Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Lockheed Martin

Technicians at Lockheed Martin prepare the InSight Mars lander for propulsion proof and le...

At some point in every project, you stop unpacking the parts and start putting them together. What's true for flat-pack furniture is also true for spacecraft, so Lockheed Martin has begun the Assembly, Test and Launch Operations (ATLO) phase of NASA's INterior exploration using Seismic investigations, geodesy and heat transport (InSight) Mars lander project. Scheduled to launch in 2016, the unmanned InSight probe will be the first deep-drilling mission sent to the Red Planet.  Read More

The K-MAX drops a payload of water, which it autonomously lifted from a pond

You've gotta hand it to Kaman's K-MAX UAS unmanned helicopter ... it's been used to deliver cargo in a combat zone, it's set altitude and payload weight records for airdrops, and it's been part of an autonomous air/ground mission. Now it's teamed up with a quadcopter in an exercise which suggests that the two could be used to fight forest fires, without endangering human pilots.  Read More

The F-35C making its first carrier landing (Image: US Navy)

On Monday at 12:18 pm PDT off the coast of San Diego, California, the F-35C Lightning II made its first arrested landing on an aircraft carrier. Taking place on the first day of a two-week sea trial, the landing of the F-35C test aircraft CF-03 on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with test pilot commander Tony Wilson at the controls marked a major step towards the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter entering operational service.  Read More

The spacecraft’s components have all been assembled, including the launch abort escape tow...

NASA and Lockheed Martin announced on Thursday that they have completed final assembly and testing of the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to carry NASA astronauts on deep space missions. This clears the way for the first test flight in December as NASA prepares to re-enter the manned spaceflight business.  Read More

Lockheed sees its compact fusion reactor as ready in 10 years

Fusion reactors are a bit like buses; you wait forever for one, then two come along at once. No sooner does the University of Washington announce that it’s working on a breakthrough compact fusion reactor (CFR) than Lockheed Martin says that its Revolutionary Technology Programs unit, AKA the Skunk Works, in Palmdale, California has one that could be ready for market within ten years.  Read More

The laser turret prototype being tested on the University of Notre Dame’s Airborne Aero Op...

High energy laser (HEL) systems have been the subject of military research for decades, but it is only in recent years that the technology has advanced to the point where it is feasible for such systems to be mounted on military ground vehicles and sea vessels. Initial flight tests have now been conducted on a new aircraft laser turret that will help pave the way for HEL systems to be integrated into military aircraft.  Read More

Lockheed Martin is providing the US Navy with two Fortis exoskeletons

Move over, Tony Stark; the US Navy is going Iron Man. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) has ordered a pair of Fortis exoskeletons from Lockheed Martin for testing and evaluation. The unpowered exoskeletons won’t give sailors superhuman strength, but they will allow them to handle heavy equipment for longer periods with less fatigue.  Read More

A K-MAX unmanned helicopter autonomously delivering an SMSS by sling load as part of a fir...

While aircraft such as the X-47B are paving the way for unmanned aircraft filling combat roles, autonomous aircraft are also being developed to tackle more mundane – but still dangerous – military operations. To this end, the first fully autonomous resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance and target-acquisition demonstration using the Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) unmanned ground vehicle, K-MAX unmanned helicopter and Gyrocam optical sensor was recently conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Read More

Testing of recovery methods for the Orion spacecraft's maiden test flight in December 2014...

In preparation for the maiden test flight of NASA's Orion spacecraft, specialists from NASA, Lockheed Martin and the US Navy this week completed testing of various recovery methods for retrieving the crew module. The testing enabled the team to assess data and prepare for different scenarios that may come into play when the craft splashes into the Pacific Ocean this December.  Read More

The public début of the F-35 was cancelled due to a technical issue (Photo: Lockheed Marti...

There are going to be some disappointed aeronautical fans this weekend at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire, UK. The F-35B Lightning II fighter will not be making its scheduled international public début due to the grounding of the entire F-35 fleet after a runway incident in Florida.  Read More

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