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(21 September 2020 – SwRI) Data from Southwest Research Institute-led instruments aboard ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft have helped reveal auroral emissions in the far ultraviolet around a comet for the first time.

At Earth, auroras are formed when charged particles from the Sun follow our planet’s magnetic field lines to the north and south poles. There, solar particles strike atoms and molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, creating shimmering curtains of colorful light in high-latitude skies. Similar phenomena have been seen at various planets and moons in our solar system and even around a distant star. SwRI’s instruments, the Alice far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectrograph and the Ion and Electron Sensor (IES), aided in detecting these novel phenomena at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G).

Data from Southwest Research Institute-led instruments aboard ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft helped reveal unique ultraviolet auroral emissions around irregularly shaped Comet 67P. Although these auroras are outside the visible spectra, other auroras have been seen at various planets and moons in our solar system and even around a distant star. (courtesy: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)

“Charged particles from the Sun streaming towards the comet in the solar wind interact with the gas surrounding the comet’s icy, dusty nucleus and create the auroras,” said SwRI Vice President Dr. Jim Burch who leads IES. “The IES instrument detected the electrons that caused the aurora.”

The envelope of gas around 67P/C-G, called the “coma,” becomes excited by the solar particles and glows in ultraviolet light, an interaction detected by the Alice FUV instrument.

“Initially, we thought the ultraviolet emissions at comet 67P were phenomena known as ‘dayglow,’ a process caused by solar photons interacting with cometary gas,” said SwRI’s Dr. Joel Parker who leads the Alice spectrograph. “We were amazed to discover that the UV emissions are aurora, driven not by photons, but by electrons in the solar wind that break apart water and other molecules in the coma and have been accelerated in the comet’s nearby environment. The resulting excited atoms make this distinctive light.”

Dr. Marina Galand of Imperial College London led a team that used a physics-based model to integrate measurements made by various instruments aboard Rosetta.

“By doing this, we didn’t have to rely upon just a single dataset from one instrument,” said Galand, who is the lead author of a Nature Astronomy paper outlining this discovery. “Instead, we could draw together a large, multi-instrument dataset to get a better picture of what was going on. This enabled us to unambiguously identify how 67P/C-G’s ultraviolet atomic emissions form, and to reveal their auroral nature.”

“I’ve been studying the Earth’s auroras for five decades,” Burch said. “Finding auroras around 67P, which lacks a magnetic field, is surprising and fascinating.”

Following its rendezvous with 67P/C-G in 2014 through 2016, Rosetta has provided a wealth of data revealing how the Sun and solar wind interact with comets. In addition to discovering these cometary auroras, the spacecraft was the first to orbit a comet’s nucleus, the first to fly alongside a comet as it travelled into the inner Solar System and the first to send a lander to a comet’s surface.

Additional instruments contributing to this research were Rosetta’s Langmuir Probe (LAP), the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA), the Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO) and the Visible and InfraRed Thermal Imaging Spectrometer (VIRTIS).

Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES and ASI. Airbus Defense and Space built the Rosetta spacecraft. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) manages the U.S. contribution of the Rosetta mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, under a contract with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). JPL also built the Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter and hosts its principal investigator, Dr. Mark Hofstadter. SwRI (San Antonio and Boulder, Colorado) developed the Rosetta orbiter’s Ion and Electron Sensor and Alice instrument and hosts their principal investigators.

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Renesas’ Intersil brand 14-Bit, 1-MSPS ADC delivers best-in-class radiation-hardened performance

Renesas Intersil brand 14 Bit 1 MSPS ADC delivers best in class radiation hardened performance

(1 December 2020 – Renesas) Renesas Electronics today announced the industry’s highest performance single-chip 14-Bit, 1-MSPS successive-approximation-register (SAR) analog-to-digital converter (ADC) for radiation-hardened (rad-hard) space applications.

Renesas’ Intersil brand ISL73141SEH delivers best in class dynamic and static performance, including signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), effective number of bits (ENOB), integral non-linearity (INL) and differential non-linearity (DNL). The ADC fully resets after every sample, clearing any errors that result from a single event upset (SEU) due to heavy ion radiation during spaceflight.

The ISL73141SEH is one of the key signal-path building blocks in long duration geosynchronous / geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) communication satellites and manned spacecraft, including lunar space missions. By delivering the industry’s best dynamic and static performance, the new 14-bit ADC accurately captures real-world analog transmissions and converts them for processing in the digital domain. The ISL73141SEH ADC is one of seven ICs, including rad-hard temperature sensor, multiplexer, quad op amp, ADC driver, LDO and voltage reference to form a complete sensor interface signal chain solution that accelerates telemetry, tracking, and control (TT&C) and flight computer system development.

“The ISL73141SEH offers satellite and spacecraft manufacturers the ultimate in ADC performance combined with a best-in-class sensor interface signal chain,” said Philip Chesley, Vice President, Industrial and Communications Business Division at Renesas. “Our space-grade 14-bit ADC delivers significantly better data converter performance than any other competing solution, and it is backed by six decades of leadership in radiation performance testing and characterization that gives spaceflight customers the mission assurance they demand.”

The space-grade ISL73141SEH is fully characterized for enhanced low dose rate-sensitivity (ELDRS) radiation performance up to 75krad(Si) for total ionizing dose (TID) and linear energy transfer (LET) up to 86MeVcm2/mg for single event effects (SEE). The SEE testing also shows no single event latch-up (SEL) or single event burnout (SEB). In addition, single event transients (SETs) have also been mitigated by testing at an LET range up to 86MeVcm2/mg.

Key Features of the ISL73141SEH 14-Bit, 1-MSPS SAR ADC

  • 1-MSPS throughput rate with no data latency and no missing codes
  • 5V supply, dissipates only 60mW
  • High SNR of 82.1dBFS at 5V supply operation
  • Operating from a 3.3V supply at 750-KSPS, dissipates only 28mW
  • Single supply operation simplifies system design
  • Highest dynamic performance of 13.3 ENOB, enabling > 12-bit resolution
  • Superior linearity: ±0.5 LSB INL and ±0.2 LSB DNL
  • Full military temperature range of -55°C to +125°C
  • Sensor Interface Signal Chain for TT&C and Flight Computer

The ISL73141SEH 14-Bit, 1-MSPS SAR ADC is at the heart of the sensor interface signal chain and connects via SPI interface to MPUs, MCUs, and/or FPGAs to digitize sensor signals in digital TT&C subsystems and flight computers. System designers are able to build the entire signal chain with Renesas’ Intersil brand analog and power ICs, including: ISL71590SEH temperature sensor; ISL70444SEH quad op amp; ISL71830SEH 16-channel low voltage multiplexer; ISL70517SEH instrumentation amp with ADC driver; ISL75052SEH high voltage LDO regulator; and ISL71091SEH40 precision, low-noise voltage reference.

Availability

The ISL73141SEH 14-bit, 1-MSPS SAR ADC is available now in a 14-lead ceramic dual flatpack package. An evaluation board is available for evaluating device features and performance.

About Renesas Electronics Corporation

Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723) delivers trusted embedded design innovation with complete semiconductor solutions that enable billions of connected, intelligent devices to enhance the way people work and live. A global leader in microcontrollers, analog, power, and SoC products, Renesas provides comprehensive solutions for a broad range of automotive, industrial, infrastructure, and IoT applications that help shape a limitless future.

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BlackSky names Uyen Dinh as Vice President for Government Relations and Strategy

BlackSky names Uyen Dinh as Vice President for Government Relations

(1 December 2020 – BlackSky) BlackSky today announced Uyen (pronounced “Win”) Dinh as its Vice President for Government Relations and Strategy.

Ms. Dinh brings more than two decades of experience, knowledge, and insight in the federal legislative, authorization, and appropriations processes. She is well versed in national security policy, national and military intelligence programs and policies, geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), cybersecurity, and other national security space issues.

Uyen Dinh (courtesy: BlackSky)

“BlackSky will make significant strides with Uyen leading our government relations and strategy efforts,” said Brian O’Toole, BlackSky CEO. “Uyen has the unique ability to view challenges and opportunities strategically, while building tactical roadmaps to address them. We will benefit from her experiences both in the public and private sectors. We look forward to Uyen spearheading our efforts to ensure that decision makers have a better understanding of BlackSky’s capabilities to deliver near real-time, first-to-know insights.”

Before joining BlackSky, Ms. Dinh served in the Department of Homeland Security as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Legislative Affairs. Prior to her executive branch service, she established Win Strategies, a strategic consulting company specializing in national security, space, ISR, and GEOINT issues. Earlier in her career she served as the vice president for government affairs at GeoEye, Inc., an early New Space company that built and launched high-resolution commercial imaging satellites.

Previously, Ms. Dinh served as majority counsel for several U.S. House of Representative committees and offices including the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, and the Office of Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) specializing in national security and defense, intelligence, and homeland security issues.

“I’m excited about my new role with BlackSky,” said Ms. Dinh. “It’s a dynamic and innovative company with strong leadership and a talented workforce. BlackSky has a clear mission to deliver timely and accurate geospatial intelligence to better inform critical decision making. I’m looking forward to advancing this mission; by bringing awareness to how predictive analytics give decision makers exactly the info they need, when they need it. This is game changing.”

Born in Saigon, the Republic of Viet Nam, Ms. Dinh immigrated with her family to the United States in 1975. She received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University and her Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. Ms. Dinh is a member of the Virginia State Bar and serves on the Washington Cyber Roundtable’s Board of Advisors.

About BlackSky

BlackSky is a global monitoring company. We monitor activities and facilities worldwide by harnessing the world’s emerging sensor networks and leveraging our own satellite constellation. We process millions of observations daily from space, air, environmental sensors, asset tracking sensors, Industrial IoT, and Internet-enabled narrative sources. BlackSky’s on-demand swarm of satellites can image a location multiple times throughout the day. We monitor for pattern-of-life anomalies to produce alerts and enhance situational awareness. Our monitoring service is powered by cutting-edge compute techniques including machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and natural language processing. BlackSky’s global monitoring is available via a simple subscription and requires no IT infrastructure or setup.

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ND SatCom unveils SKYWAN 5G Release 2.0

ND SatCom unveils SKYWAN 5G Release 20

(1 December 2020 – ND Satcom) ND SatCom has unveiled SKYWAN 5G Release 2.0, the latest iteration of the only VSAT technology allowing multi-channel TDMA networks with True-Mesh ACM for hubless secure communication.

ND SatCom’s new True-Mesh ACM, provides the highest link reliability and stability regardless of changing link conditions, boosting throughput by throttling only the direct hop between two sites, while also supporting SCPC.

SKYWAN 5G (courtesy: ND Satcom)

SKYWAN 5G Release 2.0 secures mission-critical networks with these major new advantages:

  • Boosted network performance: 64x boost throughput with unique ACM true mesh
    • Industry-leading ACM with single-hop mesh
    • Highest link reliability regardless of weather

  • Enhanced network options: 3x the choice with our triple mode within one modem
    • Flexibly decide network topology

      • Hubless true mesh MF-TDMA, DVB-S2 or SCPC

    • New SCPC links provide highly efficient point-to-point connection

  • Assured investment: 4 years software support for business continuity and cybersecurity
    • Diminish impact from cyber threats
    • Activate security and stability patches whenever
    • Save bandwidth with the smart new “over-the-air” update

“The game changing SKYWAN 5G Release 2.0 is here,” said Michael Weixler, Head of Product Management. “True-Mesh ACM with intelligence integrated into the SKYWAN nodes automatically gives the customer maximum performance for any topology and network design. Combined with the new Point-2-Point waveform on the same platform, customers decide when to re-configure their networks based on actual connectivity needs,“ Weixler continued. “Flexibility and security throughout represent a whole new level for VSATs and a quantum leap for SKYWAN 5G.”

ND SatCom

With more than 30 years of experience in satellite communications, ND SatCom is the world’s leading supplier of satellite-based communications systems and ground stations and supports customers with critical operations anywhere in the world.

Customers in more than 130 countries have chosen ND SatCom as a reliable source for high quality and secure solutions that include turnkey and customized systems. The company’s innovative technologies are used globally by governments, the military, television and radio broadcasting, telecommunications and enterprises.

The company’s core product SKYWAN enables secure, reliable and fast communications for thousands of users daily. With the SKYWAN network solution, ND SatCom connects the IT world with satellite communication and offers fully integrated and optimised solutions for the worldwide availability of online applications.

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