Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

17 May, 2024

The Heron TP RPAS produced by UAV PEO at the Directorate of Defense Research & Development at the IMoD and Israel Aerospace Industries has made its maiden flight over Germany

The German Heron TP (GHTP), produced by UAV PEO at the Directorate of Defense, Research and Development at the IMoD and Israel Aerospace Industries, has flown in German airspace for the first time. The Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) was customized for the unique requirements of the German Ministry of Defence, as part of a joint venture between IAI, Israel’s Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), and Airbus.

The close cooperation between Airbus, IAI, DDR&D and the German Armed Forces, ensured the development of a RPAS which exhibits both advanced performance and operational readiness while also providing the German Armed Forces with additional capabilities. The flight was conducted in the presence of the senior representatives from the German Air Force, the DDR&D at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Airbus and, IAI. This historic event is an important step towards reaching full operational capability.

President and CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Mr Boaz Levy:" The deployment of Heron TP (GHTP) RPAS in Germany signifies a milestone achievement for Israel Aerospace Industries, reinforcing its position as a leading provider of cutting-edge aerospace and defence solutions on the global stage. This collaboration sets the stage for continued innovation and collaboration in addressing the ever-evolving challenges in the defence sector."

06 May, 2024

ICEYE announces API that allows customers to directly task world’s largest SAR satellite constellation

Two new application programming interfaces (APIs) launched as the first in ICEYE’s wider API ecosystem, empowering customers to access critical data in response to time-sensitive demands.


ICEYE, the global leader in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite operations, announced the launch of two new application programming interfaces (APIs) that will give customers faster access to imagery from the world’s largest SAR satellite constellation through a self-driven, automated process.

The first API automates the satellite tasking process, enabling machine-to-machine interactions for this critical step. Customers who have built their own platforms to access commercial tasking services may now seamlessly integrate into the ICEYE space and ground architecture without a human-in-the-loop.  The second API automates the process for customers to request SAR imagery from ICEYE’s extensive catalog of over 60,000 archive images. 

“We are thrilled to announce this new service, which makes the world’s largest SAR satellite constellation even more accessible to our customers,” said John Cartwright, SVP and Head of Data Product. “Customers increasingly seek to integrate access to the ICEYE SAR constellation, the largest in the world, through their own platforms.  The end-to-end workflow automation we are releasing today puts this power directly in their hands so they can make smarter, data-driven decisions in near real-time.” 

UK-based satellite communications firm Hanwha Phasor expands to the United States

Hanwha Phasor, a UK-based satellite communications business, confirmed that following a successful four years in the UK, it has opened its first office in the United States. The initial focus of the business will be on developing its market position in the US which presents a wider potential for the portfolio of user terminals.

The office, located in Virginia, will serve as the primary base for the Hanwha Phasor employees based in the US, including the Vice President Business Development Mike Young, the recently joined Business Development Director, Rick LePage, and the new Commercial Director Aviation, Scott McCobb.

Alongside the new US office, Hanwha Phasor has two office locations in the UK. These include the business’ international headquarters in London as well as the ASICs Centre of Excellence in Cambridge.

11 April, 2024

Vast’s Haven-1 aims to be the world’s first commercial space station connected by SpaceX starlink

Vast’s Haven-1, is scheduled to be the world’s first commercial space station and will be equipped with SpaceX’s Starlink laser terminal providing Gigabit/s speed, low latency connectivity to its crew users, internal payload racks, external cameras and instruments.

“If you need to provide high-speed, low-latency, continuous internet connectivity on a space station in orbit in 2025, SpaceX Starlink is the only option,” said Max Haot, Vast’s CEO. “We expect their network and technology leading position to continue and accelerate over time, which is why we are excited to have the chance to partner with SpaceX on deploying their first laser connectivity for a space station.”

The Haven-1 crew will be able to connect their personal devices via Wi-Fi to the Starlink network and have unprecedentedly better internet connectivity on orbit to host outreach video calls and perform experiments and science with full, high-speed internet access. Even during crew rest time, they will be able to use high-speed internet.

“High-speed, low-latency connectivity on orbit for crew and critical scientific research is critical to any space station experience,” said Stephanie Bednarek, SpaceX’s Senior Director of Commercial Sales. “We are excited for Vast’s Haven-1 to be the first commercial space station to stay connected with Starlink.”

Vast and SpaceX have reached an agreement for SpaceX to provide Starlink connectivity to future Vast platforms beyond Haven 1, including connectivity for Vast’s next space station, which the company plans to bid for in NASA's upcoming commercial Low Earth Orbit destinations (CLDs) competition.

In May 2023, Vast announced that SpaceX will launch Haven-1, followed by two human spaceflight missions to the Haven-1 space station.

This new partnership between Vast and SpaceX will continue to create and accelerate greater accessibility to space and more opportunities for exploration on the road to making humanity multiplanetary.
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10 April, 2024

Sierra Space Ghost Enters Flight Test Enabling Global Payload Delivery in 90 Minutes

Sierra Space, a leading commercial space-tech company and next-generation defense-tech prime, building a platform in space to benefit life on Earth and protect the freedom of economic activity in the Orbital Age®, has successfully beta-tested a revolutionary new logistics spacecraft, Sierra Space Ghost.

This new technology propels Sierra Space into a new era of national security space and space logistics, promising to redefine the way critical defence supplies are delivered across the globe. The Sierra Space Ghost Beta decelerator, part of the company’s recently announced Sierra Space Axelerator™ incubator, is a cutting-edge thermal protection system tailored for the safe return of small payloads from space. 

Last month, the first drop test of the Sierra Space Ghost was completed in Florida, enabling Sierra Space test engineers to fully understand the flight characteristics of the system and how recovery operations can be rapidly completed on the ground.

“As we continue to innovate at speed, this test enables us to build, test, learn and accelerate the development of a revolutionary new operational asset for national security,” said Tom Vice, CEO of Sierra Space. “We envision having an inventory of Sierra Space Ghost vehicles strategically positioned and readily accessible and deployable within 90 minutes to critical locations anywhere on Earth. Sierra Space Ghost enables our customers to deliver vital resources to frontline personnel with unparalleled precision and speed.”

04 April, 2024

Half of people can’t spot a deepfake, so whose job is it to stop them from spreading?

Research from digital identity security specialists, ID Crypt Global, reveals that half of the UK doesn’t know what deepfakes are, and only one in five make efforts to ensure they’re not spreading fake news, insisting that social media platforms are responsible for rooting about fake images and videos.

With deepfake technology pushing to the forefront of the news cycle in the lead up to elections both here and in the US, ID Crypt has commissioned a survey of 1,221 members of the UK population to find out if they know what deepfakes are, whether they think they could spot a deepfake out in the wild, and whose job it is to ensure that fake news isn’t easily spread online. 

The survey kicks off by revealing that almost half (47%) of the UK population is still unfamiliar with the term ‘deepfake’ and what it means.

As such, more than half of respondents (53%) are unaware of whether or not they’ve ever encountered a deepfake image or video online, while half of those who say they have encountered a (55%) only know so because it was included in a news story that was reporting on deepfakes. 

When asked what their biggest concerns about deepfake technology are, the most common answers are fraud and identity theft (32%), and the spreading of fake news or misinformation (31%). 

Despite the important elections coming up in both the UK and US, only 10% say they’re concerned about deepfakes manipulating political discourse or events.

03 April, 2024

India's fledgling airline FLY91to use IBS Software to offer dynamic and competitive airfares.

FLY91, is India's youngest regional airline, with a simple mission to make air travel accessible to travellers across the nation, has partnered with IBS Software to power its commercial operations. IBS Software has created a reservation experience designed to deliver a simple, efficient and cost-effective experience, to attract and retain customers.

By implementing IBS Software's modern omni-channel iFly Res commerce platform, FLY91 will not only create a compelling user experience powered by the platform's rich set of APIs and flexible rules engine, but also deliver dynamic pricing. These real-time dynamic and personalised pricing capabilities are a vital tool in delivering the most cost-effective fares and ensuring pricing is competitive with alternative modes of transport.

Additionally, access to an API-driven ecosystem gives FLY91 the ability to open its services and routes connecting tier 2 (population of 50,000 to 100,000) and tier 3 (population of 20,000 to 50,000) cities across India to interline partners, providing international and domestic airlines with a solution to last-mile coverage to smaller destinations that are traditionally poorly or underserved by existing carriers.

27 March, 2024

Fighting deepfakes has become a billion pound industry in the UK

Photo by ThisIsEngineering
Digital identity security specialists, 
ID Crypt Global, reveals that to combat the rapid rise in deepfake technology interfering with life in the real world, the Fraud Detection Software sector has grown by almost 200% in the past decade to become a billion pound industry. But is it enough to avert social and political disaster as we enter what some are already calling the year of the AI election in the USA and UK?

ID Crypt analysed the changing market size, measured in annual revenue, of the Fraud Detection Software Development industry* and the Cyber Security Software Development industry* to see how they have grown over the past decade to combat the rise of deepfake technology and the manipulative powers it can have on a population. 

What is deepfake technology?

Deepfakes are synthetic media, often in the form of videos, audio, or images, created with artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning algorithms. 

Often, this technology enables deepfake creators to use the face, voice, or both of a chosen person, and create media in which they do or say anything the creator wants. It is a technology that is estimated to cost the global economy more than £60 billion a year.

One example is the series of dramatic photos supposedly depicting the arrest of Donald Trump. Another is the fake yet utterly convincing audio recording of Labour leader Keir Starmer screaming at an aide for forgetting an iPad

Recent data shows that the number of online deepfakes is doubling every six months, and such is the disinformation they’re creating in the political sphere ahead of this year’s elections in the UK and USA that some are already calling this the year of AI elections.

The deepfake process is becoming so sophisticated that it is now incredibly difficult to quickly differentiate between genuine and fake content. This poses a real threat to the world because of the speed at which news and images travel around the world via social media. Before a deepfake can be spotted, it has already reached and tricked millions of people. 

19 March, 2024

Airbus continues to collaborate with NASA to monitor climate change from Space

GRACE-C contract for two spacecraft awarded to Airbus

NASA and DLR mission will continue measurements of Earth’s gravity field

Airbus has been awarded a contract to design and build the GRACE-C twin spacecraft by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL (Pasadena, California). This new mission of NASA and the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will strengthen the more than 20 year long partnership between the USA and Germany to ensure uninterrupted measurement of the Earth's gravity field, which started in 2002 with GRACE and continues with GRACE Follow-On, launched in 2018.

During its five year nominal mission lifetime, the GRACE-C Mission (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment-Continuity) will continue the series of measurements observing how Earth’s groundwater, oceans, ice sheets, and land shift, month-to-month, by measuring changes in the planet’s gravity field. 

Alain Fauré, Head of Space Systems at Airbus, said: “It is amazing to think that, without looking down at Earth, two satellites more than 200 km away from each other, can tell us how quickly our ice sheets are melting. In environmental monitoring, continuity is key. The valuable data provided by the previous GRACE missions is testament to their success and it is great news that Airbus continues to be part of this international mission providing the tools to measure how our climate is evolving.”

GRACE-C consists of two identical satellites flying around 200 km apart at an orbit altitude of 500 km with an inclination of 89 degrees. Each satellite will measure approximately 3 x 2 x 1 metres and weigh around 600 kg. Launch is planned no earlier than late 2028 from the USA.

10 March, 2024

Sierra Space Dream Chaser® Spaceplane Successfully Completes First Phase of Pre-Flight Testing

Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company and emerging defence tech prime building a platform in space to benefit and protect life on Earth announced today the successful completion of the initial phase of environmental testing on the revolutionary Dream Chaser® spaceplane, Tenacity®, at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio.

Over the past month, the Sierra Space Dream Chaser and its cargo companion, Shooting Star™, underwent rigorous vibration testing while stacked in launch configuration inside the Mechanical Vibration Facility at the NASA complex. In readiness for launch from Kennedy Space Center, the tests exposed the vehicles to the intense conditions of launch vibrations using the world’s most powerful spacecraft shaker table. See video here.

“We are coming out of years of development, years of hard work and years of resolving tough engineering challenges that come from revolutionary new ways of doing things,” said Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice. “This phase of development illustrates how Dream Chaser and the Shooting Star cargo module will handle the mechanical rigours of launch. This is the year that we transition from development and enter orbital operations – it is the year that changes how we connect space and earth.”

07 March, 2024

NUAIR gets ready for Northeast for cross-border UAS operations

Following a string of critical approvals and operational readiness missions, NUAIR® is prepping the Northeastern United States for cross-border uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) operations. These operations will prove out safe integration of UAS into the national airspace with the opportunity for cross-border international collaboration and regulatory harmonization.

In 2023, NUAIR received a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Canada authorizing our team to perform UAS operations with U.S. pilots and U.S. aircraft in Ontario, Canada. And, throughout the course of the past year, NUAIR has been performing preliminary operations testing wireless coverage, flight opportunities, and more to ensure safe and efficient future travel from the United States into Canada and back. The team has also been working as international diplomats collaborating with multiple federal agencies on both sides of the border – the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and others from the United States as well as NAV Canada, Transports Canada and similar on the Canadian side.

06 March, 2024

Hanwha Phasor targets US expansion with new senior hires

Hanwha Phasor, a UK-based satellite communications company, has announced two new key hires as part of the business’ expansion into the US market. Richard LePage joins the organization as a Business Development Director, United States Government (USG), and Scott McCobb joins as Hanwha Phasor’s Commercial Director, Aviation – both positions will include a seat on Hanwha Phasor’s leadership team. 

The new leadership roles will see LePage tasked with executing marketing strategies, plans, and programs aimed at key US Government prospects, whilst McCobb will execute marketing strategies, plans and programs aimed at key aviation organizations. Alongside this, both LePage and McCobb will support the R&D team with product roadmaps by providing market trends and analyzing competitors for business development. Both new members of staff will report directly to the Vice President of Business Development to ensure a seamless international strategy for Hanwha Phasor’s wide portfolio of satellite communications solutions, as Hanwha Phasor enters into the US market. 

LePage had a decorated 21-year career in the US Armed Forces, spending 16 years focusing on satellite communications and R&D for US Special Operations with his career culminating as part of the Joint Special Operations Command. Following this, he joined the industry with numerous senior business development roles in companies including Ultra Intelligence and Communications, and Envistacom. 

Riyadh Air and IBM move forward in their collaboration to redefine travel experiences

IBM announced this week, the next steps in their collaboration with Riyadh Air, the digital-native airline currently scheduled to commence operations in early 2025, to revolutionize the airline's travel experiences. The airline plans to introduce next-generation, channel-fluid guest and traveller interactions, tapping into IBM Consulting's open ecosystem of business partners and deep industry expertise spanning strategy, experience design, technology and operations.

IBM hosted a signing ceremony, announcing the collaboration at the 3rd edition of LEAP 2024, the international technology conference held annually in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; in the presence of Tony Douglas (Chief Executive Officer, Riyadh Air) and Arvind Krishna (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, IBM) and executive management from both entities.

"We're on a mission to shape the future of air travel at Riyadh Air," said Tony Douglas, CEO at Riyadh Air. "By teaming up with IBM, we're pushing the boundaries of innovation to create a transformed passenger experience that is more seamless, personalized and sustainable. From AI-powered check-in systems to immersive in-flight entertainment, we're leveraging the latest technologies to make air travel more enjoyable and accessible for everyone."

Committed to delivering unique, intelligent and hyper-personalized guest journeys, Riyadh Air will harness IBM Consulting's expertise across generative AI, experience orchestration, marketing and customer engagement platforms, mobile, web and in-flight applications. All of these capabilities will be accelerated through the proven, collaborative engagement model of IBM Garage, to help craft guest experiences that are culturally enriching across the travel journey, on the ground or in the air.

1200 MHz radar bandwidth in-orbit technology demonstrator enhances ICEYE’s expansive SAR satellite constellation

ICEYE strengthens its persistent Earth Observation capabilities with the successful launch of three new satellites.
                  ICEYE, the global leader in persistent monitoring and natural catastrophe solutions, successfully launched three additional synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites on March 4, 2024, including a 1200 MHz radar bandwidth in-orbit technology demonstrator that will enable 25 cm imaging. The satellites were integrated via launch integrator Exolaunch and successfully lifted off aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-10 rideshare from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, USA. Each spacecraft has established communication, and early routine operations are underway. 

ICEYE strengthens its persistent Earth Observation capabilities with the successful launch of three new satellites.

Two of the three SAR satellites launched on the mission are manufactured by ICEYE US, while one is an in-orbit technology demonstrator manufactured by ICEYE in Finland. The in-orbit demonstrator model features an upgrade to ICEYE’s unique X-band antenna, increasing radar bandwidth to 1200 MHz. This enables higher-resolution imagery, up to 25 cm, and will be initially assigned to engineering tests before being made available to ICEYE customers. 

“Our growing constellation provides an objective and reliable source of intelligence, enabling a faster, more accurate response to changes taking place anywhere on the planet,” Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and Co-founder of ICEYE. “The launch of the 1200 MHz bandwidth technology demonstrator delivers 25 cm resolution SAR imaging, unlocking a new level of clarity and detail for high-priority decision-making.” 

The satellites launched include an advanced radar that enables major improvements in image quality, faster downlink speeds for more agile imagery collections, and better integration with ICEYE’s global network of ground stations. 

Eric Jensen, CEO of ICEYE US, said: “Our partners require dependable and persistent change detection to address emergent, time-critical needs. We are proud to add two additional U.S-built satellites to our constellation, strengthening our commitment to deliver strategic insights for our defense, intelligence, civil, and commercial customers.” 

ICEYE has now successfully deployed 34 spacecraft since 2018 and operates the world’s largest constellation of SAR satellites, which can image any location on the Earth’s surface in any environmental condition, day or night. SAR data provides precise insights for ICEYE’s government and commercial customers in near real-time.


Your travel planning isn’t complete without learning the language—or at least some essential phrases. Fully immerse yourself in the language, or use Phrasebook to learn travel essentials—the choice is yours!

05 March, 2024

Delta Sync seatback brings more to SkyMiles members

Delta Sync seatback brings more to SkyMiles members
How many cutting-edge advancements does it take to bring customers a best-in-class entertainment experience at 30,000 feet? Let’s crunch the numbers: as Delta’s in-flight connectivity overhaul continues, the latest data tell a story of commitment to SkyMiles members – from fast, free Wi-Fi presented by T-Mobile to a new seatback experience that enhances the day-of travel experience and beyond with new smart TV features and live notifications about gate changes, bag tracking and more.

Delta Sync seatback is now available on 185 aircraft and is expanding to three additional fleet types.

Delta leads the industry with over 161,000 seatback screens across more than 850 aircraft, underscoring the airline’s dedication to the in-flight entertainment experience. In service of that dedication, Delta is expanding Delta Sync seatback this spring. Now available on all Airbus A321ceo and Boeing 757-200 (75D) aircraft, the airline plans to bring the new seatback screen product to Airbus A319s and A320s, as well as Boeing 737-800 aircraft, by the end of the summer.

First announced at CES 2023 and tested onboard select aircraft throughout the end of last year, Delta Sync seatback is a milestone update to the airline’s industry-leading seatback screens that make them feel more like smart TVs while offering a host of day-of-travel tools for SkyMiles members designed to streamline their travel journey1.

“Customers are loving our new personalized Delta Sync seatback screens – and they especially appreciate how easy it is to log in to the screen using the Fly Delta app,” said Ranjan Goswami, Senior Vice President-Customer Experience Design. “Just by being a SkyMiles member, customers can log in to a seatback screen that recognizes them, knows their preferences and helps effortlessly guide them throughout their travel day. This level of personalization and convenience is one way we’re redefining loyalty and what it means to be a SkyMiles member – and it unlocks the minute you join.”

The new My Flight category includes details tailored to each logged-in user about their connecting flights, including terminal and gate locations as well as scheduled connection times. SkyMiles members who log in to Delta Sync seatback will also receive real-time notifications delivered directly to their seatback screen about any adjustments to their connecting flight’s schedule or other pertinent trip details.

650+      More than 650 aircraft are in service today with fast, free Delta Sync Wi-Fi presented by T-Mobile.

28 February, 2024

Riyadh Air Partners with Adobe to Deliver Personalized Global Travel Experiences, Powered by Generative AI

Riyadh Air Partners with Adobe to Deliver Personalized Global Travel Experiences, Powered by Generative AI
                              Riyadh Air and Adobe announced a strategic technology partnership. As Saudi Arabia's new world-class airline, Riyadh Air will integrate with a broad range of travel partners, both in the Kingdom and globally, allowing guests to manage their entire travel experience through its digital properties. As the lead systems integrator, IBM Consulting will employ Adobe's Experience Cloud technologies to create a cohesive and tailored travel journey for Riyadh Air guests.

With plans to carry its first passengers in 2025, Riyadh Air aims to connect the Kingdom to more than 100 destinations around the world, supporting both the National Aviation Strategy's and National Tourism Strategy ambitions to bring 330 million annual visitors to the Kingdom by 2030. 

"We're on a mission to shape the future of travel and meet guest's expectations of their travel experience," said Adam Boukadida, chief financial officer at Riyadh Air.  "Through our strategic partnership with Adobe, we will be able to create incredible, personalized experiences for our guests at every stage and every moment of their journey, from planning their trips towards booking and boarding their flight and towards the arrival destination across the world."

"As a new digitally native airline, Riyadh Air has an opportunity to push the boundaries of what's possible when it comes to delivering personalized, real-time digital experiences for air travelers," said Anil Chakravarthy, president, Digital Experience Business at Adobe.  "The airline's vision, combined with the power of Experience Cloud and generative AI, holds the promise of setting entirely new standards for digital experiences in the travel industry and beyond."

23 February, 2024

Rocket Lab to launch NRO mission from Wallops, Virginia

The mission will be Rocket Lab’s first NRO launch from Wallops, Virginia, following four previous successful launches for the agency from New Zealand 

Rocket Lab USA, a global leader in launch services and space systems, announced it will launch a dedicated mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from Launch Complex 2 in Wallops, Virginia, during a launch window that opens March 20th, 2024.   

The NROL-123 mission, called ‘Live and Let Fly’, will be Rocket Lab’s first launch for the NRO from the United States after previously launching four NRO missions from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. It will be Rocket Lab’s 4thmission from Launch Complex 2, a dedicated pad for the Electron rocket located at Virginia Spaceport Authority's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.  

15 February, 2024

Contracts awarded for novel software that will control future UK MOD satellites

The contracts will develop innovative software to provide a robust, secure and automated satellite control system for future UK MOD satellites.

The awards, as part of Project Beroe, will underpin government control of future satellite constellations, further enhancing the UK’s multi-domain integration efforts.

Worth a total of £4 million, the contracts were placed with Rhea in Bath and Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems UK in Oxfordshire. They will aid the agile development of software for satellite system management, designed to capture and process onboard system data to control and monitor the performance of the satellite.

Commodore David Moody, Head of Capability at Space Command, said:

"This is a pivotal moment for UK Defence and the UK Space Sector as we develop software and partnerships that will determine the future of how we manage our activities in space.

This project will enable us to define and understand how we will control and optimise the use of our satellites in a safe and sustainable way, and is an important part of UK MOD’s future satellite aspirations.

These contracts also support the wider goals of enabling growth in the Space Sector to develop resilient space capabilities and services."

The contracts were placed by the Space Delivery Team at Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the UK MOD, and support the UK’s National Space Strategy, reinforcing innovation within the Space Sector.

DE&S project manager Melanie MacDonald, said:

"We are developing critical software that will provide the UK government with direct control of a range of future satellites. As well as supporting wider government access to diverse satellite data, this capability will support UK Armed Forces operations and provide them with the edge they need to protect the nation."

05 February, 2024

The world’s first metal 3D printer for space is on its way to the ISS

The first metal 3D printer for space, developed by Airbus* for the European Space Agency (ESA), will soon be tested aboard the Columbus module of the International Space Station (ISS). It could be a real game changer for manufacturing in space and future missions to the Moon or Mars. 

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an industrial process that has opened up new ways of looking at how parts are designed. It has many uses from the day-to-day to the surprising: from simple repairs to bio-ink implants, from printing whole houses to producing spacecraft parts. 

Metal 3D printing makes life easier for astronauts

There are already several plastic 3D printers on board the International Space Station (ISS), the first of which arrived  in 2014. Astronauts have already used them to replace or repair plastic parts, since one of the major problems of everyday life in space is the supply of equipment, which can take months to arrive. But not everything can be made from plastic… 

This logistical constraint will intensify on future Moon and Mars stations in the next few decades. Even though the raw material still needs to be launched, printing the part is still more efficient than transporting it whole up to its final destination.

Gwenaëlle Aridon, Airbus Space Assembly lead engineer, says: “The metal 3D printer will bring new on-orbit manufacturing capabilities, including the possibility to produce load-bearing structural parts that are more resilient than a plastic equivalent. Astronauts will be able to directly manufacture tools such as wrenches or mounting interfaces that could connect several parts together. The flexibility and rapid availability of 3D printing will greatly improve astronauts’ autonomy.” 

The challenges of printing metal in space

BAE Systems takes over Malloy Aeronautics

BAE Systems confirmed at the end of last week it had acquired Malloy Aeronautics – a leading company in innovative heavy-lift drone and aeronautical technologies. 

Malloy Aeronautics designs and supplies all-electric uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) to both civil and military customers. Its range of uncrewed, heavy-lift quadcopters are capable of lifting payloads from 68kg to 300kg over short to medium-range missions.

These platforms offer interchangeable capabilities and greater flexibility at a fraction of the cost and time of more traditional methods, whilst minimising risk to more expensive assets and human life.

Malloy’s approximately 80 strong workforce will continue to operate from its site in Berkshire, supporting its existing customers. BAE Systems and Malloy, who have been working together in advancing cutting-edge UAS solutions since 2021, will further develop Malloy’s existing portfolio and accelerate new and novel technologies to customers worldwide.

Simon Barnes, Group Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Air sector, said: “Our acquisition of Malloy Aeronautics is part of our ongoing strategy to develop and invest in breakthrough technologies which augment our existing capabilities and provide our customers with the innovation they need in response to evolving requirements. We’re confident that the synergy between our two companies will pave the way for even greater achievements in uncrewed aerial systems and technologies.”

Oriol Badia, Chief Operating Officer of Malloy Aeronautics, said: “We’ve come a long way over the last ten years, turning our vision of sustainable electric heavy lift technology into reality, thanks to the dedication and efforts of our team. This new step in our journey with BAE Systems will allow us to combine the strengths and vision of a young company with the reach and support of an experienced one, ultimately giving our customers the ability to scale their demands and allow us to deliver innovative new products – including the T-650 – at pace.”