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 May 2017 staff meeting:

1.  Is Mars made of green cheese?  Well, not green cheese, but Swiss cheese…a spectacular photo from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) shows a Swiss-cheese-like landscape, caused by pits in carbon-dioxide ice.  There’s also a very deep pit in the picture; researchers aren’t sure whether it’s due to a meteoric impact or a collapse.

2.  SpaceX to handle next USAF X-37B launch:  The X-37B space plane, which recently returned to Earth after its record-setting 718-day (!) mission in space, will next be launched into space by SpaceX.  Previously, the X-37B was launched by United Launch Alliance on its Atlas V rockets.  The X-37B, which looks like a small version of the Space Shuttle, is an unmanned vehicle and will be launched “later this year.”

3.  Israeli company introduces electric-powered airplane:  Eviation, an Israeli startup, introduced an all-electric airplane at the Paris Airshow.  It’s anticipated to carry 6-9 passengers, cruise at 240 knots for 600 nm, and weigh just under 12,000 pounds (half of which would be battery weight; it would carry a payload of about 2,750 pounds).  Eviation is hoping the first production model would be available by 2020.

4.  Global Hawk crashes in California:  A USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, on a positioning flight from Edwards AFB to Beale AFB, crashed near Mt. Whitney (eastern Sierra Nevada).  Although there were no injuries, the crash did start a small fire that was extinguished, and the $220-million aircraft was destroyed.  No word on what caused the crash.

5.  TIGHAR to continue search for Amelia Earhart:  The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which for the last 30 years has been looking to solve the disappearance of Amelia Earhart on July 2, 1937, will be taking a team of dogs from the Institute for Canine Forensics to search Nikumaroro Island for human remains.  In 1940, 13 bones were discovered on the island, but after they were shipped to Fiji they were lost.  TIGHAR believes the dogs may be able to find the remains of Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan.

6.  What is this mysterious aircraft?  Many in the aviation industry are all abuzz about a bullet-shaped airplane with a pusher propeller.  Sleuths have investigated and discovered the tail number is registered to a company called Otto Aviation Group LLC, the aircraft is called the Celera 500L, and it has (according to the registration) a reciprocating engine.  A patent applied for a combined turbocharger and “supplemental thrust device” indicates it would enable competition in the hub-and-spoke method of airline travel.

7.  The smell of freshly-baked bread…in space:  Bake in Space, a German company, is creating an oven that will work in microgravity, and hopes to send it to the International Space Station.  Currently, astronauts aboard ISS use tortillas as bread, as (1) the tortillas have a long shelf life; and (2) tortillas don’t create crumbs (which would float around the ISS).  Bake in Space is also working on a sourdough bread that would use yeast grown on the ISS.

8.  DARPA teaching manners to robots:  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on “teaching” social norms to robots so they can interact better with humans.  They hope that eventually the robots’ artificial intelligence will allow them to figure out on their own in new situations how to act.

9.  Army, Navy, Air Force…Space Corps?  The U.S. Congress has pushed the Department of Defense to establish a Space Corps to improve America’s military readiness in space.  Although the Space Corps would be a separate branch of the military (even having its own representation on the Joint Chiefs of Staff), it would be overseen by the Secretary of the Air Force.  Current SecAF Heather Wilson (a former CAP cadet) opposes the creation of the Space Corps.

Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman,
Jul 9, 2017, 4:32 PM