Dates For Your Diary; Permission To Launch; Silent Flight; Floating In Space

Dates For Your Diary

The annual National Science and Engineering Week has been extended to include engineering for the first time in 2007. There will be hundreds of engineering and science events taking place all over the country, including the Royal Aeronautical Society Ballantyne Event for Schools. You can find out how aerospace engineering influences our everyday lives, hear stories from pilots and engineers from across the aerospace industry, and take part in the Royal Aeronautical Society's workshops. These will give you a chance to find out more about aerospace career paths, with the added bonus of free entry and lunch provided!

National Science and Engineering Week takes place between 9-18 March 2007 - for more details visit www.the-ba.net/nsw. The Royal Aeronautical Society Ballantyne Event for Schools is on March 12, and for workshop registration details e-mail careers@raes.org.uk

Permission To Launch

The British Airports Authority (BAA) has launched an education website called Take Off and Learn, aimed at 14- to 19-year-olds and those interested in gaining vocational skills and work experience in order to get the knowledge and know-how to work in an airport environment.

Helen Murley, director of corporate responsibility for BAA, said: "BAA is committed to supporting the Government's 14- to 19-year-old education agenda through community programmes at all seven BAA airports in the UK. Our Take Off & Learn education website is just part of a programme designed to help young people develop key skills to support their personal development and future employability."

On the site you can find out all about the history of BAA's seven airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick, and the various vocational placements available. There are engineering apprenticeships, a scheme called Young Engineers that gives students the chance to design and develop an airport project, and Fulcrum, a charity offering learning opportunities to young people. There are even a few games that are supposedly aimed at primary school, but feel free to have a play!

Visit the site at www.baa.com/education

Silent Flight

Researchers from Cambridge University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) unveiled their revolutionary concept for a silent aircraft last month. Originally conceived as making a huge reduction in the noise experienced by people in the vicinity of airports, it also means a 25 per cent improvement in the fuel consumed in a typical flight.

The design is intended for the generation after next of aircraft for entry into service in 2030. It has many innovative features, including a body made up of a single flying wing - allowing for a slower approach and greater fuel efficiency - and the engines are mounted on top of the aircraft, screening noise from the ground.

Professor Ann Dowling of Cambridge University, who led the UK research team, said "This project has brought industry, academia and other stakeholders together [and] has captured the enthusiasm and imagination of all partners. The students involved have learnt a lot as members of this integrated product team."

For more information visit www.silentaircraft.org

Floating In Space

Virgin Galactic recently unveiled a mock-up of the slick, Philippe Starck-designed interior of SpaceShipTwo (SS2), the craft that is set to carry passengers up into space in the next few years.

The cabin is more than three times as large as that of the X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne (SS1), accommodating six passengers and two pilots, and allowing plenty of room during the estimated five minutes of weightlessness the vehicle will achieve when it reaches its peak.

Fifteen porthole windows will give passengers the opportunity to see Earth from many angles during their free-floating period, with views stretching approximately 1,000 miles in all directions.

Richard Branson points out how environmentally friendly the SS2 is. "We've created a fuel for SS2 that can launch eight people into space while expending the same amount of carbon dioxide as a single business-class seat on a New York-to-London flight."

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