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Unmanned

Artist's impression of Orion's service module fairing separation in low-Earth orbit (image...

With the launch date of the Orion next-generation spacecraft approaching fast, NASA scientists have set out what they hope to learn from its maiden launch. The test flight, dubbed EFT-1 is the first of three proving missions set to trial many of the in-flight systems essential to the success of any manned mission to Mars, or beyond.  Read More

The autonomous Land Tamer vehicle, which will be dropped off to explore a rugged area by a...

This April, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp and the US Army used a one-of-a-kind autonomous Black Hawk helicopter to perform an unmanned cargo flight demonstration. Known as the Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator, that same chopper has now been enlisted to take the autonomy concept even further. In the new Extended Operational Reach with Autonomous Air and Ground Vehicles project, it will deliver an all-terrain vehicle to a remote site, and that vehicle will then autonomously explore the site from ground level.  Read More

The first night-time flight of the Morpheus lander (Image: NASA)

Spacecraft lifting off at night are a beautiful sight, but equally impressive is when one lands in the dark under its own power. NASA’s robotic Morpheus prototype planetary lander did both of those in its first night-time free flight at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which included an autonomous landing in an artificial lunar landscape.  Read More

An artist's impression of Venus Express (Image: ESA)

After eight years of study of the second planet in our Solar System, ESA’s Venus Express orbiter is winding up its science program in anticipation of a plunge into the Venusian atmosphere sometime in the next two months.  Read More

The Sea-Eye features a design that enables it to keep work when tipped over (Photo: UniMAP...

Bad weather can play havoc with unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) patrolling the seas, which is why scientists at the Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) have come up with a USV prototype that works even when it tips over. Called Sea-Eye, the battery-powered vehicle features a design that enables it to work just as well upside down as right way up.  Read More

The Vector Hawk has joined Lockheed Martin's small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) family

Lockheed Martin has expanded its small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) family with the introduction of the Vector Hawk. Coming in a number of variants, Lockheed says the aircraft is suitable for a wide variety of different missions thanks to its ability to be rapidly reconfigured in the field.  Read More

The loss of the Nereus submersible represents a significant loss to the scientific communi...

One of the scientific community's flagship unmanned research submarines, used for deep-sea exploration, has been declared lost as of 2 pm (New Zealand Standard Time), May 10. It was in use by researchers aboard the scientific research vessel, the Thomas G.  Read More

The Rotary-Bat (R-Bat) unmanned helicopter system conducts a flight test from Yuma Proving...

Northrop Grumman and Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, are teaming up to develop a small, unmanned autonomous helicopter system. The Rotary-Bat (R-Bat) is aimed at a range of applications in both urban and rural areas, including search and rescue, power line inspection, border patrol and forest fire observation.  Read More

The X-47B, shown here on its first night flight in April, is set to begin its next round o...

The US Navy is preparing to conduct a series of test activities with the aim of nailing down air standard operating procedures for air traffic control and ground support designed to allow the X-47B unmanned aircraft to operate alongside manned aircraft, both in the air and on the deck of a flight carrier.  Read More

Artist's impression of ISEE-3 on a lunar flyby (Image: NASA)

Putting classic cars on the road or classic boats on the water isn’t that odd, but what about putting a classic spacecraft back into service? The ISEE-3 Reboot Project is a crowdfunding effort aimed at reactivating a comet-chasing space probe launched in the 1970s. Using a radio telescope and a software emulator of the original control equipment to contact and reactivate the hibernating unmanned probe, the hope is to use the International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) to conduct a privately funded mission to fly by a comet.  Read More

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