Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Boeing

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

A mock Orion spacecraft falls to Earth under three fully deployed main parachutes (Photo: ...

NASA has upped the ante in its most recent test of the Orion spacecraft's parachute deployment system ahead of its maiden test flight (EFT-1) scheduled for launch later this year. Today's operation saw a test version of the Orion crew module falling through the skies above Arizona on the 14th of 17 planned drops designed to test a soft landing system which may one day protect astronauts returning from missions to Mars.  Read More

The Lockheed Martin future supersonic advanced concept (Image: Lockheed Martin/NASA)

On October, 24 2003, the last Concorde jet went out of service. What began as a promise of supersonic travel for all, ended as a museum exhibit of a false dawn. However, that may be changing with companies such as Aerion and Spike Aerospace looking to take business jets supersonic. At Aviation 2014, an annual event of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, NASA presented examples of the space agency’s work on new technologies that could lead to a revival of civilian supersonic travel within the next 15 years.  Read More

SOFIA, with her cavity doors open and a NASA F/A-18 in tow (Photo: NASA/Jim Ross)

NASA scientists are eager to get to grips with a new toy for observing the heavens, the Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph (EXES). Mounted on a heavily-customized Boeing 747, the spectrograph has undergone two successful test flights and when declared operational, will comb the sky for infrared frequency light aboard the largest flying telescope ever constructed.  Read More

The first B-52 with Boeing's CONECT communications system has been rolled out to the US Ai...

The US Air Force has introduced its first B-52 bomber to be equipped with Boeing's Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system. Boeing says that the system provides increased situational awareness for B-52 crews. It is hoped that it will contribute towards the B-52's continued use for many years.  Read More

Boeing has tested its AH-6i light attack helicopter for the first time in its production c...

Boeing has flown its new light attack/reconnaissance helicopter for the first time in its production configuration. A prototype of the AH-6i was taken through preliminary tests in a flight lasting less than 20 minutes. The flight brings the model one step closer to full production.  Read More

An engineering mock-up of the CST-100 interior

Captain Picard’s ride seemed to have landed in Las Vegas today, as Boeing unveiled a mock-up of the new commercial interior of its Crew Space Transportation (CST-100). Under development as part of a NASA program to put a privately-owned and operated manned spacecraft to ferry American crews and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), the new interior reflects Boeing’s design strategy and it ambitions beyond NASA.  Read More

The Phantom Badger deploying from an Osprey

The US military fields some pretty impressive vehicles, but they aren't worth much if they don’t fit on the aircraft intended to transport them. Last month, the US Navy removed one obstacle when it cleared the Boeing Phantom Badger combat support vehicle for transport inside a V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. After a battery of tests, including form-fit checks, pressure tests and structural evaluations of over four G’s, the modular vehicle was a step closer to deployment by the US Marine Corps and US Air Force Special Operations.  Read More

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