July’s top stories: Researchers develop new ceramic coating, SpaceX launches Intelsat 35e

Researchers develop a new ceramic coating for hypersonic travel, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launches the Intelsat 35e on its third attempt, and the UK is to introduce new drone registration and safety rules. Aerospace-technology.com wraps up key headlines from July 2017.


Researchers developed new ceramic coating for use in hypersonic travel

A new type of ceramic coating was developed by researchers at the University of Manchester in the UK, which is expected to significantly change hypersonic travel for air, space and defence purposes.

Co-developed in partnership between the university’s Royce Institute and China’s Central South University (CSU), the newly developed carbide coating is capable of resisting temperatures up to 3,000°C.

The new coating also proved to be 12 times better than the existing ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTC) such as Zirconium carbide (ZrC), an extremely hard refractory ceramic material commercially used in tool bits for cutting components.


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched Intelsat 35e on third attempt

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched the 7.5t Intelsat 35e commercial communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) on its third attempt.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US, on 5 July at 7:38pm EDT.

The satellite was deployed into the orbit 32min after lift-off.


UK to introduce new drone registration and safety rules

The UK Government revealed a plan to introduce new drone registration and safety awareness rules to regulate the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Under the proposed rules, owners of drones weighing 250g and more will be required to register details of their vehicles with the government.

New safety awareness tests will also be conducted to prove the owner’s understanding of the UK’s safety, security and privacy regulations.


easyJet to launch new airline to continue operations in Europe after Brexit

UK-based budget carrier easyJet unveiled its plan to establish a new airline to continue flight operations within the EU after Brexit.

Known as easyJet Europe, the proposed airline will be headquartered in Austria.

The airline already submitted an application to Austro Control for an air operator certificate (AOC) and to Austria's Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) for an airline operating licence.


NTU researchers to develop smart textiles that detect pilot stress levels

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in the UK are set to develop smart textiles that will able to monitor stress levels in aircraft pilots.

Led by professor Tilak Dias, NTU’s Advanced Textiles Research Group will explore how smart textiles embedded in cockpit seats and pilot clothing can measure anxiety.

The new textiles will be developed to monitor various indicators of stress, including a variable heart rate, perspiration and body temperature. Multiple sensors will be embedded into the yarns used to make clothing and textiles.


Breakthrough Starshot launched first satellite prototypes into space

The Breakthrough Starshot research programme co-launched by scientist Stephen Hawking lifted off its first spacecraft prototypes into space.

As part of the launch, six cracker-size Sprites prototypes were launched into the low-Earth orbit, reported Business Insider.

Representing the world’s smallest fully-functional space probe, Sprites were launched as piggyback payloads on two OHB System nanosatellites, Max Valier and Venta.


Scientists found new evidence of water below Moon’s surface

A new study by scientists at Brown University, US, revealed that the Moon's interior may be holding a high amount of water.

Based on satellite data, the study also found that water could be stored in numerous volcanic deposits distributed across the surface of the Moon.

The deposits are believed to consist of glass beads formed by the explosive eruption of magma coming from the deep lunar interior and reinforce the idea that the lunar mantle is a water-rich zone.


EU agreed to extend exemption for international flights from paying for carbon emissions

The EU Committee on the Environment voted in favour of excluding international flights from paying for carbon emissions.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) want to restrict this exemption to 31 December 2020.

This extension comes only as the EU awaits the implementation of United Nations' agreement on addressing aircraft emissions, reported Reuters.


Adria Airways acquired 99.1% share in Swiss carrier Darwin Airline

Slovenia-based Adria Airways, through its Swiss subsidiary, purchased a 99.1% share in Switzerland-based regional carrier Darwin Airline for an undisclosed sum.

The airline is expecting to acquire the remaining shares in Darwin Airline soon.

The latest deal was completed after Etihad Airways and other shareholders of Darwin Airline sold their stakes in the Swiss carrier.


DLR and Airbus conduct new test to reduce helicopter noise

German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and Airbus Helicopters Deutschland carried out a test that aims to reduce noise and vibration produced by helicopters.

A part of the Scalability and Risk Minimisation of Technology (SKAT) research project, the test saw the DLR and Airbus trial active rotor control on a modern, five-blade rotor in a wind tunnel.

Through the test, DLR researchers were able to reduce vibration and noise emissions during landing approaches with the five-blade rotor.