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China rolls out measures to regulate drone market

Unmanned aerial vehicles weighing more than 250 grams will have to go through aregistration process, according to the civil drone registration system instituted by the CivilAviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The system officially began operation on May 18, and it will come into force on June 1.CAAC also announced protective zones around 155 airports, so as to prevent flights frombeing affected by drones.

Unmanned aerial vehicles have caused flight interferences at multiple airports in the past.On May 12, flights leaving southwestern China’s Chongqing Municipality were disruptedwhen several unregistered drones suddenly appeared on airstrips, affecting over 100planes.

Experts warned that drones can cause injuries when they fall from the sky, andunregulated drones can cause private information to be leaked. They therefore suggest anintegrated rule to regulate the production and operation of drones.

Domestic demand for drones is growing by 50 percent annually, set to yield a total marketvalue of 75 billion RMB ($11 billion) by 2025.

China, Russia develop superjet C929, to compete with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner

A joint project between China and Russia to build a C929 superjet is currently progressingsmoothly through research and development, according to Jin Zhuanglong, chairman of theCommercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

The fuel-efficient plane will reportedly compete with Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Though notthe biggest passenger jet in terms of size, both the C929 and the Dreamliner are capable ofa wide range of use, and both are relatively economical, according to data.

China’s civilian aircraft industry is pressing ahead as planned, allowing a next-generationjet to benefit from earlier research and manufacturing know-how. The new aircraft willalso obtain an airworthiness certificate from its predecessor, industry insiders pointed out.

In June 2016, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and COMAC signed amemorandum of understanding on the manufacturing of a wide-body long-range aircraft.According to the agreement, UAC will supply its most advanced avionics technology and acutting-edge composite wing. China will handle the C929 fuselage construction, withShanghai-based COMAC set to assemble the jets.

UPDATE:

On May 22, the China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation Ltd. (CRCAIC) was established in Shanghai, a joint venture between Commercial AircraftCorporation of China (COMAC) and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The jointventure will be principally engaged in the development of the next generation of long-distance wide-body aircraft.

The two sides have confirmed a series of development programs for the long distancewide-body aircraft, completed the preliminary definition of level indicators for the aircraft,and defined the range (12,000 km) and number of seats (280). The project is now in itsinitial design stage, and system and equipment suppliers will be inquired.

A Robot Just Landed a Simulated Boeing 737, So What Next for Air Travel?

Aviation has not had the best PR over recent months, and with disasters such as that of United Airlines vs. 69-year-old grandfather, passengers are starting to doubt whether flying is worth it all.

The following news may, however, lift the spirits of — or further terrify — frequent flyers around the world: a robot has successfully landed a Boeing 737.

Aurora Flight Sciences, which developed the robot, are bursting with pride according to sources, as the bot was able to sit in the co-pilots seat and land the simulated plane.

This has lead the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the US Department of Defense team responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military, to advocate the use of robots in their planes.

With DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program, the military have evolved to incorporate automated capabilities, improving mission safety and success rates.

However according to DARPA, operators of the most automated aircraft must still manage daunting and complex interfaces and be prepared to respond effectively in emergencies and other unexpected situations that no amount of training can prepare them for.

The military will often find themselves in stressful situations and are keen to use systems that have the potential to interact with the crew; it is for this reason that the use of robots in the cockpit is becoming a highly likely option.

This is where Aurora’s newly developed bot comes in, the machine is able to control the advanced tablet-based user interface and works off speech recognition.

Aurora’s done this before in an actual flight, but for light aircraft. Simulating a 737 landing gets it closer to ALIAS’ goal of adding a helping hand to crews of large military aircraft and potentially even using robots in passenger planes.

The technology still has come way to go, but Aurora Flight Sciences and DARPA hope that it could be beneficial for military flights and sources claim that the future for passenger planes could also be in robots’ hands.

(Source: sputniknews)

Could Humans Live on the Closest Planet Outside Our Solar System?

A new study of Proxima b, the closest planet outside our solar system ever discovered, suggests that the planet may actually be able to support life of its own.

After decades of searching, astronomers finally discovered a planet in Alpha Centauri, our neighboring star system, in August 2016. Proxima b is a bit larger than the Earth but orbits much closer to its star, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri. Since red dwarfs give off much less heat than yellow stars like our sun, planets can be very close to them and still be within their star’s “habitable zone.”

Proxima b is in its star’s habitable zone, meaning it could support liquid water. That, combined with its closeness to Earth, makes it an object of inspiration for human astronomers dreaming of the future.

But some have doubted Proxima b’s habitability. Many factors are involved: for instance, Proxima b’s closeness to its star may have stripped it of its atmosphere.

A new study from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, which was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, applied a new model previously used to study Earth’s climate patterns to Proxima b. This model, the Met Office Unified Model, was adapted to model the climate history of Proxima b.

Since we don’t yet know what Proxima b’s atmosphere is made of, the Exeter team ran the simulation twice: once with a Proxima b that has an Earth-like atmosphere (mostly nitrogen and oxygen, with some argon and carbon dioxide and traces of other gases), and again with a Proxima b with a simple atmosphere (just nitrogen and some carbon dioxide).

Because Proxima b is so close to its star, it’s likely hit by massive quantities of radiation. This can have adverse effects on a planet’s atmosphere, such as breaking it down entirely. It can also act as a food source for primitive life.

“Overall, our results are in agreement with previous studies in suggesting Proxima Centauri b may well have surface temperatures conducive to the presence of liquid water,” the team wrote. There’s an excellent chance that the planet is “likely to be habitable for a range of orbital states and atmospheric compositions.”

Of course, the simulation is just that: a model. Human observation of Proxima b has been done from trillions of miles away, and we know far less about it than we can know about a planet we can observe directly with orbiting instruments.

“There are obviously several ingredients missing from our analysis,” the Exeter team wrote. “We have neglected the presence of any land-surface, as we have no information what this may look like.”

(Source: sputniknews)

Russia’s First Missile Defense Airship to Be Produced in Three Years

Russia’s experimental airship Atlant is scheduled to make its first flight somewhere in late-2020, NSN news service reported, citing Augur-RosAeroSystems CEO Gennady Verba.
Gennady Verba said that the final version of the Atlant airship would take about 3.5 years to build at the cost of several billion rubles.

He added, however, that the other modifications would cost less.

During a news conference at the National News Service headquarters on Tuesday, Verba thanked the Skolkovo Fund for helping develop the airship’s autonomous ballast system, which allows the airship to float freely in a horizontal position and, whenever necessary, to lose its lift and descend.
The Atlant multifunctional airship will come in two versions: Atlant 100, capable of hauling up to 60 tons of cargoes 2,000 kilometers away, and Atlant 30 with a cargo-carrying capacity of up to 16 tons.

The Atlants will also be integrated into the national early warning system.

Airships theoretically have infinite endurance, owing to the fact that they do not need forward speed to maintain lift.

They do not need runways and can carry vast amounts of payloads over long distances nonstop. They are also very fuel efficient and highly reliable.

On the downside, with a maximum speed of just 160 kilometers an hour (90 miles an hour) the airships are extremely slow, as compared to modern jets.

Their greatest disadvantage is size, which is essential to increasing performance. As size increases, the problems of ground handling increase geometrically.
Still, despite these drawbacks, airships do remain viable in some domains.

Aviation experts believe that with developments in the field of dirigible construction, airships could eventually become an indispensable element of Russia’s air transportation system and become its new trademark.

(Source: sputniknews)

National ice hockey club of China officially established

A national ice hockey club was officially established in China on May 16. The club, anupgraded version of China’s national hockey team association, will assemble players on along-term basis, organize games and train players through competitions.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Beijing, held jointly by the ChineseWinter Sports Federation (CWSF), the Chinese Ice Hockey Association, HeilongjiangProvincial Sports Bureau (HPSB) and HC Kunlun Red Star ice hockey club. Vice-directorof CWSF, Wang Zhili, pointed out that the national club is one of the most importantachievements made during the ongoing reform of ice hockey in China.

The national ice hockey club is an achievement made possible only through collaboration.The HPSB will serve as a talent pool for the club, while HC Kunlun Red Star, the firstChinese team to compete in top ice hockey league KHL, will provide customized trainingplans for the club. In addition, each party that contributed to the club’s formation willoffer opportunities for the club to participate in foreign ice hockey leagues.

According to Wang, the teams in the national club will compete on behalf of both thecountry and HC Kunlun Red Star, which will greatly increase game frequency. This meansthe team can supplement training with competitions, Wang said.

The captain of China’s women’s national hockey team, Bai Wei, described her expectationsfor the new club and upcoming games.

“Our performance will soon be improved by participating in high-level competitions, and Ihope we can make a giant leap forward in the future,” she said.

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)

Residential buildings wrapped in eye-catching 14-story artificial cliff

Two residential buildings in Shanghai’s Changning district have caught people’s eyes recently, as they are enveloped in a 14-story artificial cliff, Youth.cn reported on May 17. Some joked that the apartments truly boast “real mountain views,” and others wondered if the rooms inside receive enough natural light. One property owner said that the artificial cliffs were erected for reasons related to feng shui. (photo/Chinanews.cn)

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)

 

AIIB approves 7 new applications, expands membership to 77

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) announced Saturday that itsmembership has been expanded to 77 after its Board of Governors approved newapplications from seven countries.

Jin Liqun, AIIB president, said that three of the new members are “regional” — Bahrain,Cyprus, and Samoa. The other four are non-regional prospective members, namelyBolivia, Chile, Greece and Romania.

The seven prospective members also need to complete the required domestic processesand deposit their first installment of capital with the AIIB before officially joining thebank.

The bank announced the introduction of its first 13 new members this March, bringing thebank’s total membership to 70 from 57 signatories at its launch in January 2016.

New members are welcomed to join the bank this year, it pledged.

The story is also published on People’s Daily Online

China’s banking regulator vows more supports to Belt and Road development

China’s banking regulator vowed more supports to the Belt and Road development, sayingthat the banks and financial institutions are encouraged to offer more financial supports toprojects related to the initiative.

The banks and financial institutions, in recent years, have been motivated to improve theircapabilities to establish a multi-layered, long-term, stable, sustainable financial serviceplatform with controllable risks for the Belt and Road development, said Wang Zhaoxing,deputy head of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

They were also asked to cope with the risks and challenges confronted by the Belt andRoadconstruction, he added.

The official said that banks and other financial institutions, guided by the regulator, haveaccelerated their pace to build financial service network for Belt and Road construction.

They have made prominent achievements in distributing their overseas branches,improving cross-border financing ability, innovating products and services, and expandingopenness to overseas market, Wang said.

Since the Belt and Road initiative was put forward in 2013, the banking regulatory bodyhas established work mechanisms, enhanced overall planning, and effectivelyimplemented each measure and policy, the official noted.

The CBRC also requires banking and financial institutions to enhance their managementin credit risk, country risk, compliance risk, as well as environmental and social risks byclarifying standards for their overseas operation.

The banking and financial institutions also optimized their layout in Belt and Roadcountries, thanks to the efforts made by the CBRC.

Data showed that by the end of 2016, 9 Chinese banks have established 62 primaryaffiliates in 26 countries participating the Belt and Road initiative, including 18subsidiaries, 35 branches and 9 representative offices.

Banks from Belt and Road countries are encouraged by the CBRC to expand theiroperations in China as well.

As of the end of last year, 54 commercial banks from 20 Belt and Roadcountries hadestablished subsidiaries, branches and representative offices in China.

The CBRC also encourages Chinese banking and financial institutions to improve theircross-border financing services, and loan more to programs related to the Belt and Roadinitiative on a precondition of controllable risks and sustainable potential.

Banks were also asked by the regulatory body to render more support to implementationof the initiative and construction of major projects.

CBRC has launched various forms of cooperation with its foreign counterparts in countriesalong the Belt and Road, Wang said.

In the future, the organization will sign cooperation memorandums of understanding formutual regulation with en-route countries, based on their political and economicsituations, as well as the will of the banking and financial institutions, he added.

The official furthered that the CBRC will also explore the possibility to set uparegionalcooperationsystem on financial regulation.

The banking and financial institutions should take the historical opportunity of the Beltand Road construction for a better and internalized growth, Wang said.

In addition, they should keep enhancing win-win cooperation with Belt and Roadcountries for common development, Wang added.

The article is also published on People’s Daily Online