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Permeation Tests on Polypropylene Fiber Materials

The Toxic Industrial Chemical/Toxic Industrial Material (TIC/TIM) Task Force MFR#1 published in February 2009 focuses on inhalation hazards in an operational environment and provides a list of compounds prioritized based on toxic hazard and the likelihood of an encounter. With these types of vapor threats, cartridge-based air purifying respirators are used to protect the warfighter against chemical exposure. Traditional air purification materials often rely on porous carbons such as activated carbon or activated charcoal. Ongoing efforts seek to improve the performance of carbon materials in air purification applications as well as provide alternative materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace
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DARPA-Boeing Spaceplane Completes Engine Tests

Boeing and DARPA are collaborating to design, build, and test a technology demonstration vehicle for the agency’s Experimental Spaceplane program. The Phantom Express would reinvent space missions for commercial and government customers by providing rapid, aircraft-like access to space. Within minutes, the autonomous, reusable spaceplane would launch its upper stage to deploy small satellites into low Earth orbit. It would then land on a runway to be prepared for its next flight.

Tests of the spaceplane’s AR-22 Experimental Spaceplane Main Engine was successfully fired 10 times in just under 240 hours. The test is an early check for one of the plane’s most critical subsystems required to achieve aircraft-like operations.

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Posted in: News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense
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Forget Joysticks – Use Your Torso to Pilot Drones

Imagine piloting a drone using the movements of your torso only and leaving your head free to look around, much like a bird. Your torso is more intuitive – and more precise – than joysticks for piloting drones, according to a recent study. Work is already underway to implement this new body-machine interface technology for search and rescue with drones.

Scientists compared their torso strategies to joystick control in 39 individuals. They found that torso drone control outperformed joystick control in precision and reliability with minimal training sessions. A garment that implements the torso strategy into drone control without external motion detectors was also developed.

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Posted in: News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Positioning Equipment
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Warhead Life-Extension Program Passes Key Milestone

The program to extend the life of the W80 nuclear warhead recently achieved a significant milestone when the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) gave passing grades to the plans to refurbish certain components and the proposed approach to developing component cost estimates. Passing the milestone confirms that the life extension program (LEP), dubbed the W80-4 LEP, remains on track. The refurbished warhead will be paired with a new cruise missile that is being developed in parallel by the U.S. Air Force, making this the first life extended warhead to be implemented in a new delivery system since the start of the Stockpile Stewardship Program more than 25 years ago.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is the lead nuclear design agency, partnered with Sandia National Laboratories, which is the lead non-nuclear design agency. The work being carried out is driven by military requirements to pair the warhead with the new delivery system and improve weapon safety, security and operational logistics and maintain effectiveness without the need for additional explosive nuclear tests. First production of the W80-4 is planned for 2025.

Posted in: News, Defense, Materials, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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AgilePod Flies on U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper

In March 2018, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Sensors Program Office, working jointly with the AFLCMC Medium Altitude Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Office, sponsored three demonstration flights of an MQ-9 Reaper with AgilePod. The flights were a first for AgilePod on an Air Force major weapon system, and were the result of collaboration between AFLCMC and the Air Force Research Lab.

“These flights mark the culmination of more than two years of cutting-edge technology development led by our colleagues within the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate ManTech team, and Sensors Directorate Blue Guardian team,” said Lt. Col. Elwood Waddell, the advanced technologies branch chief within the Sensors Program Office.”

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Defense, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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Army Researchers Teach Robots to be Better Teammates for Soldiers

Researchers at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Research Laboratory and the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University developed a new technique to quickly teach robots novel traversal behaviors with minimal human oversight. The technique allows mobile robot platforms to navigate autonomously in environments while carrying out actions a human would expect of the robot in a given situation.

According to Dr. Maggie Wigness, one of the research team's goals in autonomous systems research is to provide reliable autonomous robot teammates to the soldier.

Posted in: News, Defense, Robotics
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Heavy Ground Testing Puts Airbus’ BelugaXL On Track for First Flight

In preparation for its upcoming maiden flight, Airbus’ first BelugaXL is now in its heavy ground test phase – which focuses on the highly modified airframe for this next-generation oversize cargo airlifter.

According to ground test project leader Mathieu Laemle, a total of 72 development and certification ground tests must be performed before the BelugaXL’s high-profile first flight. “With more than 48 tests already completed, we are on time,” he added. “The big challenge was to be able to anticipate or modify the test scheduling so as not to impact final assembly.”

Posted in: News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Test & Measurement
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Researchers Push Limits in High-Temp, Polymer Additive Manufacturing

Researchers at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate are “turning up the heat” in the field of polymer additive manufacturing. In conjunction with researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center and the University of Louisville, the team successfully printed the highest-temperature capable, reinforced polymer composite parts using additive manufacturing. Consisting of a high temperature thermoset resin infused with carbon fiber filaments, this state-of-the art material breakthrough sets the stage for next generation, cost-efficient Air Force manufacturing needs.

“This is an extremely impactful breakthrough in composite material additive manufacturing,” said Dr. Hilmar Koerner, a scientist on the Polymer Matrix Composite Materials and Processing Research Team and the driving force behind the novel discovery. “These 3-D printed parts can withstand temperatures greater than 300 degrees Celsius, making them potentially useful for turbine engine replacement parts or in hot areas around engine exhaust.”

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Composites, Materials, Plastics
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Superstrong Al Alloys May Change Aerospace Manufacturing Processes

Purdue University researchers have developed a superstrong material that may change some manufacturing processes for the aerospace and automobile industries.

The Purdue team, led by Xinghang Zhang, a professor in Purdue’s School of Materials Engineering, created high-strength aluminum alloy coatings. According to Zhang, there is an increasing demand for such materials because of their advantages for automakers and aerospace industries.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense, Materials, Metals
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Laser-Made Parts Could Transform Aircraft Industry

Researchers are manufacturing steel and titanium aircraft parts using laser metal deposition technology. It can be used to 3D-print parts from scratch or to fix existing parts with a bond that is as strong as, or in some cases, stronger than the original.

The technology could completely transform the concept of warehousing and transporting for defense and other industries. Instead of waiting for spare parts to arrive from a warehouse, an effective solution will now be on-site.

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Posted in: News, Defense, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling
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