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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Industry News

It’s an Aerospace World. Looking for the latest headlines in the aerospace industry? This is the place to find it. And, on the outside chance we don’t have what you’re looking for, email Lawrence Garrett, AIAA web editor, and he’ll find somebody to help.

*For member access to the AIAA Daily Launch, please log in to www.aiaa.org/MyAIAA, navigate to “Access Publications & Materials” and select “Daily Launch.” The AIAA Daily Launch, distributed to AIAA members each weekday morning, is a digest of the most important aerospace news selected from thousands of sources by the editors of Bulletin Media.


2018

13 February 2018
Proposed NASA Budget Includes Cuts To Earth Science, ISS

International-Space-Station-NASA Aerospace America reports that the White House has released a $19.9 billion budget proposal for NASA during fiscal year 2019, which sets the “end of fiscal 2024 as a firm deadline for ending NASA’s direct funding for the International Space Station, proposes $10 billion for human exploration, including starting up a lunar robotic exploration program as a precursor to sending astronauts, and hits Earth science and education hard.” The budget would include $150 million in new funding for a program to encourage more commercial partnerships on the ISS to enable them to be prepared to take over space station operations in 2025. Former astronaut Leroy Chaio called it a “mistake to end the ISS to ostensibly fund the exploration program,” and called the space station an “important testing ground for biomedical countermeasures and engineering systems.” The Boeing Company, NASA’s prime contractor for the ISS, has estimated that “continued maintenance and upgrades would extend the station’s lifespan well into 2040.” The White House budget would also reduce NASA’s Earth science budget from $1.93 billion in 2017 to $1.8 billion in 2019, eliminating five projects including the “already constructed Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 spectrometer that would monitor carbon dioxide levels from space.” The NASA Office of Education’s $100 million in funding would be cut; the office “supports educators and students pursuing science, math and technology projects.” Hypersonic flight research funding would be continued, as would funding for the development of a new, more quiet supersonic plane. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Aerospace America – By Tom Risen, staff reporter)


13 February 2018
Musk: “Fully Expendable” Falcon Heavy To Cost $150 Million

Falcon-Heavy-Launch-6Feb2018 Reuters reports that SpaceX is even further “ahead of the rest of the space industry than previously thought, according to CEO Elon Musk.” SpaceX had previously “said the cost of each Falcon Heavy launch starts at $90 million,” but Musk added on Monday in a tweet that a “fully expendable Falcon Heavy...is $150M.” This cost makes the Falcon Heavy around “$250 million cheaper than the closest competition,” the Delta IV Heavy. A fully expendable rocket “is the maxed-out version, in which SpaceX would not try to conserve fuel or weight to recover parts.” (Image Credit: NASA Kennedy)
More Info (Reuters)


12 February 2018
NASA New Horizons Spacecraft Breaks Record With Deep Space Photos

NewHorizonsSpacecraft_NASA USA Today hosted a video which reported that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft broke a record by taking the photographs from the farthest distance from Earth to date. The photographs broke the record of the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which beamed back the famous “Pale Blue Dot” photograph. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (USA Today)


12 February 2018
SpaceX To Launch From Cape Canaveral “No Sooner” Than February 22

SpaceX_Falcon9_onLaunchPad_Wiki Florida Today reported that SpaceX is scheduled to “host the next Eastern Range launch with its Falcon 9 rocket later this month,” and is targeting a launch no earlier than February 22 from “Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 40 with a commercial communications satellite for Hispasat, an operator based in Spain with subsidiaries in Latin America.” The Hispasat 30W-6 satellite will provide “television, broadband, corporate and other communications to the Americas and Europe,” and was built by Space Systems Loral. The satellite will be launched into orbit aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Florida Today)


9 February 2018
Sierra Nevada Receives NASA Approval For First Dream Chaser ISS Mission

DreamChaser-NASA Space News reports that NASA has given Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) formal approval for the company’s initial cargo mission in support of the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2020. SNC announced on February 7 that it had received “authority to proceed” with the mission using its Dream Chaser spacecraft. The mission will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket, and will be the first of six missions in the company’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 contract, which it won in 2016. SNC Space Systems Executive Vice President Mark Sirangelo said that although SNC had “won the contract a couple of years ago, the contract still needed to be validated by a task order,” and called the order the “biggest step” to date for the program. SNC is currently building the flight vehicle “with hardware under development now in advance of a critical design review planned for the middle of this year.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Space News)


9 February 2018
China Debuts Military UAVs At Singapore Airshow For “First Public Appearance In Southeast Asia”

WIng-Loong-UAS-Wiki Reuters reports that the state-owned China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) demonstrated two versions of its “Wing Loong reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial system” at the Singapore Airshow, which was the “drone’s first public appearance in Southeast Asia, according to trade media, and the booth drew military personnel from countries such as Myanmar and Malaysia.” The Chinese-made unmanned aerial system costs “about $5 million versus up to $100 million for a U.S.-made system, making them especially attractive to less affluent militaries, said Ben Moores, a senior analyst for defense and aviation at Jane’s by IHS Markit.” Moores said momentum is “moving in China’s favor on a daily basis,” and added that he believes that international customers are “very put off by” President Donald Trump, and may “think twice about buying American equipment” as a result of these factors. (Image: Wing Loong II front view, Dubai Air Show 2017. Credit: By Mztourist - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia)
More Info (Reuters)


8 February 2018
Lockheed Anticipates Demand For 400 F-16 Jets Over Decade

USAF-F16-Joint-Air-Exercise-APImages Reuters reports that Lockheed Martin anticipates demand for an additional 400 of its F-16 fighter jets “globally over the next decade, a senior executive at the U.S. defense contractor said on Wednesday.” Lockheed Martin F-16 business development lead Randall Howard, speaking at the Singapore Airshow, added, “I’ve not said this before, I’ve said 200 over five-seven (years) but what I’ve seen in the last three years, there’s been a tremendous uptick in interest in the F-16.” (Image: U.S. Air Force's F-16 fighter takes off during an annual joint air exercise "Max Thunder" between South Korea and the U.S. at a US air base in Gunsan, South Korea, Thursday, April 20, 2017. Associated Press-©)
More Info (Reuters)


8 February 2018
ISS Spacewalk Breaks Cosmonauts’ Record

Cosmonauts-Feb2018-Spacewalk-NASAThe Aero-News Network reports that a recent spacewalk by Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Anton Shkaplerov was the “longest Russian spacewalk” to date, “breaking the previous record of 8 hours and 7 minutes that Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy set Dec. 27, 2013, on a spacewalk during Expedition 38.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Aero-News Network)


7 February 2018
SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy

Falcon-Heavy-Launch-6Feb2018When SpaceX’s first Falcon Heavy rocket roared off a pad in Florida Tuesday, it carried Elon Musk’s now famous bright red Tesla and the possibility of the California company gaining a large price edge in the competition to launch satellites for the Pentagon and National Reconnaissance Office. The rocked lifted off at 3:45pm ET, two hours and 15 minutes later than planned due windy conditions. A SpaceX live stream showed two of the rocket’s three Falcon 9 cores returning to Earth a few minutes later, touching down simultaneously on landing pads at Cape Canaveral, with a narrator saying, “The Falcons have landed.” (Image Credit: NASA Kennedy)
Full Story (Aerospace America – By Tom Risen, staff reporter)


7 February 2018
VP: Boeing To “Think Very Seriously” About Increasing 737 Production

Boeing737Max Reuters reports that The Boeing Company “must look seriously at raising 737 production based on current data, a senior company executive said on Wednesday.” Speaking at a Singapore Airshow briefing, Marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth said that the company is “oversold” at its current production rate of 57 aircraft a month, and will “have to think very seriously about” increasing production if demand stays consistent. (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Reuters)


7 February 2018
Winter Olympics Security Measures Include Anti-UAV Aircraft

Lidar-WikiThe Daily Mail reports that South Korea is “deploying a fleet of drone-catching drones to bolster security at this month’s 2018 Winter Olympics,” which are set to begin Friday. The UAVs will deploy nets on “dangerous-looking unmanned aerial vehicles” approaching the Olympic grounds in Pyeongchang. As the opening of the games nears, officials are “concerned that terrorists could use rogue flying machines to disrupt the two-week event by carrying bombs toward crowd members or athletes.” Some members of the event’s security team will be “equipped with special drone-detection radar.” Security teams are also training with “anti-drone artillery,” including a “radar gun” used to cause pilots to lose control of their UAVs, and “shotguns specifically designed to shoot down drones.” (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info (Daily Mail)


6 February 2018
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Set For Launch Today

Falcon-Heavy-ArtistsRendition-SpaceXSpaceX is ready to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful U.S. rocket since Saturn V, Tuesday afternoon, which the company hopes will lead to increased commercial and national security missions. Launch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EST, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. The event is expected to draw an estimated 100,000 spectators to the Space Coast to witness one of the most anticipated launches since the shuttle program ended in 2011. After liftoff, SpaceX will attempt to land all three of the Falcon Heavy's boosters — two on land and one on a floating platform at sea. The test payload for this demonstration mission is SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster, which will be launched toward Mars. First announced to the public in 2011, the Falcon Heavy is expected to generate 5.1 million pounds of thrust at liftoff with the ability to carry more than 140,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info (ABC News)


6 February 2018
AIAA University Of Illinois Student Branch Igniter Featured

U-of-Illinois-StudentBranch Motherboard reports that although public attention is currently focused on the launch of the Falcon Heavy, “even hobbyist launches of small model rockets have their own miracles to share.” The article includes a video from “Warped Perception, a YouTube channel run by DIY experimenter Matt Mikka, which shows close-up, slow-motion shots of model rocket igniters combusting into mesmerizing patterns of fiery energy,” and highlights the “gorgeous blaze of the igniter designed by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics [student branch] at the University of Illinois.” (Image: AIAA University of Illinois Student Branch. Credit: Warped Perception/YouTube)
More Info (Motherboard)


6 February 2018
Boeing Debuts MAX 7 Jet

Boeing-MAX7-Boeing-PhotoThe Seattle Times reports that The Boeing Company introduced its Boeing 737 MAX 7 jet, the “third and smallest version of the new 737 jet family, which faces stiff competition from the Bombardier CSeries,” to reporters and employees at its Renton, WA, plant Monday. Although the “MAX family has sold extremely well, with more than 4,200 ordered, sales of the MAX 7 model have been very slow, despite a redesign in 2016 that stretched the fuselage to add two extra rows of seats.” The MAX 7 is a “shrunken version of the MAX 8, and is less fuel efficient on a per-seat basis,” and also faces “competition from Bombardier’s all-new CSeries CS300 aircraft, which has lower fuel and operating costs.” Airbus has “said it will market the CS300 in preference to its own A319.” MAX 7 flight tests “should begin in the coming days, before first delivery next year.” (Image Credit: Boeing)
More Info (Seattle Times)


5 February 2018
Airbus Vahana Autonomous Aircraft Completes First Flight Test

Airbus-Vahana-FlightTest-CreditAirbus CNBC reported that Airbus’s Vahana electric self-piloted aircraft successfully completed its “first full-scale flight test.” The aircraft “reportedly reached a height of 16 feet before landing safely at a site in Pendleton, Oregon” Wednesday, and a “second flight took place Thursday.” Vahana Project Executive Zach Lovering said in a statement, “In just under two years, Vahana took a concept sketch on a napkin and built a full-scale, self-piloted aircraft that has successfully completed its first flight.” Although Vahana is envisioned as an air taxi, Airbus “said the VTOL could...also perform as a cargo delivery platform, ambulance, search and rescue device or taxi.” (Image Credit: Airbus)
More Info (CNBC)


5 February 2018
Falcon Heavy Rocket Is Major Gamble For SpaceX

Falcon-Heavy-ArtistsRendition-SpaceXThe Wall Street Journal reports that SpaceX’s anticipated Falcon Heavy rocket – which is scheduled for its first flight Tuesday – faces an uncertain commercial market and does not immediately factor into US plans to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station or on lunar and deep-space missions. Although initially developed to overcome the problem of weaker boosters, commercial demand for heavy-lift rockets has declined as both military and commercial satellites have continued to shrink in size and small satellites have grown in popularity. Additionally, Space X CEO Elon Musk anticipates that the company’s Big Falcon Rocket also in development will be its chosen vehicle for manned Mars missions. However, the Falcon Heavy is advertised as costing just $100 million per mission, with twice the cargo capacity of its closest competitor at a quarter the cost. American University space historian Howard McCurdy argues that such a rocket may make a permanent lunar base economically feasible. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info (Wall Street Journal)


2 February 2018
Russia To Offer ISS Spacewalks For Tourists

BruceMcCandless_STS-41-B_NASAThe AFP reports that Russian space company Energia is looking into the possibility of sending “paying tourists on the International Space Station out on spacewalks for the first time, an official from the country’s space industry said Thursday.” The plan will “rely on a new module that could transport up to six tourists to the orbiting space station for a 10-day trip,” which officials estimate could cost as much as $100 million. Russian space agency Roscosmos is reviewing plans for a “five-star hotel” aboard the ISS which would feature a “luxury orbital suite” of four cabins including exercise equipment, Wi-Fi, and scenic views of Earth. Energia head Vladimir Solntsev said that the service “should be launched in 2019,” and added that The Boeing Company is interested in partnering on the project. (Image Credit: NASA via Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (AFP)


1 February 2018
US Air Force Predator Crash Attributed To Crew Error, Datalink Failure

Aurora_VTOLThe Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that Joby Aviation “needs to hire 100 more engineers” to help design and build a new air taxi, in what founder JoeBen Bevirt calls “the next generation of transportation.” Bevirt was “among 2,000 innovators presenting at the 2016 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics exposition, according to the Joby Aviation website, but little news has been posted since then.” A 42-second video “illustrates how the craft is supposed to work, but there are no photos or videos of an actual aircraft in flight.” Bevirt hopes that his air taxis would fly passengers from Palo Alto to San Francisco in nine minutes, and for less than the price of an uberX ride, currently priced at $59. Bevirt “said he needs software engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, aerospace engineers and people good at building component parts.” (Image: Joby Aviation staff. Credit: Joby Aviation)
More Info (Santa Cruz Sentinel)


31 January 2018
US Air Force Predator Crash Attributed To Crew Error, Datalink Failure

MQ-9Reaper Air Force Times reports that a US Air Force MQ-1B Predator UAV that “crashed in US Central Command’s area of operations” in February 2016 did so “due to a datalink failure and a distracted crew, according to a report released this month.” After experiencing datalink problems, “launch and recovery crew lost control of the aircraft before it crashed roughly 10 miles south of its deployed base.” The UAV was “conducting a combat support mission, according to the report by an Air Force Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board.” (Image: MQ-9_Reaper. Credit: Wikipedia/U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
More Info (Air Force Times)


31 January 2018
SpaceX Delays GovSat-1 Launch Due To Booster Sensor

SpaceX_Falcon9_onLaunchPad_Wiki SPACE reports that SpaceX called off a planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Orbital ATK-built GovSat-1 satellite Tuesday “to allow engineers time to swap out a sensor on the booster, company representatives said.” The launch will take place no earlier than Wednesday, according to SpaceX representatives. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (SPACE)


30 January 2018
US Air Force Releases RFI For SUAS

Miniature-UAV-Wiki.png Shephard Media reports that the US Air Force has released a request for information (RFI) for industry proposals for a “fixed-wing small UAS (SUAS) of less than 1.3kg (3lb).” The Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) “has a requirement to assess SUAS aerial land survey mission capability.” (Image Credit: KrisfromGermany, Wikipedia)
More Info (Shephard Media)


29 January 2018
Musk: SpaceX Aiming For Falcon Heavy Launch February 6

Falcon-Heavy-ArtistsRendition-SpaceXThe Los Angeles Times reports that SpaceX hopes to conduct its “long-awaited” demonstration launch of the Falcon Heavy on February 6, according to a tweet sent Saturday by CEO and founder Elon Musk. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info (Los Angeles Times)


29 January 2018
Fully-Autonomous Avionics Systems Anticipated

Tom-Irvine-AIAAIn an article about autonomous aircraft, Canadian Underwriter reported that AIAA Managing Director, Content Development Tom Irvine anticipates that future avionics systems will be powered by artificial intelligence software, and eventually will be able to fully and independently respond to any incidents or scenarios encountered in flight. (Image Credit: AIAA)
More Info (Candadian Underwriter)


26 January 2018
Air Force Going Forward With Plans To Re-Wing A-10s

A10s-USAF-Wiki National Defense Magazine reports that the US Air Force is moving forward with plans to “re-wing several squadrons of A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, and intends to maintain the platforms through the 2030s, the commander of Air Combat Command said Jan. 25.” Gen. James “Mike” Holmes said during remarks at the Brookings Institution that funds are available in the current budget to allow the Air Force to reopen a wing contract with The Boeing Company. The service’s fiscal year 2018 budget request “kept funding in place for the A-10, also known as the Warthog, for the next three years. An unfunded priorities list that was later submitted to Congress included $103 million to buy new wings for 110 of the 283 aircraft in the fleet.” (Image Credit: USAF, Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (National Defense Magazine)


26 January 2018
Air Force Reaffirms Confidence In SpaceX For Military Launch Operations

SpaceXLaunchFacility-KSC-NASA Aero-News Network reports that the US Air Force “has no reason to change its certification” of SpaceX to conduct launch operations for the military. The show of confidence comes despite the loss of the Zuma spacecraft earlier this month. Lieutenant General John Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, said in a statement, “Based on the data available, our team did not identify any information that would change SpaceX’s Falcon 9 certification status.” Thompson added that the Falcon 9 rocket appears to have operated normally during the launch, and he stressed that “the Air Force will continue to evaluate data from all launches.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Aero-News Network)


25 January 2018
Gulfstream G650 Sales Jump To Second-Highest Level In A Decade

GulfstreamG650-Wiki Bloomberg News reports that General Dynamics “surged after orders of its Gulfstream G650 rose to the second-highest level since sales of the longest-range business jet began about a decade ago.” Company CEO Phebe Novakovic said, “So we had a nice increase in large cabin orders led by the 650 and the 650ER. ... As we speak, there are over 280 of these aircraft in service with many early customers returning to buy another.” (Image Credit: By dxme from Schweiz - Swiss Jet AG Gulfstream GVI (G650), Wikipedia)
More Info (Bloomberg News)


25 January 2018
DOT Secretary Chao Says National UAV Registry Has “Surpassed” A Million Users

Engineer-Flies-Phantom3-AP NextGov reports that in a recent address to Consumer Electronics Show attendees in Las Vegas, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that the FAA’s Federal UAV Registration program has “surpassed” one million recreational and commercial users. Chao said 878,000 hobbyists registered with the online registry, and 122,000 registrations have been completed for commercial, public, and other UAVs that must be registered individually. Chao said the “tremendous” growth in registration underscores that UAVs are “more than tools for commerce and trade, but can save lives, detect hazardous situations and assist with disaster recovery.” (Image: An engineer flies a DJI Phantom 3 drone. Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (NextGov)


24 January 2018
Boeing Completes Flight Tests With Rolls-Royce Engines

Dreamliner-Boeing-2 Reuters reports that a Boeing executive said Tuesday that the jet manufacturer has completed flight tests of its newly certified 787-10 Dreamliner with Rolls-Royce engines. Planes equipped with the Rolls-Royce engines are scheduled to be delivered to Singapore Airlines in the first half of the year and “will be used on mid-length routes in the Asia Pacific region.” Boeing has yet to complete flight tests on aircraft equipped with GE engines, which are expected to be delivered to United Airlines in the second half of the year. (Image: Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Credit: Boeing)
More Info (Reuters)


24 January 2018
New York State Police Add UAVs To Their Arsenal

DJIS800_AlexanderGlinz_via_WikimediaCommonsThe Middletown Times Herald-Record reports that the New York State Police have bought 18 UAVs and plan to use them to help take pictures of crime scenes and crashes, and to assist in search and disaster responses. Two of the UAVs were bought with agency money, and the rest were purchased using money donated by the New York State Trooper Foundation. (Image Credit: Alexander Glinz via Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Middletown Times Herald-Record)


23 January 2018
Parker Solar Probe Will Fly Closer To Sun Than Any Other Spacecraft

ParkerSolarProbe-NASAThe Washington Post reports that NASA’s Parker Solar Probe will launch this summer “on a journey that will send it skimming through the sun’s atmosphere at a pace of 450,000 mph – fast enough to get from Washington to New York in about a second.” The probe will fly within four million miles of the sun’s surface and “withstand blasts of 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit – while simultaneously maintaining the instruments on the other side at roughly room temperature.” Employees at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which built the Parker Solar Probe, last week “began one of the probe’s most significant trials yet: thermal vacuum testing.” Once the probe is on its way, it will investigate the acceleration of the solar wind and “two related mysteries: Why is the sun’s atmosphere hotter than its surface? And how do high-energy particles get sped out of the corona and into space?” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Washington Post)


23 January 2018
Government Silent On Investigation Into Loss Of Zuma Satellite

zuma-aeroAmericaAIAA’s Aerospace America reports that the fate of the confidential US satellite Zuma has “prompted unanswered questions over how the government will investigate the mission and prevent similar losses of taxpayer investment.” The Defense Department has declined to comment or confirm who will investigate what happened to the spy satellite. It is likely that the “mission was expensive, given the cost of a national security satellite during the past decade has typically ranged from $900 million to $3 billion each.” In a January 11 press conference, Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White “deflected all inquiries about the confidential mission to SpaceX, which says the launch operations went as planned.” (Image Credit: Aerospace America)
Full Story (Aerospace America)


22 January 2018
SpaceX Test Fire Of Falcon Heavy Rocket Delayed Due To Government Shutdown

LaunchPad39A-ModifiedForSpaceX_NASA Florida Today reports that SpaceX will be unable to test fire its three-core Falcon Heavy at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) because of the government shutdown, “further delaying checkout operations ahead of the rocket’s demonstration flight, the 45th Space Wing said Sunday.” Launch operations at KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station are on hold until the shutdown is resolved, the Wing said. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Florida Today)


22 January 2018
Colorado Police Using UAVs In Crash Investigations

DJIPhantom_AP_PurchasedThe Denver Post reports that Fort Collins, Colorado, police started using UAVs in 2017 to “investigate serious and fatal crashes for the first time.” Police relied on the technology “seven times during the course of crash investigations last year.” The UAVs “help police snap photos faster and open roads sooner, according to members of Fort Collins police CRASH team, which responds to serious crashes.” With the use of UAVs, police “continue to mark evidence with tents but can expedite the process by snapping overhead photos and then calculating measurements after the scene has reopened.” CRASH team member Officer Tim Brennan explained that the technology is “not the end-all be-all,” because there are “limitations where you can fly.” Despite the limitations, Fort Collins police “anticipate that other agencies in the county will begin using drones more regularly in their own crash investigations because they act as a helpful tool in collecting more evidence.” (Image: DJI Phantom 2. Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Denver Post)


19 January 2018
Norwegian 787 Sets Transatlantic Speed Record

NorweiganAir-787-WikiThe Daily Mail reports that a Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner broke the record for the fastest ever transatlantic flight in a subsonic passenger aircraft, flying from JFK to London Gatwick on Monday in just over five hours. The plane “was able to reach a top speed of 776mph as it hurtled across the Atlantic Ocean after being pushed by an extra strong jet stream that at times reached 202mph.” (Image Credit: Norwegian/Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Daily Mail)


18 January 2018
Emirates Signs Tentative Agreement For 36 Airbus A380s

Airbus380-WikipediaCommons FlightGlobal reports that Emirates has signed a tentative preliminary agreement for up to 36 more Airbus A380s. The agreement – valued at $16 billion – “covers 20 potentially firm aircraft and options on another 16,” and deliveries “would commence in 2020.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (FlightGlobal)


18 January 2018
Boeing Patents Cyberattack Simulation Pilot Training Software

Boeing737MaxThe Puget Sound Business Journal reports that The Boeing Company has patented new systems and methods “to simulate cyberattacks on airplanes,” and said that real attacks “may be a problem” for pilots, who should be trained to spot and address such threats. Boeing said in its patent application that because the amount of digital information “required to operate and maintain an aircraft is steadily increasing, the importance of protecting aircraft systems from cyberattacks is also increasing.” Boeing added that “pilot reaction to a cyberattack is important.” The company said that currently there is no way to simulate a cyberattack on an aircraft or to evaluate how a pilot might respond to attacks on one or multiple aircraft computer systems. The Boeing system also may generate cyberdefenses and draw upon known data about cyberattacks, as well as the pilots’ responses to “generate and create pilot training modules, Boeing said in its patent filing.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Puget Sound Business Journal)


17 January 2018
ULA Atlas V To Launch From Cape Canaveral Thursday Night

ULA-AtlasV-Set-for-Launch-NASAThe Orlando Sentinel reports that a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Altas V rocket is expected to launch from Cape Canaveral Thursday evening carrying a “missile-detection satellite for the” US Air Force. The rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41 with a “payload of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 4” satellite, which is “designed to act as a missile-warning system and provide technical intelligence.” The Air Force’s 45th Space Wing estimated an 80 percent chance of favorable launch conditions. If the launch is delayed for 24 hours, there still will be an 80 percent chance of favorable weather. This will be the first ULA flight from Cape Canaveral this year, and the 75th overall. ULA “launched a Delta IV last week from California.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info


17 January 2018
US Navy Tests IFF Technology On P-8 Poseidon

P-8A-Poseidon-USN ExecutiveGov reports that the US Navy has “tested a Boeing-built P-8 Poseidon aircraft equipped with an identification friend or foe technology at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station’s anechoic chamber.” The test was carried out as part of an “AIMS certification process for the AN/UPX-43 IFF interrogator” that classifies “surrounding vehicles and vessels as either allied or enemy forces, the Navy said Jan. 8.” The Pentagon established the AIMS certification to “ensure the performance quality of IFF systems for military use.” The Navy “estimated that performing tests inside the chamber cost nearly $800,000 and generated 15 hours of data over 3.5 weeks, while performing tests inflight would cost $5.31 million and generate only 3.6 hours of data over a 12-week period.” (Image Credit: U.S. Navy/Greg L. Davis)
More Info (ExecutiveGov)


16 January 2018
DARPA Completes Second Phase Of UAV Swarming Demonstration

UAVSwarm FlightGlobal reported that DARPA has completed the “second phase of its collaborative control technology for unmanned air systems demonstration, the next step in an effort to orchestrate swarms of legacy UAS with the hand of a single human operator.” Lockheed Martin and Raytheon “collaborated with six smaller companies” on the second phase demonstration for Collaborative Operations in Denied Environment (CODE), and operated “RQ-23 Tigersharks modified with CODE hardware and open architecture software.” Raytheon will complete development for “CODE software in phase 3 testing, which will add more UAS to the demonstration and increase the complexity of autonomous behaviors, according to Jean-Charles Ledé, CODE programme manager.” (Image Credit: Alex Kushleyev, Daniel Mellinger, Vijay Kumar, KMel Robotics, and the GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania)
More Info (FlightGlobal)


16 January 2018
Airbus May Cease Production Of A380

Airbus380-WikipediaCommonsThe AP reports that Airbus may stop manufacturing its A380 superjumbo jet due to declining demand in the marketplace. Airbus COO John Leahy told journalists Monday that if Airbus “can’t work out a deal with Emirates, I think there is no choice but to shut down the program.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Associated Press)


12 January 2018
Pentagon Declines To Comment On Fate of Zuma Satellite

SpaceX-CRS-11-launch-NASAThe Wall Street Journal reports that the Pentagon declined to discuss the fate of its secret Zuma satellite during a Thursday briefing. Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White repeatedly referred reporters to SpaceX, which launched the satellite aboard one of its Falcon 9 rockets. (Image: SpaceX launch of the CRS-11 mission. Credit: NASA/Tony Gray)
More Info (Wall Street Journal)


11 January 2018
Oxford Study Predicts “Robust Expansion” In Aerospace Industry

Boeing737Max FlightGlobal reports that an Oxford Economics study predicts “multiple years of robust expansion” in the aerospace industry “until the end of the decade.” US suppliers are expected to lead a period of “steep” growth based on data including “order backlogs, production ramp-up plans by Airbus and Boeing, low fuel costs, and ‘continued passenger growth [and] strong ongoing momentum in world trade, with a knock-on boost to air freight.’” The US aerospace industry is “projected to grow 2.9% this year, and 3.4% in 2019 and 2020.” The UK industry is estimated to have grown by 9.2 percent in 2017, “the fastest growing aerospace market among the G7 countries.” The study also “foresees growth across the eurozone accelerating to 3.4% in both this year and in 2019, and to 3.5% in 2020.” Brazil and Russia also are expected “to see a turnaround in their fortunes.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (FlightGlobal)


10 January 2018
Airbus To Expand Aircraft Assembly In China

Airbus380-WikipediaCommons Reuters reports that Airbus plans to “boost the number of planes it assembles in China under a deal signed in Beijing on Tuesday to expand co-operation” at its Tianjin plant. A Beijing signing ceremony “did not however include any deal for Airbus to sell aircraft to China, despite earlier expectations of a contract timed to coincide with” French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit. (Image Credit: Juergen Lehle/Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Reuters)


10 January 2018
Details Remain Cloudy As Media Focuses On Apparent Failure Of Zuma Mission

SpaceX-CRS-11-launch-NASA Reuters reports that in response to the assumed loss of the secret Zuma satellite following its launch Sunday night, SpaceX “defended” the performance of its Falcon 9 rocket. In a statement the company declared that “after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night. If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately.” The AP reports that SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the rocket “did everything correctly,” and that suggestions otherwise are “categorically false.” (Image: SpaceX launch of the CRS-11 mission. Credit: NASA/Tony Gray)
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9 January 2018
Chinese Engineer: Tiangong-1 Space Station “Not Out of Control”

ChineseSpaceStation-Wiki Reuters reported that the Chinese Tiangong-1 space station is “not out of control and does not pose a safety threat, a top Chinese spaceflight engineer said on Monday.” Zhu Congpeng of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation “told the state-backed Science and Technology Daily” newspaper, “We have been continuously monitoring Tiangong-1 and expect to allow it to fall within the first half of this year” into a “designated area of the sea.” Re-entry originally was delayed in September 2017 in order to “ensure that the wreckage would fall into an area of the South Pacific ocean where debris from Russian and U.S. space stations had previously landed, the paper said.” (Image Credit: Penyulap/Wikimedia Commons)
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9 January 2018
Lockheed Martin SR-72 May Be Further Along In Development Than Thought

SR-72-LMC Jalopnik reports on Lockheed Martin Vice President of Strategy and Customer Requirements, Advanced Development Programs Jack O’Banion’s comments at the AIAA SciTech Forum, where the executive “may have just unintentionally revealed that America’s next hypersonic warplane is much farther along the development process than previously suggested.” Speaking about how Lockheed has adapted to digital disruption, O’Banion “brought up the so-called SR-72, which so far is only known as a conceptual hypersonic aircraft.” Against a backdrop of three aircraft, including the SR-72, O’Banion commented, “Without the digital transformation, the aircraft you see there could not have been made. In fact, five years ago, it could not have been made.” The article links to a livestream of the SciTech Forum, and O’Banion’s comments start after the 59 minute mark. The comments “all but confirmed” the SR-72 “to be well clear of the conceptual and modeling phases of development, and possibly operational.” (Image: SR-72 as envisioned in 2013. Credit: USAF/Wikipedia)
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8 January 2018
Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser Passes “Key Milestone”

DreamChaser_NASA SPACE reported that Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced on January 5 that NASA confirmed that the company’s Dream Chaser space plane successfully passed a key milestone during its November free flight test. In a statement, SNC “said that NASA cdoncluded that the Nov. 11 free flight of the Dream Chaser engineering test article, at Edwards Air Force Base in California, met or exceeded all the requirements of the company’s last remaining funded milestone in its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) award from 2012.” SNC is “focused” on developing a cargo transport version of Dream Chaser that will service the ISS “under a Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract awarded to SNC in January 2016.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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8 January 2018
Chinese Space Lab Potential “PR Embarrassment”

ChineseSpaceStation-Wiki CNN reported on the Chinese Tiangong-1 space station, which is “out of control and expected to crash-land on Earth by the end of March.” Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said that the Chinese “have a PR embarrassment on their hands.” While the “actual danger” of the space station causing any damage to humans or property “is small,” McDowell said, “it is accepted international best practice nowadays that objects that big shouldn’t be able to fall out of the sky in this manner.” If wreckage from Tiangong-1 falls on land, “it could potentially provide some insight into China’s space program.” Space law expert Michael Listner said, “It would be an opportunity for Western analysts to look at remnants of China space hardware,” which would be a “risk for the Chinese.” (Image Credit: Penyulap/Wikimedia Commons)
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5 January 2018
Weather Delays SpaceX Zuma Launch To Sunday

SpaceXLaunchFacility-KSC-NASA Florida Today reports that SpaceX is targeting “this weekend for a secretive Falcon 9 mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,” with the launch scheduled for “no earlier” than 8 p.m. Sunday. In a statement on Twitter, SpaceX said, “Extreme weather slowed operations but Falcon 9 and the Zuma spacecraft are healthy and go for launch.” The Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron “said Sunday’s attempt will see 90 percent ‘go’ conditions,” despite a low of 36 degrees and a high of 60 degrees at Cape Canaveral Sunday. (Image Credit: NASA)
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5 January 2018
MU Researchers Use UAVs To Assist In Various Agricultural Tasks

UAV_Monitors_Idaho_Farm1_APThe Bolivar Herald-Free Press reports that University of Missouri (MU) Extension researchers are using UAVs specially manufactured for agricultural use to scout fields, evaluate cover crop effectiveness and “capture plant infrared wavelength readings to find nitrogen deficiencies in crops.” MU Extension natural resources engineer Kent Shannon presented the UAV during the college’s annual Crop Management Conference on December 18 and 19. (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
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4 January 2018
New National Security Strategy Makes Space A Priority

Earth-and-NASA-Satellite The Hill reports that the Trump Administration’s National Security Strategy (NSS) “prioritizes U.S. leadership in military, commercial, and scientific components of space.” In contrast to previous strategies, the new NSS takes a “hardline approach” to national security as well as to Russia and China, “who have been increasingly bold and occasionally aggressive space players in recent years.” The NSS “accentuates the administration’s intention to brand the domestic economy a key component of its U.S. national security strategy,” and seeks to “promote space commerce through regulatory reform.” NASA and the Defense Department are “well suited to facilitate” public-private partnerships, which “have the potential to attain both scientific and commercial goals in space.” By distributing cost “across multiple entities, the U.S. could achieve grander goals more quickly and cost-effectively.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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4 January 2018
Boeing: Southwest Airlines Order Has “No Impact” On 737 Max Strategy

Boeing737Max CNBC reports on Southwest Airlines’ decision to exercise options for “40 Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes worth $4.5 billion at list prices” and defer deliveries for smaller Max 7 aircraft until “at least 2023.” Boeing said that “there is no impact to the Max program” from Southwest’s decision, “and noted that the airline still plans to take delivery of seven of the smaller 737 planes next year.” Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said that both the models “still fit in with our fleet plan.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
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3 January 2018
Launch Of SpaceX Zuma Mission Moved To Friday

SpaceXLaunchFacility-KSC-NASA Florida Today reports that the launch of the US government’s “classified Zuma mission from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station” aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been delayed until Friday evening. The launch “had been planned Thursday evening,” but is now targeted for liftoff at 8 p.m. Friday. No reason was given for the delay. (Image Credit: NASA)
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3 January 2018
ATC Privatization Debate Expected To Intensify During First Quarter Of 2018

ATC-at-Dulles Aviation International News reports that the March 31 deadline to reauthorize the FAA “sets the stage for an intense period of lobbying – on both sides of the ATC issue – in the first quarter of 2018 as lawmakers seek to come to a resolution on whether to create an independent, user-funded ATC organization.” House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) is expected to “make a formidable push for the ATC proposal this year,” but “many speculate that if unsuccessful this year, the issue may be shelved, at least for the time being.” (Image: Dulles Airport ATC. Credit: AIAA)
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2 January 2018
NASA Ranked Top Agency By Federal Employees For Sixth Straight Year

NASA-Employees-and-Atlantis-2Nov2012-AP-PurchasedThe Washington Times reports that “for the sixth straight year,” NASA “was the top large agency” in the Office of Personnel Management’s annual survey of hundreds of thousands of federal employees. HHS and the Transportation Department also scored highly. DHS “continued its run at the bottom, ranked yet again as the worst large agency – though even it saw a huge improvement, leaping 6 points in President Trump’s first year in office.” (Image: NASA employees including astronauts that flew on space shuttle Atlantis pose for a photo at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Friday, 2 Nov. 2012, in Cape Canaveral, FL. Credit: Associated Press-©)
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2 January 2018
Weather “Excellent” For SpaceX Zuma Launch From Cape Canaveral Thursday

SpaceXLaunchFacility-KSC-NASA Florida Today reports that a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to “kick off this year’s Eastern Range launch manifest with a secretive Thursday mission from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.” According to the US Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, conditions are expected to be 90 percent favorable “during a launch window that opens at 8 p.m. and closes at 10 p.m., according to a statement released on Monday.” The Zuma mission, “a government payload handled by Northrop Grumman, was delayed from November due to issues with the Falcon 9 rocket’s protective nose cone.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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