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Unmanned

Space

ESA spaceplane launch gets green light

The European Space Agency has given the green light for the launch of its unmanned spaceplane, Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV). The original plan for a launch atop a Vega rocket from the ESA space center in French Guiana last November was put on hold due to safety concerns about its trajectory. With these issues now resolved, lift off is rescheduled for February 11. Read More

Space

Elon Musk releases video of Falcon 9 landing attempt

Elon Musk has revealed video and details of the crash of the Falcon 9 booster as it attempted to make an historic powered landing after the launch of the CRS-5 mission. In a series of brief statements on Twitter, the SpaceX founder and CEO explained the cause of the crash and future plans for the company's ambitions to produce a fully reusable space launch system.Read More

Biology

Robot sub beats nets for discovering what lurks at the bottom of the sea

Curious about what's living on the deep sea floor? Well, the Autosub6000 AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) is helping us find out. Led by Dr. Kirsty Morris, a team at the UK's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) has equipped one of the unmanned submarines with a high-resolution photographic system. As a result, it's claimed to be far more effective at identifying deep-sea life than the usual approach of scientific trawling. Read More

CNN gets go-ahead to use drones in newsgathering

News media heavyweight CNN has reached an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designed to usher in the use of drones in newsgathering and reporting. CNN plans on experimenting with the vehicles in producing video content, while the government agency says the initiative will help to inform its drone policy moving forward. Read More

Space

CRS-5 launches successfully, but booster landing fails

The CRS-5 mission lifted off today in a pre-dawn launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. As the unmanned spacecraft rose into orbit to resupply the International Space Station, the first stage of its Falcon 9 booster made an historic attempt at a powered landing on a drone barge positioned in the Atlantic Ocean, which did not come off successfully. Read More

VR

GE creates virtual tour of the seabed factories of tomorrow

In the 1960s, engineers predicted that manned outposts would be built on the bottom of the sea housing hundreds of workers to handle complex tasks like exploiting deep sea oil and natural gas fields. In the 21st century, those outposts are becoming a reality, but as unmanned robotic platforms that are rarely visited by humans. To show how these will be built and operated, GE has created a 3D virtual exhibit for its new research center in Rio de Janeiro.Read More

FAA launches campaign targeting rookie drone pilots

If you were gifted a drone for Christmas, then the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has you in its sights. It may not be in the form of long-awaited laws for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are due later this year, but is a campaign directed at rookie pilots whose expertise may be outstripped by their unbridled enthusiasm. Read More

Space

Dawn begins Ceres approach for orbital rendezvous

Like the end of a very long and eventful road trip, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has its main goal in sight. The space agency says that the unmanned probe has emerged from behind the Sun as it uses its ion propulsion to catch up with the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt and that mission control was able to re-establish contact. The craft has received instructions for executing a series of maneuvers that will take it on its final approach phase, which will end with it going into orbit around Ceres.Read More

Military

Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout makes first destroyer flight

A helicopter landing on the flightdeck of a destroyer is hardly news – unless it's the US Navy's latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C Fire Scout became the first unmanned helicopter to operate from a US destroyer on December 16. Under guidance of the ship's ground control station, the MQ-8C made 22 takeoffs and 22 precision landings on the guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) off the coast of Virginia. Read More

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