Aerospace & Defense

NYPD police officers will start using drones


The New York Police Department has launched a new drone program, its first since it ended an unmanned aerial vehicle pilot program in 2011. The department says it will use its collection of drones -- 14 in all -- for search and rescue missions, crime scene documentation, hazmat incidents, large events like concerts and hostage situations. "As the largest municipal police department in the United States, the NYPD must always be willing to leverage the benefits of new and always-improving technology," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said in a statement. "Our new [Unmanned Aircraft System] program is part of this evolution -- it enables our highly-trained cops to be even more responsive to the people we serve, and to carry out the NYPD's critical work in ways that are more effective, efficient and safe for everyone." The NYPD currently has three types of drones.

Is a space war brewing? Russia announces it will establish a lunar colony by 2040

Daily Mail

Astrobiotics' Peregrine lander is one of the many in the running Astrobotic Technology: The Pittsburgh-based firm was founded in 2008 by Carnegie Mellon professor Red Whittaker. It was among the many teams that participated in Google's $20 million Lunar XPrize, which shut down this year without a winner. Astrobiotic's lunar lander, dubbed Peregrine, stands on four shock-absorbing legs and attaches to the launch vehicle via a standard clamp. 'The Peregrine Lander precisely and safely delivers payloads to lunar orbit and the lunar surface on each mission,' the firm says. 'Payloads can be mounted above or below the decks, and can remain attached or deployed according to their needs.'

Drop the Batteries--Diamonds and Lasers Could Power Your Drone


Drones have arrived in US airspace, and now they are multiplying. By 2022, 700,000 of the little unmanned aircraft could be exploring American skies, according to the FAA, delivering packages, monitoring traffic, inspecting bridges, and filling other yet to be discovered niches. To do that work, every last one will need electricity to spin its rotors and run its sensors. Most will get it from batteries they take with them to work. Some might pull from the grid directly, using tethers.

See SpaceX blast a satellite into orbit, nail rocket landing on a drone ship


For the 18th time this year, SpaceX has successfully launched to space. After lifting off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center along the Florida coast at 3:46 p.m. on Thursday, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket delivered a communications satellite, Es'hail-2, into orbit for its latest customer, the nation of Qatar. About 10 minutes later, the rocket booster -- which contains nine expensive, SpaceX-made Merlin engines -- descended through the atmosphere and landed in the Atlantic Ocean on the Elon Musk-named droneship "Of Course I Still Love You." This marks the booster's second trip to space and back again. It's also the 31st time the company has managed to land a rocket back on Earth after flying to space.

Next-gen drones can ride wind currents like birds, researchers say - Manufacturers' Monthly


The next generation of unmanned drones will act more like birds than machines, thanks to new study by researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne and ISAE-Supaéro in Toulouse. The study includes experiments with drones that can sense wind gusts and thermals, then use them to gain speed or altitude, just like birds do. Dr Abdulghani Mohamed, who leads a large research program into bio-inspired technology in RMIT's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) research team, said the world-first project had exceeded expectations. "The results of our gust soaring system were remarkable and represent a big leap in energy harvesting for drones," Mohamed said. "This technology not only allows a drone to gain kinetic energy to fly faster but also means less work and more efficiency for the propulsion system, potentially enabling the next generation of drones to increase their flight time on limited resources."

What Space Camp is like when you go as a grown-up


In 2018, alas, Space Camp is also the nearest you can get to space tourism. Right now not even $30 million will get you aboard the Soyuz rocket in Kazakhstan, the last functioning launch system that takes people to space, which suffered a catastrophic failure on October 11. Elon Musk's SpaceX, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic: all are developing space tourism offerings. And all seem perpetually five years away from their launch date. Yes, we've seen a lot of important developments in private space flight, such as the fact that both SpaceX and Blue Origin have made their booster rockets reusable by figuring out how to land them after a launch.

China steps up drone race with stealth aircraft

Daily Mail

China is rolling out stealth drones and pilot-less aircraft fitted with deadly weapons, such as AK-47 rifles, onto world markets. Combat drones were among the jet fighters, missiles and other military hardware shown off this week at Airshow China, the country's biggest aerospace industry exhibition. China's automated warplanes are already flying in the Middle East, and the newly unveiled unmanned jets signal Beijing's determination in catching up and eventually rivaling with the United States in the global military drone market. Visitors to the Airshow China take pictures of CH-7, China's newest stealth combat drone Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are in discussions to acquire the Chinese-made Blowfish A2 (pictured). A director from Ziyan, the manufacturer of the helicopter drone, said they could add'whatever' weapons required by clients to the unmanned aircraft One of the most eye-catching drones displayed at the exhibition in Zhuhai was CH-7, or Rainbow-7, China's newest stealth combat drone.

China steps up drone race with stealth aircraft, AK-47-toting chopper drones

The Japan Times

ZHUHAI, CHINA – China is unleashing stealth drones and pilotless aircraft fitted with AK-47 rifles onto world markets, racing to catch up to U.S. technology and adding to a fleet that has already seen combat action in the Middle East. Combat drones were among the jet fighters, missiles and other military hardware shown off this past week at Airshow China, the country's biggest aerospace industry exhibition. A delta-winged stealth drone received much attention, highlighting China's growing production of sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles seeking to compete with the U.S. military's massive fleet. The CH-7 -- a charcoal-gray UAV unveiled at the air show -- is as long as a tennis court and has a 22-meter (72-feet) wingspan. It can fly at more than 800 kph (500 mph) and at an altitude of 13,000 meters (42,650 feet).

China unveils stealth combat drone in development, looks to sell abroad

The Japan Times

ZHUHAI, CHINA – A Chinese state-owned company says it is developing a stealth combat drone in the latest sign of the country's growing aerospace prowess. The CH-7 unmanned aerial vehicle also underscores China's growing competitiveness in the expanding global market for drones. China has won sales in the Middle East and elsewhere by offering drones at lower prices and without the political conditions attached by the U.S. The CH-7's chief designer, Shi Wen, says the aircraft can "fly long hours, scout and strike the target when necessary." "Very soon, I believe, in the next one to two years, (we) can see the CH-7 flying in the blue skies, gradually being a practical and usable product in the future," Shi told The Associated Press. Shi said manufacturer Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation plans to test fly the drone next year and begin mass production by 2022.

Life on Mars? Work starts on British-built robot to explore Red Planet


The European Space Agency's Mars rover is being constructed in Stevenage with the aim of exploring the Martian surface in 2021. It has a drill to probe up to two metres under the surface of Mars and has instruments on board that can examine the samples it finds. The 300kg robot vehicle is capable of travelling 2cm a second for at least 90 days, but scientists hope it will remain active for as long as the latest American rover Curiosity, which landed in August 2012 and is still exploring. Liz Seward, senior strategist at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, said it was a first for the European space project. "It's part of a big plan called the global expedition road map," she said.