As the world goes increasingly wireless, we've learned to tolerate a certain degree of failure in our wireless systems--like when your computer just won't sync up with the wireless internet at the cafe, or when our phones drop a call. But what about situations when wireless systems simply cannot fail? A failure rate of zero is tough to achieve in any system, but computer scientists at Saarland University in Germany have demonstrated a wireless bicycle brake that works 99.999999999997 percent of the time.
NASA has awarded the single largest prize handed down in aviation history to Team Pipistrel-USA.com for designing and demonstrating its Taurus G4 electric aircraft. Per the rules of the NASA- and Google-sponsored CAFE Green Flight Challenge, Pipistrel’s Taurus G4 covered 200 miles in less than 2 hours and did so on the electricity equivalent of less than one gallon of fuel per passenger, scoring $1.35 million for the effort.
Atom interferometers are neat little devices that exploit the wave characters of atoms to make highly precise measurements of things like distance and or the force of gravity. But because they are fickle by nature--even the smallest vibrations distort their results--atom interferometers have been mostly limited to highly controlled experiments that take place in either underground labs or in free-falling zero-g experiments.
We hear so many negative things about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program these days: cost overruns, missed deadlines, technology failures, etc. So it’s nice to see a video of a small piece of the larger JSF initiative moving forward--and moving quickly. It’s not part of the plane itself, but a stealthy cruise missile developed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, and it’s looking for a ship to sink.
The second golden age of the airship has run head-on into a logistical snag, Danger Room reports this morning. The military is so eager to get more airships in the air in places like Afghanistan that industry cannot keep up with its demand for helium gas and helium gas containers.
A new satellite defense technology is about to get its first real-world test in orbit, and while we naturally don't get to know much about it just yet, the Air Force has confirmed that a classified satellite launching sometime in the near future will carry the awkwardly named Self-Awareness Space Situational Awareness system, or SASSA.
America's drone fleet has become an increasingly relied-upon wing of its counter-insurgency strategy and plays a key role in its geopolitical policy, particularly in Pakistan where unmanned aircraft routinely venture into sovereign territory and deliver lethal payloads to targets on the ground.
The idea of small, man portable, soldier-launched aerial drones has been catching on for some time now with military operations commanders, as they bring the unique situational awareness and reconnaissance capabilities of larger drone aircraft down to the platoon--or even the individual--level. Now, the U.S. Army is taking the idea to the next level, ordering its first batch of weaponized drones capable of launching from small, portable tube and suicide bombing a target from above.
It’s an aviation story so cool we’re kind of upset we didn’t hear about it a month ago when it happened. Back on August 12th electrical and aerospace engineer Pascal Chretien, working with the backing of French company Solution F, made the world’s first untethered, all-electric manned helicopter flight. And it didn’t even show up on our radars--probably because he only reached an altitude of about one meter.
At AUVSI's unmanned systems conference a couple of weeks ago, the FAA paid a good deal of lip service to the idea of integrating robotic, unmanned aircraft into the national airspace. Then they basically told those of us in the crowd that they would have the regulations ready by 2025 (notably, the speakers didn't pause for applause at this time). But not every government is being so patient.