(NYU Tandon School of Engineering) A team at NYU Tandon School of Engineering has found a way to prove the provenance of 3-D printed parts by embedding QR (Quick Response) codes in an innovative way for unique device identification. In the latest issue of Advanced Engineering Materials, the researchers describe converting QR codes into 3-D features so that that they neither compromise the part's integrity nor announce themselves to counterfeiters who have the means to reverse engineer the part.
August 20, 2018
Artwork shows Stratolaunch’s giant carrier plane and several classes of launch vehicles, including Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus rocket, a medium-class rocket and its heavy-lift variant, and a fully reusable space plane. (Stratolaunch Illustration) , the space venture , today provided the first details about a new family of launch vehicles it has in the works, including two types of rockets and a reusable space plane that could someday carry astronauts to orbit. The revelation follows up on rumblings that Stratolaunch has been working on its own rockets and a , along with the world’s biggest airplane to launch them from. Previously, the company had said only that it’d from Orbital ATK (which was recently acquired by Northrop Grumman). The Pegasus is still in the mix, but at the low end of Stratolaunch’s spectrum of orbital launch capability. “We are excited to share for the first time some details about the development of our own, proprietary Stratolaunch launch vehicles, with which we will offer a flexible launch capability unlike any other,” . “Whatever the payload, whatever the orbit, getting your satellite into space will soon be as easy as booking an airline flight.” Here’s the lineup and the status of each offering: Pegasus: Track record of more than 35 successful orbital launches from airplanes including B-52s and Orbital ATK’s L-1011 carrier plane. Maximum payload to 250-mile (400-kilometer) circular orbit: 370 kilograms (816 pounds). Status: In development with first flight in 2020. Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV): New medium-class air-launch vehicle optimized for short satellite integration timelines, affordable launch and flexible launch profiles. Capability: 3,400-kilogram (7,500-pound) payload to low Earth orbit. Status: In development with first flight in 2022. Medium Launch Vehicle – Heavy (MLV-H): Three-core MLV variant with capability to deploy heavier payloads to orbit. Capability: 6,000-kilogram (13,228-pound) payload to low Earth orbit. Status: Early development. Space Plane: Fully reusable space plane that enables advanced in-orbit capabilities and cargo return. Initial designs optimized for cargo launch, with a follow-on variant capable of transporting crew. Based on Stratolaunch’s illustration, the craft looks much like the Air Force’s . Capability: Medium-class payload or crew. Status: Design study. Stratolaunch is putting its twin-fuselage, 385-foot-wingspan carrier airplane through in California, with the stated aim of . That schedule was laid out in April, however, and the date seems likely to slip. Test flights in Mojave are expected to lead to airworthiness certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and the first Pegasus rocket launch by as early as 2020. Stratolaunch’s air-launch capability would be a dramatically scaled-up version of the technology used for Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus as well as for Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne rocket plane (which received $25 million in backing from Paul Allen) and for (which is also currently in development). Each launch would involve dropping a rocket from the massive carrier airplane, then having it light up its engines in midair to press on to orbit. The main advantage is that launches can be conducted from any locale in reach of a suitable runway. Payloads could theoretically be sent toward any orbital inclination, and the carrier plane could be flown to avoid any storms that would preclude launch. The plane is based at Stratolaunch’s cavernous 103,000-square-foot hangar in Mojave, but much of the company’s design work is done in Seattle. Stratolaunch’s Seattle offices serve as the venue for most of the , including an opening for a .
August 20, 2018
(Iowa State University) Gender stereotypes and biases still influence voters, especially in elections with more than one woman on the ballot. New research from Iowa State University found gender had the greatest effect on down-ballot races, in which women were running for a legislative office and another woman appeared on the ballot for a higher office, such as governor or president.
August 20, 2018
(1901 Research Institute) Amid sweltering heatwaves and wildfires worldwide, a group of scientific experts supported by 22 students -- most of them young undergrads from Chicago, New York, Miami, and Richmond -- embark Aug. 23 on a 22-day investigation of related conditions at the top of the planet.The Northwest Passage Project will improve the resolution of the scientific picture of changes underway in the far North, considered a harbinger for the rest of the world.
August 19, 2018
An artist’s concept shows a York Space Systems satellite in orbit. (York Space Systems Illustration) Two years ago, Chuck Beames presided over . Now he has his eyes set on another big frontier: small satellites. Beames, who at Allen’s venture in 2016, is gearing up for his first launch as executive chairman and chief strategy officer for , a startup based in Denver. “It’s very exciting,” Beames told GeekWire during an interview on the sidelines of last week’s in Logan, Utah. “We’re really democratizing space for the entrepreneur.” Beames can’t say too much about his time at Stratolaunch, due to confidentiality requirements that still apply. But he has lots to say about his latest gig, which began last year. “I’d known about York for a while before I joined the team,” he said. Chuck Beames is executive chairman and chief strategy officer for Denver-based York Space Systems. (York Space Systems Photo) Founded in 2012, York has been working on a spacecraft platform, or bus, that can be adapted for a wide variety of satellite applications. York’s S-class satellite can carry instrument payloads weighing as much as 85 kilograms (187 pounds), for a total mass of 160 kilograms (352 pounds), Beames said. That capacity on the small side when compared with, say, NASA’s 6.5-ton James Webb Space Telescope. But it’s heftier than the typical CubeSat range of 12 kilograms (26 pounds) for a . “The CubeSat is great,” Beames said. “But it’s very much geared toward academic research. That’s where it came from. So there ends up being inherent limitations in the design.” Beames said York is targeting a different sort of sweet spot: “low-cost, industrial-grade, meaning a very predictable design life.” “We can design to launch on every launch vehicle,” he said. “Everything from a very rough ride on a solid rocket to a rideshare on a Falcon 9, to rideshare on an ESPA ring for the Air Force. Our first one is going to be on a Rocket Lab Electron.” That first launch is due to take place by the end of the year at Rocket Lab’s New Zealand launch facility. York’s Harbinger Mission will carry a Finnish-made , BridgeSat’s , and a from Austria’s Enpulsion. The mission is , and could literally serve as a harbinger for rapid-response national security launches. For Beames, the price point is a big selling point. He said the base model costs in the range of $1 million, and upgrades such as a beefed-up 3,000-watt power system bring the cost to “not much more than that, frankly.” That lowers the cost of admission for entrepreneurs trying to get into the thick of the satellite services market. “They no longer have to raise $30 to $50 million to build their first satellite,” Beames said. York’s strategy for keeping the cost low is to automate as much as they can at their on the campus of Metropolitan State University of Denver. “The most expensive thing in the modern economy is people,” Beames said. York’s workforce currently stands at less than 30 employees. “That’s everything,” Beames said. “It’s optimized to take costs out.” There’s a long list of competitors in the satellite-building business, ranging from heavyweights such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Ball Aerospace to more recent entrants such as Millennium Space Systems, which is due to be acquired by Boeing. But that doesn’t faze Beames. “I think competition’s a good thing,” he said. “Just as we saw in the early days of the personal computer business, there are a lot of different ideas on what’s the right thing, what’s the right equipment to fill the niche, who has the right vision. Time will tell.” There’s one thing Beames is already sure of: In this space race, there’ll be more than one winner. “It’s big, and I think it’s going to be a 10x thing in the next few years,” he said.
August 18, 2018
(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) New NASA-funded research has discovered that Arctic permafrost's expected gradual thawing and the associated release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere may actually be sped up by instances of a relatively little known process called abrupt thawing. Abrupt thawing takes place under a certain type of Arctic lake, known as a thermokarst lake that forms as permafrost thaws.
August 17, 2018
(Carnegie Institution for Science) Aerosols are tiny particles that are spewed into the atmosphere by human activities, including burning coal and wood. They have negative effects on air quality -- damaging human health and agricultural productivity. New work from Carnegie's Geeta Persad and Ken Caldeira demonstrates that the impact these fine particles have on the climate varies greatly depending on where they were released.
August 17, 2018