SpaceX GPS3 and Starlink Satellite Launchings

               Elon Musk and his SpaceX Corporation have once again continued to make great strides in their own personal efforts to advance technology and space travel. Just recently, on November 5, SpaceX successfully launched a highly advanced global positioning satellite system for the US military’s Space Force. Codenamed the GPS 3 SV04, it was initially expected to launch on November 3 but was delayed due to technical difficulties with ground equipment two times. The previous two attempts were in August 2019 and June 2020. This mission would mark almost 100 launches for the Falcon 9 rocket. The GPS 3 was designed in partnership with Lockheed Martin. It was designed to give the US military better jamming technology to stop interference from many different sources such as radio frequencies and improve navigational capabilities.

               The US military could not be more thrilled by this prospect of such technological advancements in the fight to keep America and the world safe. In October of this year, the Pentagon granted Elon Musk a staggering $149 million contract to make four missile-tracking satellites for the Department of Defense. SpaceX will build four satellites under the deal with the Space Development Agency. Each of the four satellites will be equipped with advanced infrared technology for tracking missiles, specifically intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs. If successful, the project is expected to launch sometime in 2022. This will be the second Pentagon contract that SpaceX has won.

               As mentioned previously, the Starlink program aims to give people affordable Internet who may not have access to the Internet or inexpensive Internet available to them. In the past few weeks, they have just been granted approval to use their satellite Internet in Canada, and the final steps are now being ironed out. Speed tests are being done in beta currently. People who wish to sign up for the SpaceX Starlink Internet can check availability on their website. Monthly pricing is said to be $100 per month, and the expected speeds can be anywhere from 50 to 150 MB per second with higher rates planned if this venture proves successful.

                Technologies continue to reach new heights, and SpaceX is tangible proof of that. If you would like to read more about the launchings, you can read more about the GPS launchings here and the launching of the Starlink satellites here.

Our Partnership with Optikos

The Optikos Corporation had its humble beginnings in 1982, opening in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As of 2007, they are in Wakefield, Massachusetts, employing about 70 people with reach in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Since that time, their clients have included 3M Corporation, IBM and Intel, Hasbro toys, Honeywell, Google, and Microsoft Corporation, just to name a few. The talent that makes this all possible is an excellent team of technicians and electrical engineers that have an endless drive and dedication to be the best they can be. Some of the companies many products include surface measurement instruments, camera testing equipment that includes a test for short focal range small aperture cameras, and visual imaging displays using fiber optics. They also specialize in night vision systems, missile guidance systems for defense and thermographic systems, and meteorology equipment. The company’s divisions include design and manufacturing, optical testing and assembly, and equipment to measure surface topography for meteorology needs. Optikos offers a wide range of services, from camera lenses to optics, systems design, architecture, software, firmware experience, optical component development vendors, and fixturing.  

Stephen D. Fanton is the president and CEO of Optikos Corporation and the brilliant mind that founded the company. While studying at MIT in 1979, he received two bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and management. He also holds a Ph.D. from the Institute of Optics and Rochester University. Stephen is one of the leading minds in optical engineering and product development. He has been a member of the optical society for more than 40 years. He was elected vice president of the optical society in 2018 and is served in many volunteer capacities there. He has served as president of the organization for 2020. He is also the recipient of the 2015 University of Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award. Dr. Fantone was recently interviewed for the October 2020 issue of Manufacturing Today, where he enthusiastically discussed his passion and vision for not only his company’s future but also giving his clientele the best top-tier work Optikos can provide. He also touched on wanting to expand the reach of optical technology in the unknown and undiscovered areas.  

Lenox Laser has been in partnership with Optikos for over 15 years now. We allow our customers to buy Optikos products from us as we are a proud supplier and will be honored to do so for many years to come. Lenox Laser itself has been in business since 1981 and has seen much success for over 35 years. Lenox Laser wishes Dr. Fanton all the success in the world and is continually grateful for the continued support Optikos gives us. 

A 60-Year Retrospective of the Laser – Part 2

Welcome to part two of Lenox Laser’s 60-year anniversary retrospective of the creation of the laser. If you missed part 1, that can be found right here.  

The great Greek mathematician Archimedes left behind three books or codex’s that we are aware of known as Codex A, B, and C. Codex C, initially finished in 1229, is known as the Archimedes Palimpsest because the book was taken apart. All the information was erased from the Archimedes Palimpsest. For years the book rotted away until William Noel at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, in January 1999 began the restoration process. Researchers asked Lenox Laser to restore this magnificent work while other researchers removed mold and things like discoloring and disintegration. Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) issued a request to produce microscopic laser-drilled holes in thin tungsten film when confronted with an engineering challenge involving their Synchrotron X-Ray source. These small apertures proved critical to the team’s success in uncovering the Palimpsest’s “hidden treasure” as they helped make previously unreadable sections of the document clear. Finding hidden pieces in the book took the research team around eight years to complete. The Archimedes Palimpsest is an example of lasers being used to preserve history as best we can today. 

With the laser, humanity has a powerful, multifaceted tool that can help shape the future. Here’s to hoping future generations unlock the laser’s potential like never imagined. It is such an honor for Lenox Laser to be a part of such a monumental achievement. To learn more about Lenox Laser, please visit Lenox Laser’s website.

A 60-Year Retrospective of the Laser – Part 1

This year the laser will celebrate 60 remarkable years of helping shape a world of manufacturing, business, and everyday life. Famed scientist and mathematician Albert Einstein had his own theories of the laser in 1917. He is credited for discovering that the stimulated emission of radiation given off by lasers could occur. Einstein also predicted the process of Stimulated Emission. Albert Einstein’s provided the groundwork for the next iteration of the laser — the maser.

Dr. Charles Hard Townes was the inventor of the maser, which is the precursor to the laser. He served in World War II as a radar technician. Dr. Townes later hired as a professor at Columbia University from 1950 to 1952 in the Columbia radiation laboratory. From 1959 to 1964, he served in the Institute of defense analysis in Washington, D.C., where he studied radar and later created the maser. Maser stands for Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Dr. Townes would later win the Nobel Prize and carry over 27 honorary degrees in his lifetime. His work led the laser’s invention as we know it today.

The laser was created by Dr. Theodore Maiman in the 1960s. At that time, Dr. Maiman was a physicist working in California at Hughes Electric Corporation against his peers’ wishes. His work began with a ruby because of its high chromium levels. Dr. Maiman would activate a ruby by shining white light into its cylindrical portion. Through his experiments, he was able to amplify certain wavelengths into increased power pulses resulting in a laser beam. Every other physicist was floored by his discoveries and achievements. Dr. Maiman even published the results in a 1960 issue of British Weekly Nature. After this, he was rejected by his peers. Despite all this, by 1961, Dr. Theodore Maiman had shown the world the laser beam’s first successful test, never backing down from his ideals that it could work and proved that the laser could be an easy tool to use. Some of the first lasers used include phosphorus headlamps in cars and its first surgical use in 1963 to destroy the heart’s plaque during surgery.

Lenox Laser hosted a speech by Dr. Townes at one of our light seminars — a lecture entitled How Things Happen, the Invention of the Laser. It was a true once in a lifetime moment to have him come to share his immense knowledge and hear of his experiences. Him, Dr. Maiman, and the people who contributed to the laser’s legacy have had a tremendous effect on our modern-day world. We hope many share and honor the people who made it possible. Come back again next week as we continue to explore more history of a life-changing invention.

New Pressure-Sensitive Wearable Medical Devices

Credit: Khademhosseini Laboratory

                Thanks to the evolution of technology, personally monitoring one’s health has never been easier. Products such as Apple watches to Fitbits have made it much more accessible. The variety of these devices can have endless possibilities from devices that measure vitals, weight loss, and the number of steps taken in a day. This has become another major part of the multibillion-dollar mobile technology industry.

Medical device technology continues to grow and change in making unique and effective ways to function. One of those iterations is wearable pressure sensor technology. With the slightest amount of pressure, doctors will now be able to read and see more of a person’s vitals than before. Materials like stronger elastics help make sure that the sensors not only function more efficiently but also last longer. Elastics can house mechanical elements such as wires and body sensors too. Some of the materials used have included adhesive pads for placing on the skin—these materials in the devices (cobalt chrome alloy, titanium, and stainless steel). Along with the sensors and monitors, gels are used known as hydrogels that can be applied to the skin and help measure body heat and the patient’s overall temperature and its own active biosensor. They can monitor blood pressure, pulse, and even vocal cord vibrations.

Creating these new fabrications also helps address medical teams’ many issues, such as moisture from the body, disrupting the sensors to water evaporation, and structural damage. These innovations can give physicians the ability to measure every critical aspect of the patient’s body, both internal and external, giving doctors the freedom to remotely help their patients.

               Behind this innovation is the Terasaki Institute of Biomedical Innovation. They believe that giving patients a more convenient and affordable way, such as these sensors and devices, could drastically impact medical care in the future. May the Institute continue to have massive success in future breakthroughs. If you like to read more, you may click here or here for more information.

James Webb Telescope Testing Update

Imagine being able to see deep inside the makeup of the galaxy, or better yet, deeper inside of a star than ever before. That is where the James Webb telescope comes in with its next groundbreaking mission planned for October 31, 2021. Some of James Webb’s past tests included the March 2016 durability experiments on the football field size solar mirrors that will be used to reflect light from galaxies and stars back to NASA for readings. The secondary mirrors for the telescope were also installed that year, along with the optics subsystems and completing the cryogenic testing on the mirrors. The telescope itself completed construction in November 2016. Initial launches for planned in 2017 and 2018 respectively, but later postponed to the date currently set. In early October of this year, the project passed yet another milestone bringing it one step closer to its goal.

The passing of environmental tests on the mirrors and the telescope in general. Everything from temperature to durability, to maintaining stability during the elements of ever-changing galaxies and planets. Acoustic and vibration tests were also done at Northrop Grumman’s lab in California. Northrop Grumman are the minds responsible for building the telescope for NASA. When Webb is finally ready it will be folded and packed up before beginning the journey to French Guiana for launch. These tests were also to ensure that the telescope could even survive its rocket journey to space, which scientists are now confident that it will. Webb will orbit approximately one million miles from Earth. The initial rocket launch is expected to be the most perilous part of the entire mission for the telescope.

Northrop Grumman, along with the European space agency and the Canadian space agency have all partnered in collaboration with NASA to create James Webb and see its massively ambitious vision come to fruition. After the launch, the operation of the telescope will be handled by the Space Telescope Science Institute. Lenox Laser continues to give our best wishes to all involved. For further information please visit NASA’s website.

NASA Planning a Possible Venus Mission

The attempt to explore the vast mystery that is space has quite the storied history. In years past, exploring space has been with humans traveling to these new locations — such as Apollo 11 — and flyovers with semi-autonomous spacecraft. One of the first flyovers of a planet was done by Mariner 1 over Venus. Mariner 1 was the first scheduled to do its mission in July of 1962, but it failed to navigate correctly. In August of 1962, however, Mariner 2 launched and was able to do a successful flyover of Venus — marking the first surveillance pass of Venus done by the United States. Since then, there have been 42 missions to Venus.  

Courtesy of NASA

While flyovers of Venus have continued to this day — such as the BepiColumbo spacecraft, NASA plans to send a rover to the fiery planet. NASA, in the past, has used the Mars rover to explore Mars, for example. With so much success with rovers in aiding the exploration of Mars, NASA is looking to use this same concept to search the surface of Venus, proving to be a challenge. With a tentative launch time set in 2026, scientists and researchers hope to understand Venus’s environment better. 

The environment of Venus has earned quite a reputation. The surface of Venus has been nicknamed Hell because of its temperatures. Scientists have even said it is where they send landers to die because the environment’s heat destroys them. They will need a new rover that will withstand the planet’s massive temperatures of close to 1000°F and last for more than two hours before being destroyed. Only three Russian landers have lasted longer than an hour on the surface. Scientists have concluded that building a rover that will rely on electronics is not necessarily the correct choice. Instead, they wish to use mechanics that can withstand thermal expansion. Engineers may use stainless steel and titanium alloys to build the rovers. There are three missions planned to explore the planet. Da Vinci+ would explore the planet’s noble gases and structures; Veritas determined to study the planet’s geological history; and Llisse to monitor the planet’s meteorology. These missions would be a combined effort by America, India, Europe, and Russia. Scientists want to use the day-night cycle of Venus, which entails 117 days per one cycle, to study such things as the surface temperature and pressure. If successful, this may mean that humans can remotely further explore the hellish planet. 

Lenox Laser has our fingers crossed for all involved in this endeavor and wish them all the best of luck. If history has taught humankind anything, it is that imagination can never be held back. If you would like to read more, click here

New Type of Superconductor Discovered

               Scientists believe that other types of superconductors have yet to be discovered. Superconductors are solid substances that allow for the near 100 percent transfer of electricity through them. Researchers at Cornell University believe that they have found a new superconductor. Still, they stress that it’s only a hypothesis at this point.

Currently, there are two known superconductivity types – s-wave and d-wave. However, through resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, researchers have found the metal strontium ruthenate contains a g-wave pattern. A g-wave superconductor, in effect, has distinct types of angular momentum than current known waves. This new superconductor could be used in more modern TVs to improve efficiency in energy and lifecycles. However, it is still quite some time away from being used in commercial products. It is hoped that this new energy wave can go through things like hardened crystal and harder metals than ever before without canceling each other out and possibly providing new energy sources and the ability to work at higher temperatures without faults.

               Once this new superconductor’s true potential is harnessed, the possibilities of the future could be huge. Circuit boards that last longer and power grids can be maintained without fluctuation and higher heats. This is indeed a unique endeavor with hugely promising potential. If you would like to read more, click here.

Phase-III Trial of Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine

As we move closer to a publicly available vaccine, it is essential to focus on the remarkable strides that have occurred and the teams behind those efforts.  Currently, 40 vaccines are in the works against Covid-19, with nine of them in phase 3 clinical trials. Oxford University’s vaccine partnering with drug maker AstraZeneca continues to show increasing promise in this ongoing battle.

The Oxford vaccine has recently shown very positive immune responses with minimal side effects in a study done by the University of 1077 adults between the ages of 18 and 55, with about 70% developing the side effects of a low-grade headache or fever. AstraZeneca’s CEO is currently predicting the vaccine will be ready by the end of 2020 or early 2021 despite a setback that involved a person in the UK contracting an unknown illness on September 11 from the vaccine. The company was given permission to resume testing on September 15. The patient is now on the mend and doing well. Another faith retest of the vaccine is set to begin the week of September 28 in Pune, India, where around 150 to 200 volunteers will be given the test vaccine at the Sassoon General Hospital.

As for a vaccine timeline, it started for Oxford earlier this summer and has continued to gain momentum ever since. Many companies in phase 3 trials are confident that they would have a vaccine no later than 2021. We at Lenox Laser wish the candidates all the very best and give our sincere thanks to all doctors and medical professionals during this pandemic. If you wish to read more, you can click here.

James Webb Space Telescope Solar Array Update

The James Webb space telescope — a marvel of engineering since its inception —is now set to launch on October 31, 2021. Up until now, it has gone through the successful test of its computer equipment to the deployment of its gigantic reflecting mirrors. Now, its solar arrays have been reconnected to the telescope. Five solar arrays can be folded up to fit onto James Webb’s launch vehicle — the Ariane 5 rocket. The arrays measure roughly 20 feet long. To test the arrays successfully while avoiding friction, they conducted the tests on the arrays by putting them on their side in the spring of 2019. The arrays’ purpose and the telescope itself are to go deeper into the universe and hopefully study it in more detail than ever before possible.

The mirrors onboard James Webb will allow it to capture clearer images of the universe. Its instruments will also help give readings to help provide a better map of the universe. With its improved accuracy and depth, the telescope will provide scientists and mankind a better understanding of space. Its first mission will be to study the light of space using infrared technology. The study of light could also help give us an understanding of gases in space.

The telescope will tell us about galaxies and planets that we’ve not yet discovered with the full potential telescope set on studying light. If you would like to read more about this update on the James Webb space telescope, click here.

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