Friday, November 16, 2018

ESA Delivers First Service Module for Orion Flight

The powerhouse that will help NASA’s Orion spacecraft venture beyond the Moon is stateside. The European-built service module that will propel, power and cool during Orion flight to the Moon on Exploration Mission-1 arrived from Germany at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday to begin final outfitting, integration and testing with the crew module and other Orion elements.

The service module is integral to human missions to the Moon and Mars. After Orion launches on top of the agency’s Space Launch System rocket, the service module will be responsible for in-space maneuvering throughout the mission, including course corrections. The service module will also provide the powerful burns to insert Orion into lunar orbit and again to get out of lunar orbit and return to Earth. It is provided by ESA (European Space Agency) and built by ESA’s prime contractor Airbus of Bremen, Germany. NASA’s prime contractor for Orion, Lockheed Martin, built the crew module and other elements of the spacecraft.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Russia may Deploy Avangard Boost-glide Hypersonic Weapon in 2019

Russian press quotes an industry source as saying that the Avangard boost-glide system (Project 4202) "will begin combat duty by the end of 2019." The first regiment will include two UR-100NUTTH/SS-19 missiles, each armed with a single boost-glide vehicle. The missiles will be deployed in silos of the Dombarovskiy missile division. Later the number of missiles in the regiment will be increased to six; a second regiment with six missiles is expected to be deployed by 2027. The source also said that it's possible that the deployment will begin without additional flight tests of the vehicle.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Terminator Times #51

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs: drones)

DARPA is working on controlling drones by thought.

DARPA is also studying human-swarm interactions.

DARPA demonstrated its kit on a Sikorsky to make any helicopter optionally manned.

A US Air Force Global Hawk was reported near Russian borders.

Is the USAF drone base in Niger worth the cost?

The USAF has given L3 a contract for MQ-9 maintenance.

Suicide drones are being considered for the US Army.

The US Army is considering special pods to allow their Gray Eagle UAVs to carry a lot of very small bombs.

The US Army is considering a very long duration UAV like the Zephyr.

The US Army gave a contract mod to General Atomics to support its Gray Eagle UAVs.

The US Navy has launched its first uav test squadron.

The US Navy has installed an unmanned warfare center on the USS Eisenhower.

The US Navy is buying the Aerosonde UAV.

Algeria unveiled its Chinese bought UAVs.

Belgium is buying two RQ-9B UAVs.  Or will it be MQ-1 Predators?

China unveiled its stealthy CH-7 UAV at the Zhuhai Airshow.

China also showed off the latest version of Tian Ying UAV.

China's Wing Loong II has entered PLAAF service.

New drones dominated China's Zhuhai airshow.

Egypt is showing off its Wing Loong UAVs.

Iran claims to have used its Saeqeh drone, reversed engineered from the captured RQ-170, for strikes in Syria.

Iranian drone overflights of US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf are now common.

Japan is interested in the General Atomics Avenger to monitor China.

Netherlands is considering cooperating with Italy on their Reaper utilization.

Pakistan and China will jointly produce the Wing Loong UAVs.

The Russian military apparently are no longer interested in the Altair UAV.

The Russians are bizarrely claiming the drone attacks against their airbase in Syria were directed by a US Navy P-8 Poseidon.  The US and its allies refute this.

The Russian Army has supposedly received 1800 UAVs in the last six years.

The Russians have developed a biomimic UAV in the shape of an owl.

Spain has bought Orbiter UAVs.

Spain has pledged to buy 15 European MALE UAVs.

Taiwan has not decided between the MQ-9 UAV and Teng Yun.

Taiwan has been cleared to buy the MQ-8B FireScout.

Turkey is buying 22 more Anka UAVs.

Turkey's drones are targeting the Kurds.

Turkeys indigenous UAV industry is making progress.

A Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter shot down a Russian Orlan-10 UAV.

The Aeromapper Talon UAV can land in water.

AeroVironment is working with General Dynamics to integrate drones on its armored fighting vehicles.

Anatov unveiled UAV concepts.

Avic is readying the prototype of the Wing Loong I-D for its first flight.

Boeing believes they won the MQ-25A competition through R&D ahead of time.  Also, the MQ-25A will fly for the first time in 2019.

CASIC also unveiled its WJ-700 UCAV.

FLIR has developed a launch/recovery system for its Black Hornest 3 Micro UAVs for vehicles.

General Atomics has been given a contract to improve the all weather capabilities of the Reaper.

General Atomics also got another contract to produce more Reapers for the US military.

IAI has been working on an IED clearing robot.

Instant Eye displayed its new small UAV.

Institu is promoting its ScanEagle.

KAI has been working internally on its own VTOL UAVs.

Kratos is expanding its Oklahoma City manufacturing facilities.

Leonardo is prepping its AWHero UAS for an exercise.

Lockheed has added synthetic aperature radar to its unmanned hybrid airship.

Norinco has presented a UAV swarm concept where some are hexacopters with missiles and others are quads with sensors and grenades.

Stanford has drones that can lift 40 times their weight and open doors cooperatively.

Textron is demoing a replacement for the Shadow UAV.

Uconsystem has added VTOL capabilities to the RemoEye 002B mini UAV.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs: Bolos and Ogres):

The US Army is about to do an extended test of the SMET UGVs in infantry brigades.

The US Army has come up with a way for bots to figure out where they are when GPS isn't available.

The US Army wants to use robots to direct precision strikes, especially in urban areas.

The US Army is looking to deploy its leader-follower technology to make logistics vehicles self driving next year in the US.

The British robot for bomb disposal is sailing through its early trials.

China unveiled an armed UGV with micro intelligent missiles.

Israel has confirmed it has a customer for its Sahar UGV.

NATO exercises are demoing UGVs for logistics.

Ukraine has unveiled a new UGCV.

IAI is working on UGVs.

Textron is buying Howe & Howe, makers of the Ripsaw mini tank and UGVs.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Roboats):

The US Navy is developing a USV for countermine operations.

The US Navy has released an RFI on a medium sized USV, 12m to 50m in length.

NATO nations are teaming up on unmanned systems to counter Russian subs.

French company Ixblue unveiled its Drix USVs.

Yunzhou Tech showed off its armed USVs.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles:

GD has introduced the Bluefin-9 UUV.

3d Printing:

The US Army has deployed a 3d printing RFAB facility in South Korea.

3d printing might help the US Navy and USMC return aircraft to flight status faster.

3d printing has produced its first part for a nuclear aircraft carrier.

Lockheed is studying robotic assisted 3d printing.

Software Bots:

DARPA wants an AI that understands context.

The US military wants to teach common sense to AI.


Some are calling for AI to be retooled to spot and limit wars.

Children are being recruited in China to work on AI based weapons.

Friday, November 09, 2018

China to Begin Flight Tests of Next Gen Capsule in 2019

China will perform a first test flight of a full-scale 20-metric ton model of a successor to its Shenzhou spacecraft for human spaceflight next year, a senior official at the craft’s designer said last week.

The next-generation crewed spacecraft will be the payload for the first flight of the Long March 5B launch vehicle, a variant of the Long March 5 and designed for lofting large modules of the planned Chinese Space Station (CSS) into low Earth orbit.

In 2016, China use the first flight of the Long March 7 medium-lift rocket to launch a scale model of a new return module to test re-entry and landing profile for new spacecraft.

“The full model will be tested next year,” Li Ming, vice president of the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), told SpaceNews, and confirmed the mission would include the full spacecraft including re-entry and orbital modules.

“The key issue is to test the new shape and reusable technologies. This capsule will be reused after recovery from space,” Li Ming said at the International Astronautical Congress, held Oct. 1-5 in Bremen, Germany.

The test of the spacecraft will not include environmental controls or systems required to support astronauts, but focus on testing avionics, separation events, heat shielding, parachutes and recovery operations, similar to the mission profile NASA’s Orion flew in 2014 when a Delta 4 heavy rocket sent the unmanned capsule 5,800 kilometers above the Earth to test re-entry systems.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Sunday, November 04, 2018

The 2nd Refit of the INS Vikramaditya has Finished

With the second refitment of INS Vikramaditya over, the country’s lone operational aircraft carrier will be entering the sea-trial stage by next week. The short refit, at an expense of Rs 705 crore, was carried out at the Cochin Shipyard and the aircraft carrier is now docked at Ernakulam Wharf, prior to the commencement of the sea trials.

During an onboard visit arranged by the Navy for media persons on Saturday, Commanding Officer of INS Vikramaditya Captain Puruvir Das said the refitment of the ship has been completed.

“However, a few tests, including the checks on the ship’s boilers, are underway. Soon, we will start the sea trials, which will take place off the Kochi and Goa coasts. We are hopeful of returning to the Western Naval Command without delay,” he said.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Paleolithic Papers #24

Genus Homo:

H. sapiens:

A cave in Libya has show evidence of grinding stones used on seeds from the Late Pleistocene, 31 kya.

We know ancient humans believed in an afterlife.

A new bone knife is the oldest specialized artifact from the Aterian culture, 90,000 years ago.

A technological/cultural transition that took place in South Africa was definitely not linked to climate change.

The Friedkin site in Texas has yielded more pre Clovis projectile points from approximately 15.5kya.

Are the reports of H. sapiens outside of Africa ~200kya due to flawed interpretation of the dating data?

Genetic studies of Africa are giving light to ancient human population evolution there during the Pleistocene.

H. neanderthalensis:

A large part of the DNA left to modern humans from interbreeding with Neandertals is related to fighting off viruses.

Neandertals practiced their own form of health care and it was crucial to their survival.

Modeling the disappearance of Neandertals through population dynamics.

A Neandertal child in Poland from 42 kya was eaten by a large bird.

H. antecessor:

Homo antecessor had already evolved Neandertal-type teeth 450,000 years ago.

H. erectus:

The variation in the Acheulean stone tools is examined.

How many different grips were used on the lower Paleolithic hand axes?


Did the ancient climate affect human evolution?

The difference between chimpanzee and human upright walking related to trunk sizes.

A geometric morphometric examination of hominoid third metacarpal shape and its implications for inferring the precursor to terrestrial bipedalism.