Drone Control: Flying the Crowded Skies

Long before stories of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or “drones,” appeared frequently in the news, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognized the need to safely manage UAS flying at low altitudes in airspace not currently managed by the FAA. For more than 25 years, NASA has conducted air traffic management system research in partnership with the FAA, providing a variety of computer-based tools that help maintain safety in increasingly crowded skies.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Air traffic control, Unmanned aerial vehicles

FAA and Drone Control

Since the early 1990s, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have operated on a limited basis in the National Airspace System (NAS). Until recently, UAS mainly supported public operations, such as military and border security operations. The list of potential uses is now expanding rapidly to encompass a broad range of other activities, including aerial photography, surveying land and crops, communications and broadcasting, monitoring forest fires and environmental conditions, and protecting critical infrastructures.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Safety regulations and standards, Unmanned aerial vehicles

CO2 Recovery System Puts Bubbles into Beer

Technology used to capture carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere can save brewers money.

Building on work he and his companies did with Johnson Space Center’s In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) team, Robert Zubrin has developed and commercialized technologies that could prove revolutionary in their Earth applications, such as a system that could extract millions of barrels of oil from defunct oil wells around the world, and another that can harness all the natural gas currently burned off as waste at many oil drilling rigs.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Carbon dioxide, Technical review

Editor's Choice: February 2016

A new wire bonding technique has been developed that provides the ability to mount and wire-bond electronic chips on tilted surfaces. This technique will allow designers to create smaller and lighter instruments for space missions, and similar procedures can be applied to the general assembly of electronic components. This approach to interconnecting sub-assemblies would allow novel configurations and space-saving solutions in industries where devices need to be smaller and lighter, such as medical, aerospace, automotive, and the military. Click HERE to find out more.

Posted in: Articles, UpFront, Aerospace

Get Ready for Integrated Industry

Initially posed by the German government to that country’s manufacturing industry leaders, one question has evolved into a global movement known as Industry 4.0: What’s the next stage of evolution for manufacturing? The goal of posing that question was to make production more efficient, cost-effective, and flexible.

Posted in: Articles, UpFront, Aerospace

The Human Factor in Space

Next month, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will return to Earth after a record-setting year onboard the International Space Station. During the year, Kelly’s identical twin brother, former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, participated on Earth with him in The Twins Study. The test conducted will provide insight into the subtle effects and changes that occur in spaceflight as compared to Earth by studying two individuals who have the same genetics, but are in different environments for a year. The study will track any degeneration or evolution that occurs in the human body from extended exposure to a microgravity environment.


Posted in: Articles, UpFront, Aerospace

Optimizing Drive Systems for Energy Savings

Energy savings are an extremely important topic in virtually every segment of industry today. In general, the largest consumer of power in a converting line or machine is the drive system. As energy costs continue to increase and energy conservation becomes a greater priority, are there technologies or methods that can be implemented to reduce the energy consumption on converting machinery?

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Energy consumption, Vehicle drive systems

Graphene Supports NASA-Developed Nanosensors

NASA Technologist Mahmooda Sultana has been leading the development of tiny graphene sensors. Because of the material’s extreme sensitivity, graphene-based sensors have a wide range of possible space applications, including the detection of strain in composite materials and the discovery of trace gases in planetary bodies.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Nanomaterials, Test equipment and instrumentation

Energy Harvesting and the IoT: A New Bull Market

Combining industrial-grade rechargeable lithium batteries with energy harvesting technology delivers reliable power for remote wireless sensors connected to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The romantic notion of grizzled ranchers out riding the range on horseback to shepherd their herd of cattle may soon be a distant memory, as cloud-based sensor technology now permits real-time animal tracking from the comfort of home or office, or by smartphone.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Cloud computing, Internet of things, Lithium-ion batteries, Sensors and actuators, Agricultural vehicles and equipment

When Sensors Mesh: How Sensor Networks Improve Performance

Innovations in communications and computing hardware and software have made it easier than ever to collect minute details regarding just about any topic of interest. For technology and manufacturing interests, small, low-powered sensors can be embedded in almost any machine for data collection. Thanks to wireless technology, these embedded devices can continuously and unobtrusively provide measurements of performance and environmental data. Analysis of this data offers vast opportunities for fine-tuning performance and process.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems

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