Welcome to this week’s Engineering360 newsbrief.
Space X Dragon
On its 14th resupply mission to the International Space Station, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft riding on the Falcon 9 rocket delivered more than 5,800 pounds of equipment to support dozens of investigations in space. According to SpaceX, the launch went off without any major problems. The payload includes a storm hunting instrument supplied by ESA as well as a British-built space debris hunter. In addition, there is a new facility to test materials, coatings and components, an experiment to study the effects of microgravity on bone marrow and the blood cells it produces, a new hydroponics experiment and general supplies. Dragon will remain on the International Space Station until May when it returns to Earth with more than 3,500 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.
Floating Wind Farm
A consortium of power and engineering firms are advancing on what could be the first wind farm off the coast of California. The Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a local government power agency in northern California, said a select group of companies would help drive the development of a possible 100 to 150 MW floating wind farm off the coast of Humboldt County. The project scope envisions using turbines of up to 8 MW in capacity and in water depths as great as 900 meters. The power authority says it will finalize a partnership agreement with the companies in the coming weeks, working toward the goal of submitting a lease application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the spring of 2018 through the bureau's unsolicited lease request process.
Drones Map Volcano
Drones have been deployed to create a 3D model of a volcano using its thermal signature. While thermal imaging of volcanoes isn’t new, this groundbreaking method to map one of the world’s most active volcanoes may offer a means to advance how volcanoes are monitored. Researchers from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and University of Oslo, Norway, mounted high-precision cameras on an aerial drone to image Italy’s Stromboli volcano. Hundreds of aerial photographs were stitched together to create a 3D model that maps the surface. The resulting images can be analyzed to detect subtle changes inside the volcano that may signal a pending eruption. The drones can also be used to carry portable seismometer and gas sensor payloads in areas deemed too hazardous for scientists to survey in person.
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