There are already exciting things happening on the aeronautical horizon this year, and in 2022, innovation reached new heights in the worlds of Aerospace, Aviation and Space. In case you missed any of it, here are some of the coolest advancements that were made last year!
January: Fully 3D Printed Satellites from Fleet Space
Fleet Space, an Australian satellite developer, announced the future launch of a fully 3D printed set of satellites.
February: The James Webb Space Telescope
In February, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope took its first photos, which were released to the public in July. JWST is the largest optical telescope in space, and it can peer backwards in time to 13 billion years ago to take photos of the universe as it was.
& February: First Autonomous Black Hawk
Black Hawk helicopters, a product of a DARPA program called ALIAS which stands for Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System, launched their first ever autonomous flight and landing.
April: New Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group launched
A new Zero Emission Flight Delivery Group was launched to focus on catapulting latest innovations in aviation decarbonisation technology to further efforts to make zero emission flight a reality.
May: Starliner by Boeing
Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule finally took to the skies and docked at the ISS successfully, before relanding back on earth safely, making it a reusable capsule for getting astronauts into orbit.
June: The CAPSTONE mission launches
The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE™) mission launched at the end of June. This small spacecraft finder is gathering operational data ahead of part of the Artemis program that will land the first woman and first person of colour on the moon.
& June: Zipline Drone Acoustic Sensors
Drone delivery company Zipline has turned to using sound so that unmanned drones can detect potential obstacles. They use eight microphones on the drone’s wings to listen out for approaching objects.
July: Parallel Reality by Delta
The world’s first-ever Parallel Reality experience is now live for Delta customers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. This innovative display allows up to 100 customers to each see their personalised flight information from a single digital screen at the same time. The tech behind the system works because the pixels in the display itself can each shine in one of about 18,000 directions.
September: DART Collides with Asteroid (on purpose)
NASA sent a spacecraft called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, to impact with a far away asteroid to see if the impact could cause the asteroid to change it’s orbit… and it worked! Diomorphos’s orbit around its companion asteroid Didymos shifted more that NASA anticipated.
October: Alice by Eviation
The first ever battery powered passenger plane took to the skies for a test flight, which could significantly reshape the way short flights are made in the future, as it is has the capabilities of being powered through emissions-free technology.
November: Electronic bag tags by Alaska Airlines
An electronic bag tag has been created, allowing for flyers with Alaska Airlines to use their mobile phones to create their luggage tag on this device’s e-ink display while at home, allowing for them to skip the queues at the airport.
December: Hair-thin Wireless Sensors
Wireless sensors as thin as human hair are being developed to be integrated into composite materials embedded in aerospace components, allowing for companies to monitor the condition of parts from manufacture to recycling. The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is researching this with the aim of extending the life span of aeronautical structures, improving their quality and reducing cost.
How did we do? Did we miss any major exciting developments that occurred in the world of aerospace, aviation and space in 2022? Let us know!