The folks at Martin Jetpack wanted to test their ballistic parachute, but there was a problem--their previous tests had only taken their prototype “jet pack” up to very low altitudes, heights too low to deploy their safety ‘chute. No guts, no glory, as it is said.
The Skylon spaceplane, a concept spacecraft that has been incubating in the UK for something like three decades, has all of a sudden taken a big leap forward thanks to a technical review by the European Space Agency. And if the money comes through--Skylon is a privately funded venture--this summer’s test program could quickly turn into a full-fledged ground demonstrator engine followed by a fifth scale model of one of the engines that would actually take to the skies.
Want to see history made in the blink of an eye? About two weeks ago we wrote about Gamera, the University of Maryland’s human-powered helicopter that is chasing after the Sikorsky Prize, a $250,000 purse offered to anyone who can meet a set of ambitious flight criteria with a human-powered helicopter.
Virgin Galactic just keeps on ticking off the milestones on its way to becoming the first commercial company to take tourists on high-altitude flights to suborbital space and return them safely through the atmosphere to Earth. In the video below, we actually get to see Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo (aka VSS Enterprise) making its first “feathered” flight.
Yves Rossy, a.k.a. “Jetman,” made good on his promise to dazzle onlookers at the Grand Canyon this morning by flying his one-of-a-kind jet-propelled wing through a leg of Grand Canyon West in Arizona, soaring just 200 feet above the rim of the canyon itself. The feat marks Rossy’s first U.S. flight--as well as his first run-in with our Federal Aviation Administration.
Two years, 50 graduate students, countless man hours, and mankind’s insatiable need to prove he can defy gravity will all come to a head on Wednesday when a team of University of Maryland Students attempts to fly its human-powered helicopter, Gamera. They won’t be flying very high, but the payoff could be tremendous; hanging in the balance is a world record, an aviation “first,” and a claim to the $250,000 Sikorsky Challenge.
An undeniably Burt Rutan-esque aircraft has been spotted in the airspace just a few dozen miles south of Beale Air Force Base, prompting aerospace buffs to post the question: what is this Burt Rutan-esque aircraft doing in the air near Beale Air Force Base? Flight Global has since identified (possibly) the plane as Scaled Composites Model 355, but what’s less clear is what sort of aircraft it might be.
For more than a year we’ve been posting grainy images of the Air Force’s RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone, also known as the “Beast of Kandahar,” and speculating about its potential mission profile. Now, via a tweet from the National Journal’s Marc Ambinder yesterday, we might finally have an answer: “US Joint Special Operations Command SMU -- from DEVGRU (Navy SEALs), did the shooting. RQ-170 drone overhead. JSOC spotters on ground.”
It’s not uncommon for U.S. military forces to destroy an aircraft downed in a foreign land, but U.S. Special Forces had particular cause to blow up the ill-fated helo that participated in Sunday’s raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Apparently, it was a secret stealth helicopter, the design of which U.S. military commanders would not be keen to share with the Pakistanis or anyone else.
Robotic moon bases, chips implanted in our brains, self-driving cars, and high-speed rail linking London to Beijing. According to a dazzling number of technology predictions that single out the year 2020, it's going to be to be one hell of a year. Here, we take a look at some of the wonders it holds in store.
The tadpole-shaped airship formerly known as STS-111, currently known as Argus One, and commonly referred to as the sperm blimp, has completed initial flight tests and is on its way to the U.S. Army’s Yuma proving ground to undergo military testing.
The jetpack dream is moving forward--or perhaps upward--once again. Martin Aircraft, makers of the Martin Jetpack (a PopSci Best of What’s New winner in 2008), have set a new flight duration record with their personal flight device, putting it in the air for seven solid minutes during a recent outdoor test.
“JetMan” Yves Rossy, the Swiss aviator, engineer, and PopSci favorite whose jet-powered wing has carried him across the English Channel and Lake Geneva, is planning yet another jet-winged feat, his first on U.S. soil. On May 6, Rossy plans to fly through the Grand Canyon in Arizona, notching what is sure to be a number of “firsts” for both Rossy and the Canyon.
Anyone who has seen the grim images of a crumbling Detroit circulating the Internet, or watched another so-called “Sputnik moment” wander idly by with nothing but lip service from our leaders, may feel that we aren't exactly pushing boundaries like we used to. But in a beautiful eulogy for an era of bygone glory, the WSJ has hit upon a point that’s particularly sobering: for the first time in centuries, humanity is quite literally slowing down.
To fly the military’s baddest, most technologically advanced planes, you once had to have what Tom Wolfe called “that righteous stuff,” the willingness to strap yourself to a jet-fuel laden machine and push it to the very limits of its mechanical capabilities. Nowadays, unmanned systems have taken the human danger out of some combat missions, though human pilots remain at the sticks.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.