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Unmanned

— Space

NASA's Space Launch System to deploy 11 additional satellites on maiden launch

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
— Drones

DARPA looks at "system of systems" to maintain US air superiority

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
— Drones

FAA loosens rules for commercial drone flight

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
— Drones

Air Shepherd drones keep a watchful eye over endangered species

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
— Drones

Amazon cleared to put its delivery drones to the test

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
— Space

Dawn orbits dwarf planet Ceres

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
— Space

Curiosity suffers short circuit

NASA is putting its Curiosity Mars rover on hold for a few days as engineers try to determine the cause and severity of a recent short circuit. The space agency says that during a recent sample-taking operation, the unmanned explorer suffered a transient short circuit that activated an automatic shutdown by the rover's computers. Read More
— Space

NASA releases new Ceres images prior to Friday encounter

As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft makes its final approach to Ceres, the ion-propelled spacecraft is sending the best images yet with more details about the surface of the dwarf planet. The images from Dawn have shown the presence of numerous craters and unusual bright spots that scientist hope will provide clues as to not only how Ceres formed and if it is still active, but the early history of the Solar System as well. Read More
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