Monday, August 22, 2016

Air Canada brings Olympic athletes home

Air Canada will begin flying members of Canada's Olympic team back to Canada on Monday from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with flights arriving at Toronto Pearson airport early Tuesday morning.

The athletes will return to Toronto on Tuesday on flight Air Canada AC091 from Sao Paulo due to arrive at 5:40 a.m. and Air Canada AC1099 due to arrive at 5:15 a.m. from Rio de Janeiro. More athletes and team members will arrive on Wednesday with Air Canada flight AC091 due to land at 5:00 a.m. and Air Canada flight AC099 from Rio de Janeiro at 5:15 a.m.

In total, Air Canada transported approximately 690 athletes, coaches and support staff with the Canadian Team to Rio.

US cargo ship departure from International Space Station

After delivering almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, experiments and equipment - including a docking adapter for future American commercial crew spacecraft - a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is set to leave the International Space Station Friday.

SpaceX's Commercial Resupply Service-9 mission arrived on station July 20. The Dragon spacecraft will be detached from the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module using the station's Canadarm 2 robotic arm. Robotics controllers will send commands to maneuver the spacecraft into place before it's released by Expedition 48 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at 6:10 a.m. EDT.

The spacecraft will move to a safe distance from the station and fire its engines at 10:56 a.m. EDT to drop out of orbit and descend back to Earth. A parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific is expected at 11:47 a.m. EDT about 326 miles west of Baja California.

A recovery team will retrieve the capsule and about 3,000 pounds of cargo and experiments for researchers and investigators.

In the event of adverse weather conditions in the Pacific, the backup departure and splashdown date is Sunday.

US spacewalk will work on space station cooling system

On Sept. 1, two NASA astronauts will spacewalk outside the International Space Station for the second time in less than two weeks.

The six-and-a-half hour spacewalk is scheduled to begin about 8 a.m. EDT.

Working on the port side of the orbiting complex's backbone, or truss, Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA will retract a thermal radiator that is part of the station's cooling system. The radiator is a backup that had been deployed previously as part of an effort to fix an ammonia coolant leak. They'll also tighten struts on a solar array joint, and install the first of several enhanced high-definition television cameras that will be used to monitor activities outside the station, including the comings and goings of visiting cargo and crew vehicles.

This will be the 195th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, the fifth of Williams' career and the second for Rubins. As was the case for their first spacewalk together Aug. 19, Williams will be designated as extravehicular crew member 1 (EV1), wearing a spacesuit with a red stripe, while Rubins will be EV2, wearing a suit with no stripes.

Arianespace ready to launch two Intelsat satellites

Arianespace's fourth Ariane 5 flight of 2016 has been given the "green light" for liftoff on Wednesday following Monday's successful launch readiness review, which was conducted in French Guiana, South America.

The approval also clears the Ariane 5 rocket for Tuesday's rollout from the Final Assembly Building to the ELA-3 launch zone, where it is scheduled for liftoff on Wednesday.

Designated Flight VA232, the mission has an estimated payload lift performance of 10,735 kilograms (23,666 pounds). The rocket will carry Intelsat 33e and Intelsat 36 into space.

Intelsat 33e is to be deployed first during the 41-minute flight sequence and will operate from an orbital position of 60 degrees East. Built by Boeing using a 702MP spacecraft platform, it is the second satellite in Intelsat's next-generation high-throughput Intelsat EpicNG series - joining Intelsat 29e, which was launched by Arianespace aboard another Ariane 5 in January.

Intelsat 36 will be the second passenger released by the Ariane 5. It was manufactured by Space Systems Loral based on the company's 1300 platform, and will operate from the 68.5 degrees East orbital position - where Intelsat 36 will be co-located with the Intelsat 20 satellite launched by Arianespace in August 2012.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sentient’s ViDAR system gives unmanned aircraft a ‘find’ function for the first time

Sentient Vision Systems has signed an exclusive global distribution agreement with Insitu for the ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging) software to be incorporated within the company's unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Insitu will incorporate the ViDAR payload into its fleet of unmanned systems, beginning with its ScanEagle unmanned aircraft. The ViDAR software is built into the ScanEagle payload by Hood Technologies.

ViDAR is a wide area autonomous detection system for electro-optic imagery in the maritime domain enabling coverage over 80 times the ocean’s surface compared with existing electro-optic sensors. ViDAR transforms the utility of tactical UAS’s by giving them a ‘find’ function for the first time. Operators typically must rely on larger, more expensive aircraft to detect objects in the ocean; ViDAR provides the find capability in a smaller, more cost-effective payload.

“The inability to find objects on the ocean’s surface has placed a huge limitation on the utility of tactical UAS.” said Simon Olsen, Sentient’s Director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships. “Fast boats, rubber rafts or even a person in the water – ViDAR finds them all – and does so at a fraction of the size and cost of existing technologies.”

Sentient’s ViDAR software autonomously detects any object on the surface of the ocean, providing the ground control station with an image and location coordinate of each object detected in real time. In demonstrations, ViDAR has autonomously detected a fishing vessel at 14 nautical miles, a fast boat at more than 9 nm and even the spout of a whale at 1.5 nm from the aircraft.