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Posts Tagged: "space"

IP and Innovation on Capitol Hill: Week of February 11

This week on Capitol Hill, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has planned a number of hearings on climate change and antitrust matters, especially where the T-Mobile/Sprint merger is concerned. In the Senate, cybersecurity takes center stage at the Senate Homeland Security and Energy Committees. Elsewhere in Washington, D.C., the Brookings Institution got the week started early with a look at the impacts of artificial intelligence on urban life; Inventing America hosts a half-day event looking at current issues in the U.S. patent system; and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation examines the future of autonomous vehicles in the freight industry.

Howard S. Jones, Jr., Revolutionizes Long-Range Air Communications with Conformal Antennas

Thanks to the work of Howard S. Jones, Jr., one of the 2018 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the United States was able to advance antenna technology in the latter part of the 20th century. Jones’ innovative work in developing conformal antennas has been crucial for the development of enabled enhanced capabilities for spacecraft, rockets and other aeronautical technologies. This March 1st marks the 41st anniversary of the issuance of the U.S. patent for which Jones has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Today, we return to our Evolution of Technology series to explore the early development of antennas and see how Jones was able to make a great step forward in improving our nation’s defense systems.

Benefits of NASA Space Directive on Mars could be Limited by Uncertain Software, Biotech Patentability

President Donald Trump signed a new space policy directive for human expansion across the solar system, a directive which hearkens at least slightly back to Horace Greeley’s “Go West, young man.” Increased human expansion in space will produce innovations that can improve human life on Earth to the benefit of U.S. consumers, provided our nation’s struggling IP regime can be righted for the proper commercialization of such inventions.

NASA powers up core computer system of Orion spacecraft for the first time

In late August, news reports indicated that the Orion spacecraft being developed for NASA’s manned mission to Mars was powered up for the first time at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The successful powering of the Orion craft, including computer components, is a small yet important step along the path towards NASA’s eventual development of the Space Launch System…

Other Barks & Bites for Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Another covered business method review is overturned by the Federal Circuit because the Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted a CBM on a patent that was not a CBM patent. China leads the world not only in stealing digital images protected by copyright but also in terms of trademark applications filed. The Catholic Church starts to take action in protecting its own intellectual property. Also, Alphabet’s self-driving car subsidiary files a lawsuit including patent and trade secret claims against ride sharing giant Uber.

Change in NASA focus between Administrations may be greatest threat to Mars mission

Multiple members of the hearing’s witness panel attested to the problems created when agency plans change during a change of administration, a problem which Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, a NASA astronaut during the Gemini and Apollo programs and a member of NASA’s International Space Station Advisory Committee, said has been detrimental to the space program. “We have in recent years seen all too clearly the consequences of a failure to carry out long-term objectives,” Stafford said, referring to NASA’s activities under the Obama Administration as “eight years of lost opportunities… NASA’s present does not do justice to its past.” During questioning, Stafford recommended reestablishing the National Space Council (NSC), which had shown effectiveness in the past in ensuring that multi-year NASA missions which span administrations, such as the Apollo mission to the moon, reach their goal. Stafford also noted that if the federal government had stuck to previous plans to reach Mars, such as were discussed as part of the Space Exploration Initiative carried on under the administration of George H. W. Bush, humans could have reached Mars as early as 2016.

Senate unanimously passes NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016

The NASA Transition Authorization Act would require NASA to develop propulsion technologies intended to reduce travel time to Mars, as well as develop a strategic framework for human space flight to Mars, and would also require NASA to develop a transition plan that would enable greater participation in the International Space Station (ISS).

James Webb Space Telescope infrared technologies allow a deeper, more thorough look into space than Hubble

In 1996, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began construction of a space telescope which would be the planned successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, a massive scientific instrument sent into orbit just a few years earlier in 1990. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), currently scheduled to launch in October 2018, is a large infrared telescope which will dramatically improve upon the vision of the universe which we get through Hubble. This November, NASA moved into an important phase of tests that will aid in assessing whether the JWST can get through launch conditions, including intense sound and vibrations, without affecting the operation of JWST’s optical system afterward.

Evolution of Technology: Roger Angel’s honeycomb mirrors enable extremely large telescopes

The use of larger mirrors enabled the creation of more powerful telescopes over time. However, by the 1970s the size of the mirror itself was becoming a limiting factor on building better telescopes as larger mirrors were prone to deforming. To address this, scientists began looking at creating large mirrors for astronomical telescopes by fusing together many smaller mirrors in a honeycomb structure. This year, the National Inventors Hall of Fame inducted a new member for his contributions to the production of large mirrors for astronomical telescopes: British-born astronomer J. Roger P. Angel. This Friday, August 19th marks the 30th anniversary of the issue date of the patent for which Angel was inducted.

NASA’s Juno craft to reach Jupiter on July 4th to find what’s hidden beneath the clouds

Since 1972, NASA has sent a series of eight spacecraft to this fifth planet in our solar system, including Cassini and Galileo. This 4th of July, NASA engineers and scientists are hoping for the successful arrival of Juno, the latest spacecraft to visit this massive planetary body. When it arrives at Jupiter, Juno will fire up its main engine for 35 minutes to enter an elliptical orbit around the planet. Juno’s mission will see it orbit Jupiter at least 37 times at a distance of 5,000 km (3,100 mi) from the top of Jupiter’s cloud atmosphere, the closest any craft has come to this planet.

Private space race continues between Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’s Blue Origin

A space race has been heating up in the private commercial sector and it involves some of the biggest names in high tech industries. Right now it would seem to most observers that SpaceX has the lead in the private space race, although that lead may not be insurmountable. Blue Origin hasn’t been able to send a rocket into orbit and then land it successful back on the Earth’s surface. For its part, SpaceX just landed its Dragon capsule successfully in the Pacific Ocean yesterday, delivering more than 3,700 pounds of supplies from the ISS including a great number of samples for use in biotechnology, physical science and other forms of research.

NASA’s Kepler: Discovering 1,000+ exoplanets, and counting

When the K2 mission became fully operational in July 2014, it was supposed to run until 2018 at the latest. This timeline was threatened, however, when a routine contact with the spacecraft this April uncovered the fact that Kepler had placed itself in emergency mode, preventing NASA engineers from completing a planned Kepler maneuver. Within a week, however, NASA was able to recover Kepler from emergency mode which allows the telescope to enter a new phase of research, which will see Kepler survey millions of stars at the center of the Milky Way.

Space Technology Hall of Fame includes NASA tech made because of research into space travel

The unintended positive impacts of research and development pursued in the improvement of space flight have been a topic of conversation here on IPWatchdog in recent months. In the wake of NASA’s announced three-phase plan to travel to Mars, we noted that the mission to put a man on the Moon, as well as other NASA activities, has unleashed a tremendous amount of technological development that we’re benefiting from today in ways we could have never predicted. A quick perusal of the collection honored by the Space Technology Hall of Fame puts this idea into some perspective. From agriculture to baby formula to automotive fuel efficiency to safe drinking water, it’s really amazing to consider the breadth of advances our world has made because of research into space travel. We don’t know what a mission to Mars will bring us in the terms of medical, communications, robotics and even more technologies, but it’s a safe bet that planet Earth can’t wait to get its hands on it.

Tech News Roundup: Bezos and Musk Square Off, LED ‘Li-Fi’ Internet and VTech Data Breach

Our latest Tech Round-Up here on IPWatchdog takes a brief glance at many of the stories which have caught our attention in recent days. As he often does, Elon Musk takes center-stage in a couple of news items regarding challenges he’ll be facing in the realms of space travel as well as electric vehicles. In Europe, the first successful installation of light-based wireless Internet could be the first step in a new age of Internet connectivity. Data breaches and genetically modified foods round out our discussion of recent events in the worlds of high-tech and science.

NASA charts next steps in securing commercial crew funding, developing private partnerships

If NASA’s journey to Mars is impossible, you would never know it by hearing NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden speak. In remarks and responses to questions given at an event hosted Tuesday, October 28th, by the Center for American Progress (CAP), Bolden expressed nothing but optimism for America’s future as the world’s leading space agency and, despite the many challenges along the way, NASA’s eventual success in being the first space agency to land a human on Mars.