Feature

Dueling strategies

By Keith Button and Cat Hofacker

March 2020

The companies leading the resurgent interest in supersonic travel have unique visions for how to normalize flight at speeds over Mach 1. Keith Button and Cat Hofacker tell the story.

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Engineering Notebook

3D-printed ceramics

By Keith Button

March 2020

Making a single hypersonic weapon or space launch vehicle is one thing. Mass producing them is quite another. The strong, heat-resistant ceramic components they require are extremely difficult to produce. Keith Button spoke to materials scientists who think they have the solution.
Opinion

How movies inspire innovation

March 2020

A good movie or TV show can do more than transport us to another world for two hours. It can stimulate engineers and scientists to take on thorny questions that will propel their careers. A movie may even have encouraged one billionaire to launch a rocket company. Amir S. Gohardani takes a look at the symbiosis between fiction and facts.
Case Study

Debris sweeper

March 2020

The large constellation builders are starting to launch their satellites now, despite a lack of consensus about how best to clear away worn-out or malfunctioning satellites. Enter Astroscale, a startup headquartered in Tokyo with offices in the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore. The company is about to conduct an orbital demonstration of a magnetic cleanup technique. Astroscale’s Jason Forshaw explains how the mission will work.

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