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 Post Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:09 am 
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Ryujin wrote:
Score one for Space X. The Falcon 9 made its first successful flight on June 4, carrying a mockup of the Dragon spacecraft as its payload. It wasn't wholly successful, though. The reusable first stage section was destroyed when its parachute failed to deploy properly, and the second stage demonstrated some unexpected behaviour during its burn.

I was watching the launch of that on their webcast. The launch was aborted at literally the last second by the on-board computer and they had to try again a little while later which went off without a hitch. Not all that bad of a result considering the maiden flights of some other notable rockets in history.

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 Post Posted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:30 pm 
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Spyder III laser, raising the bar on consumer-level laser pointers. For only $200, you too can be a public safety hazard! To quote the retailer, "It will blind permanently and instantly and set fire quickly to skin and other body parts." Interesting how powerful some of the stuff in everyday consumer electronics seems to be getting. Tbh, I'm seriously tempted to get one, because there's this one particular neighbour...

Meanwhile, the F-35 STOVL variant went supersonic for the first time last June 10, and the US Army has tasked Northrop-Grumman to develop the LEMV, a hybrid airship with 3-week endurance for surveillance use.

Wingnut wrote:
I was watching the launch of that on their webcast. The launch was aborted at literally the last second by the on-board computer and they had to try again a little while later which went off without a hitch. Not all that bad of a result considering the maiden flights of some other notable rockets in history.


Yeah. I shut off the webcast after that last-moment abort. :(

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 Post Posted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:15 pm 
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Ryujin wrote:
Yeah. I shut off the webcast after that last-moment abort. :(


Ack! That sucks! :(

I was actually late to watch it - and was so relieved to learn it had been delayed. Another ten minutes later, and I would've missed the whole thing!


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 Post Posted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:46 pm 
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For everyone asking where their 21st-century flying cars are, the Terrafugia Transition, one of the latest iterations of the 'flying car' concept that seems to pop up every decade or so, has received FAA clearance.

I'd rather not comment on the other issues & potential problems (regulatory, maintenance, insurance, etc. as mentioned in the comments) that such vehicles will raise, but will simply applaude the technical achievements that the Transition represents.

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 Post Posted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:13 am 
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Here is some interesting news in the field of lasers:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10682693

I hope we live to see the day when the first colony laser is made.

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:44 pm 
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DougCos wrote:
Here is some interesting news in the field of lasers:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10682693

I hope we live to see the day when the first colony laser is made.


On a related note, Boeing has been pushing through with the US Army's Laser-on-a-Truck, which will have a similar defensive role, albeit with more focus on incoming artillery fire.

In other news, NASA will be coming out with a book this January that ought to be required reading for any aerospace engineering student--assuming that it lives up to its mandate:

Quote:
So we decided to write a book on the breadth of the shuttle program, from beginning to end, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with only a couple of rules: (1) it had to be totally honest, (2) it had to be technically accurate, (3) it had to fit in one volume, and (4) it had to be written by insiders.


Too bad it'll be limited to only about 700 pages.

Meanwhile, this recent experiment, if it turns out to be replicable and passes peer review, may just take us one step closer to a practical, room-temperature superconductor. It'll probably be years before we'll see any developments out of the lab, though.

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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:18 am 
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Ryujin wrote:
In other news, NASA will be coming out with a book this January that ought to be required reading for any aerospace engineering student--assuming that it lives up to its mandate:

Quote:
So we decided to write a book on the breadth of the shuttle program, from beginning to end, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with only a couple of rules: (1) it had to be totally honest, (2) it had to be technically accurate, (3) it had to fit in one volume, and (4) it had to be written by insiders.


Too bad it'll be limited to only about 700 pages.

I know what I'm getting for my next birthday.

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 Post Posted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:32 pm 
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I failed to mention earlier Japan's IKAROS probe/demonstrator, which is currently heading for Venus.

What's so special about this probe is that it is the first spacecraft ever to use a solar sail as its main form of propulsion. As of now, things appear to be going well, with a confirmation of measurable acceleration from the sail.

Quote:
9 / 6 IKAROS
Solar Distance : 0.97AU
Earth Distance : 32166911km, ascension =- 126.9 °, declination =- 28.5 °
Venus Distance : 0.37AU
Attitude : spin rate = 1.3rpm, sun angle = 29.5deg

"IKAROS health is good."


Meanwhile, researchers at North Carolina State U have figured out a way to create stronger Aluminium alloys comparable to steel, by virtue of playing around with its structure at a nanometric level. They are now looking into applying this to other metal alloys.

Of course, it need not be said how much impact this and other recent developments in materials technology would eventually have on just about any field involving engineering.

Edit: Kids perceive visual data differently.

Gotta wonder if this figures in with those nostalgia glasses.

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 Post Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:33 am 
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Human-powered ornithopter

Sure, it couldn't take off unassisted, the pilot only managed 16 wingflaps, and the flight lasted less than 20 seconds, but the same can't be said of all the other wing-flapping attempts for the past few hundred years.

One potent piece of malware

I guess this heralds an escalation of some sort. Next thing you know, someone'll be developing a form of Black ICE and everyone'll sport mirrorshades.

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 Post Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:30 am 
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I feel that this warrants a post by itself, considering the nature of the device.

Raytheon XOS 2 Exoskeleton

Remember the Sarcos powered suit from a short while back? Well, this is the improved version which was unveiled to intentionally coincide with the release of Ironman 2 on BD & DVD.

Bigger version of the press release video.

We are getting there.

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 Post Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:00 am 
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Everyone likes to joke about downloading plamo files and duplicating them with 3D printers, but these guys seem to be taking 3D printer technology to new heights:

Urbee, the first 3D-printed car. Also noteworthy are the links to articles about 3D printing aircraft parts, replacement components and entire houses. Concrete-jet printers. 'Nuff said.

Meanwhile, Sikorsky as been given the go-ahead to proceed with further development of its X2 Helicopter, to lead into the S-97

Lastly, one has to wonder what the possible benefits of this stuff could hold when sprayed onto your favorite gunpla.

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 Post Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:36 am 
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Didn't want to start a new thread for this, but I thought this was pretty sweet and deserved a mention, especially since it is called a solar furnace. Not yet Gundam00 levels, but cool nonetheless. Or hot, actually. ;)

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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:46 pm 
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Space-wise:

SpaceX's Dragon capsule is all set for a demo launch this Dec.7, which would, if all goes well, lead the way for cargo flights to the ISS, among other things. This would hopefully give a boost to commercial space efforts in the US.

Meanwhile, the USAF's X-37B has returned to Earth after its first flight, a top-secret mission lasting more than 220 days. Speculation has been rife about the nature of the mission, given its various course changes.

Ground-wise:

The US Army has begun deployment of its XM25 CDTES, a 25mm grenade launcher with programmable ammunition. It's quite pricey--$25,000 to $30,000 per weapon, but well worth it if it can end firefights that much more quickly & efficiently (thereby minimizing both collateral damage & friendly casualties). Assuming, of course, that it stands up to the rigors of combat & works as expected.

One has to wonder how many foreign intelligence agencies are posting rewards among the Afghan insurgents for a working example...

On the defensive, side, the Centurion Phalanx, which is basically a Vulcan Phalanx CIW system on a truck, has succesfully completed a live-fire demo, which included traversing a cross-country route and engaging nine mortar shells.

As noted in previous posts, Raytheon has also been working on combining a laser with the Phalanx system....

Antares wrote:
Didn't want to start a new thread for this, but I thought this was pretty sweet and deserved a mention, especially since it is called a solar furnace. Not yet Gundam00 levels, but cool nonetheless. Or hot, actually. ;)


This would be perfect for an environment-friendly version of Goldfinger.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:48 am 
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A lot's been happening the past month or so...

America:

The Navy's been quite busy, first with a record-setting Railgun shot last December, and then with further progress with its Free Electron Laser project.

Meanwhile, the folks at the University of Illinois have been playing around with metamaterials, coming up with an application that would definitely attract the Navy's interest--a sonar invisibility cloak.

Europe:

The British have been doing their share as well, starting with an Active Radiation Shield versus solar radiation. It's still not up to stopping Cosmic Rays, but it's progress.

BAE Systems has been hard at work for MoD with its Future Protected Vehicle project, and is currently pursuing developments worthy of James Bond's 'Q', not the least being 'e-camouflage,' which adapts the vehicle's camouflage to the surrounding terrain. An eyewitness during field trials for the system was apparently very impressed. BAE hasn't forgotten the poor bloody infantry, either, as it continues to pursue development of liquid armor, which presumably uses some sort of shear thickening fluid. It should be noted that the US Army has been working on a similar liquid armor technology since 2004 or so.

Meanwhile, Eurocopter's X3 Hybrid Helicopter reaches speeds of 180 knots at reduced engine power, paving the way for flights at over 200 knots. A nice milestone, although the Sikorsky X2's been there already.

Asia:

China teams up with Russia for its first Mission to Mars. Actually, this should have happened back in 2009, but was delayed for various reasons. Mapping data obtained by the probe will then be combined with data from the space agencies from other countries to form a comprehensive 3D model of the planet's surface.

Lastly, China's J-20 Fighter makes its maiden flight. There has been much speculation about this aircraft, to the point where, before its first flight, some authorities claimed that the aircraft photographed during taxi tests was actually a Photoshopped composite!

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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:30 pm 
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Ryujin wrote:
Meanwhile, the F-35 STOVL variant went supersonic for the first time last June 10

Don't forget that cracks are forming in the rear of the fuselage, the lift-fan exhaust is melting the deck of our carriers, AND it's been delayed for another two years. I'll be surprised and upset if that waste of money isn't canceled.

Oh and say 'Hello' to the 21st Century version of the Browning Automatic Rifle, The M27 IAR.

Both of these are brought to you by the USMC.


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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:54 pm 
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In better news, Boeing is releasing a new upgrade package for the F/A-18.

Improvements include an IRST, a new missile detection system, two 1.5kg conformal fuel tanks with a net zero increase to drag, and a low-observability weapons pod designed to decrease the drag of weapons.


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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:31 pm 
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Nice to have more thread contributors!

In related news, the Northrop-Grumman X-47B UCAV made its first flight last February 4. Apparently, it was completely autonomous, without any remote guidance from a ground station.

This particular UAV is pretty significant, as it's part of a US Navy program focused on unmanned carrier-based aircraft. This probably means that, somewhere down the line, it might have to land on one autonomously--in rough seas. In bad weather. At night.

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:56 am 
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I've always hated Mobile Dolls. Next thing you know, we'll hear about DARPA creating Skynet.

Whenever unmanned combat anything comes up at meetings or random gatherings, I always argue against them. Unfortunately, the mantra of anything-to-cut-casualties prevails in the American military.


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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:31 am 
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Black Knight wrote:
I've always hated Mobile Dolls. Next thing you know, we'll hear about DARPA creating Skynet.

Whenever unmanned combat anything comes up at meetings or random gatherings, I always argue against them. Unfortunately, the mantra of anything-to-cut-casualties prevails in the American military.


When I first read of UCAVs a decade or so ago, I had the same thoughts. Sadly, part of the reason wars are ended (and prevented) is because population has no desire to spill their blood. Wars fought by robots and remotes don' register as wars for people, so they aren't vocal about avoiding them.

On a more relevant note, enjoy.

http://www.correlatedmagnetics.com/News100209.html

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 Post Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:19 am 
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The good thing about UCVs is they aren't very viable as the sole combatants. Most are controlled from a station on the other side of the world with a signal bouncing off one or more satellites in space. This means control lag and satellites are extremely vulnerable to attack as their course or position (depending on whether it's geosynchronous or not) is static.


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