Nasa and SSL complete preliminary design review of robot that will fix satellites

Space Systems Loral says it successfully completed the preliminary design review for Nasa’s Restore-L mission to provide satellite servicing in low earth orbit. 

With the completion of the preliminary design review, Restore-L is proceeding on schedule to the next phase of development and its launch in 2020.

As announced last year, SSL is working with Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division, to build a spacecraft that will change the nature of how infrastructure in space is managed by, for the first time in history, refueling a satellite in orbit that was not designed for servicing.  Continue reading Nasa and SSL complete preliminary design review of robot that will fix satellites

New aircraft manufacturer Boom Supersonic building superfast plane using Stratasys 3D printing systems

A new aircraft manufacturer called Boom Supersonic is developing aeroplanes which can fly at speeds of almost 1,500 miles per hour. 

The design of Boom’s planes are reminiscent of the Concorde, the world’s first supersonic commercial jet airliner, operational from 1969 to 2003.

But unlike the Concorde, Boom Supersonic’s planes are likely to feature numerous components produced using 3D printing, a technology which didn’t exist when Concorde was flying.  Continue reading New aircraft manufacturer Boom Supersonic building superfast plane using Stratasys 3D printing systems

Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Specialist robotic spacecraft developer will maintain its course through the galaxy, say new owners

Honeybee Robotics has been acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries, a 181-year-old privately held corporation with headquarters in Simsbury, Connecticut. 

Honeybee builds robotic spacecraft for Nasa and has delivered systems for the past three Mars landers, and is developing a mining robot which could extract precious resources from asteroids.

Following the acquisition, Honeybee Robotics will be a stand-alone, wholly-owned subsidiary of EBI and will complement EBI’s current aerospace and defense subsidiary, Eba-d.

Honeybee will continue to operate from its current facilities in Brooklyn, New York, Longmont, Colorado, and Pasadena, California.  Continue reading Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Boeing and Dassault Systèmes extend design and product lifecycle management partnership

The world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, has decided to extend its use of Dassault Systèmes applications to include more software from the 3DExperience platform for its design, manufacturing operations management, and product lifecycle management.

Boeing will expand its deployment of Dassault Systèmes’ products across its commercial aviation, space and defense programs.

This decision follows a competitive process that included the rigorous analysis of technical and functional capabilities, cost and business benefits across the value chain.  Continue reading Boeing and Dassault Systèmes extend design and product lifecycle management partnership

Airbus chooses Stratasys system to 3D print components for new aircraft

Stratasys has been chosen by Airbus to supply 3D printing and additive manufacturing systems for the production of components for aerospace company’s new plane. 

Airbus has already used the Stratasys FDM 3D Production System to produce 1,000 flight parts for use on its A350 XWB aircraft.

The 3D printed parts use a resin called Ultem 9085, which is certified to an Airbus material specifications to have a high strength to weight ratio and to be resistant to flame, smoke and toxicity – necessary for aircraft interiors.  Continue reading Airbus chooses Stratasys system to 3D print components for new aircraft

Competition to mine outer space could change mining industry on Earth

For the past eight years, Nasa has been running a competition to find the team that can develop the best robotic systems to mine the moon. 

This year’s winners were announced recently, and Nasa gave out prizes and commendations for about 10 teams.

The discoveries made those 10 teams and all the others that entered the competition may end up in the mining industry here on Earth, long before they even take off for the moon.  Continue reading Competition to mine outer space could change mining industry on Earth

Startup robots choose to go to the moon and mine it for minerals to sell to humans back on Earth

A private group of startup robots is planning to go to the moon and mine it for water and minerals to sell to humans back on Earth, according to a report on TheVerge.com

The commercial company backing the alien space robots, Moon Express, says it’s long dreamed of seeing robots dig holes in the moon’s surface and bring up priceless treasures they can sell for a lot of money.

Moon Express is currently based at Cape Canaveral, in Florida, and occupies Launch Complexes 17 and 18 – so it’s literally within walking distance of the moon, sort of.  Continue reading Startup robots choose to go to the moon and mine it for minerals to sell to humans back on Earth

Thailand prioritises robotics, aerospace, and auto industries as it looks to increase competitiveness

thailand bmw factory 1
Pictures from BMW’s factory in Thailand

Managing an economy today is not easy. But managing it for tomorrow? Now that’s a real challenge. It’s one that the government in Thailand is tackling head on, with a raft of new policies aimed at future-proofing its workforce and industry, particularly in the automotive, robotics, and aerospace sectors.

The measures, known collectively as Thailand 4.0, are centered on incentivizing foreign direct investment and nurturing innovation for 10 key future-focused industries.

The goal is to foster an ecosystem that promotes emerging technology, innovation, and creativity within each of these sectors.  Continue reading Thailand prioritises robotics, aerospace, and auto industries as it looks to increase competitiveness

Chinese robotic spacecraft completes second refuelling test, as Russia launches robotic cargo ship to International Space Station

Progress_M-52
The Progress spacecraft

China and Russia have both launched robotic spacecraft on cargo missions recently, according to reports in the media. 

Chinese state news agency Xinhua says the Tiangong-2 space lab and Tianzhou-1 completed a second refuelling test which “cemented technical results from the first refuelling”.

According to Space.com, the refuelling procedure requires 29 steps to complete and lasts for several days.  Continue reading Chinese robotic spacecraft completes second refuelling test, as Russia launches robotic cargo ship to International Space Station

Boeing to test self-flying plane technology next year

Jason Clark, Vice President of Boeing 777 and 777X Operations, points to a model during a media tour of the 777 Wing Horizontal Build Line at Boeing's production facility in Everett, Washington, US. June 1, 2017. Reuters / Jason Redmond
Jason Clark, vice president of Boeing 777 and 777X operations, points to a model during a media tour of the 777 wing horizontal build line at Boeing’s production facility in Everett, Washington, US. June 1, 2017. Reuters / Jason Redmond

By Alwyn Scott, Reuters

Boeing is looking ahead to a brave new world where jetliners fly without pilots and aims to test some of the technology next year, the world’s biggest plane maker said in a briefing ahead of the Paris Airshow.

The idea may seem far-fetched but with self-flying drones available for less than $1,000, “the basic building blocks of the technology clearly are available”, said Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice president of product development.

Jetliners can already take off, cruise and land using their onboard flight computers and the number of pilots on a standard passenger plane has dropped to two from three over the years.  Continue reading Boeing to test self-flying plane technology next year

Boeing streamlines aircraft production systems at largest factory

A Boeing 787 is pictured at Boeing's production facility in Everett, Washington
A Boeing 787 is pictured at Boeing’s production facility in Everett, Washington, US June 1, 2017. Reuters / Jason Redmond

By Alwyn Scott, Reuters

Boeing is streamlining its aircraft production systems at its largest factory – Everett, Washington – trying to cut costs to compete with rival Airbus and chip away at the near-$30 billion deficit created by its 787 Dreamliner.

Dozens of complex robots are replacing humans for such mundane tasks as drilling and riveting, and Boeing is reordering some of its assembly steps to speed up the process.

The savings, part of a long-term cost-cutting drive at the world’s biggest plane maker that also includes substantial staff reductions, comes as Boeing has spent heavily to develop new aircraft models.  Continue reading Boeing streamlines aircraft production systems at largest factory

New Russian plane looking for room in global market dominated by Boeing and Airbus

An MS-21 medium-range passenger plane, produced by Irkut Corporation, takes off in Irkutsk, Russia, May 28, 2017. Courtesy of Irkut / via Reuters

By Tim Hepher, Reuters

Russia’s new jetliner, which conducted its maiden flight on Sunday, may have a hard time challenging the sales duopoly of Boeing and Airbus, but it does point the way to radical changes in how they could be building jets in the future.

The MS-21, a new single aisle airliner produced by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, and its associate company Irkut, is the first passenger plane borne aloft by lightweight carbon-composite wings built without a costly pressurised oven called an autoclave.

The manufacturing process provides a test for a technology already being assessed by Western rivals, who are looking for cheaper and faster ways to build some of their aircraft with composites, according to aerospace executives and suppliers.  Continue reading New Russian plane looking for room in global market dominated by Boeing and Airbus

Honeybee Robotics wins Nasa funding for six spacecraft projects

nasa honeybee robotics US-COMP_base
Picture by Nasa via ParabolicArc.com

Honeybee Robotics has received four Nasa Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards and two Nasa Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award to develop new spacecraft systems and enabling technologies.

The awards will allow Honeybee to analyze concepts for advanced future planetary exploration, sampling, in-situ resource utilization, and on-orbit operations.  Continue reading Honeybee Robotics wins Nasa funding for six spacecraft projects

The pros and cons of using drones in the real estate business

drone above house

By Tim Jennings, president, Custom Case Group

Are drones a necessity in the real estate business or are they an extra? 

The clearest and quickest way to answer that question is to present a few compelling pieces of information:

  • When the Federal Aviation Administration handed out its first 1,000 commercial drone operator exemptions a couple of years ago, 35 percent were to operators in real estate marketing.
  • The Multiple Listing Service has reported that properties featuring aerial images sell about 68 percent faster than do properties featuring only non-aerial photos.
  • According to the National Association of Realtors, 73 percent of homeowners said they’d be more likely to list with an agent who incorporates video in marketing their home.
  • In March 2016, Goldman Sachs released a report saying the global drone market is expected to grow to $20.6 billion in the next five years.
  • Many analysts are saying last summer’s FAA commercial drone ruling will result in a dramatic expansion of drone use in the real estate industry this year.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The bottom line is: If you haven’t incorporated drones in your operations yet, it’s time to get the process started.  Continue reading The pros and cons of using drones in the real estate business

Robotic co-pilot autonomously flies and lands a simulated Boeing 737

Aurora Flight Sciences
Aurora’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (Alias) program (Picture: Aurora Flight Sciences)

Aurora’s Alias system performs various flight scenarios, further demonstrates capabilities

Aurora Flight Sciences’ work on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (Alias) program has further demonstrated its automated flight capabilities with various successful flight scenarios in a Boeing 737 simulator.

These accomplishments build on Aurora’s successful installation and testing of Alias components on a Diamond DA42, Cessna 208 Caravan, UH-1 Iroquois, and DHC-2 Beaver aircraft.

Aurora’s Alias technology demonstration system is designed to function as a second pilot in a two-crew aircraft, enabling reduced crew operations while ensuring that aircraft performance and mission success are maintained or improved.  Continue reading Robotic co-pilot autonomously flies and lands a simulated Boeing 737