Today on Engineering Newswire, we’re 3D scanning “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, attempting to turn airports into spaceports with the help of DARPA, and taking a trip to the edge of space on a helium balloon.
3D Scanning “American Sniper” Chris Kyle
Florida-based sculptor Greg Marra uses his talents in the medium to honor warriors. “American Sniper” Chris Kyle is a Navy SEAL who, with 160 confirmed kills and 255 claimed kills, is recognized as America’s most successful sniper, and certainly fits Marra’s warrior criteria.
While Marra was tasked with recreating Kyle’s body, he reached out to Texas-based 3D-laser scanning company NVision, which volunteered it’s time and technology to make an exact replica of the Lapua Magnum PGM .338 rifle that Kyle used while in the military.
Turning Airports into Spaceports
At this year’s 18th Annual Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, D.C., director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, Bradford Tousley updated attendees on DARPA’s Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program.
So far, the program has successfully completed has one design, and has selected Boeing as the primary contractor for Phase 2 of the program, which includes conducting 12 orbital test launches of an integrated prototype system.
ALASA’s goal is to propel 100-pound satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) within 24 hours of call-up and for less than $1 million per launch, providing more affordable, routine and reliable access to space.
A Live Trip to the Edge of Space
About a year ago, two computer systems engineering students from Brunel University and their course director launched a helium-filled balloon with the aim of recording images and meteorological conditions from the edge of space.
The team of three worked for seven months to design software that controls cameras attached to the balloon, as well as hardware to take weather readings and provide telemetry so they could monitor where the balloon was at any time. The balloon ended up reaching 100,000 feet – more than three times higher than the cruise altitude of transatlantic passenger jets.
This year, the university is allowing anyone to register for a free live video streaming of their second scientific expedition taking place this month.
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Filed Under: Aerospace + defense