SpaceX SAOCOM 1B and Starlink Satellites Launch

SpaceX made strides yet again this past weekend with its 100th rocket space flight when they launched their remote sensor satellite from the Falcon 9 rocket. The $600 million orbital launch on Sunday, August 31st, was successfully launched in Florida; this is the first launch of its kind from Florida in several decades. The purpose of this SAOCOM 1B satellite is to study what could be impacting the agricultural sector as an educated hypothesis. The satellite will take readings of the Earth’s rotation, soil and dust samples, and the Earth’s orbit from the sun. 

Starlink Satellites Stacked together before their deployment.
Starlink Satellites Stacked together before their deployment.

The agricultural moisture mapping will monitor the soil 1 meter below the surface level. The satellite will work in tandem with another Italian satellite designed to the same task launched in 2018. With this study, it is hoped that things like soil quality density and makeup can be better measured to continue to help the environment is much as possible. 

However, during that same day, a launch was delayed due to weather: The SpaceX Starlink program. The program is intended to give the world massive satellite Internet and Wi-Fi capabilities in the future. SpaceX later tweeted that the next opportunity to launch the Starlink satellite was on Thursday, September 3rd, in the morning. UPDATE: The Starlink satellite launched at 8:46 am EDT from Launch Complex 39A.

We at Lenox Laser want to wish all of those involved with this mission in future missions for SpaceX the better the very best wishes for success and prosperity, and may their findings help enrich space discovery for years to come. To learn more about this mission or any other mission, please visit  

NASA’s Webb to Study Quasars

Courtesy of NASA

The James Webb Telescope will be taking on a new challenge on its journey to study quasar galaxies. A quasar is an extremely luminous galactic nucleus with a massive black hole millions to billions times larger than the Sun. This study’s purpose is to examine the light within the quasar and its host galaxy. Researchers at Heidelberg University in Germany plan to use 3-D techniques to measure the quasar and host galaxies’ data. 

About 20 years ago, scientists hypothesized that quasars were responsible for a galaxy’s limited growth because they are also accompanied by massive black holes. The 3-D technology will be used for this endeavor will allow scientists to use different wavelengths to measure gas readings and dust, which can be mapped. Also, they wish to study the nonsymmetric winds using imaging spectroscopy. Interestingly, the quasar’s gas flow is flowing out and not around the galaxy center of gravity ring. Scientists hope to discover more about what exactly makes up the contents of the quasar’s core. The James Webb Telescope can break down light into its primary colors, red, green, and blue — in the same way as a television screen. Scientists can break it down even further into smaller variants of colors.  

It is hoped that the techniques used in this study can be used in the future of James Webb’s missions. The launch of James Webb is currently set for 2021, and it is expected to be the premier space science observatory to the world. This test will be a hopeful leap forward in better understanding the mysteries of space. If you would like to read more, click here

NASA Finally Receive Laser Signal From The Moon

Courtesy of NASA

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, making one of the most significant impacts on space exploration history. At that time, we had no idea just how much space travel would evolve over the decades to come, from Apollo 11 to Apollo 13 to SpaceX Crew Dragon and beyond. As the technology evolves, so does the thirst for space exploration of the vast and unknown. Fast forward to 2020, and we have the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The Orbiter has been in space since 2009, studying the moon and bouncing laser beams off panels attached to the Orbiter. On August 13, 2020, scientists announced that after years of trying, the laser beam finally picked up a signal and returned it to Earth. The beam traveled 240,000 miles and landed on a panel no bigger than a paperback novel.

One of the significant findings was that the Earth and the moon’s orbit are drifting apart at about 1.5 inches per year due to gravitational interactions. Scientists, however, need to find out why information is only being beam back at partial strength. At present, it can take 2.5 seconds for the laser to reach the moon. Scientists also want to continue to study the moon’s magnetic fields and interior. So far, the studies have found that the moon has a fluid core at its center, but the material of the core is unknown. It is also not yet known what is generating the magnetic fields on the moon. These fields are another thing that a laser must travel through, which may cause disruptions in reading accuracy.

The scientist’s report also included a time-lapse to show just how fast the laser can work. Still, sometimes it would only bring back about 200 photons at a time, which they hope to fix soon.

It is hoped that this study will continue to unlock the mysteries of the moon and give humanity a fuller picture and that we continue to take the giant leap and Neil Armstrong so famously spoke of. If you would like to read more about the report, click here

Case Study: An Instrument for the Measurement of Formaldehyde

Scientists from the Atmospheric Measurement Techniques journal in a 2017 study measured the gas phase formaldehyde with the new situ instrument called COFFEE or COmpact Formaldehyde FlorescencE Experiment. 

Researchers used COFFEE for a measurement system, which relies on an instrument using NR-LIF for the formaldehyde gas detection. Past methods of this process had LIF measurements of formaldehyde using excitation wavelength-tunable lasers to go on and off the formaldehyde absorption method. Scientists used the differentials in signals to calculate the mixture level of the HCHO. The advantage of this is no broadband background fluorescence interference. Still, a larger, more expensive laser would be needed. Sensitivity was also obtained by using optical filters and allows for simultaneous absorption. High temporal and 355nm resolution data collected can be used to determine the characteristics of the fluorescence lifespan.  This new approach eliminated any background interference in the measurements. Researchers designed the system to join a NASA project called AJAX or Alpha Jet Atmospheric Experiment. The response time of COFFEE was 1/25 of a millisecond. Understanding the response time of the instrument is crucial in getting proper measurements. Data processing consisted of these three steps, time profiles where coffee samples clean, dry air remarkably high purity, and the amount of fluoride measured. 

Lenox Laser designed circular baffles for the concentrated laser beam that increased its precision. We fabricated seven baffles in total, four for before the detection, and three for after. The optical systems were contained in a single plane measured out of 13 mm thick aluminum. The laser was directed by two antireflection years. 

To read more about this study, please click here 

SpaceX Crew Demo-2 and Future Missions Updates

With the return of the first SpaceX Crew Dragon on August 2, 2020, SpaceX and NASA are already working on plans for the next monumental mission. On July 28, 2020, the four-member crew for the second SpaceX Crew Dragon mission was announced. Some members of the journey are astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur. Joining them will be European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aikiho Hoshide as the expedition’s mission specialists. When the mission launches, the crew is expected to spend six months doing an expedition mission on The International Space Station. The partnership between SpaceX and NASA for this next mission comes with a price tag of a staggering $2.6 billion. On top of a second mission, SpaceX is planning a third Crew Dragon mission for some time in 2021.

The third SpaceX missions will see three American astronauts join the fray. Astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Shannon Walker will be joining Japan’s Soichi Noguchi. Crew-1 will be the first fully operational spaceflight by SpaceX. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he hopes to bring tourists to The International Space Station someday.

SpaceX and NASA personnel must now control their crew from the spiking SARS-CoV-2 cases across Florida, especially with the upcoming missions. The next two journeys will include more crew members to go and stay at the ISS. Without the men’s bravery on the Demo-2, it would be unknown if missions with more members could be done. One of the reasons for further crews going is for maintenance of the International Space Station.

Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

A great thanks goes all of those involved in all three journeys and other future missions. We, at Lenox Laser, wish them the best of success. If you would like to read more about the missions, please click here.

Effect on Changing Cow’s Diet on Milk Production and Methane Emissions Study

Pollution comes in many different forms — such as sound pollution and air pollution, and some types of pollution are more harmful than others. In the modern era, there are many different causalities for the air pollution we have today. These can range from the dangerous burning of fossil fuels or something as small as a cow’s eructation during their feeding. In a 2020 study by scientists over at MDPI or Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, they began their experiments with dairy cows’ different diets, and they contacted Lenox Laser to provide them with the parts they need to conduct their research.

A change in ryegrass to grape marc, or the leftover parts of a pressed grape used for wine, could mean a shift in the number of gases flatulated from a cow. As a part of their testing methods, the scientists required a way to measure the quantity of gases expelled from the dairy cows. They decided on using canisters to capture the gases around the cows. However, these canisters required a specific intake of the gases or flow rate, so the researchers requested Lenox Laser to fulfill their needs. The canisters’ gas sampling rate were measured using the orifice plates supplied for the study by Lenox Laser. With the parts they needed, the scientists completed their research and found fascinating information.

Upon the study’s conclusion, researchers observed the change of diet had an impact on the amount of methane gas and milk produced from a cow — both positive and negative. The grape marc reduced methane emissions by 15%; this was because of the high amount of lignin and fat found in grape marc. However, the drawback was the diet decreased the amount of dairy cows’ milk by 10%, and this was due to the reduced intake of metabolizable energy.

Lenox Laser was, once again, honored to provide the necessary equipment needed for the study. We are happy to see a potential breakthrough for the betterment of the environment. We look forward to the future of the dairy industry. If you would like to read the full study, please click here.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Update (as of 7/23/20)

The James Webb Space Telescope continues its path to a hopeful, successful launch. It has been assembled into its final complete form; the completion of this telescope has almost taken over two decades. To date, it is the largest telescope that NASA has ever built. Engineers are now testing to make sure the parts of the telescope work together to achieve NASA’s goals for the space telescope. All these tests may seem minuscule, but they are far from unimportant. 

For a project of this magnitude, the testing is imperative to the mission and requires a long time to complete. Many of the now completed tests included coding and testing approximately 1,070 sets of code instructions and 1,370 procedural steps. Personnel in charge of producing and repairing the telescope’s software worked 24 hours a day for about 15 days consecutively. Despite the hard work, engineers will now have seven months to further inspect the telescope due to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. 

The launch is currently scheduled for October 31, 2021, it will be launched from French Guiana. It will travel one million miles from Earth and away from the sun before going into orbit. Once in orbit, its massive sunshield and mirror will be deployed to study faint light from faraway galaxies. Despite being fully assembled, the remaining parts of the project will cost an estimated $10 million. 

James Webb’s mission is to help solve the origins of the cosmos, a question in which answers have alluded mankind for many years. Still, hopefully, this project will break through barriers and give us those answers. Lenox Laser cannot wait to see the outcome, and we wish all involved the greatest of success. 

Thermal Batteries for Solar Power Energy Storage

For a 2019 study conducted by The Department of Physics and Astronomy, Fuels and Energy Technology Institute, Curtin University, Lenox Laser was tasked with laser drilling a 100-micron orifice that would go into thermal batteries for solar power energy storage. In the world today, there is a constant search for sources of renewable energy in the hopes of reducing the use of fossil fuels, and with the use of electrical energy dramatically increasing this is especially important now. One of sources proven effective to energize his mental hydrides which are compounds of one or more metal cations or M+ and one or more hydride anions H-.  

Different temperature rates and compression would be used to test the hydrides to ensure stability could be maintained. In this lab a device was put in place to measure the pressure between the magnesium iron hydride and the titanium magnesium alloy. One of the parts that Lenox Laser did was make 100 µm orifice where the pressure was monitored and balanced along with that of the hydrogen pressure. It is always an honor for Lenox laser to take part in something that in the bigger picture will people. When all was said and done, the energy storage system for the solar thermal power have been achieved as hoped. It was relying on a coupled mental hydrides system and the high temperature metal hydride (HTMH) was able to store and release hydrogen and a low temperature metal hydride (LTMH) with temperature set to 500°C and a low of 350°C as a minimum. 

With this level of quality achieved, it will be exciting to see where solar power can go next. Lenox Laser was extremely honored to help in this venture. We cannot wait to see what the future holds in solar energy for many different applications all around the world. Click here to read the original article in full detail.

Update: SpaceX Dragon

The Dragon SpaceX launch was an extraordinary moment in world history. It was also a massive undertaking with years of planning behind it. Just over three weeks ago, astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken docked aboard the International Space Station. Over the next several weeks, both astronauts will attempt several spacewalks to replace two batteries on an outer orbiting laboratory. It is estimated that it will take possibly four walk attempts to do so. The first of the four spacewalks are tentatively planned for Friday, July 10. Several thermal adjustments to the suits are being done right now to ensure maximum safety. However, one of the biggest issues facing the crew now, is the reentry process when coming back home. NASA at this time is uncertain whether landing will take place in the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. 

Over the last few weeks, Doug Hurley has taken some amazing and awe-inspiring pictures of Earth’s regions that are truly spectacular in every sense of the word. It is estimated that the astronauts could return home as early as August 2. The spacewalks to replace the two batteries in the stations lab solar power system would be the last part of the mission. For the reentry process, the parachutes that will be attached to the craft went through several redesigns and rigorous experimenting that included multiple test drops. 

If the Dragon mission is proven to be a great success, crews would then begin evaluations of the four-crew flight currently set for mid-September 2020. The flight would be known as the Crew One. The Dragon mission is truly proof that even the world’s darkest times, hope can come from the stars and lead us to a truly bright future. All of us at Lenox Laser send our best to the crew and hope that they return home safe. 

Covid-19 Study Measuring Droplet Travel Distance With Laser Light

2020 has been a challenging year with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The novel virus — known as SARS-CoV-2 or more colloquially Covid-19 — has shut down the globe for many months. As research on the illness continues, knowledge of the disease is rapidly evolving. For example, research suggests the virus is transmitted through coughing sneezing and even speech droplets. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences, found. “Highly sensitive laser light scattering observations have revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second.” CDC guidelines have recommended such things as facemasks and 6 feet apart social distancing because of these findings. 

Researchers estimate that droplets can travel 16 feet when walking. As for running, droplets can spread an estimated 32 feet travel distance minus a tailwind. Certain variables in a room can also contribute to airborne spread such as temperature, humidity, open windows, and air quality. Droplets will usually vanish in a matter of 15 minutes or so. If a person competes in a track race, the other runners may still be at risk of infection because of the droplets from other runners. 

Scientists have suggested that — like the common flu — Covid-19 is something humanity may have to coexist with. With modern medicine, we have the best chance in fighting such a virus. Medical teams and staff and health care workers are working around the clock to give the world hope for a better tomorrow. Lenox Laser sends our best to everyone out there affected, and our sincere thanks to healthcare workers the tremendous efforts put forth every day. Thank you, and stay safe. 
If you would like to read more, click here to read an article about the spreading of Covid-19

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