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Flight Tests

The MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, Califo...

The Triton UAV's initial flight test program, which kicked off with the unmanned aircraft's first flight last May, has been completed. Now cleared to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights, the Triton is on track to be introduced into the US Navy fleet in 2017.  Read More

The Watchkeeper UAV has be given the go ahead for military flight tests (Photo: Richard Se...

Since first taking to the air in June 2009, trials of the UK's homegrown Watchkeeper tactical unmanned aerial vehicle have been conducted by industry partners including QinetiQ. The UK Ministry of Defence has now announced the aircraft has been awarded a Release To Service, clearing the way for flight training to begin with the Royal Artillery.  Read More

A Sense and Avoid (SAA) system that allows UAVs to operate safely around other aircraft in...

Palmdale, CA. General Atomics Aeronautical System, Inc. (GA-ASI), the maker of the Predator and Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) successfully completed the first of several flight tests of a prototype Sense and Avoid (SAA) system, that allows a UAV to see and avoid other aircraft in flight.  Read More

Artist's concept of the HammerHead UAV on a mission (Photo: Piaggio)

There was an unusual shape in the skies over Italy last week as the Piaggio Aero Company and Selex ES successfully completed the first flight of the aptly-named Hammerhead UAV on Thursday, November 14, near the Trapini Air Force Base. The aircraft was remotely controlled from the ground, with no crew on board, while two chase planes kept the UAV in sight during the flight.  Read More

The 18-rotor electric Volocopter has taken to the air for the first time

E-volo recently celebrated the maiden launch of its electric two-passenger, 18-rotor VC200 "Volocopter," touting the vehicle's safety and simplicity after an indoor flight inside the Dm-arena in Karlsruhe, Germany on November 17. While the copter is similar in form to both quadcopters and helicopters, the company resists the helicopter label, pointing out the numerous radically different safety and design choices that set the vehicle apart.  Read More

Dragon spacecraft in orbit during CRS-2 cargo mission to the ISS (Photo: SpaceX)

SpaceX has made progress toward an initial crewed flight in 2015 after a "milestone" safety review for manned space operations of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle.  Read More

The Garvey Prospector P-15, powered by an ORBITEC vortex liquid fuel rocket engine, climbs...

Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) successfully flight tested its patented vortex liquid fuel rocket engine on October 25. The engine was installed in a Prospector-class Garvey Spacecraft Corporation launch vehicle, and the resulting rocket was launched at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry facility near Edwards Air Force Base in California. The flight established substantial progress toward ORBITEC's development of a 30,000-lb (13,600-kg) thrust vortex engine for the US Air Force Advanced Upper Stage Engine Program and for NASA's Space Launch System.  Read More

The Block 1 Predator B (pictured) has received an upgrade with a successful first test fli...

Having racked up more than 420,000 flight hours, the venerable Block 1 Predator B (aka the MQ-9 Reaper) UAV that General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has been producing since 2003 has received an upgrade. The revamped Predator B gets a bump in electrical power, more secure communications, auto land capabilities, streamlined payload integration capabilities and an increase in Gross Takeoff Weight (GTOW) to handle heavier payloads or additional fuel.  Read More

Raytheon's small tactical munition demonstrates precision targeting and stand-off capabili...

Raytheon's new Pyros small tactical munition has passed an end-to-end live test with flying colors. The Pyros glide bomb, which is the smallest air-launched weapon in Raytheon's portfolio, was dropped from a Cobra unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to demonstrate its semi-active laser and GPS guidance modes, its height-of-burst sensor for standoff detonation above a target, its electronic safe and arm device, and the new five pound NammoTalley multi-effects warhead.  Read More

VSS Enterprise glides to earth on its latest successful glide flight test (Photo: Chris Va...

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital, air-launched spaceplane, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), aka VSS Enterprise, is back in the air after a break of nearly nine months following a recent integration period for rocket motor systems and maintenance. The June 26 flight coincided with another successful full duration test fire of the spaceship’s engine RocketMotorTwo (RM2) on the same day. The tests mark an intensification of activity that sees Virgin Galactic aiming for powered flights by the end of the year.  Read More

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