Aerospace America 2.0
By Ben Iannotta|September 2016
You’ve probably noticed that this issue of Aerospace America unveils a new look and feel. As the stories inside prove, one thing that has not changed is our commitment to dig into aerospace technologies and issues with a depth and clarity we know readers demand.
The cover story on planet-hunting technologies captures the human excitement and scientific understanding that would come with delivering a photo, even a rudimentary one, of an Earthlike planet. The article describes the technical tradeoffs between coronagraphs and starshades for teasing planetary photons from the blinding light of their host stars. I came away with a new appreciation for the technical work in this area, and a hope that there will always be a reasonable level of funding available in the U.S. and abroad for this kind of work.
“Carrier drone debate,” on page 28, shows why it’s hard for the U.S. and other countries to devote resources to knowledge for knowledge’s sake. It seems clear that the U.S. Navy’s decision to forgo an unmanned combat-intelligence plane was driven by budget considerations. The U.S. could be missing a chance to stay ahead of potential adversaries such as China, which is adopting a bolder military posture on the sea and in the air.