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David Szondy

Aircraft

Eye tracking monitors helicopter pilots flying blind

From battle zones to oil rigs, helicopters often operate in some of the hairiest situations in which pilots are forced to rely solely on cockpit instruments. In an effort to improve safety, the non-profit helicopter safety organization HeliOffshore is using eye-tracking technology to gain a greater understanding of how pilots operate in such scenarios.Read More

Space

Planet with 900,000-year orbit lies a staggering 1 trillion kilometers from its sun

In an astronomical astronomical discovery, scientists have identified what's believed to be the widest known planetary system. Situated about 104 light years from Earth, a planet that could be 15 times the size of Jupiter is in a 900,000-year orbit at a mind-boggling distance of 1 trillion km from its parent star – that's 7,000 times the distance of the Earth from the Sun.Read More

Space

Goodbye ground control: Nanosatellites achieve first autonomous orbital maneuver

One of the advantages of bread loaf-sized nanosatellites is their potential to act as a swarm that can equal the power of a single larger satellite, but with more flexibility and at lower cost. Deep Space Industries has taken a major step in that direction in a successful test involving two autonomous Canadian satellites, which carried out the first orbital maneuver without human supervision.Read More

Space

Is ET dead – and are we next?

With the number of potentially habitable exoplanets in our galaxy alone estimated to be in the billions, many wonder why we are yet to see signs or hear from intelligent alien life. A pair of astrobiologists from the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Earth Sciences hypothesize the reason may be that ET could be long dead. According to Aditya Chopra and Charley Lineweaver, conditions on young planets are so volatile that if life doesn't evolve fast enough to stabilize the environment, it will quickly become extinct.Read More

Drones

Winged drone nails first autonomous landing on a moving vehicle

What goes up must come down, but how it comes down can have a big impact on where and how it used. A case in point is an unmanned, electric-powered, autonomous aircraft that researchers in Germany have gently landed on top of a car traveling at 75 km/h (47 mph). According to the team, this is the first time this has been done and it demonstrates a technique that could lead to lighter, longer flying UAVs.Read More

Space

Blue Origin makes historic second landing using the same rocket

SpaceX isn't the only private company racking up space firsts. Having successfully flown to space and completed a powered landing last November, Blue Origin's New Shepard booster on Friday became the first rocket to repeat the feat. According to Blue Origin founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the single stage rocket lifted from its West Texas launch site, flew straight up to an altitude of 333,582 ft (101.7 km), which is past the Karman line that designates the official beginning of space, then descended for an autonomous powered landing.Read More

Robotics

Atlas robot told to clean its room

If the current batch of robot vacuum cleaners don't seem Jetsony enough, then the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) Robotics lab may have something that fits the bill – an Atlas robot pottering about the lab with a Hoover. While the scenario may not provide an accurate picture of the domestic help of tomorrow, it does show what you can do when you've got a very expensive state-of-the-art humanoid automaton going spare.Read More

Space

SpaceX Crew Dragon hovers on tails of fire

SpaceX has shown off its new party trick with the release of a video of the Crew Dragon manned space capsule conducting a powered hover test. Though no one was aboard, the tethered mock-up craft managed to lift itself into a hover position using the its SuperDraco thrusters during a five-second burn.Read More

3D Printing

3D-printed engine combustor withstands hypersonic flight testing

Aerospace 3D printing went Mach 5 this week, with Orbital ATK announcing that it has successfully tested a printed hypersonic engine combustor at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. A key scramjet component, the 3D-printed combustor spent 20 days undergoing high-temperature hypersonic flight conditions as well as one of the longest duration propulsion wind tunnel tests for such a component.Read More

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