Humans still rule drone racing, but NASA's AI pilot might change that

miércoles, 29 de noviembre de 2017

How an AI-guided drone works, and why it lost. In a California warehouse in October, quadrocopter drones zoomed and buzzed, racing through an obstacle course of black-and-white checkered arches. On one team: drones guided by software and AI, the work of a team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laborator...

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We are basically positive that the Russians did not find alien bacteria in space

The simplest explanation is also the likeliest. It will be a glorious day when we finally get definitive proof of alien life. It's going to be absolutely amazing, whether we make contact with a species that rivals or exceeds us in intelligence or we accidentally squish an alien bug on a spaceship...

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American Fighter Jets Are Getting the Laser Cannons They've Always Deserved

It's been just a few months since Lockheed Martin gave the US Army the most powerful laser weapon ever developed, a ground vehicle–mounted system that can burn through tanks and knock mortars out of the sky. Now the US Air Force wants its own toy, so Lockheed's engineers are back in the lab, …

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Could the Interstellar Asteroid 'Oumuamua Create Artificial Gravity?

For the first time, humans have detected an interstellar asteroid—a space rock they're calling 'Oumuamua, which is a Hawaiian word meaning "scout." It's the only object we've ever seen that entered the solar system from beyond our little collection of planets. That's a pretty big deal on its own. …

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Soft Robots Acquire Origami Skeletons for Super-Strength

I can't sit here and promise you that the robot apocalypse isn't coming, that the machines won't eventually rise up and overthrow their makers. But what I can promise you is that not all of them will be able to punch you out. Because robots are going soft. Like, literally soft, controlled with …

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El aeropuerto de Teruel aprobado para VFR(N)



PR





El Aeropuerto de Teruel ha obtenido la autorización de uso flexible, tanto en público como en restringido. Con ello, amplia su horario operativo debido al fuerte crecimineto de operaciones aéreas y posibilita operar a diferentes clientes: grandes aeronaves en vuelos ferrys, mantenimiento de aeronaves, servicio medicalizado y forestal, trabajos aéreos, aviación general, escuela de vuelo y vuelos turisticos, entre otras actividades de I+D, ensayos, prototipos y formación aeronáutica.

De igual forma, se ha obtenido la autorización de AESA para vuelos VFR nocturno en uso restringido bajo demanda en el aerouerto. De esta forma, se permite operar por la noche con balizamiento y ofrecer horas de vuelo de entrenamiento para la formación de pilotos comerciales de las escuelas de vuelo. Es necessario solicitar permiso al Aeropuerto antes de los vuelos nocturnos con 24 horas de antelación.

Con una inversión de unos 40.000 € se ha mejorado la instalación con un faro de aeródromo, balizas de obstáculos en torres eléctricas próximas al aeropuerrto y el sistema de balizamiento del umbral desplazado en la cabecera sur de la pista de vuelo.

Continuando con las inversiones pevistas se ha licitado la adecuación de pista instrumental con un presupuesto de licitación de 357.925 €, IVA excluido. Se han presentado 6 empresas y está en fase de adjudicación, con un plazo de ejecución de 4 meses desde la firma del contrato.

Una vez validado el estudio de viabilidad de las aproximaciones instrumentales con satélite realizado conjuntamente con la empresa GMV en un proyecto subvencionado por la GSA, la Agencia del GNSS Europea. Se siguen realizando reuniones con EnAire y AESA para la definición de los procedimientos APV, tanto barométricos y con satélites de aproximación en ambas cabeceras de la pista de vuelo.

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First Russian Il-78M-90A tanker aircraft was rolled out

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B-21 Raider Headed Toward Critical Design Review, RCO Says



“It’s not easy to go and build a next-generation stealth bomber, but all of the indicators suggest we’re successfully executing the program,” Walden says. “We’re focused on getting to the critical design review, and getting those drawings in place and starting to build this bomber.”

Continue reading http://aviationweek.com/defense/b-21-raider-headed-toward-critical-design-review-rco-says?NL=AW-05&Issue=AW-05_20171129_AW-05_868&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_2&utm_rid=CPEN1000002242919&utm_campaign=12785&utm_medium=email&elq2=6c3a250d81ce4c38a81d02ac9c137716

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Tecnam U.S. delivers the first three of thirty Special Mission Platforms for geospatial data acquisition.



Press Release




Tecnam U.S. announced today that on October 2nd, 2017 and November 20th, 2017 it completed the delivery of the first three (3) of an order for thirty (30) P2006T twin engine aircraft in its Special Mission Platform (SMP) configuration. The three aircraft now delivered are part of a 24-months contract to deliver 30 SMP aircraft to a geospatial data acquisition company modernizing its fleet to optimize operational costs and sensor availability. The company has options for an additional 24 P2006T SMP aircraft following the delivery of the first 30 aircraft commitment.

For this 30 aircraft contract the Tecnam SMP will be delivered with its standard, field proven, mission power system and dedicated hatch to accommodate multiple sensor packages, managed by Tecnam as Type Certification design changes.

The contract also provides for additional design services from Tecnam to optimize the installation for specific sensor packages under Tecnam’s design authority and experience.

“Given the age of existing sensor platforms, costs to operate them and changes in the requirements of the sensors themselves, the P2006T is the right platform at the right time for bringing geospatial data sensing up to date. We are proud that our Customer has chosen Tecnam to provide aircraft for their fleet expansion and look forward to the opportunity to evolve the data sensing platform paradigm”, said Paolo Pascale, CEO of Tecnam.

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Newly restored Messerschmitt Bf109G flies again: Test pilot shares his experience

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New twin engined Cessna SkyCourier unveiled; FedEx Express as launch customer


Press Release
  • Textron Aviation unveils new large-utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier
  • FedEx Express signs as launch customer for up to 100 aircraft 





 Textron Aviation and FedEx leadership at signing ceremony (from left to right: David L. Cunningham, president and CEO, FedEx Express; David J.  Bronczek, president and COO, FedEx Corp.; Scott Donnelly, chairman, president and CEO, Textron Inc.; Scott Ernest, president and CEO, Textron Aviation)


WICHITA, Kan. (Nov. 28, 2017) – Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, today announced its new twin-engine, high-wing, large-utility turboprop – the Cessna SkyCourier 408. FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company and longtime Textron Aviation customer, has signed on as the launch customer for up to 100 aircraft, with an initial fleet order of 50 cargo aircraft and options for 50 more. Entry into service for the clean-sheet design Cessna SkyCourier is planned for 2020.

“With our depth of expertise and proven success in new product development, we were eager to work directly with a world-class company like FedEx Express to jointly develop the Cessna SkyCourier,” said Scott Ernest, president and CEO of Textron Aviation. “The aircraft will fulfill a gap in this market segment with its superior performance and low operating costs in combination with the cabin flexibility, payload capability and efficiency only a clean-sheet design can offer.”

About the Cessna SkyCourier
Built for high utilization operations, the Cessna SkyCourier 408 will be offered in cargo and passenger variants. The cargo variant will feature a large cargo door and a flat floor cabin that is sized to handle up to three LD3 shipping containers with an impressive 6,000 pounds of maximum payload capability. The aircraft will also afford a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a 900 nautical-mile maximum range.

The efficient 19-passenger variant will include crew and passenger doors for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows for great natural light and views. Both configurations will offer single-point pressure refueling to enable faster turnarounds.

The Cessna Caravan platform has set the standard in the single-engine utility category for decades. The Cessna SkyCourier will build on that proven success in the large-utility category, offering even greater capability and mission flexibility.

FedEx Express order
Textron Aviation has built a strong relationship with FedEx Express, which has utilized the Cessna Caravan platform in its feeder aircraft fleet for over 30 years.

“FedEx Express has had a great relationship with Textron Aviation over the years, and this new, advanced aircraft will play a key role in our feeder aircraft modernization strategy,” said David L. Cunningham, president and CEO of FedEx Express. “The Cessna SkyCourier 408 offers a number of significant features that will enhance our long-term feeder strategy.”

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Indian aerospace behemoth reveals why Indo-Russia 5th gen. fighter is highly feasible



Any new fighter jet procurement deal by Indian Air Force would require the foreign vendor to set up a production line in India - a time taking process. In this backdrop, HAL's claim that it can immediately start co-producing the FGFA with Russia from existing facility holds immense significance.
Continue reading http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Indian_aerospace_behemoth_reveals_why_Indo_Russia_FGFA_is_highly_feasible_999.html

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[videos] UAS More Dangerous Than Birds, FAA Collision Study Says

Click on images to enlarge







In FAA Press Release:
https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=89246






In Assure Press Release


Last month, a report from Canada indicated the possible collision of a drone with a jet approaching Quebec City’s International Airport. The incident reintroduced public concerns about air collisions between small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) and commercial aircraft and what it may mean to the safety of air travel.

Although the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is not yet able to definitively address these concerns, studies by a consortium of leading universities, through the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), have begun to bring better understanding to the physical damage associated with small unmanned aircraft – or drones – colliding midair with commercial and business aircraft.

The ASSURE research team began its research in FY 2016, using unique resources from Mississippi State University, Montana State University, Ohio State University, and Wichita State University. This research team set out to answer the question of what happens when – not if – there is a collision between a sUAS and an airplane.

“While the effects of bird impacts on airplanes are well documented, little is known about the effects of more rigid and higher mass sUAS on aircraft structures and propulsion systems,” said Mississippi State University’s Marty Rogers, the Director of ASSURE. “The results of this work are critical to the safety of commercial air travel here in the United States and around the world.”

Today at 12:15 p.m. EST, at the FAA Federal Headquarters in Washington, D.C., the FAA, along with ASSURE members, announced their findings in The sUAS Air-to-Air Collision Severity Evaluation Final Report.

Researchers’ efforts began by first determining the most likely impact scenarios. This was done by reviewing operating environments for both sUAS and manned aircraft. The team then selected the commercial and business aircraft and sUAS based on these impact scenarios and their likely exposure to one another.

The commercial narrow-body air transport selected was characteristic of a Boeing B737 and an Airbus A320 aircraft, which represent 70% of the commercial aircraft fleet. The business jet model represented a Learjet 30/40/50. Similarly, the team selected a small quadcopter and a light fixed-winged unmanned aircraft as representative of the most-likely threats to manned aircraft.

Researchers determined the areas of manned aircraft most likely to be impacted as being the leading edges of wings, vertical and horizontal stabilizers, and windscreens.


ASSURE researchers also performed engine impact simulations on the fan section of an existing business-jet-sized, turbofan-engine model that the FAA previously used for fan blade-out testing. The FAA/ASSURE team conducted this research to better inform the scope of the next phase of research, as well as the critical variables essential to their continued research and engine ingest testing.

“Computer simulations, supported by material and component level testing, were conducted to determine the effects of sUAS impacts on manned aircraft,” said Gerardo Olivares, Ph.D., Director, Crash Dynamics and Computational Mechanics Laboratories at Wichita State University. “Conducting this study through full-scale physical tests would not have been possible from a cost and time perspective due to the immense complexity of the task. On the other hand, simulation enabled us to study over 180 impact scenarios in a twelve-month period. To ensure results accurately predict the actual physical behavior of collisions, we have spent a lot of time developing, verifying, and validating detailed models of manned and unmanned aircraft. Once the models are validated, we can use them in the future to investigate other impact scenarios.”

Researchers observed various levels of airframe and engine damage in all sUAS collision simulations. They confirmed that energy (projectile mass and velocity) and the stiffness of the sUAS are the primary drivers of impact damage. This research showed that the severity of the collision is also dependent on the design features of the sUAS and the dynamics of the impact.

Commercial aircraft manufacturers design aircraft structural components to withstand bird strikes from birds up to eight pounds for the empennage and four pounds for windscreen. ASSURE simulations show sUAS collisions inflict more physical damage than that of an equivalent size and speed bird-strike. sUAS components are much stiffer than birds, which are mostly composed of water. Therefore, bird-strike certification regulations are not appropriate for unmanned aircraft. Additionally, regulators do not require and manufacturers do not design commercial and business aircraft to withstand collisions from other aircraft.

The ASSURE research team also conducted both physical testing and simulation on sUAS lithium batteries. Typical high-speed impacts caused the complete destruction of the battery, therefore, in these cases, there was not an increased risk of fire due to a shorted battery. However, during some of the low-speed impacts, associated with landing and takeoff, the battery was not completely destroyed. In some of these simulations, the battery remained lodged in the airframe and there was potential for increased risk of battery fire.

The findings above show the importance of properly researching and regulating the use of sUAS in a crowed national airspace system. While design features can decrease the severity of a drone impact, sUAS pilots and the public must be aware of and abide by regulations for safe sUAS operations. It is critical that everything be done to keep these collisions from occurring through the safe separation of all aircraft, both manned and unmanned. The FAA will depend on the sUAS community to help develop the technology for proper detect-and-avoid so that these aircraft do not meet in flight.

This is the first in a series of research projects conducted to understand and quantify the potential severity of airborne collisions. Future studies will research the severity of collisions with general aviation (GA) aircraft, rotorcraft, and high-bypass turbofan engines representative of those found in airline fleets today. Because of the scope and magnitude of this research, and the impact it will have on industry and national airspace safety, the follow-on studies will be broken into multiple phases beginning this year and running through FY21.

The complete report is available at http://www.assureuas.org/projects/deliverables/sUASAirborneCollisionReport.php

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​Tokyo to conclude X-2 programme in March 2018



The twin-engined fighter has completed 34 sorties, says Hirofumi Doi, manager of Japan's Future Fighter Program at ATLA. The first two flights were conducted by Mitsubishi, the subsequent 32 by ATLA at Gifu air base. The aircraft's maiden flight occurred on 22 April 2016. Continue reading https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/tokyo-to-conclude-x-2-programme-in-march-2018-443717/

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Debut of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket now planned early next year

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/11/28/debut-of-spacexs-falcon-heavy-rocket-now-planned-in-january/

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NASA Begins Checkout of Dellingr Spacecraft Designed to Improve Robustness of CubeSat Platforms



NASA ground controllers have begun checking out and commissioning a shoebox-sized spacecraft that the agency purposely built to show that CubeSat platforms could be cost-effective, reliable, and capable of gathering highly robust science.

The Dellingr spacecraft will begin science operations once ground controllers complete checkout, which began a few hours after the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer aboard the International Space Station released the CubeSat into its low-Earth orbit Nov. 20. Continue reading https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-begins-checkout-of-dellingr-spacecraft-designed-to-improve-robustness-of-cubesat

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New 3-D printer is 10 times faster than commercial counterparts

 New 3-D printer is 10 times faster than commercial counterparts

MIT engineers have developed a new desktop 3-D printer that performs up to 10 times faster than existing commercial counterparts. Whereas the most common printers may fabricate a few Lego-sized bricks in one hour, the new design can print similarly sized objects in just a few minutes.Continue reading https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/miot-n3p112817.php





Fast Desktop-Scale Extrusion Additive Manufacturing


Abstract

Significant improvements to the throughput of additive manufacturing (AM) processes are essential to their cost-effectiveness and competitiveness with traditional processing routes. Moreover, high-throughput AM processes, in combination with the geometric versatility of AM, will enable entirely new workflows for product design and customization. We present the design and validation of a desktop-scale extrusion AM system that achieves a much greater build rate than benchmarked commercial systems. This system, which we call ‘FastFFF’, is motivated by our recent analysis of the rate-limiting mechanisms to conventional fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology. The FastFFF system mutually overcomes these limits, using a nut-feed extruder, laser-heated polymer liquefier, and servo-driven parallel gantry system to achieve high extrusion force, rapid filament heating, and fast gantry motion, respectively. The extrusion and heating mechanisms are contained in a compact printhead that receives a threaded filament and augments conduction heat transfer with a fiber-coupled diode laser. The prototype system achieves a volumetric build rate of 127 cm3/hr, which is approximately 7-fold greater than commercial desktop FFF systems, at comparable resolution; the maximum extrusion rate of the printhead is ∼14-fold greater (282 cm3/hr) than our benchmarks. The performance limits of the printhead and motion systems are characterized, and the tradeoffs between build rate and resolution are assessed and discussed. High-speed desktop AM raises the possibility of new use cases and business models for AM, where handheld parts are built in minutes rather than hours. Adaptation of this technology to print high-temperature thermoplastics and composite materials, which require high extrusion forces, is also of interest. Full Article http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214860416303220

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