Conceptual design of NRL’s Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI), that is part of NASA’s ICON mission. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
A Naval Research Laboratory instrument designed to study the Earth’s thermosphere is part of a satellite mission that NASA has selected to move forward into development (Phase B), with launch expected in 2017.
The NRL Space Science Division (SSD) developed Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI) satellite instrument is part of NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission.
The ICON mission, led by Dr. Thomas Immel at the University of California, Berkeley, will fly a suite of instruments designed to determine the conditions in space modified by weather on the planet, and to understand the way space weather events grow to envelop regions of our planet with dense ionospheric plasma.
Ionospheres act as a boundary between planetary atmospheres and space.
They contain weakly ionized plasmas that are strongly coupled to their neutral atmospheres, but also influenced by the conditions in the space environment. They experience a constant tug-of-war between these external and internal influences, and exhibit a remarkable set of non-linear behaviors, explains NRL’s Dr. Christoph Englert.
The unpredictable variability of the Earth’s ionosphere interferes with communications and geo-positioning signals and is a national concern. ICON makes a complete set of measurements of the state of the ionosphere and all of the critical drivers that affect it to understand this variability.
What is better than a warm blanket on a cold night? How about a blanket that can produce energy by soaking up rays from the sun? We’re talking about the Naval Research Laboratory’s high power flexible solar blankets (or Blanket 2.0 I like to call it). The common comforter is getting an upgrade.
What is it?
It’s like a blanket on solar steroids. NRL is developing photovoltaics (solar cells) that combine high power output with lightweight and flexibility. It works by using crystalline, high efficiency multi-junction solar cells, which are lifted off the growth substrate and laid down onto a lightweight, flexible blankets. This forms a blanket with potentially three TIMES the power output of current technologies.
What does that mean?
This is, essentially, how we create portable solar panels.
Think about some of the advantages this blanket can have, starting with convenience. Being able to transport a regenerating power source that doesn’t weigh a ton is awesome. Also, given the particular environment with which troops tend to find themselves, using the natural resource of the sun just makes sense. It’s also eco-friendly, which means these blankets are in keeping with the Department of Defense’s going green initiative. They’re also more cost effective, since they’re designed to be used over and over again and they can recharge equipment in the field.
Truthfully, people in general could benefit from this technology. (more…)
As of April 2013, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum began to examine the cultural and technological history of precise timekeeping and navigation at sea, in the air, and in space, and the impact of satellite navigation on our everyday lives. The exhibit, TIME and NAVIGATION, will explore ‘how revolutions in timekeeping over three centuries have influenced how we find our way.’
Originally designated TIMATION-IV, Navigation Technology Satellite-2 (NTS-2) was NRL’s final navigation satellite. The NRL navigation satellite successfully prepared the way for the GPS constellation with NTS-2 being the first satellite of the initial demonstration constellation of GPS satellites known as NAVSTAR. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
On display, NTS-2 is the first satellite completely designed and built by NRL under GPS Joint Program funding—a working model was launched June 23, 1977, aboard an Atlas E/F rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The first of a four-satellite constellation, NTS-2 was configured to demonstrate instantaneous navigation positioning.
The effect of relativity on the onboard cesium atomic clocks were measured and corrected so that a GPS receiver on Earth could observe that the rate of GPS time was the same as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
The clock frequency stability specification of two parts per 1013was met.
NTS-2 was the first demonstration satellite in the NAVSTAR GPS constellation managed by the NAVSTAR GPS Joint Program Office at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
Exploiting space-based systems of geodesy, navigation, and timing, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) research physicist, Roger Easton, laid the foundation for modern day global positioning systems — GPS.
Proving that a system using a passive ranging technique, combined with highly accurate [atomic] clocks, Easton developed the basis for a new and revolutionary navigation system with three-dimensional coverage (longitude, latitude, and altitude) around the globe.
Sponsored in 1964 by the Naval Air Systems Command, Easton tested his concepts of time-navigation, dubbed TIMATION, executing the development and launch of the TIMATION satellite in 1967.
With the deployment of three additional experimental satellites, TIMATION II in 1969; the first satellite to fly two rubidium standards, Navigation Technology Satellite (NTS-I) in 1974; and the first satellite to fly two cesium atomic frequency standards in a 12-hour GPS orbit, NTS-2, in 1977, Easton had unequivocally proven the practicality and unprecedented accuracy of satellite-based atomic clocks.
Using time measurements from NTS-2, Einstein’s theory of relativity was demonstrated, resulting in the need for a relativistic offset correction that remains in use by every satellite in the GPS constellation.
In the event of a chemical, biological, or radiological incident, CT-Analyst is designed to provide first-responders with a tool that can provides accurate, instantaneous, three-dimensional predictions of chemical, biological, & radiological agent transport in urban settings.
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We all know the old saying about the unfortunate soul who brought a knife to the gunfight. In the not-too-distant future, we should be able to say we bested our adversaries because we had lasers, and they showed up with only a gun.
Watch a demonstration of the high-energy laser aboard a moving surface combatant ship
It’s impossible to overstate the significance of this milestone and our continued research into directed energy. I’ve been working with weapon systems for 30 years, and this capability is poised to change the face of modern warfare.
As Navy leaders have said, we never want to see a sailor or Marine in a fair fight. We always want them to have the advantage.
This new kind of weapon will give our warfighters options like no other system before. I like to use the “five Ds” when describing its myriad of capabilities: deter, disable, damage, defeat and destroy. The solid-state laser can vary the power and accomplish each of these, independently or sequentially. (more…)
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have developed a vapor sensor based on new monolayer materials that show great potential for future nanoscale electronic devices.
This is a schematic of a vapor sensor fabricated from a single monolayer of MoS2. The conductivity of the MoS2 channel changes as specific types of vapor molecules briefly interact with the surface. Molecules of triethylamine are shown a chemical assoicated with V-series nerve gas agents. (Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
NRL scientists have fabricated this sensor using a single monolayer of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) on a silicon dioxide wafer.
They show that it functions effectively as a chemical vapor sensor, exhibiting highly selective reactivity to a range of analytes, and providing sensitive transduction of transient surface physisorption events to the conductance of the monolayer channel.
This means that the sensor works on multiple levels. Essentially, the sensor acts as an effective and precise detector of many types of substances.
The high surface-to-volume ratio of such new multi-dimensional materials is a significant asset for vapor sensor applications—these materials must exhibit a rapid and selective response to a range of analytes (determined by the character of surface atomic sites), sensitive transduction of the perturbation to the electrical resistance of the channel, and rapid recovery upon removal of the vapor.
The sensor is highly reactive, and able to swiftly note changes in what it is detecting.
Much work has previously been done in developing carbon nanotubes as sensors. The carbon nanotubes are very responsive, but not as selective as they need to be unless they are chemically functionalized, which adds complexity and expense to the manufacturing process.
Researchers have also looked at graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms in a honeycomb lattice, as a vapor sensor.
Top Technology is an Armed with Science series that highlights the latest and greatest federal laboratory inventions which are available for transfer to business partners. Want to suggest an invention? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey cables! Mighty, mighty cables. Can you take the heat? Because if not, NRL has made a cable that can. The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a cable for high voltage electrical and/or optical transmission capable of operating at temperatures up to 1000 °C, hundreds of degrees higher than existing cables.
What is it?
This is a turbo-cable. Industrial strength. This is no phone charger cord or hair dryer coil. We’re talking the real deal, folks. For people who work with a lot of technical equipment – like people who run power stations, for example – having a cable that can do the job and withstand the heat that comes with it is more than beneficial. The fact that it can do both fiber optic and high voltage is interesting. The NRL cable also has superior tensile strength at high temperatures compared to existing cables.
Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have successfully demonstrated pulse tailoring, producing a time varying focal spot size known as ‘focal zooming’ on the world’s largest operating krypton fluoride (KrF) gas laser.
(Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)
The Nike laser is a two to three kilojoule (kJ) KrF system that incorporates beam smoothing by induced spatial incoherence (ISI) to achieve one percent non-uniformity in single beams and 0.16 percent non-uniformity for 44 overlapped target beams.
The facility routinely conducts experiments in support of inertial confinement fusion, laser-matter interactions, and high energy density physics.
“The development of an energy production system that utilizes thermonuclear fusion is an ongoing process of important incremental steps,” said David Kehne, research scientist, NRL Plasma Physics Division.
“As such, the use of focal zooming in an inertial fusion energy system is expected to reduce the required laser size by 30 percent, resulting in higher efficiency and lower construction and operating costs.”
In the direct-drive inertial confinement fusion (ICF) concept, numerous laser beams are used to implode and compress a pea-sized pellet of deuterium-tritium (D-T) to extreme density and temperature, causing the atoms to fuse, resulting in the release of excess energy.