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Airbus


— Space

First high speed laser communication satellite set for launch

Space-based laser communications are moving out of the testing phase and into orbit as the first satellite in the European DAta Relay System (EDRS), or SpaceDataHighway, prepares for launch at the end of January. Likened to having a fiber optic cable in space, the 1.8 Gigabit per second system is a joint public–private partnership between Airbus Defence and Space and ESA that will act as a relay system between ground stations, satellites, and aircraft.

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— Drones

Airbus Counter-UAV System detects illicit drones and shuts them down

With a projected one million drones sold during the holidays, the potential security risks to everything from military installations to energy plants to airports increased as well. Bearing that in mind, Airbus Defence and Space recently introduced its Counter-UAV System as a way to detect potential UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) threats from a distance of between 5 and 10 km (3 and 6 miles) and bring them down with electronic countermeasures.

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— Aircraft

Airbus patent shows modular, removable aircraft cabins

According to a recently-granted patent, Airbus is exploring the potential of creating a new breed of versatile, modular aircraft that would see detachable passenger cabins slot into a hole in an aeroplane's fuselage. The concept has the potential to revolutionize air travel, while providing significant savings for airlines by reducing the time that planes spend idle on the ground.

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— Aircraft

Airbus A350-900ULR to fly world’s longest commercial passenger route

Any masochists who think spending just under 17 hours on a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Sydney just isn’t long enough are set to get a chance to test their endurance further. Airbus is to supply Singapore Airlines with seven Ultra-Long Range versions of its A350-900 that can fly for up to 19 hours non-stop, allowing the airline to relaunch direct flights between Singapore and the US, including New York.

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— Aircraft

Airbus patents design for Mach 4-plus supersonic jet

If there's one area where the 21st century has gone backwards technologically, it's in supersonic passenger flight. With the grounding of the Concorde fleets in 2003, flying faster than the speed of sound reverted to a military monopoly, but that hasn't kept engineers from trying for a revival. Now Airbus' Marco Prampolini and Yohann Coraboeuf have been granted a US patent for an "ultra-rapid air vehicle" designed to fly at 20 km (12.4 mi) higher than conventional aircraft and over four times the speed of sound – twice the speed of Concorde.

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— Aircraft

Electric aircraft makes first English Channel crossing

An electric aircraft has crossed the English Channel for the first time. The question is, which one is it? On Friday, Airbus Group announced that its E-Fan technology demonstrator claimed the prize by flying from Lydd, Kent to Calais. However, it soon came to light that French Aerobat Hugues Duval had flown from Dover to Calais 12 hours earlier on Thursday in a Cri-Cri electric plane. Exactly which one gets in the record books may hinge on a technicality.

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— Space

Quantum satellite reconfigures itself in orbit

In the early days of spaceflight, every new satellite was a one off. Today, satellites are produced in classes, but each new mission still needs a satellite that's individually configured for its role. With the goal of creating a next-generation universal satellite, ESA, Eutelsat, and Airbus Defence & Space have signed an agreement to develop the first fully reconfigurable Quantum satellite.

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— Space

UK consortium proposes mission to provide five-day warning of solar storms

Solar storms – or Coronal mass ejections (CMEs) – are caused by the sudden release of built-up magnetic stress in the Sun's atmosphere. On Earth, we see the results of small versions of these when plasma streaming from the sun strikes our upper atmosphere and creates the Northern and Southern Lights (the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis). Sometimes, however, these ruptures can be inordinately large and have the potential to wreak havoc on orbiting satellites, radio networks, and national power grids. In an effort to be prepared well in advance of such events, a UK consortium has proposed a satellite system that can provide as much as five days warning of potentially damaging CMEs. Read More
— 3D Printing

ESA successfully tests 3D printed thruster

The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully test fired a 3D printed platinum alloy thruster combustion chamber and nozzle. The world first test is further evidence that the 3D printing approach is a viable one for the aerospace industry, with the potential to cut costs by streamlining production methods and adding a greater level of flexibility in terms of supply and demand construction.

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