The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Reports are coming out today that new software created by the French aerospace and defense company Thales has re-analyzed previously made sonar recordings captured during the previous hunts for Air France Flight 447's missing black boxes and has come up with, what the French Defense Ministry believes, is the location of at least one of them.

The new location has been turned over to the French Transport Ministry which will try to confirm the software's findings. If the location is confirmed, remote controlled subs will then try to retrieve the black box.

So far, the some $40 million has been spent on trying to retrieve Flight 447's black boxes.

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Two men fix metal rods to a gold-foiled satellite component in a warehouse/clean room environment

Technicians at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., work on a mockup of the JWST spacecraft bus—home of the observatory’s power, flight, data, and communications systems.


For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.

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