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05 May 06. Mobile masts signal rain showers. Storms disrupt the signals between mobile phone masts. The signals from mobile phone masts have been used to measure rainfall patterns in Israel, scientists report. A team from the University of Tel-Aviv analysed information routinely collected by mobile networks to make their estimates. Writing in the journal Science, the researchers say their technique is more accurate than current methods used by meteorological services. The scientists believe the technique can also measure snowfall, hail or fog. “It may also be important because if you know there is heavy rainfall – you can warn about floods,” Professor Hagit Messer-Yaron, of the University of Tel-Aviv, told the BBC News website. The team’s method exploits the fact that the strength of electromagnetic signals is weakened by certain types of weather and particularly rain. The data is a by-product of mobile network operators’ need to monitor signal strength. If bad weather causes a signal to drop, an automatic system analysing the data boosts the signal to make sure that people can still use their mobile phones. The amount of reduction in signal strength gave the researchers an indication of how much rain had fallen. When they compared their estimates with measurements from traditional monitoring methods, such as radar and rain gauges, they discovered that the readings from all three closely matched. But overall the new technique seems to give more precise measurements than radar and was able to monitor a greater area. (Source: BBC)

10 May 06. Lockheed Martin conducted a successful Control Test Vehicle (CTV) flight test of its Loitering Attack Missile (LAM) recently at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. This latest flight test of the new square body LAM airframe included a turbojet and demonstrated launch through transition to cruise.
A more extended cruise was hindered by fuel issues that were promptly identified, reported and addressed. One more flight test remains in the series to demonstrate LAM end-to-end performance. During this flight, the LAM launched vertically from a container launch unit; maintained stability during rocket powered ascent using a fin-control actuation system and a commercial IMU; maintained stability during wing deployment; started a micro turbojet engine with integral electrical generator; executed a high-G maneuver to limit altitude; transitioned to cruise; established a commercial GPS fix; and maneuvered and navigated to the initial waypoint. The onboard telemetry subsystem provided real-time observation of all onboard operations including a nose mounted color TV camera recording the missile view through a clear glass nose dome. Building on a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) NetFires predecessor, this new, innovative square-body LAM airframe features more room for fuel, bigger wings and bigger fins for extended loiter time and improved control, a more fuel efficient turbojet and an Aerojet annular rocket motor. The airframe, seeker, electronics, fuel system and software suite were designed and integrated by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, TX. Key subsystems of LAM included a miniature turbojet from Technical Directions Inc., in Ortonville, MI, a motor that shares heritage with an air-launched predecessor; a control actuation system from Moog, Inc., in Buffalo, NY, with precision electro-mechanical actuators common with the Precision Attack Missile (PAM); and control surfaces made using advanced low-cost production technology at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (Skunk Works), in Palmdale, CA. The test flight’s launcher was a collaborative Container Launch Unit (CLU), provided by the NLOS-LS Project Office and fabricated by its Prototype Integration Facility (PIF).

11 May 06. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) radar built by Raytheon Company performed flawlessly

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