DEFENSE AND SPACE
Global Aerospace | June 06, 2022
As we ring in the New Year, many of us like to think big. How can we have the most impact in the new year? How can we recruit and provide the best people with the best tools, training and motivation to excel? How can we find the resources to accomplish all of our grand ideas floating like sugarplums though our holiday-spirited minds?
Here is one of mine. I think it is long overdue, and I’d like to invite you to join in with me.
Pretty much everyone in our industry knows that aviation mechanics are the unsung heroes of aviation. But that understanding has never seemed to migrate into providing the same kind of focused, world-class training or rock star recognition that the "other folks" get.
You know, the ones that sit up front, push a few buttons, and take credit for getting from point A to point B. Not to dismiss the efforts of these highly trained and skilled professionals that fly, but it has always seemed odd to me that the ones who are behind it all and maintain these finely tuned technologies seem somehow to fade into the background of our collective minds.
Of course, when something goes wrong with a maintenance task, everyone is quick to recognize it—the panel that fell off in flight or the landing gear pin that was left installed. With the millions of maintenance sequences that occur around the globe every week, it’s amazing we don’t see more of these.
Let me be clear about what I see: Millions of flights across our industry take place safely without significant recognition of the people who make it happen. It’s time we take notice and celebrate these men and women as rock stars in their own right.
A Tough Time for Technicians
The airworthiness of aircraft has never been in better hands, but the entire system is severely stressed right now, making it an extremely tough time for professional technicians. COVID protocols, flying schedule upheaval, proficiency concerns, financial questions and a host of the other basic mental health matters the entire world is dealing with make the error-free work needed to ensure airworthiness a very tough task. We must respect and mitigate this risk. And since I operate under the philosophy that none of us is as smart as all of us, I’m casting a wide net.
Industry-wide, I’m declaring 2022 as “The Year of the Aviation Mechanic,” with the idea of bringing all available resources to bear in support of these tireless professionals during these challenging times. Operators, OEMs, MROs, academia, insurance companies and other special interest groups all can play a valuable role in a coordinated effort.
This might end up being nothing more than a symbolic gesture. Or it could gain momentum and become a powerful tool to improve the airworthiness and professional readiness across our industry. Time will tell.
Right now, I’m a lone voice with a big idea. But with just a little help to get the ball rolling, we might be able to highlight the incredible work, opportunity and rewards that come with the job, and recruit the next generation into a culture of proud, compliant, professionalism.
So, here is what I am asking.
Think about what the industry needs to improve the recruitment, training and performance of professional maintainers. Write down your list and send it to me.
Think hard about what you can do, where you are, to support our maintenance professionals during this challenging time. Take the actions available to you. Share what works.
Join in the year-long effort to create sustainable improvement across the industry. Towards that end, we have some events already in mind.
Convergent Performance will fund, develop and deliver a worldwide celebration and online symposium on the past, present and future of these doggedly persistent men and women who “keep ‘em flying.” This is tentatively planned for June 2022, so stay tuned for more developments and outreach for presenters and ideas.
Additionally, we will seek out partners and contributors to make this more than a one-day event and provide sustainable improvement ideas for those who are in small organizations who might not otherwise have the resources to take advantage of advanced training opportunities.
About Global Aerospace SM4 Aviation Safety Program
The Global Aerospace SM4 Safety Program has revolutionized the way insurance specialists help their clients achieve higher levels of operational safety. SM4 was built on the concept of integrating four critical safety components: planning, prevention, response and recovery. Its mission is to help organizations manage risk, enrich training efforts, strengthen safety culture and improve safety management systems.
INMARSAT | May 23, 2022
Inmarsat and Honeywell are setting a new benchmark in satellite communications with the launch of SwiftJet, their latest inflight connectivity service for the business aviation industry. It will enter commercial service in the first half of 2023 and deliver the fastest ever speeds over L-band.
As one of the first new services to be introduced on Inmarsat’s ELERA satellite network, SwiftJet will offer seamless global coverage across flight routes with maximum speeds of 2.6Mbps, up to six times faster than Inmarsat’s existing business aviation connectivity solution over L-band. This will allow passengers to create a secure ‘office in the sky’ with enhanced capabilities for video calls, web browsing, email, texting, cloud-syncing and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams. Social media and video applications such as TikTok and YouTube, which were previously challenging over L-band, will also be enabled.
As the latest addition to Inmarsat’s market-leading portfolio of business aviation inflight connectivity services, SwiftJet will be available alongside Jet ConneX (JX) and SwiftBroadband (SBB), which have been activated on thousands of jets worldwide. JX is the most popular and widely-adopted premium, high-speed solution available today, powered by a global constellation of Ka-band satellites. Additionally, SBB offers speeds of 432Kbps over L-band using smaller antennas that are suitable as a secondary system to JX or as primary connectivity for smaller or older aircraft.
SwiftJet uses advanced hardware from Inmarsat’s partner Honeywell, which can be equipped on a broad range of aircraft and also supports cockpit and safety services. Existing customers of Inmarsat’s SBB service will benefit from a natural upgrade path without needing to replace any externally-mounted aircraft equipment, while new customers will experience the same ease of installation as with any Inmarsat L-band terminal. The service also creates new opportunities in the smaller jet market, which have previously been restricted to basic voice or text connectivity that fails to meet the needs of modern day travellers. It is available to pre-order through Honeywell, with additional incentives in an early adopter campaign.
Inmarsat is launching the ground-breaking service at a critical time for the business aviation industry. Following a period of turbulence over the past two years due to the global pandemic, a recent survey by Inmarsat and Corporate Jet Investor (CJI) found that almost 80% of respondents around the world believe more frequent business aviation flights will be taken in the next year. Furthermore, a staggering 90% feel that online activities will dominate the principals’ time in the air, split between business and leisure.
Inmarsat prides itself on delivering services that meet the unique and fast-evolving requirements of our customers. As the market leader in business aviation connectivity, Inmarsat developed SwiftJet in response to customer and partner feedback for a faster, more advanced L-band offering. They essentially asked us to amplify L-band capabilities without losing its trademark characteristics of resilience, reliability and availability.
Kai Tang, Inmarsat’s Head of Business Aviation
“I am proud to say that SwiftJet delivers all of this and more, unlocking exciting new capabilities in the aircraft cabin and allowing users to connect more devices, and enjoy faster connectivity speeds, whenever and wherever they fly. It comes at a time when business aviation travel is not only returning to pre-pandemic levels, but also experiencing unprecedented demand for inflight connectivity.”
Adam Sheppard, Honeywell Aerospace’s Director of Aircraft Connectivity, said: “SwiftJet represents the latest leap forward for inflight connectivity, combining Inmarsat’s commercial satellite capabilities and Honeywell’s connected aircraft expertise to provide scalable, high-speed satellite communications to passengers at 40,000 feet. With Inmarsat we have created a straightforward upgrade path for SwiftBroadband customers, giving them easy access to unprecedented internet speeds over L-band without having to change wiring or antenna hardware.”
Inmarsat’s ELERA global satellite network delivers the world’s most reliable and flexible global connectivity, with full redundancy and unique resilience in all conditions. ELERA capabilities are being further enhanced with the addition of two Inmarsat-6 satellites, the largest and most sophisticated commercial communications satellites ever built, both of which are scheduled to enter service next year and will support SwiftJet through the 2030s, reinforcing the service’s long-term value. The L-band capacity on each I-6 satellite will be substantially greater than Inmarsat’s 4th generation spacecraft, delivering 50% more capacity per beam in addition to unlimited beam routing flexibility.
The I-6 series of satellites will also play a crucial role in the ongoing growth of Inmarsat’s unique ORCHESTRA dynamic mesh network, which will bring existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites together with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G to form an integrated, high-performance solution, unmatched by any existing or planned competitor offering.
Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.
Honeywell Aerospace products and services are found on virtually every commercial, defense and space aircraft The Aerospace business unit builds aircraft engines, cockpit and cabin electronics, wireless connectivity systems, mechanical components and more. Its hardware and software solutions create more fuel-efficient aircraft, more direct and on-time flights and safer skies and airports.
Aeva Technologies, Inc. | August 02, 2022
Aeva® a leader in next-generation sensing and perception systems, and SICK AG announced a strategic multi-year collaboration to bring Aeva’s FMCW 4D LiDAR™ to a variety of industrial sensing applications including long range sensing, starting with Aeries™ II.
“We are pleased to partner with Aeva and work closely together to bring its FMCW technology to high performance industrial sensing applications. We are convinced that their unique approach to FMCW technology, which includes instant velocity detection and long range performance, will provide new opportunities for us and our customers in a variety of industrial sensing applications where traditional time of flight LiDAR technologies are challenged.”
Dr. Niels Syassen, Member of the Executive Board responsible for Technology and Digitization at SICK
Aeva’s FMCW 4D LiDAR technology provides unique perception advantages over other sensing technologies like cameras and legacy 3D LiDAR sensors. This includes better dynamic range performance to perceive low and high reflectivity targets within the same measurement without edge effects, allowing automated machinery to transition easily from indoor to outdoor operation. Because Aeva’s technology is immune to blooming and ghosting from retroreflectors, automated machines using Aeva’s 4D LiDAR will have clear perception when highly reflective objects such as safety vests, cones and tape are in the field of view of the sensor. The technology clearly detects low and highly reflective objects such as safety vests, pylons and adhesive tapes in the sensor's field of view. FMCW helps increase reliability and efficiency in demanding 3D applications.
“SICK is one of the foremost leaders in industrial sensing solutions and today’s partnership is a major step forward for the advancement of high performance and reliable FMCW-based sensing across a broad set of industrial applications,” said Soroush Salehian, Co-founder and CEO at Aeva. “This strategic collaboration is a testament to the industry-leading performance and versatility of our unique 4D LiDAR technology for scaled deployment in industrial applications.”
About SICK AG
SICK is one of the world’s leading solutions providers for sensor-based applications in the industrial sector. Founded in 1946 by Dr.-Ing. e. h. Erwin Sick, the company with headquarters in Waldkirch im Breisgau near Freiburg ranks among the technological market leaders. With more than 50 subsidiaries and equity investments as well as numerous agencies, SICK maintains a presence around the globe. In the 2021 fiscal year, SICK had more than 11,000 employees worldwide and a group revenue of around EUR 2 billion.
About Aeva Technologies, Inc.
Aeva’s mission is to bring the next wave of perception to a broad range of applications from automated driving to industrial robotics, consumer electronics, consumer health, security and beyond. Aeva is transforming autonomy with its groundbreaking sensing and perception technology that integrates all key LiDAR components onto a silicon photonics chip in a compact module. Aeva 4D LiDAR sensors uniquely detect instant velocity in addition to 3D position, allowing autonomous devices like vehicles and robots to make more intelligent and safe decisions.
Advanced Space | July 05, 2022
Advanced Space LLC., a leading commercial space tech company pioneering the pathfinder mission, spacecraft separated from Rocket Lab's Photon upper stage after its launch on June 28. The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment spacecraft has orbited Earth while raising its position to be thrusted beyond low-Earth orbit on a trajectory to the Moon.
Advanced Space and Terran Orbital teams will take over operations for CAPSTONE as the spacecraft bids farewell to its ride from Rocket Lab. CAPSTONE™ is owned and operated by Advanced Space on behalf of NASA. It will be one of the first CubeSats, or small satellites, to fly in cislunar space – the orbital area near and around the Moon – and demonstrate an innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation technology.
"Our Advanced Space team has been prepared and ready to manage and navigate the CAPSTONE mission for months. I have been in the industry for over 40 years, and to see a spacecraft of this size perform this type of lunar mission demonstrates how technological advancements have made possible this class of mission to succeed. It is extraordinary to contribute to the industry in this groundbreaking manner."
Thomas Gardner, Advanced Space director of engineering and the CAPSTONE program manager
The microwave-sized spacecraft, built and designed by Terran Orbital, will now use its own propulsion and the Sun's gravity to reach the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit around the Moon. The NRHO is the orbit planned for NASA's Gateway, a lunar space station that is part of the Artemis Program.
"Getting to this point, we have learned a tremendous amount already, and the time has come to execute our unique expertise for this monumental Moon mission for NASA," said Bradley Cheetham, Advanced Space chief executive officer and CAPSTONE principal investigator. "Over eleven years ago, we started Advanced Space with a purpose to enable the sustainable exploration, development, and settlement of space. CAPSTONE represents the manifestation of our focus on building programs and technologies that will enable this vision for the future."
About Advanced Space
Advanced Space supports the sustainable exploration, development, and settlement of space through software and services that leverage unique subject matter expertise to improve the fundamentals of spaceflight. Advanced Space is dedicated to improving flight dynamics technology development and expedited turn-key missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Learn more about what Advanced Space is creating; check out the CAPSTONE mission page.