AE Current Events

Per CAPP-15, the squadron AEO, "conducts weekly updates of AE current events."

These current events will be updated prior to each MAWG Wing Staff meeting (normally held first Wednesday of the month).  Please feel free to use them at your own units, and forward any interesting current events you might have to
me to include here.

The following are current events for the October 2018 staff meeting:

1.  MIT builds a “better mousetrap” to melt ice from wings:  MIT researchers have created a system which uses solar radiation to passively melt ice.  This could be used not only for aircraft, but also on powerlines and wind turbine blades.  This may be a better system than using hazardous materials to chemically deice, or wires which may have safety concerns of their own.

2.  “Security issue” at the National Solar Observatory:  The NSO in New Mexico was evacuated due to an undisclosed security issue; the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), which runs the NSO, states they’re working with “authorities” on this (although local law enforcement does not know anything about it).  Information surfaced two weeks later that this security issue arose from a janitor at NSO using the wifi to download child porn.

3.  Last Delta II rocket launched:  United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched NASA’s ice-monitoring satellite into orbit aboard ULA’s Delta II, the final launch of the rocket.  Delta II traces its lineage to the USAF Thor ballistic missile in the 1950s, and was first launched in 1989.  Out of 156 launches, only one resulted in failure, making it the most successful rocket the US developed.

4.  Just think it, and the plane will fly:  DARPA announced that a person can have a chip implanted in their brain to “telepathically” communicate with advanced fighter jets, or even a swarm of drones (well, right now they can do up to three drones).  This is research in a field known as Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs), and also has application in controlling prosthetic limbs, and possibly memory repair.

5.  Japanese rovers “hop” onto asteroid:  The Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft dropped two rovers onto asteroid Ryugu.  The “rovers,” named MINERVA-II1A and MINERVA-II1B, separated from Hayabusa and successfully landed.  As they explore the asteroid, they won’t roll around as, for example the NASA Mars rovers do – Ryugu’s gravity is too low since it is so small (around ½-mile in diameter) to allow for rolling.  Instead, the rovers will hop from one area to the next.  Each hop will take about 15 minutes and will move the rover up to 50’ away.

6.  Big expansion for the USAF?  Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson announced plans to increase the number of squadrons by nearly 25%.  This would also increase the number of airmen by “tens of thousands,” and would make the number of squadrons the largest since the Cold War.  This plan calls for five more bomber squadrons, seven more special ops, nine more combat SAR, seven more fighter, two more remotely piloted aircraft, one more airlift, and 22 more Command/Control and Intelligence/Surveillance/Reconnaissance squadrons.

7.  Update on search for “Planet X”:  Astronomers have been speculating there may be a distant giant planet orbiting our solar system.  They have recently found an object far away (well beyond the Kuiper Belt where Pluto resides) in a highly elliptical orbit that’s tilted with respect to the rest of the solar system’s plane.  These characteristics match another 13 objects that have been found, providing some evidence that a planet with a large gravitational field pushed all of them this way.

8.  Boeing and Saab to team to produce new USAF trainer:  The USAF Advanced Trainer, the supersonic T-38 Talon, is nearly 60 years old.  The USAF announced that a Boeing/Saab team will produce a new trainer, the T-X.  The contract is worth potentially $9.2-billion.

Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman,
Oct 3, 2018, 1:58 PM