Aerospace TechnologyInventions and engineering achievements, including rockets, jet engines and navigation systems
Wow. Aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal would have loved this. German automation company Festo has built a "SmartBird" modeled on the herring gull that, according to the company, can take off, fly, and land autonomously—just by flapping its wings.The design features a number of innovations, including...
March 28, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
The Navy's first pilot and 10 more milestones.
March 2011 | By The Editors
When radio communication took to the air.
March 2011 | By George C. Larson, Member, NAA
Most histories of space travel credit the first use of the rocket countdown to a work of fiction: Fritz Lang's 1929 science fiction film, "Frau im Mond" (Woman in the Moon).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaVLaD4vfBcMaybe not, though. British science fiction writer George Griffith used the same dram...
February 26, 2011 | By Tony Reichhardt
It's a very cool animation, and the idea is certainly sensible: use existing shuttle external tank, four-segment boosters, and space shuttle main engines, without the expense of a reusable orbiter. But with Orion riding beside and below the external tank, doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of go...
January 21, 2011 | By Mike Klesius
How engineers altered a jumbo jet to carry the world's biggest airborne telescope.
January 2011 | By Trudy E. Bell
When everything else fails, or fails all at once, pull the parachute that saves the whole airplane.
January 2011 | By Michael Klesius
Executive Director, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative
January 2011 | By Paul Hoversten
Awesome. I love the little blast of air they get at around the 48-second mark.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmxM_CknSZw
December 14, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
John Cunningham's wartime nickname concealed a vital military secret—the invention of airborne radar.
November 19, 2010 | By Gavin Mortimer
The missile that has rattled enemy pilots since 1958.
November 2010 | By Preston Lerner
November 2010 | By Tom D. Crouch
There's some justice in the fact that the worst rocket accident in history, which happened 50 years ago today, is remembered by the name of the man who caused it.Marshal Mitrofan Nedelin was an ambitious military leader who rose to command the Soviet Union's Strategic Missile Forces during the Cold...
October 22, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
Two years ago, we ran a web article about a small band of software developers, model rocket builders, and anonymous NASA space shuttle engineers who were pitting a pair of alternative launch vehicle ideas against NASA's Ares rockets developed for the now-canceled Constellation program. These altern...
October 18, 2010 | By Mike Klesius
This MIT researcher's work is cool enough—he's trying to develop a small UAV that can land on a perch like a bird.But this slow-mo video of an owl coming in for a landing is what really wowed me:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA6XSrM0V_0
September 30, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
The bumper stickers available at the door read, "My other vehicle is unmanned."More and more, that's becoming true for a variety of government agencies—and not just the defense department—as was evident at the UAV Technology Fair held yesterday at the Rayburn House office building in Washington, D....
September 23, 2010 | By Mike Klesius
This looks like fun work.And the people on the SMAVNET Project think they set a record for the largest number of flying robots (10) deployed at a single time outdoors.
September 20, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
A veteran reporter describes his search for the aircraft of Area 51.
September 2010 | By William B. Scott
With UAVs becoming more capable and taking on more missions each day, military users are clamoring for one feature in particular: longer dwell time in the air.DARPA's Vulture program aims to build an unmanned vehicle that could stay up for five years. That's still quite a stretch, considering that ...
August 10, 2010 | By Tony Reichhardt
What goes up, must come down. In the Delta Clipper's case, really hard.
August 2010 | By Preston Lerner