A lot of the technology people enjoy using every day, such as GPS, began as highly classified projects in the U.S. Air Force. Now get a closer look at some of the latest STEM projects and innovations the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force are are currently working on.
There was a time when it would’ve been hard to imagine a pilotless plane flying solely on artificial intelligence. Now the U.S. Air Force is in the process of adding exactly that to our aircraft portfolio. Under Project Skyborg, future high-risk missions will be mitigated by having fighter jets accompanied by AI-enabled, combat aerial vehicles.
Since the Air Force plans to build a fleet of Skyborgs, we can be more strategic about where we deploy our assets and our Airmen. If it’s a high-risk mission, we will be able to employ an unmanned, AI-guided jet. Then once the mission’s completed, an Airman will retrieve the jet at an off-base location, since Skyborgs don’t require a conventional runway to take off or land.
Right now there’s an estimated 8,000 metric tons of space debris in Earth’s orbit. Space debris is mostly comprised of man-made objects that no longer serve a purpose in space, anything from out-of-service satellites to paint chips from a past satellite collision. It’s crucial we identify, track and record these pieces of debris, because even a tiny piece could be catastrophic to any of our orbiting assets.
While CSpOC is responsible for tracking space debris and making sure our satellites steer clear from collisions, they also monitor the International Space Station (ISS) and other NASA satellites.
Airmen push their bodies to the limit, whether it’s in training or during a mission. To prevent injury and to keep our Airmen safe, we equip them with the most advanced wearable technology such as sensors integrated into shirts and health-monitoring patches. This technology helps increase mission effectiveness and allows for crucial information to be transmitted quickly and seamlessly.
The connection between biology and technology has enabled us to develop the Airmen of tomorrow. As the Air Force Research Lab creates new applications for wearable technology, we continue to be the most advanced air force in the world.
The X-37B, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), is a reusable spacecraft that’s logged more than eight years in orbit over the course of multiple missions. Its latest experiment involves using a solar-powered microwave laser, or maser, to bring wireless energy to ground level.
One of the X-37B’s future missions will include the FalconSat-8, an Air Force Academy satellite that will be performing its own unspecified experiments once released into its own orbit, on the same path as the X-37B.
Since the U.S. Air Force first launched GPS, it’s been a global tool used in a plethora of industries. Air traffic control, banking, cellular networks, farming and every military branch all depend on uninterrupted GPS coverage. Now with the introduction of GPS III overseen by the U.S. Space Force, our satellites have the most accurate and the most advanced anti-jamming capabilities.
While GPS III signal and accuracy is important for the Space Force, it’s also crucial for civilians. Without GPS technology, we wouldn’t be able to access the internet, call our friends and family or make purchases using our credit cards. It’s also responsible for time-stamping transactions in the world financial market, so companies have consistent records and can trace transactions accurately.
Discover other ways we are using breakthrough technology to overcome everyday challenges.
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