Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from the vessel around 2am this morning

ADV Ocean Shield has arrived back in the search area.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from the vessel around 2am this morning. It remains underwater on its search mission.

Over the next week, Bluefin-21 will search the remaining areas in the vicinity of the acoustic signals detected in early April by the Towed Pinger Locator deployed from Ocean Shield that are within its depth operating limits.

This continues the process that will ultimately enable the search team to discount or confirm the area of the acoustic signals as the final resting place of MH370.

Ocean Shield is anticipated to depart the search area on 28 May and return to Fleet Base West on 31 May where it will demobilise the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle equipment and disembark the support team.

The Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen departed Fremantle yesterday to begin conducting the bathymetric survey of the areas provided by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The bathymetric survey—or mapping of the ocean floor—is being done in preparation for a commercially contracted deep ocean search, including towed side-scan sonar operations.

Chinese ship Haixun 01 will today begin transiting to the survey area to support the survey operations, including the weekly transportation of survey data to Fremantle for further processing by Geoscience Australia.

The Australian Defence Force’s Military Coordination and Sub-Surface Planning team, in consultation with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, will partner with Chinese units to conduct the survey.

The work continues to review and analyse all the data and information relating to the likely flight path of MH370, together with the information acquired in the course of the search to date. This work will confirm the best areas on which to focus an effective future search.

JACC Media Release
22 May 2014—pm

 

NASA’s Saucer-Shaped Craft Preps for Flight Test

A saucer-shaped test vehicle holding equipment for landing large payloads on Mars is shown in the Missile Assembly Building at the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kaua’i, Hawaii. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project, a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle, has completed final assembly at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

This experimental flight test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit future Mars missions, including those involving human exploration. Three weeks of testing, simulations and rehearsals are planned before the first launch opportunity on the morning of June 3. LDSD was built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and shipped to Kauai for final assembly and preparations.

“Our Supersonic Flight Dynamics Test Vehicle number 1 arrived at the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on April 17,” said Mark Adler, project manager of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project from JPL. “Since then, we have been preparing it for flight. One of the last big assemblies occurred on April 30, when we mated the vehicle with its Star-48 booster rocket.”

During the June experimental flight test, a balloon will carry the test vehicle from the Hawaii Navy facility to an altitude of about 120,000 feet. There, it will be dropped and its booster rocket will quickly kick in and carry it to 180,000 feet, accelerating to Mach 4. Once in the very rarified air high above the Pacific, the saucer will begin a series of automated tests of two breakthrough technologies.

In order to get larger payloads to Mars, and to pave the way for future human explorers, cutting-edge technologies like LDSD are critical. Among other applications, this new space technology will enable delivery of the supplies and materials needed for long-duration missions to the Red Planet.

The upper layers of Earth’s stratosphere are the most similar environment available to match the properties of the thin atmosphere of Mars. The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator mission developed this test method to ensure the best prospects for effective testing of the new and improved technologies here on Earth.

Anyone with Internet access will be able to watch live as video from the June test is relayed from the vehicle to the ground. The low-resolution images from the saucer are expected to show the vehicle dropping away from its high-altitude balloon mothership and then rocketing up to the very edge of the stratosphere. The test vehicle will then deploy an inflatable Kevlar tube around itself, called the Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (SIAD). After the SIAD inflates, the test vehicle will deploy a mammoth parachute called the Supersonic Disk Sail Parachute.

While people watching at home may be fascinated by how these two new technologies operate, the NASA flight team will actually be concentrating on a more fundamental question – “Will the test vehicle work as planned?”

“This first test is a true experimental flight test,” said Ian Clark, the LDSD principal investigator from JPL. “Our goal is to get this first-of-its-kind test vehicle to operate correctly at very high speeds and very high altitudes. “

Although there is no guarantee that this first test will be successful, regardless of the outcome, the LDSD team expects to learn a great deal from the test. NASA has two more saucer-shaped test vehicles in the pipeline, with plans to test them from Hawaii in summer of 2015.

“We are pushing the envelope on what we know,” said Clark. “We are accepting higher risk with these test flights than we would with a space mission, such as the Mars Science Laboratory. We will learn a great deal even if these tests, conducted here in Earth’s atmosphere at relatively low cost, fail to meet some of the mission objectives.”

As NASA plans increasingly ambitious robotic missions to Mars, laying the groundwork for even more complex human science expeditions to come, the spacecraft needed to land safely on the Red Planet’s surface will become larger and heavier. This new technology will enable those important missions.

More information about LDSD is at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/ldsd/

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LDSD mission, a cooperative effort led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL is home to the LDSD project manager, Mark Adler, and its principal investigator, Ian Clark. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, manages LDSD within the Technology Demonstration Mission Program Office. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is coordinating support with the Pacific Missile Range Facility and providing the balloon systems for the LDSD test.

DC Agle
818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle@jpl.nasa.gov

2014-154

Dragon heads home

 

 

Publicado el 18/05/2014

A month after delivering more than 2.5 tons of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station, the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft departed the orbital outpost May 18 and headed for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean near Baja, California. Dragon’s departure marked the end of the third commercial resupply flight for SpaceX to the station.

Source: NASA

Bluefin 21 Searching for Malaysia 370: the Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) connection

 

Publicado el 14/05/2014

Insight into how unmanned underwater vehicles are aiding in the search for the missing Malaysia 370 Boeing 777 airliner. John Keller discusses with David Kelly, president and CEO of Bluefin Robotics, whose company is provided the unmanned submersibles that are spearheading the search.

Source: Military & Aerospace Electronics

 

Bluefin-2. Spare parts for both defects will be dispatched from the United Kingdom

As advised yesterday, the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was recovered about two hours into its first mission since returning to the search area so a communications problem could be investigated.

During the recovery, Bluefin-21 was damaged but was able to be repaired expeditiously with spare parts on board the ADV Ocean Shield.

Examination of the communications problem has established that a hardware defect exists in the transponder mounted on the Ocean Shield and that a defect may also exist in the transponder mounted on the Bluefin-21. This inhibits the ability of the two devices to communicate with each other.

As a consequence, spare parts for both defects will be dispatched from the United Kingdom. The parts are expected to arrive in Western Australia on Sunday.

Ocean Shield is currently en route to Dampier, Western Australia, to receive the transponder parts. The journey is anticipated to take a number of days. At this stage, Ocean Shield is expected go alongside so engineers can make a full assessment of the transponder repairs.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre will provide further information regarding the serviceability of Bluefin-21 and the movements of Ocean Shield as it becomes available.

Source: JACC

Bluefin-21 was deployed from Ocean Shield yesterday afternoon but was recovered about two hours later to investigate communications problems

14 May 2014—pm. After a short port visit, the ADV Ocean Shield yesterday returned to the vicinity of the acoustic signals acquired by the Towed Pinger Locator in April to continue the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from Ocean Shieldyesterday afternoon but was recovered about two hours later to investigate communications problems. Work continues to rectify the issue and to date, Bluefin-21 has not redeployed.

The international search effort presently includes assets from Australia, the People’s Republic of China, Malaysia and the United States.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) has relocated from Perth to Canberra and is based at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The JACC now includes a Military Coordination and Sub-Surface Planning Cell, which includes a Royal Australian Navy Hydrographer and US Navy Sea Systems Command representative.

Preparations to conduct the bathymetric survey are continuing. A Chinese survey ship is now in the search area and will assist in preparations for future operations.

Vessels from Australia, Malaysia and China and a RAAF aircraft remain on standby should any debris on the surface require investigation.

Source: JACC

Bluefin 21 smashed into the Australian vessel Ocean Shield, losing a day in the search

May 13, 2014 8:19 PM– Crews are battling rough conditions as they continue to search for the missing Malaysian airliner.

Satellite tracking companies are looking at ways to improve tracking methods for planes flying out of radar range.

Bluefin 21 smashed into the Australian vessel Ocean Shield, losing a day in the search. The underwater vehicle had its propeller torn, tail ripped off and electronics bay damaged on its first day back in the search zone.

Struggling with wind and 3′ to 5′ waves, the damage happened as crews hoisted it on deck for inspection. The day’s mission was aborted and no data was collected.

The Bluefin was repaired and resumed its search within hours.

WDAM.COM – TV 7 – Video CNN

Half a world away, the consensus is never again. In a bid to prevent another Flight 370, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the aviation arm of the United Nations, said all jetliners should be tracked continuously, especially in the most remote parts of the world.

By the end of the year, airlines with international flights will voluntarily start this global tracking. Some have already started, but there’s no timeline for when binding standards and regulations mandating global flight tracking will go into effect.

“We feel that it is fairly important factor that we’re moving as quickly as possible because the flying public deserves to have even more safe conditions when they fly,” said Kevin Hiatt, International Air Transportation Association senior vice president of safety and flight operations.

The group’s recommendations are advisory but usually become law. The ongoing mystery of Flight 370 is fueling urgency to act now.

Satellite tracking companies are jockeying for favor among airlines. Immarsat, the British company whose analysis led crews to the search zone, said they’ll track planes for free. Competing companies like Globalstar are making a pitch too.

“You can continuously track one second at a time for continuously across any trip and know exactly where an airplane is. That is invaluable, and in the case of 370, it would have told us whether the plane turned, whether the plane continued straight and when it stopped emitting all together,” said Jay Monroe, CEO and chairman of Globalstar.

There’s still no concrete evidence about what went wrong onboard Flight 370, but its disappearance is about to change the way all planes in the air are tracked.

A special task force will release recommendations for global flight tracking in another four months. Flights are tracked now using radar, satellite technology and position reports, but there are dead spots when it comes to those methods. The task force is working on global tracking that would work even if planes are over the Indian Ocean and out of radar’s reach.

Source: Wdam