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Southland aerospace innovations snag magazine awards

November 18, 2011 |  6:19 am

TimeSouthern California's aerospace technology has recently received national recognition.

This week's Time magazine cover features Monrovia-based drone maker AeroVironment Inc.’s Nano Hummingbird as one of the best inventions of 2011. See it at right or here.

The Times wrote in February about the little flying machine that’s built to look like a bird for potential use in spy missions.

Equipped with a camera, the drone can fly at speeds of up to 11 miles per hour, AeroVironment said. It can hover and fly sideways, backward and forward, as well as go clockwise and counterclockwise, by remote control for about eight minutes.

The pocket-size drone also recently received Popular Science magazine’s Best of What's New award and was designated "grand award winner" in the security category.

Another grand award winner -- this time in the aviation & space category -- was Hawthorne- based Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s Dragon space capsule.

Last December the company, better known as SpaceX, became the first private company to blast a spacecraft into Earth's orbit and have it return intact. The company wants to take over the responsibility of running cargo missions and possibly carrying astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA now that the space shuttle is retired.

SpaceX has been planning to launch the capsule and dock it to the International Space Station in a test flight aboard its Falcon 9 rocket this year, but delays will push that launch into next year.

The editors of Popular Science also chose Falls Church, Va.-based Northrop Grumman Corp.’s bat-winged experimental drone, the X-47B, to receive a 2011 Best of What's New award in the aviation & space category.

The drone, which resembles a miniature B-2 stealth bomber, is being developed by engineers in El Segundo to take off from an aircraft carrier, fly to an enemy target and then land back on a carrier, all without a pilot. It’s currently in test flight at Edwards Air Force Base.

If you're interested in seeing the award announcements in print, both the Popular Science and Time issues are on newsstands now.


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--W.J. Hennigan

Image: Cover of Time magazine's Nov. 28 issue. Credit: Time Inc.