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The Lead

Facebook's Internet drones won’t have us all singing Kumbaya

March 31, 2015 8:30 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Facebook recently trialed the solar-powered drones which aim to fulfill the social network giant’s ambitious goal of connecting the entire world to the internet. The Internet.org initiative is an impressive engineering feat, relying on solar-powered UAVs to “beam” the Internet down to billions of people.

This is what a Moon settlement could look like

March 30, 2015 3:23 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Editor, @kcpanetta | Blogs | Comments

Picture this. It's several (decades/centuries) in the future. All food is organically harvested...

Latest F-35 software glitch mucks with the jet's sensors

March 25, 2015 12:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

A seemingly endless string of hardware and software errors have plagued the F-35, and ... here’s...

A firsthand glimpse at the Navy’s Blue Angels

March 23, 2015 8:21 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

They’re the rock stars of the military, the glamorous face of the Navy’s recruitment efforts,...

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The future of government and military space

March 19, 2015 11:04 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Earlier this week, I took a ride down to the nation’s capital for the Satellite 2015 expo and was fortunate enough to attend the panel “The Future of Government and Military Space: Safe Bets and Bold Predictions.” Moderated by Vice Admiral Lyle Bien (Ret.) and sporting an esteemed panel ...

Inflatable satellite antennas reduce the military’s burden

March 18, 2015 12:31 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

GATR Technologies’ portable satellite antennas aren’t hot off the presses, but seeing them in person at the Satellite 2015 Expo in Washington DC was mesmerizing. The inflatable communications hubs are amongst ...

Pakistan unveils first armed domestic drone

March 16, 2015 1:20 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

As we’ve all adjusted to the new paradigm of “asymmetrical” warfare, militaries have embraced drones as the premier tool against worldwide insurgencies. And with its “Buraq” indigenous armed drone, Pakistan is the latest member of the UAV club....

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F-35 won’t provide sufficient close-air support until 2022

March 13, 2015 8:39 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Officials with the Joint Strike Fighter program recently announced that the F-35 won’t be able to utilize the military’s top close-air support bomb, the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), until 2022, five years after the SDB II enters service in 2017....

Virtual reality helps soldiers cope with PTSD

March 11, 2015 12:55 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

We’ve come a long way in our treatment (and understanding) of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During WWI, a soldier exhibiting signs of PTSD — be it mental or physical trauma — was “shell-shocked.” If he was lucky, he was pulled off ...

Solar plane takes off for historic round-the-world flight

March 9, 2015 12:33 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The achievement will be as much human ingenuity as a technical wonder, but the Swiss-made solar-powered aircraft that took off early Monday morning will make history. Harnessing the power of the sun ...

Photos of the Day: The F-35's helmet-mounted display system

March 6, 2015 10:15 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

The F-35's helmet-mounted display system (HMDS), from Rockwell Collins, offers a 360-degree view that allows for unparalleled situational awareness. The 2.25kg carbon fibre-shelled helmet uses a form of x-ray technology to render the floor of the cockpit transparent....

This Star Wars drone might be the coolest thing ever

March 4, 2015 12:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Forget military UAVs. For my money, there’s nothing cooler than sweet DIY projects like a chocolate drone or a custom-built quadcopter that looks like a TIE Interceptor from Star Wars. The intrepid creator — who goes by the social media handle “Olivier C” ...

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Could Iran achieve human spaceflight by 2016?

March 4, 2015 9:20 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

From the same country that brought us the smallest “stealth fighter” of all time, a “time machine”, and a “drone” held together with duct tape comes an (overly) ambitious plan to send humans into space by 2016. Iran loves to tout its “indigenous” quasi-realistic military technology....

F-35B can’t fit full weapons load because of design flaw

March 3, 2015 12:58 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The hits just keep on coming for the Joint Strike Fighter, the problematic 5th-gen personification of “requirements creep.” The latest blow — the most flawed version of a thoroughly flawed program can’t fit all its weapons because of a design flaw....

F-35's helmet-mounted display system will cost a small fortune

March 2, 2015 7:47 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

You’ve probably heard that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will cost a few shekels. But we don’t usually talk about the other money pit sucking up taxpayer dollars — the F-35’s helmet-mounted display system (HMDS), pegged at an absurd $770,000 apiece....

Could pilots fly aircraft using their minds?

February 27, 2015 8:12 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The BRAINFLIGHT project has an ambitious goal – complete control over aircraft (or a significantly reduced workload) using nothing but your mind. The team from Tekever and a collection of European researchers recently demonstrated their brain-computer interface (BCI) ...

This drone delivery service is less efficient than Amazon’s

February 23, 2015 8:37 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

So if the FAA regulates your business from existence, the answer is to make it even less efficient? Huh? In case you haven’t heard the news (or saw the firestorm on this site), the FAA belatedly released its suggested rules for domestic drones....

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Building a perpetual-flight drone with Stanford’s UAV Club

February 19, 2015 2:59 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Welcome to this week's edition of STEM Student of the Week. This week, Digital Editor Jason Lomberg shines the light on Stanford's UAV Club and an enthusiastic new member, Natalie Muenster. Her goal is to help create a perpetual-flight UAV as a proof-of-concept....

Engineering Update #98: The FAA’s proposed rules for commercial drones

February 19, 2015 12:10 pm | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

Domestic drones represent a potential goldmine – quite possibly the greatest business opportunity since the automobile – and a plethora of different companies have proposed various commercial applications. But one of the biggest roadblocks to any sort of mass deployment ...

Russia's new fuel allows cruise missiles to exceed Mach 5

February 19, 2015 9:51 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The Cold War may be over, but don’t tell Russia. They’ve just taken the lead in a brand new hypersonic arms race with a fuel that allows cruise missiles to fly 5x the speed of sound. The fuel would allow specially designed cruise missiles ...

FAA's proposed rules would cripple domestic drone industry

February 17, 2015 5:34 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Domestic drones represent a potential goldmine. But the FAA's proposed rules for domestic drone operation could thwart a promising business opportunity in its infancy. The FAA's regulations would flat out kill Amazon Prime Air....

This website creates a no fly zone for drones

February 13, 2015 10:23 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Hate drones so much that you’d rather shoot them down than tolerate their presence on your property? NoFlyZone.org has a safer solution than spraying buckshot into the air. No Fly Zone, a consortium of seven drone manufacturers, allows ...

Top Navy officer: Stealth is "overrated"

February 11, 2015 11:00 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Military and civilian leaders are pulling out all the stops to promote the F-35, including tarring A-10 proponents — who speak to Congress — with charges of treason. Which makes it particularly disturbing ...

Air Force accused of cooking the books to smear the A-10

February 10, 2015 1:07 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The A-10 has become the face of the F-35 hullabaloo, and the tumult is about to get uglier. Mere weeks after Gen. James Post warned officers that praising the A-10 to politicians amounted to “treason,” a watchdog group accused the Air Force of fudging casualty data to make ...

Chinese company limits drone flights over Washington after crash

February 10, 2015 8:02 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Apparently, FAA regulations weren’t enough. Shenzhen-based Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI), which designed the drone that crashed on White House grounds, has designed a software update that will prohibit its “Phantom” drone from flying anywhere near ...

The drone delivery system is officially here (sort of)

February 9, 2015 10:26 am | by Kasey Panetta, Editor, @kcpanetta | Blogs | Comments

The drone delivery service that everyone has been dreaming of (or dreading) is finally here. Well, sort of. Though Amazon was the American front runner in the drone delivary world, it's Alibaba via their online marketplace Taobao that has taken the steps to becoming the world's first drone delivery service.

Navy's electromagnetic railgun launches projectiles up to Mach 7

February 9, 2015 9:15 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) unveiled its electromagnetic railgun for the first time at the Naval Future Force Science & Technology EXPO last week. And with the ability to launch a hyper-velocity projectile (HVP) up to Mach 7 in less than a second, it’s a doozy....

This is what it's like to intern at NASA

February 6, 2015 8:32 am | by Kasey Panetta, Editor, @kcpanetta | Blogs | Comments

Meet Lauren Prox, a senior at Denbigh High School - Aviation AcademyShe hasn't quite decided what the rest of her life will look like, but she's narrowed it down to Aerospace, Optical, or Electrical Engineering. We think she has some good options.

Cloud-bursting tech guarantees a sunny wedding day

February 4, 2015 10:17 am | by Melissa Fassbender, Editor, PD&D, @melfass | Blogs | Comments

The luxury travel site Oliver’s Travels is now offering a “cloud-bursting” service that guarantees clear skies for your wedding day. But the sun comes with a price tag, with a cost of more than $150,000. According to the company’s blog, “the service employs the talents of ...

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