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Engineering news

Huge drone will launch satellites to orbit: 10 top stories of the week

Professional Engineering

The autonomous RavnX drone from Aevum is designed to launch satellites (Credit: YouTube screenshot from Aevum video)
The autonomous RavnX drone from Aevum is designed to launch satellites (Credit: YouTube screenshot from Aevum video)

Search on for future home of prototype fusion plant

Professional Engineering

The search is on for the future home of the UK’s prototype fusion power plant after the government invited local communities to suggest potential sites. Strong grid connectivity and proximity to water will be a must for the successful application to host Step (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), which will need at least 100 hectares (1km2).

Crystalline material could store and release Sun’s heat on demand

Professional Engineering

The Sun’s energy could be trapped and released as heat months later thanks to a porous crystalline material, researchers have said. The material, based on a type of metal-organic framework (MOF), could capture solar energy during the summer months and store it for winter, the team from Lancaster University said.

’World’s biggest drone’ provides satellite launch option

New Atlas

US start-up Aevum has revealed what it claims is the biggest drone in the world, an autonomous winged aircraft designed to launch satellites into orbit. The company said a fleet of the RavnX vehicles could launch a satellite every three hours.

EV batteries pushed to their limits at Millbrook

Professional Engineering

The end of petrol is in sight, and electric cars are set to take over. Before that happens, however, EV batteries need testing – lots and lots of it. We spoke to the chief engineer at Millbrook Proving Ground, where they are pushing batteries to their limit, and sometimes beyond.

Boeing flies autonomous jets

Aerospace Testing International

Boeing has completed flight tests of five unmanned jets. The aircraft demonstrated autonomous technology which could be used on the Loyal Wingman, an unmanned military aircraft designed to fly alongside human-piloted planes.

NMITE launches with free first year

Professional Engineering

A new engineering university has invited applicants to fill 50 places after officially opening this week. Successful applicants for NMITE’s (New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering) ‘pioneer cohort’ will have their academic fees and accommodation costs covered in full for their first year. The Hereford university will run a three-year master’s degree in integrated engineering.

Hybrid technology trial aims for smooth integration of renewables

Professional Engineering

A new hybrid system will inject or absorb energy from the transmission network to maintain voltage levels as renewable power levels fluctuate. The technology, being tested in a new year-long trial at Hitachi ABB Power Grids, could aid the smooth transition from conventional energy generation to renewable power by compensating for variable sources such as wind and solar.

MIT computer system generates robot designs

Professional Engineering

Choosing the right shape is vital for a robot's ability to traverse a particular terrain, but it is impossible to build and test every potential form. Now, however, an MIT system known as RoboGrammar could solve that problem by simulating designs and working out which is the best fit.

UK and France order unmanned minehunters


Thales will supply the UK and France with four remotely operated naval minehunters each after the two countries signed a joint contract. The systems include an unmanned surface vessel, a towed sonar and a remotely operated underwater vehicle to neutralise mines.

‘First of its kind’ facility to investigate hydrogen supply for homes and industry

Professional Engineering

A ‘first of its kind’ hydrogen research facility will investigate how existing transmission assets could supply hydrogen to heat homes and deliver green energy to industry. Carried out ‘offline’ to prevent risks to the national gas transmission network, the £12.7m National Grid project is funded by Ofgem.

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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