Aerospace & Defence
NASA holds final sample return robot competition
After five years of competition by more than 40 different teams from around the globe, NASA’s Sample Return Robot Challenge has reached its final stage. The top seven teams will compete for the $1.36m prize purse on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts, 4th-6th September.
NASA simulation of return from low-earth orbit mission
Hoisted about 30ft. in the air, a mockup of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft awaits its encounter with a pad full of dirt. “Three, two, one” projects over the loud speaker just before the spacecraft is released and makes a loud thud when meeting the dirt. Six attached airbags absorb much of the landing impact and stabilise the spacecraft.
Prototype of an aircraft that could fly over Mars
At NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, a group of students successfully flew a prototype of an aircraft that could one day fly in the Martian atmosphere and send its findings back to Earth. Called the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars, or Prandtl-M, the small, remotely piloted glider aircraft flew 11th August at Armstrong.
Original solution for defence system failures
Military vehicles are being kept in the field by reverse engineering obsolescent parts when they reach the point of failure, by a UK hydraulics manufacturer. Midlands-based MGR Fluid Power has the capacity and expertise to take an obsolescent hydraulic component from a military vehicle and either make a new component to print if the existing designs are still available, or completely reverse engineer a new part from the existing component.
Driver aid for military applications
The DVD 2016 event that will take place in Bedfordshire on 7th-8th September will see RFEL announce a new, HD-SDI and Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) compliant military driver vision aid.
Through a shadow, darkly
Every 18 months or so, scientists and sensation-seekers gather at set points on Earth’s surface, to await awe-inspiring solar eclipses. The Moon briefly blocks the Sun, revealing its mysterious outer atmosphere, the corona. Though what if researchers could induce such eclipses at will? That’s the scientific vision behind ESA’s double-satellite Proba-3, the world’s first precision formation-flying mission, planned for launc...
NASA has set a new Guinness World Record
At NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the sounding rocket team conducted a mission that launched on 16th September 2015. Including the firing of 44 rocket engines, this mission set a world record for the most rocket engines fired on a single flight.
NASA's $1m space robot programming challenge
In partnership with Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center, and NineSigma, a global innovation consultant organisation, has opened registration for a new competition. The Space Robotics Challenge seeks to develop the capabilities of humanoid robots to help astronauts on the journey to Mars.
MoD fund to advance weapons innovation
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has set-up the Innovation and Research Insights Unit (or IRIS for short), to potentially plough up to £800m over the next ten years into emerging defence technologies.
How to dock CubeSats: Research funded by ESA
The miniature satellites known as CubeSats already play a variety of roles in space. In future they could also serve as the building blocks of other, larger missions by being docked together in orbit. CubeSats are nanosatellites of standardised dimensions based on multiple 10cm sided cubes, which ESA is employing for both educational and technology-demonstration purposes.