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US NAE selects four Indian Americans

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Washington: To provide valuable contributions to the society four Indian American engineers are selected to the US National Academy Engineering (NAE).

Anil K Jain, Dr Arati Prabhakar, Ganesh Thakur and Dr K R  Sridhar were formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s annual meeting in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, NAE president C D (Dan) Mote Jr announced in a statement.

Jain, a distinguished professor in the department of computer science and engineering at the Michigan State University in East Lansing, was elected for his contributions to the engineering and practice of biometrics.

A B Tech graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, his research interests include pattern recognition, computer vision and biometric recognition.

Jain has also been a consultant to the Indian government’s Aadhaar programme that provides a 12-digit unique ID number to the residents of India based on their fingerprint and iris data.

Prabhakar, director of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Virginia, was chosen for national leadership to advance semiconductor and information technologies.

Beginning her career as a Congressional Fellow, Dr Prabhakar has served on the National Academies’ Science Technology and Economic Policy Board. In addition, she chaired the Efficiency and Renewables Advisory Committee for the US Department of Energy.

As the founding director of DARPA’s Microelectronics Technology Office, she led a team of programme managers whose efforts spanned areas such as optoelectronics, infrared imaging and nanoelectronics.

Thakur, who is the president of Thakur Services Inc in Houston, Texas, was named a member for leadership in the implementation of integrated reservoir management techniques.

Sridhar, the Principal co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bloom Energy Corporation in California, was selected for the “contributions to transport phenomena and thermal packaging of electrochemical systems and generation of clean, reliable and affordable power”.

Prior to founding Bloom Energy, Sridhar was director of the Space Technologies Laboratory (STL) at the University of Arizona where he was also a professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Under his leadership, STL won several nationally competitive contracts to conduct research and development for Mars exploration and flight experiments to Mars.

His work for the NASA Mars programme to convert Martian atmospheric gases to oxygen for propulsion and life support was recognised by Fortune magazine which cited him as “one of the top five futurists inventing tomorrow, today.”

Along with the new members, the total US membership goes up to 2,275.

Election to the institution “is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer,” the statement read.

Founded in 1964, the NAE is a non-profit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation.

Its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.(IANS) (image: 1000flags.co.uk)

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US Planning For Space Force To Stay Ahead in War

The general says his team is already writing government proposals to make space resupply a certainty for future military mobility

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Space Force
Air Force Gen. Carlton D. Everhart, the Commander of Air Mobility Command, left, holds a binder with a photograph of Air Force One on the cover as he speaks to Navy Adm. Bill Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, second from left, while arriving with other generals and admirals for a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla., Dec. 21, 2016. (VOA)

It might sound like science fiction, but the general in charge of the U.S. military’s air transports across the globe says refueling and resupplying the military may soon be a job that’s literally out of this world.

“If I can resupply from space I can go across globe in about 30 minutes,” Air Force General Carlton Everhart, the head of Air Mobility Command, told VOA. “I do truly believe that is the next step. We can really make inroads.”

Everhart says the time gained by using hypersonic craft in space could keep him ahead in “the speed of war,” where competitors China and Russia have been trying to make gains.

The idea of using space deliveries isn’t as far out as it may seem. In fact, industry leaders, companies Everhart hopes to partner with, are already working on this type of technology.

Launch vehicles from companies like SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, and even foreign ventures could “provide tremendous strategic advantage to the U.S. government,” according to Eric Stallmer, the president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

But it’s an advantage that would come with an astronomical price tag of thousands of dollars per kilo.

Experts say the need to transport via space must outweigh these costs, perhaps only being used during the most important of missions.

Todd Harrison, a space and defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, points to the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, as a situation where time necessities could overpower cost concerns.

“Imagine if we had been able to launch a SEAL team and put them right down in that compound within 45 minutes of knowing that it was under attack. It could have made the difference,” he said.

The general is not just focused on launching from one point on Earth to another, Everhart also wants to use satellites to preposition cargo in space.

Stallmer said a lot of spaceflight companies are looking at this idea of space refueling depots, including plans to convert those refueling vehicles to habitats within space once they’ve been used.

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The future is full of possibilities, but it is unclear when these technologies will be fully developed. Experts give estimates ranging from a couple of years to more than a decade, but that doesn’t stop Everhart from dreaming.

“The train is leaving the station and we’re going to be on it. And I’m not going to be on the caboose. I want to be in front of, I’m going to be in the front,” he said.

The general says his team is already writing government proposals to make space resupply a certainty for future military mobility. (VOA)