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First GPS III space vehicle prepares for testing in simulated harsh space environments. Using a 10-ton crane, Lockheed Martin engineers and technicians gently lowered the system module of the U.S. Air Force’s first next generation GPS III satellite into place over its propulsion core, successfully integrating the two into one space vehicle. GPS III will deliver three times better accuracy, provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities and extend spacecraft life to 15 years, 25 percent longer than the satellites launching today

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Air traffic rose by 20% in quarter, less occupancy in March..............
New Delhi: India's air passenger traffic rose by an impressive 20.57 percent in the March quarter over the same period a year ago. However, the carriers filled less number of seats in
March against February, according to the data released by the DGCA.
Representational image: ReutersRepresentational image: Reuters
Nine Indian carriers together flew a total of 185.46 lakh passengers in the March quarter of the previous fiscal as against 153.81 lakh passengers ferried by them in January-March quarter of financial year 2013-14.
At the same time, the load factor of the domestic airlines in March this year has shown decreasing trend
compared to previous month due to end of vacation period of various sectors, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
On a month-on-month basis, domestic carriers ferried a total of 62.85 lakh passengers in March with budget carrier IndiGo carrying more than a third of this at 22.86 lakh passengers.
This was followed by Jet Airways and its wholly-owned subsidiary JetLite, which together have flown 13.95 lakh passengers in the reporting month.
While national carrier Air India stood at a distant third as it transported a total of 10.60 lakh passengers in March 2015, the number of passengers ferried by GoAir and SpiceJet during this period stood at 6.90 lakh and 5.31 lakh respectively.
At the same time, Tata-SIA joint venture carrier continued to struggle to attract passengers in its three-class configuration-business, premium economy and economy with the airline flying just 53,000 passengers in March this year.
Vistara had launched operations on 9 January.
In terms of market share, while Indigo cornered 36.4 percent of the total traffic in March, Jet Airways' (excluding JetLite) pie during the reporting period stood at 20.56 percent.
Air India carried almost 17 percent of the total traffic while SpiceJet and GoAir had 9.7 percent and 8.8 percent market share respectively in the reporting month

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Astronomers Unveil the Farthest Galaxy
This is a Hubble Space Telescope image of the farthest spectroscopically confirmed galaxy observed to date (inset). It was identified in this Hubble image of a field of galaxies in the CANDELS survey (Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey). NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope also observed the unique galaxy. The W. M. Keck Observatory was used to obtain a spectroscopic redshift (z=7.7), extending the previous redshift record. Measurements of the stretching of light, or redshift, give the most reliable distances to other galaxies. This source is thus currently the most distant confirmed galaxy known, and it appears to also be one of the brightest and most massive sources at that time. The galaxy existed over 13 billion years ago. The near-infrared image of the galaxy (inset) has been colored blue as suggestive of its young, and hence very blue, stars. The CANDELS field is a combination of visible-light and near-infrared exposures. Credit: NASA, ESA, P. Oesch and I. Momcheva (Yale University), and the 3D-HST and HUDF09/XDF Teams

An international team of astronomers led by Yale University and the University of California-Santa Cruz have pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5% of its present age. The team discovered an exceptionally luminous galaxy more than 13 billion years in the past and determined its exact distance from Earth using the powerful MOSFIRE instrument on the W.M. Keck Observatory’s 10-meter telescope, in Hawaii. It is the most distant galaxy currently measured. The galaxy, EGS-zs8-1, was originally identified based on its particular colors in images from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. It is one of the brightest and most massive objects in the early universe.

Age and distance are vitally connected in any discussion of the universe. The light we see from our Sun takes just eight minutes to reach us, while the light from distant galaxies we see via today’s advanced telescopes travels for billions of years before it reaches us — so we’re seeing what those galaxies looked like billions of years ago.

“It has already built more than 15% of the mass of our own Milky Way today,” said Pascal Oesch, a Yale astronomer and lead author of a study published online May 5 in Astrophysical Journal Letters. “But it had only 670 million years to do so. The universe was still very young then.” The new distance measurement also enabled the astronomers to determine that EGS-zs8-1 is still forming stars rapidly, about 80 times faster than our galaxy.

Only a handful of galaxies currently have accurate distances measured in this very early universe. “Every confirmation adds another piece to the puzzle of how the first generations of galaxies formed in the early universe,” said Pieter van Dokkum, the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Astronomy and chair of Yale’s Department of Astronomy, who is second author of the study. “Only the largest telescopes are powerful enough to reach to these large distances.”

The MOSFIRE instrument allows astronomers to efficiently study several galaxies at the same time. Measuring galaxies at extreme distances and characterizing their properties will be a major goal of astronomy over the next decade, the researchers said.

The new observations establish EGS-zs8-1 at a time when the universe was undergoing an important change: The hydrogen between galaxies was transitioning from a neutral state to an ionized state. “It appears that the young stars in the early galaxies like EGS-zs8-1 were the main drivers for this transition, called reionization,” said Rychard Bouwens of the Leiden Observatory, co-author of the study.

Taken together, the new Keck Observatory, Hubble, and Spitzer observations also pose new questions. They confirm that massive galaxies already existed early in the history of the universe, but they also show that those galaxies had very different physical properties from what is seen around us today. Astronomers now have strong evidence that the peculiar colors of early galaxies — seen in the Spitzer images — originate from a rapid formation of massive, young stars, which interacted with the primordial gas in these galaxies.

The observations underscore the exciting discoveries that are possible when NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is launched in 2018, note the researchers. In addition to pushing the cosmic frontier to even earlier times, the telescope will be able to dissect the galaxy light of EGS-zs8-1 seen with the Spitzer telescope and provide astronomers with more detailed insights into its gas properties.

“Our current observations indicate that it will be very easy to measure accurate distances to these distant galaxies in the future with the James Webb Space Telescope,” said co-author Garth Illingworth of the University of California-Santa Cruz. “The result of JWST’s upcoming measurements will provide a much more complete picture of the formation of galaxies at the cosmic dawn.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private institution that was founded in 1861. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,528, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 168 acres. It utilizes a 4-1-4-based academic calendar. Massachusetts Institute of Technology's ranking in the 2015 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 7. Its tuition and fees are $45,016 (2014-15).

MIT is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, across the Charles River from downtown Boston. Only freshmen students are required to live on campus, but about 70 percent of students choose to remain on campus during their four years. MIT offers housing in one of the coolest dorms in the country, commonly called "The Sponge," designed by architect Steven Holl. The MIT Engineers boast more than 30 NCAA Division III teams, and their mascot is a beaver, which MIT chose because of its "remarkable engineering and mechanical skill and its habits of industry." Each class designs a unique ring called the "Brass Rat" that is revealed during sophomore year, a tradition that dates back to 1929.

MIT focuses on scientific and technological research and is divided into five schools and one college. Among its graduate schools are the highly ranked School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management, in addition to strong programs in economics, psychology, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, physics and mathematics. Research expenditures at MIT have typically exceeded $650 million each year, with funding coming from government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense. The "Independent Activities Program," a four-week term between fall and spring semesters in January, offers special courses, lectures, competitions and projects. Distinguished alumni include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke

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Top 5 Aerospace Trends 
of Now and the Future

Flying cars, hybrid vehicles, massive jets, sleek new fighters, and Mars-bound rockets. These are the kinds of things we consider when we think of our latest heights in the endless evolution of human flight: hardware. Indeed, the old cliché about there being a million parts in an airplane is truer now than ever. But those million parts are only a fraction of the story behind what puts any vehicle in the air—and what keeps it there.

“Take a look at the cost of a Boeing 787,” says Vigor Yang, chair of the School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. “Fifty percent goes to hardware, fifty percent goes to navigation, guidance, and control. And of that, fifty percent goes to software.”

The newest flying machines are only the most visible part of what goes on in the air. How the systems on a vehicle control that vehicle; how a vehicle talks to ground control; how a vehicle talks to other vehicles; how vehicles collect data and what they do with that data—this is the silent face of aerospace engineering. It’s not tactile, it’s not photogenic, and it’s largely unsung. But it’s where the latest advances are taking place.

1. System Software on the Rise

The code at the heart of any aircraft isn’t something that can be slapped together by the latest Silicon Valley wiz kid. Unlike the programming that makes our apps and video games, airborne software is system dependent. Whoever’s writing the code has got to know every aspect of the hardware. And the software must be bug free. “Otherwise everyone will be in serious trouble,” says Yang. Software is handling ever-greater percentages of the jobs done on an aircraft. And, more and more, these systems are developed and put in place by companies such as Ultra-Electronics, Rockwell Collins, and Ramco Aviation. Increased communication with ground control will soon allow for more efficient landings. Currently planes approaching an airport do so in a stair-step process. This allows the control tower to maintain safety at each stage. But when the exact position of each plane is known, the approach can be continuous. The smoothness of the descent will mean every flight will be shorter by two or so minutes and save about 100 gallons of gas. That time may be minuscule for the passenger, perhaps, but worldwide, the savings are enormous.

Boeing is working on a drone swarming system that will eventually impact passenger planes.
2. Craft-to-Craft Communication

How a message gets from the cockpit to the landing gear, rudder, or anywhere else, is a relatively self-contained problem, not too different from the controls found in land-based vehicles. But how vehicles talk to each other is another issue. In a video that went viral, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania orchestrated miniature quadrotors to play the James Bond theme. The bots knew each other’s location, and avoided collision, thanks to a central system that plotted their locations in space. The U.S. Air Force recently released a video showing how tiny drones will soon be able to similarly swarm together for the purposes of surveillance, targeting, and assassination. Boeing is at work creating a swarming system for larger drones. Eventually the technology will work its way into passenger planes.

3. Data Handling

Surveillance vehicles get a lot of attention for political, military, and techie reasons. But in the field of aerospace engineering their development and employment is a much smaller challenge than that of what to do with their product. How does the vast quantity of data collected from each vehicle get integrated with that from other vehicles and satellites? How does it get sifted in a way that will make it useful? How will it be streamlined and delivered to allow for effective decision-making? The answer is likely to be found with the $200 million the government recently marked for “big data” handling. Some of that will go into DARPA’s XDATA program, which aims to “meet challenges presented by this volume of data,” according to the Department of Defense.

The Martin Jetpack has a gasoline engine with two ducted fans to provide lift. Image: Martin Jetpack
4. Flying Commuters

Passenger jets and drones are not the only vehicles that will need to talk to each other in the none-too-far-off future. Though flight-minded laymen still have not seen a Jetsons-like age arrive, the personal air commute is, at least, closer than it was before. Jet pack ideas abound, (such as the Martin Jetpack and Marc Newson’s “Body Jet”) and flying cars are on the make (for example, Terrafugia and Moller International’s Skycar). Sure, the morning commute is not likely to crowd the sky the way it does our streets anytime soon. However, if the air is thick with nine-to-fivers, there will have to be some traffic system in place. Current air-traffic control is not designed to handle localized takeoffs and landings. But, just as vehicle-to-vehicle communication is soon to keep automatic cars from colliding, aircraft-to-aircraft interaction is soon to make the man in manned aircraft a little less necessary. Congress has ordered the FAA to pave the way—legally and technically—for unmanned aircraft systems to fly in U.S. airspace by 2015. Flying commuters can piggyback on those changes.

5. Aerospace Engineering Education

Who’s going to put together these systems? The kids, of course. Perhaps the biggest trend in aerospace is the growing interest among students. There are now 65 programs in the U.S., and 25 are stand alone programs. Of the 38,000 new aerospace engineering jobs that opened up last year, 4,000 of them were taken by students. Aerospace is the third most popular field for engineering students. A large percentage of them go into programming, “because they know their software will be implemented on real hardware,” says Yang. “The aerospace profession has expanded form hardware-based science, technology, and engineering, to systems, and even systems of systems-based engineering. At a very high level that trend has become even more important,” he adds.
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Vice President Hamid Ansari Visits HAL Facilities in Bengaluru
BENGALURU:  Vice President Hamid Ansari today visited the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facilities in Bengaluru and was briefed on the ongoing LCA-Tejas and Advanced Light Helicopters' projects.

Ansari evinced keen interest in flight hangars of LCA-Tejas and ALH. He also viewed different aircraft positioned in the HAL premises, an official statement said.

With the Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) having been achieved for LCA-Tejas in December 2013, HAL is focused on the expeditious production and supply of the aircraft against the first order. The aircraft is expected to be delivered soon.

The ALH-Dhruv helicopter has a proven track record in both military and civil operations. It has also been exported to Ecuador, Mauritius and Maldives.

The ALH is particularly useful in meeting the arduous tasks in difficult terrains and is being operated by Indian armed forces and state governments since 2002.

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Lithium Ion in the Air
A battery-powered ultralight motor glider. Aircraft image: Electric Aircraft Corporation
Batteries have taken off this year, quite literally. They powered Airbus’s new E-fan on its maiden flight, helped stuntman Chip Yates attain five new records ratified by the The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, and went aloft with the first flight of the second incarnation of Solar Impulse, a plane slated to circle the world later this year.

But while these media-magnetic aircraft and their high-profile pilots have drawn the spotlight, one man has continued to make quiet, cheap, electric flight available to the everypilot.

Randall Fishman’s pioneering efforts to create battery-powered flight started less than a decade ago and were for purely selfish reasons. “I used to fly hang gliders and ultralights,” he says, “The ultralights were so loud and vibrated so much—they had snow mobile engines—you had to wear earplugs. I said I wish there was another way.” Fishman, known as “Dr. Gizmo” when a lad, had long been riding to work on an electric bicycle. So it was no great stretch for him to imagine putting batteries on a light aircraft. He and a friend decided to do a few calculations.

An electric trike. Image: Electric Aircraft Corporation
“We ran all the numbers and we could see it worked easily. You could see there was enough energy to lift the little trike and me and the engine. So we made it, built it, and it worked great right away.” On his third flight with the craft, he managed to stay up for a full hour. Fishman wowed the ultralight world when the setup, now called the ElectraFlyer Trike, made its debut in Oshkosh in 2007.

But Fishman wanted something that didn’t have the hobbyist image projected by a kite on a tripod. So he began to make a sleek, single passenger, enclosed cockpit aircraft. The latest version is the ElectraFlyer ULS, capable of cruising at 40 mph and staying up for a good two-hour flight. A trip that long costs about $1.20 in electricity. “A lot of a regular working guys have airplanes, but it costs so much—240 dollars to take a trip in the afternoon—that they just don’t do it,” says Fishman. Once they’ve plunked down the initial $59,000 for the ElectraFlyer, they can kiss fuel costs goodbye.

Squeezing maximum performance from the aircraft had more to do with the design of the vehicle—carbon fiber, foam, long wingspan—than the batteries. “Today’s advances are terrific for cars, but not for airplanes,” says Fishman, noting that the energy densities have not changed much in recent years. He uses a lithium cobalt battery built for military purposes, which is to say it has a much lower failure rate.   

But they’re not particularly light. When the FAA made the first ultralight rules there were no electric planes on the horizon. So the weight limit is written as 254 pounds plus five gallons of gas. There’s no mention of whether those gallons are to be measured as weight or as volume. So, to make it all possible, Fishman took a gallon to be a measure of volume, which would allow him 100 pounds of batteries (the pack he uses comes to 90).

The decision is in keeping with the original spirit of the ultralight regulations, which wanted to give pilots enough fuel to fly a good distance safely but not so much as to cause a major fire in the event of a crash. “You can blow up a building with five gallons of gas, if you vaporize it,” points out Fishman. “A stainless steel box of batteries has a lot less potential for fire.” Some of the battery power is kept in reserve in case of emergency. But with a 22-to-1 glide ratio, a pilot out of juice has a pretty good chance of finding a place to put the craft down lightly.

Two hours of flight time makes for good sport, but doesn’t get you too far. For the more trip-oriented pilot, Fishman has a diesel-electric hybrid in mind. The power needed to put a small craft in the air usually means that they fly inefficiently once they’re cruising. Fishman’s design would use diesel to get in the air, and battery power fly at peak efficiency once there.

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It is raining discounts for air travellers in India with airlines coming up with new schemes every week. After budget carrier SpiceJet extended its discounted ticket scheme by two more days on Friday, now Jet Airways has introduced a new scheme.

Jet Airways is offering up to 44 per cent off on premiere fares for flights within India.

Under this scheme, the tickets must be purchased between January 31 and February 2, while the travel should commence after February 4. The offer is the fifth in series from the Mumbai-headquartered airline in this year so far.

Earlier in the week, Jet Airways had introduced all-inclusive to-and-fro tickets on certain routes, starting Rs 4,459.

This Jet Airways offer is valid for return journey in economy for travel on or before March 31. However the tickets must be purchased a minimum of 30 days prior departure. (Read: Jet Airways Takes on SpiceJet With New Offer)

SpiceJet on Tuesday had put on the block half a million seats with ticket prices starting at Rs 1,499 under a limited period promotional offer. The airline later on Friday had extended its discounted ticket scheme by two more days.

January so far has seen numerous discount offers on fares by airlines. January-March and July-September quarters of the fiscal are traditionally low travel demand period in the country. So airlines roll out such discount fare schemes to woo customers and fill the seats.

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Air India may convert part of Dreamliner order to bigger version of aircraft
New Delhi:  Air India is in talks with Boeing to replace part of the 787-800 Dreamliners it has ordered with a bigger version of the aircraft, executives at the national carrier and the US aircraft manufacturer said.
Air India has already received 18 of the 27 Boeing 787-800 Dreamliners it had ordered and three more are scheduled to be delivered through June this year. That means, the option to convert to the 787-900s, which can carry more people and travel farther, is limited to the remaining half a dozen planes. "We might convert at least three of our Boeing 787-800 to Boeing 787-900," an Air India official said. Boeing confirmed the move.

"I can confirm to you that we are in discussions with Air India on replacing a part of our order with the 787-900s, which are bigger in terms of seating capacity and can fly longer than 787-800s," the plane maker's senior vice president for Asia Pacific and India sales, Dinesh Keskar, told ET. He didn't specify what part of the order can be changed. "All I can tell you is that Air India's 21st aircraft will be delivered in June this year and the delivery schedule for the rest six aircraft is not out now," Keskar added. The 787-800 and 787-900 are the two Dreamliner versions Boeing offers.
31/01/514 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

NEW DELHI (PTI): After a gap of three decades, Indian Navy's fighters participated in the Republic Day parade here on Monday as Russia-made MiG-29K aircraft flew past Rajpath where US President Barack Obama was the Chief Guest.

The force also showcased before Obama its P-81 maritime patrol aircraft which was recently acquired from the US.

One P-8I and two MiG-29K planes flew in a kind of a formation, with the surveillance aircraft being closely followed by the two fighters.

The last time Navy's fighter planes participated in the Republic Day parade was in 1984 when Sea Harriers flew past Rajpath.

MiG-29K fighters have been procured by India from Russia to fly from the decks of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya as well as indigenous carrier INS Vikrant, which is under construction.

The first MiG-29K squadron was commissioned in Goa in August, 2013.

The Navy has also acquired six P-81 aircraft and two more are in the process of being delivered. The Navy is to likely to go in for four more.
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