Stratolaunch, currently the world’s largest airplane, has successfully completed its first test flight on Saturday morning above California’s Mojave desert. Boasting a wingspan of 385 feet, it flew for 2½ hours at altitudes up to 17,000 feet, while hitting a top speed of 189 miles per hour. It comes equipped with two fuselages and six Boeing 747 engines that are designed to launch rockets from the air. That’s right, it can carry rockets up to 35,000 feet and then drop them. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Lockheed Martin has just released new pictures of its lunar lander concept that aims to take humans back to the Moon by 2024. The design features a lander section and then the ascent vehicle, which lift astronauts off the Moon’s surface. The lander may eventually travel back and forth between NASA’s proposed Gateway space station that will orbit the Moon. This means astronauts would first travel to Gateway and then take the lander from the lunar surface. Read more for another video and additional information.
Reaction Engines researchers have developed a ‘pre cooler’ that works at a simulated speed of 3.3 mach (2,500 mph) in hopes that their Synergetic Air Breathing Rocket Engine (Sabre) will eventually make it onto large aircraft, like the Skylon Spaceplane, to transport passengers around the world in hours. Future tests will see how it handles Mach 5.5 (4,200mph), and possibly one day soon, hit the proposed Mach 25 top speed, which means flights between London and New York that take under 1-hour. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
NASA and MIT researchers have developed a new metamaterial that could be used in futuristic shape-shifting airplane wings. It’s features a lightweight lattice framework that consists of of thousands of repeating, tiny triangles of struts wrapped in a thin polymer layer. When carefully positioned, these struts enable the wing to morph in response to changes in aerodynamic loading conditions, thus making the aircraft more energy efficient. Read more for another picture and additional information.
No, this isn’t a futuristic fighter jet, just th Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie, a stealthy unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) designed to be deployed by the United States Air Force (USAF). It recently completed its first maiden flight on March 5, 2019 at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Unlike other combat drones, the Valkyrie is equipped with stealth technology, including a trapezoidal fuselage with a chined edge, V-tail, and an S-shaped air intake. Read more to see it in-action and for additional information.
NASA has captured for the first time images of supersonic shockwaves intersecting from two jets flying faster than the speed of sound approximately 30 feet apart. They were made during testing of upgraded equipment capable of photographing high-quality images of shockwaves, or the rapid pressure changes produced when a plane flies at supersonic speeds – faster than 767 mph. This new imaging system will be used to test their X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology X-plane, which is touted to fly faster than the speed of sound with a quiet supersonic rumbles instead of a boom. Read more to see another image captured with this new imaging system.
JetPack Aviation has just unveiled “The Speeder”, the world’s first turbine powered flying motorcycle. It’s no larger than a standard motorcycle and its innovative design makes Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) possible from an extremely small footprint, while the quad turbine jet propulsion system powers flight speeds exceeding 150 mph with altitudes surpassing 15,000-feet. This vehicle can either be human-piloted or flown fully autonomously carrying loads greater than 400-pounds. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: Quintin Soloviev
JetBlue is offering a chance to win free flights as part of its “All You Can Jet” sweepstakes, but to even have a shot at winning, you’ll have to temporarily delete your Instagram photos. The company says that “with a blank social slate, participants are able to make room for all the destinations and activities they could capture and share using the pass.” To enter the contest, simply create a customized image on Jet Blue’s website by filling in the blank for “All You Can ____” and picking an image to illustrate a place, activity or person you’d like to visit if you win. Read more for a video and additional information.
Flight delayed at Denver International Airport this week? You’re in luck, they city is celebrating its 24th birthday with a playful nod at the many conspiracy theories that have surrounded the facility since its construction, with “Chatty Gargoyle”. This animatronic robot stationed in the airport’s main terminal surprises travelers with phrases like “Welcome to Illuminati Headquarters!” Read more to see what all the fuss is about.
We have seen the future of fighter jets, and they feature autonomous technology. This aircraft does not require a human pilot, can fly for extended periods, withstand higher g-force and process more data. “The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide a disruptive advantage for allied forces’ manned / unmanned missions. With its ability to reconfigure quickly and perform different types of missions in tandem with other aircraft, our newest addition to Boeing’s portfolio will truly be a force multiplier as it protects and projects air power,” said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems.