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Engineers debut open-source fluid dynamics design application

January 24, 2012 11:33 am | by Andrew Myers | News | Comments

Every year, students studying aeronautical and astronautical design brace themselves for the time-consuming process of writing their own code to optimize aerospace designs. In search of a better way, a team of engineers at the Aerospace Design Lab at Stanford University has released SU2, an open-source application that models the effects of fluids moving over aerodynamic surfaces.

Send in the supplies: RoboCopters in Marines' future

January 11, 2012 11:24 am | News | Comments

Marines running low on ammo may one day use an app on their digital handhelds to summon a robotic helicopter to deliver supplies within minutes, enabled by technologies from a new Office of Naval Research program. The Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System is a five-year, $98 million effort to develop sensors and control technologies for robotic vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

QUT research to help safer emergency aircraft landings

January 5, 2012 5:05 am | News | Comments

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) aviation researchers are developing an information system to help unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) make safer emergency landings and better enable their wider commercial use.

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Magnetically levitated flies offer clues to future of life in space

January 4, 2012 8:56 am | News | Comments

Using powerful magnets to levitate fruit flies can provide vital clues to how biological organisms are affected by weightless conditions in space, researchers at The University of Nottingham say. The team of scientists has shown that simulating weightlessness in fruit flies here on earth with the use of magnets causes the flies to walk more quickly.

Computer model explains lakes and storms on Titan

January 4, 2012 8:39 am | News | Comments

Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is an intriguing, alien world that's covered in a thick atmosphere with abundant methane. With an average surface temperature of -300 F and a diameter just less than half of the Earth's, Titan boasts methane clouds and fog, as well as rainstorms and plentiful lakes of liquid methane. The origins of many of these features have remained puzzling to scientists. Until now.

Russia's Mars probe will crash to Earth in January

December 16, 2011 6:34 am | by Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

A Russian spacecraft bound for a moon of Mars and stuck in Earth's orbit will come crashing back next month, but its toxic fuel and radioactive material on board will pose no danger of contamination, the Russian space agency said.

2012 Global R & D Funding Forecast: Industrial R & D—Aero, Defense

December 16, 2011 3:59 am | by Martin Grueber, Research Leader, Battelle and Tim Studt, Editor-in-Chief, Advantage Business Media | Articles | Comments

The resources invested in aerospace, defense, and national security R&D continue to dominate U.S. federal funding and constitute an important part of overall global R&D. U.S. federally funded defense R&D will reach nearly $75 billion in 2012, exceeding every other country's total R&D except that of China, Japan, and Germany.

New operating system for space: High-tech tycoons

December 13, 2011 4:21 pm | by Donna Blankinship and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press | News | Comments

The tycoons of cyberspace are looking to bankroll America's resurgence in outer space, reviving "Star Trek" dreams that first interested them in science. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen made the latest step Tuesday, unveiling plans for a new commercial spaceship that, instead of blasting off a launch pad, would be carried high into the atmosphere by the widest plane ever built.

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Autonomous Deployment Demonstration program completes flight testing

December 5, 2011 8:45 am | News | Comments

The Naval Research Laboratory Vehicle Research Section has successfully completed flight tests for the Autonomous Deployment Demonstration program. The final demonstration took place Sept. 1 at the Yuma Proving Grounds, Yuma, Ariz., and consisted of a series of eight balloon-drops at altitudes of up to 57,000 ft, delivering sensor-emplacement Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft vehicles within 15 ft of their intended landing locations.

NASA quiet sonic boom research effort ends with a whisper

December 2, 2011 8:47 am | News | Comments

NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center recently completed NASA’s latest quiet sonic boom research study at Edwards Air Force Base. The Waveforms and Sonic boom Perception and Response, or WSPR, project gathered data from a select group of more than 100 volunteer Edwards Air Force Base residents on their individual attitudes toward sonic booms produced by aircraft in supersonic flight over Edwards.

Satellite confirms sharp decline in pollution from U.S. coal power plants

December 2, 2011 5:10 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists have used the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite to confirm major reductions in the levels of a key air pollutant generated by coal power plants in the eastern United States. The pollutant, sulfur dioxide, contributes to the formation of acid rain and can cause serious health problems.

ONR-funded guided rockets hit fast-moving targets in test

November 30, 2011 3:44 am | News | Comments

A weapon prototype developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) successfully hit two high-speed boat targets during recent testing. ONR researchers produced the Low-Cost Imaging Terminal Seeker, a suite of low-cost technologies that modify existing helicopter-borne rockets into precision-guided weapons.

Los Alamos instrument to shine light on Mars habitability

November 29, 2011 4:51 am | News | Comments

With the successful launch of the Mars Science Laboratory on Saturday, Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers and scientists from the French space institute IRAP are poised to begin focusing the energy of a million light bulbs on the surface of the Red Planet to help determine whether Mars was or is habitable.  

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Signal received from Russia's Mars moon probe

November 23, 2011 8:23 am | by Melissa Eddy and Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

Using a little side antenna rigged with a cone, technicians in Australia have received the first signal from an unmanned Russian spacecraft bound for a moon of Mars since it got stuck in Earth’s orbit two weeks ago. The signal raises hopes the mission might be saved.

NASA launching 'dream machine' to explore Mars

November 23, 2011 8:02 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

As big as a car and as well-equipped as a laboratory, NASA's newest Mars rover blows away its predecessors in size and skill. Powered by plutonium, Curiosity will be lowered to the Martian surface by a jet pack and tether system similar to those used by sky cranes.

Thanksgiving in space may one day come with all the trimmings

November 22, 2011 3:11 am | News | Comments

Future astronauts spending Thanksgiving in space may not have to forgo one of the most traditional parts of the day's feast: fresh sweet potatoes. A Purdue University team developed methods for growing sweet potatoes that reduce the required growing space while not decreasing the amount of food that each plant produces.

Reliable nuclear device to heat, power Mars Science Laboratory

November 22, 2011 2:42 am | News | Comments

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission has the potential to be the most productive Mars surface mission in history. That's due in part to its nuclear heat and power source. When the rover Curiosity heads to space, it will carry the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, the latest "space battery" that can reliably power a deep space mission for many years.

NASA to support IU astronomer's quest to develop star formation database

November 21, 2011 4:52 am | News | Comments

Indiana University astronomer Samir Salim believes the vast archives produced by NASA's space telescopes and ground-based observatories hold the right information to create the largest resource ever for the study of how star formation proceeds in galaxies.

Researchers develop solar-powered runway anti-icing system

November 17, 2011 10:09 am | News | Comments

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas are developing an anti-icing system that could make airport runways safer and less expensive to maintain during winter months. The approach uses a conventional photovoltaic system to supply energy to a conductive concrete slab that would function as a surface overlay on runways.

Thomson Reuters publishes list of top global innovators

November 16, 2011 8:03 am | by R&D Editors | News | Comments

The 100 top innovators have been ranked this week by the Thomson Reuters’ intellectual property (IP) consulting arm. The U.S. continues to lead this list with a large share of innovators, and Asia and Europe place second and third, respectively. However, China is not yet ranked because of its practices regarding protecting IP and commercializing products globally.

Wanted: Astronauts; Missing: U.S. rocket to fly them

November 16, 2011 4:33 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Even without it’s own manned launch vehicle, NASA is afraid it will soon not have enough astronauts. The space agency needs about 55 astronauts, and currently has 58, but with veteran astronauts leaving the space agency NASA has begun its biggest effort yet to find recruits.

Despite snowstorm, latest Soyuz launch a success

November 14, 2011 1:13 pm | by Vladimir Ischenkov, Associated Press | News | Comments

Just days after losing control of a major mission to Mars and just months after the failure of the unmanned Progress cargo ship, Russia’s regained some of its confidence with a flawless launch Monday of a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station. The launch took place despite whiteout blizzard conditions.

Alaska Airlines takes key steps toward lower carbon flight

November 14, 2011 2:44 am | News | Comments

On Nov. 9, Alaska Airlines initiated the first regular commercial service in the United States powered by a blend of sustainable biofuels from used cooking oil and petroleum-based jet fuel. The flights from SeaTac Airport to Washington D.C. and Portland, Ore. are important steps in a long journey that will provide a more sustainable and lower carbon future for the aviation industry.

NRL's MIGHTI selected by NASA for potential space flight

November 10, 2011 8:36 am | News | Comments

A Naval Research Laboratory instrument designed to study the Earth's thermosphere is part of a future science mission that has been selected by NASA for evaluation for flight.

Space shuttle data helps researchers develop better solar power production model

November 10, 2011 8:03 am | News | Comments

The space shuttle program may have ended, but data the space craft collected over the past three decades are still helping advance science. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego recently used measurements from NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission to predict how changes in elevation, such as hills and valleys, and the shadows they create, impact power output in California's solar grid.

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