August's top stories: Airlander 10 crash-lands, FAA's new commercial drone rules take effect

Airlander 10 has crash-landed at the end of its second test flight and the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) new small drone regulation becomes effective and ISRO is planning to launch its Aditya-L1 satellite mission to study the Sun by 2020. Aerospace-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from August 2016.


Airlander 10 crash-lands after second test flight

The world’s longest aircraft, Airlander 10, crash-landed at the end of its second test flight.

After completing the 100min test flight, Airlander 10 experienced a heavy landing during its return flight to Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire, UK.

The UK’s Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) is currently evaluating the damage to the Airlander 10 prototype.
 

FAA's new commercial drone rules take effect in US

The US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) new small drone regulation, known as Part 107, became effective from 29 August, making it easier for businesses to fly drones for commercial purposes.

Designed mainly to reduce risks to other aircraft, as well as people and property on the ground, the new regulations do not apply to model aircraft operations that meet all the criteria mentioned in section 336 of Public Law 112-95.

Section 336 also mandates that drones can be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes.
 

ISRO to launch mission to Sun by 2020

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced plans to launch its Aditya-L1 satellite mission to study the Sun by 2020.

Revealing its plan, ISRO satellite centre director Mylswamy Annadurai said that initial works for the first Indian mission to study the Sun are continuing as planned.

"The satellite will also carry additional six payloads with improved science scope and objectives."
 

Rolls-Royce secures $1.5bn engine order from China Eastern Airlines

UK-based engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce won a $1.5bn order for Trent 700 engines, which will power China Eastern Airlines’ 15 Airbus A330 aircraft.

Under the deal, Rolls-Royce will also provide long-term TotalCare engine support services.

Once completed, the 15 A330 aircraft to be equipped with Trent 700 engines will be added to the 51 Trent 700 powered A330 planes currently operated by China Eastern Airlines.
 

AGC AeroComposites develops new thermoplastic composite welding process for aerospace

UK-based composite aerostructures, assemblies and components provider AGC AeroComposites developed a new, low-cost thermoplastic composite welding technique.

Developed under AGC’s CoFusion project, the new welding technique can be used on both flat and curvature components.

Receiving funding from the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP), CoFusion showed that carbon/polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) composite thermoformed components can be welded to produce complex assemblies.
 

Vector Space Systems launches software defined satellites business unit

Micro satellite space service provider Vector Space Systems launched its new Galactic Sky software-defined satellites business unit.

Based in California, US, Galactic Sky will act as a new business platform to provide access to satellite capabilities, satellite derived big data and constellation infrastructures to space start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Galactic Sky will enable the start-ups to explore and experiment with satellites without the costs of launching a rocket and building a satellite.
 

NPL scientists develop new 3D thermal imaging technique for satellites

Temperature and humidity scientists at UK-based National Physical Laboratory (NPL) developed a new method to take 3D thermal images of satellites.

Developed for the European Space Agency (ESA), the new technique will enable measurement data to allow improved comparisons with thermal models.

First implemented in 2D by the research team, the new 3D thermal imaging technique allows pictures to be taken on the ground and provides additional information.
 

Marlink and IDG Europe test new portable tracking system for aircraft

Global satellite communication and digital solutions provider Marlink and IDG Europe completed the trials of a new Smalltrack portable tracking system for fixed-wing aircraft.

Tested on an aircraft operated by Scandinavian Air Ambulance and a helicopter operated by Scandinavian MediCopter in Sweden, the system has been developed by Marlink.

During the five-day test conducted on a Beech Super King Air 200 aircraft, Smalltrack was placed on the glare shield of the plane and position reports were being monitored.
 

China launches QUESS quantum communication satellite

China launched the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) satellite into space from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the north-western Gobi Desert.

Launched aboard a Long March-2D rocket, QUESS is the world's first quantum satellite to study quantum entanglement.

Once deployed into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500km, QUESS will send entangled photons to two Earth stations located in a distance of 1,200km.
 

Honeywell Aerospace to provide engines for XTI’s TriFan 600 prototype aircraft

Honeywell Aerospace signed a preliminary agreement to provide its HTS900 engine for XTI Aircraft Company’s (XTI) first prototype, a two-thirds piloted subscale of the TriFan 600 vertical take-off aircraft.

Under the deal, Honeywell will also supply an additional engine, which will be installed on XTI's ground propulsion test system.

The newly signed contract has been followed by XTI’s previous announcement of building, testing and flying the subscale as its first prototype or technology demonstrator within the next two years.