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Private Space, Threat Detection, COTS

Dated: 3 Nov 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Security, Technology

Private Space: Investigators cited possible pilot error in the deadly explosion of Virgin Galactic’s space plane. The space plane was in development to conduct commercial passenger flights in space and occurred a few days after Orbital’s rocket exploded after lift-off.  The back-to-back accidents raise inevitable questions about the safety and reliability of the emerging private space industry. In related news, China celebrated the return of a moon probe, which successfully orbited the planet and returned to earth on Saturday.

Threat Detection: Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University have developed scanners that find concealed weapons in real-time and instantly alert officials. The machines work at a distance of up to 20 meters/65 feet using low-power millimeter-wave radar signals that reflect off a weapon and back to the scanner.

COTS: The United Arab Emirates is in discussions with Textron AirLand about becoming an early customer for Textron’s new Scorpion jet, according to sources.  The Scorpion’s roots go back a decade to when entrepreneurs started developing so-called very light jets carrying four or five passenger that used composite materials, lean manufacturing techniques and off-the-shelf parts. More than half of the Scorpion prototype was built using parts developed for the Citation jet. Another 20% were acquired off the shelf.

Brazil, 3-D Printing, ISIS

Dated: 27 Oct 2014
Posted by Christine Chan
Category: International, Security, Technology, Uncategorized


Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff was reelected on Sunday with 51.6 percent of the vote—the narrowest win in thirty years of Brazilian elections. After a tumultuous election, Rousseff must not only reconcile a politically divided country, but also revive a stagnant economy as Brazil entered a recession earlier this year. Meanwhile, shares of Petrobras plummeted 15% on the news.

3-D Printing: 3-D printing at the micro-scale, which was previously unachievable, has been accomplished by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers. Using additive manufacturing to develop “smarter” silicone cushions and by architecting the structure at this level, they are able to control macro-scale properties previously impossible with foam materials. The researchers are aiming to replace the foams currently in defense and aerospace applications.

ISIS: the Islamic State’s recruitment of children as young as six, and what it means for the long-term fight against Islamic extremism: “The Islamic State has put in place a far-reaching and well-organized system for recruiting children, indoctrinating them with the group’s extremist beliefs, and then teaching them rudimentary fighting skills and subjecting them to witness executions. The militants are preparing for a long war against the West, and hope the children being trained today will still be fighting years from now. While there are no hard figures for how many children are involved, refugee stories and evidence collected by the United Nations, human rights groups, and journalists suggest that the indoctrination and military training of children is widespread.”