Archive for December, 2015

SpaceX Makes History with Reusable Rocket

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

photo Elon Musk/SpaceXElon Musk’s SpaceX rocket makes history! On December 21, 2015, The Falcon 9 successfully deployed 11 satellites into low-orbit and then landed back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida making it the first reusable rocket to enter space and return to earth! The trip took a little over 10 minutes.

Check out the video of the perfect landing:

Last month, Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, had a successful flight with a different type of rocket that went to the edge of space and then back to earth. Unlike the Falcon 9 which is for cargo and satellites, the Blue Origin rocket is for one day carrying passengers. See more:

FAA Announces Small UAS Registration Rule

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Registration Begins on December 21, 2015, First 30 Days are Free

December 14, 2015logoFAA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced a streamlined and user-friendly web-based aircraft registration process for owners of small unmanned aircraft (UAS) weighing more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams) and less than 55 pounds (approx. 25 kilograms) including payloads such as on-board cameras.

The Registration Task Force delivered recommendations to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on November 21. The rule incorporates many of the task force recommendations.

“Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiast are aviators, and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely. I’m excited to welcome these new aviators into the culture of safety and responsibility that defines American innovation.”

Registration is a statutory requirement that applies to all aircraft.  Under this rule, any owner of a small UAS who has previously operated an unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft prior to December 21, 2015, must register no later than February 19, 2016. Owners of any other UAS purchased for use as a model aircraft after December 21, 2015 must register before the first flight outdoors. Owners may use either the paper-based process or the new streamlined, web-based system.  Owners using the new streamlined web-based system must be at least 13 years old to register.

Owners may register through a web-based system at

Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.

Owners using the model aircraft for hobby or recreation will only have to register once and may use the same identification number for all of their model UAS. The registration is valid for three years.

The normal registration fee is $5, but in an effort to encourage as many people as possible to register quickly, the FAA is waiving this fee for the first 30 days (from Dec. 21, 2015 to Jan 20, 2016).

“We expect hundreds of thousands of model unmanned aircraft will be purchased this holiday season,” said FAA Administrator Huerta. “Registration gives us the opportunity to educate these new airspace users before they fly so they know the airspace rules and understand they are accountable to the public for flying responsibly.”

The online registration system does not yet support registration of small UAS used for any purpose other than hobby or recreation – for example, using an unmanned aircraft in connection with a business. The FAA is developing enhancements that will allow such online registrations by spring of 2016.

The full rule can be viewed

Contact: Les Dorr or Alison Duquette
Phone: (202) 267-3883


FAA: Fly Safe With Your Drone

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

You’re heading to the stores to buy that shiny new camera-equipped drone you’ve been yearning for. You can’t wait to get into the sky and let loose your inner high-flying aerial photographer, right?

Did you know you’re also going to become a pilot?

When you fly your drone anywhere in the nation’s airspace, you automatically become part of the U.S. aviation system. Under the law, your drone is an aircraft. So while the rules for drones may be different, you have the responsibility to operate safely, just as a Cessna or 747 pilot does.

The FAA has developed this safety checklist that you, as a pilot, should use whenever you send a drone into the Wild Blue Yonder. We want you to fly safe, fly smart – and have fun:


Here is a little more fun from Jeff Dunham & Bubba J about Drone Safety from!

SABRE: Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine

Friday, December 4th, 2015

What Is a Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE)?skylon:sabre

Is it a plane? Is it a rocket? Well, actually it’s both! The hybrid of a jet and rocket engine may be the future star of the aerospace industry. It is a ground breaking technology that will combine an ultrasonic jet able to travel more than 3,800 miles per hour or five times the speed of sound, with a rocket engine with enough power to send the same aircraft to space.

What Will It Be Able to Do?

Capable of hypersonic speeds, the SABRE could potentially get a traveler to anywhere on the globe within four hours. BAE Systems, a UK based company invested in Reaction Engines, a company that has been working for 20 years on SABRE.

The engine uses air breathing technology to burn hydrogen fuel like an ordinary jet. When the plane gets up to MACH 5, or five times the speed of sound, it can then go into its rocket operation and travel into space. On its return to earth, SABRE would have the capability to change rocket power back to jet power and land just like a conventional aircraft on a standard runway. This feature would do away with the enormous expense of replacing single-use disposable rocket stages that are in use today.

The Future and Some Challenges

In addition to the 32 million BAE has invested in the Reaction Engine, the government of the UK will come to the table with 90 million for research and development and a testing program for the engine. It is planned that by 2020, there will be an engine prototype demonstrator on the ground and a flying prototype by 2025. The hope is that barring any major roadblocks to the project, we could possibly see a SABRE spacecraft making flights within about 10 years. Hypersonic global travel, although exciting, is more of a challenge than is the space travel. Complex technological and safety concerns put this idea further in the future.

Animation showing the features of the SABRE engine and the Precooler

Animation showing some of the operational capabilities of the SKYLON spaceplane.