ESA JUICE Program Requires Exceptional Technology


ESA continues to advance the technology necessary to explore new space frontiers.  The research and planning necessary to survive in the hostile environment continues to exceed expectations.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)

Find this article and others on ESA’s website here.

ESA’s Jupiter Mission Moves Off the Drawing Board

16 March 2017Demanding electric, magnetic and power requirements, harsh radiation, and strict planetary protection rules are some of the critical issues that had to be tackled in order to move ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer – Juice – from the drawing board and into construction.

Scheduled for launch in 2022, with arrival in the Jovian system in 2029, Juice will spend three-and-a-half years examining the giant planet’s turbulent atmosphere, enormous magnetosphere, its set of tenuous dark rings and its satellites.

It will study the large icy moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto, which are thought to have oceans of liquid water beneath their icy crusts – perhaps even harbouring habitable environments.

The mission will culminate in a dedicated, eight-month tour around Ganymede, the first time any moon beyond our own has been orbited by a spacecraft.

Jupiter’s largest moons

Juice will be equipped with 10 state-of-the-art instruments, including cameras, an ice-penetrating radar, an altimeter, radio-science experiments, and sensors to monitor the magnetic fields and charged particles in the Jovian system.

In order to ensure it can address these goals in the challenging Jovian environment, the spacecraft’s design has to meet stringent requirements.

An important milestone was reached earlier this month, when the preliminary design of Juice and its interfaces with the scientific instruments and the ground stations were fixed, which will now allow a prototype spacecraft to be built for rigorous testing.

The review also confirmed that the 5.3 tonne spacecraft will be compatible with its Ariane 5 launcher.

Operating in the outer Solar System, far from the Sun, means that Juice needs a large solar array: two wings of five panels each are foreseen, which will cover a total surface area of nearly 100 sq m, capable of providing 820 W at Jupiter by the end of the mission.

After launch, Juice will make five gravity-assist flybys in total: one each at Mars and Venus, and three at Earth, to set it on course for Jupiter. Its solar panels will have to cope with a range of temperatures such that when it is flying closer to the Sun during the Venus flyby, the solar wings will be tilted to avoid excessive temperatures damaging the solar cells.

The spacecraft’s main engine will be used to enter orbit around the giant planet, and later around Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede. As such, the engine design has also been critically reviewed at this stage.

Special measures will allow Juice to cope with the extremely harsh radiation that it must endure for several years around Jupiter. This means careful selection of components and materials, as well as radiation shielding.

One particularly important topic is Juice’s electromagnetic ‘cleanliness’. Because a key goal is to monitor the magnetic fields and charged particles at Jupiter, it is imperative that any electromagnetic fields generated by the spacecraft itself do not interfere with the sensitive scientific measurements.

This will be achieved by the careful design of the solar array electrical architecture, the power distribution unit, and the reaction wheels – a type of flywheel that stabilises the attitude.

The review also ensured that Juice will meet strict planetary protection guidelines, because it is imperative to minimise the risk that the potentially habitable ocean moons, particularly Europa, might be contaminated by viruses, bacteria or spores carried by the spacecraft from Earth. Therefore, mission plans ensure that Juice will not crash into Europa, on a timescale of hundreds of years.

“The spacecraft design has been extensively and positively reviewed, and confirmed to address the many critical mission requirements,” says Giuseppe Sarri, Juice project manager. “So far we are on schedule, and are delighted to begin the development stage of this ambitious large-class mission.”

ESA’s industrial partners, led by Airbus, now have the go-ahead to start building the prototype spacecraft units that will subjected to tough tests to simulate the conditions expected during launch, as well as the extreme range of environmental conditions.

Once the design is proved beyond doubt, the flight model – the one that will actually go into space – will be built.


For further information, please contact:

Markus Bauer
ESA Science and Robotic Exploration Communication Officer
Tel: +31 71 565 6799
Mob: +31 61 594 3 954

Giuseppe Sarri
ESA Juice project manager

Olivier Witasse
ESA Juice project scientist

March 16, 2017 |

NASA Tests Supersonic Passenger Airplane

Supersonic passenger travel could become a reality again with the support of NASA.  Lockheed Martin is responding to the X-Plane challenge with the first scale model.  Let’s hope to see the final version soon.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)
Feb. 24, 2017
RELEASE 17-022

NASA Wind Tunnel Tests Lockheed Martin’s X-Plane Design for a Quieter Supersonic Jet

Supersonic passenger airplanes are another step closer to reality as NASA and Lockheed Martin begin the first high-speed wind tunnel tests for the Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) X-plane preliminary design at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

The agency is testing a nine percent scale model of Lockheed Martin’s X-plane design in Glenn’s 8’ x 6’ Supersonic Wind Tunnel. During the next eight weeks, engineers will expose the model to wind speeds ranging from Mach 0.3 to Mach 1.6 (approximately 150 to 950 mph) to understand the aerodynamics of the X-plane design as well as aspects of the propulsion system. NASA expects the QueSST X-plane to pave the way for supersonic flight over land in the not too distant future.

“We’ll be measuring the lift, drag and side forces on the model at different angles of attack to verify that it performs as expected,” said aerospace engineer Ray Castner, who leads propulsion testing for NASA’s QueSST effort. “We also want to make sure the air flows smoothly into the engine under all operating conditions.”

Mechanical technician Dan Pitts prepares a nine percent scale model of Lockheed Martin’s Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST)
Mechanical technician Dan Pitts prepares a nine percent scale model of Lockheed Martin’s Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) X-plane preliminary design for its first high-speed wind tunnel tests at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
Credits: NASA

The Glenn wind tunnel is uniquely suited for the test because of its size and ability to create a wide range of wind speeds.

“We need to see how the design performs from just after takeoff, up to cruising at supersonic speed, back to the start of the landing approach,” said David Stark, the facility manager. “The 8-by-6-foot supersonic wind tunnel allows us to test that sweet spot range of speeds all in one wind tunnel.”

Recent research has shown it is possible for a supersonic airplane to be shaped in such a way that the shock waves it forms when flying faster than the speed of sound can generate a sound at ground level so quiet it will hardly will be noticed by the public, if at all.

“Our unique aircraft design is shaped to separate the shocks and expansions associated with supersonic flight, dramatically reducing the aircraft’s loudness,” said Peter Iosifidis, QueSST program manager at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “Our design reduces the airplane’s noise signature to more of a ‘heartbeat’ instead of the traditional sonic boom that’s associated with current supersonic aircraft in flight today.”

According to Dave Richwine, NASA’s QueSST preliminary design project manager, “This test is an important step along the path to the development of an X-plane that will be a key capability for the collection of community response data required to change the rules for supersonic overland flight.”

NASA awarded Lockheed Martin a contract in February 2016 for the preliminary design of a supersonic X-plane flight demonstrator. This design phase has matured the details of the aircraft shape, performance and flight systems. Wind tunnel testing and analysis is expected to continue until mid-2017. Assuming funding is approved, the agency expects to compete and award another contract for the final design, fabrication, and testing of the low-boom flight demonstration aircraft.

The QueSST design is one of a series of X-planes envisioned in NASA’s New Aviation Horizons (NAH) initiative, which aims to reduce fuel use, emissions and noise through innovations in aircraft design that depart from the conventional tube-and-wing aircraft shape. The design and build phases for the NAH aircraft will be staggered over several years with the low boom flight demonstrator starting its flight campaign around 2020, with other NAH X-planes following in subsequent years, depending on funding.

For more information about QueSST, visit:

For more information about NASA’s aeronautics research, visit:


J.D. Harrington
Headquarters, Washington

Jan Wittry
Glenn Research Center, Cleveland

Erica Turner
Lockheed Martin Communications

February 27, 2017 |

News from BAE Directed energy atmospheric lens could revolutionise future battlefields



Within the next fifty years, scientists at BAE Systems believe that battlefield commanders could deploy a new type of directed energy laser and lens system, called a Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens which is capable of enhancing commanders’ ability to observe adversaries’ activities over much greater distances than existing sensors. (click here for more)



January 17, 2017 |

Accubeat and Vectron International Introduce the Nano Atomic Clock 


November 9, 2016

Munich, Germany – Vectron International, a leader in the design and manufacture of Precision Oscillators, Timing Solutions and SAW Filters for Communication, Industrial, Military and Space applications and AccuBeat a world leader in the design and manufacture of high precision atomic clocks and time and frequency solutions, announced the introduction of the Nano Atomic Clock (NAC1)  – Read More

December 8, 2016 |

Russian Resupply Spacecraft Bound for ISS Lost

Expedition 50 backup crew members, NASA astronaut Jack Fisher, left, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, center, and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, left, 
answer questions from the press ahead of their Soyuz qualification exams, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has confirmed a Progress cargo resupply spacecraft bound for the International Space Station has been lost. The spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Thursday on a Soyuz rocket, but experienced an anomaly around six and a half minutes into its flight.

Six crew members living aboard the space station are safe and have been informed of the mission’s status. Both the Russian and U.S. segments of the station continue to operate normally with onboard supplies at good levels.

The ISS Progress 65 cargo spacecraft launched on time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:51 a.m. EST (8:51 p.m. Baikonur time). The first few minutes of flight were normal, but Russian flight controllers reported telemetry data indicating a problem during third stage operation. The Russians have formed a State Commission and are the source for details on the specific failure cause.

The spacecraft was not carrying any supplies critical for the United States Operating Segment (USOS) of the station. The next mission scheduled to deliver cargo to the station is an H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Friday, Dec. 9.

Cargo packed inside the Progress 65 included more than 2.6 tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the space station crew, including approximately 1,400 pounds of propellant, 112 pounds of oxygen, 925 pounds of water, and 2,750 pounds of spare parts, supplies and scientific experiment hardware. Among the U.S. supplies on board were spare parts for the station’s environmental control and life support system, research hardware, crew supplies and crew clothing, all of which are replaceable.

As teams continue to monitor the situation, additional updates and more information about the International Space Station will be available online at:


Cheryl Warner
Headquarters, Washington

Dan Huot
Johnson Space Center, Houston

Last Updated: Dec. 1, 2016
Editor: Allard Beutel
December 3, 2016 |

Lockheed Martin Builds New Weather Satellite to Improve Weather Forecasting and Warnings


lockheedCAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Nov. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — NOAA’s GOES-R weather satellite, built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), was successfully launched today at 6:42 p.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket. The spacecraft successfully deployed its large solar array, which provides its electrical power, and established communications with mission operators. (read more)

November 28, 2016 |

Last Chance to See Sentinel 2B Before Launch


Sentinel-2B in the cleanroom

15 November 2016The Sentinel program has been a great success with a free and open policy.  The addition of 2B will only improve the number of images available.  We look forward to the launch of this new satellite and would like to share these images before it is buttoned up.  (Editor – EPIQ Space)

Find this article and others on ESA’s website here.

Fairwell to Sentinel 2B

Just weeks before Sentinel-2B is packed up and sent to French Guiana for its launch next March, media representatives and specialists got one last look at the second satellite for Europe’s Copernicus programme.

At an event held at ESA’s site in the Netherlands – where the satellite has been undergoing testing since June – ESA and Airbus Defence and Space project managers gave journalists an overview of how the satellite was built and tested, and its numerous benefits.

“It’s a European satellite, built by more than 60 contractors from 15 countries,” noted Michael Menking from Airbus, the prime contractor leading the industrial consortium. Twenty-nine of the companies were small- or medium-sized.

Offering ‘colour vision’ for Europe’s environmental monitoring Copernicus programme, Sentinel-2 combines high-resolution and novel multispectral capabilities to monitor Earth’s changing lands in unprecedented detail and accuracy.

Sentinel-2 is designed as a two-satellite constellation: Sentinel-2A and -2B. Sentinel-2A was launched on 23 June 2015 and has been providing routine imagery for the EU Copernicus Land Monitoring Service, among others. Once Sentinel-2B is launched and operational, the constellation will cover the globe every five days.

Information from this mission is helping to improve agricultural practices, monitor the world’s forests, detect pollution in lakes and coastal waters, and contribute to disaster mapping, to name a few.

Josef Aschbacher at Sentinel-2B press event

“Sentinel-2B will be the fifth satellite launched for Copernicus,” said Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes. “The Sentinels already in orbit are providing massive amounts of data: 6.5 petabytes so far.

“While handling these data is a major challenge, the large amount being downloaded by users is testament to their worth.”

More data are downloaded by Sentinels every day than are uploaded to Facebook in the form of photos.

“The free and open data policy is one of the key achievements of Copernicus, and is also the key to its success,” said Andras Roboz, Policy Officer for the European Commission’s Copernicus unit. Sentinel-2 supports EU policies and stimulates economic growth, particularly for small businesses.

But before a satellite can deliver data, it must arrive in working order in orbit. While in the Netherlands, Sentinel-2B has been subjected to the vibrations and noise of launch, undergone solar array deployment, and sat in a thermal–vacuum chamber to simulate the harsh space environment.

Once the tests are completed, the satellite is expected to be cleared for shipping on 5 January to Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

November 15, 2016 |

Vectron International now offering fully Integrated Diplexer Solutions

November 8, 2016

Smallest GNSS Diplexer solution on the market

Munich, Germany – Vectron International, a leader in the design and manufacture of Precision Oscillators, Timing Solutions and SAW Filters for Communication, Industrial, Military and Space applications, today announced the addition of Integrated Diplexer Solutions to their broad SAW Filter product portfolio. The product offering will be showcased in hall B6 booth 336, at the Electronica Show in Munich, Germany from November 8th–11th.

“These small form factor high–performance GNSS diplexers are the latest addition to a comprehensive portfolio of GNSS filters supporting numerous single and multi–system architectures”, said Andre du Hamel, General Manager of the SAW Filter Product Group. “These diplexers were developed to simplify RF frontend architecture for designers of high–performance GNSS receivers.”

By replacing several components including two discrete filters and several (typ. 3–5) discrete reactive matching elements, this drop–in 50ohm–impedance component greatly simplifies the design of dual–band GNSS frontends. As challenging navigation tasks, such as Agricultural Automation, Construction and Mining, or Autonomous Vehicles continue to evolve and GNSS frontend systems are relied upon to achieve the centimeter–scale positioning accuracies, simplifying the design architecture of these systems by reducing overall component counts as well as footprint size will become increasingly paramount.

Key Features

  • Fully integrated diplexer solutions for dual band (1200MHz + 1600MHz) GNSS receivers supporting all major receiver architectures
  • Solutions for commercial applications, covering multi–system architectures (GPS + Glonass + Galileo + Beidou – TDX1210) and for single–system (only GPS – TDX1227) architectures
  • Miniature and hermetic LTCC package 3.8mm x 3.8mm² for applications requiring high performance in harsh environments
  • High power handling capabilities for professional applications with potential strong interferers

In addition to the Diplexer Solutions, Vectron also offers customer’s innovative precision timing solutions including OCXOs, TCXOs, VCXOs, VCSOs, XOs, SAW Filters and Rubidium Standards that offer low phase noise and ultra–low jitter timing solutions.

Additional Resources

November 15, 2016 |

Intersil Expands Single-Chip USB-C Buck-Boost Battery Charger Family


ISL9238 and ISL9238A add 5V-20V reverse boost for USB On-The-Go charging of smartphones, headphones and more

MILPITAS, Calif.Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Intersil Corporation (NASDAQ: ISIL), a leading provider of innovative power management and precision analog solutions, today introduced two new USB-C™ buck-boost battery chargers that support bidirectional power delivery in ultrabooks, tablets, power banks and other mobile products. The single-chip ISL9238 and ISL9238A battery chargers replace competitive two-chip solutions to reduce customer bill of materials (BOM) costs by up to 40%. Both ICs employ Intersil’s patented R3™ modulation technology to extend battery life and deliver acoustic noise-free operation, superior light-load efficiency and ultra-fast transient response.

Intersil's single-chip ISL9238 and ISL9238A buck-boost battery chargers add 5V-20V reverse boost for USB On-The-Go charging of smartphones, headphones and more.

The ISL9238 and ISL9238A operate in forward buck, boost or buck-boost mode to fast charge mobile battery packs with up to 4-cell Li-ion batteries. They also support USB 3.1 On-The-Go (OTG) with 5V/20V reverse buck, boost or buck-boost mode to deliver power out of a USB-C port for charging external devices such as smartphones, headphones or virtual reality goggles. At maximum power, both ICs provide 20V at 5A to the USB-C port for delivery of power up to 100W over a reversible USB Type-C connector cable. The ISL9238A features the same capabilities as the ISL9238, but also includes a different SMBus address for OEMs that want to use both ICs to design systems with dual USB-C ports.

In charging mode, the ISL9238 and ISL9238A take input power from a wide range of DC power sources, including AC/DC charger adapters, USB power delivery (PD) ports and any travel adapter. Both chargers include SMBus and I2C programmable features such as depleted battery trickle charging, and a two-level adapter current limit for turbo-mode events where the charger takes advantage of the adapter’s milliseconds of surge current capability to minimize power draw and extend battery run-time. The ISL9238 and ISL9238A also feature programmable autonomous charging and an end of charge safety timer to stop battery charging.

“The new ISL9238/A USB-C buck-boost battery chargers give our customers more features, including 5V/20V reverse buck, boost and buck-boost modes, and the ability to add dual ports for two USB-C battery chargers in one system,” said Andrew Cowell, senior vice president of Mobile Power Products at Intersil. “Mobile computing OEMs rely on Intersil to consistently deliver power management innovations that help them differentiate their products with thinner form factors and exceptionally long battery life.”

The ISL9238 and ISL9238A are pin-compatible with the ISL9237 USB-C battery charger and join Intersil’s family of mobile computing power management solutions, including the ISL95852 Vcore PMIC, ISL95908 peripheral PMIC, and discrete PWM controllers (ISL95853/54/55/57). These ICs power IMVP8-compliant mobile systems using 6th and 7th Gen Intel® Core™ processors.

Key Features and Specifications of ISL9238 and ISL9238A

  • Buck-boost NVDC charger for 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-cell Li-ion batteries
  • Input voltage range of 3.2V to 23.4V (no dead-zone)
  • System output voltage of 2.4V to 18.304V
  • Up to 1MHz operation allows use of smaller, lower cost inductors and automatically reduces switching frequency with no audible acoustic noise when charger is in DCM mode
  • ASGATE FET control: actively controls inrush current to prevent FET damage
  • Low-power and high-power LDO outputs tie to VDD pin to provide bias power and MOSFET gate drive power
  • Compliant with Intel PROCHOT# and PSYS for protection against battery voltage drop, adapter over-current, battery over-current and overheat
  • Allows trickle charging of depleted battery
  • Autonomous charging option provides end of charge control using safety timer to stop battery charging
  • SMBus/I2C programmable limit settings with adapter current monitor (AMON) and battery discharging current monitor (BMON)
  • Battery learn mode calibrates the battery fuel gauge
  • ISL9238A includes a different SMBus address to support charging a second battery

Pricing and Availability
The ISL9238 and ISL9238A buck-boost battery chargers are available now and priced at $3.50 USD in 1k quantities. Both battery chargers are supplied in 4mm x 4mm, 32-lead TQFN packages. For more information, please visit

About Intersil
Intersil Corporation is a leading provider of innovative power management and precision analog solutions. The company’s products form the building blocks of increasingly intelligent, mobile and power hungry electronics, enabling advances in power management to improve efficiency and extend battery life. With a deep portfolio of intellectual property and a rich history of design and process innovation, Intersil is the trusted partner to leading companies in some of the world’s largest markets, including industrial and infrastructure, mobile computing, automotive and aerospace. For more information about Intersil, visit our website at

Intersil, R3 and the Intersil logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intersil Corporation. All other brands, product names and marks are or may be trademarks or registered trademarks used to identify products or services of their respective owners.

November 15, 2016 |

Space Micro – Seeking RF Engineer

Space Micro Logo


Space Micro is a fast-paced satellite product company that is looking for candidates who thrive in an exciting and dynamic environment.

Potential employees should have a mix of technical expertise and experience, and also be strongly motivated to achieve technical success on complex engineering projects. Equally as important at Space Micro is that we are looking for self-starting and self-directed candidates who can take a project or assignment and truly “own” it; they can direct themselves day-to-day and keep moving towards to a solution and/or product. The ability to multitask helps significantly since most employees will have a primary project assignment, but also be asked to consult on and review the work done on other projects at the company.

Space Micro has found that potential employees who are used to the large, multi-layered, slow, tech companies (that generate as much paper as they do products) will not truly be suitable for a career at Space Micro. If you like the idea of working on interesting projects, and seeing your work from the early “conceptual” stage through to product delivery, then Space Micro will be an interesting place for you to move forward with your career.

Position Description:

  • Innovative Ideas and Product Development
  • Concept, Presentation, CAD Design, Test and Delivery of New Products
  • Work with Team to Generate Proposals and Reports
  • Help Us Grow Our Company

Position Requirements:

  • BS Electrical Engineering or equivalent
  • Minimum 3 years experience Strong Writing, Computer & Verbal skills
  • Knowledge RF, Microwave CAD Tools
  • Knowledge Laboratory Equipment
  • Microwave, RF, and Analog Design Experience
  • Knowledge of Space Programs, Parts, Environments and Specifications is a plus
  • Design of L-Band RF up/down Converters to IF frequencies, including Low Noise Amplifiers, RF synthesizers, RF filters and Local Oscillator circuits
  • Design of Power Amplifiers for L, S, X, K and Ka Bands from 1 to 30 Watts
  • Defining sub-systems requirements and interface to Digital sub-assemblies
  • Prepare and present technical Preliminary and Critical Design Reviews (PDR&CDR) documents to customer
  • Planning and executing project plans, design reviews and production release of Schematic Diagrams, Bill Of Materials, Test Procedures with Pass/Fail criterion, Document Change Request (as needed)
  • Interface directly with Mechanical Engineering group and take charge of RF board layout
  • Engineering and Flight model test and development using various RF test equipment, transition designs to production from the prototype phase throughout delivery
  • Complete project goals with a minimum of supervision.


All candidates must be US Citizens or Green Card Holders. Drug and background checks required. Position may require the ability to pass and maintain a security clearance.

Space Micro is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact Susan Markert with all inquiries –

November 13, 2016 |
Epiq Space

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