Aerospace Innovations: 2017’s Top 5 Inventions
Last week, Sky News revealed a recent video of astronauts enjoying Pizza in space with zero gravity as a result of recent Aerospace Innovations.
It’s coming to the end of 2017 and VHR are reflecting on some of the great Aerospace Innovations introduced throughout the year.
From drone swarms to flying cars: pizza in space to robot spiders, the Aerospace Industry has aligned numerous amazing inventions through pioneering engineering, set to startle the best of us and with world-class creativity.
The Dubai Airshow 2017 highlighted some of the greatest Aviation innovations set to take centre stage in the Aviation industry, but what about about space and aerospace engineering? What has the Aerospace industry produced this year?
Pizza in Space
Knives may have to be taped to the walls of the spacecraft as astronauts cut pizza with scissors, but the family inside the International Space Station have found a way to indulge in an Italian cuisine whilst completing 15.54 orbits of earth a day.
Aerospace Innovations have allowed astronauts to enjoy familiar home comforts whilst stationed 440km above earth.
The fixings flew up to the spacecraft on a commercial supply ship; the crew of 6 wasted very little time pulling out the flatbread, tomato sauce, pesto, cheese, olives and pepperoni.
Including pizza production, in 2013 NASA funded a prototype 3D printer to create food on long-duration space missions.
“The system was expected to build the pizza in layers, from printing the dough, to adding the tomato “sauce” (powder and oil) to layering on protein to replace traditional toppings”
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works Spider
The ‘Self-propelled Instruments for Damage Evaluations and Repair’ (SPIDER) is a robot that can inspect the skin of airships for holes. Once it detected, the SPIDER uses its on-board repair kit to fix the problem.
It’s one of the most cost effective and time efficient Aerospace Innovations to tackle difficulties faced in the airship-fixing industry.
The construction and ongoing maintenance of an airship is both extremely important and crucial to enable the ship to fly.
The traditional way of maintaining this involves humans which is expensive and time consuming; Lockheed Martin have invented the robot to shave days off of the process.
An interview with Ben Szpak, a hybrid airship engineer, explains that they were able to use their expertise in advanced manufacturing to 3D print parts on demand which allowed them rapid build and ability to trial new designs, resulting in learning from both their successes and failures when making the amazing Aerospace Innovation.
Boeing’s Starliner Space Suit
Back in January this year, Boeing introduced their latest spacesuit design as one of their amazing Aerospace Innovations.
The Starliner spacesuit will be worn by astronauts on their up-coming missions on the CST-100 Starliner — the capsule that will take people to and from the International Space Station.
As well as looking rather fashionable, the Starliner spacesuit offers some innovative alterations that rival the traditional, heavy original.
Designed by the David Clark Company, the new spacesuits provide greater pressurised mobility and is roughly 40% lighter than traditional NASA astronauts spacesuits.
There are touchscreen-friendly gloves, allowing astronauts to interact with the tablets in the Starliner and boots that are breathable and slip resistant: zippers in the torso area to add comfort and ease when transitioning from sitting to standing: a communications headset within the helmet and a wide polycarbonate visor which will give the astronauts a better peripheral vision.
The GOES-16 is a satellite with an improvement to the current GOES system and one of the most important, life-saving Aerospace Innovations.
The GOES system is used by NOAA’s National Weather Service for weather monitoring and forecasting operations. Additionally, researchers also use the system to study the interactions between land, ocean, atmosphere and climate.
A storm develops faster than imaginable, therefore every minute matters in order to save life. The new GOES-16 satellite scans high-risk areas every 30 seconds in aid of detecting danger.
There are several improvements that have been made to the new GOES-16: four-times greater spatial resolution, five-times faster coverage, real-time mapping of lightning activity, improved geometric storm forecasting and hurricane tracking are just a few to be highlighted.
Its advanced instruments and data processing provides lightning-flash data that forecasters have never done before.
Internet Drone: Facebook Aquila
Aquila, the solar-powered plane, is engineered to provide beams of internet to remote parts of the world.
As well as introducing broadband access to remote areas of the world, the aim is to also break the world record for the longest unmanned aircraft flight!
Facebook this July came one step closer to its goal of global internet access; they managed to fly the Aquila drone for really long periods of time, 96 minutes in total.
With its 137-foot wingspan and lean sub-1,000-pound body, Aquila’s final incarnation will be solar-powered and capable of spending three months aloft, covering an area of up to 60 miles wide.
Wider than a Boeing 737, Aquila faces a few engineering challenges that will need to be fixed in order to achieve their world-record; for example, she works best when flying slower, but at high altitude the air is thinner and so she moves quicker.
For more information about the latest innovations in both Aerospace, Aviation and more visit our blog page.
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