SIMPLEx Mission to the Moon

The Moon has been vastly explored by mankind for several decades. Despite the progress, it is believed that its geography has not fully mapped. That is the potential goal of the new Lunar Trailblazer built by NASA. One of its primary functions will be to determine the amount of water on the Moon that could be hidden inside football-sized craters on the surface. This massive venture was an idea in partnership with NASA and Caltech University; its construction began in early 2019. The images that are taken will be the highest resolution possible. Now in the approval process, Trailblazers flight systems are expected to be delivered in October 2022. Altogether the satellite will measure 3.5 m in length upon full deployment of its onboard solar panels.

The most significant part of this endeavor is to find out if there is water on the Moon and why. Temperatures on the Moon can be up to 260°F in sunlight and can drop to -280°F; this could lead to ice pockets and formations around the Moon’s surface. Trailblazer’s design team includes some brilliant scientists from Lockheed Martin that will test the satellite’s design and instrument functionality. They are also joined by scientists at Oxford University who will be designing the instruments which enable Trailblazer to do the necessary water studies on the Moon. Some of the questions about the study needing to be answered are the following: Is there water found in rock? Does the temperature change of water happen during the day-night cycle? Most importantly, does water exist in the shadow covered areas of the Moon? If all goes well, the mission is planned to launch in 2025.

Full mapping of the Moon would allow scientists to understand its geological makeup, surface area, water, and rock formations. Some of the events in the timetable of the lunar Trailblazer started in 2018 when it was announced as a candidate for NASA’s Planetary Small Satellites program. Last year Trailblazer was selected for the upcoming mission; beyond this, no further information is available at this time. The previously mentioned high-resolution images taken by the satellite will give scientists a more real-time feel of what is being dealt with on the Moon surface. Lenox Laser wishes all the teams involved the very best of luck and cannot wait to see the study results. If you would like to read more, click here.

We here at Lenox Laser also wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

SiriusXM Satellite Launched by SpaceX

The SpaceX program’s momentum continues to grow this past Sunday’s launch of another Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket contained a massive 15,000-pound SXM-7 satellite used by Sirius XM satellite radio to further broadcast signals even stronger across the US and Canada. For the Falcon 9 rocket, this was the seventh consecutive flight, which took SpaceX eight days to pull off. About half an hour after launch, the massive satellite was released into orbit to fly on its own power. The new satellite is intended to have a life expectancy of approximately 15 years before it would need to be replaced with an upgraded model. It is one of five new satellites that will join a group to form a cohesive network to operate with constant speed and efficiency—the satellite docked with the International Space Station late Sunday evening.

The XM seven satellite will be capable of broadcasting Sirius XM satellite signals into trucks, cars, homes, and businesses with an ever-growing lineup of content ranging from news, sports, and music. The satellite will sit approximately 22,300 feet in orbit above the equator, moving in sync with the Earth’s rotation but can still be seen in the sky. It was built by Maxar Technologies, which specializes in optical imagery, image mapping, robotics, global imagery. It is hoped that if this SpaceX venture is a massive success, different areas of the globe to get satellite radio may be explored. The Falcon 9 launch was the 25th of the year, and flight number 102 in total since SpaceX began 10 years ago. The XM 7 is replacing the XM 3 satellite that was launched in 2011.

The Starlink program started by SpaceX is another essential part of this puzzle. Its purpose is to bring affordable, high-speed satellite Internet to areas that cannot access an ISP. The last space excellent for 2020 is expected to be on Thursday, December 17, weather permitting. The launch will take place at the Kennedy Space Center. Lenox Laser wishes SpaceX all the best in their current and future endeavors. We cannot wait to see what is done with the technology of this magnitude at their disposal. If you would like to read more, please click here.

New Study about The Darkness of Space

Darkness is defined as the partial or total absence of light; however, new studies are potentially showing that space may not be so dark after all. NASA’s New Horizons satellite was launched in 2006 with an initial purpose of exploring the dwarf planet of Pluto, but, in 2015, New Horizons entirely shot past the world in what was to be a six-month reconnaissance flyby along with exploring the Kuiper belt. Beyond the Milky Way galaxy, researchers have taken photos, extracted any light coming from random stars or from the Milky Way, and concluded that there is light beyond our own universe. With this finding, scientists began to ask where the light may be coming from.

Thanks to highly detailed images in the Hubble telescope’s many attempts, scientists may now have detailed pictures of light existing in the far corners of the universe. However, minuscule the light amount may be, scientists believe that even a small amount is a groundbreaking find. However, the discovery does come with some caveats. An example is that whatever light the observer may be looking at may affect the amount of dust in the space.

The Hubble Telescope has contributed more to the question of light outside of the Milky Way. So far, according to this study, the Hubble Telescope has helped in finding some of the farthest and dimmest galaxies known to man to this day. However, despite finding so much, Hubble’s capabilities are limited because there could exist light sources that cannot be seen. Given that light is infinite and can go in any number of directions, a piece of dust in space can project a considerable amount of light and, therefore, mess up findings. While scientists still have a long way to go as to what they may or may not discover with this new study, they are astounded continuously so far as to what they found. This is a real example of just how far technology has come to give humankind such an in-depth look at the mystery with such potential.

If you would like to read more about this study, click here for an NPR article or here for a Forbes article on the study.

Current News in the Pharmaceutical Packaging Industry

The unprecedented times that the world is facing with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic makes the effectiveness of safe and reliable medical packaging more critical than ever.

The pharmaceutical industry uses many methods to ensure its products’ safety. One of the main processes is called container Closure Integrity Testing, or CCIT. CCIT tests every aspect of the durability of pill bottles, glass vials, storage plastics, etc. It also ensures that there is no possible way that the product being stored could leak out and contaminate. Lenox Laser is proud to offer this service, and we take great pride in our quality assurance. We can proudly provide our laser drilling services for CCIT laser drilling into many different materials such as glass, nickel, heavy-duty plastics, and stainless steel. We have even assisted the Parental Drug Association in a CCIT vacuum leak decay study. More info about the study that we participated in can be found here. Even today, there continues to be development in the field of critical packaging.

According to The Packaging Digest, The FDA recently gave approval to a new packaging method that uses water vapor that helps with relative humidity inside storage. This method can drastically change the weight of the package due to an even layer vapor across the film of the container. This is first tested by filling the cavities of blister packs with water to simulate storage weight. The idea behind this is to maintain a constant and stable pressure difference. In the end, the study found that the containers that use the water vapor method maintained a 75% vapor pressure difference from stored at 40°C. The great advantage of this method is the water vapor usage does not change the internal relative humidity on the package and or contents, and they remain stable. Is not yet known when this new packaging method will be on the market, however the results seem promising.

From shipping and tracking purposes to safe and robust storage, all of this must be done with the utmost care and highest safety standards possible. Flexible packaging allows practical delivery to hospitals or medical facilities and ease-of-use for medical staff. In the last few weeks, the world was given ecstatic hope as the vaccine being developed by Pfizer was announced to be 95% effective against Covid-19. Both Pfizer and Moderna hope to have emergency use authorization as of now. Several meetings with the FDA are also planned to discuss vaccination rollout. Several multibillion-dollar deals have been made in America and Europe to supply millions of doses to the public once a vaccine is officially approved. Lenox Laser gives our best regards in all these tremendous efforts to end this global pandemic.

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.

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