Tech Briefs Magazine - February 2022 - 45

Defunct satellites are one of the main causes of space junk, but a recently
patented device developed by Embry-Riddle professors seeks to alleviate
the problem. (Photo: Embry-Riddle)
De-Orbit Device, or D3, the invention can guide small satellites
from low Earth orbit, maneuvering them through Earth's
atmosphere, where they burn up.
Another team at Embry-Riddle developed better methods to
predict where fragments from a warhead strike will fly, reducing
the chance of collateral damage.
Thanks to a $442,508 grant from the Air Force Office of
Scientific Research, the team merged data from static tests with
advanced simulation capabilities, considering such factors as
the speed and orientation of a warhead and using artificial
neural networks and other machine learning tools to provide
better estimates.
The technology could also eventually be applied in the case
of collisions or explosions in space that shoot off fragments of
space debris. Being able to predict where that debris will go
could protect active satellites from being damaged.
In preparation for an upcoming moon mission, a team of
engineers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has completed
construction of a miniature satellite camera system.
With
funding
from
the NASA Florida
Space
Grant
Consortium, the CubeSat, known as EagleCam, will take the
world's first third-person shot of a spacecraft as it makes an
extraterrestrial landing.
The Nova-C, which will transport NASA and commercial payloads,
will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket. As the
Nova-C approaches the moon, EagleCam will launch about 30
seconds before landing and freefall to the moon's surface in
time to capture what is essentially a selfie of the Nova-C spacecraft
as it touches down.
Three wide field-of-view cameras will capture the landing
from three sides of the CubeSat, and then send the photos
back down to the lander via WiFi - a technology never before
used on the moon and engineered entirely by Embry-Riddle
students and faculty.
Tech Briefs, February 2022
Cov
Ph.D. students Chris Hays and Aryslan Malik test the focus of the cameras
and prepare the final build of the EagleCam CubeSat in the Space
Technology Lab. (Photo: Embry-Riddle/Daryl LaBello)
Applied Sciences
A team of researchers at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University's Research Park is developing Synthetic materials
capable of shape shifting from a solid to a liquid state that
might someday help building managers save on cooling
costs.
By leveraging simple desktop equipment to manufacture
very thin strings of a special phase-changing material, the team
has opened the door to improved thermal energy storage on
Earth and in space, too.
The team has demonstrated that thermal energy storage
composites can be printed using a 3D printer and fused-filament
deposition process. The breakthrough involves encapsulating
a phase-change material, or PCM, inside a skinny composite
filament that stores heat. The fused filaments can then
be 3D printed to create heat-exchanging devices. When subjected
to heat, solid-state PCMs absorb large amounts of heat
as they change from one phase to another at constant temperature.
This characteristic makes them attractive for use in
thermal energy storage tanks.
Currently, thermal energy storage tanks are used to freeze
water at night, when electricity rates are lower, so that ice can
be melted to provide cooling during the day. Such tanks help
reduce energy use in buildings. The research remains at an
early stage, but prototype heat exchangers have been successfully
fabricated.
Security, Intelligence, and Safety
Researchers at the university have received a $1 million federal
grant to improve cybersecurity related to the systems that
identify where aircraft are flying in the National Airspace
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Tech Briefs Magazine - February 2022

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Tech Briefs Magazine - February 2022 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - February 2022 - Cov1
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