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Vertical takeoff and landing UAV enters new development phase

May 1, 2012 6:20 pm | News | Comments

Part helicopter, part airplane, the Office of Naval Research-sponsored Flexrotor vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle has an oversized propeller with helicopter-like controls for vertical takeoff and landing and the wings of a conventional aircraft. If successful, the craft will extend UAV surveillance capabilities to smaller platforms like ships.

Terahertz waves guarantee radar dome integrity

May 1, 2012 7:15 am | News | Comments

Radio signals reach pilots on board an aircraft through the radar dome, the rounded nose of the aircraft. But if imperfections are introduced during the production of this nose, it can impede radio traffic. Researchers have developed a non-destructive testing system that will identify these errors during production.

Goddard, partners build cutting-edge instruments for MMS

May 1, 2012 6:54 am | News | Comments

NASA is readying a fleet of four identical spacecraft, the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, for a 2014 launch to study space weather. The effort will require the development of highly sensitive spectrometers and cameras that operate at unprecedented performance levels.

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Space shuttle Enterprise zooms over NYC on jet

April 27, 2012 10:01 am | by Deepti Hajela, Associated Press | News | Comments

As the Boeing 747 zoomed over the Manhattan skyline Friday, onlookers gawked at the unusual sight, realizing that the smaller plane hitched to its fuselage was an actual space shuttle. The Enterprise will soon make its home in New York City, basking in retirement about the Intrepid carrier in the Hudson River.

Company aims to strike it rich by mining asteroids

April 24, 2012 6:39 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

A group of high-tech tycoons wants to mine nearby asteroids wants to use commercially built robotic ships to squeeze rocket fuel and valuable minerals like platinum and gold out of the lifeless rocks that routinely whiz by Earth. The inaugural step, to be achieved in the next 18 to 24 months, would be launching the first in a series of private telescopes that would search for rich asteroid targets.

DARPA releases cause of hypersonic glider anomaly

April 22, 2012 1:46 pm | by John Antczak, Associated Press | News | Comments

Launched from an air base in California last summer, DARPA’s unmanned glider Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2, achieve stable, controlled flight at speeds of Mach 20 for about three minutes before its flight system forced the craft into the ocean. The agency says it now knows the probable cause of the premature end to the flight.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter brings “Earthrise” to everyone

April 20, 2012 7:20 am | News | Comments

On December 24, 1968, the astronauts aboard Apollo 8 were conducting an extensive photographic survey of the moon’s surface. When they paused to take a navigation sighting, they were shocked to see the Earth “rising” above the lunar surface. Using modern imagery, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has recreated the moment, shortly before the first real photograph was taken.

Flight Testing 3D Printing

April 19, 2012 11:54 am | by Shahrukh Tarapore, Senior Engineer, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories, Cherry Hill, N.J. | Articles | Comments

Lockheed Martin extends 3D printing to manufacturing and custom vehicles.

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R & D Change in the 1980s

April 19, 2012 10:56 am | by R&D Editors | Articles | Comments

Globalization, the personal computer, and changing priorities set the stage for R&D 100 Award Winners.

Space shuttle Discovery poised for final takeoff

April 17, 2012 5:24 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

Evoking memories of the earliest shuttle flights that started with a mate-demate device atop a modified jumbo jet, the space shuttle Discovery this morning departed on its final flight from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The Discovery was bound for Washington, where it will become a museum piece at the Smithsonian Institution.

NASA collecting ideas on new strategy for exploring the Red Planet

April 16, 2012 3:36 am | News | Comments

Starting Friday, NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group began accepting ideas and abstracts online from the worldwide scientific and technical community as part of NASA's effort to seek out the best and the brightest ideas from researchers and engineers in planetary science. They hope to develop a new strategy for the exploration of Mars.

With rockets, so many things can and do go wrong

April 16, 2012 3:29 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

The giant explosion that gets a rocket off the ground isn't that complicated. In the case of North Korea’s failed rocket launch last week, two liquid propellants ignite when mixed. Controlling that explosion, and keeping the pointy end of the rocket pointed skyward, is what keeps engineers up at night, and is why rocket science is really, really hard.

Naval research office taps research teams to help reduce jet noise

April 12, 2012 12:28 pm | News | Comments

A person whispering is 20 decibels and a lawn mower is 90 decibels. Jet noise from tactical aircraft can reach 150 decibels on the flight line, and can cause permanent hearing loss to sailors and marines. The Office of Naval Research is funding a new project to help reduce this noise.

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R & D caucus highlights NSF's tie to innovation

April 2, 2012 5:32 am | News | Comments

Last Friday, the National Science Foundation held a congressional briefing to call attention to its research successes, particularly the process of bringing relevant fundamental research from the laboratory to the marketplace. Particular attention was called to Small Business Innovation Research grant beneficiaries, some of whom shared their success stories at the briefing.

Amazon CEO plans to raise sunken Apollo 11 engines

March 29, 2012 1:42 pm | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Using sonar, an expedition spearheaded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has discovered what he claimed were discarded engines from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission lurking 14,000 feet deep. In an online announcement Wednesday, Bezos said he is drawing up plans to recover the sunken engines, jettisoned from the mighty Saturn V rocket just minutes after launch.

Nanosatellite makes first-ever measurements of auroral turbulence

March 22, 2012 7:24 am | News | Comments

The largest solar flare in the past five years triggered a major geomagnetic storm over Alaska on March 8. The same day, a nanosatellite operated by researchers from SRI International and the University of Michigan took a measurement of naturally occurring auroral turbulence. The data was the first-ever recorded using a nanosatellite radar receiver.

NASA considering space station for Mars dry run

March 21, 2012 3:35 am | News | Comments

The International Space Station may provide the setting for a 500-day pretend trip to Mars in another few years. NASA said Tuesday that consideration is underway to use the space station as a dry run for a simulated trip to and from Mars.

A biplane to break the sound barrier

March 19, 2012 4:32 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

For 27 years, the Concorde provides its passengers with a rare luxury: time saved. However, on Nov. 26, 2003, the Concorde retired from service due to high fuel costs and noise disruption form the jet's sonic boom. Since then, a number of groups have been working on designs for the next generation of supersonic jets. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher has come up with a concept that may solve many of the problems that grounded the Concorde.

Solid-rocket motor tests material for space launch system

March 18, 2012 7:27 pm | News | Comments

A sub-scale solid rocket motor designed to mimic NASA's Space Launch System, or SLS, booster design successfully was tested recently by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The 20-second firing tested new insulation materials.

Skydiver aims to jump from 23 miles, go supersonic

March 18, 2012 9:07 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

"Fearless Felix" Baumgartner has jumped 2,500 times from planes and helicopters, as well as some of the highest landmarks and skyscrapers on the planet. After a successful dress rehearsal last Thursday from 13 miles up, Baumgartner hopes to hurtle toward Earth at supersonic speed from a record 23 miles, breaking the sound barrier with only his body.

GM, NASA jointly developing robotic gloves for human use

March 14, 2012 6:27 am | News | Comments

General Motors (GM) and NASA are jointly developing a robotic glove that automotive workers and astronauts can wear to help do their respective jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

A new approach to predicting spacecraft re-entry

March 12, 2012 4:12 am | News | Comments

In mid-December 2011, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory received a call from the Air Force Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC). At the time, laboratory scientists were working with JSpOC to upgrade their command and control software. But this call was about something very different.

President proposes national network for manufacturing innovation

March 10, 2012 6:49 am | News | Comments

After touring the Rolls-Royce Crosspointe jet engine disc manufacturing facility in Prince George, Va., on March 9, President Obama announced his intention to build a network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes to serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence. The move is intended to make U.S. manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment.

Researchers seek cheaper, nimbler satellites

February 28, 2012 5:04 am | News | Comments

A new research program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute seeks to define the next generation of low-orbit satellites that are more maneuverable, cheaper to launch, easier to hide, and longer lived. Additionally, this research holds the promise of guiding dead satellites and other space debris more safely to the Earth's surface.

Mysterious electron acceleration explained

February 27, 2012 2:48 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A mysterious phenomenon detected by space probes has finally been explained, thanks to a massive computer simulation that was able to precisely align with details of spacecraft observations. The finding could not only solve an astrophysical puzzle, but might also lead to a better ability to predict high-energy electron streams in space that could damage satellites.

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