Today's Engineering Newswire looks at traveling in our very own solar-powered pods, picking up space garbage, and wreaking havoc in extreme off-road testing.
Personal Solar-Powered Pods: Back in 1999, a company named JPods was founded with the aim of designing and building computerized “personal rapid transport” networks that could be solar powered. The company claims their pod system is safer, faster, cleaner, and more affordable than using cars, busses, or rail.
Well, after a decade and a half of designing and raising funds, the company is finally making plans to test their personal rapid transport system in Secaucus, New Jersey this fall. According to the company, they eventually plan to deploy networks of horizontal elevators that provide short to medium range travel using super light, computer controlled vehicles that are suspended from rail, mounted on elevated structures.
Lockheed Martin Wreaks Havoc in Extreme Off-Road testing: After ten days of testing, Lockheed Martin’s Havoc 8x8 Armored Modular Vehicle has successfully completed the Nevada Automotive Test Center’s Butte Mountain Trail course. A mile long course, and one of the most intense off-road test tracks in the world, it features nearly 1,000 feet of elevation change.
The testing was performed by Lockheed Martin in order to validate the vehicle as a potential solution to the Marine’s need for a robust amphibious vehicle.
Pick Up Your Garbage: According to Dr. Lewis, a leading space debris expert from the University of Southampton, more 10 cm-cubed satellites are hitting the high skies, which could cause quite a problem, particularly with our relaxed attitude to debris mitigation. Could lead to big problems for all space users unless something is done soon.
Dr. Lewis and his team used their Debris Analysis and Monitoring Architecture to the Geosynchronous Environment model to simulate future CubeSat launch traffic scenarios until the year 2043. By comparing these with data from the last 8 years, the team found CubeSats to be involved in millions of close approaches, with a handful leading to a collision. Analysis of the close approaches found that most of the collision risk comes from high-speed encounters with large spacecraft.
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