Aerospace & Defense


Drone Used To Save 2 Teens Caught In Dangerous Australian Waves

NPR

Two teenage boys, struggling to make their way back to shore, were saved by a drone in Australia on Wednesday, in what officials say is a first-of-its-kind rescue mission by an unmanned aircraft -- one captured by the drone's camera and later broadcast by Arab News and other outlets. A beachgoer caught a glimpse of the distressed swimmers, 15 and 17, who were fighting dangerous waves off Australia's Far North Coast in New South Wales. He alerted lifeguards, who happened to be in the middle of a drone training session, learning how the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) work. Lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan got the call and piloted the drone, dubbed "Little Ripper," toward the swimmers, about 2,300 feet over the ocean. Within 70 seconds the drone was hovering over the boys and had dropped a self-inflating rescue pod into the water.


Boeing's Skunk Works Cargo Drone Is a Heavy Lifter

WIRED

Most likely, your expectations for the age of drone delivery involve cute li'l quadcopters that descend onto your porch with a gentle bzzzz, deposit a box of diapers or a pizza or whatever else you just ordered online, before zooming back to base, ready to deliver the next whim. That's the vision pitched by the likes of Amazon, UPS, and DHL, and it's an appealing one. Boeing has a different idea for delivery drones, one that's bigger by an order of magnitude. Last week, the aerospace giant revealed a prototype for an electric, unmanned cargo air vehicle that it says could haul as much as 500 pounds--that's 400 large Domino's pizzas or 11,291 newborn-sized diapers--as far as 20 miles. But this big buzzer isn't going to your house.


Boeing wants to take on Amazon's drone delivery service

#artificialintelligence

Boeing unveiled a prototype for a massive remote-controlled drone Wednesday, meant to deliver cargo up to 500 pounds. Eventually, it wants the drone to fly itself. Such ambitions put the plane maker in direct competition with Amazon, which in December 2013 said it was developing Prime Air drone delivery service. Both companies say their drones are intended to be able to deliver goods within at least a 10-mile radius. Amazon's drones, however, are only intended to carry packages up to five pounds--a payload that the retailer says encompasses nearly 90% of its sales.


Pentagon refuses to say if secret Zuma satellite failed

Daily Mail

The mystery surrounding the fate of a secret military satellite deepened today when the Pentagon refused to answer even simple questions about whether the mission to launch it had gone awry. On Sunday, private space firm SpaceX blasted a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying the secret government satellite, known as Zuma. US media this week reported that the billion-dollar payload did not make it into orbit and was presumed to have been lost. SpaceX said Tuesday that the rocket worked fine, but its statement left open the possibility that something could have gone wrong after the launch. A top secret billion-dollar spy satellite plummeted into the Indian Ocean after a botched SpaceX mission over the weekend, but Elon Musk's company has insisted they are not to blame.


Boeing's prototype cargo drone can haul 500-pound loads

Engadget

In the future, autonomy won't just mean you can relax in the passenger seat on your drive home from work. Driverless vehicles of all kinds are set to revolutionize the cargo industry, too, from delivering a pizza or dropping off an Amazon package, to hauling much larger shipments across continents and the high seas. Naturally, Boeing is one of many companies investing in cargo planes of tomorrow, and is keen to show off some of its early work in the form of a huge octocopter capable of carrying loads of up to 500 pounds (over 250kg). In less than three months, Boeing eggheads built and carried out successful test flights of the all-electric prototype, possibly (but unofficially) breaking a Guinness world record in the process. The rough-and-ready concoction of metal and batteries measures 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and 4 feet tall, weighing in at 747 pounds (nearly 339kg).


Boeing unveils huge autonomous cargo drone

Daily Mail

A huge autonomous drone that can carry the weight of two baby elephants has been unveiled by Boeing. The heavy-duty quadrocopter can transport payloads up to quarter-of-a-ton, and Boeing says it may use the drone to shift heavy cargo in future. After designing and building the craft in just three months, Boeing says it has already put the vehicle through flight tests at one of its research centres. A huge autonomous drone that can carry the weight of two baby elephants has been unveiled by Boeing. Powered by an electric propulsion system, Boeing's CAV prototype has eight helicopter-like rotors, allowing for vertical take-off and landing.


Secret spy satellite plummets in botched SpaceX mission

Daily Mail

A top secret billion-dollar spy satellite plummeted into the Indian Ocean after a SpaceX mission over the weekend, but Elon Musk's company has insisted they are not to blame. The satellite, codenamed Zuma, launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Sunday night, but it reportedly failed to remain in orbit, officials said Wednesday. The highly classified satellite launched by ended up plummeting into the Indian Ocean, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News. A top secret billion-dollar spy satellite plummeted into the Indian Ocean after a botched SpaceX mission over the weekend, but Elon Musk's company has insisted they are not to blame. Lawmakers and congressional staffers from the Senate and the House have been briefed about the botched mission, some of the officials told the Wall Street Journal.


Mystery deepens over secret Zuma government satellite

Daily Mail

SpaceX has defended its rocket performance during the weekend launch of a secret U.S. satellite, amid reports that the secret satellite codenamed Zuma was lost. Company President Gwynne Shotwell said the Falcon 9 rocket'did everything correctly' Sunday night and suggestions otherwise are'categorically false.' Northrop Grumman -- which provided the satellite for an undisclosed U.S. government entity -- said it cannot comment on classified missions. The company chose SpaceX as the launch provider, noting late last year that it took'great care to ensure the most affordable and lowest risk scenario for Zuma.' The name refers to a Malibu beach in Southern California. This was SpaceX' s third classified mission for the U.S. government, a lucrative customer.


Elon Musk: SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch will be before end of January

USATODAY

Fully assembled on the Launchpad. SpaceX's three-core, 27-engine Falcon Heavy launch vehicle sits on pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in December 2017. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, that the demonstration flight will happen before the end of January 2018. MELBOURNE, Fla. -- SpaceX's much-vaunted Falcon Heavy launch vehicle will roar off a historic Kennedy Space Center pad on its demonstration flight before the end of this month, CEO Elon Musk said Thursday. Pad 39A, which once played host to Apollo and space shuttle missions, is expected to see the three-core vehicle lift off on a premiere flight that will test one of the company's most technically challenging undertakings to date.


Applying Case-Based Reasoning to Manufacturing

AI Magazine

CLAVIER's central purpose is to find the most The use of composite materials, especially in aerospace applications, is on the increase because of their unique weight and strength qualities. Depending on the orientation of the graphite fibers, a part can be extremely flexible in one direction but rigid in another. In addition, a part made from composite material is both lighter and stronger than aluminum. The increased use of graphite parts, as well as the high cost of a spoiled part (as much as $50,000 for a single part), has put greater reliability and efficiency demands on a relatively new and complex manufacturing process. Composite part fabrication requires two major steps: layup and curing.