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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

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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 (formerly Custom Briefings).



21 April 2014
Dragon Arrives at ISS

ISS_captures_Dragon_Apr2014The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Easter Sunday morning, 20 April, as planned, and was captured by Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata at 7:15 a.m. EDT at the controls of Canadarm2. Second stage capture was completed at 10:06 a.m. EDT. Dragon is delivering nearly two and a half tons of supplies and scientific payloads to the ISS. The successful launch included a breakthrough in reusable rocket development when the rocket’s booster successfully made a soft ocean landing. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the booster likely won’t be recovered, but his company can connect the dots of what’s needed to do next. AIAA congratulates SpaceX, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch and docking of its Dragon spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (SPACE)
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21 April 2014
LADEE Orbiter Completes Mission by Impacting Moon

LADEE_NASA3NASA’s LADEE spacecraft mission at the moon came to an end early Friday when it was intentionally crashed into the lunar surface. NASA confirmed that the spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 12:30 and 1:22 a.m. EDT Friday, 18 April. The operation went as planned, but teams had to scramble near the end to make sure that all the data the spacecraft captured was sent back to Earth before impact. The last bit of information was sent back about a minute before communication ended. LADEE was launched Friday, 6 Sept. 2013, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
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19 April 2014
SpaceX Launches Falcon 9

Falcon9_Launches_April2014_NASASpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket at 3:25 p.m. EDT Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft is carrying critical supplies for the International Space Station’s Expedition 39 crew, as part of a 12-mission contract with NASA. Dragon is on a course to rendezvous with the station Sunday morning. Commander Koichi Wakata and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio will capture Dragon using the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 7:14 a.m. to prepare for its berthing to the Harmony module. AIAA congratulates SpaceX, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: NASA TV)
More Info > (CNET)



17 April 2014
SpaceX to Attempt Launch Again On Friday

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX will try to launch its Dragon spacecraft to the ISS on Friday now that it has resolved the leak issue that scrubbed Monday’s initial launch attempt. Launch is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. EDT Friday, with Saturday serving as a backup date. NASA also has rescheduled a spacewalk to repair a backup ISS computer. A spacewalk by astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steven Swanson will take place either Sunday or Wednesday depending on when, or if, the Dragon cargo ship launches. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info > (Associated Press)



16 April 2014
Pentagon Document Provides Look At Drone Fleet’s Future

USAF_MQ-1LPredatorIn a strategic document known as the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Vector, the Pentagon has laid out a road map for the future of its drone fleet. The document takes a 25-year look from 2013 to 2038, and provides insight into where the Air Force wants to expand technologies. It includes unmanned planes with fuel-filled wings with the ability to carry more sophisticated weapons systems to more isolated hot spots, and smaller drones capable of operating in unison to swarm an enemy. With prices not considered in the document, it remains to be seen whether the current budget environment will allow for costly retrofitting or other aircraft upgrades. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/U.S. Navy)
More Info > (Washington Times)



16 April 2014
NASA’s Lunar Spacecraft Survives Total Lunar Eclipse

LADEE_NASA3Following Tuesday’s total lunar eclipse NASA received the good news that its LADEE spacecraft survived the event. There were concerns that the spacecraft could have frozen during the eclipse. LADEE is now predicted to crash as planned into the moon on Monday. NASA took the precaution of turning off the spacecraft’s instruments to ensure that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) survived the eclipse. The LRO announced via its Twitter account that it had come through, tweeting, “AOS, and sunlight, sweet sunlight! My batteries are charging again before I make another trip to the lunar far side.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
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15 April 2014
Helium Leak Delays SpaceX Launch Until Friday

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX scrubbed Monday’s planned launch of its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the ISS because of a helium leak in the Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX will have one more chance on Friday to attempt the launch again before an urgent spacewalk at the ISS takes place on Tuesday. If there is another delay, SpaceX may not launch again before Orbital Sciences launches its cargo spacecraft, currently scheduled to launch 6 May. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info > (Associated Press)
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15 April 2014
FAA Completes Installation of ADS-B Upgrades

NextGen_Illustration_WikiAs part of the NextGen program aimed at improving the air traffic control network in the U.S., the FAA has completed the installation of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) radio network nationwide. The upgrade will enable air traffic controllers to track aircraft with greater accuracy and reliability, while providing pilots more information in the cockpit. Currently, 100 installed air traffic facilities are using the system, with all 230 expected to be connected and operating by 2019. All planes will be required to have the necessary equipment to use ADS-B by 2020. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/FAA)
More Info > (Avionics Intelligence)



14 April 2014
Spacewalk to Fix Backup Computer Will Not Delay SpaceX Launch

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceX NASA has ordered that astronauts perform a spacewalk next week to fix a backup computer that failed on Friday. Reports indicate that the ISS’ main computer is fine as of now. On Sunday, NASA decided the issue with the computer outage will not delay today’s SpaceX launch. ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini said the spacewalk will take place 22 April, which allows SpaceX two attempts to launch its Dragon cargo spacecraft. If SpaceX is not able to launch this afternoon, the next attempt will be made on Friday, although the weather is not expected to be as good. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info > (Associated Press)
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14 April 2014
X-47B Wins Collier Trophy

X-47B_USNavyThe Northrop Grumman X-47B has won the 2013 Collier Trophy. NASA awarded what many consider aviation’s top prize to the Northrop Grumman X-47B, which spent much of 2013 testing runway and carrier take-off and landing operations. Making its first night flight just last week, the X-47B is scheduled to be deployed by the Navy in 2019. Among other nominees for the trophy were the NASA Lunar Laser Communications demo team and Pratt & Whitney's PurePower geared turbofan engine. AIAA congratulates Northrop Grumman, an AIAA corporate member, and the entire X-47B team. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy)
More Info > (AVweb)



11 April 2014
Global Airline Accident Rate Hits Record Lows

AmericanAirlines_WikiThe International Civil Aviation Organization said that 2013’s global accident rate for commercial airline flights was the lowest ever recorded, falling 13 percent from the previous year to 2.8 accidents per 1 million departures. The statistics are even better in the U.S. where about 3.7 billion passengers flew American carriers in the last five years without injury. Most of the improvements are attributed to increased international cooperation, better data collection, and better pilot training. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (The Wall Street Journal)



11 April 2014
SpaceX Falcon 9 Set to Launch Monday

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX is set to launch its third robotic resupply mission to the International Space Station on Monday. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the company’s Dragon capsule filled with supplies, is expected to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Monday, 14 April, at 4:58 p.m. EDT. This will be SpaceX’s third official mission to the ISS under a contract with NASA to fly 12 missions to the station using the Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket. The launch can be seen live via NASA TV starting at 3:45 p.m. on 14 April. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info > (NASA)



10 April 2014, updated 2:40 p.m. EDT
Atlas V Launches with NRO Satellite

ULA_Launches_NRO_Satellite_10APR14A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite successfully launched Thursday afternoon. Liftoff occurred at 1:45 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. AIAA congratulates ULA, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: Florida Today video)
Watch Launch Video > (Florida Today)


10 April 2014
Atlas V Rocket to Launch NRO Satellite Today

ULA_AtlasV_ReadyToLaunch_ULAULA’s Atlas V rocket and its National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite payload have been rolled out to the launch pad for a second time. Liftoff is scheduled for today at 1:45 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, following the Air Force tracking radar issue that postponed the originally planned launch on 24 March. There is currently a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for today’s launch attempt. This will be the second flight of this version of the Atlas V known as "541," signifying a five-meter diameter payload fairing, four solid rocket boosters strapped to the first stage and a single engine for the upper stage. (Image Credit: ULA)
More Info > (Florida Today)



10 April 2014
Solar Impulse 2 Unveiled

Solar_Impulse_in_FlightThe Solar Impulse team unveiled its Solar Impulse 2 plane yesterday at Payerne Air Force Base in Switzerland. The plane is a bigger and better version of the one that made its test flights across the U.S., Europe, and Africa. The plane, which will be used to fly around the world, can theoretically remain in the air indefinitely with its improved batteries and longer wingspan. Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, who will pilot the plane on its long-distance flight, reportedly say that they themselves are the weakest link now in the project. (Image Credit: Solar Impulse)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (Aviation Week)
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9 April 2014
Aviation Organizations, Agriculture Groups Send Letter to FAA Urging Expediency In UAS Rulemaking

Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonWith the FAA under pressure to develop clearer regulations on small drones, some businesses are now pushing the government for an interim set of policies in advance of an official set of rules. Over two dozen industry groups, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and the National Association of Realtors (real estate agents have been using drones to take pictures of properties from the air), sent a letter addressed to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta that read, “The current regulatory void has left American entrepreneurs and others either sitting on the sidelines or operating in the absence of appropriate safety guidelines.” (Image Credit: YouTube/Amazon)
More Info > (Washington Post)



9 April 2014
Pentagon to Review Russian-Built Atlas V Engine in Wake of Crimea Crisis

RD-80engine_WikiThe U.S. Defense Department has initiated a review to determine whether using a Russian-built rocket engine to launch military satellites has any national security implications, following Russia’s seizure and annexation of Crimea. The review, which defense officials expect to wrap up in late May, will examine the security risks, as well as the costs of developing and producing a replacement for the RD-180 engine used in the Atlas V rocket. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Roll Call)



8 April 2014
NRO Payload Launch Rescheduled for Thursday

ULA_AtlasV_PreparesToLaunch_NASARocket launches from Cape Canaveral are scheduled to resume Thursday, more than two weeks after an electrical short disabled a critical Air Force tracking radar, resulting in delays, including the launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. The 45th Space Wing said in a statement Monday that the Air Force has reactivated an additional radar while repairs to the damaged one continue. The first launch attempt is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Thursday. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Florida Today)



8 April 2014
United Preparing to Operate World’s Longest Boeing 787 Non-Stop Routes

UA_787_WikiUnited is planning two of the world’s longest 787 flights for later this year. The airline is offering a Los Angeles-Melbourne flight starting 26 Oct. that will travel 7,927 miles, currently the longest route to be operated by the 787 family. United will also begin service 9 June on a San Francisco-Chengdu flight, which would not only be the first non-stop flight ever from the U.S. to Chengdu, but also would be the longest 787 flight to operate non-stop in both directions, until the Melbourne flight begins. The San Francisco-Chengdu route is 6,587 miles. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Forbes)



8 April 2014
LADEE Probe Nears Final Days of Collecting Scientific Data

LADEE_NASANASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) probe will descend to as low as a mile or two above the lunar surface where it will make its final scientific observations before a maneuver sets up the spacecraft’s controlled impact on or before 21 April. The probe’s final mission involves studying dust and other aspects of the lunar exosphere to determine the structure and composition of the Moon’s thin ‘atmosphere.’ On 15 April, a total lunar eclipse is expected to envelop LADEE for about four hours, exposing the spacecraft to conditions at the limits of what it was designed to withstand, according to NASA. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (PC Magazine)
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7 April 2014
SpaceX Targeting 14 April To Launch ISS Mission

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX said Friday that it now plans to try to launch its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule to the ISS on 14 April. This would follow a National Reconnaissance Office satellite launch on 10 April. While a critical Florida radar installation has not been fully repaired following a fire, a second, inactive installation will now support the launches this month. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info > (Waco (TX) Tribune-Herald)
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7 April 2014
Industry Eager to Utilize UAVs

Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonThe UAV developed by Oklahoma State University graduate student Ben Loh is part of a growing industry in Oklahoma. Technology enthusiasts from across the state, like Loh, are at the Unmanned Aerial Systems Oklahoma Summit at Northeastern State University, where they are discussing the future of the field. Private companies are reportedly eager to begin using UAVs for a variety of tasks, especially after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that his company was looking at using them for deliveries. James Grimsley, president of UAS-OK, called Bezos' statement a watershed event for getting the public to consider commercial uses of UAVs. (Image Credit: YouTube / Amazon)
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4 April 2014
Albaugh Elected Next Chairman of National Aeronautic Association

Jim_AlbaughJim Albaugh, AIAA Honorary Fellow and president-elect of AIAA, has been named the chairman of the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). He will assume the position 1 July following the retirement of the current chairman, Walter Boyne. Albaugh said, “It is a great honor to be elected to Chair an organization that was established really at the advent of powered flight. ... I want to thank the Board for their support, and I am looking forward to working with all of them to the benefit of aviation and aerospace in America.”
More Info > (Aero-News Network)



3 April 2014
NASA Bans Cooperation With Russia, ISS Exempted

ISS-NASADue to the situation over Ukraine, NASA will curtail work with Russia over space matters, but this does not include the big-ticket items such as sending astronauts to the ISS. This policy comes after NASA was insisting there would be no change in how the agency interacts with Russia. Despite the end of almost all other cooperative efforts, NASA said in a statement that it would continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the ISS. (Image Credit: NASA)
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2 April 2014
Virtual Incision Robot Could One Day Conduct Surgery In Space

Virtual_IncisionVirtual Incision has developed a fist-sized robot that may be able to one day perform some surgeries on astronauts during deep space missions. Surgery so far has not been an issue for astronauts aboard the ISS because they are carefully screened for health issues before missions, and if an emergency does arise, they can return to Earth relatively quickly, something that will not be possible on long missions away from Earth. However, surgery in space is extremely difficult because of the lack of gravity, which could cause blood to float free and contaminate the cabin. Virtual Incision’s robot is only 0.4 kilograms and can potentially operate inside an astronaut. So far, prototypes have conducted several dozen procedures in pigs. The robot will make its first zero-gravity test on parabolic flights in the coming months. (Image Credit: YouTube/UNeMed Corporation)
More Info > (New Scientist)
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2 April 2014
NASA Open to Various Partnerships to Keep SOFIA Flying

SOPHIA_NASANASA is looking at ways to keep the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) flying, by posting a Request for Information to potential partners. NASA wrote, “Various partnership levels will be considered. Partnerships can range from joining as a major partner to securing flights on a night-by-night basis. Costs are estimated at approximately $1 million per night for a dedicated mission.” NASA added, “Due to the current budget situation, partnership arrangements would be initiated immediately in order to be in place prior to Oct. 1. Potential partners are invited to submit their interest or questions in writing as soon as possible, but prior to May 1.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Space News)



1 April 2014
Aeronautics Research a “Big Part” of NASA

X-48C_NASA_99pxAccording to a recent report in the Voice of America, aeronautics is still a large part of NASA, as demonstrated by research underway at the Aeronautics Research Center, in Hampton, VA, that could lead to improvements in lightweight materials, better aerodynamics, alternative aircraft designs, and new types of fuels. NASA aims to see planes that burn 60 to 70 percent less fuel, create less pollution, and are quieter than 2005 models, by 2030. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Voice of America)



31 March 2014
FAA Approves Nighttime UAS Flights for North Dakota Police

Drone_WikiThe FAA has given the Grand Forks County, North Dakota, Police Department permission to fly drones in 16 counties in northeast North Dakota during the night. Sheriff Bob Rost made the announcement of the approval on Friday, marking the first time the FAA has given a law enforcement agency the federal authorization to fly unmanned aerial vehicles at night throughout the jurisdiction. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Grand Forks (ND) Herald)



31 March 2014
NASA Announces New Commercial Spaceflight Initiative

Falcon9_Launch_WikiNASA is trying to increase its ties with commercial space companies by proposing a new initiative called the Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC), which would give companies greater access to NASA’s resources through unfunded Space Act Agreements (SAAs). NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William Gerstenmaier said that the agency looks forward to sharing its 50 years of spaceflight experience and fostering partnerships in ways that benefit the nation’s spaceflight goals. A teleconference is scheduled to take place 2 April to discuss the new initiative. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Spaceflight Insider)



31 March 2014
Albaugh to be Featured Speaker At Upcoming Panel Presentation

Jim_AlbaughJim Albaugh, AIAA president-elect and Executive Vice President, The Boeing Company, President and Chief Executive Officer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (retired), will be the featured speaker at an upcoming panel presentation at the Museum of Flight in Tukwila, Washington. The event on 8 April will focus on the state of the airline industry and why new airliners take twice as long to develop today as they did in the 1960s.
More Info > (Tukwila (WA) Reporter)



28 March 2014
Soyuz Docks with ISS

Expedition39_at_ISS_NASATVThree new crew members have arrived at the International Space Station, two days later than originally planned. A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA Astronaut Steve Swanson and cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev docked with the station at 7:53 p.m. EDT Thursday, as the two spacecraft passed over southern Brazil. The hatch opened at 10:35 p.m. EDT. The arrival of Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev returns the space station to its full complement of six crew members. The newcomers join NASA's Rick Mastracchio, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin as part of the Expedition 39 crew aboard the space station. (Image Credit: NASA TV)
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28 March 2014
Facebook Announces Internet Connectivity Project

Internet.org_imageThrough the use of drones, lasers and satellites, Facebook wants to connect those who currently do not have access to the Internet, some of whom live in remote parts of the world. On Thursday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the formation of the Facebook Connectivity Lab, which will feature employees hired from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Ames Research Center, and Ascenta. The lab’s goal is to support Internet.org, the Facebook-led project that aims to connect the more than 70 percent of the world’s population who are not yet online. (Image Credit: insidefacebook.com)
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27 March 2014
New Crew On Track to Arrive at ISS Tonight

Expedition39_Launches_March2014_NASAThe next crew of astronauts, including Steve Swanson, will arrive at the ISS on Thursday, two days later than expected because of a software glitch that occurred on their Soyuz spacecraft. According to Roscosmos, an issue with the orientation system prevented the thruster from firing. Following the software issue, officials uploaded a revised 34-orbit trajectory overnight, which now has the spacecraft on a trajectory for docking at approximately 7:58 p.m. EDT this evening. (Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)
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27 March 2014
SpaceX Delays Launch of Third ISS Resupply Flight

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXA Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launched Astronaut Steve Swanson and two cosmonauts to the ISS Tuesday evening. The current dispute between the two nations has not interfered with the mission or the successful launch. While NASA Administrator Charles Bolden previously said that relations between the U.S. and Russia in space are intact and normal, he indicated on Tuesday that NASA is focused on returning American astronauts to space aboard American rockets, launched from U.S. soil, as soon as possible. Meanwhile, while the original plan had the astronauts arriving at the ISS six hours after the launch, a glitch has delayed that plan. The trio will now dock on Thursday. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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26 March 2014
New Crew On Its Way to ISS, But Will Take Two Days to Arrive

Expedition39_Launches_March2014_NASAA Russian Soyuz rocket successfully launched Astronaut Steve Swanson and two cosmonauts to the ISS Tuesday evening. The current dispute between the two nations has not interfered with the mission or the successful launch. While NASA Administrator Charles Bolden previously said that relations between the U.S. and Russia in space are intact and normal, he indicated on Tuesday that NASA is focused on returning American astronauts to space aboard American rockets, launched from U.S. soil, as soon as possible. Meanwhile, while the original plan had the astronauts arriving at the ISS six hours after the launch, a glitch has delayed that plan. The trio will now dock on Thursday. (Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)
More Info > (The Associated Press)
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26 March 2014
Officials Testify on Impact of Aerospace Industry In California

Magnus_CA_AerospaceWeek2014In a hearing about California's role in leading the nation into space, lawmakers on Tuesday were briefed on the state's aerospace industry. Highlights included the Hawthorne, CA-based SpaceX that in 2012 became the first private company to successfully dock a commercial spacecraft to the ISS; and the Mojave, CA-based Virgin Galactic, which is rapidly moving toward its goal of building a private fleet of space vehicles. The hearing was conducted during AIAA’s California Aerospace Week, a weeklong effort by industry to call attention to its crucial role in the California economy. Sandra Magnus, executive director of AIAA, said the industry provides 162,000 jobs in the state with a $15 billion annual payroll and that California-based operations account for 9 percent of global aerospace revenues. (Image: Assemblymember Muratsuchi engages Dr. Sandy Magnus and Amish Rajan at joint Hearing)
More Info > (Hispanic Business)
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25 March 2014
Malaysian PM Says Jet Crashed In Indian Ocean

Malaysian_Airlines_WikiMalaysia’s Prime Minister announced Monday that Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 went down in the Indian Ocean and all 239 people on board perished. That announcement was based on new analysis of satellite data that tracked the Boeing 777 after it veered off course on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March. The search for the plane’s wreckage is now focused west of Australia and the U.S. is flying in a team with underwater surveillance gear. The exact spot where the plane went down is still unknown. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (New York Times)
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25 March 2014
AIAA Has Detailed Cyber Threats To Airlines

RichardClarke_RemarksOnCybersecurity_AVIATION2013One theory reported in the media last week was that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was taken over using a mobile phone or even a USB stick. The potential threat to the cybersecurity of airlines has been addressed before, as exemplified by a 2013 AIAA Decision Paper titled “A Framework for Aviation Cybersecurity,” which detailed the existing and evolving cyber threats. (Image: Richard A. Clarke, Chairman and CEO, Good Harbor Risk Management, LLC provides keynote address on aviation cybersecurity at AIAA AVIATION 2013.)
More Info > (Israel Defense)
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24 March 2014
Contamination Not an Issue for 30 March SpaceX Launch

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX has confirmed that it will attempt to launch its Falcon 9 rocket with its Dragon capsule to the ISS on Sunday, 30 March. SpaceX said in a statement that the potential contamination that initially delayed the launch will not pose any additional risk to the payload. No repairs are needed in order to carry out the launch. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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24 March 2014
ULA Cleared for Launch Attempt Tuesday

ULA_AtlasV_NASAOn Friday, an official review cleared United Launch Alliance (ULA) for liftoff of a classified surveillance satellite on Tuesday at 2:48 p.m. The National Reconnaissance Office satellite will launch atop an Atlas V rocket. However, the weather is currently questionable, with only a 40 percent chance of favorable conditions. The weather forecast for Wednesday is slightly worse. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Florida Today)



24 March 2014
NASA Asks for Proposals to Help Develop Asteroid Redirect Mission

Asteroid_Redirect_NASAJPLOn Friday, NASA said that it is looking for new proposals for its Asteroid Redirect Mission. These studies need to examine “capture mechanisms, sensors, precursor missions and opportunities to adapt commercial spacecraft and lower costs.” Greg Williams, deputy associate administrator for policy and plans in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations mission directorate, said the asteroid mission provides an exciting opportunity to demonstrate technologies that will be needed for future human exploration. Researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Langley Research Center are now evaluating mission concepts, with a selection expected early next year. (Image Credit: NASA-JPL)
More Info > (Florida Today)
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21 March 2014
FAA, Boeing Already Addressing 777 Data Vulnerabilities

Malaysian_Airlines_WikiWhile Boeing has not commented on the investigation into what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which involves a 777, it has begun work with the FAA to prevent the hostile takeover of any 777 model by unauthorized access to critical systems and data networks. The agency released special conditions to address any issues, to ensure that the security (i.e., confidentiality, integrity, and availability) of airplane systems is not compromised by unauthorized wired or wireless electronic connections between the airplane information services domain, aircraft control domain, and the passenger entertainment services. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Aviation Week)



21 March 2014
Malaysian Airlines Case Stirs Call for Streaming Data

Malaysian_Airlines_WikiBy Ben Iannotta and Dave Majumdar
Aerospace America/AIAA

Transmitting real-time data off airliners is a technology that might have kept Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 from turning into one of aviation’s greatest mysteries, but the technology hasn’t been adopted because of questions over costs and satellite bandwidth, aviation experts say. The idea of streaming flight data, cockpit audio and possibly even video from airliners has percolated since the 1990s. When a plane goes missing or crashes in a remote region, the thinking goes, authorities wouldn’t be relegated to frantic searches for voice and flight data recorders. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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20 March 2014
Probe Gives Boeing 787 Good Marks, Offers Tips for Better Oversight

Boeing 787 DreamlinerDespite a rollout that experienced some problems, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet has been given a clean bill of health by a joint FAA-Boeing review team. Their report noted that a previous problem with the plane’s lithium-ion batteries has been resolved. The Dreamliner was grounded for more than three months last year after batteries overheated. The FAA’s review, though prompted by a battery fire in Boston in January 2013, encompassed the entire plane, not specifically the battery issue. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said that the administration’s review made seven recommendations for further improvements in Boeing processes and the agency’s oversight. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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20 March 2014
Orbital to Launch Its Cygnus Spacecraft to the ISS 6 May

Antares_Set_for_Launch_NASAOrbital Sciences announced on Wednesday that it plans to launch its next Cygnus cargo spacecraft mission to the ISS on 6 May at the earliest. The mission will be launched by the company’s Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Orbital is one of two front runners for the next Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract, the other being SpaceX. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (NASA Spaceflight)



19 March 2014
Airbus AS350 Helicopter Crashes In Seattle

SeattleHelicopterCrash2An ABC News affiliate’s helicopter crashed into three vehicles on Tuesday in Seattle, across the street from the Space Needle. The helicopter had just taken off from the station’s roof, directly across from the Space Needle, when it suddenly dropped directly on to the street below, exploding on top of cars in the midst of their morning commute. The NTSB reports that witnesses to the crash have said that they heard an unusual noise and the helicopter began to rotate right before the crash. The NTSB is combing through the wreckage, looking at everything including the environment, the weather, and the pilot. (Image Credit: YouTube)
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19 March 2014
DARPA Announces Contenders for VTOL X-Plane

VTOL-X-Plane-conceptDARPA has chosen Aurora Flight Sciences, Boeing, Karem Aircraft, and Sikorsky to develop competing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) X-plane concepts. One of their concepts will be chosen later next year for development. That winner is then expected to fly by 2017-2018. The contenders have a challenging set of requirements to meet, including making sure the vehicle has a lift-to-drag ratio of at least 10, twice the aerodynamic efficiency of current VTOL aircraft, and a 25% improvement in hover efficiency. (Image Credit: YouTube)
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19 March 2014
ISEE-3 Satellite May Return to Original Position In Space

ISEE-3_WikiOver 30 years ago, AIAA Fellow Robert Farquhar convinced NASA to send the International Sun-Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3) to make the world’s first comet encounter. At the time, some researchers thought Farquhar “stole” their spacecraft, but its path will soon be close enough to Earth that it could be commanded during a short window to return to its original location. Farquhar is considered a “genius” when it comes to developing exotic trajectories for spacecraft like this one. Commanding the spacecraft today is not so easy because much of the required equipment is no longer in existence, but the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory does have it. So NASA has given them the approval to be able to try to send the necessary commands. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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18 March 2014
Scientists Discover Evidence of Gravitational Waves

SouthPoleTelescopeA team led by John Kovak of Harvard University, using a telescope at the South Pole, has discovered evidence of gravitational waves. The discovery may help prove the Big Bang theory, and if confirmed, would provide a new tool for researchers to study the entire universe. Researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were part of the team that made the discovery. Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University, who was not involved in the study, reportedly said that this could be among the greatest breakthroughs in astrophysics over the last 25 years. Even with this major discovery, there are still plenty of important topics left to study, like the nature of dark matter and dark energy. (Image: The 10 metre South Pole Telescope. Credit: Wikipedia)
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18 March 2014
The FAA Catches Washington Nationals Improperly Using UAV at Spring Training

UAV_Images_Nats_at_SpringTrainingThe Washington Nationals are in hot water with the FAA for their use of a UAV to take pictures of the team during spring training. The UAV was reportedly used without the FAA’s permission and was considered a commercial use. The team used a small four-rotor drone to hover above the players and capture promotional pictures of the team in practice. AUVSI President Michael Toscano indicated respect for the FAA’s deference to safety in its deliberate pace of rulemaking but suggested that the technology has outpaced the regulatory aspects. The Nationals could face a $10,000 fine. (Image Credit: Washington Nationals/Donald Miralle, Instagram)
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17 March 2014
First Orion Test Flight Pushed Back to December

Orion-NASA_Mar14NASA announced Friday that the first launch of the Orion capsule, the Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), has been moved from September to December. NASA said that this shift will bring more opportunities for launches this year. Some reports claim that NASA is letting the U.S. Air Force’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSAP) satellites launch before Orion. Even with the delay, NASA still expects to have the vehicle ready for September as originally planned. (Image Credit: NASA)
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17 March 2014
ISS Crew Discusses Space Life In “Live From Space” Event

Astronaut_NASADuring Friday evening’s “Live From Space” television event that aired on the National Geographic Channel, the crew of the ISS discussed everything from space toilets and experiments to dangerous spacewalks and space junk. Astronaut Rick Mastracchio said, “I’ve been up here for four months. I’ve been away from home for almost six months. I know I’m going to miss the great views out the window and I’m definitely going to miss sleeping in a zero-g environment. It’s absolutely fantastic. When this mission is over, I’m definitely going to be happy to go home and see my family.” Meanwhile, Astronaut Ron Garan was asked about what it was like to go into space and return. He said that spaceflight is a wonderful experience and that everyone gets along with each other when up there. (Image Credit: NASA)
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14 March 2014
National Geographic to Air “Live from Space” Tonight

Astronaut_NASAFor two hours this evening, NASA and the National Geographic Channel will provide viewers with a live look behind the scenes, both aboard the International Space Station and with the ground team at Mission Control that watches over the crew and station systems. As the ISS soars 260 miles above the Earth, Astronauts Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Koichi Wakata, the first Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency station commander, will provide viewers a guided tour of the space station. Former astronaut and AIAA Executive Director Sandy Magnus said, “It’s important that NASA do things like this because [NASA] is funded by the taxpayer and part of that mission is to let taxpayers know what we’re doing with their money. ... Space stations are a little bit more remote [than shuttle launches] and it’s harder for people to relate to it because it is just up there going around and around and around.” The pair, who arrived at the space station on 7 Nov. along with Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, are scheduled to remain aboard the station until mid-May as part of the crew of Expedition 39. (Image Credit: NASA)
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14 March 2014
SpaceX Launch Postponed Until End of the Month

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX has decided to delay the upcoming launch of its Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS from 16 March to 30 March because the company requires more time. SpaceX did not say what exactly it needed the extra time for, although the Dragon capsule and its cargo are said to be in good health. Meanwhile, the 30 March launch date has yet to be approved. If the rocket is not able to launch then, the next available date would be 2 April. Some sources claim the delay may be due to an apparent contamination that may adversely affect the research equipment that is part of the cargo. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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13 March 2014
SpaceX Falcon 9 to Launch 16 March

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXAn early forecast shows a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for Sunday morning’s planned launch from Cape Canaveral of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule that will deliver nearly 5,000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station. SpaceX is launching its third of 12 missions under a $1.6 billion NASA resupply contract. Lift off is scheduled for 4:41 a.m. EDT. While the mission to the ISS is important, many are talking about the fact that SpaceX will attempt to recover the rocket from the ocean after it returns to Earth, and reuse it. Future missions, will use legs built onto the rocket to gently fall to land. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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13 March 2014
NASA Joins Search for Missing Malaysian Jetliner

EO-1_NASANASA has joined the search for a Malaysian commercial jetliner that vanished over the weekend. A NASA spokesman said activities under way include mining data archives of satellite data acquired earlier and using space-based assets, such as the Earth-Observing-1(EO-1) satellite and the ISERV camera on the International Space Station, to acquire new images of possible crash sites. The resolution of images from these instruments could be used to identify objects of about 98 feet or larger. In addition, NASA will be sending relevant data to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earth Resources Observations and Science Hazard Data Distribution System. (Image: Earth Observing-1 (EO-1); Credit: NASA)
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13 March 2014
National Geographic to Air “Live from Space”

Astronaut_NASAFor two hours Friday evening, NASA and the National Geographic Channel will provide viewers with a live look behind the scenes, both aboard the International Space Station and with the ground team at Mission Control that watches over the crew and station systems. As the ISS soars 260 miles above the Earth, Astronauts Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Koichi Wakata, the first Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency station commander, will provide viewers a guided tour of the space station. The pair, who arrived at the space station on 7 Nov. along with Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, are scheduled to remain aboard the station until mid-May as part of the crew of Expedition 39. Three more crew members, including NASA Astronaut Steve Swanson, are scheduled to launch to the station 25 March. (Image Credit: NASA)
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12 March 2014
SpaceX Falcon 9 to Launch 16 March

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX is preparing for its third cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, during which its Dragon spacecraft will deliver thousands of pounds of supplies to the orbiting laboratory. Dragon is launching aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Liftoff currently is targeted for 16 March at 4:41 a.m. EDT. If launch doesn’t occur 16 March, another opportunity is available 17 March at 4:19 a.m. The mission, designated SpaceX-3, is the third of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It will be the fourth flight by a Dragon capsule to the ISS. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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12 March 2014
Satellites Helping to Search for Missing Malaysian Plane

NASAJPL_MissionImageDigitalGlobe’s online crowdsourcing platform has started getting as many as 100,000 people visiting per hour to search its archive for any sign of the missing Malaysian aircraft. The campaign to search the data started Monday. Meanwhile, China has also redeployed its satellite assets to search for the missing plane, including the Beidou navigation satellite system. (Image Credit: NASA-JPL)
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11 March 2014
Expedition 38 Crew Lands in Kazakhstan

Expedition38_landsSoyuz Commander Oleg Kotov and Expedition 38 Flight Engineers Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy successfully landed in Kazakhstan Monday night at 11:24 p.m. EDT. They landed in a Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft ending a five-and-a-half month mission aboard the ISS. The trio undocked from the station at 8:02 p.m. EDT. Staying behind are new Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata and Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Mikhail Tyurin. They arrived at the station on 7 Nov. aboard a Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft, and are scheduled to return home in mid-May. Wakata, a Japanese astronaut, is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s first station commander. (Image Credit: NASA)
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11 March 2014
Flower Delivery Company Will Resume Deliveries by UAV

FlowerDeliveryExpress.comUAVFollowing a ruling by NTSB Administrative Law Judge Patrick Geraghty that the FAA does not have the authority to ban the commercial use of UAVs, FlowerDeliveryExpress.com will resume using UAVs to deliver flowers. The company was previously stopped from making such deliveries by the FAA following an initial test delivery on 8 Feb. (Image Credit: YouTube video)
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10 March 2014
Investigators Looking Into Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Malaysian_Airlines_WikiAn international passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China, disappeared on Saturday, 8 March, with 227 passengers, including three Americans, and 12 crew on board. The cause of the disappearance is unknown and under investigation. Flight 370, operated by a Boeing 777 aircraft, departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 8 March for a scheduled six-hour flight to Beijing Capital International Airport. Air Traffic Controllers lost contact with the plane while it was over the Gulf of Thailand, and it was reported missing. A joint search-and-rescue effort, focusing on the Gulf of Thailand, Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, is being conducted by cooperating agencies of several national governments. At least two passengers were using false identities. The head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority says officials had not ruled out hijacking as a cause of the plane's disappearance. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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10 March 2014
SpaceX Conducts Static Fire Test Ahead of Mission to ISS

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX conducted a Static Fire test on Saturday in preparation for the next Dragon spacecraft mission to the ISS. If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will be launched on a Falcon 9 rocket on 16 March. The test was initially planned for Friday, but poor weather delayed the test by a day. A Launch Readiness Review is expected to be conducted in coming days. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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10 March 2014
Wakata Takes Command of ISS, Expedition 38 Set to Return

Expedition38_CrewThe International Space Station has its first Japanese commander. Astronaut Koichi Wakata of JAXA (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) was handed over command during a ceremony held onboard the station early Sunday morning (9 March). Wakata, who has been a flight engineer aboard the space station since November, will lead the 39th expedition crew through mid-May. Meanwhile, former Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineers Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy will be heading back to Earth Monday evening after 166 days in space. Today, the trio will board their Soyuz and close the hatches at 4:45 p.m. EDT. They will undock from the station at 8:02 p.m. and land in Kazakhstan at 11:24 p.m. (9:24 a.m. Tuesday, Kazakhstan time). NASA TV will provide live coverage. (Image Credit: NASA)
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7 March 2014
Hubble Telescope Witnesses Asteroid Break Up

Hubble_NASAFor the first time, the Hubble Space Telescope has observed an asteroid breaking up into 10 pieces up to two football fields long. The pieces are expected to mostly aim towards the sun. Researchers, led by David Jewitt of UCLA, believe light from the sun is causing the asteroid to break up by increasing its rotation. Meanwhile, for the third time over a period of 24 hours, an asteroid flew past the Earth, coming six times closer than the orbit of the moon, however Earth was not at risk of an impact with any of these objects. (Image Credit: NASA)
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7 March 2014
Airbus Warns Airlines on A380 Wing Spar Fatigue

A380Wing_WikiAirbus has called for more frequent inspections of the A380’s wings following discovery of higher-than-anticipated metal fatigue during a mock-up. Specifically, the manufacturer suggested that airlines conduct 6-year, rather than 12-year, inspections of the wing’s spars. The potential spar problem has not been detected yet on any aircraft currently in service. The airline industry is characterized as being resigned to certain levels of metal fatigue, instead focusing on better monitoring and more regular inspections of the issue. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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7 March 2014
Red Bull Air Race Resumes

RedBullAirRace_WikiThe Red Bull Air Race recently reopened in Abu Dhabi following a three-year moratorium intended to make the event safer. The Zivko Edge 540 is the most commonly used plane at the moment for use in the races, which see pilots flying their planes at more than 200 mph, flying roughly 80 feet above the ground, and passing within inches of pylons. The series continues in five more international locations, including Croatia and China. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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6 March 2014
Musk, Gass Debate Competition for Defense Satellite Launches

ULA_Launch_USAFAt a hearing yesterday before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Michael Gass, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance, differed on whether the current arrangement for choosing who can launch defense satellites works, especially in light of rising launch costs. Gass thinks the current system is fine because it provides flexibility for the Defense Department to launch whenever needed, not to mention it has resulted in many successful launches. Countering that view, Musk argues that if his company’s rockets are good enough for NASA to launch to the ISS, they should be fine for the Pentagon. (Image Credit: USAF/Defense Media Activity)
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6 March 2014
SpaceX Launch to the ISS Set for 16 March

Falcon9_ready_for_launch_SpaceXSpaceX is set to launch its next mission to the ISS from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The company’s Dragon cargo capsule, mounted atop its Falcon 9 rocket, is due to lift off at 4:41 a.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 March. If delayed, the next opportunity to launch will take place the following day. The mission, designated SpaceX-3, is the third of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It will be the fourth flight by a Dragon capsule to the ISS. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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5 March 2014
NASA Says Working Relationship with Russia is “Normal” Despite Tensions Over Ukraine

ISS_NASADuring a briefing on NASA’s proposed budget, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden indicated that everything is normal in the relationship between the U.S. and Russia at the International Space Station despite tensions between the two countries over Ukraine. Even though Russian rockets are the only way for astronauts to reach the ISS, Bolden said he sees no reason for contingency planning. NASA and the administration may use the situation to request more funds for the Commercial Crew Program, which is developing commercial rockets that would launch from the U.S. In fact, NASA asked for $1.1 billion for the program in the 2015 budget request, almost twice what it received in 2014. Bolden said giving NASA the full amount of funds would be the quickest way to launch American astronauts from American soil on American spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA)
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5 March 2014
Pentagon Budget Provides Less for Weapons Than Previously Projected

Pentagon_WikiUnder the proposed 2015 budget, the Pentagon has $154 billion for weapons purchases and research, $25 billion less than projected a year ago. This includes a cut in the projected numbers of F-35s, the retirement of the aging Kiowa Warrior helicopters, more money toward UH-72 Lakota light helicopters, spending on missile defense, and an increase in funding for upgrade kits for the B-2 bomber and F-16 and F-15E fighters. The budget also includes funds to begin work on the Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) program. Meanwhile, the Air Force will now only buy three rockets instead of five under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program in order to be better aligned with satellite launch schedules. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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5 March 2014
SpaceX Expects EELV Certification This Year, Delays Falcon Heavy Launch

SpaceX_Thaicom-6_Launch_6Jan14SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell predicts that this is the year that the company’s Falcon 9 rocket should be certified to compete for launches under the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Shotwell said in a 27 Feb. interview with Aviation Week & Space Technology that the company has worked under much stricter criteria for certification than either Boeing or Lockheed Martin did when their rockets were originally certified. Meanwhile, CEO Elon Musk said because of the production schedule, the company’s Falcon Heavy will not be able to launch this year on a test flight. He said it would probably take place in early 2015. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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4 March 2014
Commercial Crew Could Prevent Loss of Access to the ISS

ISS-NASADue to the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the U.S. may be forced to take some political actions against Russia, which in turn could lead Russia to deny American astronauts access to the ISS since the U.S. relies on them for launch capabilities. The most promising alternative to reaching the ISS is through the Commercial Crew Program, although the rockets under development are years away from service. Jeff Foust of the Futron Corporation said a commercial option might be available in 2015 or 2016. However, Henry Hertzfeld of the George Washington University Space Policy Institute was reportedly optimistic that Russia would not take any such actions because the ISS is an international partnership, and the U.S. and Russia could place a higher priority on that arrangement, thus avoiding political issues like the one over Ukraine. (Image Credit: NASA)
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4 March 2014
NASA’s 2015 Funding Request Listed Ahead of Release

NASAJPL_MissionImageAccording to internal documents about the 2015 budget request, NASA will ask for funding for “pre-formulation” studies of a Europa mission as well as a Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope/Astrophysics Focused Telescope Asset mission. The ISS would also be given funding for its extension, and the Commercial Crew Program would receive funds at a level permitting certification by 2017. Other funds are being requested for advanced solar electric propulsion and non-toxic ‘green’ spacecraft propellant. (Image Credit: NASA-JPL)
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3 March 2014
Astronauts Say “Gravity” Replicates What Spacewalks Are Like

GravityImageFormer ISS Commander Leroy Chiao and Astronaut Tom Jones both thought the movie “Gravity” did a good job of replicating what it was like to work in space, especially doing a spacewalk, according to a report in SPACE. In an op-ed for the Daily Telegraph (UK), UK Astronaut Tim Peake also discussed what was realistic about the movie, noting how it compares with a simulation of ISS operations he experienced as part of his training at the Johnson Space Center. The training involved having Peake rescue himself if something went wrong during a spacewalk. (Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)
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3 March 2014
NASA, SpaceX Say Landing Legs Should Not Impact SpaceX Cargo Delivery Mission

SpaceXFalcon9_CreditSpaceXSpaceX will add landing legs to the Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket that will launch a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS this month. Both NASA and SpaceX say this should not impact the primary mission of delivering cargo. Even with the legs the first stage may still be unrecoverable. However, the company does believe it is on the right track toward reusability. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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3 March 2014
Lockheed Martin Wins Award For Autonomous SMSS, K-MAX Experiment

LMC_K-MAXThe U.S. Army Robotics Technology Consortium awarded Lockheed Martin with a contract to conduct an autonomous reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition experiment using its Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) unmanned ground vehicle and its K-MAX unmanned air vehicle. The experiment will occur later this year, and it will involve a K-MAX aircraft transporting a Gyrocam-equipped SMSS into a simulated area deemed too risky for human presence. (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)
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28 February 2014
GPM Core Observatory Successfully Launched from Japan

GPM_Launch_NASAThe Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory was successfully launched from Japan on Thursday afternoon at 1:37 p.m EST. No problems were reported. The spacecraft is the most sophisticated platform yet for measuring rainfall, capable of recording amounts as small as a hundredth of an inch an hour. With the GPM’s expected lifespan, NASA will have an unbroken 25- to 30-year rainfall record to help improve forecasts and climate models. This is the first of five Earth science missions NASA has on tap for the year. (Image Credit: NASA)
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27 February 2014
GPM Launches Today

GPM-SetToLaunch_NASAThe Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is set to launch this afternoon from Japan. The launch time was adjusted because of a collision avoidance analysis between the GPM spacecraft and the ISS. The one-hour launch window opens today at 1:37 p.m. EST. Liftoff will take place from Tanegashima Island, a small island off the coast of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four big islands. GPM is an international mission led by NASA and JAXA to measure rain and snowfall over most of the globe multiple times a day. (Image Credit: NASA)
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27 February 2014
Air Force to Issue New Bomber RFP in the Fall

long-range-strike-bomber_wikiAir Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said that a request for proposal (RFP) for the new long-range strike bomber will be issued in the fall timeframe. According to James, two teams are already working on pre-proposal types of activities, preparing to take the next step in competition on the long-range strike bomber. Those teams, while not explicitly named, are thought to be a joint Lockheed Martin-Boeing team and Northrop Grumman. There still isn’t much known about the project, which may be capped at $550 million per plane, but some note the cost per plane may actually be more in the end since that figure appears not to include research and development costs. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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27 February 2014
Demand to Launch CubeSats from ISS Increasing Beyond Expectations

CubeSats_Launch_from_ISS_NASAThe demand to launch CubeSats from the ISS is increasing, exceeding all expectations from NASA and groups like NanoRacks. Jeffrey Manber, CEO of NanoRacks, said that despite what people thought even two years ago, commercial companies are expressing the greatest interest in launching CubeSats, followed by the government and then academia. To help increase the options at the ISS, NASA, JAXA, and NanoRacks are working together to formulate a plan. (Image Credit: NASA)
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26 February 2014
NASA Helping California Deal With Drought

FolsomLakeDrought_NASANASA is helping the California Department of Water Resources monitor and better manage California’s record drought through its satellites and other airborne technology, according to a partnership announced Tuesday. The organizations are holding two days of meetings in Sacramento to discuss how this partnership would work. NASA’s assets, that will help in the efforts, are able to map the Sierra snowpack, which provides drinking water, in about 24 hours. There are 13 NASA satellites now focused on water, with three more projects in the works. (Image Credit: NASA)
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26 February 2014
NTSB Issues Helicopter Maintenance, Simulation Safety Alerts

LAPD-chopper_WikiTimed with the 2014 Heli-Expo in California, the NTSB issued two safety alerts covering helicopter maintenance procedures and simulator training. Rules for maintenance, which center on getting mechanics to be properly trained and more diligent in documenting all maintenance steps, obtaining independent inspections, and verifying flightworthiness with pilots during flight checks, are covered in the alerts. Regarding simulators, the NTSB reportedly wants greater use and more emphasis on scenario-based training in simulators to improve pilot decision making skills and better prepare them for various emergencies and challenging flight conditions. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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25 February 2014
Japan Prepares to Launch GPM Core Observatory

JapaneseLaunchSite-NASAJapan’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory is scheduled to launch into orbit, aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket, on 28 Feb. during a launch window that begins at 3:07 a.m. local time. Due to the time difference with the U.S., that's 1:07 p.m. EST on 27 Feb. GPM is an international mission led by NASA and JAXA to measure rain and snowfall over most of the globe multiple times a day. (Image Credit: NASA)
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25 February 2014
Oil and Gas Operators Increasingly Influence Helicopter Designs

Chopper_flies_over_OilRig_WikiToday's medium and large commercial helos are increasingly being driven by new trends in the oil and gas industry. One main factor is range. Many early offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico were visible from the shore, but increasingly, the oil and gas companies are exploring well beyond the horizon, creating a challenge for helicopter operators that support them. Improvements in helicopter speed are expected to be the next game-changer for these industries. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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24 February 2014
Cracks Halt Stress Tests On Marine Version of F-35

F-35-WikiStress tests on the U.S. Marine Corps version of the Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 have been on hold since September, it was recently revealed, because of cracks found in bulkheads, which may require some redesigns, according to Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for acquisition. The suspension in tests could last as long as a year. Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the Teal Group and an AIAA Senior Member, said the Marines have to stay with the plane despite the setback because there is no other alternative. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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24 February 2014
DOT Wants Public’s Views On In-Flight Cell Phone Calls

iPhone-WikiOn Friday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) asked for public comment on whether it should allow cell phone calls on planes. Even if the FCC decides that phone calls are allowed, the DOT could decide on its own to prohibit them. The DOT said, “While the department does not oppose the use of cell phones and other mobile devices for mobile wireless data services, such as sending and receiving text messages and e-mail, there is concern that the pervasiveness of in-flight voice calls could create an oppressive environment for passengers, especially on long-haul flights.” Polls show many do not want calls allowed on planes. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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21 February 2014
Delta IV Successfully Launches GPS Satellite

ULA_DeltaIV_Launches_ULAA United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket successfully launched a new GPS satellite Thursday evening, blasting off at 8:59 p.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and reaching 10 times the speed of sound within a few minutes. The initial launch date had been delayed to investigate an upper stage engine problem that had surfaced during a previous launch that was still successful. Two more GPS satellites are targeted for launch from the Cape in May and July on ULA's Delta IV and Atlas V rockets, respectively. The launch was the third from the Cape this year, and ULA's second. It was the 25th by a Delta IV rocket since it began flying in 2002. (Image Credit: ULA)
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21 February 2014
The FAA Announces New Helicopter Safety Regulations

LAPD-chopper_WikiThe FAA has announced that it will require helicopters to have radio altitude meters and life vests for pilots. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the improvements will better prepare pilots, and better equip helicopters, ensuring a higher level of safety for passengers and crew. The rules will require that helicopters be equipped with emergency location transmitters that could be used in the event of accidents, and new weather warning systems. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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20 February 2014
Google Lunar XPRIZE Announces Contenders for Milestone Prizes

LunarLanderGoogle Lunar XPRIZE officials announced yesterday that they have selected five of the competing teams that will have the chance to win a total of $6 million in milestone prizes in three categories this year. Officials said the new prizes should help overcome financing problems the teams face in achieving the ultimate prize of the program. Astrobiotic and Moon Express, two U.S.-based teams, were chosen to compete in all three categories, while Japan’s Hakuto, India’s Team Indus, and Germany’s Part-Time-Scientists were selected to compete in only one or two. Each company's ultimate goal is to ready its probe for launch by 31 Dec. 2015 in order to have a chance at winning the overall prize. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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20 February 2014
United Makes First Commercial Flight with Split Scimitar Winglets

UA_Split_Scimitar_WingletsUnited Airlines announced Wednesday that it has made the first commercial flight with new split scimitar winglets on a freshly retrofitted Boeing 737-800. United maintains that planes using scimitar winglets enjoy significant aircraft drag reduction compared to planes using the basic Blended Winglet, resulting in fuel savings of an additional 2% per aircraft. (Image Credit: United Airlines)
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20 February 2014
Officials Approve Today’s GPS Satellite Launch

ULA_DeltaIV_Ready_to_launchAir Force and United Launch Alliance officials have given the go-ahead for Thursday’s 8:40 p.m. EST launch of the GPS IIF-5 satellite launch aboard a Delta IV rocket. Mounted atop the 206-foot rocket is the fifth of the newest generation of GPS “IIF” satellites built by The Boeing Co. This evening’s launch is the first of three GPS-related launches that will take place over the next five months. (Image Credit: ULA)
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19 February 2014
Asteroid Misses Earth As Predicted

AsteroidFlybyAs predicted, an asteroid with an estimated diameter of three football fields missed hitting Earth late Monday. Traveling at about 27,000 miles per hour, the asteroid came within about 2 million miles of Earth, which is considered a close call in space. Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said that while the asteroid missed the Earth, it would be a wise use of resources to find all near-Earth objects that could hit the Earth and develop ways to deflect any incoming threats. While NASA and others have plans to increase the search for asteroids that could hit the Earth, more measures like dedicated spacecraft are likely needed to find all possible threats.  (Image Credit: YouTube/NASA)
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19 February 2014
Cessna Flies Citation Latitude for the First Time

Cessna_Citation_LatitudeThe Cessna Citation Latitude made its debut flight Tuesday from the company’s factory in Wichita, Kansas, meeting the commitment schedule laid out in October 2011. The aircraft reportedly behaved just as anticipated during the flight up to a peak altitude of 28,000 feet and top speed of Mach 0.6. Company officials look to gain FAA Part 25 airworthiness certification by the second quarter of 2015 for the aircraft, which will hold seven to nine passengers. (Image Credit: Cessna)
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19 February 2014
Spike Aerospace to Have High-Def Screens Instead of Windows on its Supersonic Jet

SpikeAerospaceWidowless_S512Spike Aerospace has decided not to place windows on its S-512, which may become the first supersonic private jet in 2018. Instead, the plane will have massive, high-def screens that passengers can adjust. This decision was made in light of the fact that the addition of windows can weaken a plane’s fuselage. Windows can also add drag and weight issues that Spike Aerospace will avoid. (Image Credit: Spike Aerospace)
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18 February 2014
Cygnus Wraps Up First ISS Resupply Mission

Cygnus_Leaves_ISS_CreditNASATVOrbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus spacecraft, which delivered nearly one-and-a-half tons of supplies and scientific equipment to the International Space Station in January, completed its first commercial cargo mission to the orbiting laboratory Tuesday. NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins, with assistance from Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata, used the station’s 57-foot Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Cygnus from the station at 5:15 a.m. EST. Packed with disposable cargo, the spacecraft is set to burn up over the Pacific Ocean in a destructive entry that NASA will not be televising. (Image Credit: NASA)
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18 February 2014
Navy to Help Test Recovery of Orion Crew Capsule

Orion_loading_on_SanDiegoThe U.S. Navy’s amphibious warship San Diego will take part in an exercise at sea to rehearse how the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle will be recovered when it lands in the ocean this September at the end of its first test flight. Michael Generale, recovery operations manager for NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle program, said landing in the ocean after a deep space mission affords the best protection for the crew. NASA is looking to rehearse the recovery in varying conditions, from fairly calm waters to up to 6-foot seas. (Image Credit: NASA)
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18 February 2014
Bigelow Aerospace Wants Manned Launches from Wallops

Wallops Flight FacilityMichael N. Gold, director of DC Operations for Bigelow Aerospace, told the Eastern Shore Defense Alliance that his company would like to see manned launches from Wallops and is already talking to NASA about it. This would be after a mission to send inflatable modules to the ISS in 2015. Gold said the region is just right because it has the legal and regulatory readiness without the packed schedule that could threaten commercial activities. Gold said that the timing of the project depends on funding for the Advanced Exploration Systems program. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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14 February 2014
Flight Cancellations Surged Thursday During Winter Storm

AircraftGroundedA large number of flight cancellations occurred Thursday amid the severe winter weather conditions. According to one calculation, yesterday was the single worst day for cancellations this winter. Approximately 7,154 flights across the U.S. had been canceled as of 3:30 p.m. ET, the most since Hurricane Sandy forced carriers to drop 7,400 flights on 29 Oct. 2012. At Reagan National, Baltimore Washington International, and Charlotte Douglas International, 80% or more of flights were grounded Thursday. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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14 February 2014
UAVs Fly Despite FAA’s Prohibition

Mini_UAV_WikiFlying drones for business purposes is currently prohibited in the U.S. but that hasn’t stopped an increase in the number of flights well beyond the policing ability of the Federal Aviation Administration, which since 2007 hasn’t permitted commercial drones in the U.S. while it labors to write rules that allow them to fly. Some businesses flying drones make little attempt to hide what they’re doing. For instance, a Freefly drone shot footage for a documentary about the U.S. Civil War battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that aired on most Public Broadcasting Service stations in the U.S. in November. Furthermore, NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System includes several instances where pilots reported close calls with UAVs. Some are concerned that it will be more difficult to regulate the industry the longer the FAA takes to establish its rules. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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14 February 2014
Boeing Reportedly Asking Congress to Purchase More Super Hornets

FA-18SuperHornet_BoeingReuters reports that sources say that the U.S. Navy will not buy any extra F/A-18E/F Super Hornets or EA-18G Growlers in 2015, forcing Boeing to lobby Congress for more purchases, or else it will no longer be able to produce the planes past 2016. According to the article, the Navy cannot afford any more of the jets even though it wants them. As Boeing tries to win more foreign orders, it also is looking at ways to cut down the Super Hornets’ costs by possibly combining it with the F-15. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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13 February 2014
Winglets Have “Big Impact” On Commercial Aviation

Winglet_WikiWinglets on planes have been making a fairly big impact in commercial aviation. By reducing drag they can save on gas and other costs. Aviation Partners Boeing, a joint venture formed in 1999 to make and sell winglets for Boeing aircraft, is predicting jet fuel savings of more than 5 billion gallons worldwide in 2014 as a result of the devices. Southwest Airlines claims winglets save 54 million gallons of fuel a year. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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12 February 2014
FBI Cracks Down On Laser Strikes On Planes

LaserPointedatCockpitThe FBI announced on Tuesday a major initiative to catch individuals shining lights into aircraft cockpits, a crime that has taken place with increased frequency and which agency officials fear could lead to a major aviation disaster. The FBI has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of someone committing the crime. The agency noted that there were almost 4,000 laser strikes against aircraft reported just last year, nearly 11 incidents per day. The penalty for the crime is a sentence of up to five years in jail. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/NORAD - NORAD Laser Warning System)
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11 February 2014
GOES Captures Image of Winter Storm

GOES-Captures_Feb2014WinterStormOn 11 Feb. at 1:15 p.m. EST, NOAA’s GOES-East satellite captured an image of the massive formation of clouds associated with the major winter storm that is bringing wintry precipitation and cold temperatures to the U.S. south. The storm is expected to impact the mid-Atlantic and northeast over the next couple of days. Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow are part of the large front that stretches from eastern Texas to the Carolinas in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite or GOES image. (Image Credit: NASA)
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11 February 2014
Recent History of Wrong Airport Landings Examined

ATC-at-DullesAn Associated Press report indicates that commercial pilots attempt to land at the wrong airport more often than most passengers realize, or government officials admit. Despite incomplete data and resource limits on investigations, the AP refers to 35 landings and 115 approaches or aborted landing attempts at wrong airports over the last 20 years. Airports at San Jose, California; Nashville, Tennessee; and several airports in South Florida are identified as particularly troublesome landing locations within the industry. The article suggests that the FAA has not been completely forthcoming in presenting evidence of steps taken by the administration to counter the trend. (Image Credit: AIAA)
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10 February 2014
Spacecraft Takes Images of Winter Olympic Venues

SochiFromSpaceTo celebrate the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics, NASA released images of various Olympic venues taken by the Terra spacecraft. The astronauts aboard the ISS will be following the games as they progress. NASA also released images of the 18 Winter Olympic host cities. Meanwhile, the torch taken to the ISS was used to light the Olympic Cauldron. Several cosmonauts took part, including Roman Romanenko, who returned from the station with the torch. (Image Credit: NASA)
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10 February 2014
Canada Releases New Space Policy

Canadarm_NASAIndustry Minister James Moore unveiled Canada’s new space policy Friday at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, although he did not say how much money will be put toward it. Some of the key priorities in the policy include the development of cutting-edge technology, support of Canadian industry, encouraging international partnerships, and motivating the public to enter fields related to space. Moore said the country would also invest in the James Webb Space Telescope. (Image: On Space Shuttle mission STS-2, Nov. 1981, the Canadarm is flown in space for the first time. Credit: NASA)
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7 February 2014
FAA to Examine Towers at Airports

ATC-at-DullesThe FAA will inspect airport towers nationwide to see if there is a problem with their lightning protection system following an incident at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport back in September. While the FAA said this is the first of its kind in FAA history, it still wants to examine those towers built before 1978. Lynn Lunsford, an FAA spokesperson, reportedly said the project is in the planning stages, and may need more funding if repairs are needed. (Image Credit: AIAA)
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7 February 2014
SLS Contractors Say Rocket Will be Developed on Time

SLS_NASABoeing, Lockheed Martin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and ATK, the four prime contractors on the Space Launch System, have issued a joint statement saying they met with NASA officials to ensure the rocket will be developed on time and that it will be able to launch the Orion capsule in 2017. Orion’s first test flight this year aboard a Delta IV rocket is considered by many in the industry to be the year’s biggest event, and any major problem or delay would likely impact the anticipated 2017 launch. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/NASA)
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6 February 2014
Lockheed Launches Civilian Version of C-130J Super Hercules Military Aircraft

Taranis-Drone-ModelThe UK’s Taranis UAV has made its first flights, the first of which took place last August. Many of the details have been kept secret, as it is not known how many flights have been made or where they took place. There has been no publicity about the Taranis since it was first unveiled in 2010. Test pilot Bob Fraser only stated that it flew twice as fast compared to other UAVs he’s operated. The goal is to develop a stealth UAV, but there are still hurdles, including the cost to develop it into an effective warplane. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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6 February 2014
F-35 to Begin Aircraft Carrier Tests In October

F-35 USNNow that Lockheed has redesigned the tailhook for the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, the U.S. Navy’s variant of the plane, the jet is scheduled to start test flights aboard an aircraft carrier in October. The problems with the tailhook, as well as those with helmets, have become emblematic of the issues that have delayed development and raised the price on the program. A spokesman for the F-35 Joint Program Office said that more testing needs to be done before they declare the issue solved, but so far the test results look good. (Image Credit: USN)
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5 February 2014
Boeing Considers Further Raise In 737 Production Rate

Boeing737_BoeingA Boeing representative told reporters on Tuesday that the company is examining whether the Boeing 737 could be produced at a rate of 52 per month starting in 2018 at the earliest. The announcement comes as Boeing already plans to raise the rate to 42 a month later this year, and up to 47 a month in 2017. Once the 737 is produced at 42 a month, Boeing will have raised the production rate 33% since 2010. Increases in factory efficiency are being credited for allowing Boeing to raise the production rate to these levels. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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4 February 2014
Lockheed Launches Civilian Version of C-130J Super Hercules Military Aircraft

Lockheed_C-130HerculesLockheed Martin has launched a civilian version of the C-130J Super Hercules military cargo aircraft. Jack Crisler, Lockheed’s vice president for air mobility, special operations and maritime programs, said company approval has been given for the plane that could be delivered in 2018. The plane could be used by energy and mining companies to deliver supplies and personnel to remote areas. An application has already been filed with U.S. regulators for the new civilian model. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/USAF)
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4 February 2014
All Pieces of Webb Telescope Ready for Assembly

JWST-NASAOn Monday, NASA said that all of the pieces of the James Webb Space Telescope are now at the Goddard Space Flight Center and are ready to be assembled for its anticipated 2018 launch. The Webb telescope aims to provide an unprecedented look at distant planets and the first galaxies formed. A successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990, the James Webb Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. (Image Credit: NASA)
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3 February 2014
May: SLS On Track for 2017 Launch

SLS_NASAWith astronauts currently needing to rely on Russia to get to the ISS, NASA is building its Space Launch System (SLS), the biggest, most powerful rocket in history. When SLS Program Manager Todd May was recently asked if SLS is still on schedule, he stated that the agency is still on track for a 2017 launch. With the preliminary design completed last June, the program is further along than would appear because the engine they intend to use will be taken from the space shuttle program. With those engines already built and in storage, and with the boosters nearing qualification, May said the core of the launch vehicle, including the tankage, backbone, and its critical design review, is expected to be 90 percent completed by June 2014. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/NASA)
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3 February 2014
Lockheed Develops Color Surveillance System for Apache Helicopters

AmryApacheLockheed Martin has added a new color surveillance system for the Apache helicopter. When rolled out in the coming weeks, Lockheed reportedly said this will be the first time a high-definition color camera has been placed on a military helicopter, which should give the Army tactical superiority over opponents. Dan Macchiarella of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University called this a significant development since pilots only had infrared cameras in the past. He said the new color images will be very clear, an important factor when on the battlefield. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/U.S. Army)
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31 January 2014
Supersonic Flight Could Return as Early as 2018

SupersonicFlightTransatlantic supersonic flight could be returning in the near future as companies like Spike Aerospace, Aerion Corporation, and others have announced plans to develop supersonic aircraft that could be flying as soon as 2018, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph (UK). However, these plans face a number of challenges such as FAA regulations that ban supersonic overland flights and the estimated cost of up to $80 million per jet. Developers believe the aircraft could take off by late 2018. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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30 January 2014
X-37B Space Plane Now Over 400 Days In Space

X-37B-Credit-USAFThe U.S. Air Force’s classified unmanned X-37B space plane has now been in space for more than 400 days, having launched on 11 December 2012. OTV-3 (Orbital Test Vehicle-3) has been aloft for 413 days as of 28 January. The record is 469 days, set during OTV-2, which launched in 2011. (Image Credit: USAF)
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30 January 2014
Insects Inspire New Class of “Microdrone”

MicroDroneAn article in the January 2014 edition of Popular Science reports that with the development of the first insect-inspired vehicles, engineers are now creating the first microdrone-class UAVs. While there are still significant engineering challenges to overcome, such as developing external power sources or contending with strong wind gusts, engineers still believe that by basing the designs on insects, lighter, smarter UAVs can be made. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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29 January 2014
Border Patrol UAV Crashes Off California Coast

MQ-9ReaperA UAV operator ditched an unmanned aircraft off the coast of California due to a mechanical failure. The incident occurred at 11:15 p.m. on 27 January approximately 20 miles southwest of San Diego. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents were dispatched to the crash site to recover the wreckage, while the NTSB began its investigation. The operating crew of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator B reportedly determined that the aircraft couldn’t reach its home base in Sierra Vista, Arizona and so it put it into the water. The UAV was being used by CBP agents to patrol the Mexican border region as well as the southwestern coast.  CBP has temporarily grounded its entire fleet of 10 drones as a precaution. (Image: MQ-9 Reaper in flight. Credit: Wikipedia)
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29 January 2014
Challenger Tragedy Remembered

ChallengerDisasterTwenty-eight years ago, on 28 January 1986, NASA and the world watched as space shuttle Challenger and its crew of seven were lost shortly after liftoff in a catastrophic launch failure. AIAA remembers Astronauts: Francis "Dick" Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Mike Smith and Ellison Onizuka, and payload specialists Sharon Christa McAuliffe and Gregory Jarvis. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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29 January 2014
BAE Systems Certifies 3-D Printed Part

BAESys_3DPrintedPart29 January 2014
BAE Systems has produced and certified a 3-D printed replacement part for the BAE 146 regional jet. It is also now looking at producing additional parts for other aircraft types. Many in the aerospace industry believe that additive manufacturing, or "3-D printing" technology will be especially valuable in producing parts with complex geometries, especially as they typically weigh less and produce less waste during production. (Image Credit: Aviation International News Online / BAE Systems)
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28 January 2014
Cosmonauts Install UrtheCast Cameras With Mixed Results

Kotov_Ryanzanskiy_Spacewalk_27Jan14_NASAOn Monday, Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy successfully installed two UrtheCast cameras on the outside of the International Space Station. While the high-definition camera checked out well, the medium-resolution camera reportedly did not transmit good data. While more troubleshooting is needed, the cameras are expected to be fully operational by this summer, at which point UrtheCast should be able to start selling the feed to potential customers who might want it for environmental, agricultural and humanitarian purposes. Meanwhile, the cosmonauts were also able to retrieve a spacewalking tool and an experiment as planned. (Image Credit: NASA)
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28 January 2014
Texas Engineering Institute Receives FAA Certificate for UAV Testing

TX-AM-CC_UAVTestLast Friday, the FAA certified the University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute (UTARI) for UAV testing, clearing the way for new research partnerships. Noting that the Fort Worth, Texas campus testing program will have both military and practical applications, a UTARI student is quoted as saying that the UTARI student body wants to use the FAA certificate as well as other opportunities to become “the new generation of engineers.” (Image Credit: Texas A&M University Corpus Christi)
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27 January 2014
Spacewalkers Installing Cameras

27Jan2014SpaceWalk_CreditNASAExpedition 38 Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) are conducting a spacewalk at the International Space Station in a second attempt to install a pair of cameras on the outside of the station's Zvezda Service Module. The cameras are part of a Canadian commercial endeavor with Roscosmos designed to downlink Earth-observation imagery to Internet-based subscribers. The two cosmonauts also plan to retrieve an experiment package housed on Zvezda's hull. (Image Credit: NASA TV)
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27 January 2014
States Considering Bills to Regulate UAV Use

Drone-Credit-3DRoboticsA New Hampshire House committee will hold hearings this week on a pair of bills that are designed to regulate UAVs. State Reps. Neal Kurk and Joe Duarte have sponsored bills that would require police to get a warrant if they want to use evidence obtained by using drones as surveillance. The FAA currently doesn’t allow commercial use of UAVs, but by last month had already authorized 545 of them to fly in domestic airspace. Meanwhile, the FAA retains jurisdiction of the use of airspace, but state and local governments have the power to restrict the use of drones operated by the government or a university. (Image Credit: Wired)
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27 January 2014
The FAA to Order Additional Safety Checks On Boeing 767s

Boeing767_BoeingThe FAA is expected today to call for safety checks on more than 400 Boeing 767 jets because movable tail sections, known as an “elevator,” may jam and cause pilots to lose control. The potentially dysfunctional elevators have not been identified as causing an accident. The FAA became aware of the issue in 2000, when the agency ordered enhanced checks to find problems. The inspections were a temporary response while Boeing designed a permanent fix, which regulators will now direct the airlines to make. The mandate will be effective in March and requires the replacement of suspicious parts within six years. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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24 January 2014
TDRS-L Successfully Launched

TDRS-K-Launches-NASAThe latest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), part of a vital constellation that supports the ISS and the Hubble Space Telescope, successfully launched Thursday night aboard an Atlas V rocket at 9:33 p.m. carrying not only the TDRS-L satellite into space, but also a special tribute honoring longtime NASA engineer Capt. Arthur J. "Skip" Mackey Jr., who died in November. Mackey was the "Voice of NASA" in the 1960s and '70s, when he broadcast countdowns for the agency's launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The TDRS-L is the second of three next-generation satellites scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral to replace older satellites already in orbit. It's intended to help improve the space agency's Earth-to-space communications network. (Image Credit: NASA)
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23 January 2014
TDRS Moved To Launch Pad for Tonight’s Launch

AtlasV_set_to_Launch_TDRS-L-NASAThe next Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), which will help supply round-the-clock communication for the ISS and other spacecraft around the globe, was moved to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesday along with the Atlas V rocket that will launch it this evening, 23 January. Forecasts call for a 90-percent chance of favorable weather for the launch window, which opens at 9:05 p.m. EST. (Image Credit: NASA)
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23 January 2014
Surveillance Craft to be Deployed in Maryland Later This Year

USAFAerostatTwo blimp-like surveillance craft will be deployed near Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Ground later this year for a three-year test. From 10,000 feet, they will cast a vast radar net from Raleigh, N.C. to Boston and out to Lake Erie, with the goal of detecting cruise missiles or enemy aircraft for interception before they can reach Washington, DC. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/U.S. Air Force)
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22 January 2014
NASA’s Asteroid Mission Could be Accelerated by New Budget

Asteroid-Capturing-SpacecraftDuring a wide-ranging press availability event in Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson touted the new omnibus budget that may speed up NASA’s plans to send people to an asteroid by 2021, four years earlier than predicted. Nelson said, “Buried in the big spending bill is the green light for us to go to find an asteroid, nudge it into a stable orbit around the moon and send a human crew in 2021 to rendezvous with it, land on it, conduct experiments on it, in preparation for our journey to Mars in the decade of the 2030s.” This mission involves the Space Launch System which is under development, but does have its share of skeptics. (Image Credit: Rick Sternbach/Keck Institute for Space Studies)
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21 January 2014
Rosetta Spacecraft Wakes Up from Hibernation

Rosetta_NASA_JPLEurope’s Rosetta spacecraft successfully awoke from two plus years of hibernation. Rosetta is now on its way to meet up with a comet, which is considered an almost impossible target. If it is able to reach the comet and land a probe on its surface, the mission would make history. The ESA turned this into a social media event, as the spacecraft triggered several tweets saying “Hello World!” in several languages. This was considered one of the final milestones for the spacecraft before arriving at comet 67P later this year. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL)
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21 January 2014
Atlas V Set to Launch TDRS-L on Thursday

AtlasV_set_to_Launch_TDRS-L-NASANASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-L (TDRS-L) is scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket Thursday, 23 Jan., from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The 40-minute launch window extends from 9:05 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. EST. The weather forecast is favorable for launch, and the temperature is predicted to be about 40 degrees when the Atlas rocket rolls to the pad Wednesday morning. The spacecraft is expected to provide tracking, telemetry, command and high bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human exploration missions orbiting Earth. (Image Credit: NASA)
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21 January 2014
NASA Looking for Ways to Increase Cooperation with China

AMS-STS134When international space agency officials met earlier this month in Washington, DC to discuss space exploration, NASA officials used the opportunity to discuss ways to broaden cooperation with China. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said the agency is looking to find different ways it can be a partner with China, excluding joint human spaceflight, because the two nations are forbidden by law from doing so. Bolden added that China is already participating in the ISS through the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, but that China is unlikely to become a full partner in the ISS. At the event, Bolden was able to meet with the newly named China National Space Administration Administrator, Xu Dazhe. (Image: Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) experiment installed during the STS-134 mission. Credit: NASA)
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17 January 2014
One Killed in Army Black Hawk “Hard Landing” in Georgia

BlackHawkHelicopterA U.S. Army helicopter made a "hard landing" Wednesday, just before 11:30 p.m., at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. One crew member was killed while two others were injured. All of the crew were members of the group that flew Navy SEALs into Pakistan for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The accident occurred as the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s MH-60 Black Hawk slammed into the ground as the crew were on final approach at Hunter Army Airfield, on its way back from a routine training flight. The Army is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash. (Image Credit: inquisitr.com)
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17 January 2014
ISS Made No Collision-Avoidance Maneuvers In 2013

ISS-NASAThe ISS reportedly made no collision-avoidance maneuvers last year despite the growing amount of orbital debris intersecting its orbit. NASA said this demonstrates the chaotic nature of the debris population. In comparison, there was a record of four collision-avoidance maneuvers in 2012, with 16 maneuvers in total over the past 15 years. (Image Credit: NASA)
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16 January 2014
Pilots, Passengers Reflect on Anniversary of “Miracle” Landing

USAirwaysFlight1549_WikipediaWednesday, 15 January, marked the 5 year anniversary of Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III safely making an emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River.   It was 208 seconds from the time the birds hit the plane, to the time the plane was down in the water. All 155 people aboard survived, and the safe landing would quickly become known as "The Miracle on the Hudson." (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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16 January 2014
Texas A&M Researchers Test RS-16 UAV

RS_16_TestJust a few weeks after Texas was designated a UAV test site by the FAA, researchers from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have begun testing the RS-16 UAV this week with the hopes of developing a system that can spot oil spills and wildfire hotspots, monitor hurricanes and count cattle for ranchers. Test flights like these are seen as a critical step toward advancing the industry inside the U.S. The test flights are expected to help integrate the UAVs into the national airspace so they can fly safely. The RS-16 has been facing some communication issues, losing radio contact at times. (Image Credit: Eddie Seal, The Texas Tribune)
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15 January 2014
New Battery Incident Reported On Boeing 787

Boeing 787 DreamlinerAnother Boeing 787 reportedly has experienced battery problems after gas was discovered coming out of a battery on a plane parked at Tokyo’s main international airport. Boeing officials indicated that the issue was discovered during scheduled maintenance and that no passengers were on board. Manufacturer GS Yuasa has taken the battery to its facilities for further investigation. Boeing argues that the changes made in response to previous incidents in Boston and Japan to contain any short-circuit or fire worked as designed. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said the NTSB would participate in an investigation of the Tokyo incident if invited and that the NTSB team would apply any lessons it could toward the ongoing Boston investigation, the results of which are expected in March. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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14January 2014
Southwest Jet Lands at Wrong Missouri Airport

SWAirlinesOn Monday, Southwest Airlines Flight 4013, having taken off from Chicago’s Midway Airport, mistakenly landed at the Taney County, Missouri airport instead of the intended Branson, Missouri airport. The plane, carrying 124 passengers, was able to land safely on a runway roughly half the length of Branson’s runway, and reportedly stopped without causing any injuries just before the runway ended at an embankment overlooking a four-lane highway. The NTSB has pulled the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders for further analysis. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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14January 2014
Strickland: NASA Should be Working on Reusable Rockets

SLS-NASAIn an article for The Space Review, John Strickland, a member of the board of directors of the National Space Society, expressing his own opinions, wrote that the problem with the Space Launch System (SLS) is not that it is big, but that it is expendable. Strickland thinks engineers should be focusing on developing reusable rockets because expendable rocket launches cannot reduce launch costs. He backed up his arguments by comparing the SLS’ expected costs with a reusable heavy lift rocket that SpaceX will develop. With his assumptions about the SpaceX rocket, he noted that in the end, its launches would be comparable with what the U.S. currently pays for ISS flights, while the SLS’ would be almost two-thirds of NASA’s entire annual budget. (Image: Artist's concept of SLS. Credit: NASA)
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13 January 2014
SpaceX Likely to be Certified to Compete for EELV Contracts

Cygnus_attached_to_Canadarm2_CreditNASAOn Sunday, astronauts aboard the International Space Station used a robotic arm to capture and attach the Cygnus supply spacecraft, which delivered a number of new science experiments to the orbiting outpost. The arrival concluded the first successful contracted cargo delivery by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, VA, for NASA. Astronaut Mike Hopkins of NASA grappled the spacecraft at 6:08 a.m. EST and Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency attached Cygnus to the space station's Harmony Node at 8:05 a.m. AIAA congratulates Orbital Sciences Corp., an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch and docking. (Image Credit: NASA)
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13 January 2014
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Reaches Highest Altitude Yet

Virgin_SpaceShipTwoVirgin Galactic reached its highest altitude yet Friday, 10 Jan., in a supersonic space plane that’s set to carry paying customers into sub-orbit later this year. The SpaceShipTwo flight was the program’s third rocket-powered test flight, and the latest milestone in Virgin Galactic’s goal to take dozens of people into space multiple times each day. Reportedly, the spacecraft reached an altitude of 71,000 feet, or roughly 13.5 miles up in the air, and attained a speed of Mach 1.4. If all goes as scheduled, the first Virgin Galactic commercial space flight will occur in the fall from Virgin Galactic's terminal at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (Image Credit: Virgin Galactic)
More Info >  (The Los Angeles Times)
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10 January 2014
SpaceX Likely to be Certified to Compete for EELV Contracts

SpaceX_Thaicom-6_Launch_6Jan14Following the successful launch of the Thaicom-6 commercial telecommunications satellite 6 January, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) appears to have met the U.S. Air Force’s requirements to bid on national security launches. While the company has not received formal certification for its Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket to compete for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program launches, Gen. William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, told Space News he has not seen anything from the vehicle’s three flights that would preclude that from happening. If the rocket is certified, SpaceX would become the first new competitor in the EELV program, which launches all U.S. national security satellites and which as of today are launched aboard ULA’s Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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9 January 2014 (Update)
Antares Launches from Wallops

Antares_Launches_9Jan2014Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket at 1:07 p.m. EST Thursday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Cygnus is now traveling 17,500 mph in Earth's orbit and is expected to reach the International Space Station on Sunday, 12 Jan., for the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission, the first of eight commercial cargo missions that Orbital will make to the ISS under its contract with NASA. AIAA congratulates Orbital Sciences, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: NASA)
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9 January 2014
After Solar Storm Delay, Antares Rocket Could Launch Today

Antares_Awaits_Launch_NASAThe Orbital Sciences Antares rocket launch to the ISS was delayed Wednesday due to a major eruption from the sun, which released a solar flare that operators feared could damage the rocket. After monitoring the situation all day yesterday, the Antares engineering team has decided the launch could take place today, with a launch window starting at 1:07 p.m. EST. Meanwhile, the astronauts aboard the ISS were safe from the radiation. (Image Credit: NASA)
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9 January 2014
U.S. Navy Sikorsky Sea Dragon Crashes Off Coast of Virginia

SikorskySeaDragon_USNavyA U.S. Navy Sikorsky MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia during a routine training exercise Wednesday forcing five service members on board into the 42-degree waters below. Two of the crew were killed. The crash came a day after the U.S. Air Force Sikorsky Pave Hawk crashed in Norfolk, England. So far there is no word on the cause of the crash. The aircraft was part of a Norfolk Naval Station countermine unit. In addition to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, two Navy MH-60S helicopters were involved in the rescue efforts. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/U.S. Navy)
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8 January 2014
Orbital’s Antares Launch Delayed Due to Solar Activity

Antares_Awaits_Launch_NASA Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft were supposed to launch today on the company’s first official mission to deliver cargo to the ISS, but the launch has been postponed due to an unusually high level of radiation following yesterday's solar flare. Operators decided to postpone the launch because the amount of solar radiation could have damaged electronic systems. Orbital is now monitoring the situation to determine a new launch date, possibly as early as Thursday at 1:10 p.m. EST. (Image Credit: NASA)
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8 January 2014
ISS to be Extended to 2024

ISS-NASAOrbital Sciences’ Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft were supposed to launch today on the company’s first official mission to deliver cargo to the ISS, but the launch has been postponed due to an unusually high level of radiation following yesterday's solar flare. Operators decided to postpone the launch because the amount of solar radiation could have damaged electronic systems. Orbital is now monitoring the situation to determine a new launch date, possibly as early as Thursday at 1:10 p.m. EST. (Image Credit: NASA)
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7 January 2014
SpaceX Launches Thaicom Broadcasting Satellite

SpaceX_Thaicom-6_Launch_6Jan14SpaceX successfully launched the Thaicom 6 broadcasting satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard its Falcon 9 rocket on Monday at 5:06 p.m. EST. Because this is the third launch of a more powerful version of the rocket that launched cargo missions to the ISS, the company is expected to be certified to compete to launch the Department of Defense’s national security missions and NASA’s high-value science satellites. As of now, only United Launch Alliance is certified to fly those missions on Atlas V and Delta IV rockets. AIAA congratulates SpaceX, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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7 January 2014
Delta Retires DC-9 Planes

DeltaDC9On Monday night, Delta Air Lines flew its DC-9 for the final time on a passenger flight before retiring the jet. Dozens of aviation enthusiasts bought tickets for the flight, with others lining up to see it land at LaGuardia airport. Most DC-9s were retired in the 1990s, but airlines could fly them as long as they wanted, provided that they remained under the number of regulated takeoffs and landings. While this passenger flight is believed to be the DC-9’s last, the plane could fly again in an emergency if another jet is unexpectedly out of service. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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6 January 2014
SpaceX Confirms Monday Launch Attempt

SpaceXFalcon9_NASASpaceX has confirmed it will try to launch its Falcon 9 rocket with a Thai broadcasting satellite from Florida today. There is a 20% chance winds may delay the launch until Tuesday. If this launch is successful, SpaceX should qualify to launch Defense Department satellites and NASA’s high-value science satellites because it would be allowed to compete in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The U.S. Air Force has not yet signed off on whether two previous launches will count toward certification or not, adding it may be months before SpaceX is finally certified to compete. (Image Credit: NASA)
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6 January 2014
Antares Rocket Delayed Because of Bad Weather

Antares_NASADue to a weather forecast of extreme cold and precipitation for Tuesday, NASA has decided to delay the launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft to Wednesday, but the more likely launch date is Thursday, when the weather is expected to improve. When Antares launches from the Wallops Flight Facility to the ISS, it will carry a BioServe Space Technologies experiment that will examine the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs on E. coli bacteria in space. If the rocket lifts off Wednesday, the window will be from 1:32-1:37 p.m., and if Thursday, the window is from 1:10-1:15 p.m. (Image Credit: NASA)
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6 January 2014
X-37B to be Located at Former Shuttle Facility

X-37B-Credit-USAFBoeing said Friday that the X-37B orbital test vehicle will be tested at the Kennedy Space Center. A former shuttle facility will be converted for the secret space plane, one of which has been in space for over a year. The Boeing Co., which built and supports the program’s two orbital vehicles, said the vehicle will land, recover, refurbish and re-launch in Florida instead of in California. Officials did not say how soon the military program could move to KSC, which has been looking for new customers for facilities it no longer needs following the shuttle’s retirement in 2011. (Image Credit: USAF)
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3 January 2014
SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Delayed

SpaceXFalcon9_AwaitsLaunch_2Jan2014The launch of SpaceX’s unmanned Falcon 9 rocket has been delayed until at least Monday. It had been scheduled to launch Friday evening. The rocket will carry a Thaicom communications satellite, built by Orbital Sciences Corp, and designed to improve communications in Southeast Asia and Africa. While SpaceX is not aware of any issues that might cause mission failure, the company nonetheless wants to ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance and therefore decided to conduct additional inspections of the launch vehicle. Liftoff is now set for no earlier than Monday, with backup launch opportunities are available from 8–12 January. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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2 January 2014
UAVs, Solara Plane Among Aviation Technologies to Watch in 2014

LADEE-orbits-moon-CreditNASAThere is a long list of tech developments that aerospace enthusiasts can look forward to in 2014. From a Chinese rover on the moon and new spacecraft orbiting Mars, to private spaceships and the most powerful digital camera ever built, space will play host to a lot of human activities in 2014. Meanwhile, Titan Aerospace’s solar-powered robotic Solara plane is a technology development to watch as well as the company expects to make a test flight in the coming year. (Image: NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE). Credit: NASA)
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2 January 2014
Weather Expected to be Good for Friday’s Falcon 9 Launch

SpaceXFalcon9_NASAThe weather is expected to be excellent for the scheduled SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of a Thaicom communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday, the first of two launches from Florida this month. The second will be the 23 January launch of the NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-L (TDRS-L) aboard an Atlas V rocket. If the Falcon 9 launch takes place as scheduled on Friday, SpaceX should have enough time to prepare for its 11 February mission to the ISS. There’s a 90 percent chance of favorable weather during the 5:05 p.m. to 7:17 p.m. launch window, according to the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing. (Image Credit: NASA)
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2 January 2014
Launch of Antares Rocket Scheduled for Jan. 7

Antares_NASAOrbital Sciences’ Corp. Antares rocket is scheduled to blast off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at 1:55 p.m. EST, 7 January. The cargo craft will be loaded with 2,780 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station, including science experiments, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware. Also aboard the flight are 23 student experiments that will involve more than 10,000 students on the ground. The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout the mid-Atlantic region from New York City to North Carolina. Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at 8:45 a.m. on the Wallops Ustream site. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (NASA.gov)