End of Primary Mission of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope


WASHINGTON — The primary mission of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope is about to end after more than five and a half years of probing the cosmos with its keen infrared eye. Within about a week of May 12, the telescope is expected to run out of the liquid helium needed to chill some of its instruments to operating temperatures.

The end of the coolant will begin a new era for Spitzer. The telescope will start its “warm” mission with two channels of one instrument still working at full capacity. Some of the science explored by a warm Spitzer will be the same, and some will be entirely new.

“We like to think of Spitzer as being reborn,” said Robert Wilson, Spitzer project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “Spitzer led an amazing life, performing above and beyond its call of duty. Its primary mission might be over, but it will tackle new scientific pursuits, and more breakthroughs are sure to come.”

Spitzer is the last of NASA’s Great Observatories, a suite of telescopes designed to see the visible and invisible colors of the universe. The suite also includes NASA’s Hubble and Chandra space telescopes. Spitzer has explored, with unprecedented sensitivity, the infrared side of the cosmos, where dark, dusty and distant objects hide.

For a telescope to detect infrared light — essentially heat — from cool cosmic objects, it must have very little heat of its own. During the past five years, liquid helium has run through Spitzer’s “veins,”
keeping its three instruments chilled to -456 degrees Fahrenheit
(-271 Celsius), or less than 3 degrees above absolute zero, the coldest temperature theoretically attainable. The cryogen was projected to last as little as two and a half years, but Spitzer’s efficient design and careful operations enabled it to last more than five and a half years.

Spitzer’s new “warm” temperature is still quite chilly at -404 degrees Fahrenheit (-242 Celsius), much colder than a winter day in Antarctica when temperatures sometimes reach -75 degrees Fahrenheit
(-59 Celsius). This temperature rise means two of Spitzer’s instruments — its longer wavelength multiband imaging photometer and its infrared spectrograph — will no longer be cold enough to detect cool objects in space.

You can learn more about Space Mission Design and Analysis at ATI Space Mission Design and Analysis

Workers For The U.S. Satellite Industry

I thought that this was interesting:

by Marion Blakey, President and CEO
Aerospace Industries Association

Photo 1
The U.S. satellite industry has a great deal to worry about these days ­— lost opportunities due to outdated export control rules, global competition from more and more countries every day, the various technical challenges of providing new services — but there’s another issue out there affecting the entire aerospace industry that demands attention in the satellite sector — a looming workforce crisis.

The U.S. aerospace industry workforce is currently dominated by aging workers — baby boomers who were enthralled with space travel and answered our nation’s call to win the Space Race and put Americans on the moon. Today, nearly 60 percent of aerospace workers were age 45 or older in 2007, with retirement eligibility either imminent or already reached.

There is a growing need to replace these experienced workers, especially the engineer talent pool, with capable new talent to ensure that the United States continues to be the world’s leader in satellite technology and other important aerospace applications. But there are not sufficient numbers of young people studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — the STEM disciplines — that would put them on the path to enter aerospace careers and replace our retiring workers.

There is very strong competition for our nation’s brightest math- and science-oriented students. Aerospace companies are forced to share talent with a variety of high-tech industries that were not even around when baby boomers were selecting their careers. For example, more than half of those who graduate with bachelor’s degrees in engineering go into totally unrelated fields for employment. And the numbers earning advanced degrees in STEM subject areas lag other fields by huge margins.

More at http://www.satmagazine.com/cgi-bin/display_article.cgi?number=1220945084

Even a bad day of fishing beats a good day at the office…ATIcourses has a great day fishing on the Chesapeake.

Jim Jenkins and Ed McCarthy (and families) from ATIcourses.com went fishing on April 28, 2009. We left from Chesapeake Beach, Maryland with Captain Russel on the Carol G. The Captain used high frequency sonar to locate the best fishing holes and to alert when fish past near the boat. He also used a high-tech planar board ( or out-rigger sled) to fish more lines to both sides of the boat.

It was a clear, sunny day. The fishing was great. Six rockfish (also known as striped bass) were caught in about 6 hours. The biggest were 47 and 37 inches. Both are really big fish. The 47 incher approaches the state record holder ( 52 inches in length, but more weight). The fish was shared by all and was mighty tasty.


During the trophy season that runs through May 15, anglers may catch one striped bass per day measuring over 28 inches in the lower Potomac River and throughout much of the Chesapeake Bay.

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.

UAV Helped With Pirate Incident

  • ScanEagle’s Pirate Patrol Proves Potency Of UAV
    From The Enterprise (White Salmon, Washington), written by Jesse Burkhardt, comes the story of how local company Insitu’s “ScanEagle” drone aircraft contributed to the successful military operation on April 12th that freed American ship captain Richard Phillips who was being held hostage by Somali pirates and then enduring the ensuring four-day standoff. Full Story
  • The Bainbridge employed the  ScanEagle UAV technology to provide around the clock observation of the lifeboat.

Whales Listening and Underwater Sound

Whales Listening and Underwater Sound


There are many sites that record and stream to the Internet the sounds of underwater hydrophones. Links to some are listed below. Many are designed to listen to whales and dolphins. Some sites even combine web cams and live underwater sounds.


Some links are listed below.







Other marine audio streams listed by http://orcasound.net/


http://www.whalesong.net/  is a project inspired by the beauty of oceans. This beauty includes not only the visual aspects of the water planet we live on, but also a mysterious and incredible world of sound, which whales and dolphins use to navigate and communicate across vast oceans. The vocalizations of these ancient cetaceans have inspired music, poetry, scientific discovery, and perhaps even languages and cultures.

http://www.whalesong.net/ magnificent marine mammals and the messages that they communicate face new challenges as the sonic world of the seas becomes the testing ground for high powered sonar systems and new military technologies, scientific research that utilizes high intensity sound, undersea explosions related to the search for oil and minerals, as well as other human activities. Global warming, carbon dioxide dumping, radioactive and chemical pollution, and commercial whaling are other threats.

2   http://www.awi.de/en/research/new_technologies/marine_observing_systems/ocean_acoustics/palaoa/palaoa_livestream/


PALAOA – Transmitting live from the Ocean below the Antarctic Ice

Overview PALAOA area

You can listen to the underwater sound of the Antarctic Ocean with a delay of a few seconds here.  

– should work on any computer right off the box, otherwise please check your browser or default multimedia player settings.

Please note, this transmission is not optimized for easy listening, but for scientific research. It is highly compressed (24kBit Ogg-Vorbis), so sound quality is far from perfect. Additionally, animal voices may be very faint. Amplifier settings are a compromise between picking up distant animals and not overdriving the system by nearby calving icebergs. So you might need to pump up the volume – but beware of sudden extremely loud events.


Hydrophones Help Scientists Pinpoint, Protect Right Whales

By Alexis Madrigal May 09, 2008 | 11:06:57 AMCategories: Animals, Web/Tech  


Regular Wired Science readers know that I have a thing for underwater microphones. Streaming the depths of the ocean to your laptop is just plain awesome. But now scientists are using them to do some good. Researchers at the Cornell Bioacoustics Research Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute have teamed up to use hydrophones to protect endangered whales off the coast of Massachusetts.

Using ten microphones attached by a stretchy data cable to buoys at the surface and special software that picks out the acoustic signature of right whales, the scientists are able to detect the slow-moving marine mammals. When a hydrophone hears a whale, it makes a cell or satellite call to researchers who contact ship captains to tell them to watch out. The map to the right is a near real-time detection map provided to you, at listenforwhales.org.

It’s important work as less than 400 right whales survive and run-ins with ships are a leading cause of their death.

4   http://orcasound.net/


A growing coalition of scientists, educators, and citizens are working together to expand a regional hydrophone network in the Salish Sea. This site is part of the SeaSound Project of The Whale Museum and is an experiment in sharing real-time underwater sound. The goals are to monitor the critical habitat of endangered southern resident killer whales to detect orca sounds and measure ambient noise levels.

Listen live via the links in the table or in the pop-up description you get by clicking the green markers on the map. For some hydrophones you can also watch live video from nearby (by clicking on the camera icons). The other icons show other hydrophones in the region that have not yet been networked.

2009 listening challenge: Help notify researchers when orcas are in the Salish Sea. If you hear killer whales please email detection@orcasound.net or log your observations in a collaborative Google spreadsheet. Use the Salish Sea sound tutor to learn to tell which pod is present based on the calls they use most often. Use web cams and other real-time sensors around the Salish Sea to figure out what else you might be hearing.  


Baleen Whales Toothed Whales Dolphins Minke Whale Song Other Ocean Sounds



The Voices in the Sea website demonstrates the diversity of marine mammals in the world’s oceans and the important role that sound plays in all aspects of their lives. In the website videos, scientists describe their research efforts, show new technologies that are making this work possible, and share the most current insight into the natural history and conservation of these fascinating animals. 

Other marine audio streams listed by http://orcasound.net/

Please let us know of other live streams.

Sonar Sounds and Dolpins – This actually is favorable.

Jim’s comments

This actually is favorable. First the sound levels are very high and the hearing loss was temporary. “The deafness, though, was only temporary and the dolphin was not hurt in the experiment”. “The hearing was typically restored after 20 minutes, and its loss only occurred after the dolphin was exposed to five rounds of noise.”

Secondly the animal was restrained, but in the wild the dolphin can move away our turn its body. The levels are equivalent to a very high level in the peak of a sonar beam. “The sound levels that we used were essentially the equivalent of if an animal is about 40 metres (yards) from the sonar source” . That would mean a source level of 203 + 32 = 235dB re 1 uPa at 1 meter. But the sound typically reduces as 20 Log (Range) from 1 to hundreds of meters. At 100 m the sound is reduced by 40 dB and at 300 m the sound is reduced by 50 dB.

\Yahoo News

Powerful sonar causes deafness in dolphins: study AFP/File – Dolphins swim off the coast of the Tuamotu islands in French Polynesia. Very loud, repeated blasts of …
Tue Apr 7, 7:05 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – Very loud, repeated blasts of sonar can cause a dolphin to temporarily lose its hearing, according to an investigation into a suspected link between naval operations and cetacean strandings.

Numerous beachings of whales, dolphins and porpoises have occurred over the past decade, prompting a finger of blame to be pointed at warship exercises.

A theory is that the mammals’ hearing becomes damaged by the powerful mid-frequency sonar used by submarines and surface vessels, prompting the creatures, which themselves use sound for navigation, to become disoriented.

A paper published in the British journal Biology Letters on Wednesday provides the first lab-scale investigation into this idea, although its authors stress it does not provide proof that warship sonar is to blame.

Marine biologists led by Aran Mooney at the University of Hawaii exposed a captive-born, trained Atlantic bottlenose dolphin to progressively louder pings of mid-frequency sonar.

The experiment took place in open water pens at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and in the presence of the dolphin’s trainer.

The scientists fitted a harmless suction cup to the dolphin’s head, with a sensor attached that monitored the animal’s brainwaves.

When the pings reached 203 decibels and were repeated, the neurological data showed the mammal had become deaf, for its brain no longer responded to sound.

The deafness, though, was only temporary and the dolphin was not hurt in the experiment, said Mooney.

The hearing was typically restored after 20 minutes, and its loss only occurred after the dolphin was exposed to five rounds of noise. Each round comprised a block of three pings, with 24 seconds between each block.

Other sensors showed that the dolphin’s breathing rose significantly when the sonar was turned on.

“We definitely showed that there are physiological and some behavioural effects [from repeated, loud sonar], but to extrapolate that into the wild, we don’t really know,” Mooney said in an interview with AFP.

“The sound levels that we used were essentially the equivalent of if an animal is about 40 metres (yards) from the sonar source,” he said.

“The animal would have to be there for about two minutes or so” to get the same level of exposure as in the Hawaii experiment.

“That’s a pretty long time for an animal to be there. If the sound’s pretty loud and the animal’s not used to it, he would move around, and the ship itself is moving in a different direction.”

On the other hand, a cetacean that sought to escape a persistent loud sonar may not easily find an escape route, said Mooney.

“In the ocean, sound doesn’t attenuate in a normal fashion. Sound can sometimes get trapped at the surface, in layers called thermoclines, at the top 100 metres (325 feet) or so.

“Maybe in those conditions it’s more difficult to get away from the sound to a quieter area.”

Further work is needed to figure out what happens at lower sound levels from sonar and at greater distances to see how cetaceans respond, he said.

I am eager to exchange ideas and tips with other seminar marketers.

Carolyn and Jim Jenkins attended a two-day seminar Effective Seminar/Conference Marketing (ESCM) in January 2009. The seminar is sponsored by Clemson University and was worth while. We came away with a long list of ideas for improving ATIcourses seminar marketing. We have implemented some already. Some are discussed below. I am eager to exchange ideas and tips with both my instructors and other seminar marketers.

This was originally written for ATIcourses instructors, but contains some of the ideas from the seminar.Some ideas from the seminar that ATIcourses has implemented include:

A blog (or weblog) is a website, usually maintained by an individual or company with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. A blog is an easy way to allow you as an instructor to post things about your course that might draw interest from prospective students. The ESCM states that search engines like blogs and give their links a high ranking. Thus posting news related to your course topic helps improve the ATIcourses web site ranking relative to your key words. I have set up Google alerts for some key words and post short news pieces related to underwater sound, radar, and satellites. I welcome any posts related to your course subject area or your course. This is an easy chance to generate web coverage. The blog already receives a lot of page views.

ExpertClick (http://www.expertclick.com/) publishes a Yearbook of Experts, Authorities and Spokespersons that is used for those in the media seeking swift contact with experts for interview. It also has www.NewsReleaseWire.com that posts news releases that show up in Google News and Yahoo News. Again ESCM states that these news releases are helpful in maintaining a good search engine ranking. This service was discovered by Mark, a new ATI instructor on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Mark and ATI are sharing a listing that costs about $1000 a year that will allow each of us to post 26 media releases per year, starting in February. Mark has already had a telephone interview from Aviation Week about UAS and their communications requirements. Some of you who are consultants may find the service of value. Lisa just reported to me that this last week she received three registrations for an acoustics course that the student learned about through a “goof-ball Navy newspaper” that picked up the press release. WOW. I am impressed.


Google Analytics (GA) tracks visitors to ATI’s web site. For example, in the last 30 days www.ATIcourses.com had 14,526 visitors, 12,303 unique visitors. GA tracks the top landing pages and the top search terms. I do not completely understand all the information or how to best use it to optimize our web site. ATI has many tutorial pages written by our instructors. http://www.aticourses.com/ati_tutorials.htm One thing is clear. These pages draw web traffic. These are common top landing pages and are referenced by other web sites, some are referenced by Wikipedia.

Course Overview Sampler One of the techniques that ATI has used in the past is a short sample of the course notes to attract the prospective students to a course. Typically the sampler is 25 to no more than 50 pages of the actual course notes. The idea is to provide enough of a sample of the course materials to attract people interested in the area and the search engines, but not give away so much that people will do not need to attend. The search engines also index these pages. Several of our previous samplers rank high in search engines and attract hundreds of new viewers each month.

The final product is a locked PDF, so people cannot easily edit or change the document. They must keep the water marked promo information if they print the information. The final product will also include a watermark that shows behind the text that this is copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced without permission.

If you think this is a good idea, please select 20-50 of your slides (best as you know your materials). We can and will add the watermark for printed materials. See other examples at


We already have over 40 sampler pages posted originally in 2004-2005 and I want to expand and use these as additional marketing tools in 2009. Engineers and scientists love to look at technical information that is a sample of what they will receive in the course. We will reference the course overview samples (when available) in our press releases and email broadcasts.

You can send us Power Point files and ATI can convert it into locked, watermarked PDF files.

ATI is using Vertical Response as an email service provider for tracking the open and click rates of our opt-in email lists. ATI currently has about 2600 opt-in email addresses, including about 1000 training personal or people who have asked for a quote in the last few years. We are actively trying to grow our opt-in list. Text is provided below with a link that you can forward to your contacts so that they can receive our e-news course announcements. This is the wave of the future permission based marketing, but it is hard to get people to double opt-in as they get so much email. Our opt in names are opening 20-35 % of the emails ATI sends and clicking on both the course description and course sampler links.

Jim Jenkins

What Effect Will Transformational Satellite (TSAT) Termination Have?

Defense Budget Recommendation Statement
As Prepared for Delivery by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Arlington, VA, Monday, April 06, 2009
DOD will “terminate the $26 billion Transformational Satellite (TSAT) program, and instead will purchase two more Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites as alternatives.”

Transformational Communications Satellite (TSAT)
Advanced Wideband System
The Transformational Satellite System (TSAT) provides orbit-to-ground laser communications. Throughput for the five-satellite constellation could top out at 10 to 40 gigabytes per second, with a total program cost of $12 billion-to-$18-billion for the entire constellation.
The Transformational Satellite Communications (TSAT) System will provide DoD with high data rate Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) and Internet-like services as defined in the Transformational Communications Architecture (TCA). TSAT is key to global net-centric operations. As the spaceborne element of the Global Information Grid (GIG), it will extend the GIG to users without terrestrial connections providing improved connectivity and data transfer capability, vastly improving satellite communications for the warfighter.
As the terrestrial aspects of communication in the TCA evolve, so will DoD satellite resources. The stated goal of the Transformational Satellite communications system is to provide improved, survivable, jam-resistant, worldwide, secure and general purpose communications as part of an independent but interoperable set of space-based systems that will support NASA, DoD and the IC. TSAT will ultimately replace the DoD’s current satellite system and supplement AEHF satellites.
The TCA proposes a radio frequency (RF), i.e., traditional radio-based, crosslink to complete the AEHF group of satellites or constellation. The constellation is called the Advanced Polar System (APS), which supports strategic and national users in the polar region. The APS is designed to withstand nuclear attacks and support the strategic mission with uninterrupted service. These satellites introduce the use of jam-resistant laser crosslinks for connection into the TSAT.

NASA seminar “Around the World in 80 Telescopes”


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

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


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

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

Hubble Space Telescope: 1:20 p.m.

New Sonar Design 1171 Series

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

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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