It’s A Bird, It’s Not A Plane, It’s A Spy Drone!

This would make an awesome cat toy!

Hummingbird spy drone developed for DARPA

Under a contract from DARPA, AeroVironment Unmanned Aircraft Systems has created a hummingbird spy drone, the first two-wing, flapping-wing aircraft that carries its own energy source and can hover as well as move forwards.

The Nano Hummingbird can climb and descend vertically and fly sideways, forwards and backwards, as well as rotating clockwise and counter-clockwise, under remote control and carrying a video camera payload.

During a demonstration, the Nano Hummingbird flew in and out of a building through a normal-size doorway.

The hand-made prototype has a wingspan of 6.5 inches tip-to-tip and weighs less than an AA battery. It can be fitted with a removable body fairing, shaped like a real hummingbird and about the same size.

See also:
It’s a bird! It’s a spy! It’s both
Robot Hummingbird Spy Drone Flies for Eight Minutes, Spies on Bad Guys
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Spy tech: DARPA demonstrates Nano Hummingbird spy drone
DARPA Backs Hummingbird Like Spy Robot
Small hummingbird aircraft flaps like a bird, weighs less than a Duracell
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Tiny ‘Hummingbird’ May Someday Fly Spy Missions For The Military
Robotic hummingbird is right out of a James Bond film
Technology: James Bond’s hummingbird
Bird Bond: ‘Nano Hummingbird’ Drone Takes Spying to the Sky
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Watch a hummingbird-shaped spy drone flutter around, steal your secrets
AeroVironment, Inc.: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Although this is a prodigious display of technological achievement, there’s a major drawback to developing a hummingbird spy drone, hummingbirds are only found in North, South, and Central America. So, besides Venezuela, it’s pretty much worthless for covert spying against almost all the global enemies of the United States.

/now, if they could reduce it down to insect size . . .

Missed It By That Much

Oops.

Unmanned capsule misses space station

An unmanned Russian cargo ship sailed past the International Space Station instead of docking on autopilot, as engineers on Earth struggle to determine what went wrong.

A telemetry lock between the Russian-made Progress module and the space station was lost and the module flew past at a safe distance. NASA said the crew was never in danger and that the supplies are not critical and will not affect station operations.

NASA said that it will not attempt another docking today. Russian flight controllers don’t know yet what caused the failure in the unmanned modules automated docking system.

The robotic cargo ship Progress 38 was slated to dock at the space station at 12:58 p.m. ET (1658 GMT) but lost its navigational lock on the orbiting lab about 25 minutes before the rendezvous.

“The Progress literally flew past the station, but at a safe distance from the outpost,” NASA commentator Rob Navias said. “The station crew reported seeing the Progress drift beyond their view, as they worked to reestablish telemetry with the spacecraft.”

The Progress 38 spacecraft flew by the space station at a distance of several kilometers (a couple miles) away, posing no threat of impact. But because of its orbit, there may not be a second chance to dock the spacecraft by remote control today, Navias said.

Known in Russia as Progress M-06M, the new Progress 38 spacecraft is packed with nearly 2.5 tons of fresh food, clothes, equipment and other supplies for the space station’s six-person crew. It launched Wednesday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

See also:
Russian cargo ship ‘under control’ official says
Russian ship zips by International Space Station after failing to dock
Resupply vessel fails to dock with space station
Russian cargo ship fails to dock with ISS
Cargo ship misses space station docking
Robotic cargo spacecraft misses rendezvous with ISS
Unmanned cargo spacecraft misses tryst with ISS
Supply spacecraft misses space station
June 30, Soyuz-U – Progress M-06M (38P)
Progress M-06M

I’m sure they’ll get this errant Progress under control and docked with the ISS. However, it’s worth noting that, after the last two Space Shuttles stop flying, there’s no plan B anymore, it’s the Russian spacecraft or nothing.

/of course, we had a follow on to the Space Shuttle, but Obama canceled it