LONDON: What a small solar system we live in. The state-owned China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp. Ltd. (Beijing, China) has just helped Dynex Semiconductor Ltd. (Lincoln, England) build a center to pursue R&D in power semiconductors.
The building, which will house 40 engineers, is part of an £11.25 million (about $17.5 million) investment being funded in partnership with Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric, a subsidiary of China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock. Zhuzhou CSR is the the majority shareholder of Dynex Power Inc. (Ottawa, Canada) the parent of Dynex Semiconductor.
Dynex designs and makes high power bipolar semiconductors, insulated gate bipolar transistor modules and electronic assemblies or use in marine and railway propulsion, industrial and power grid applications.
"Our major investment program started in May 2010, when we announced the start of the R&D project to expand that team, by forming a joint operation with CSR," said Paul Taylor, CEO of Dynex Semiconductor in a statement. "The power semiconductor device is at the very heart of all modern power electronic systems. Whether wind, solar, tidal, wave, coal, gas or nuclear energy, we need safe, smart and reliable interconnection to the electric grid and safe, smart and reliable power transmission and power quality."
Meanwhile on another planet far, far away the Curiosity rover has landed in the lowlands of Mars.
And it turns out that the real-time operating system you turn to enable the precise, complex landing of Curiosity in Gale Crater is VxWorks from Wind River Systems Inc. (Alameda, Calif.), a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel.
Indeed, Curiosity relied on VxWorks for the complex landing sequence involving a "sky crane" that many said was too complex and would not work. VxWorks helped the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft navigate the entry, descent and landing, which has been described as ďseven minutes of terror."
And now it is down on the Martian ground Curiosity will continue to rely on VxWorks to perform its mission critical tasks such as data collection and Mars-to-Earth communications.
And what is the connection between these two stories?
Dynex Semiconductor in Lincoln was founded in 1956 and previously traded as AEI Semiconductors Ltd., Marconi Electronic Devices Ltd. and GEC-Plessey Semiconductors Ltd.
And, of course, Guglielmo Marconi was the Italian-born radio pioneer whose experimentation and commercial development did much to establish radio communications without which we would not know what is happening on Mars,
To learn more about Mars Science Laboratory and Curiosity, visit www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html
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