Los Angeles —This past June, NASA launched the first of three advanced Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) into geosynchronous orbit. These will replace a trio of spacecraft that has provided yeoman service to the agency over the last two decades as switchboards in space.
TDRS-H is the first of three new satellites that will upgrade the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system.
"These next-generation TDRS satellites will double the capacity of data transmission and provide nearly continuous communications links between Earth and space," according to Tig Krekel, president and CEO of Hughes Space and Communications, builder of the spacecraft. Not only will spacecraft, such as NASA's Great Observatories Hubble and Chandra with their flow of science data, use the TDRS constellation, but astronauts building, working, and living on the International Space Station need vital links with crews and researchers on the ground. Thus the space data stream will become more torrential.
The new satellite has Ka-band capability for higher data rates and less interference from a more and more crowded radio environment. Standard data receive rates are 300 Mbps (Ku and Ka band), with Ka capability up to 800 Mbps, and 6 Mbps at S band. Transmit data rates are 25 Mbps (Ku and Ka band) and 300 kbps S band. Each of the two main 15-ft diameter antennae can simultaneously transmit and receive, and the S band phased array antenna can also receive from five spacecraft at once, while transmitting to one. The two solar cell arrays provide 2,300W of power, while a nickel-hydrogen battery supplies power during solar eclipses.
NASA plans on launching the remaining TDRS spacecraft in 2002 and 2003.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.