Category Archives: General

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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

nasa-dodgers-blog-image

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

Dodgers-Image-Post-2017
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.

Updates on GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: U.S. BUDGET CRISIS LOOMS (AGAIN IN FY 2018)

Government-ShutdownApplied Technology Institute (ATICourses) provides a variety of technical training courses on Space, Satellite, Radar, Defense, Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Sonar.  Now is the time to plan your training!

This updates an 8/18/2017 post. Unfortunately, the shutdown risk has grown!

This is a good article about the economic cost of a federal shutdown. It provides many detailed examples of the costs of the shutdown caused by the failure of the federal government to act in a timely way due to the shutdown.
https://chiefhro.com/
Jeff Neal was the chief human capital officer at the Homeland Security Department and the chief human resources officer at the Defense Logistics Agency.

Planning training and travel for FY 2018 could be tricky if there is a government shutdown of unknown duration. Many of the people that ATI has talked to have “no remaining FY 2017 training funds and have no idea what training budget will be in the FY 2018”.

The last government shutdown occurred in 2013. The 16-day-long shutdown of October 2013 was the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history, after the 18-day shutdown in 1978 and the 21-day 1995–96 shutdown. ATI was conducting training in 1995-1996. The 1995 shut-down was chaos.

The last time sequestration kicked in 2013, it forced many federal agencies to furlough employees, costing them up to 20 percent of their salary during the furlough period.  Fortunately, all the government employees were eventually paid their full salary. Paying employees to not work and then rush to catch-up is a wasteful government practice. Many had to struggle until the late salary pay was received.

Standard & Poor’s estimated that the 2013 shutdown took $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, and reduced projected fourth-quarter GDP growth from 3 percent to 2.4 percent.

Even after the shutdown was over there was confusion for several months as employees talked about the shutdown and tried to get all the affected programs back on track. Small businesses and tourist locations lost money that was never recovered. Training and travel funds were devastated for most of the year in 1995 and 2013.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_government_shutdown_of_2013

Congress must pass a new government funding bill by Sept. 30 to prevent a shutdown on Oct. 1, which is when fiscal 2018 begins. In previous years, because of the limited amount of time on Capitol Hill in September, lawmakers have been forced to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running for a few more months.

This year could be different. “Build that wall,” Mr. Trump said. “Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”

We’re months away from agreeing on the annual budget, and if Congress and President Trump fail to appropriate funds, government departments won’t be able to spend money. This means contractors won’t get paid.

“If the budget debate gets ugly, which is a clear possibility, we could see the stock shares weaken in September, and then potentially rebound fairly quickly with the conclusion of (or lack of) any shutdown, as was the case in 2013,” Wells Fargo analyst Ed Caso wrote in a Thursday note.

See this link for continuing news updates on the potential 2017 shutdown.

https://federalnewsradio.com/federal-report/2017/08/one-less-thing-to-worry-about-furloughs/

What Could Happen?

During the federal shutdown of 2013, contractor stocks fell as much as 6 percent, while annual revenue and earnings per share were estimated to average a 1- to 1.5-percent hit, according to Wells Fargo. IFCI also lowered guidance.

But this year’s shocks could be amplified.

“We should note that in 2013 the defense sector was at through EV/EBITDA (enterprise value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) multiples, while now they are in the upper quartile suggesting the potential for more volatility,” Caso wrote.

But How Worried Should We Be?

Given the current political climate, Caso considers a one-day shutdown possible and a multi-day shutdown modestly likely. Still, the caprice of the Trump administration merits preparation.

“The political calculus, in our view, is even more unstable than in 2013, so uncertainty going into GFY end (September) should only be higher even with the memory that no one gained politically from the 2013 shutdown,” he wrote.

Additionally, the drastic budget changes proposed could sustain debate more contentious than that driving the previous 16-day shutdown. Government agencies and employees do not know how to plan training and travel. Confusion will result for several months.

Government Shutdown: U.S. Budget Crisis Looms (Again)

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) provides a variety of technical training courses on Space, Satellite, Radar, Defense, Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Sonar.  Now is the time to get your training!

Last government shutdown has occurred in 2013.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_government_shutdown_of_2013

We’re months away from the annual budget deadline, and if Congress and President Donald Trump fail to appropriate funds, government departments won’t be able to spend money. This means contractors won’t get paid.

“If the budget debate gets ugly, which is a clear possibility, we could see the shares weaken in September, and then potentially rebound fairly quickly with the conclusion of (or lack of) any shutdown, as was the case in 2013,” Wells Fargo analyst Ed Caso wrote in a Thursday note.

However, those with fixed-price contracts, higher exposure to the Defense or Homeland Security Departments, or more off-site work are considered to be at a lesser risk.

What Could Exactly Happen?

During the federal shutdown of 2013, contractor stocks fell as much as 6 percent, while annual revenue and earnings per share were estimated to average a 1- to 1.5-percent hit, according to Wells Fargo. IFCI also lowered guidance.

But this year’s shocks could be amplified.

“We should note that in 2013 the sector was at through EV/EBITDA (enterprise value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) multiples, while now they are in the upper quartile suggesting the potential for more volatility,” Caso wrote.

But How Worried Should We Be?

Given the current political climate, Caso considers a one-day shutdown possible and a multi-day shutdown modestly likely. Still, the caprice of the Trump administration merits preparation.

“The political calculus, in our view, is even more unstable than in 2013, so uncertainty going into GFYend (September) should only be higher even with the memory that no one gained politically from the 2013 shutdown,” he wrote.

Additionally, the drastic budget changes proposed could sustain debate more contentious than that driving the previous 16-day shutdown.

 

Fun Fishing Times On Chesapeake Bay!

Jim Jenkins and Ed McCarthy (and families) from ATIcourses.com went fishing on May 24, 2017. They left from Chesapeake Beach, Maryland .

It was a clear, sunny day. The fishing was great. Bunch of rockfish (also known as striped bass) were caught in about 6 hours.

The striped bass, named the official fish of the State of Maryland in 1965, gets its name from the seven or eight dark stripes that run from head to tail. The fish has an olive green back, fading to light silver on its sides, with a white underside. Known for its size and ability to put up a good fight, the striped bass is considered by many to be the premier sport fish on the Bay. It is also mighty tasty.

Stunning Space Station photo of glowing auroras

Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) photographed brightly glowing auroras from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station on March 27, 2017. (ESA/NASA)
Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) photographed brightly glowing auroras from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station on March 27, 2017. (ESA/NASA)

NASA has released an amazing photo show by Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, who photographed bright auroras from the International Space Station on March 27, 2017.

“The view at night recently has been simply magnificent: few clouds, intense auroras. I can’t look away from the windows,” Pesquet wrote in a tweet that included the image.

Here’s what NASA wrote about the image:

“The dancing lights of the aurora provide stunning views, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the sun. Aurora are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind and due to giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.’

Check out more images from NASA’s Aurora Image Gallery

OUR MOON QUIETLY GROWS TO SUPERMOON SIZE

 


Tom Logsdon
“Hi diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed,
To see such fun,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.”
My mother taught me that playful English nursery rhyme when I was about nine years old..
Notice how the poet who wrote it couldn’t think of anything more fanciful than having a living,
breathing creature ending up in the vicinity of the moon!
It took 300,000 of us a full decade of very hard work, but we did it! We sent two dozen
astronauts on the adventure of a lifetime and we brought all of them back alive. In 1961
President John F. Kennedy, youthful and exuberant and brimming over with confidence,
announced to the world that America’s scientists and engineers would—within a single decade
—land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth. No cows need apply. But
potential human astronauts were bigly and hugely enthusiastic about their new opportunity
to fly through space to a different world.
By using the math and physics we had learned in school, we covered hundreds of pages with
with cryptic mathematical symbols to work out the details down to a gnat’s eyebrow.
We ended up hurling 24 American astronauts into the vicinity of the moon!. 12 of them
“kangaroo hopped“ on its surface.
Earlier this month, when the moon grew to its maximum apparent size, we were all reminded of
the excitement we felt during Project Apollo. Of course, the size of the moon did not actually
change, it merely moved up to its point of closest approach.
Systematic perturbations on the moon’s orbit coupled with rhythmic variations in its distance
from the Earth as it traveled around its elliptical orbit resulted in surprisingly large variations
in its apparent size and its brightness as seen from the Earth.
These distance variations, in turn, cause its observed diameter and its brightness to vary by as
much as 15 and 30 percent, respectively. When the moon approaches its maximum apparent
size and brightness, it is characterized as a supermoon. The biggest and brightest supermoons
are spaced out several decades apart.
My son, Chad, who participates in Special Olympics, used his cellphone camera to create the
two photographs that accompany this blog. He took the first picture at the crack of dawn
when the moon reached its maximum diameter at the edge of the parking lot at the Embassy
Suites Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky (population 360,000). He made the second photograph
12 hours later in my hometown of Springfield, Kentucky, ((population 2900). That second
picture was made on a small roadside hill beside the Bardstown Road above the IGA
Supermarket within sight of the yellow blinker light at the edge of town.
Author and short-course instructor, Tom Logsdon, who wrote this article, teaches the Launch
and Orbital Mechanics short course for The Applied Technology Institute. Click here for more
information on that course. He also teaches the GPS and Its International Competitors short
course. Click here for more information.

Super-Moon Photos and Facts

One of the super-moon photos is a humorous hoax. Can you spot it? We knew that ATI’s instructors are world-class experts. They are the best in the business, averaging 25 to 35 years of experience, and are carefully selected for their ability to explain advanced technology in a readily understandable manner. We did not know that many are talented photographers. We challenged them to take some photographs of the November 13-14 super-moon.  See our previous post and then the resulting photographs.

http://www.aticourses.com/blog/index.php/2016/11/13/get-your-camera-ready-super-moon-november-13-14/

Tom Logsdon, who teaches Orbital & Launch Mechanics – Fundamentals provided us some of the orbits key parameters.

Here are the best, most appropriate, average orbital parameters for Earth’s.

perigee radius: 363,300 Km (for the super-moon it was 356,508 Km (or 221,524 miles)

apogee radius: 405,400 Km

Inclination to the ecliptic plane: 5.145 deg

(the plane containing the Earth and the moon)

orbital eccentricity: 0. 0549 (sometimes quoted as 5.49 percent)

recession rate from the Earth: 3.8 cm/yr

Siderial month: 27.3 days

Synodic month: 29.5 days

( the sidereal month is the time it takes for the moon to make one 360 deg trip around the earth;

the synodic month is the month we observe from the spinning earth…it involves a few extra degrees of travel beyond the sidereal month)

Dr. Peter Zipfel Shalimar, Florida

  Dr. Peter Zipfel

Six Degree of Freedom Modeling of Missile and Aircraft Simulations

Aerospace Simulations In C++

  James  Jenkins, Riva, MD

Sonar Signal Processing

 Matt Moran, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Engineering Systems Modeling with Excel / VBA

Thermal & Fluid Systems Modeling

  Matt Moran, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Richard Carande, Denver, CO

Fundamentals of Synthetic Aperture Radar

Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar

Richard Carande, Denver, CO

The photos that beat them all! Taken by the wife or Matt Moran