Reaction Engines' single-stage-to-orbit Skylon spacecraft took a step closer to reality today as BAE Systems announced that it would buy a 20 percent stake in the company as part of an agreement to help develop Reaction's Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) hypersonic engine designed to propel the Skylon orbiter.
Takeoffs and landings account for 66 percent of fatal air accidents, but current air traffic control systems are designed mainly to monitor aircraft that are in mid-flight. To help fill this gap, ALTACAS Technology has developed its Aerial, Landing, & Takeoff Aircraft Crash Avoidance System (ALTACAS). Designed to be retrofitted to current aircraft and as a supplement to existing next-generation air traffic control and crash avoidance systems, it uses lasers and microprocessors to monitor runways and flight paths during takeoffs and landings.
One question that has been vexing space scientists for the past three years is whether NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft is or isn't in interstellar space. The unmanned explorer was supposed to have passed out of the sphere of the Sun's influence and into galactic space in August 2012, but a magnetic anomaly threw a question mark over the event. Using data from other space missions, a team led by the University of New Hampshire (UHN) has found a clue as to what may have caused the anomaly and produces new insights into the nature of the region where the Solar System and the outer Universe meet.
Despite being the third most abundant element in the Universe, molecular oxygen, or O₂, is relatively rare off Earth. That's why it raised a few eyebrows at ESA when the space agency's Rosetta spacecraft discovered oxygen molecules jetting out of the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. According to the Rosetta team, the oxygen is outgassing in such abundance that its presence may date back to the formation of the comet over 4.6 billion years ago.
There are not only six basic types of tea, but a bewildering number of varieties and blends that often demand a very specific method of brewing to bring out their best flavor. The Teforia infuser from the eponymous Mountain View, California startup is designed to help users more easily navigate these waters, using a proprietary Selective Infusion Process (SIP) technology to not only tailor the brewing to the tea, but also allow the user to control factors like caffeine and antioxidant levels.
Chicago-based startup Salt has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a less-than-lethal weapon designed as an alternative to firearms for home and personal protection. The pneumatic pistol is designed to stop intruders using an incapacitating powder that temporarily blinds them while drastically lessening the possibility of family members being killed in an accident.
A Space Age collectible that not only represents a first in space, but also a first in computer history is on the auction block in Dallas, Texas. As part of its Space Exploration Signature Auction, Heritage Auctions is taking bids for a vintage random access, non-destructive readout 4,096 bit memory plane that flew on Gemini 3. This ferric memory unit was an integral part of the Gemini Spacecraft Computer, which was the first computer installed in a manned space capsule.
The US Air Force has awarded a US$21.4 billion contract for its Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) to Northrop Grumman. The next generation of strategic bombers will replace the aging fleets of B-52s and B-2s, and will be capable of carrying heavy or nuclear payloads against new generations of anti-aircraft systems.
In 2013, PicoBrew unveiled its Zymatic automatic beer brewing appliance, which was marketed to professional microbreweries as a way to create high-quality, repeatable test batches of new beer recipes. Now the Seattle-based startup has launched the PicoBrew Pico on Kickstarter. A smaller, more stylish version of the Zymatic, it's aimed at the home brewer with little or no experience, but a desire to make craft beer with as little effort and mess as possible.
Commercial spaceflight company World View came a step closer to carrying tourists to the edge of space with a successful test flight last weekend. At Page, Arizona, a one-tenth scale replica spacecraft was carried by high-altitude ballon to a height of 100,475 ft (30,624 m) to demonstrate the technology that is intended for use in a full-size version slated to begin commercial flights next year.