Humans have now spent more than a 100 years under the spell of powered flight, regularly achieving milestones previously thought impossible and developing faster, bigger, deadlier, and more efficient aircraft in which to take to the skies. The challenges show no sign of abating as the second century of aviation begins, not just in terms of sheer human endeavour, but in respect to critical questions of environmental sustainability and renewable energy. The team that accomplished the first ever non-stop round-the-world flight in a balloon back in 1999 is embarking on a new project that will take see it repeat the journey – but this time it’s in a solar-powered aircraft. Bertrand Piccard along with Andre Borschberg (an engineer and pilot and the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (EPFL) and Brian Jones (who co-piloted on the Breitling Orbiter 3 on its record round-the-world flight) are aiming to complete a full night in the air during the first 36 hour solar-powered round-the-world flight during 2009.
Exploring Mars with Balloons Global Aerospace Corporation
Balloons outfitted with innovative steering devices and robot probes may be the best way to perform detailed surveys of Mars in preparation for human exploration. Dr. Alexey Pankine, a project scientist at the Global Aerospace Corporation, is presenting an analysis of balloon applications for Mars exploration at the Space Technology and Applications International Forum in Albuquerque, NM on February 10, 2004. His presentation, entitled Mars Exploration with Directed Aerial Robot Explorers, is based on research funded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.
Imagine a rocket plane that can sail for dozens of miles over the Martian terrain, set itself down, send out a robotic explorer for a month or so, then take off for the next destination. It may sound like pure science fiction
UA’s MAV Team Wins Top Honors in Fly-Off University of Arizona
UA’s Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) team took top honors earlier this month during the 4th International Micro Aerial Vehicle Meeting in Toulouse, France. The event included more than a dozen teams from France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, and the United States. The UA plane, a flying wing with a 6-inch wingspan, was easily the smallest surveillance plane at the competition. The radio-controlled MAV flew a triangular course that was 100 meters on a side. It also used an onboard video camera to photograph and return an image of a target placed along the course. 100 meters is about the length of a football field, including the end zones.
Future Robots May “Hop” Across Mars Universe Today
NASA’s Spirit Rover has just completed a long hard slog across difficult Martian terrain to reach the Columbia hills. The short journey of just a couple of kilometres has taken Spirit months. Imagine if it could thoroughly analyze an area and then just pick up and fly somewhere new? NASA is considering a proposal from Pioneer Astronautics, which envisions a vehicle that could land on Mars, refuel with local materials, and then fly hundreds of kilometres to explore; repeating this process over and over again – the Martian Gashopper Aircraft.
Multiple Mars UAV Proposals Likely In Next Scout Competition Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
Several competing unmanned aerial vehicle missions are likely to be proposed for flight on Mars in NASA’s next Scout competition, according to Andy Gonzales, program manager for NASA Ames Research Center’s MATADOR project. Set to begin in roughly a year, the next Mars Scout competition will select one or more missions for launch to Mars in 2011. If upcoming flight-tests of MATADOR (Mars Advanced Technology Airplane for Deployment, Operations, and Recovery) are successful, the team may propose a mission, according to Gonzales. “We’re hopeful that the [Mars] airplane’s time has finally come.”
Whirl-A-Drone Begins To Spin defensetech
“Right now, it looks a lot like a Frisbee with four wings,” the Wall Street Journal says. But, one day, this early prototype could become “an unmanned aircraft capable of hovering in the same spot for days at a time.” The craft, known as the Whirl, is being designed at the “Bike Shop” — a small, secretive development shop tucked away in a corner of Raytheon, the giant defense contractor.
Flying robot may help in security, disaster relief [and space exploration] The Globe and Mail
Seiko Epson Corp. is developing a flying robot that looks like a miniature helicopter, and which its makers hope will be used for security, disaster rescue and space exploration. Dubbed the Micro Flying Robot, the 12.3-gram, 85-millimetre machine, shown to reporters on Wednesday, follows a flight-route program sent from a computer using Bluetooth wireless technology
Raytheon demonstrated its SilentEyes Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) by ejecting it from an MQ-9 Predator pylon-mounted canister during tests at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
Proxity Digital Networks, through Cyber Aerospace Corp, an operating subsidiary of Proxity’s On Alert Systems, announces their first generation Individual Unmanned Air Scout (IUAS), known as Cyber Scout, is in test flight mode. Weighing only 10 lbs., the UAV is designed to operate innovative clandestine reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition and could be hand-carried into battle to perform hunter-killer missions.