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GOES-R satellite magnetometer boom deployment successful

July 30, 2013 9:23 am | by Rob Gutro and Kevin Mc Laughlin, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

The GOES-R Magnetometer Engineering Development Unit at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center completed successful boom deployment test at an ATK facility in Goleta, Calif. The magnetometer, which will deploy aboard the boom after launch, will provide measurements of the space environment magnetic field, which controls charged particle dynamics in the outer region of the magnetosphere.

Van Allen probes pinpoint driver of speeding electrons

July 25, 2013 7:08 pm | News | Comments

After studying data from a pair of NASA probes roaming the harsh space environment within the Van Allen radiation belts, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory believe they have solved a lingering mystery about how electrons within Earth’s radiation belt can suddenly become energetic enough to kill orbiting satellites.

Choosing a wave could accelerate airplane maintenance

July 24, 2013 8:26 am | by Hannah Y. Cheng, Penn State | News | Comments

Ultrasonic waves can find bubbles and cracks in adhesive bonds holding airplane composite parts together. Different ultrasonic modes work best for different materials and configurations using the right one will locate more flaws with higher precision. Recent research has produced a technique that lets aerospace engineers more quickly select the best frequencies to detect adhesive failures in hard-to-reach places.

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Zero Gravity Solutions nearing goal for stock trade

July 18, 2013 9:50 am | News | Comments

Biotechnology company Zero Gravity Solutiuons aims to utilize the unique effects of extended zero/micro gravity environments available on the International Space Station to promote gene expression and accelerate stem cell research. The company has completed filings required prior to trading of the company’s stock.

Spacesuit water leak ends spacewalk; astronaut OK

July 17, 2013 9:56 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

In one of the most harrowing spacewalks in decades, an astronaut had to rush back into the International Space Station on Tuesday after a mysterious water leak inside his helmet robbed him of the ability to speak or hear at times and could have caused him to choke or even drown. Italian Luca Parmitano was reported to be fine after the dangerous episode, which might have been caused by an unprecedented leak in the cooling system of his suit.

Kickstarting tiny satellites into interplanetary space

July 16, 2013 8:12 am | News | Comments

Two Univ. of Michigan engineering professors are turning to the Kickstarter online community to help fund an interplanetary satellite mission. They are teaming up to create two new technologies in a matter of months, with the goal of using a plasma thruster to push a CubeSat into deep space—something that has never been done before.

Navy to attempt first unmanned carrier landing

July 10, 2013 9:16 am | by Brock Vergakis, Associated Press | News | Comments

Landing an airplane on an aircraft carrier deck is one of the most difficult tasks a pilot is asked to do. On Wednesday, the Navy will attempt to accomplish the same task with a drone. If all goes as planned, a successful landing of the X-47B experimental aircraft will mean the Navy can move forward with its plans provide around-the-clock surveillance and strike capability.

Next Mars rover should gather rocks, soil

July 9, 2013 7:44 pm | by ALICIA CHANG - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Explore an intriguing spot on Mars. Hunt for ancient signs of Martian life. Bag a bunch of rocks and leave them on the surface for a future mission to possibly return. That's what the next rover to Mars should strive for, a NASA-appointed team said Tuesday. The scientists released a 154-page report outlining ambitious science goals for a red planet mission that NASA wants to launch in 2020.

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Solar plane: Making clean tech sexy, adventurous

July 9, 2013 8:11 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

This revolutionary solar-powered plane is about to end a slow and symbolic journey across America by quietly buzzing the Statue of Liberty and landing in a city whose buildings often obscure the power-giving sun. But the Solar Impulse’s designers and flyers hope to grab attention in a surprising way: By being silent and consuming little energy.

New system to transform communications for airline pilots

July 1, 2013 1:27 pm | News | Comments

Digital systems are an everyday routine for more and more passengers, and even Internet is now available. But pilots are largely cut off from this development with a system that is separate and largely analog. Under development in Germany is a new system that will digitally transmit air traffic and weather communications with the ground and via satellite at high speeds.

The science of impact: "Shields to maximum, Mr. Scott"

June 27, 2013 2:43 pm | by Aaron Dubrow, TACC | News | Comments

According to NASA, there are more than 21,000 pieces of “space junk roughly the size of a baseball in orbit, and about 500,000 pieces that are golf ball-sized. These pieces can be dangerous, which is why researchers at Texas Advanced Computing Center’s supercomputers are simulating orbital debris impacts on spacecraft and fragment impacts on body armor to help NASA design better shielding.

Air travel changes at less than supersonic speed

June 21, 2013 11:19 am | by LORI HINNANT - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

When the Concorde started flying in the 1970s, hopes were high that the traveling masses would soon streak through the air faster than the speed of sound or soar in planes that hurtled like missiles above the earth's atmosphere. Instead, jetliners still look the same as they did five decades ago and travel times have barely budged.

New trophallactic strategy allows multiple UAVs to fly in formation

June 21, 2013 10:24 am | News | Comments

In recent years, formation control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles has an important aerospace research topic. Engineers in China have recently investigated the trophallactic—or fluid exchange by direct contact—swarming behavior exhibited by a variety of animals, including birds and insects. By imitating that behavior and considering the communication requirements of the network control system, a new network control method was proposed.

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Solar plane to help ground energy use

June 19, 2013 1:01 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

When it's in flight, there's no roar of engines. It's strangely quiet. And as it crisscrosses the U.S., the spindly plane doesn't use a drop of fuel. Ernest Moniz, who heads the U.S. Department of Energy, praised the efficiency of the Solar Impulse plane at a news conference Monday in Washington, where the plane landed early Sunday morning. He said the solar-powered aircraft highlighted a cleaner energy future for the nation.

Boeing launches plans for longer 787 jet

June 18, 2013 5:41 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Boeing Corp. is starting work on a stretched-out version of its popular 787 Dreamliner jet, in the hope of reigniting interest in the aircraft after battery-related problems. Boeing announced the formal launch of its 787-10 program at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday and says it already has commitments from several customers, including United Airlines.

Chinese spacecraft blasts off with three astronauts

June 11, 2013 10:49 am | by Andy Wong, Associated Press | News | Comments

China's fifth and longest manned spacecraft successfully blasted off Tuesday on a 15-day mission to dock with a space lab and educate young people about science. The spacecraft was launched aboard a Long March 2F rocket and will transport the crew to the Tiangong 1, which functions as an experimental prototype for a much larger Chinese space station to be launched in 2020.

“One giant leap” toward a NASA Armstrong center?

June 11, 2013 7:25 am | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Neil Armstrong's name is attached to a lunar crater, an asteroid, more than a dozen schools and a museum, but not a single NASA facility is christened in honor of the man whose "giant leap" made him the first to walk on the moon. All that could soon change on the fringes of the Mojave Desert, where leaders at the space agency's top flight research center are mulling a name change.

United Technologies merger settlement approved

May 29, 2013 4:49 pm | by FREDERIC J. FROMMER - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A federal judge has approved a settlement in which United Technologies Corp. will sell some of its assets as part of its $18.4 billion purchase of aerospace-parts maker Goodrich Corp., the largest merger in aircraft industry history. The settlement between Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies and the Justice Department was approved Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Navy's unmanned ocean recon craft makes 1st flight

May 22, 2013 5:32 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

An unmanned jet built for U.S. Navy high-altitude maritime surveillance missions has made its first flight. Northrop Grumman Corp. says the MQ-4C Triton took off from Palmdale, Calif., Wednesday and completed a 90-minute flight. The aircraft is designed to fly missions lasting up to 24 hours at altitudes greater than 10 miles, allowing coverage out 2,000 nautical miles.

Private spaceship tests underway

May 16, 2013 3:17 pm | by BROCK VERGAKIS - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A Colorado company developing a spaceship to take astronauts to the International Space Station is having elements of its spacecraft undergo landing-related tests at NASA facilities in Virginia and California. NASA wants private firms to ferry astronauts into low-Earth orbit so it can focus on deep-space exploration and send crews to a nearby asteroid and eventually Mars.

Budget cuts pare real-time monitoring of volcanoes

May 14, 2013 8:09 am | by Rachel D’Oro, Associated Press | News | Comments

Worldwide, hundreds of flights are diverted each year because of volcanic activity. Scientists monitoring Alaska's volcanoes have been forced to shut down stations that provide real-time tracking of eruptions and forgo repairs of seismic equipment amid ongoing federal budget cuts—moves that could mean delays in getting vital information to airline pilots and emergency planners.

Small electric UAV shatters endurance record

May 10, 2013 12:53 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) recently flew their fuel cell powered Ion Tiger UAV for 48 hours and 1 minute on April 16-18 by using liquid hydrogen fuel in a new, NRL-developed, cryogenic fuel storage tank and delivery system. This flight shatters their previous record of 26 hours and 2 minutes set in 2009 using the same vehicle, but with gaseous hydrogen stored at 5000 psi.

Experimental Air Force aircraft goes hypersonic

May 6, 2013 9:49 am | News | Comments

An experimental, unmanned aircraft developed for the U.S. Air Force went hypersonic during a test off the Southern California coast, traveling at more than 3,000 mph, the Air Force said Friday. The X-51A WaveRider flew for more than three minutes under power from its exotic scramjet engine and hit a speed of Mach 5.1, or more than five times the speed of sound.

The day NASA’s Fermi dodged a 1.5-ton bullet

May 1, 2013 12:08 pm | by Francis Reddy, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

On March 29, 2012, the science team for NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope learned that a defunct Cold-War spy satellite would pass too close for comfort on April 4. The two spacecraft were expected to occupy the same point in space within 30 milliseconds of each other. The story of how it sidestepped a potential disaster offers a glimpse at an underappreciated aspect of managing a space mission.

Russia charging NASA $70 million per rocket seat

May 1, 2013 9:24 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

Based on numbers from the latest contract between NASA and the Russian Space Agency, the United States is paying $424 million more to Russia to get U.S. astronauts into space. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is is blaming Congress for the extra expense, saying reduced funding for commercial spaceflight development has forced the agency to sign the new contract.

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