Tag Archives: spacecraft

You decide – The Best Technical Training for You!



You can make a difference. Applied Technology Institute is scheduling new courses for September 2016 through July 2017. Please let us know which courses you would like to see on our schedule or brought to your facility.

·         If you have a group of 3 or more people, ATI can schedule an open enrollment course in your geographic area.

·         If you have a group of 8 or more, ATI can schedule a course on-site at your facility.

On-site training brings our experts to you — on your schedule, at your location. It also allows us to plan your training in advance and tailor classes directly to your needs.

You can help identify courses to suit your training needs and bring the best short courses to you! ATI courses can help you stay up-to-date with today’s rapidly changing technology.

Boost your career. Courses are led by world-class design experts. Learn from the proven best.

ATI courses by technical area:

Satellites & Space-Related courses

Acoustic & Sonar Engineering courses

Engineering & Data Analysis courses

Radar, Missiles and Combat Systems courses

Project Management and Systems Engineering courses


Contact us: ATI@ATIcourses.com or (410) 956-8805

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Riva, Md., [DATE]—An upcoming course is just the ticket for satellite and spacecraft engineers who are looking to build on their technical expertise with broadly marketable skills that will enable them to take on more expansive roles in the satellite communications industry. Developed by Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses), a leading provider of classroom-based and online training programs geared for space industry professionals, “Satellite Communications Design and Engineering” will combine a thorough overview of how communications satellites function with information-packed modules devoted to the practical skills necessary to design and operate satellite communications networks.

Participants in the program, set for October 15-17, 2013, in Columbia, Md., will learn the mathematical and other skills necessary to perform and verify link budget calculations, which are essential to ensuring that a satellite connection can carry data efficiently and reliably. They will also gain the ability to evaluate satellite networks independently and in collaboration with other satellite professionals. In addition, attendees will learn how Earth stations and transponders function, gain an understanding of phenomena such as rain fade, and develop a grasp of the forces that affect how a satellite orbits the Earth.

The three-day course will be taught by Chris DeBoy, head of the RF Engineering Group in the Space Department at the renowned Applied Physics Laboratory run by The Johns Hopkins University. DeBoy is an expert in the development of satellite communications systems and spacecraft designed for deep-space missions. He is the lead RF communications engineer for NASA’s New Horizons Mission to Pluto.

DeBoy replaces another space industry veteran at the helm of the course, which is offered periodically by ATI. Robert Nelson, a satellite communications expert, author, and consultant, taught the program until his passing earlier this year.

Further details about the program, including registration and cost information, are at www.aticourses.com/Satellite_Communications_Design_Engineering.htm.

About Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses or ATI)

ATIcourses is a national leader in professional development seminars in the technical areas of space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, engineering, and signal processing. Since 1984, ATIcourses has presented leading-edge technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DOD and aerospace contractors. ATI’s programs create a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications. ATI offers customized on-site training at your facility anywhere in the United States, as well as internationally, and over 200 annual public courses in dozens of locations. ATI is proud to have world-class experts instructing courses. For more information, call 410-956-8805 or 1-888-501-2100 (toll free), or visit them on the web at www.ATIcourses.com.

Note: Accredited media are invited to attend for free.

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Closest planet to sun, Mercury, harbors ice!

NASA radar image of Mercury's north pole captured by its MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting the planet, showing in yellow radar-bright areas thought to contain deposits of water ice.

It’s time to add Mercury to the list of worlds where you can go ice-skating. Confirming decades of suspicion, a NASA spacecraft has spotted vast deposits of water ice on the planet closest to the sun.

A Nasa spacecraft has confirmed there’s ice at Mercury’s north pole.

Scientists announced on Thursday that the orbiting probe, Messenger, has found evidence of frozen water, even though Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. The ice is located in the permanently shadowed region of Mercury’s north pole.

It’s thought to be at least 1.5 feet deep and possibly as much as 65 feet deep.

Scientists say it’s likely Mercury’s south pole also has ice, though there are no data to support it. Messenger orbits much closer to the north pole than the south.

Radar measurements, for years, have suggested the presence of ice. Now scientists know for a fact.

Messenger is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. It was launched in 2004.

Read more here.

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China’s Ambitious Space Plans: What are they and can they be achieved by 2016?

Yesterday, China unveiled its space plans up to 2016. One of the most ambitious ones is to put an astronaut on the surface of the Moon. This feat hasn’t been accomplished since 1972 with Gene Cernan being the last to step off the lunar surface (Appolo 17).

What are China’s plans?

  1. Launch space labs and manned ships and prepare to build space stations over the next five years
  2. Continue exploring the moon using probes, start gathering samples of the moon’s surface, and “push forward its exploration of planets, asteroids and the sun.”
  3. Improve its launch vehicles, improve its communications, broadcasting and meteorological satellites and develop a global satellite navigation system, intended to rival the United States’ dominant global positioning system (GPS) network
  4. Use spacecraft to study the properties of black holes and begin monitoring space debris and small near-Earth celestial bodies and build a system to protect spacecraft from debris

Can China pull it off?

It is quite possible since China has been make remarkable progress in this area in recent years.

In 2003, China became the third country behind the U.S. and Russia to launch a man into space and, five years later, completed a spacewalk. Toward the end of this year, it demonstrated automated docking between its Shenzhou 8 craft and the Tiangong 1 module, which will form part of a future space laboratory.

In 2007, it launched its first lunar probe, Chang’e-1, which orbited the moon, collecting data and a complete map of the moon.

Since 2006, China’s Long March rockets have successfully launched 67 times, sending 79 spacecraft into orbit.

What does this mean for us?

Some elements of China’s program, notably the firing of a ground-based missile into one of its dead satellites four years ago, have alarmed American officials and others who say such moves could set off a race to militarize space. That the program is run by the military has made the U.S. reluctant to cooperate with China in space, even though the latter insists its program is purely for peaceful ends.

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Today virtually every large liquid rocket that flies into space takes advantage of the performance-enhancement techniques we pioneered in conjunction with the Apollo moon flights. NASA’s reusable space shuttle, for example, employs modern versions of optimal fuel biasing and postflight trajectory reconstruction. However, more of the critical steps are accomplished automatically by the computer.

Russia’s huge tripropellant rocket, which was designed to burn kerosene-oxygen early in its flight, the switch to hydrogen-oxygen for the last part, yields important performance gains for precisely the same reason the Programmed Mixture Ratio scheme did. In short, the fundamental ideas we pioneered are still providing a rich legacy for today’s mathematicians and rocket scientists most of whom have no idea how it all crystallized more that 40 years ago.

Illustration 1. below summarizes the performance gains and a sampling of the mathematical procedures we used in figuring out how to send 4700 extra pounds of payload to the moon on each of the manned Apollo missions. We achieved these performance gains by using a number of advanced mathematical techniques, nine of which are listed on the chart. No costly hardware changes were necessary. We did it all with pure mathematics!

In those days each pound of payload was estimated to be worth five times its weight in 24-karat gold. As the calculations in the box in the lower right-hand corner of Illustration 1. indicate, the total saving per mission amounted to $280 million, measured in 2009 dollars. And, since we flew nine manned missions from the earth to the moon, the total savings amounted to $2.5 billion in today’s purchasing power!

We achieved these savings by using advanced calculus, partial differential equations, numerical analysis, Newtonian mechanics, probability and statistics, the calculus of variations, non linear least squares hunting procedures, and matrix algebra. These were the same branches of mathematics that had confused us, separately and together, only a few years earlier at Eastern Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky, UCLA, and USC.


Illustration 1. Over a period of two years or so a small team of rocket scientists and mathematics used at least nine branches of advanced mathematics to increase the performance capabilities of the Saturn V moon rocket by more than 4700 pounds of translunar payload. As the calculations in the lower right-hand corner of this figure indicate, the net overall savings associated with the nine manned missions we flew to the moon totaled $2,500,000,000 in today’s purchasing power. These impressive performance gains were achieved with pure mathematical manipulations. No hardware modifications at all were required.

Read the full article here