2013 winner of the Robert J. Collier Trophy

In a completely unsurprising choice, the X-47B won the Robert J. Collier Trophy for 2013 for “developing and demonstrating the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”

Stephen Pope of Flying notes that this year’s award confirms the ascendancy of unmanned programs at the cutting edge of aerospace technology.

How Sensenich Wooden Props Are Made

NROL-67 launch

NROL-67 launched on an Atlas V 541 booster from Cape Canaveral AFS on April 10. NASASpaceFlight.com has some interesting analysis about this classified payload.

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Ofeq 10 launch

Ofeq 10 was launched on a Shavit booster from Palmachim AFB, Israel on April 10.

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Piper Archer gets a diesel engine

One of my favorite airplanes has received a factory STC for a diesel engine. With increasing difficulty in obtaining aviation gasoline outside the United States, this is an important development to maintain general aviation on a global basis.

Pete Reynolds, RIP

Legendary test pilot Pete Reynolds passed away on April 10 at the age of 69. In his 29-year career at Learjet and Bombardier, he flew first flights of the Learjet 24E, Learjet 28, Learjet 40, Learjet 55c, Learjet 60 and Models 31 and 31A. He later became the vice president of flight test at Bombardier, leading one of the premier transport-category aircraft flight test organizations.

Saves by air traffic controllers

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association gives the Archie League Medal of Safety Awards for saves by controllers. Here are some highlights of the 2014 awards.

Mars rovers

A collection of hyperlinks related to NASA Mars rovers.

Mars Pathfinder (Sojourner)

Mission overview

Mission factsheet

Mission website (at landing and at mission end)

Build a paper model of Mars Pathfinder

Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity)

Mission overview

Mission factsheet

Mission website

Videos: 10 years on Mars 1, 23 and 4

Video: Spirit

Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)

Mission overview

Mission factsheet

Mission website

Video: how do you get to Mars?

Video: Curiosity

Video: Landing on Mars

Video: Curiosity has landed

Video list: Cusriosity reports

Video: Communicating from Mars

Video: First year on Mars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean discovered on Enceladus

Using data from the Cassini spacecraft, scientists have discovered an ocean on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The existence of liquid water makes Enceladus a high-priority target in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Researchers theorized the presence of an interior reservoir of water in 2005 when Cassini discovered water vapor and ice spewing from vents near the moon’s south pole. The new data provide the first geophysical measurements of the internal structure of Enceladus, consistent with the existence of a hidden ocean inside the moon. Findings from the gravity measurements are in the Friday, April 4 edition of the journal Science.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Learjet 85 first flight

The Bombardier Learjet 85 had its first flight on April 9, 2014, from the Bombardier Flight Test Center in Wichita, Kansas. The Learjet 85 flight test vehicle one (FTV1) was flown by Captain Ed Grabman, Chief Flight Test Pilot, Bombardier Flight Test Center; assisted by his co-pilot, Jim Dwyer; and Flight Test Engineer Nick Weyers.

Image Credit: Bombardier

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