June's top stories: Boeing's investment in SparkCognition, PSLV-C38 places 31 satellites into orbit

Boeing has invested in SparkCognition, which focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and ISRO’s PSLV-C38 has launched a 712kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for Earth observation, as well as 30 other satellites. Aerospace-technology.com wraps up key headlines from June 2017.


Boeing invested in artificial intelligence start-up

Boeing invested in US-based company SparkCognition, which focuses on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

This was the latest investment by the Boeing HorizonX, a venture unit that was established earlier this year.

Boeing plans to test-launch self-flying passenger planes and expects that this investment could lead to applications such as AI-driven security for aerospace industry.


ISRO’s PSLV-C38 placed 31 satellites into orbit

Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C38 (PSLV-C38) launched a 712kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for Earth observation, as well as 30 other satellites.

The 30 satellites collectively weigh 243kg at lift-off into a 505km Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

The PSLV-C38 was launched from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC).


Nasa completed preliminary design review of QueSST aircraft design

Nasa completed the preliminary design review (PDR) of its Quiet Supersonic Transport (QueSST) aircraft design, thereby achieving a major milestone towards developing a supersonic passenger jet that can travel over land.

QueSST is the initial design stage of Nasa's planned Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) experimental airplane, which is also called as an X-plane.

The QueSST design can help LBFD aircraft to achieve its mission objectives, which include flying at supersonic speeds, but creating a soft 'thump' instead of a disruptive sonic boom that usually supersonic jets create.


United Airlines converted 100 Boeing 737 MAX orders into 737 MAX 10 jets

United Airlines entered a new agreement with Boeing to convert an order for 100 737 MAX aircraft into 737 MAX 10s.

The newly placed order saw United become the largest single 737 MAX 10 customer in the world. Deliveries are expected to begin in late 2020.

United also announced an order for four additional Boeing 777-300ERs, taking the total order for the aircraft type to 18.


Dubai to begin testing of autonomous air taxis in Q4

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai is set to begin a trial run of its manned autonomous air taxi (AAT) in the last quarter of this year.

RTA also signed an agreement with German autonomous air vehicles manufacturer VOLOCOPTER to launch the first AAT, which will be designed to carry two passengers.

The transport authority has also extended the trial of its autonomous air vehicle to meet all the necessary operational requirements in terms of safety and security.


SpiceJet to buy up to 50 Bombardier Q400 Aircraft for $1.7bn

India-based airline SpiceJet signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft to purchase up to 50 Q400 turboprop aircraft.

Worth $1.7bn at list prices, the deal includes 25 Q400 turboprops and purchase rights on 25 additional aircraft.

The new aircraft enable SpiceJet to further increase connectivity to smaller towns and cities in India, as well as support the Indian Government’s regional connectivity scheme.


Astronautics to supply AGCS connectivity system to Airbus Helicopters

Astronautics Corporation of America will supply its new Astronautics Air Ground Communications System (AGCS) connectivity solution to Airbus Helicopters.

Airbus Helicopters is claimed to be largest turbine helicopters supplier to the rotorcraft market.

The AGCS system includes an airborne server, a wireless communications module, a remote media device and ground server software to create a complete air-to-ground, modular data transmission system.


Parker Aerospace to supply materials for Rolls-Royce’s new Trent 7000 engine

Rolls-Royce selected Parker Aerospace to provide a range of materials for its new Trent 7000 engines, which will power the Airbus A330neo aircraft.

As part of the deal, Parker Aerospace will supply pneumatic equipment, the complex engine build-up unit, and oil and combustion sub-systems to Rolls-Royce.

Parker Aerospace gas turbine fuel systems vice-president and general manager David Overholt said: “The Trent 7000 is the sole engine selected for the A330neo, so the Parker Aerospace contribution is a real vote of confidence."


Boom Supersonic teams up with Stratasys to develop3D printing aircraft parts

US-based start-up Boom Supersonic collaborated with Stratasys to develop 3D-printed tooling and production-grade aircraft parts for its supersonic aircraft.

The three-year partnership will see the installation of Stratasys FDM 3D printing technology, which includes Fortus 450mc and F370 3D printers, at Boom Supersonic’s headquarters in Denver, Colorado.

The deal also includes materials and expert services.


China launched new x-ray satellite to study black holes

China launched its first astronomical satellite into space from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert.

Lifted off by a Long March-4B rocket, the newly launched Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) was designed to study black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts.

It will also help scientists better understand strong magnetic fields, how to use pulsars for spacecraft navigation, and search for gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves.