AVIONICS INTELLIGENCE REPORT, 15 Nov. 2011. Executive Editor Courtney E. Howard discusses industry-wide optimism in the realm of space avionics. NASA has announced numerous new opportunities in November alone. Among them are the Orion spacecraft, Mars Science Laboratory, and Juno spacecraft—all of which require capable, and oftentimes rugged and rad-hard, electronics components and systems. Optimism among avionics technology firms—including VPT, Crane Aerospace & Electronics, Radisys, Martek Power, EDT, and others—abounds.
Demand for avionics is growing across multiple segments and locales; among them are: the Asia-Pacific region, unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, and space. Space avionics sub-segments, such as spacecraft systems, unmanned rovers, and satellites, are active and gaining considerable attention.
NASA officials have made several announcements, just in this first week of November. Among them is a rare opportunity.
For the first time in three decades, the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is open to tourists. Guests at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can take a tour of the 525-foot-tall VAB, where myriad rockets have been built—ranging from the first Saturn V rocket in the late 1960s to the last space shuttle, the STS-135 Atlantis.
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), being called the largest and most capable rover to be sent to another planet, is scheduled to launch the morning of Nov. 25. The spacecraft will carry the car-sized Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars in Aug. 2010.
NASA officials, together with engineers from Lockheed Martin Space Systems, also plans an unmanned flight test of the Orion spacecraft in early 2014. The test of Lockheed Martin’s multi-purpose crew vehicle supports NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS).
NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna in California captured radar images of the aircraft carrier-sized Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing roughly 860,000 miles away from Earth.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has appointed Mason Peck, a professor at Cornell University, to be the agency’s chief technologist starting in January.
The Juno spacecraft has launched on its five-year voyage to Jupiter, with help from American Pacific Corp.'s in-space propulsion subsidiary (AMPAC-ISP).
NASA engineers are busy and, in turn, keeping aerospace technology companies busy and innovating. Space is a bright spot in the avionics community, and recent activity should allay concerns over a dwindling U.S. space industry. Kudos and keep up the great work--to 2012 and beyond!
For more space news, visit the Avionics Intelligence blog at http://www.militaryaerospace.com/index/blogs/john-mchales-blog/blogs/military-aerospace/avonics-blog/post987_8127370584940821841.html