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11 May 05. Scientists at the Cornell University in Ithaca, New York have created small robots that can build copies of themselves. Each robot consists of several 10-cm (4 inch) cubes which have identical machinery, electromagnets to attach and detach to each other and a computer program for replication. The robots can bend and pick up and stack the cubes. “Although the machines we have created are still simple compared with biological self-reproduction, they demonstrate that mechanical self-reproduction is possible and not unique to biology,” Hod Lipson said in a report in the science journal Nature on Wednesday. He and his team believe the design principle could be used to make long term, self-repairing robots that could mend themselves and be used in hazardous situations and on space flights. The experimental robots, which don’t do anything else except make copies of themselves, are powered through contacts on the surface of the table and transfer data through their faces. They self-replicate by using additional modules placed in special “feeding locations.” The machines duplicate themselves by bending over and putting their top cube on the table. Then they bend again, pick up another cube, put it on top of the first and repeat the entire process. As the new robot begins to take shape it helps to build itself. “The four-module robot was able to construct a replica in 2.5 minutes by lifting and assembling cubes from the feeding locations,” said Lipson.
09 May 05. BAE Systems’ radiation hardened microprocessors (RAD750) are supporting another U.S. space exploration, this time for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Experimental Satellite System-11 (XSS-11) spacecraft. The mission was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., April 11, boosting the satellite into Earth orbit. The RAD750 single board computer, built at BAE Systems’ Manassas, Va., facility, is the backbone of the spacecraft’s command and data handling system, designed by Broad Reach Engineering Company.
10 May 05. The U.S. Navy this week begins Operational Evaluation of the MH-60R Weapons System, the next generation submarine hunter and surface attack helicopter that will replace the fleet’s legacy SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft. Designed as a rigorous assessment of the aircraft and its mission systems in operational flight conditions, Operational Evaluation is the aircraft’s final test phase before fleet introduction and delivery. Navy evaluators gave the authorization to begin Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) at an April 22 Operations Test Readiness Review meeting. The decision followed the helicopter’s successful completion of the Navy’s six-month-long developmental test phase, known as Technical Evaluation, in February. The Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VX-1), based at Patuxent River, Md, will perform the operational evaluation at various test ranges, and is expected to conclude in September. Specifically, VX-1 will evaluate the performance of the MH-60R aircraft and its on-board weapons subsystems, including the multimode radar, electronic support measures and radar warning receiver, airborne dipping sonar and acoustics. The fusion of multiple data sources for most effective workload management and decision-making also will be evaluated.
10 May 05. Lockheed Martin delivered its first Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS), also known as Arrowhead(TM), for the AH-64 Apache helicopter to the U.S. Army today during the Army Aviation Association of America’s national convention in Orlando, FL. The Lockheed Martin Arrowhead system was presented to U.S. Army Apache Project Manager COL Ralph Pallotta by Tom Simmons, vice president, Fire Control for Lockheed Martin. More than 300 attendees were on hand for the ceremony, including U.S. Army dignitaries, Team Apache Systems subcontracto