Back in December, we reported on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceship. Christened the VSS Enterprise, the vessel is a sub-orbital spacecraft capable of ferrying two pilots and six passengers into the thermosphere (an apogee of about 110 km). On July 15th, the Enterprise completed its first crewed flight.
For proof that unmanned systems represent the future of warfare, check out BAE Systems’ new Unmanned Combat Aircraft System (UCAS), Taranis. Resembling something out of The Terminator, Taranis (named after the Celtic God of Thunder) is a sight to behold.
Blizzard Entertainment has narrowly avoided a public relations nightmare: an unfavorable comparison with Communist China. The game publisher recently announced plans (then shelved them) to require real names (“Real ID”) on its forums. Meanwhile, China has vowed “to reduce anonymity” on the internet.
Back in April, we reported on the Impulse HB-SIA, a solar-powered aircraft piloted by balloonist Bertrand Piccard. Powered by 11,628 monocrystalline silicon cells, the HB-SIA is an impressive piece of work. Yesterday, the craft achieved an important milestone: the first solar-powered night flight.
Despite cost overruns, delays, and controversy, the F-35 program is surging forward. Recently, Lockheed Martin received a $522 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense towards development of the “Joint Strike Fighter.” One thing’s certain—for better or worse, we’re putting all our eggs in one basket.
On Monday, President Obama officially announced his National Space Policy. There were few surprises, but in this case, no news is bad news. NASA has never been so irrelevant to the National Space Policy. It’s right there in NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden’s statement (emphasis mine)—NASA is pleased to be an integral part of President Obama's National Space Policy.”
The United States’ “premier air superiority fighter,” the F-22 Raptor, is banned from export. The F-35 (and its fifth generation rival, the PAK-FA) is not. Thus, it’s no surprise that allies have climbed aboard the Joint Strike Fighter program. For all intents and purposes, the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act killed the F-22 Raptor.
At the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Nintendo officially unveiled the 3DS. And from the media’s reaction, you’d think Nintendo reinvented the electron. The 3DS uses autostereoscopy to produce 3D images without the need for special glasses—or so claim their marketing gurus. Does it live up to the hype? Read on for my first-hand impressions.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program achieved an important milestone yesterday, with the inaugural flight of the Navy’s carrier-based variant. The F-35C Lightning II is due to replace the Navy and Marine Corps’ F/A-18 Hornet. According to Lockheed Martin, the first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant took off from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base at 11:46 a.m. and logged a 57 min flight.
According to LiveFist, India’s Rustom UAV has reached the government's apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for final financial approval. The medium altitude long endurance (MALE) drone is being developed for the Indian Army, Air Force, and Navy, and will carry out surveillance up to 250 km (155 miles) away.
Seattle: home of Microsoft, Starbucks, grunge rock, the Mariners, and in 2010, the Society for Information Display (SID) Conference. This year’s show was a remarkable display (no pun intended) of eye candy and emerging technologies. Among the many developments, 3D, energy efficiency, and advanced touchscreens took center stage.
The good news is that the current business in the electronic component and subsystem industry will probably continue to improve, but the bad news is most of the jobs lost in the Great Recession aren’t ever coming back. At recent events such as Embedded Systems and the Electronic Distribution Show, every company I spoke to was doing double-digit business percentages over last year...
Our cousins across the pond have achieved an historic milestone: the RAF’s Reaper program logged more than 10,000 hours over Afghanistan. In-theater since October 2007, the Reaper is the only Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) operated by the U.K.
Imagine how much cooler “The Hurt Locker” would’ve been if they had this: Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has developed an EOD system that fires ‘pencil-size’ rockets at suspected IEDs. You read that right—it fires rockets at improvised explosive devices; this would’ve made for quite the different movie.
The lighting industry is going through a sea change, and the future has never been brighter. This year’s Lightfair conference and expo was held from 12 to 14 May, and highlighted not only the latest in lighting technologies and designs, but also how deeply solid-state lighting (SSL) has penetrated the market.
Last month, Sony essentially neutered the PlayStation 3 by removing its “Install Other OS” functionality. This precipitated a huge customer backlash (and, as of this writing, at least two class-action lawsuits), but there’s one foe Sony hadn’t anticipated—the United States Air Force.
Lasers have been described as the “holy grail” of weapons—who wouldn't want to be like Luke Skywalker? But while researchers have pondered everything from “pain rays” to the “Zeus” anti-IED system, the folks over at LaserMotive are pushing something else entirely—power beaming for UAVs.
In 2007, SSG David Bellavia released the most poignant memoir of the Iraq War, “House to House.” The title is significant, because house-to-house fighting is among the most dangerous forms of urban warfare. Camero may have a solution with the Xaver 400, a compact through-wall radar.
As a result of the Comcast Corp. v. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) court decision, Internet service providers (ISPs) are no longer constrained from slowing or blocking different types of content or access to sites that offer content that conflicts with the providers’ interests.
Last night, at 7:52 PM, the Air Force launched its X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) on a classified mission that could last up to nine months. The unmanned orbiter is designed to be reusable, though exact details remain classified. Launched atop an Atlas V rocket, the X-37B resembles a mini Space Shuttle.
Oh Space Shuttle, thou noblest of space-faring, low-Earth-orbiting vehicles, we hardly knew ye. Compared to the Apollo program, you were but a minor diversion—a minor, 30 year diversion. Proponents claimed you’d make space travel “routine and economical,” though you proved to be neither. And yet, your long-overdue retirement leaves a major void.
A pop musician recently reminded me that hit songs aren’t only catchy tunes; they are also a barometer of culture. I never expected to refer to Lady Gaga with anything other than casual references to her music or her edgy style (I’ve heard it called “21st-century Madonna), but one of her recent songs gave me some pause.
To follow up on an earlier story, the US Navy has maintained the ban on flash media. Notwithstanding the official “lifting” of the ban, Navy officials consider flash media too risky. Sailors who violate the policy could have their account access terminated for 30 days.
The solar-powered Impulse HB-SIA completed its maiden voyage on Wednesday. The 90-minute flight reached an altitude of 5,500 feet, over a mile above the Swiss countryside, with an average speed of 44 mph (70 kph). This is the first step towards an ambitious goal: travel around the world by 2012.
The announcement of Russia’s newest fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi PAK FA, stunned the world. To put it succinctly, the “Future Frontline Aircraft System” is a game-changer. Its closest rival is the F-22 Raptor, and yet production on the United States’ premier air-superiority fighter has been scrapped in favor of the F-35. Are we repeating the mistakes of the past?