An explosion aboard Flight 253 on Christmas Day would not have crippled the Boeing 747, according to a recent test that simulated the success of would-be bomber Umar Abdulmutallab. Only the bomber and passenger next to him would have died, the BBC reports.
A telescope-toting 747 is about to become astronomy’s most versatile tool
By Mark WolvertonPosted 02.24.2010 at 2:15 pm 14 Comments
In the movies, opening the door on a plane at 45,000 feet is disastrous. But this spring it will be standard procedure on one 747—one carrying a telescope high enough to capture the cosmos better than ever before.
Should they cast their eyes skyward at just the right moment, a few lucky observers could see something spectacular this summer: a Boeing 747 splitting open a ballistic missile with a laser in mid-flight. After 12 years and $5 billion in R&D, the Missile Defense Agency’s Airborne Laser (ABL) will make its first real-world attempt to shoot down a missile in midair.
When a 747 gets struck by lightning, it might be more shocking for the onlookers than the passengers
By Adam WeinerPosted 06.30.2008 at 6:13 pm 1 Comment
If the passengers on that airplane felt their collective hearts stop for a moment, it wasn't due to the electric current from the lightning strike running through their bodies. In fact, airplanes getting struck by lightning is a fairly common occurrence -- more common than you might realize.
Transformational Space's versatile manned rocket system features a cleverly designed capsule, a dramatic airborne launch, and Apollo-style reentry and splashdown. The young company has quickly become a leader in the commercial space race, and its craft is a potentially key backup during NASA's efforts to replace the space shuttle. T/Space's approachgetting incremental funding from NASA only after it demonstrates working hardwarehas earned it rock-solid credibility in a world populated by vaporware.
The biggest airliner ever built takes flight
When the first Airbus A380 made its maiden flight from Toulouse, France, on April 27, it launched a new age in long-distance air travel. The top-shelf airlines first in line to purchase it-Singapore, Emirates, Virgin-will use the enormous jet's roomy two-story cabin to pamper around 118 business- and first-class travelers while packing as many as 437 passengers in coach to hold down fares.
DayJet's new software is the key to its forthcoming on-demand air taxi service, efficiently matching available planes with potential travelers. As soon as next year, you'll be able to call or go online to request a trip, with a desired departure and arrival time. The software will analyze factors including weather and DayJet's available planes and itineraries and will respond in seconds with a fare.
Swift is the first satellite explicitly designed to solve the mystery of gamma-ray bursts, the enigmatic explosions that have puzzled astronomers for decades. Practically every day, another burst randomly appears in the sky, flashing powerful gamma rays for anywhere from a fraction of a second to two minutes. Before the burst fades, Swift quickly locates it, rotates its telescopes and other satellites for observation, and relays the burst's location to ground-based telescopes, which study it in detail.
Imagine an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that could fly for days rather than hours, aiding soldiers on reconnaissance missions or supplying emergency communications to disaster-affected regions. AeroVironment, which built the first human- and solar-powered airplanes, has successfully flown a prototype of a UAV that will be able to remain at high altitudes for longer than a week at a time. Unlike earlier solar-powered systems, which had to power the vehicle and store enough electricity for nighttime flying, Global Observer uses fuel-cell-powered electric motors to drive eight propellers.
Meade's RCX400 is the first consumer scope that comes out of the box with all the features you need for optimal stargazing and astrophotography. In addition to its GPS tracking, it has a built-in cooling fan, a motorized focuser, and a heater to keep condensation off the lens. Its mirrors can be aligned electronically, and it offers customized settings for different celestial targets.
10- to 16-inch apertures; $5,150 - $16,400