Here is an article on from Business Insider about the new F-35 and what the future of warfare looks like. Wit all the potential pilots we have as cadets, it would be great to see a couple of them go on to fly this incredible plane.
Thank you to Major Shelley Rosenbaum Lipman, CAP for sending us these Aerospace current events. If you have an interesting Aerospace related event, please let me know. Thank you!
1. One better than Tatooine: Astronomers discovered a gas giant planet in a TRIPLE-star system. This planet is orbiting the brightest star in the system (about 10 times brighter than our Sun) about 7 billion miles away from that star. Another pair of stars circle the brightest one, about 30 billion miles away. (This is as opposed to Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine, which circles a binary star system.) http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/exoplanet-found-in-triple-star-system-0707201623/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=sky-mya-nl-160708&utm_content=861064_SKY_HP_eNL_160708&utm_medium=email
2. Hybrid-electric plane successfully completes first test flight: The Extra 300, usually found as a staple on the airshow circuit, is the test platform for a hybrid-electric plane powered by a Siemens 260 kW electric motor. The hope is that this type of motor could power a four-seat General Aviation aircraft soon. http://www.flyingmag.com/siemens-electric-extra-records-successful-maiden-flight#page-2
3. New dwarf planet found outside Pluto’s orbit: Another astronomical discovery – this time RR245, a small (~400 miles in diameter) dwarf planet far beyond Pluto in the “Kuiper Belt” region. It has a very elliptical orbit, varying from 3 billion to 11 billion miles from the Sun, taking 700 years to orbit once. By comparison, Pluto is about 1400 miles in diameter, and orbits the Sun every 248 years. Although astronomers have discovered other KBO (Kuiper Belt Objects), this is the first one large enough to be classified as a dwarf planet (massive enough to be crushed into a sphere by its own gravity; but unlike “regular” planets, it has not cleared and coalesced its orbital path of other debris) since the designator was created. Of course, Pluto was recently downgraded from a regular planet to a dwarf planet in 2006. http://www.space.com/33387-dwarf-planet-discovery-2015-rr245.html
4. USAF may build “Super Warthog”: The Air Force is studying requirements for a new Close-Air Support (CAS) aircraft. This would take the place of the A-10 Warthog, which will be retired soon. The new Super Warthog would include the capability to use laser-guided and precision bombs, and would upgrade the engine. It may be based upon the Raytheon T-X or the A-29 Embraer EMB Super Tucano aircraft. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/revealed-us-air-force-planning-build-super-10-warthog-16915
5. Mars 2020 Rover to proceed with final design: NASA stated that they will complete design and begin constructing the Mars 2020 Rover, a space probe that will be launched sometime in the summer of 2020. This rover will be looking for signs of life (both past signs, as well as current), and will return Martian rock and soil samples to Earth. Additionally, it will have a set of microphones, so for the first time we can hear the sounds from the red planet. There’s a possibility that the rover would also contain “helicopter drones” which would make short flights away from the rover base. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/mars-2020-rover-construction-moves-ahead-nasa/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=sky-mya-nl-160722&utm_content=864899_SKY_HP_eNL_160722&utm_medium=email
6. EPA says aircraft emissions dangerous: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it plans to reduce aircraft carbon emissions, which it says account for about 2% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Any regulation would depend on the result of the Presidential election (since the regulation wouldn’t be implemented until January, and would have to be coordinated with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). http://www.wsj.com/articles/epa-advances-plans-to-limit-carbon-emissions-from-aircraft-1469458800
7. “Parachutist” jumps out of plane without ‘chute: Luke Aikens, a skydiver with more than 18,000 jumps under his belt tried something different: he jumped out of a plane over Simi Valley (CA) at 25,000’ without a parachute, landing successfully in a 100’ x 100’ net. Well, okay, he was WEARING a parachute (since this was being broadcast live, the Screen Actors’ Guild required him to wear it), but he didn’t use it. Aikens was the backup to Felix Baumgartner (who set the record for highest skydive in 2012). http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2016/8/guinness-world-records-confirms-new-record-for-skydiver-who-fell-25-000-ft-withou-438265
8. Forget about Amazon, 7-11 makes first commercial drone delivery: A 7-11 convenience store in Reno, NV did a trial run of a delivery from their store to a customer’s home a mile away. The drone delivered a chicken sandwich, donuts, coffee, candy and Slurpees in about 5 minutes. The customer reported that the coffee was still hot, and the Slurpees still frozen. http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/23/12262468/7-11-first-retailer-deliver-food-drone
9. Is the end in sight for the B747? The Boeing-747, the first wide-body jumbo jet (first flown in 1970) may be approaching the end of its production run. Boeing will be reducing production from 12 per year to six, as airlines look to save costs by using twin-engine aircraft (the 747 has four engines). http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/28/news/boeing-747-end-production/
Thank you to Major Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman for passing on these interesting tidbits.
1. We don’t have to worry about space aliens attacking Earth: An astronomer from Columbia University in NY has come up with a way to use laser beams to either hide or change the image of Earth that space aliens may view. However, it does require that those on Earth know where the aliens are. http://www.space.com/32423-laser-cloak-could-hide-earth-from-aliens.html
2. Dogs can fly: An animal trainer from New Zealand trained three dogs (all of whom were rescue dogs) to fly a plane. The dogs learned to turn left if a blue light on the glare shield came on, right for a red light, and straight ahead for a white light. After a certificated pilot took off and climbed to altitude, the dogs took over, and successfully flew the plane through a figure-8. http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/dogs-taught-to-fly-a-plane-for-british-television-show-20160407-go130l.html
3. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first stage lands on floating platform: SpaceX launched a supply ship to the International Space Station. After the first stage exhausted its fuel and dropped away, it landed successfully on a floating platform in the Atlantic, paving the way for a reusable launch system. The Dragon spacecraft launched by the Falcon 9 then successfully docked with the ISS, unloading 7000 pounds of supplies, including a soft expandable habitat built by Bigelow Industries. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/04/08/elon-musks-spacex-nails-landing-at-sea/4. “The Martian,” for real: SpaceX announced that it plans to send its Dragon unmanned capsule to Mars, perhaps as soon as 2018. This is a step in the company’s goal to set up a colony of Mars. This unmanned flight is intended to demonstrate the ability to send large payloads of supplies needed in place on Mars for an eventual manned mission. http://www.space.com/32719-spacex-red-dragon-mars-missions-2018.html
5. Russia launches three satellites: A Russian Soyuz rocket carried three satellites into orbit, including an astrophysics observatory that will look for gamma-ray bursts, cosmic rays, and near-Earth asteroids. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/russian-space-observatory-lomonosov-launches/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=sky-mya-nl-160429&utm_content=840839_SKY_HP_eNL_160429&utm_medium=email
6. Japan gives up on its x-ray-observing satellite: Japan’s Hitomi satellite, which was launched in February and lost communications in March, has been officially written off by JAXA, the Japanese space agency. Apparently, although the satellite wasn’t moving, the Attitude Control System (ACS) thought it was, so it gave a command to counter the movement (causing the satellite to actually start moving). Because the ACS wasn’t working properly, it caused the momentum to increase greatly, eventually shedding the solar-cell panels and parts of the satellite. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/recovery-for-hitomi-observatory-now-unlikely/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=sky-mya-nl-160429&utm_content=840839_SKY_HP_eNL_160429&utm_medium=email
7. Solar Impulse 2 successfully lands in California: The solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 flew non-stop from Hawaii to Mountain View, CA, landing just before midnight. Solar Impulse had been grounded in Hawaii for several months after a flight from Japan caused problems with the battery system. This is part of their around-the-world solar-powered flight. http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2016/April/25/Solar-Impulse-in-California?utm_source=ePilot&utm_medium=Content&utm_content=tec&utm_campaign=160429epilot
8. Earth-like planets circling a star in the “habitable zone”: Astronomers found three planets that are about the same size as the Earth that are orbiting a brown-dwarf star that’s 40 light-years away. All three planets are within the “habitable zone,” or the distance from a star in which the amount of radiation the planet receives is such that water would be in a liquid form. The scientists are already working on detecting water or methane molecules on these planets. http://www.wcvb.com/health/three-earthlike-planets-discovered-orbiting-dwarf-star/39341460
Thank you to Maj. Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman, Wing Aerospace Education Officer, for these topics!
1. Could fungi survive on Mars? Astronauts brought two species of fungi from Antarctica to the International Space Station. There, the fungi were exposed to Mars-like conditions (like an atmosphere that’s predominantly CO2, very low atmospheric pressure, and lots of UV radiation) for 18 months. Researchers examining the fungi found that 60% of the fungi survived, although only 10% were able to proliferate.
2. (Water) ice on Pluto: Scientists reviewing data from last July’s New Horizons flyby of Pluto have discovered that water ice (as well as methane, nitrogen, and carbon monoxide ice) is visible on the planet. This is believed to be Pluto’s bedrock material showing through.
3. Finally – a science-fiction movie filmed in space: Colin Trevorrow, the director for Star Wars 9 (yes, that’s the one after the next Star Wars) said that he’d like to film some of the IMAX film in space. He pointed out that NASA has filmed IMAX in space since the 1990s. (In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for ILM-generated space scenes in Star Wars 8, not due out for another two years or so.)
4. Elon Musk’s next project: Elon Musk, who’s the CEO of both Space X and the electric-car company Tesla, told engineering students that he’s mulling over building a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) jet that runs on electricity. It might even be able to go supersonic. No word on when (or even whether) he’ll actually start work on that. http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/Musk-Moving-On-Electric-Jet-225654-1.html
5. The Milky Way has damage history: Relatively recently (a few hundred-million years ago), a dwarf galaxy (about 1% of our galaxy’s mass) brushed up against the Milky Way. About 15 years ago, astronomers found that the spiral “arms” of the Milky Way didn’t all line up in the same plane – some arms were higher, some lower. The theory is that this was due to a small galaxy passing through the Milky Way’s disk. Now, scientists believe they’ve found the culprit.
6. Einstein was right! Physicists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) announced that they have in fact detected gravitational waves, the first time this has been done since Einstein predicted them about 100 years ago. The scientists believe these waves were due to an event which occurred about a billion years ago when two black holes merged. Many think this discovery is worthy of the Nobel Prize. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/02/gravitational-waves-einstein-s-ripples-spacetime-spotted-first-time
7. Drone take-downs: In the Feb 2016 AE current events, we learned that Airbus is developing a means to jam signals to drones in order to disable them. Now, a professor at Michigan Technological University is developing a way to actually capture drones that stray into restricted airspace (or even ones that “go rogue”). The system involves sending another drone after the errant one, and shooting a net to “haul it in.” http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/02/15/drone-killer/80435642/
8. Low-tech approach to controlling birds at airports: At some airports, operators have taken to setting off loud explosives to clear birds away from the runways – birds that can cause collisions with aircraft in the area. At Traverse City, MI, Piper (a border collie) works 10-hour shifts four days a week chasing birds away…and acts as a good-will ambassador the rest of the time. He even wears goggles to keep debris out of his eyes as he runs around the field. http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/14897-piper-the-border-collie-keeps-airport-safe-by-patrolling-the-runway
9. New stealth bomber announced: The USAF showed the first artist rendering of the new B-21 stealth long-range bomber, which will be built by Northrup-Grumman. Looking much like the B-2 Spirit bomber (i.e., a flying wing), the B-21 is scheduled to be fielded by the mid 2020s. The $80-billion contract is for 100 bombers. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/northrop-bomber-be-designated-u-s-air-force-s-new-n527166
Astronauts train at Johnson Space Center in Houston, United States. Photo by Bill Brassard/EPA/NASA
NASA, which frequently tops the list of best places to work in government, just got more proof that it's mastered the art of recruiting. The space agency received more than 18,000 applications to join its next class of astronauts—which will only have about 14 spots.
This shatters the previous record, from 1978, when NASA was about to start its space shuttle program and received 8,000 applications.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke to On Leadership a while back about how "the biggest leadership challenge today is keeping the workforce motivated, keeping the workforce believing that we are doing what the nation wants us to do."
You can read more about NASA's newest (positive) challenge of whittling down the overwhelming number of interested job applicants in this piece by The Washington Post's Rachel Feltman.
Join the Springfield Stars Club on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Springfield Science Museum for a panel discussion on Astronomy in the Digital Age.
Meanwhile, the Springfield Republican newspaper nice article about Russian Cosmonauts Launch the Space Race. More can be found here in this link....
Thank you to Maj. Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman, Wing Aerospace Education Officer, for these topics!
1. Life, the Universe, and Everything: First, we had an astronaut take a selfie on ISS while wearing a
Star Trek uniform. Now, the ISS Expedition 42 (42: the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything)
crew members are apparently “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” fans, as can be seen by the crew poster
2. Boeing patents drone capable of “plugging in” from the air: Boeing was awarded a patent to allow a
drone (which looks like a dirigible) to deploy a tether to connect to a ground-based (or air- or sea-based)
“charging station” to allow it to have a virtually unlimited flight endurance.
3. Yet Another Boeing Patent: Boeing received another patent, this one for a “force field” a la Star Wars
or Star Trek. But it’s not perfect – it heats up and ionizes the air, so it can’t be deployed for an extended
period of time. And it deflects light rays, which means those on the inside would be essentially blind to
everything outside the force field.
4. Airbus unveils all-electric “plug-in” plane: Airbus showed off its new “E-Fan 2.0” electric two-seat
plane. It cruises at about 120 knots using what appears to be ducted fan blades. But don’t count on flying
a long distance with this plane: the lithium-ion polymer batteries only last about an hour. Airbus is
working on a four-seat (E-Fan 4.0) version by 2019, and is hoping to have an all-electric airliner by 2050.
5. More reality imitating art: A Maryland company is teaming with a U.K. company to develop a
“hoverbike,” which looks something like the vehicles the stormtroopers used on the forest moon Endor in
Star Wars – Return of the Jedi. The “bike” is actually a quadcopter, and is being developed under
contract with the Army Research Laboratory. It also may be used in civilian tasks, such as search-and-
rescue, film, and cattle mustering.
6. Wing skins can “heal” the same way as human skins: British scientists have created a way of using
“micro spheres” –capsules a few micrometers across filled with a sealing agent – to fix cracks in aircraft
wings. The micro spheres crack on impact, causing the sealing agent to “glue” the crack together.
7. Philae Probe – it’s alive! Probe Philae bounced down onto the surface of a comet seven months ago,
but although the probe initially transmitted scientific data, the probe was partially in shadow, greatly
limiting the amount of sunlight reaching its solar panels. As a result, after a few days Philae went into
hibernation. As the comet has been nearing the sun, apparently it’s moved enough so that Philae’s solar
panels have been able to recharge its internal batteries, and it has begun transmitting data again.
8. Science and nature meet: Many people living near airports complain about the noise, but Schiphol
Airport in Amsterdam (Netherlands) has done something unique. They hired an artist who used as his
canvas a park – and he created a series of ridges in a nearby park that approximated the wavelength of the
noise from overhead jets. They found the noise dropped by about 50%.
9. SpaceX Falcon launch failure: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, on a resupply mission to the International
Space Station, exploded less than three minutes into the flight. CEO Elon Musk indicated there was an
overpressure in the second-stage LOX (Liquid OXygen) tank, causing the explosion. NASA indicates
this will not adversely affect the astronauts on the ISS.
AE current events – November Staff Meeting:
1. AeroMobil 3.0 flying car to debut: AeroMobil, a Solvakia-based company that has been working on a flying car for nearly 25 years (the version 2.5 actually has flown), announced that their latest v3.0 will be displayed in Vienna, Austria at the Pioneers Festival on 29 Oct. Specs for the two-seat aerocar include flying over 400 miles at 120 MPH on 4 GPH, and driving nearly 550 miles at almost 30 MPG. http://www.eturbonews.com/51030/new-flying-car-lands-pioneers-festival-vienna
2. Work begins on new 30-meter telescope in Hawaii: Yes, there will be a 30-METER telescope built on Mauna Kea in Hawaii...as in nearly 100 feet (1200”) in diameter, dwarfing most other telescopes in use today. The new telescope (dubbed TMT, for Thirty Meter Telescope) will be composed of nearly 500 smaller mirrors, each around 5’ across. TMT will have 144 times the collecting area than the Hubble Space Telescope, and 10 times the spatial separation. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/thirty-meter-telescope-groundbreaking-10102014/et_mid=697185&rid=247495427
3. Possible “recent” volcanos on the Moon: Scientists working with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter announced they’ve seen evidence of recent (well, geologically-recent, anyway) volcanic eruptions on the Moon – occurring about 50-100 million years ago. (They can tell that it’s fairly recent because there are few meteoric impact craters in that area.) http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/volcanoes-on-the-moon-1014201/?et_mid=698485&rid=247495427
4. Lockheed-Martin announces “Mr. Fusion”: In what seems to be something out of “Back to the Future,” the Lockheed-Martin “Skunk Works” is working on a fusion reactor that’s small enough to power an aircraft. It would be contained within a magnetic bottle due to high temperatures (hundreds of MILLION degrees). L-M predicts it will be ready to be used on aircraft within 10 years. http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/Lockheed-Says-Its-Fusion Reactor-Could-Power-Airplanes222910-1.html
5. X-37 lands after nearly two-year mission: The X-37B USV (Unmanned Space Vehicle) touched down at Vandenberg AFB after spending 674 days in orbit. It’s unknown what the purpose of the flight was. Apparently, the USAF has at least two X-37Bs, and is moving toward launching and landing them at the Kennedy Space Center. http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/X-37B-Lands-After-674-Days-In-Orbit222925-1.html
6. Researchers develop smaller tail for a “greener” plane: Engineers at Caltech and University of Arizona have created a smaller tail, which greatly reduces drag and weight, thus increasing fuel efficiency. With funding from NASA and Boeing, the engineers installed “sweeping jet actuators” that would allow the smaller tail to be used at lower speeds. http://phys.org/news/2014-10-air-devices-greener-planes.html
7. You wanna land WHERE?? A Cessna 172 contacted Chicago Approach Control, and calmly requested a full-stop landing at O’Hare. The befuddled controller replied, “You want to do this at O’Hare???” Eventually the controller vectored the Skyhawk to land behind (but not too close behind) a B-747. A GoPro video shows the entire exchange, through landing. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/10/23/pilot-of-tiny-cessna-makes-landing-at-ohare/
8. NASA’s New Horizons probe gets additional targets for its mission: New Horizons, launched in 2007, is due to fly within 6,000 miles of Pluto in July 2015. Its mission was always to follow that with fly-bys of one or more Kuiper-Belt Objects. (KBOs are bits of the primordial material from which our solar system originated. Technically, Pluto is a KBO.) However, scientists were having a hard time finding suitable targets, until the Hubble Space Telescope identified three that have now been added to New Horizons’ mission. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/targeting-crisis-averted-new-horizons-10212014/?et_mid=699761&rid=247495427
9. Highest skydive record broken...again: Google VP Alan Eustace jumped from a helium balloon nearly 136,000’ above sea level, reached a speed of 800 mph (causing a sonic boom heard on the ground), and parachuted to a safe landing 15 minutes after starting his jump. This broke the record set by Felix Baumgartner (128,000’) set about two years ago; the prior record (held by Col Joseph Kittinger) was set in 1957 (over 96,000’). http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/25/science/alan-eustace-jumps-from-stratosphere-breaking-felix-baumgartners-world-record.html?_r=0
10. Antares rocket explodes shortly after launch: Orbital Sciences Corporation’s unmanned Antares rocket (carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft), destined to resupply the International Space Station, exploded six seconds after launch. Besides losing the rocket/spacecraft, the explosion and subsequent fire heavily damaged the NASA Wallops Island (in Virginia) launch facility, the only one which can launch the Antares rocket. This was the fifth Antares launch; all the previous had been successful. http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/28/us/nasa-rocket-explodes/index.html
11. SpaceShipTwo crashes on test flight: October was a bad month for the private space industry, as Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo seemingly broke apart seconds after it was released from the WhiteKnightTwo ferry ship and ignited its rocket. Preliminary reports indicate the copilot deployed the spacecraft’s “feathering” system (designed to slow the spacecraft when returning to Earth) erroneously. The copilot died, and the pilot ejected and parachuted out and was in serious condition after multiple surgeries. http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/Virgin-Galactics-SpaceShipTwo-Crashes-Updated223025-1.html?redirected=1