BLOG

NASA Rocket Hardware Prepped for Shipment to Space Coast

NASA Rocket Hardware Prepped for Shipment to Space CoastWith Artemis teammates and media watching, United Launch Alliance (ULA) crews guided the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) for NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket for Artemis III to the loading dock at ULA’s facility in Decatur, Alabama, July 31. ULA’s R/S RocketShip will transport the flight hardware to ULA’s sister facility in Florida near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where it will undergo final checkouts.

Read More

Contract Awarded for Acquisition of Large Cryogenic System for DUNE Detectors in South Dakota

Participants from the project’s kick-off meeting, with representatives from Air Products and the LBNF team, gather in Fermilab’s Wilson Hall with Fermilab Director Lia Merminga (center, front). Photo: Ryan Postel, FermilabA significant milestone has been achieved in the realization of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) with the awarding of a multi-year contract for the acquisition of a large cryogenic plant. This plant will be responsible for cooling tens of thousands of tons of liquid argon, bringing the ambitious experiment one step closer to fruition.

Read More

Cryogenics at FAIR: Adaptability is Key

Image: Cryo connections Cryogenic by-pass lines supplied to FAIR through an in-kind contribution by WUST in Poland. Credit: GSIThe Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) in Darmstadt, Germany, represents an ambitious reimagining of the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, one of Europe’s leading accelerator research laboratories. When it comes online for initial user experiments in 2027, FAIR will provide scientists from around the world with a multipurpose accelerator complex that’s built to address a broad-scope research canvas – everything from hadron physics, nuclear structure and astrophysics to atomic physics, materials science and radiation biophysics (as well as downstream applications in cancer therapy and space science).

Read More

Green Hydrogen Facility May Be Coming to NY

 Aerial view of proposed Green Hydrogen Facility in Massena. Credit: C&S EngineeringA new green facility may be coming to Massena, NY. Air Products, an industrial gas supply company, has proposed a green hydrogen facility in Massena, according to a press release from C&S Engineers. This facility would produce liquid hydrogen by electrolysis to be used as a renewable fuel source. Project leaders explained this process in a public fact sheet. Electrolysis is a technique that uses direct current to harvest the hydrogen.

Read More

Superconductivity Breakthrough: First Direct Visualization of a Zero-Field Pair Density Wave

Image: In this illustration of the superconducting material Eu-1144, the blue and magenta wave shown above the crystal lattice represents how the energy level of the electron pairs (yellow spheres) spatially modulates as these electrons move through the crystal. Credit: Brookhaven National LaboratoryIn the field of superconductivity—the phenomenon in which electrons can flow through a material with essentially zero resistance—the “holy grail” of discovery is a superconductor that can perform under everyday temperatures and pressures. Such a material could revolutionize modern life. But currently, even the “high-temperature” (high-Tc) superconductors that have been discovered must be kept very cold to function—too cold for most applications.

Read More

New Superconductor Could Lead to Quantum Computing Breakthrough

Image: A new type of superconductor may just be what physicists have been searching for over the past 40 years. Credit: TheDigitalArtist on PixabaySuperconductivity is the property of zero electrical resistance at ultralow temperatures and was discovered in 1911 by the Dutch physicist Kamerling-Ohnes. It plays a crucial role in many industries and technologies, ranging from quantum computing to energy. “Superconductors are amazing materials which have many strange and unusual properties,” explained Joe Carroll, a Ph.D. researcher at Macroscopic Quantum Matter Group laboratory in University College Cork. “Most famously they allow electricity to flow with zero resistance. That is, if you pass a current through them, they don’t start to heat up; in fact, they don’t dissipate any energy despite carrying a huge current.

Read More

Cryogenic SRAM IP Demonstrator Taped Out

sueCore, the Sheffield low-power SRAM IP specialist, has taped out it its first cryogenic IC demonstrator under the “Development of CryoCMOS to Enable the Next Generation of Scalable Quantum Computers” program.sureCore’s cryogenic SRAM is a building block for any digital sub-system, that is capable of operating from 77K (-196° C) down to the near absolute zero temperatures needed by Quantum Computers (QCs).  Standard cell and IO cell libraries have been re-characterized for operation at cryogenic temperatures, thereby enabling an industry standard RTL to GDSII physical design flow to be readily adopted.

Read More

New Bolometer Could Lead to Better Cryogenic Quantum Technologies

A new type of bolometer that covers a broad range of microwave frequencies has been created by researchers in Finland. The work builds on previous research by the team, and the new technique could potentially characterize background noise sources and thereby help to improve the cryogenic environments necessary for quantum technologies.A new type of bolometer that covers a broad range of microwave frequencies has been created by researchers in Finland. The work builds on previous research by the team, and the new technique could potentially characterize background noise sources and thereby help to improve the cryogenic environments necessary for quantum technologies.

Read More

Air Gases Can Benefit the Environment

500-ton-per-day, 1981 cryogenic oxygen plant with reversing exchangers. Credit: Nils TellierOverview-The commercial production of oxygen and nitrogen supported the industrial revolution in the late 19th century and up to the mid-20th. Oxy-acetylene cutting and welding were important for projects like the Eiffel Tower, the Panama Canal and the Central Valley Project Corporation hydropower plants. Oxygen, nitrogen and argon refined steelmaking and metal heat treatment, from Bessemer steel converters to cryogenic tempering. Food conservation has benefited from nitrogen, argon and CO2 with the controlled atmosphere conservation of produce.

Read More

Analyzing Transcritical CO2 Compression and Pumping Pathways

 Figure 1: Phase diagram of carbon dioxide above and in the vicinity of the critical point showing the dense fluid, liquid-gas-like supercritical and the transitional (Widom) region. Figure 2: Sensitivity of isobaric heat capacity, cp is examined for 0.5 bar change of pressure at a constant temperature of 35 °C across a range of pressures above the critical point of pure CO2 [3]. Figure 3: Three possible transcritical CO2 compression pathways from 1 bara to 150 bara.[3] Credit: Matt Taher, P.E.Supercritical carbon dioxide exhibits anomalous behavior in the vicinity above the critical point. The Irish physical chemist Thomas Andrews (1863) was the first who studied the supercritical behavior of carbon dioxide. He explained his observations of the fluid state above the critical point as follows: “…the surface of demarcation between the liquid and gas became fainter, lost its curvature, and at last disappeared, the tube being then filled with a fluid which, from its optical and other properties, appeared to be perfectly homogeneous [T. Andrews, Jan. 1870]”. 

Read More

AVCO Sets its Sights on Mars

Launcher space test with AVCO valves. Credit: Andre at Launcher Space“You’re Going to The Moon” should now be quoted as “You’re Going to Mars.” From the 1990s downturn in the aerospace industry to today’s exponential growth, the demand for precision flow control and flow measurement has continued to follow the same growth trajectory. The focus of Alloy Valves and Control (AVCO) has been on the need to fulfill the requirements of research and development for rocket engine design, test stands, rocket propellant and life support systems for space travel in both unmanned and manned space vehicles.   

Read More

CCAT Observatory Approaches First Light

Rendering of the Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope. Credit: CPI Vertex Antennentechnik GmbHFor the past six years, CCAT Observatory Inc., a nonprofit research organization formed by more than a dozen academic institutions led by Cornell University, has been developing a new telescope, the Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope (FYST, pronounced “feast”) and its supporting infrastructure to observe at submillimeter wavelengths. The infrastructure is currently under construction at an altitude of 5,600 m near the summit of Cerro Chajnantor in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, one of the driest places on Earth. Since water vapor absorbs the wavelengths of interest, the site is arguably the best ground-based location for submillimeter observations due to its thin, ultradry atmosphere. Once complete, it will be the second highest observatory in the world.  

Read More

Goddard Goings: Insight Into Its Past, Present and Future

The slow cooldown of JWST’s MIRI was intentional because it enabled efficient scheduling of the deployment tasks and ensured the cleanliness of the optics by preventing water and molecular contamination transport. Credit: NASA GSFCJames Webb Space Telescope-“I’m Back in the Saddle Again!” – It’s likely anyone reading this article has heard about the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The telescope launched on December 25, 2021 (EST) with much fanfare. Over the next month, it traveled to its observation location at the L2 Lagrange point in the earth-sun gravitational system. It has been sitting comfortably at this saddle point for well over a year. Cooling of the instrument didn’t wait until reaching this point. Oh no, this began shortly after the launch from the spaceport in French Guiana because the majority of the telescope was cooled passively via thermal radiation to outer space. 

Read More

NASA Completes Heart of Roman Space Telescope’s Primary Instrument

Principal technician Billy Keim installs a cover plate over the detectors for NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/Chris GunnThe heart of NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope was recently delivered to Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo., for integration into the Wide Field Instrument (WFI). Called the Focal Plane System (FPS), it serves as the core of Roman’s camera. When the mission launches by May 2027, astronomers will use this system to gather exquisite images to help unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, discover exoplanets and explore many topics in infrared astrophysics. 

Read More

Success in Harsh Environments: Signaling the Future of Cryogenic Communications

Thin film technician processing a resistor board. Credit: XMA CorporationXMA, with its space heritage spanning from low-Earth orbit (LEO) to deep space exploration units, embarked on a journey to enter the supply chain for quantum computing more than 10 years ago. The driving force behind this industry expansion was XMA’s success in cryogenic temperatures down to approximately 4 K in space environments. XMA managed to strike the perfect balance between rugged materials that remained non-superconductive at cold temperatures and low-mass products. When quantum technologists cooled these components to millikelvin temperatures, the specifications remained unchanged. This consistent performance from ambient to cryogenic conditions has become XMA’s baseline for success. With the cross-pollination of knowledge between the space and quantum industries, XMA has experienced steady growth in both sectors, thanks to its novel designs and successful environmental testing. As space exploration and quantum computing continue to advance, XMA leverages the newfound knowledge from each industry to improve the other. 

Read More

SpaceLogistics Sells Third Mission Extension Pod

An artist’s rendering of the Mission Robotic Vehicle with a Mission Extension Pod. (Photo Credit: Northrop Grumman’s SpaceLogistics)Northrop Grumman Corporation’s SpaceLogistics has sold its third Mission Extension Pod (MEP), a propulsion “jet pack” that extends the life of legacy satellites, allowing them to operate longer and more profitably. Under a purchase agreement with Intelsat, SpaceLogistics’ Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV), a servicing spacecraft equipped with robotic arms, will install the jet pack on an Intelsat communications satellite in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) to extend its life by at least six years. This capability builds on a long-standing relationship between SpaceLogistics and Intelsat that includes the world’s only commercial satellite-servicing missions in GEO.

Read More

Principles of Operation for a ZPC Dilution Refrigerator

Zero Point Cryogenics' Model I Dilution RefrigeratorUnderstanding the basic principles of dilution refrigeration is essential for operating a ZPC dilution refrigerator effectively. While there are comprehensive guides available on the subject, we provide a condensed overview for quick reference. The first principle involves the cooling of helium isotopes. Helium-4 (4He), the common isotope, liquefies at 4.2 K under standard pressure. Further cooling can be achieved by pumping on it, extracting its latent heat of vaporization. However, the cooling power is limited by the exponentially decreasing vapor pressure of helium. This restricts the achievable temperature to around 0.8 K, realistically reaching 1.2 K in the laboratory.

Read More

Preparing for the Next Era of Neutrino Research

Image: Inside one of the ProtoDUNE cryostats at CERN’s Neutrino Platform Credit: CERNAt CERN’s Neutrino Platform on the Laboratory’s Prévessin site in France sit two large boxes encased in a red grating. Inside these boxes are vast chambers surrounded by shiny stainless steel. The boxes are the cryostat modules of the ProtoDUNE experiment. Despite their large size, they are tiny in comparison to the future size of their successors for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), a vast neutrino experiment currently being built in the USA. The Neutrino Platform also houses an assembly station for the Tokai to Kamioka (T2K) experiment, another vast neutrino facility in Japan.

Read More

Swift Aircraft Selects GKN Aerospace to Help Reach RAF’s Net-Zero Targets

Swift Aircraft and GKN Aerospace are partnering to integrate a revolutionary liquid hydrogen propulsion system into light aircraft, driving the industry-wide shift towards sustainable flight.Swift Aircraft, the visionary company behind the innovative British aerobatic light aircraft called the Swift, has joined forces with a team of British innovators to drive sustainable flight forward. Their collaboration is supported by the Project MONET contract, awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), aimed at demonstrating technologies for achieving net-zero emissions during flight.

Read More

Aspen Aerogels Launches Advanced Thermal Barrier Center

Image: Aspen Aerogels opens a cutting-edge engineering facility, the Advanced Thermal Barrier Center, in Marlborough, MA, dedicated to optimizing the safety and performance of battery packs for eMobility and energy storage systems, reaffirming their commitment to sustainability and electrification. Credit: Aspen AerogelsAspen Aerogels, a leading technology company specializing in aerogel-based sustainability and electrification solutions, has announced the grand opening of its state-of-the-art engineering and rapid prototyping facility in Marlborough, MA. This 59,000-square-foot facility, known as the Advanced Thermal Barrier Center (ATBC), will serve as the engineering hub for PyroThin cell-to-cell barriers, which play a vital role in optimizing the safety and performance of battery packs for the rapidly growing eMobility and energy storage system (ESS) markets. 

Read More