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Unmanned

3D Robotics, the company that grew out of the popular DIY drones website and the imagination of Wired Magazine Editor Chris Anderson, has announced a new consumer level quadcopter drone called the Solo. Touting its latest creation as "a breakthrough in intelligent flight," 3DR's new drone leans away from 3DR’s roots in hobbyist, DIY UAV flying in favor of a a slick, packaged, all-in-one consumer-oriented system that works right out of the box with a minimum of fuss. Read More
Elon Musk's goal of achieving the first powered landing of a reusable booster had a close brush with success today as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket narrowly failed to survive a touchdown on the deck of a drone barge off the US east coast. The third landing attempt by the company came after the launch of the CRS-6 mission, which sent an unmanned Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. Read More
NASA is planning to maximize the scientific potential of the maiden launch of its next generation launch vehicle, the Space Launch System, by selecting 11 tiny satellites to ride shotgun. The little probes, known as CubeSats, will be transported in the SLS's upper stage adaptor, presenting a cost-effective delivery option for experiments designed to function beyond low-Earth orbit. Read More
Modern warfare is a constant arms race of measures and countermeasures, but with development cycles taking decades and costing billions of dollars, it's not uncommon for military technology to become obsolete by the time it's deployed. To address this dilemma, DARPA's System of Systems (SoS) Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) program aims at replacing monolithic weapon systems with a more flexible cross-platform approach. Read More

Mark Zuckerberg's plans to use unmanned drones to provide internet connections appear one step closer to reality. The Facebook CEO today revealed that his Internet.org initiative has put the aircraft to the test for the first time, describing the operation as a success. Read More

If you want to operate your drone for commercial reasons in the US at the moment, there are considerable hoops you'll need to fly through first. But an announcement today from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to make this process more efficient, throwing a blanket approval over operators that meet a certain criteria. Read More
For under-resourced park rangers patrolling the porous, poacher-friendly borders of Africa's national parks, conserving the ailing rhino and elephant populations is certainly a tall order. With tusks and horns only yielding more and more cash on black markets all across Asia, poaching numbers are on the rise and the future of local species hangs in the balance. But equipped with drones, big data and high-tech infrared cameras, one organization says it has the capabilities to start stemming the tide. Read More
Though the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spaceplane was kicked out of the running to ferry crew to the ISS, a variation on the craft may still end up visiting the station. As part of its bid to win NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract, SNC has unveiled an unmanned autonomous version of Dream Chaser to carry cargo into orbit. Read More
It's been more than a year in the making but it seems that the regulatory wheels are beginning to turn on Amazon's bold plan for drone delivery. The FAA has today granted the online retailer permission to start testing its unmanned aircraft as part of its Prime Air initiative. It does come with its share of caveats, however, so don't expect a box set to be plonked down on your doorstep anytime soon. Read More
NASA's Dawn spacecraft added another trophy today to the conquest of space as it went into orbit around Ceres. According to the space agency, the unmanned probe arrived at about 4:39 am PST and is currently circling the dwarf planet at an altitude of about 38,000 miles (61,000 km) – making it not only the first spacecraft to reach a dwarf planet, but also the first to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies. Read More
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