Ever since President Eisenhower established NASA in 1958, the world’s population has been hooked on pushing the boundaries of human exploration. In the 60 years that followed, humankind has travelled faster, further and more fantastically than ever before.
In early 1969, the first flight of the Concorde roared out of Toulouse, proving the colossal plane could take to the skies. Just a few short months later, the world watched as Neil Armstrong and ‘Buzz’ Aldrin took their first, tentative steps across the lunar surface. In quick succession, NASA sent missions to land on our nearest neighbours, tallying a list of firsts as they headed for Venus, then Mars, and finally set out to explore Jupiter.
Meet the designers with their heads in the stars, competing to build sustainable cities on our nearest neighbour; Mars. Manufacturing is evolving here on Earth as technologies like large-scale 3D printing gain popularity. Students and professionals worldwide have this year taken their innovations a step further in the Mars City Design Competition.
The contest is the brainchild of Mars City Design CEO, founder and ‘Marschitect’, Vera Mulyani. The aim; designing and innovating a sustainable city on Mars. Entrants used their designs to solve the everyday problems of living on Mars. These covered categories looking at structural design, a city infrastructure and agriculture in space.
Eight engineering students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have pushed their creativity to the limit, designing a super-light, personal aircraft. ‘The Delta’, as it has been named, is the world’s lightest electric paraglider trike, weighing in at just 49 kilograms.
The design team took on the challenge as part of the National Geographic Channel’s new series, ‘Machine Impossible’. Their task: to create a cheap, fun and functional flying machine.
From solar planes to a reinvented air-ship, we have scoured the skies this month to bring you the most exciting and innovative engineering news from the aerospace industry. As we come to the end of our aerospace month, we spoke to QEPrize Ambassador and aerospace engineer, Rob Edmunds, to get a first-hand look at what it’s really like on the inside.
Until now measurements of air speed, one of the most crucial measurements for a pilot, can be inaccurate and on occasion in icy conditions, non-existent. The current pitot tube system which protrudes from the aircraft, measuring airspeed by detecting changes in air pressure, has been prone to failures in icy conditions. In spite of heating the instruments, they have been known to fail, freeze and block with potentially catastrophic consequences. Pitot tubes have also been damaged as a result of their external position, with collisions with birds, for example, contributing to their demise.
I was sixteen when I first learnt precisely what an engineer is, and it was then I decided it was the career for me. Having always wanted to be an astronaut, and being interested in technology and how things work, it didn’t take me long to realise that this is what suited me best. My interest in space and my experience as an Air Cadet meant that by this point I was firmly set on aerospace engineering and I took part in a Headstart course where I got to meet people that also wanted to be engineers. Then, through the ‘Year in Industry’ scheme, I did my gap year with an automotive engineering company, experiencing hands on engineering and solving real life problems.
Imagine soaring through the air at 500 miles per hour, 36,000ft above the ground, and a mere arm’s reach from the cloud tops you see stretching in every direction. As the sun begins to go down, the entire cabin is lit floor to ceiling with the dazzling sunset, and even the passengers sitting in the aisle seats are afforded the 360o view of the runway as the plane glides in to land.
This is exactly the daydream that UK based innovation and technology centre CPI want to make a reality. The conceptual design sees fleets of conventional aircraft joined by passenger planes featuring a windowless fuselage. While being sealed into a darkened tube may sound like the stuff of nightmares to the nervous flier, CPI’s vision dispels all of these images.