Category Archives: Satellites

Remote Sensing Before and After Hurricane Harvey

800px-Harvey_2017-08-25_2231ZThe value of remote sensing is shown again with images of before and after Hurricane Harvey. Wow – Take a look!

The Ny times featured Digital Globe images of the areas of Texas that were severely hit by Hurricane Harvey. There are also street level photographs to show the local spots before and after Harvey.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/29/us/houston-before-and-after-hurricane-harvey.html?mcubz=3

If you are interested in learning more about remote sensing from satellites the Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses) has in-depth technical training programs.

https://www.aticourses.com/Optical_Communications_Systems.htm

https://www.aticourses.com/synthetic_aperture_radar.html

https://www.aticourses.com/hyperspectral_imaging.htm

The Washington Post has great images of the the rainfall rate relative to historic averages. The claim is that some Texas areas had a rainfall rate that is a 0.1% chance flood event in a year or 1 in 1000 in a year.

“A new analysis from the University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and
Engineering Center has determined that Harvey is a 1-in-1,000-year flood
event that has overwhelmed an enormous section of Southeast Texas
equivalent in size to New Jersey.”

Harvey released 40 inches to 45 inches of rain in a few days over areas of Texas or about 24.5 trillion gallons of water. Huge amount! – that is 3.5 ft in some areas.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2017/08/31/harvey-is-a-1000-year-flood-event-unprecedented-in-scale/

The prediction of the frequency of strong flooding is tricky. The definitions and methods matter and can be slanted to make the author’s point. See the many comments to the above article.

By some measures this is the third 500 year flood in 3 years for Houston.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/08/29/houston-is-experiencing-its-third-500-year-flood-in-3-years-how-is-that-possible/

Please update this post with useful articles about the analysis of the Harvey rainfall and flooding in comparison to other major US flood events.

GREAT OLD, BIG, HUGE BLACK HOLES

In 1905 Albert Einstein employed one of the most powerful brains on planet Earth to puzzle out an elusive concept called “The Special Theory of Relativity”.  Ten years later he used those same brain cells to develop his even more powerful “General Theory of Relativity”.

Figure 1 highlights his most dramatic proposal for proving – or disproving! – his General Theory of Relativity.  The test he proposed had to take place during a total eclipse of the sun.  For, according to The General Theory of Relativity, light from a more distant star would be bent by about one two-thousandths of a degree when it swept by the edge of the sun.

Four years later (in 1919) the talented British astronomer Arthur Eddington in pursuit of a total eclipse of the sun, ventured to the Crimean Peninsula to perform the test Einstein had proposed based on the idea that “starlight would swerve measurably as it passed through the heavy gravity of the sun, a dimple in the fabric of the universe.”*

A black hole comes into existence when a star converts all of its hydrogen into helium and collapses into a much smaller ball that is so dense nothing can escape from its gravitational pull, not even light.

Capture3

Figure 1:  In 1915, when he finally worked out his General Theory of Relativity, Albert Einstein proposed three clever techniques for testing its validity.  Four years later, in 1919 the British astronomer, Arthur Eddington, took advantage of one of those tests during a total eclipse of the sun to demonstrate that, when a light beam passes near a massive celestial body, it is bent by the local gravitational field as predicted by Einstein’s theory.  This distinctive bending is similar to the manner a baseball headed toward home plate is bent downward by the gravitational pull of the earth.

The existence of black holes was inadvertently predicted by a mathematical relationship Sir Isaac Newton understood and employed in 1687 in developing many of his most powerful scientific predictions, including the rather weird concept of escape velocity.  As Figure 2 indicates, it is called the Vis Viva equation.

Start by solving the Vis Viva equation for the radius Re, then plug in the speed of light, C, as a value for the escape velocity, Ve.  The resulting radius Re is the so-called “event horizon”, which equals the radius at which light cannot escape from an extremely dense sphere of mass, M.  As the calculation on the right-hand side of Figure 2 indicates, if we could somehow compressed the earth down to a radius of 0.35 inches – while preserving its total mass light waves inside the sphere would be unable to escape and, therefore, could not be seen by an observer.  The radius of the event horizon associated with a spherical body of mass, M, is directly proportional to the total mass involved.

Capture4

Figure 2:  The Vis Viva equation was developed and applied repeatedly by Isaac Newton when he was evaluating various gravity-induced phenomena.  Properly applied, the Vis Viva equation predicts that sufficiently dense celestial bodies generate such strong gravitational fields that nothing – not even a beam of light – can escape their clutches.  Today’s astronomers are discovering numerous examples of this counterintuitive effect.  Black holes are one result.

As Figure 3 indicates, an enormous black hole 50 million light years from Earth has been discovered to have a mass equal to 2 billion times the mass of our sun.   It is located in the M87 Galaxy in the constellation Virgo.

Capture5

Figure 3:  In 1994 the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a huge black hole approximately 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles from planet Earth nestled among the stars of the M87 galaxy in the Virgo constellation.  Astronomers estimate that it is 2,000,000,ooo times heavier than our son.  That black hole’s event horizon has a radius of 3,700,000,000 miles or about 40 astronomical units. One astronomical unit being the distance from the earth to our sun.The graph presented in Figure 4 links the masses of various celestial bodies with their corresponding event horizons.  Notice that both the horizontal and the vertical axes range over 20 orders of magnitude!  In 1942 the Indian-born American astrophysicist, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, demonstrated from theoretical considerations that the smallest black hole that can result from the collapse of a main-sequence star, must have a mass that is equal to approximately 3 suns with a corresponding event horizon of 5.5 miles.  The event horizon of a black hole is the maximum radius from which no light can escape.

The graph presented in Figure 4 links the masses of various celestial bodies with their corresponding event horizons.  Notice that both the horizontal and the vertical axes range over 20 orders of magnitude!  In 1942 the Indian-born American astrophysicist, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, demonstrated from theoretical considerations that the smallest black hole that can result from the collapse of a main-sequence star, must have a mass that is equal to approximately 3 suns with a corresponding event horizon of 5.5 miles.  The event horizon of a black hole is the maximum radius from which no light can escape.

See all the ATI open-enrollment course schedule

https://www.aticourses.com/schedule.html

See all the ATI courses on 1 page.

What courses would you like to see scheduled as an open-enrollment or on-site course near your facility?

ATI is planning its schedule of technical training courses and would like your recommendations of courses

that will help your project and/or company.

These courses can also be held on-site at your facility.

http://www.aticourses.com/catalog_of_all_ATI_courses.htm

 

 

DEORBITING SPACE DEBRIS FRAGMENTS USING ONLY EQUIPMENT LOCATED ON THE GROUND

The researchers at NORAD*, which is located under Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, Colorado, are currently tracking 20,000 objects in space as big as a softball or bigger.  Most of these orbiting objects are space debris fragments that can pose a collision hazard to other orbiting satellites such as the International Space Station.

Tracking these fragments of debris is complicated and expensive.  Preventing collisions is expensive, too.  So, too, is designing and building space vehicles that can withstand high-speed impacts.  A cheaper alternative may be to sweep some of the debris out of space to minimize its hazard to other orbit-crossing satellites.

When two orbiting objects collide with one another, the energy exchange can be large and destructive.  Two one-pound fragments impacting each other in a solid collision in low-altitude orbits intersecting at a 15-degree incidence angle can create the energy caused by exploding two pounds of TNT!!

One scientific study showed that returning substantial numbers of debris fragments to Earth with a hydrogen-fueled spaceborne tug would cost approximately $3 billion for each percent reduction in the fragment population – which has been increasing by about 12 percent per year, on average.

Fortunately, a powerful, but relatively inexpensive laser on the ground pointing vertically upward can be used to deorbit fragments of space debris traveling around the earth in low-altitude orbits.  The radial velocity increment provided by such a ground-based laser causes the object to reenter the earth’s atmosphere as shown in  the sketch in the upper left-hand corner of Figure 1.

The total required velocity increment can be added in much smaller increments a little at a time over days or weeks.  Drag with the atmosphere was neglected in the case considered in Figure 1, but, in the real world, atmospheric drag would help the object return to Earth.

Radiation pressure created by the assumed 50,000 watt laser beam is equivalent to 40 suns spread over the one square foot cross section of the object.  The total photon pressure equals 1/13th of a pound per square foot.

*  NORAD = North American Aerospace Defense (Command)

Figure1The researchers at NORAD*, which is located under Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, Colorado, are currently tracking 20,000 objects in space as big as a softball or bigger.  Most of these orbiting objects are space debris fragments that can pose a collision hazard to other orbiting satellites such as the International Space Station.

Tracking these fragments of debris is complicated and expensive.  Preventing collisions is expensive, too.  So, too, is designing and building space vehicles that can withstand high-speed impacts.  A cheaper alternative may be to sweep some of the debris out of space to minimize its hazard to other orbit-crossing satellites.

When two orbiting objects collide with one another, the energy exchange can be large and destructive.  Two one-pound fragments impacting each other in a solid collision in low-altitude orbits intersecting at a 15-degree incidence angle can create the energy caused by exploding two pounds of TNT!!

One scientific study showed that returning substantial numbers of debris fragments to Earth with a hydrogen-fueled spaceborne tug would cost approximately $3 billion for each percent reduction in the fragment population – which has been increasing by about 12 percent per year, on average.

Fortunately, a powerful, but relatively inexpensive laser on the ground pointing vertically upward can be used to deorbit fragments of space debris traveling around the earth in low-altitude orbits.  The radial velocity increment provided by such a ground-based laser causes the object to reenter the earth’s atmosphere as shown in  the sketch in the upper left-hand corner of Figure 1.

The total required velocity increment can be added in much smaller increments a little at a time over days or weeks.  Drag with the atmosphere was neglected in the case considered in Figure 1, but, in the real world, atmospheric drag would help the object return to Earth.

Radiation pressure created by the assumed 50,000 watt laser beam is equivalent to 40 suns spread over the one square foot cross section of the object.  The total photon pressure equals 1/13th of a pound per square foot.

*  NORAD = North American Aerospace Defense (Command)

Figure2

Figure 2:  These engineering calculations show that the 20,000 space debris fragments now circling the earth in low-altitude orbits could, on average, each be deorbited with ground-based lasers for approximately $40,000 worth of electrical power.  Those same ground-based lasers could be used in a different mode to reboost valuable or dangerous payloads in low-altitude orbits or to send those payloads bound for geosynchoronous orbits onto their transfer ellipses.  (SOURCE:  Short course “Fundamentals of Space Exploration”.  Instructor: Tom Logsdon. (Seal Beach, CA)

See all the ATI open-enrollment course schedule

https://www.aticourses.com/schedule.html

See all the ATI courses on 1 page.

What courses would you like to see scheduled as an open-enrollment or on-site course near your facility?

ATI is planning its schedule of technical training courses and would like your recommendations of courses

that will help your project and/or company.

These courses can also be held on-site at your facility.

http://www.aticourses.com/catalog_of_all_ATI_courses.htm

AMERICA’S INFRARED SPITZER TELESCOPE by Tom Logsdon

ASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which launched Aug. 25, 2003, will begin the “Beyond” phase of its mission on Oct. 1, 2016. Spitzer has been operating beyond the limits that were set for it at the beginning of its mission, and making discoveries in unexpected areas of science, such as exoplanets.
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which launched Aug. 25, 2003, will begin the “Beyond” phase of its mission on Oct. 1, 2016. Spitzer has been operating beyond the limits that were set for it at the beginning of its mission, and making discoveries in unexpected areas of science, such as exoplanets.

Tom Logsdon teaches a number of courses for Applied Technology Institute including:

  1. Orbital & Launch Mechanics – Fundamentals
  2. GPS Technology
  3. Strapdown and Integrated Navigation Systems
  4. Breakthrough Thinking: Creative Solutions for Professional Success

The article below was written by him could be of interest to our readers.

AMERICA’S INFRARED SPITZER TELESCOPE

“As in the soft and sweet eclipse, when soul meets soul on lover’s lips.”

 

British Lyric Poet

                                                                                                Percy Shelly

                                                                                                     Prometheus Unbound, 1820

America’s famous inventor, Thomas Edison, The Wizard of Menlo Park, had long admired the somber, romantic words penned by England’s master poet Percy Shelly.  And, like Shelly, he, too, was enchanted with the sensual experiences conjured up by the periodic eclipses that blotted out the sun and the moon.

In 1878 Edison clambered aboard the newly constructed transcontinental railroad headed from New Jersey to Wyoming where he hoped to utilize his newly constructed infrared sensor to study the total solar eclipse he knew would soon sweep across America’s western landscape.  When he arrived in Wyoming, the only building he could rent was an old chicken coop at the edge of the prairie.  And, as soon as the moon slipped in front of the sun causing the sky to darken, the chickens decided to come to roost.

Soon The Wizard of Menlo Park was so busy trying to quiet his squawking companions, he caught only a fleeting glimpse of the rare and colorful spectacle lighting up the darkened daytime sky.  His infrared sensor, unfortunately, remained untested that day.

Even if those agitated Wyoming chickens had behaved themselves with proper decorum during that unusual event, Thomas Edison’s sensor would have been entirely ineffective because most of the infrared frequencies emanating from the sun and the stars are absorbed by the atmosphere surrounding the earth.  However, sensors of similar design can, and do, handle important astronomical tasks when they are installed in cryogenically cooled telescopes launched into space by powerful and well-designed rockets.

The infrared rays streaming down to earth from distant stars and galaxies lie just beyond the bright red colors at the edge of in the electromagnetic spectrum our eyes can see.  As such, they penetrate the clouds of dust found, in such abundance, in interstellar space.  The dust that has accumulated under your bed is not particularly valuable or interesting.  But the dust found in outer space is far more beneficial – and exciting, too!

The Spitzer Space Telescope – a giant thermos bottle in space – now following along behind planet earth as it circles the sun, was an effective infrared telescope until it used up its entire supply of liquid helium coolant.  In the meantime, it has become a “warm” space-age telescope seeking out previously undiscovered exoplanets orbiting around suns trillions of miles away.  This is accomplished by observing their shadows periodically dimming the star’s visible light as the various planets coast in between the Spitzer and the celestial body being observed.

See all the ATI open-enrollment course schedule

https://www.aticourses.com/schedule.html

See all the ATI courses on 1 page.

What courses would you like to see scheduled as an open-enrollment or on-site course near your facility?

ATI is planning its schedule of technical training courses and would like your recommendations of courses

that will help your project and/or company.

These courses can also be held on-site at your facility.

http://www.aticourses.com/catalog_of_all_ATI_courses.htm

 

New Color Maps of Pluto

The Principal Investigator (PI) for the LORRI instrument is Andy Cheng, and it is operated from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Laurel, Maryland. Alan Stern is the PI for the MVIC and Ralph instruments, which are operated from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas. And as you can plainly see, the maps are quite detailed and eye-popping!

Dr. Stern, who is also the PI of the New Horizons mission, commented on the release of the maps in a recent NASA press statement. As he stated, they are just the latest example of what the New Horizons mission accomplished during its historic mission:

“The complexity of the Pluto system — from its geology to its satellite system to its atmosphere— has been beyond our wildest imagination. Everywhere we turn are new mysteries. These new maps from the landmark exploration of Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons mission in 2015 will help unravel these mysteries and are for everyone to enjoy.”

 

Maps at
https://www.universetoday.com/136498/hey-map-collectors-heres-new-map-pluto/

How to Promote Your ATI Course in Social Media

How to Promote Your ATI Course in Social Media

LinkedIn for ATI Rocket Scientists

 

Did you know that for 52% of professionals and executives, their LinkedIn profile is the #1 or #2 search result when someone searches on their name?

For ATI instructors, that number is substantially lower – just 17%. One reason is that about 25% of ATI instructors do not have a LinkedIn profile. Others have done so little with their profile that it isn’t included in the first page of search results.

If you are not using your LinkedIn profile, you are missing a huge opportunity. When people google you, your LinkedIn profile is likely the first place they go to learn about you. You have little control over what other information might be available on the web about you. But you have complete control over your LinkedIn profile. You can use your profile to tell your story – to give people the exact information you want them to have about your expertise and accomplishments.

 

Why not take advantage of that to promote your company, your services, and your course?

Here are some simple ways to promote your course using LinkedIn…

On Your LinkedIn Profile

Let’s start by talking about how to include your course on your LinkedIn profile so it is visible anytime someone googles you or visits your profile.

1. Add your role as an instructor.

Let people know that this course is one of the ways you share your knowledge. You can include your role as an instructor in several places on your profile:

  • Experience – This is the equivalent of listing your role as a current job. (You can have more than one current job.) Use Applied Technology Institute as the employer. Make sure you drag and drop this role below your full-time position.
  • Summary – Your summary is like a cover letter for your profile – use it to give people an overview of who you are and what you do. You can mention the type of training you do, along with the name of your course.
  • Projects – The Projects section gives you an excellent way to share the course without giving it the same status as a full-time job.
  • Headline – Your Headline comes directly below your name, at the top of your profile. You could add “ATI Instructor” at the end of your current Headline.

Start with an introduction, such as “I teach an intensive course through the Applied Technology Institute on [course title]” and copy/paste the description from your course materials or the ATI website. You can add a link to the course description on the ATI website.

This example from Tom Logsdon’s profile, shows how you might phrase it:

 

Here are some other examples of instructors who include information about their courses on their LinkedIn profile:

  • Buddy Wellborn – His Headline says “Instructor at ATI” and Buddy includes details about the course in his Experience section.
  • D. Lee Fugal – Mentions the course in his Summary and Experience.
  • Jim Jenkins – Courses are included throughout Jim’s profile, including his Headline, Summary, Experience, Projects, and Courses.
  • 2. Link to your course page.

In the Contact Info section of your LinkedIn profile, you can link out to three websites. To add your course, go to Edit Profile, then click on Contact Info (just below your number of connections, next to a Rolodex card icon). Click on the pencil icon to the right of Websites to add a new site.

Choose the type of website you are adding. The best option is “Other:” as that allows you to insert your own name for the link. You have 35 characters – you can use a shortened version of your course title or simply “ATI Course.” Then copy/paste the link to the page about your course.

This example from Jim Jenkins’ profile shows how a customized link looks:

 

3. Upload course materials.

You can upload course materials to help people better understand the content you cover. You could include PowerPoint presentations (from this course or other training), course handouts (PDFs), videos or graphics. They can be added to your Summary, Experience or Project. You can see an example of an upload above, in Tom Logsdon’s profile.

4. Add skills related to your course.

LinkedIn allows you to include up to 50 skills on your profile. If your current list of skills doesn’t include the topics you cover in your course, you might want to add them.

Go to the Skills & Endorsements section on your Edit Profile page, then click on Add skill. Start typing and let LinkedIn auto-complete your topic. If your exact topic isn’t included in the suggestions, you can add it.

5. Ask students for recommendations.

Are you still in touch with former students who were particularly appreciative of the training you provided in your course? You might want to ask them for a recommendation that you can include on your profile. Here are some tips on asking for recommendations from LinkedIn expert Viveka Von Rosen.

6. Use an exciting background graphic.

You can add an image at the top of your profile – perhaps a photo of you teaching the course, a photo of your course materials, a graphic from your presentation, or simply some images related to your topic. You can see an example on Val Traver’s profile.

Go to Edit Profile, then run your mouse over the top of the page (just above your name). You will see the option to Edit Background. Click there and upload your image. The ideal size is 1400 pixels by 425. LinkedIn prefers a JPG, PNG or GIF. Of course, only upload an image that you have permission to use.

 

Share News about Your Course

You can also use LinkedIn to attract more attendees to your course every time you teach.

7. When a course date is scheduled, share the news as a status update.

This lets your connections know that you are teaching a course – it’s a great way to reach the people who are most likely to be interested and able to make referrals.

Go to your LinkedIn home page, and click on the box under your photo that says “Share an update.” Copy and paste the URL of the page on the ATI website that has the course description. Once the section below populates with the ATI Courses logo and the course description, delete the URL. Replace it with a comment such as:

“Looking forward to teaching my next course on [title] for @Applied Technology Institute on [date] at [location].”

Note that when you finish typing “@Applied Technology Institute” it will give you the option to click on the company name. When you do that ATI will know you are promoting the course, and will be deeply grateful!

When people comment on your update, it’s nice to like their comment or reply with a “Thank you!” message. Their comment shares the update with their network, so they are giving your course publicity.

If you want to start doing more with status updates, here are some good tips about what to share (and what not to share) from LinkedIn expert Kim Garst.

8. Share the news in LinkedIn Groups.

If you have joined any LinkedIn Groups in your areas of expertise, share the news there too.

Of course, in a Group you want to phrase the message a little differently. Instead of “Looking forward to teaching…” you might say “Registration is now open for…” or “For everyone interested in [topic], I’m teaching…”

You could also ask a thought-provoking question on one of the topics you cover. Here are some tips about how to start an interesting discussion in a LinkedIn Group.

9. Post again if you still have seats available.

If the course date is getting close and you are looking for more people to register, you should post again. The text below will work as a status update and in most LinkedIn Groups.

“We still have several seats open for my course on [title] on [date] at [location]. If you know of anyone who might be interested, could you please forward this? Thanks. ”

“We have had a few last-minute cancellations for my course on [title] on [date] at [location]. Know anyone who might be interested in attending?”

10. Blog about the topic of the course.

When you publish blog posts on LinkedIn using their publishing platform, you get even more exposure than with a status update:

  • The blog posts are pushed out to all your connections.
  • They stay visible on your LinkedIn profile, and
  • They are made available to Google and other search engines.

A blog post published on LinkedIn will rank higher than one posted elsewhere, because LinkedIn is such an authority site. So this can give your course considerable exposure.

You probably have written articles or have other content relevant to the course. Pick something that is 750-1500 words.

To publish it, go to your LinkedIn home page, and click on the link that says “Publish a post.” The interface is very simple – easier than using Microsoft Word. Include an image if you can. You probably have something in your training materials that will be perfect.

At the end of the post, add a sentence that says:

“To learn more, attend my course on [title].”

Link the title to the course description on the ATI website.

For more tips about blogging, you are welcome to join ProResource’s online training website. The How to Write Blog Posts for LinkedIn course is free.

Take the first step

The most important version of your bio in the digital world is your LinkedIn summary. If you only make one change as a result of reading this blog post, it should be to add a strong summary to your LinkedIn profile. Write the summary promoting yourself as an expert in your field, not as a job seeker. Here are some resources that can help:

Write the first draft of your profile in a word processing program to spell-check and ensure you are within the required character counts. Then copy/paste it into the appropriate sections of your LinkedIn profile. You will have a stronger profile that tells your story effectively with just an hour or two of work!

Contributed by guest blogger Judy Schramm. Schramm is the CEO of ProResource, a marketing agency that works with thought leaders to help them create a powerful and effective presence in social media. ProResource offers done-for-you services as well as social media executive coaching. Contact Judy Schramm at jschramm@proresource.com or 703-824-8482.

 

New Horizons – This was almost a disaster, but was saved by knowledgeable scientists.

The people in the Mission Operations Center — “the MOC” — had been tracking NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft for 9½ years as it journeyed the breadth of the solar system. It was just 10 days away from the dwarf planet Pluto when, at 1:55 p.m. on July 4, it vanished.

The disappearance of the spacecraft challenged the New Horizons team to perform at its highest level and under the greatest of deadline pressures. They did work efficiently and saved the mission. We all wish the New Horizons team the best as they approach the busiest time of the fly-by encounter. I have known and respected many of the engineers and scientist for more than 20 years and am happy to praise their skills.

The nature of the New Horizons mission did not permit any wiggle room, any delays, any do-overs, because it was a flyby. The spacecraft had one shot at Pluto, tightly scheduled: When it vanished, New Horizons was going about 32,000 miles per hour and on track to make its closest pass to Pluto, about 7,800 miles, at precisely 7:49 a.m. July 14.

But as the New Horizons team gathered in the control room on July 4, no one knew whether their spacecraft was still alive.

 

Because New Horizons is so far away, it takes 4 1/2 hours for a one-way message between the spacecraft and the MOC. That means whatever happened to New Horizons on July 4 had actually happened 4 1/2 hours before the people in Mission Operations knew about it.

 

The team figured out what had gone wrong. The spacecraft’s main computer had been compressing new scientific data for downloading much later. At the same time, it was supposed to execute some previously uploaded commands. It got overloaded; the spacecraft has an “autonomy” system that can decide what to do if something’s not quite right. That system decided to switch from the main to the backup computer and go into safe mode.

Read more at

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-inside-story-of-new-horizons-apollo-13-moment-on-its-way-to-pluto/2015/07/10/fb361248-25ad-11e5-b72c-2b7d516e1e0e_story.html

Additional information about the start of the New Horizons mission and the key roles played by ATI instructors who worked (and are still working) on the New Horizons mission see

The New Horizons Mission to Pluto–Ten Experts Who Worked Behind-the-Scenes On the New Horizons Mission and Who Teach for ATIcourses.

New Horizons: Recollections of Ground System Engineer, Steve Gemeny

New Horizons: Recollections of Ground System Engineer, Steve Gemeny

This image of Pluto from New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) was received on July 8, and has been combined with lower-resolution color information from the Ralph instrument.

When we think about the ground system on a space mission we tend to consider all the systems associated with commanding, receiving and archiving telemetry, and all the communications systems and equipment that makes that all work.  We plan contingencies, and redundancies, we back up everything in multiple formats, and on long duration missions like New Horizons someone eventually has to address “how are we going to keep all that stuff on the ground running for 10 – 20 years”-  and produces a Longevity Plan.

But once everything is all setup, and operational, and all the staff are at their stations on launch day – having already given the first “Go For Launch” pole responses with 5 hours till launch – You have to wonder, did anyone ever consider what to do if the entire JHU/APL campus goes dark!

No one had.  And with a newly installed cutover for the main (PEPCO) power feed providing an automatic transfer to a backup (BGE) feed  no one expected to ever need the capability, let alone that it would failed to transfer.  It did- at about 5:30 am on launch day while I was on console at KSC.  The rapid application of backup generators to sustain the Mission Operations Center at APL only solved half of the issues…  Network switches and routers were scattered across campus, most only running on UPS Power until that failed too… there was no cooling air to keep everything operating within normal temperatures on January 18, 2006…  Things were going from bad to worse and the Mission System Engineer was heard to say “  I’ve seen how quickly a Launch day can get deep into the contingency  plan, I’m not starting a launch when we are already this deep into solving unplanned contingencies”. This resulted in the launch being scrubbed and resumed on January 19th after power and environmental control systems were restored campus wide at APL.

Fortunately, I spent the time that afternoon to write the whole thing up in case I was asked to give a report, I’ve got pictures of generators outside Building 13, with external air handlers and chillers hosed up to blowers and leaks flooding the hallways…  It was a ZOO!.  I was safe at KSC and we restarted the count for a successful launch on the 19th.

Steve Gemeny teaches Ground Systems Design & Operations http://www.aticourses.com/ground_systems_design.htm course for ATICourses.

Other scientists & engineers that worked on the New Horizons and also teach for ATI are:

1. Dr. Alan Stern http://aticourses.com/planetary_science.htm

2. Eric Hoffman

http://www.aticourses.com/effective_design_reviews.htm

http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_quality.htm

http://www.aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm

3. Chris DeBoy

http://www.aticourses.com/Satellite_Communications_Design_Engineering.htm

4. Dr. Mark E. Pittelkau http://www.aticourses.com/attitude_determination.htm

5. Douglas Mehoke http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_thermal_control.htm

6. John Penn http://www.aticourses.com/fundamentals_of_RF_engineering.html

7. Timothy Cole

http://www.aticourses.com/space_based_lasers.htm

http://www.aticourses.com/Tactical_Intelligence_Surveillance_Reconnaissance_System_Engineering.htm

http://www.aticourses.com/Wireless_Sensor_Networking.htm

8. Robert Moore http://www.aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm

9. Jay Jenkins http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_solar_arrays.htm

 

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Are We At The Brink Of Space War? Russian Object 2014-28E could be a satellite-killer.

Space debris populations seen from outside geosynchronous orbit (GEO). Note the two primary debris fields, the ring of objects in GEO, and the cloud of objects in low earth orbit (LEO).

Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering and Radar, Missiles & Combat Systems.  We think the news on mysterious Object 2014-28E launched by Russian military could be of interest to our readers.

A strange vehicle floating above our atmosphere could be Russia’s first piece of space weaponry launched since the end of the Cold War.
Called Object 2014-28E, it has been making unusual movements towards other Russian space vehicles over the past few weeks, and last night it was spotted moving over Guatemala.
It is now being monitored by Norad, the US Military space defence command, since no one can work out for certain what it is.
On the one hand it could be nothing more than a civilian project to help clean up space junk, or a craft for refuelling Russian satellites already in space.
But another, more sinister theory, is that it has been designed to damage satellites belonging to other nations, such as those of the US. In other words, it could be a “satellite killer”.
Patricia Lewis, research director at think-tank Chatham House, told the FT: “It could have a number of functions, some civilian and some military. One possibility is for some kind of grabber bar.
“Another would be kinetic pellets which shoot out at another satellite. Or possibly there could be a satellite-to-satellite cyber attack or jamming.
She added that as long as countries are adopting military methods of attack on the ground, there is no reason why this shouldn’t extend to space. “It would be odd if space were to remain the one area that [militaries] don’t get their hands on,” she said.
It was only last week, after all, that hackers linked to the Chinese government infiltrated US federal weather satellites.
The fact that Russia has not declared the launch of this mysterious object has exacerbated fears of a revival of the Kremlin’s former project to destroy satellites. During the Cold War, Stalin introduced a project called Istrebitel Sputnikov for just this purpose, and sent military vehicles into space to damage US satellites.
The project came to an end in 1989 when the iron curtain fell – a time when many of the clandestine research projects Soviet and US engineers were working on were closed down.
But Russian military officials publicly stated that they would restart research if their relations with the US over anti-missile defence treaties deteriorated.
Given the many sanctions the West is currently placing on Russia due to its involvement in the Ukraine crisis, it seems like the time is ripe for Moscow to take up its space weapons once more.

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Two Galileo Satellites Are Parked In the Wrong Spots

The satellites were launched on Friday from French Guiana
The satellites were launched on Friday from French Guiana

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on spacecraft design. spacecraft quality control or spacecraft thermal design.

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

An international inquiry is under way into an embarrassing error which has left two multi-million European satellites that were launched from French Guiana in the wrong orbit.

On 22 August, a Soyuz rocket launched the fifth and sixth satellites of Europe’s Galileo project, a satellite navigation system that will eventually comprise 30 satellites designed to make Europe independent of U.S., Russian, and other GPS systems. Unlike most Soyuz launches, the rocket did not lift off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, but from Kourou, Europe’s space center in French Guiana.  Apparently the launch went off without incident, but it soon became apparent that the two satellites were injected into the wrong orbits. The upper stage of the Soyuz rocket, the Fregat-MT, injected them into elliptical orbits instead of circular ones, making the satellites unusable for GPS navigation.

The issue was the result of a frozen full pipe that delivered hydrazine to thrusters necessary to align the Fregat upper stage ready for correct orbital injection.

The freeze was the result of cold helium feed lines being installed in close proximity to the hydrazine fuel lines. They were collectedly the same support structure which led to a thermal bridge. This sequence of events occurred due to a design ambiguity which failed to recognize the possibility of thermal transfer between these components.

While it doesn’t help the two satellites that are now effectively lost to the Galileo network, it is at least a simple fix and will not result in delays to the next launch scheduled for December.


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