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Video Exclusives

Sandia conducts alternative pyroshock testing

A 100lb solid steel projectile, fired from Sandia National Laboratories’ 6in gas gun, impacts material on a resonant bar attached to a test article. The impact initiates a wave that travels through the resonant bar assembly into the test article, simulating a stage separation pyroshock event.

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06 September, 2017

Flying Test Bed farewell

As GE's original B747 flying testbed heads for retirement, hear from the pilots who flew the aircraft for more than 25 years with 39 different engine builds.

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21 August, 2017


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Do you see a strong industry demand for more flight test pilots and flight test engineers to work in the ever-growing civil aviation sector? And if so, are the skills required any different from those needed for the defense sector?


Successful test for satellite dispenser structure

Airbus has successfully tested the dispenser structure that will hold twin satellites GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On) as they are launched.


The dispenser was developed by Airbus in Spain, a specialist in multi-payload structures for multiple launches, for the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam. The structure was developed in less than a year, in classical configuration. It features a central carbon fiber cylinder with the satellites held in place by four hold-down and release mechanisms, each with springs, connectors, and the necessary harnesses. The test looked at mechanical and electrical compatibility between the satellites, the dispenser, and the launcher.

The satellites are being developed and manufactured by Airbus (Friedrichshafen) on behalf of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Based in Pasadena, California and managed by Caltech on behalf of NASA, JPL will partner with GFZ to send both GRACE-FO research satellites into a polar orbit at an altitude of around 500km, 220km apart. This is a follow-on to the GRACE mission, which has been successfully operating since 2002. Both satellites will continually take precise measurements of their separation distance, which changes depending on the Earth’s gravity, thus enabling scientists to map the Earth’s gravitational fields.


Written by Michael Jones

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