Tag Archives: Boeing

NASA Makes Breakthrough in Sonic Boom Reduction

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It has been publicly known that NASA has been testing methods to reduce the sonic boom signature of jets. Tests have been underway with Boeing and Lockheed Martin to achieve this goal and it was just released that their has been a “breakthrough” in testing!

Quoted from a NASA representative:

“This is a breakthrough. It’s the first time we have taken a design representative of a small supersonic airliner and shown we can change the configuration in a way that is compatible with high efficiency and have a sonic signature than is not a boom,”

2025 could be the reemergence of Concorde-travel. I’d love to feel this “new boom,” because when I was at Edwards Air Force base last month, the boom I experience definitely wasn’t subtle and wouldn’t gain nationwide acceptance.

Either way, great job America!

Reference: AviationWeek

 

Could this possibly be related to the “small earthquakes in Wisconsin?” The boom in the video definitely sounds like the sonic boom I heard at Edwards. Check out the video and tell me what you think.

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What We Know So Far About the Successor to the B-2 Stealth Bomber

A great article from Popular Science. See the original article here: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-12/successor-b2-stealth-bomber

The youngest active stealth bomber in the U.S. turns 15 this year, and the other 19 B-2s in the Air Force fleet are nearly five years older. Meanwhile, the integrated defense systems they face have become much more sophisticated. Multi-static radar, which is now relatively common, is so sensitive that it can detect certain stealth craft. To stay ahead of such defense systems, the Air Force has budgeted $3.7 billion over the next five years to develop a successor to the B-2 that could be active by 2020. Actual designs of the new bomber are classified, but some secrets are already out.

Patents and bid proposals from Northrop Grumman, maker of the B-2, suggest that the new bomber will be narrower than the B-2 but maintain the familiar flying wing design, which reduces radar reflection by minimizing hard edges. Engineers are also testing new types of radar-absorbing coatings that could be customized to individual defense systems. And so a picture of the next generation of stealth bombers is beginning to emerge.

CUSTOM COATINGS

Most stealth coatings consist of a radar-absorbing material, typically a form of iron, suspended in paint. But they are heavy (which lowers fuel efficiency), need to be reapplied frequently, and don’t absorb all radar frequencies. Ceno Technologies, a particles-science company in Sanborn, New York, has developed a lighter, more durable coating that uses hollow ceramic spheres, called cenospheres. Because the spheres can be covered in carbon, silver or other metals that absorb slightly different wavelengths of radar, the coating can be customized to deceive specific radar systems.

SMOOTHER SHAPE

The B-2 has two semi-flush air-intake vents, the hard edges of which can reflect radar. In one design seen in a patent from Northrop Grumman, the new bomber has four small vents rather than two large ones. The smaller vents can be buried more deeply in the wing, reducing the possibility of radar returns.

SMARTER DECOYS

To confuse radar defense systems, the new bomber will probably carry something like the Miniature Air Launched Decoy made by Raytheon. The modified drones use radar reflectors to create bomber-like signatures that divert attention from the actual bomber. The decoys fly on a preprogrammed course for up to 575 miles and may carry radar jammers to further confuse air defenses.

RETRACTABLE WING

In one design from Northrop Grumman, engineers included a canard wing on the plane’s nose, which would provide extra lift during takeoff and flight, allowing a smaller bomber to carry a heavier weapons payload. Because its straight lines and hard angles would reflect radar, the canard wing will most likely be designed to fold flush with the bomber’s body as the craft comes within range of defense systems.

HEAVIER WEAPONS

The new bomber will most likely have a single weapons bay, as opposed to the twin bays on the B-2. It will still be able to carry conventional GPS-guided JDAM missiles, nuclear warheads and even the new 30,000-pound, bunker-busting Massive Ordnance Penetrator, but a single bay would reduce the cost of manufacturing—a major concern for designers on a relatively tight budget.

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How Boeing Makes a Plane

After my recent tour of Boeing in Long Beach I thought it would be fitting to show this great look into what we got to see. Enjoy!

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03/11/2012 · 8:52 pm

Aerospace Dream Tour Group Photos

I thought it would be fitting to make a post with all of the group photos we took at each of the companies that the University of Michigan AIAA Student Chapter took while in Southern California.

University of Michigan group picture in front of JPL

We had a great tour of the C-17 production line. What an amazing airplane and impressive facility.

The University of Michigan group in front of Northrop Grumman's facility in El Segundo, CA.

The group inside the SpaceX lobby.

Group shot in the Scaled Composites Lobby

UofM AIAA at the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne facility.

UM Students in front of the Global Hawk at Edwards AFB

University of Michigan with Cal Poly Students at Edwards Air Force Base.

AIAA at Edwards Air Force Base

I’m still waiting on some official photos from Edwards and Rocketdyne. Once they’ve cleared security, I’ll post the update here.

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Aerospace Dream Tour: Day 3 Northrop Grumman & SpaceX

After a fun evening out with some SpaceX alumni last night, we were extremely excited to start the day. Todays tours involved Northrop Grumman & SpaceX.

Northrop Grumman

The tour of Northrop was very informative. We got a great tour of their composites facility. Composites are the future of aerospace, so we were extremely happy to learn about their fabrication process.

Below you can see the business end of the Super Hornet. Being partial to propulsion, I was in pure heaven seeing the production line for the aft section of the F/A-18E. Loved seeing the inlets and nozzle for this aircraft!

We ended our tour at the final assembly location of the F/A-18 aft-section. Here's a picture of the final assembly that we were able to see today. Once they're finished, these babies get put on a flat-bed truck and shipped to the Boeing facility in St. Louis.

The University of Michigan group in front of Northrop Grumman's facility in El Segundo, CA.

SpaceX

This tour was simply AMAZING!! We got a great tour of the factory floor. Lots of capsules and rocket engines!

Some of the pieces inside the shop.

A look inside the SpaceX production line.

The group inside the SpaceX lobby. What a phenomenal tour! Thanks for the awesome Vanilla/Cappuccino swirl frozen yogurt. It was AMAZING!

Tomorrow’s tours are the best yet!! We will be starting early at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. We will follow this up in the afternoon with a lengthy tour of Scaled Composites. Stay tuned and please comment if you have any questions regarding the tours we’ve done so far!

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Aerospace Dream Tour: Day 2 JPL & Boeing

Entrance to JPL

The 2nd day of the Aerospace Dream Tour with 16 University of Michigan AIAA members took place today. Apparently we brought the terrible weather with us, because it rained all day and it was quite chilly. Hopefully we can get back to some sun and warmth for the rest of the week.

Enough about the weather! We have some good ol’ fashioned aerospace touring to do! The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster III are on the agenda!!

JPL

We arrived in Pasadena an hour early (didn’t want to chance the rush hour traffic). Now the fun begins:

University of Michigan group picture in front of JPL

The group enjoying the thermal imaging system at JPL

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). Kind of reminds me of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit

Engineer at JPL using the iHandy app on his iPhone to find the inclination of the MSL. Apple should really make a commercial about this. Sorry Droid users 🙂

Here is the area they always show on the Mars Rover documentaries. This area also tracks the satellites that JPL has sent out. This was great to see!

Notice the cloudy weather we got to experience in SoCal. I've been told that it hasn't rained orA few of the guys checking out an old ion thruster that was made at JPL.

A JPL employee giving a great explanation about the electric propulsion thrusters that they are working on. We also toured many of JPL's vacuum chambers, such as the green one pictured.

even been cloudy in over three months here. What happened ?!?!

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Facility

We had a great tour of the C-17 production line. What an amazing airplane and impressive facility.

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Aerospace Engineering Dream Tour

Companies being toured by the University of Michigan

Over the next seven days I will be keeping a detailed log of the University of Michigan AIAA tour of Southern California’s premier aerospace companies.

Day 1: Travel to LAX

 – The adventures of flying United and American Airlines!

Day 2: JPL and Boeing (Long Beach)

 – Electric propulsion and C-17’s!
– Learn more about JPL and Boeing

Day 3: Northrop Grumman and SpaceX

– F/A-18, Space Park, and lots of ROCKETS!!
– Learn more about Northrop Grumman and SpaceX

Day 4: Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and Scaled Composites

– Revolutionary airplanes and blimps day! I can’t wait!!!
– Learn more about Skunk Works and Scaled Composites

Day 5: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

– The J-2X rockets and lots of beaches!!
– Learn more about Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

Day 6: Edwards Air Force Base

– JSF and much much more!!
– Learn more about Edwards AFB

Day 7: Travel back to Ann Arbor

– The exhausting trip home plus the shear sadness of leaving aerospace paradise.

 

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