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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).

 


 

29 January 2015
Boeing to Build Next Version of Air Force One

AirForceOne_Wiki.jpgNBC Nightly News reported that, “The Pentagon announced [Wednesday] the contract” to build the next version of Air Force One, which “as expected will stay in this country. It [will go to] Boeing for the latest generation 747, the 800 series.” Defense News reported that Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the Boeing plane “is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States” that also “meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest.” The Washington Post reported that James said in a statement that the Pentagon “will insist upon program affordability through cost-conscious procurement practices.” Politico reported that “delivery of any new jets is not expected for at least five years.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Defense News)
More Info > (Washington Post)
More Info > (Politico)



29 January 2015
FAA Prohibits UAVs and Aircraft Near Super Bowl

SuperBowlSite2015_2_AP.jpgUSA Today reported that the FAA “released a video Wednesday urging fans to enjoy” the Super Bowl “but to leave their unmanned aircraft at home.” The FAA has restricted “nearby flights from 3:25 p.m. until midnight,” extending “10 miles from the stadium in all directions, up to 18,000 feet in the air.” Anyone caught flying a UAV could be “intercepted, detained and interviewed,” as well as fined or put in jail. (Image Credit: Associated Press)
More Info > (USA Today)



28 January 2015
UAV that Landed On White House Grounds Illustrates “Broader Problem”

WhiteHouse_Wiki.jpgMcClatchy reported that President Obama said “the drone that dropped into the White House grounds on Monday” highlighted the “broader problem” posed by the need to balance security and privacy with recreational activities. In an interview conducted with CNN before he left for India, Obama said he has “asked federal agencies to look into the issue.” Obama noted that UAVs serve “incredibly useful functions,” but “we don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it.” Bloomberg News reported that the comments are some of “Obama’s first about regulating the drone industry.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (McClatchy)
More Info > (Bloomberg News)



28 January 2015
Astronauts to Continue Launching On Soyuz Spacecraft to Prevent Potential Problems

SoyuzLaunch_Wiki.jpgThe CBS News website continued coverage of how NASA plans to continue sending astronauts to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz rockets even after commercial spacecraft developed by SpaceX and Boeing are ready for service. This was considered “a hedge against problems, like crew illness,” which could result in a spacecraft’s crew returning to Earth. If the crews were not mixed, that would leave the ISS entirely in the hands of one nation. However, ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini said on Tuesday, “We would not be buying seats from each other,” but instead engage in “an operational understanding.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (CBS News)



28 January 2015
SpaceX Will Initially Return Astronauts Using Water Landings

SpaceXFalcon9_Launchpad_NASA.jpgSpaceflight Now reported that during Monday’s press conference at the Johnson Space Center, Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, said that for initial astronaut flights, SpaceX will “not execute helicopter-like propulsive touchdowns” when returning astronauts to Earth aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, instead landing in the Pacific Ocean. The article noted that SpaceX had been touting the ability to descend onto land during previous events, like its “glitzy” unveiling of the spacecraft back in May. However, SpaceX plans to add the capability after testing it in a manner “similar to the way engineers wrung out the design of the Falcon 9 booster’s vertical landing capability.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Spaceflight Now)



27 January 2015
UAV Crashes On White House Lawn

WhiteHouse_Wiki.jpgABC World News broadcast that a “small drone” crashed onto the White House grounds early Monday morning, “raising alarms.” ABC reported that about six hours after the crash, “a man called the Secret Service to tell them that he lost control of the device, which he says he was using recreationally.” The Secret Service said “it is developing counter measures, concerned that future drones might well be dangerous.” The New York Times reported that a government employee, who “does not work for the White House,” told the Secret Service that he was “flying the drone for recreational purposes at about 3 a.m. in the area around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when he lost control of it.” The “small drone” crashed into a tree on the South Lawn, forcing “a brief lockdown of the White House complex.” The Washington Post noted that the “latest security breach at the executive mansion came as President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were visiting India, but their two daughters remained behind in Washington.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (New York Times)
More Info > (Washington Post)



27 January 2015
Commercial Crew Providers On Course For 2017 Flights

Boeing_CST-100.jpgThe AP reported that yesterday at the Johnson Space Center, Boeing and SpaceX said that they are on pace to deliver NASA astronauts to the ISS in 2017 at a lower cost than what Russia charges today. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that after 2017, “I don’t ever want to have to write another check” to Russia. The article noted that Bolden also stressed that without commercial companies delivering supplies to the ISS, NASA would not be able to afford going deeper into space. Kathy Lueders, commercial crew program manager, said that NASA wants to have two “robust providers” in case there is an accident with one of them. According to the article, the event was “the first in-depth public description” of the program with NASA and the spacecraft providers, which had been “stalled” while a challenge by Sierra Nevada was being resolved. (Image Credit: Boeing)
More Info > (Associated Press)



26 January 2015
SpaceX Settles Its Lawsuit With Air Force

SpaceXFalcon_SpaceX.jpgThe AP reported that SpaceX and the Air Force announced Friday that they have come to a settlement over SpaceX’s lawsuit alleging that the Air Force “improperly” gave United Launch Alliance a “lucrative” contract. SpaceX dropped its case after coming to an agreement through sessions mediated by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, according to court documents. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Associated Press)



26 January 2015
FAA Finalizing New UAV Rules

Assortment_of_UAVs_Wiki.jpgThe Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the federal government is finalizing new rules for using UAVs “for uses such as monitoring oil fields and pipelines, and real-estate photography.” The regulations have been eagerly awaited by “businesses, including the news media, the motion-picture industry, and farmers.” FAA spokesman Les Dorr said, “We are trying to write regulations that will maintain today’s extremely high level of safety in the nation’s airspace, while at the same time not putting an undue regulatory burden on this emerging industry.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Philadelphia Inquirer)



23 January 2015
NTSB Calls for Improvements In Locating Downed Aircraft

Search_for_MA_Flight370_wiki.jpgAviation Week reported that Aurora Flight Sciences claims that its Orion UAV achieved “a world endurance record” when it flew for 80 hours in December. The article compared this feat with the current record holder, a Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, which flew for 30.4 hours back in 2001. The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) could certify the accomplishment “within weeks.” According to the article, the Orion UAV is being developed to provide the Air Force with a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) vehicle that can fly up to five days. (Image Credit: Aurora Flight Sciences)
More Info > (Aviation Week)



23 January 2015
Aurora Flight Sciences Claims Orion UAV Achieved Endurance Record

Aurora_OrionUAV.jpgAviation Week reported that Aurora Flight Sciences claims that its Orion UAV achieved “a world endurance record” when it flew for 80 hours in December. The article compared this feat with the current record holder, a Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk, which flew for 30.4 hours back in 2001. The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) could certify the accomplishment “within weeks.” According to the article, the Orion UAV is being developed to provide the Air Force with a medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) vehicle that can fly up to five days. (Image Credit: Aurora Flight Sciences)
More Info > (Aviation Week)



22 January 2015
UAV Crashes During Demonstration at Capitol Hill Hearing

UAVDemo_CapitolHill_21Jan2015_1_AP.jpgThe Washington Post reported that on Wednesday at a House Science, Space and Technology Committee meeting regarding the FAA’s UAV regulations, a Parrot Bebop UAV “stole the show” when it crashed during a demonstration. The article noted that the UAV was able to continue with the display. The Dallas (TX) Morning News reported on the testimony at the hearing, emphasizing claims that there would be substantial job creation if it is legal to use UAVs commercially. The National Journal also covered the story. (Image Credit: AP)
More Info > (Washington Post)
More Info > (Dallas (TX) Morning News)
More Info > (National Journal)



22 January 2015
Next Orion Flight Will Include 11 Scientific Missions

ArtistConceptOfSLSOrion_NASA.jpgThe WAAY-TV Huntsville, AL “Space Alabama” website reported that when the Orion capsule next launches on the Space Launch System (SLS) in 2018, the rocket will be carrying “eleven different scientific missions.” Joseph Pelfry, a deputy project manager at the Marshall Space Flight Center, said, “What we’re really excited about is the fact that we’re able to take this [unmanned] test flight and actually get science out of it, and we’re expanding the capability. ... SLS is designed for a lot more payload capability, but we’re trying to take advantage of every bit of capability the vehicle has.” Pelfry added, “Flying these secondary payloads is something we’re going to do for missions to come and really provide the science community an opportunity that they haven’t had before. ... That’s what the SLS enables beyond the journey to Mars.” The article noted that because these missions are not the primary cargo, they will not “threaten” the main task of testing Orion and the SLS.
(Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (WAAY-TV, Huntsville, AL "Space Alabama" website)



21 January 2015
Google, Fidelity to Invest $1 Billion In SpaceX

SpaceXFalcon_SpaceX.jpgThe AP reported that Google and Fidelity will invest a total of $1 billion into SpaceX, garnering them “a nearly 10 percent stake” in the company. The deal would increase the value of SpaceX to $10 billion. The article noted that the funds could help SpaceX conduct a manned Mars mission “within the next 12 years.” SpaceX’s mission of launching a satellite Internet program also aligns with one of Google’s projects, according to the article. The New York Times noted that Google may have invested in SpaceX because it wants to develop “satellites with other kinds of sensors, like infrared detectors that show the health of crops, or lasers that can pierce forest canopies to show underlying terrain.” SpaceX said that it will use the funds “to support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability and satellite manufacturing.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (New York Times – Subscription publication)
More Info > (USA Today)



21 January 2015
DSCOVR Will Not Launch Before 8 February

DSCOVR_graphic_NOAA.jpgThe Boulder (CO) Daily Camera reported that SpaceX, “with concurrence from NOAA and NASA,” has announced that the launch of the DSCOVR satellite will take place no earlier than 8 February. NOAA, on its website, said that it “continues to monitor any risk to the schedule in close coordination with its partners and will provide updates as they are available.” (Image Credit: NOAA)
More Info > (Boulder (CO) Daily Camera)



20 January 2015
SpaceX Announces Satellite Internet Venture

Satellite_Wiki.jpgBloomberg BusinessWeek reported that on Friday, Elon Musk hosted an event in Seattle to launch a new satellite Internet venture. According to the article, it will be a “hugely ambitious” project involving “hundreds of satellites.” The article noted that last week, OneWeb’s Greg Wyler announced a similar venture being funded by Qualcomm and the Virgin Group. Musk said that his project, which will take at least five years or more to complete, can compete with Wyler’s because his project has a distinct architecture that’s “an order of magnitude more sophisticated.” However, Virgin’s Richard Branson said that Musk cannot compete because he does not own the spectrum rights the satellites will use yet, unlike OneWeb. GeekWire has a full transcript of Musk’s talk in Seattle. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
More Info > (GeekWire)



20 January 2015
Lightfoot: Next Three Years “Exciting” Because of SLS

SLSLaunches_artistsConcept_NASA.jpgThe Huntsville (AL) Times reported on NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot’s visit to Huntsville on Friday. Lightfoot said that when it comes to the three years between now and when the Space Launch System (SLS) launches, “our teams aren’t thinking it’s a long time. ... They’re actually thinking we’ve got a ways to go to get there. It’s exciting.” The article listed seven milestones NASA plans to accomplish, “working hard” at centers like the Marshall Space Flight Center and Michoud Assembly Facility before the SLS is sent off to the Kennedy Space Center for integration with the Orion capsule. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Huntsville (AL) Times)



20 January 2015
FAA Approves UAS Testing at University of Missouri

Assortment_of_UAVs_Wiki.jpgThe Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune reported that the University of Missouri (MU) won federal approval “to fly drones over university-owned lands in south-central Missouri,” making it “the first approval the university has received for a drone project.” The FAA granted approval to the joint application between MU, the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and Saint Louis University, which plan to do “a slew of research and economic development projects at the Wurdack Research Center in Cook Station.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune)



16 January 2015
Navy Secretary Says USMC F-35 Should Be Ready On Time For Combat Operations

F35CarrierLanding_Wiki.jpgReuters reported that on Thursday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said that the Lockheed Martin F-35 B-model, the Marine version of the plane, is on schedule to meet the Marine’s target date for being declared ready for combat use. The F-35 C-model, which can be flown off of aircraft carriers, should also be ready for operations as planned. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Reuters)



16 January 2015
Ten News Outlets to Test UAVs for Journalism

MicroDrone.jpgBloomberg News reported that ten U.S. news companies are following CNN’s lead in testing UAVs for news gathering, in efforts to persuade the FAA to remove the ban on UAVs for reporting purposes. Virginia Tech University will assist the UAV study at one of the six test areas approved by Congress. The media outlets include the New York Times Co., the AP, NBCUniversal, Advance Publications, A.H. Belo, Gannett, Getty Images, E.W. Scripps, Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Washington Post. According to the New York Times, the news companies said in a statement that the study is “designed to conduct controlled safety testing of a series of real-life scenarios where the news media could use small U.A.S. technology to gather the news.” (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Bloomberg News)
More Info > (New York Times)



16 January 2015
New Horizons Spacecraft Begins Approach Phase for Pluto Flyby

NewHorizonsSpacecraft_NASA.jpgNewsweek reported that yesterday was a “significant day” for NASA and the New Horizons mission with the start of “the first phrase of approach” of Pluto. The spacecraft is still 135 million miles away from its closest approach, which will come in July. According to the article, later this month, New Horizons will begin taking images that will help it navigate, with scientific observations starting in April. By mid-May, the images of Pluto are expected to “surpass” those taken by the Hubble telescope. Sen noted that while New Horizons approaches Pluto, it will take daily “measurements of dust, the solar wind and high-energy particles in the region near Pluto.” NASA will also continuously track the spacecraft to see whether an engine burn will be necessary in March. According to the article, NASA is expected to submit a budget request to extend the mission so it can try to reach a second Kuiper Belt object once it flies past Pluto. (Image Credi: NASA)
More Info > (Newsweek)
More Info > (Sen)



15 January 2015
False Alarm Causes Astronauts to Relocate to Russian Segment of ISS

ISS-NASA.jpgNBC Nightly News broadcast on the “tense day” at the ISS when astronauts had to relocate to the Russian segment following an alarm concerning a potential ammonia leak. Reporter Tom Costello said that after checking equipment, operators became “more convinced” that this was just a false alarm and later gave the astronauts permission to resume “normal operations.” The AP called the situation a “rare scare” for the station, describing how it took 11 hours to resolve before measurements taken by astronauts concluded there were no leaks. Suffredini said that NASA wanted to take the time to ensure “that the system is tight like we believe it to be.” According to the article, Suffredini also stressed that this event does not seem to have “jeopardized” any of the SpaceX cargo that was being unloaded at the time of the alarm. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)



15 January 2015
Airbus A330-300 Makes Its First Flight

AirbusA330-300_Airbus.jpgAerospace Manufacturing and Design reported that on 12 January, Airbus A330-300, an A330 “with an increased 242-tonne maximum takeoff weight capability” made its first flight in its test campaign. If all goes as planned, it should be delivered to its first customer in the second quarter. The article noted that this version of the A330 is the “basis” for the A330neo now under development. (Image Credit: Airbus)
More Info > (Aerospace Manufacturing and Design)



14 January 2015
Airbus Launches New A321 Model to Fill Boeing 757’s Market

AibusA321_CreditAirbus.jpgBloomberg News reported on how both Boeing and Airbus are aiming to “fill the market void for trans-Atlantic flying” created when Boeing discontinued its 757. Airbus just announced a new long-range A321 model, while Boeing has spoken with 30 customers about what they would like for a replacement. Airbus’ new plane will include “a third auxiliary tank to fly 206 passengers across the Atlantic and other routes as long as 4,000 nautical miles.” However, Randy Tinseth, Boeing vice president for Marketing, said that it was “laughable” that Airbus thinks it can sell 1,000 of the planes when only about 50 or 60 757s currently fly the long distances. (Image Credit: Airbus)
More Info > (Bloomberg News)



14 January 2015
Navy Chooses V-22 Osprey for Future COD

V-22Osprey_Wiki.jpgBreaking Defense reported on the U.S. Navy’s decision to replace its C-2A Greyhound turboprop aircraft with V-22 Osprey tiltrotors for carrier on board delivery missions after obtaining a January 5 memo signed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford. The memorandum of understanding said that the Navy will purchase four Osprey aircraft “each year from fiscal 2018 to 2020.” Breaking Defense called the decision a “milestone in the history of the revolutionary V-22” and “a major triumph for the Naval Air Systems Command V-22 program office, the Marine Corps and other Osprey advocates.” The article noted that the memorandum of understanding between the Navy and Marine Corps “must be ratified in the next defense budget and by Congress” and also partly depends on “a prospective third V-22 multiyear procurement contract that would begin in fiscal year 2018.” (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Breaking Defense)



14 January 2015
Cape Canaveral Could Be World’s Busiest Spaceport In 2015

CapeCanaveralSpaceport_wiki.jpgFlorida Today reported that during a meeting of the National Space Club Florida Committee, Col. Thomas Falzarano, commander of the 45th Operations Group, said that Cape Canaveral could launch “10 missions by United Launch Alliance – eight on Atlas V rockets and two on Delta IVs – and as many as 14 launches by SpaceX’s Falcon rockets” this year, making it “the world’s busiest spaceport in 2015” if it holds. One of those SpaceX missions includes the debut of the Falcon Heavy at the Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A. The article noted that the spaceport will likely not conduct all of these missions due to how “frequently” the launch schedule changes. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Florida Today)



13 January 2015
CNN Teaming with FAA to Test UAVs for Reporting

Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_Amazon.jpgUSA Today reported on CNN’s announcement Monday that the cable network is teaming with the FAA in a “Cooperative Research and Development Agreement” to advance efforts to use UAVs as a reporting tool, attempting to find solutions to obstacles before possible widespread deployment by the media. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said: “Unmanned aircraft offer news organizations significant opportunities. ... We hope this agreement with CNN and the work we are doing with other news organizations and associations will help safely integrate unmanned newsgathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System.” The Wall Street Journal reported that CNN is testing a range of UAV types, and that NBC and others are also considering researching how to use UAVs for reporting at the Mid-Atlantic test site. CNN’s Money added that CNN partnered with the Georgia Tech Research Institute to collect data, which the FAA will analyze. The article noted that many companies have already hired staff for UAV-related projects, including Amazon, Facebook and Google. (Image Credit: YouTube/Amazon)
More Info > (USA Today)
More Info > (Wall Street Journal)
More Info > (CNN's Money)



13 January 2015
Dragon Arrives with Supplies for ISS

DragonAttachedtoISS_Jan2015_NASA.jpgThe AP, in continuing coverage, reported that a SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully arrived at the ISS with its “shipment of much-needed groceries and belated Christmas presents.” ISS Commander Butch Wilmore, after grabbing the Dragon with the ISS’ robotic arm for berthing, said, “We’re excited to have it on board. ... We’ll be digging in soon.” Meanwhile, the article noted that SpaceX is still examining the data to see why its Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage was not able to successfully land after launching the Dragon. The Washington Post “The Switch” blog noted that even though the landing attempt was not completely successful, it was still “a major coup” because the rocket’s first stage made it back to the landing barge. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (Washington Post)



12 January 2015
Teams Gathering More Data On How Well Orion Performed

Orion_Crew_Vehicle_NASA.jpgSpaceflight Now reported that Lockheed Martin engineers at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) are now starting to disassemble part of the Orion capsule to get more data on how it performed during December’s first flight. So far it is known that Orion completed “all but two of 87 demo objectives.” Jules Schneider, Lockheed Martin’s Orion operations manager at KSC, said that because of how well the vehicle performed, there is now “a lot of debate” about how much will be disassembled. Schneider added that overall, engineers are “incredibly pleased” by how well Orion performed. Meanwhile, a final report is expected to be submitted to NASA by March 5. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Spaceflight Now)



12 January 2015
SpaceX Rocket Main Booster Returns to Platform but Fails to Stick Landing

ISScapturesDragon_Jan2015_NASA.jpgThe AP reported that on Saturday, SpaceX “flawlessly” launched a Dragon capsule with cargo to the ISS, with its “hasty replacements” for cargo lost during Orbital Sciences’ launch failure in October. However, SpaceX suffered a “high-profile flop” when its “unprecedented” attempt to land the Falcon 9’s main booster on a barge failed. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was reportedly “encouraged” that the booster was able to fly back to the barge even though it landed too hard. Musk is already planning another test in February with more hydraulic fluid in the booster’s fins, which ran out during the latest test. Meanwhile, according to the article, NASA had a “keen interest” in the results of SpaceX’s test, even if it was more focused on the cargo heading to the station. The Wall Street Journal similarly contrasted SpaceX’s flawless launch with the failed landing attempt. According to Florida Today, SpaceX’s failed landing attempt “was of little consequence to NASA,” which was more concerned with the cargo. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said in a statement, “We are delighted to kick off 2015 with our first commercial cargo launch of the year.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (Wall Street Journal)
More Info > (Florida Today)



12 January 2015
Teams Gathering More Data On How Well Orion Performed

Orion_Crew_Vehicle_NASA.jpgSpaceflight Now reported that Lockheed Martin engineers at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) are now starting to disassemble part of the Orion capsule to get more data on how it performed during December’s first flight. So far it is known that Orion completed “all but two of 87 demo objectives.” Jules Schneider, Lockheed Martin’s Orion operations manager at KSC, said that because of how well the vehicle performed, there is now “a lot of debate” about how much will be disassembled. Schneider added that overall, engineers are “incredibly pleased” by how well Orion performed. Meanwhile, a final report is expected to be submitted to NASA by March 5. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Spaceflight Now)



12 January 2015
North Dakota Companies Want To Work At UAS Test Site

Assortment_of_UAVs_Wiki.jpgThe AP reported that “hundreds of companies” want to work at North Dakota’s UAS test site, contacting the site “over the past year hoping to test drones, cameras or other technology.” While there is a real need for research, what lacks in turn “are rules,” because the FAA “has yet to write regulations governing drone use in the United States.” Still, the agency could release its regulatory proposals for commercial UAS under 55 pounds “within the next month,” but then “those rules won’t likely be final until 2017, extending the uncertainty for unmanned aircraft businesses.” (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Associated Press)



9 January 2015
FAA Outlines Its UAV Efforts at This Year’s CES

UAV_Wiki.jpgU.S. News & World Report continued coverage of how UAVs have their own section at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The FAA was also in attendance, with Jim Williams, the manager of the FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft System Integration Office, discussing efforts to integrate UAVs into the national airspace. Speaking about the exemptions the agency has handed out, Williams said, “We are now up to 15 permissions granted. ... We are also in the process of streamlining in and accelerating that effort, because we now have over 200 applications for those permissions.” Meanwhile, the FAA also has a booth at the show “to educate businesses and drone users about the safe – and legal – way to operate the machines.” (Image credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (U.S. News & World Report)



8 January 2015
Next SpaceX Launch Attempt Pushed Back to Saturday

SpaceXFalcon9_Launchpad_NASA.jpgThe AP reported that SpaceX has pushed back its next attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket with cargo for the ISS to Saturday. No reason for the change was provided by the AP. According to Reuters, NASA spokesperson Allard Beutel said that SpaceX requires “more time to work the issue that caused the scrub.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (Reuters) (USA Today)



8 January 2015
Researchers Working On Developing Sense and Avoid Technology for UAVs

CamcloneT21_wiki.jpgThe AP reported that if UAVs are ever going to be able to be integrated into civilian airspace, engineers need to develop a “fully autonomous” way for them “to sense and avoid...objects like trees, streetlights, buildings and even other drones.” While this kind of software is available on commercial jets, it has yet to be scaled down or made inexpensive enough for use on UAVs, according to the article. The article noted that “researchers around the world” are working on solutions to the problem. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Associated Press)(USA Today)



8 January 2015
McGee: 2015 Will Be Worse Year for Air Travel

DeltaAirlinesFlight_Wiki.jpgIn his column for USA Today, Bill Mcgee wrote about five key stressors that will make 2015 a worse year for air travel than 2014: tighter seating, airplane crowding, more “economy-minus” service, less competition among merged air carriers, and fee increases. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (USA Today)



7 January 2015
FAA Grants UAV Permits for Agriculture, Real Estate Companies

UAV_Monitors_Idaho_Farm1_AP.jpgThe Associated Press reports that on Tuesday, the FAA issued exceptions to the commercial UAV ban, permitting Advanced Aviation Solutions in Star, Idaho, to monitor crops and Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Arizona, to photograph properties for sale. This is the first time permits have been granted to agriculture and real estate companies. The FAA had previously granted exemptions for the oil and gas, filmmaking, landfill, and other industries. The permits are conditional upon UAV operations using both a ground pilot and an observer; the pilot having at least an FAA private pilot certificate and a current medical certificate; and the UAV remaining within sight of the operator. FAA officials said that preventing potentially deadly collisions between UAVs and manned aircraft is their top priority. (Image Credit: Associated Press)
More Info > (Associated Press)



7 January 2015
Steering Mechanism Issue Stops SpaceX Launch with Minute to Go

SpaceXFalcon9_Launchpad_NASA.jpgThe Associated Press continued coverage of SpaceX’s failed launch attempt yesterday, noting that the countdown ended “just over a minute before launch” because of a malfunctioning “steering mechanism.” With the next attempt set for Friday, NASA took this latest delay “in stride.” ISS Commander Butch Wilmore said, “Certainly, there’s a little bit of disappointment because it had fresh fruit and those types of things that we’re all interested in getting. ... But they’ll get off the ground here in a couple of days and it will all be great.” Meanwhile, according to the article, ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini stated that even with the delays and the loss of an Orbital Sciences rocket back in October, the ISS is “nowhere near being short on food or other critical supplies.” Bloomberg News similarly reported that NASA spokesperson Jay Bolden said before the launch that the ISS has enough materials “to last until the summer.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (Bloomberg News)



7 January 2015
Small UAV Market To Exceed $8 Billion by 2019

UAV_Wiki.jpgFlightglobal reported that according to ABI Research, the small UAV market will exceed “$8.4 billion by 2019.” It is estimated that commercial usage alone will reach $5.1 billion or more. ABI categorizes small UAVs as those with “a maximum take-off weight of less than 11kg.” Dan Kara, practice director at ABI Research, said that the dominance of commercial UAV use is leading defense contractors and hobbyist manufactures to engage in “acquisitions, internal development, partnerships and investment” to better access that market. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Flightglobal)



6 January 2015
SpaceX Launch Delayed Until Friday

Falcon9LaunchScrubbed6Jan15_NASA.jpgThe SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for this morning at 6:20 a.m. EST was forced to abort with one minute, 21 seconds left on the countdown clock. A thrust vector control actuator for the Falcon 9’s second stage failed to perform as anticipated, resulting in a launch abort. SpaceX is currently evaluating the issue and will determine the next opportunity to launch its next commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The next available launch opportunity is Friday, 9 January. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (NASA)



5 January 2015
Tuesday’s SpaceX Launch Features Reusable Rocket Test

Falcon9_CapeCanaveral.jpgThe New York Times reported that when SpaceX makes its next launch to the International Space Station on Tuesday, it will try “to upend the economics of space travel” by attempting to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform. If that works, SpaceX will reuse the stage on a future launch, bringing it one step closer to its goal of developing a reusable rocket. Florida Today reported that according to weather forecasters, there is only “a 60 percent [chance] of acceptable conditions” for Tuesday’s launch. If there is a delay, SpaceX will try again on Friday when there’s a “70 percent chance of acceptable weather.” Spaceflight Insider detailed where the public can watch the launch live. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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5 January 2015
Testing About to Begin On SLS Engines

RS-25Engine_NASA.jpgNASA Space Flight reported that this month, NASA will start the test program at the Stennis Space Center for the Space Launch System’s (SLS) RS-25 engines, “formally known as the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME).” SLS Program Manager Todd May said, “We’ve got three things that we’re really interested in making sure that we shake out on these engines, because you’re actually talking about engines that have flown in space before. These are engines that have flown on the Shuttle before – they’re qualified engines.” Meanwhile, the article noted that more hardware is under development at the Michoud Assembly Facility, “utilizing an array of new machinery.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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2 January 2015
FAA Fails to Meet 2014 Goal for UAV Regulations

UAV_Wiki.jpgReuters reported that the FAA missed a self-imposed year-end deadline for releasing rules for commercial UAVs, much to the chagrin of a multi-billion-dollar industry that was eagerly awaiting the regulations. The FAA sent a draft of the rules to the White House on Oct. 23, but the Office of Management and Budget has not released them yet. The FAA asserted that they are more focused on getting the rules right than releasing them quickly, as they contend they must deal with complex issues. Bloomberg News reported that the FAA said, “We are continuing to work with our administration colleagues to finish the rule[s]. ... It is our goal to get the proposal right.” In 2012, Congress ordered the FAA to publish rules to integrate commercial drones by Sept. 30, 2015. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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2 January 2015
ISS Experiences The New Year 16 Times

ISS-NASA.jpgThe ABC News website continued coverage of how the ISS would celebrate the New Year, noting that the station would “be over midnight somewhere on earth sixteen times.” ISS Commander Barry Wilmore said in a video, “We plan to celebrate New Year’s sixteen times with our comrades, our people down on Earth that are doing it at that very moment, so we’re going to do the same thing, that’s our plan.” The WAAY-TV Huntsville, AL website noted that the astronauts took time to discuss how they celebrate the New Year while “in the midst of scientific work.” According to the article, astronauts were “working hard” on their experiments. (Image Credit: NASA)
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