WASHINGTON: Virtual reality technology became a new way to train soldiers’ combat skills while saving a large amount of training cost, American global aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman said on Tuesday.
During a military training, a facility named Distributed Training Center (DTC) at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in the State of Virginia replicated scenarios in battle zones where warfighters are deployed, while each virtual scenario was designed and created based on mission demands.
Within the virtual scenario created by DTC, ground forces such as Marine infantry could train their battle skills by cooperating with air force crew like F-15E jet fighter pilots, according to Northrop Grumman.
“During two training events, eight F-15E aircrew based at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho trained with four Marines from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state via the DTC,” said Northrop Grumman.
Such kind of training was named “close air support” (CAS). In military tactics, CAS is an air strike carried out by aircraft against a hostile target that is posing major threat to ground troops.
Northrop Grumman said that CAS training closely replicated scenarios in current battlefields, while providing virtual but constructive training at “a fraction of the cost” of a real training.
“The Marines were impressed with the high fidelity training and said the customized scenarios felt like real life,” said Martin Amen, director of secure network operations of Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman said that the DTC had provided training for the U.S. Air Force for nine years, but this was the first time Marines used the DTC to train for their missions.
Headquartered in West Falls Church, Virginia, Northrop Grumman was also a top-tier arms trader in the world. In 2018, the company ranked 118th on the Fortune 500 list.
Twitter rolls out ‘subscribe to conversations’ feature
CALIFORNIA: Twitter has rolled out a new tool allowing users to follow conversations without liking or replying to them.
A software engineer, Jane Manchung, discovered the prototype in the Android version of the app, Engadget reported. She tweeted about it and Twitter said in response that it was done to make the platform more conversational.
A button has been added to the top right corner of the thread, which notifies you when additional tweets happen. It would bring anonymity to the app.
A chronological timeline tool had been added to the Android version of the app and Twitter is also testing an “original tweeter” label, which shows the account that started a thread.
Sarah Haider, director of product management, said earlier this year that the company is making “some pretty big changes to the way conversations look and feel on Twitter” but they don’t want to introduce everything at once.
We can expect a lot more changes in the future, with the rapid new features rolling out every month.
Russia’s Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft docks to ISS
MOSCOW: The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft carrying three crew members successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos said.
Soyuz MS-12 docked with the Rassvet module at 04:01 Moscow time (0101 GMT), Roscosmos said in a press release.
A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 22:14 Moscow time (1914 GMT) on Thursday.
Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, who survived unscathed an aborted launch in October 2018, as well as NASA astronaut Christina Koch, are on board the spacecraft.
Their mission will last 204 days. On March 29, Koch, together with another ISS crew member Anne McClain, who arrived at the ISS on Dec. 3 last year, will perform the first-ever all-female spacewalk.
Russian cosmonauts are scheduled to conduct a spacewalk in May.
3 astronauts on Soyuz craft successfully reach ISS
BAIKONUR (Kazakhstan): A Russian cosmonaut and two US astronauts arrived Friday at the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, five months after the failed launch of a rocket carrying two of the passengers.
NASA astronaut Nick Hague and his Russian colleague Alexey Ovchinin, who both survived a dramatically aborted Soyuz launch last year, were joined on the smoothly-executed trip by NASA astronaut Christina Koch. The rocket blasted off without incident from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docked at the ISS less than six hours later, more than 400 kilometers (249 miles) above the Earth at 01:01 GMT, a few minutes ahead of schedule. During a live broadcast via high-definition cameras aboard the ISS, the mission commander Ovchinin reported that the mooring mechanism was engaged. A NASA commentator then confirmed the “capture.”
The liftoff was closely watched after the two men’s space journey was cut short in October when a technical problem with their Soyuz rocket triggered a launch abort two minutes into the flight. Both men escaped unharmed. It was the first such accident in Russia’s post-Soviet history and a major setback for its once-proud space industry. Speaking to reporters ahead of their six-month mission, Ovchinin said some faulty components in the launch vehicle had been found and replaced this week. “Yesterday they found some minor malfunctions,” the 47-year-old said on Wednesday. He insisted that the launch vehicle was in good shape. “There are no problems,” Ovchinin said. Hague, 43, said he was looking forward to the flight – his second attempt to get into space. “I’m 100 percent confident in the rocket and the spaceship,” he said. The October abort was caused by a sensor damaged during the rocket’s assembly.