The National Science Foundation is funding SRI International and the University of Michigan to use CubeSats in a program called CubeSat-based Ground-to-Space Bistatic Radar Experiment-Radio Aurora Explorer. CubeSats are small satellites, typically a 10-centimeter cube weighing one kilogram, used for science missions that are dedicated to space weather and atmospheric research.
Interest is high in the area of blue force tracking capabilities for the battlespace, but the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) also is interested in people-tracking of another kind, the kind that can help the command ensure that it is doing its job as primary conventional force provider. JFCOM is soliciting industry and academia input on existing technologies to improve the process of tracking the forces it provides to worldwide operations.
The Defense Technical Information Center and the Director of Defense Research and Engineering have launched a U.S. Defense Department science and technology wiki. DoDTechipedia, an online encyclopedia, aims at promoting transparency and communication among the department's scientists, engineers, program managers and warfighters. In addition, the department believes it will enhance its ability to collaborate across the enterprise, identify solutions for technology challenges and ensure the efficient use of resources.
A team of researchers and engineers has won the U.S. Defense Department's $1 million Wearable Power Prize competition. The DuPont/Smart Fuel Cell team beat out six other teams by building a lightweight wearable system providing an average of 20 watts of power for more than 96 hours and weighing less than 8.8 pounds. All of the finalists used either fuel-cell or battery technologies or a combination of the two to meet the Defense Department's exacting standards.
The U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) has extended its cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between Microsoft Corporation and the command's Joint Center for Operational Analysis Knowledge and Information Fusion Exchange (KnIFE) program for one year. KnIFE answers questions from and provides training materials to deployed and predeployment units using a database of the latest enemy tactics, techniques and procedures.
An experimental solid-state laser successfully passed a series of repeated test firings. Developed by the Boeing Company, the thin-disk laser is part of the company's effort to develop a weapons-capable solid-state laser as a tactical weapon. Relying on electricity rather than volatile chemicals for power, the weapon achieved power levels of more than 25 kilowatts in several-second durations. Company officials note that the successful tests demonstrate the laser's potential to scale up to 100 kilowatts, the U.S.
The U.S. Army displayed its newest weapons system in Washington, D.C., this month. The non-line-of-sight cannon (NLOS-C) is the first new vehicle type in a family of eight new manned ground vehicles planned for the Future Combat Systems. The mobile artillery piece features a fully automated cannon, allowing troops to engage targets more quickly than current artillery systems. A hybrid-electric engine that requires less fuel than current vehicles powers the NLOS-C vehicle.
The preliminary design of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope sunshield has reached a major milestone. The five-layer shield is the size of a tennis court and is composed of specially coated reflective membranes and a support structure. It is designed to block solar heat to keep the telescope's instruments operating at cryogenic temperatures.
The U.S. Joint Forces Command has opened the doors of its Joint Intelligence Laboratory, a focal point for partnerships across the U.S. Defense Department, intelligence community, industry and academia.