December 12th, 2012
MICHIGAN AEROSPACE CORPORATION ANNOUNCES $3 MILLION AIR FORCE CONTRACT AWARD
Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC), an advanced engineering and products company, today announced that it has been awarded a $3 million contract from the United States Air Force to develop a prototype direct-detection LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) System for precision air delivery. The Air Force often resupplies forward military bases via air drop of large cargo pallets. Accurate knowledge of the winds above the drop zone is key to an accurate delivery. Presently, this is achieved through the release of GPS “sondes” (dropped sensors that radio back weather information to the aircraft) prior to cargo release. The current method often requires a the dropping aircraft to execute two or more passes to drop supplies, resulting in extra fuel cost, exposure of the aircraft to hostile threats and inaccurate wind data due to the time lapse between passes.
MAC’s LIDAR system will be demonstrated on board an Air Force aircraft through providing range-resolved atmospheric conditions (wind speed and direction along with air temperature and density) from the aircraft down to the intended drop zone. MAC’s technology will enables high mission flexibility, single-pass capability, increased accuracy of the computed air release point and reduced threat to the delivery aircraft.
August 1st, 2012
MICHIGAN AEROSPACE CORPORATION TECHNOLOGY TO PROVIDE 3-DIMENSIONAL HURRICANE PROFILES IN 2013
Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC), an advanced engineering and products company, has learned that NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) program will use the Tropospheric Wind Lidar Technology Experiment TWiLiTE) Doppler Wind Lidar during the 2013 hurricane season. TWiLiTE, an ultraviolet direct-detection Lidar developed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, can measure winds from high-altitude aircraft all the way down to the Earth’s surface. MAC designed and fabricated the key sensing element at TWiLiTE’s heart: a unique “triple-aperture” Fabry-Perot interferometer, or etalon. MAC’s triple-aperture interferometer features major advances in cost, size, and efficiency.
The HS3 program uses two large Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to carry remote-sensing instruments high over hurricanes. The TWiLiTE instrument, from an altitude of 60,000 feet, will provide 3-dimensional wind mapping of the troposphere. These sophisticated 3-dimensional wind maps will provide a better understanding of how clouds and wind patterns interact to effect hurricane formation and intensity. This pioneering work will result in more accurate 3-dimensional tropospheric wind models which will enable better forecasts of these powerful atmospheric events.
"Richer data and improved models can lead to more accurate forecasts," says Peter Tchoryk, CEO of MAC. "Three-dimensional wind profiling is something we have been working on since the company was founded. We're very pleased to be part of the HS3 program."
MAC is a leader in 3-dimensional atmospheric mapping of air speed, direction, temperature, and density. Building on experience from earlier NASA projects, MAC delivers instruments with unparalleled accuracy, reliability, and cost effectiveness for harsh and challenging environments.
For more information, see NASA’s press release and the TWiLiTE website.
July 9th, 2012
UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, MICHIGAN AEROSPACE TO BRING RADIATION DETECTOR TO MARKET
DURHAM, N.H. -- Scientists from the University of New Hampshire and the Michigan Aerospace Corporation have signed an exclusive option agreement to commercialize instrumentation originally developed at UNH's Space Science Center for space-based missions and now being re-engineered for homeland security purposes.
Three U.S. patent applications have been filed related to the Portable Neutron Spectroscope, or NSPECT, a highly sensitive instrument that will detect illicit radioactive and fissile (capable of sustaining a chain reaction) materials with pinpoint accuracy from a safe distance. Such materials, which could be located in shipping ports, train stations, truck stops or warehouses, could potentially be used to make "dirty bombs" or associated with a nuclear device itself.
To build the instrument, UNH is leveraging 40 years of experience conducting space-based neutron and gamma-ray detection, with university scientists and engineers developing all the related instrument hardware and software. Michigan Aerospace is responsible for the support engineering that will turn the bench-top instrument into a rugged field-deployable device equipped with a nimble graphical user interface and live video imaging capability.
A Phase III Small Business Innovation Research contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has been instrumental in enabling development of the technology. DTRA is the U.S. Department of Defense's official combat support agency for countering weapons of mass destruction.
NSPECT employs the same techniques used by the NASA Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, a mission that involved UNH scientists and looked at radiation emanating from black holes, solar flares, gamma-ray bursts, and pulsars.
Says professor James Ryan of the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space and principle scientist for NSPECT, "Basically, what people have to do now is go into a building or a container and fish around in hopes of finding the source. The expertise that has been acquired over many years in the space program can now be brought to bear on this problem to better find and locate nuclear bomb-making material."
Common radioactive sources emit gamma rays while nuclear bomb material emits both gamma rays and neutrons. Because neutrons and gamma rays are electrically neutral, it is difficult to ascertain properties like direction of origin or energy level of the radioactive source. Knowing the direction allows inspectors to pinpoint the location of the illicit material while the particle's energy provides important information about the nature of the material such as what radioactive isotope is emitting the radiation.
"Michigan Aerospace is pleased to work with UNH on accelerating the commercialization of this technology and moving toward a product that can be deployed in the field," says Peter Tchoryk, CEO of Michigan Aerospace, "NSPECT is a unique technology that is critical to protecting the country from nuclear threats."
The completed instrument will fit in the back of an SUV and be self-powered and remotely controlled. The image and spectral signature data will be collected and processed on a laptop located either near the instrument or at a distance. Compact versions of the instrument are also planned.
The patent applications apply to three aspects of the technologies developed at UNH: the neutron and gamma-ray detection system that allows a full, 360-degree survey of a room or volume without having to move the instrument; an innovative power supply that is highly efficient and compact thereby allowing the detector to be modular and robust; and the NSPECT instrument itself. The SSC inventors include Ryan, John Macri, Mark McConnell, Ulisse Bravar, and Christopher Bancroft.
"The partnership with Michigan Aerospace to bring this innovative technology to market will capitalize on a longstanding research relationship between our two organizations," says Maria E. Emanuel, senior licensing manager with the UNH Office for Research Partnerships and Commercialization.
For more information, visit http://www.eos.unh.edu or contact Peter Tchoryk of Michigan Aerospace Corporation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 21st, 2012
MICHIGAN AEROSPACE CORPORATION ANNOUNCES PROJECT TO IMPROVE COMPUTER MODELS OF ATMOSPHERIC DRAG ON SATELLITES
Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC) today announced that it has been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase 1 contract to study and improve models of the upper atmosphere to better predict air drag on low-orbiting satellites. This U. S. Air Force project will be carried out with the University of Michigan’s Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences (AOSS), which has extensive expertise in upper atmospheric research. Dr. Matthew Lewis, MAC Vice President, and Dr. Aaron Ridley, AOSS Associate Professor, will lead this effort, which will better quantify the actual effects the upper atmosphere has on orbiting satellites, leading to better predictions of orbiting mission lifetimes and more-exact satellite position forecasts. The models will take into account effects created by solar x-rays and other factors that can alter the electromagnetically-active upper atmosphere of Earth, increasing or decreasing drag on the satellites moving through it. These improvements will benefit the Air Force and other military and civilian satellite operators by allowing them to plan operations, predict possible conflicts well in advance, and forecast orbital decay, all with more confidence in their knowledge of satellite positions and passages than is now possible.
February 13th, 2012
MICHIGAN AEROSPACE CORPORATION ANNOUNCES NASA OPTICAL MEMS-BASED SEISMOMETER PROJECT AWARD
Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC), today announced that it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by NASA. The contract, titled “Planetary Optical MEMS-Based Seismometer,” is for a highly sensitive seismograph to sense tremors on the Moon, Mars, and other solar-system objects. The seismometer can also be used to measure atmospheric drag to project orbital decay of satellites.
In addition to space, the seismometer will also be of use on Earth for both seismic and non-seismic applications requiring very sensitive measurements of accelerations. The combination of its sensitivity, reliability, and low cost opens a number of commercial opportunities including: mining and oil prospecting, homeland security, and building safety.
“When sensitivity, reliability, and low cost converge, the number of potential applications expands greatly,” says Peter Tchoryk, CEO of Michigan Aerospace. “MAC is uniquely positioned to take this seismometer into the realm of space applications, research labs, and a variety of industrial and commercial uses.”
January 16th, 2012
MICHIGAN AEROSPACE CORPORATION ANNOUNCES NASA AWARD FOR MEASURING HIGH-SPEED AIR FLOW
Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC) today announced that it has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by NASA. The contract, “Optical Mach Probe,” will use a non-intrusive laser scattering technique to investigate high-speed flows to determine temperature, density and velocity. This project will support NASA’s ongoing research into subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic aircraft design and propulsion. The data obtained from these measurements will be used to validate computer models and refine engine design.
As a result of this project, MAC’s expertise in laser sensing systems will expand to support commercial products for high-speed flow studies such as those required by aerospace ground and flight research support facilities. There is additional potential for the development of advanced vehicle control systems using on-board monitoring of vehicle dynamics and propulsion processes. This represents a major opportunity for both the military and commercial aircraft industries.
“This project will further the understanding of flow fields around these high speed aircraft and improve the accuracy of predictive models,” says Peter Tchoryk, CEO of Michigan Aerospace. ”This technology is also highly relevant to turbulence detection ahead of current commercial aircraft. Aircraft integrity, safety, and performance will benefit from these advanced vehicle monitoring and control systems.” The project will be led by MAC’s Chief Scientist, Dr. David K. Johnson.