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The OTV-3 mission set a new record for time spent in orbit by a reusable spacecraft (Image...

A secret mission came to a public end this morning as the US Air Force’s top secret X-37B spaceplane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The unmanned reusable spacecraft touched down on the runway like a conventional aircraft this morning at 9:24 am EDT after a record-breaking 674 days in orbit. According to the Air Force, the automatic landing was monitored by the 30th Space Wing and occurred without incident.  Read More

Technicians inspecting the X-37B after a 2010 landing (Image: US Air Force)

The US Air Force’s reusable unmanned spacecraft, the X-37B, is scheduled to return to Earth this week. Although the exact day and time remains undetermined, preparations are underway at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in anticipation of the arrival of the mini-shuttle as it ends its classified Orbital Test Vehicle mission 3 (OTV-3).  Read More

NASA has announced that Boeing and SpaceX would provide manned spacecraft to service the I...

The dawn of manned commercial spaceflight received a major boost as NASA announced in a news conference today that Boeing and SpaceX have been chosen to ferry US astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The US$6.8 billion contract was divided between the two companies to cover the cost of certification of the Boeing CST-100 and the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, one demonstration mission for each, plus six commercial missions to the station.  Read More

The HEL-MD has successfully engaged targets in foggy conditions

If you've ever gone outside on a foggy night and shined a laser pointer about, you’ve seen two things: how flashy a raygun it makes, and the problem laser weapons face in such conditions as fog and rain scatters the energy that should be destroying missiles. However, in recent tests at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Boeing and the US Army have shown that their High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) is capable of successfully locking onto and taking out targets in very laser-unfriendly foggy, rainy, and windy maritime conditions.  Read More

Lockheed Model 10 Electras at EAA AirVenture (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)

The hangar doors have closed on Oshkosh EAA AirVenture for another year with over 500,000 visitors having passed through the gates. Gizmag's airshow highlights coverage earlier this week hardly scratched the surface of the 1000's of gorgeous flying machines on site, so here's a closer look at the sights on offer at one of the world's biggest aviation gatherings.  Read More

Boeing plans to harness South African farmers' knowledge of tobacco growing to produce sus...

As part of the aviation industry’s efforts to use biofuels to drive down its carbon footprint, Boeing has announced a collaboration with South African Airways and SkyNRG to produce aviation fuel from a new, virtually nicotine-free tobacco plant. Test farms are already up and running, with Boeing hoping to use local tobacco growing lands and expertise to produce sustainable biofuel without impacting food-bearing crops or encouraging smoking.  Read More

Chinese Nanchang trainers flying formation (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/Gizmag.com)

The Experimental Aircraft Association's fly-in airshow held annually at the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is one of the largest and most anticipated events of its kind in the world. With a history that stretches back more than 60 years, this aviation spectacular now attracts over half a million aircraft enthusiasts, along with some 10,000 planes, helicopters and experimental aircraft of all eras. Gizmag joined the multitudes on the shores of Lake Winnebago for EAA AirVenture 2014 – here's our look at the highlights.  Read More

A DARPA rendering of the planned XS-1, launching its second-stage rocket

It takes a lot more money and preparation to launch a rocket than to have a plane take off. That's why DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) first initiated its Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program. The idea is that once built, the XS-1 could take off and land like a regular aircraft, but could also deliver satellite payloads into low-Earth orbit while airborne. Today, the agency announced its plans for Phase 1 of the program, which includes awarding contracts for designs of the autonomous spaceplane.  Read More

Boeing's Space Bins will stow six bags, two more than the current pivot bins installed on ...

Seasoned travelers know the benefits of restricting luggage to carry-on, letting them smugly cruise past the suckers waiting at baggage claim at the end of a flight. But with the number of people going carry-on only, finding space in the overhead compartments can be a hassle. Boeing's new Space Bins overcome this problem, with each storing two more bags than the current bins.  Read More

MIT researchers are developing extra robot limbs that can help out humans where an extra h...

Featured in comic books since 1963, Dr. Octopus, or "Doc Ock" is an enemy of Spiderman with four extra robotic arms attached to his back that assist him in his nefarious plans. That vision of humans with extra limbs – minus the supervillain part – is taking shape at MIT with researchers adding "supernumerary robotic arms" to assist with tasks that ordinary two-armed humans would find difficult.  Read More

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