NASA taps into the power of magnets
for missions to the moon and Mars
Can magnets help astronauts to more easily transfer fuel on Moon and Mars missions?
A team at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, is looking into that very question. The team is working to create a magnetic coupler, a device that could be used for transferring fuels on space missions.
The team is working with programmable magnets – magnets that can be arranged in a certain pattern to attract or repel with a prescribed force and engagement distance. By varying the magnets’ placement, and by varying their magnetic fields and strengths, different mechanical behaviors can be controlled.
“The use of magnets could result in less or no force from the user in mating and de-mating the two halves of the cryogenic coupler,” said SDSU Alumna Shideh Naderi, an electronics and software engineer at NASA Armstrong and the project’s principal investigator. “It is also more dust tolerant since the magnets have a very simple surface design. There’s less chance of dust getting into the system versus a traditional mechanical latch design that has a lot more nooks and crannies.”
The erosive and abrasive nature of lunar dust can cause severe damage to equipment and systems and can degrade coatings used to seal equipment and erode surfaces.
A third benefit is that the magnets self-align, making it easier for the user to make the connection.
The project is called the Dust-Tolerant Magnetic Coupler for Cryogenic Fluids, and it could have applications on future missions to the Moon and Mars.
The work is being performed with funding from NASA’s prestigious Early Career Initiative (ECI) award, received by Naderi’s team in 2020. The goal of the ECI is to provide an opportunity for early career researchers to propose and develop innovative aerospace technology projects, engage with leading industry and academic partners, and develop the skills required to manage and transition transformative concepts into future NASA missions.
The program is providing $2.5 million over two years to support the team’s research.
Photo: Andrew Holguin prepares an experiment to verify the strength of the magnetic forces as two mounted magnets are moved closer and closer to each other. (Image courtesy of NASA Photo/Lauren Hughes)
County and partners break ground on
housing complex for homeless seniors
The County of San Diego and its partners broke ground Monday on a new housing complex for seniors who experience homelessness. The 74-unit project in the Nestor area will serve San Diegans age 55 and older who are currently unsheltered or at risk of becoming homeless.
While all units at Nestor Senior Village will serve homeless seniors, about half of the units will be set aside specifically to serve homeless seniors with a serious mental illness.
Nestor Senior Village is a collaboration between the county, City of San Diego, San Diego Housing Commission and Nestor United Methodist Church. The church is leasing some of its surplus land to the development through a ground lease and the housing complex is being constructed adjacent to the church.
The county provided $7.5 million in funding through its No Place Like Home initiative and the San Diego Housing Commission provided about $3 million in capital funding in addition to 73 project-based housing vouchers.
Nestor Senior Village is expected to open in January 2024.
Coronavirus jumped to humans
at least twice at market in Wuhan, China
By Scott LaFee
In a pair of related studies, published July 26, 2022 online via First Release in Science, researchers at University of California San Diego, with colleagues on four continents, show that the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 was at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, and resulted from at least two instances of the SARS-CoV-2 virus jumping from live animal hosts to humans working or shopping there.
The findings, first reported in February after the papers were posted online as preprints awaiting peer review, garnered international attention, primarily focusing on identifying the market as the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization estimates that there have been more than 566 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and 6.3 million deaths since the pandemic was declared in early 2020.
California counties siphon Social Security
benefits from some foster children
By Jeanne Kuang | CalMatters
When she was 15 and had been a ward of the courts for half her life, Kristina Tanner learned the cost of her stays in group homes and with foster families was coming out of her own pocket.
She had qualified for monthly survivor benefits checks, a Social Security program for children whose parents had died.
Instead of the hundreds of dollars a month going to her or toward savings, it went to Butte County, she said, to cover checks issued to her foster care providers.
Now Tanner, who works three part-time jobs while attending Sacramento State University, wonders why the government needed to take her money.
“You’re pretty much saying I’m paying for my time in care, and there’s other people that are getting their time in care for free,” she said. “It’s not like we have our parents to fall back on.”
Kratos awarded contract by Air Force
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc., a San Diego company, announced that its Kratos Turbine Technologies (KTT) Division has been awarded a task order contract to develop a low cost, limited life engine for attritable and expendable systems. The contract is part of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Turbine Engine Division Attritable Cost Optimized Limited Life Engine Technologies program. Under prior and existing contracts, KTT has completed component rig and core engine testing and has recently begun full engine ground testing. The initial, $6.8 million effort will focus on key component testing and engine optimization trade studies to validate the capabilities the engine can bring to future systems. Additional, unfunded, options are available to complete the engine design and testing for future flight demonstrations. The work will be performed by KTT in Florida.
Viasat selected by European Space Agency to
conduct satellite communication study
Viasat UK Ltd., a subsidiary of global communications company Viasat Inc., announced it was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to conduct a multi-layered Satellite Communication (SATCOM) study focused on evaluating the use cases, market segments and technical aspects of these future systems, which will be comprised of networks that span multiple orbital types including Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), Low Earth Orbit (LEO), High Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS) and others, as well as include various frequency bands, satellite operators and network designs.
Multi-layered, hybrid networks are increasingly being explored as an enabler of enhanced communications agility and performance, as well as a provider of critical resilience to protect against potential disruptions or attacks. This new research, which will be conducted over the next year, will look to answer some fundamental questions around the future implementation and use of multi-layered networks.
Ballot measure to raise 30-foot height limit
in Midway District to go on November ballot
A ballot measure to raise the 30-foot building height limit in San Diego’s Midway District will also go before the voters this November. If approved by voters, the Midway District, which includes Sports Arena, will be excluded from the coastal height limit.
Proponents of the measure argue that the region is not a coastal neighborhood and should have never been subjected to the coastal height limit. Raising the height limit will also bring more housing and commercial projects to the area, supporters say.
Voters approved a similar measure, Measure E, in November 2020, but a court order invalidated that ordinance because it allegedly failed to study the potential environmental impacts of taller buildings. Measure E was approved by 57 percent of voters in 2020.
U.S. News ranks Scripps No. 1 for
orthopedics in San Diego region
U.S. News & World Report has ranked Scripps Health’s orthopedics program the best in the San Diego region, and named Scripps among the nation’s best in five specialties in the magazine’s annual “Best Hospitals” list.
“Scripps’ inclusion on the Best Hospitals list, year after year, is a testament to the exceptional skills and dedication of our physicians, nurses and the rest of our staff,” said Scripps Health President and CEO Chis Van Gorder. “I’m proud of the work everyone does to ensure that Scripps’ legacy of outstanding patient care continues despite the unprecedented and ongoing challenges we have experienced over the past two years.”
Del Mar Racetrack sets opening day record
By Hector Trujillo
Despite a limited sell-out crowd of 21,682 attending on July 22, Del Mar Racetrack set an opening-day record all-sources handle of $23.56 million breaking its previous record of $21.30 million set last year.
The summer meeting opened a week later than normal this season and will extend past Labor Day for the first time in nearly 20 years.
The day featured several events including fan favorites like the Hats Contest, which drew more than 160 contestants, the return of the Opening Day Party, the exclusive After Pony Party, and a 10-race program that included the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes.
“We got here early and stayed through the last race,” said Del Mar resident Carmen Arredondo. “We have been coming to Opening Day every year as a family and have it circled on our calendar. I am so happy not only because I cashed a ticket today, but also because I see that so many people are out here and having fun again.”
Del Mar’s Grandstand also started operating at full capacity for the first time since 2019 and will continue to do so throughout the season.
UC San Diego Health ranks No. 1
in region by U.S. News & World Report
According to the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” survey, UC San Diego Health has once again ranked No. 1 in San Diego and No. 5 in California, placing it among the nation’s best health care providers. Designed to assist patients and doctors in making informed health care decisions, these annual rankings distinguish hospitals that excel in providing multidisciplinary, comprehensive care for the most challenging health conditions.
“These prestigious data-driven rankings are a tremendous honor and validation of our daily commitment to providing world-class medical and surgical care to our patients,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. “Our extraordinary teams are ambassadors of good health, committed to helping all patients experience the very best possible care.”
McCullough Landscape Architecture wins
projects in Santee, Oceanside and Sacramento
McCullough Landscape Architecture has won three new projects across California: a renovation at The Westfield Galleria at Roseville Promenade, the Oceanside Transit Center Redevelopment, and the City of Santee Arts & Entertainment District.
The Westfield Galleria at Roseville Promenade is a collection of luxury, curated dining, and popular retail 25 miles from downtown Sacramento
The Oceanside Transit Center Redevelopment will improve the area Transit Center with a relocated bus island, integrated ticketing center, additional parking, and enhanced amenities.
The City of Santee Arts & Entertainment District involves creating a city framework, master planning, and engaging residents in a visioning process which will ultimately be incorporated into the city’s General Plan and the Specific Plan for the Town Center.
IPS Group introduces high-precision
stereoscopic vehicle detection sensors
IPS Group, a Smart Parking innovation leader based in San Diego, has launched the Stereoscopic Vehicle Detection Sensor as part of the Fully Integrated Smart Parking Ecosystem. The sensors integrate with IPS Single-Space Parking Meters to detect space vacancy and occupancy. Parking managers can monitor occupancy trends in real time to make data-driven policy decisions such as demand-based rates, parking schedules, and enforcement processes.
Compared to other vehicle detection sensors, the Stereoscopic Sensors offer the highest accuracy, longest battery life, greater auditing capabilities, and easiest installation and maintenance. A combination of stereoscopic and magnetometer technology captures different image and sensing perspectives and 3D coordinates to provide high-precision vehicle detection.
Northrop Grumman named a 2022
Best Place to Work for disabilities inclusion
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been named a Best Place to Work for disability inclusion by Disability:IN and American Association of People with Disabilities for the eighth consecutive year. The company earned a score of 100 percent on the 2022 Disability Equality Index (DEI) for implementing leading disability inclusion practices.
The DEI is a benchmarking tool to measure disability workplace inclusion, assessing factors like culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, community engagement and employment practices such as recruitment, education and retention. Northrop Grumman has participated since the index’s inception in 2015, and the company uses the factors to continuously evolve inclusion practices.
“At Northrop Grumman, we believe that a work force and workplace that values diversity and inclusion is pivotal to promoting innovation and increasing productivity and profitability,” said Kenny Robinson, vice president and chief diversity officer, Northrop Grumman.