last blog and from a Press Release posted Thursday, October 26, 2017, by the JetPropulsion Laboratory:

When it comes to space exploration, many believe America must make a choice between having human “Astros” exploring the solar system or using robotic probes as planet or asteroid “Dodgers.”

NASA sees both approaches as essential to expanding the human presence in the universe. But that doesn’t mean that two of NASA’s centers can’t engage in a little friendly rivalry when it comes to their hometown baseball teams competing in the 2017 World Series.

Houston is home to both the American League’s Houston Astros and NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), the hub of human spaceflight, while the Los Angeles area is home to both the National League’s L.A. Dodgers and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, one of the pillars of robotic space and planetary missions.

On behalf of their respective centers, JSC Director Ellen Ochoa, who actually is a native Californian, and JPL Director Michael Watkins, who actually is a University of Texas at Austin alumnus, have decided the World Series deserves to be the subject of a little bragging rights wager.

So, here’s the contest: If the Houston Astros win the best-of-seven series, Watkins will have to wear an Astros jersey for a day. If the series goes the L.A. Dodgers’ way, Ochoa will wear a Dodgers jersey.

“JSC is proud to be a citizen of Houston, and, as such, we are proud of all the city’s accomplishments and its great spirit,” Ochoa said. “And our team is actually named after our space center, so I’m happy to be able to show support for that, and glad to have a little fun in challenging a center that, except for this week, is our close partner in exploration. I am looking forward to seeing a little bit of Houston at JPL soon.”

“JPLers are proud to work and live in the Los Angeles area here in beautiful Southern California,” Watkins said. “We love the chance to show our support for this great city, and for the great baseball tradition of the Dodgers. This is a nice way to have a little fun with our good friends at JSC and we hope to see some Dodger blue there shortly.”

When it comes to the reality of spaceflight, the two centers have collaborated and compared notes on a variety of space projects for nearly half a century. NASA understands that robotic exploration has always been a precursor to human space exploration and that more and more, we see robots and humans flying together, helping each other explore. Rather than rivals, JSC and JPL are close teammates in expanding our knowledge of the universe and increasing the limits humanity explores.

But in the meantime, JSC invites all Astros fans to “Orange Out” and JPL invites all Dodgers fans to “Bleed Blue.” May the best team win!

Baseball Predictions and Home-Team Hopes

Friends lucky enough to attend game 1 of the 2017 World Series at Dodgers Stadium.

Last year, my colleague, Lisa Badart, wrote a post about the pride for her favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, winning the World Series. I commented on her post that I had predicted this win.

It’s important to note that, although I adore baseball, I am not particularly known to closely follow rosters, statistics, and standings to consistently make accurate predictions as to those teams who make it all the way to the World Series — let alone win the event.

However, on August 14th of this year, I wrote a text message to a friend that read, “My prediction for the World Series 2017, although it’s still early: Dodgers vs. Astros.” As a Los Angeles native, there is no doubt that my hope — based on their outstanding record — was that the Dodgers would play in the series.

Here we are today: game 2 ended last night in the 11th inning with the Astros winning the game and the series tied 1-1. Both games 1 and 2 were exhilarating and a number of my friends in L.A. were fortunate to attend and share the excitement with me through sounds and images.

We are all saddened by what occurred in Houston this year and I do wish the Astros the best. Nonetheless, I cannot deny that I would love to see the L.A. Dodgers win the series. Go Dodgers!

Francesco Zamboni, ATI Courses

Examples Of Before and After Imagery That Can Assist In Response Recovery and Rebuilding Operation Planning and Assessment.

As Hurricane Irma churned through the Caribbean and up Florida’s coast,   satellites have been capturing high-resolution images of the storm’s damage. Imaging in the Caribbean became possible over the weekend as the clouds moved out of the area.

Before-and-after imagery taken between Friday, Sept. 8 and Sept. 11 of several places in the Caribbean: Tortola, Turks and Caicos, St Maarten, Necker Island, Barbuda and Saint Martin. The “after” images were taken by Digital Globe’s WorldView-3, WorldView-2 and GeoEye-1 satellites.

Digital Globe has also publicly released pre- and post-event satellite imagery of the areas affected by Hurricane Irma through our Open Data Program, which provides imagery to support recovery efforts in the wake of large-scale natural disasters. Humanitarian Open Street Map Team (HOT) set up mapping tasks for Irma using Digital Globe imagery in preparation for the storm. Additional tasks will be established once more post-event imagery is available, as will a Tomnod crowd sourcing campaign.


Port Barbuda PortBarbudaPost StMaartenPreStMaartenPostPhotos credit to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce.