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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).



22 August 2014
Air Force Issues RFI for New Booster System

RD-180_AtlasVDefense News reported that the U.S. Air Force issued a request for information (RFI) for a “booster propulsion and/or launch system materiel options that could deliver cost-effective, commercially-viable solutions for current and future National Security Space (NSS) launch requirements.” According to the article, it is clear that the Air Force is looking for an alternate to the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine used on some American rockets today. Submissions are due by 19 September. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Defense News)



22 August 2014
Winners of New Commercial Spacecraft Contract Could “Reignite” Spaceflight

Boeing_CST-100The Washington Post reported that in the next few weeks, NASA will announce which companies will develop the spacecraft that will transport astronauts to the ISS, the “long-awaited solution” to the problem of U.S. reliance on Russia. According to the article, those spacecraft could “reignite a struggling American space program” as well as “touch off a vast commercial space industry” because of the funds NASA is injecting into the program, although some are skeptical about the amount of demand. All of the competitors currently claim they can send astronauts to the station for much less than Russia is charging the U.S. However, until those spacecraft are developed, Russia will reportedly have “the power” to determine whether or not the U.S. can access the ISS. (Image: A mock-up of Boeing's Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft. Credit: Boeing)
More Info > (Washington Post)



21 August 2014
Galileo Satellites Launching Today Despite Unsolved Power Issue

ESA_LaunchPad_ESAEurope’s first pair of fully operational Galileo satellites are scheduled to launch today. Europeans hope that the Galileo satellite navigation system will make the region less dependent on the U.S. GPS system in the event that the U.S. ever decides to limit access. Europe is proceeding with the launch even though the ESA said it still has not determined why one of the Galileo satellites now in orbit experienced a sudden power drop in May. As a precaution, the ESA reduced broadcast power on all of the satellites in orbit, but this should not affect system users, according to the agency. (Image Credit: ESA)
More Info > (Wall Street Journal – Subscription Publication)
More Info > (Space News)



21 August 2014
U.S. Army, Lockheed Martin Successfully Test K-Max Unmanned Helicopter

K-Max_LMCThe U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin have successfully tested the capability of the K-Max unmanned helicopter to deliver an autonomous ground vehicle. According to Flightglobal, during the “Extending the Reach of the Warfighter through Robotics” testing, the K-Max delivered the Squad Mission Support System, which weighs up to 5,000 lbs, via a slingload. “The synergistic use of unmanned air and ground vehicles will give warfighters a larger operational reach, and allow execution of missions that are currently performed at great risk,” Flightglobal quoted Paul Rogers, the army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center director, as saying. (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)
More Info > (Flightglobal)



20 August 2014
Half of Air Force’s F-16D Fleet Grounded Due to Cracks

F-16_WikiDefense News reported that over half of the U.S. Air Force’s F-16D Fighting Falcons have been grounded after canopy sill longeron cracks were discovered between the front and rear pilot seats. Those not grounded were cleared to continue flying. Lt. Col. Steve Grotjohn, deputy chief of the Weapon System Division, said in a statement that the cracks were “due to fatigue from sustained operations. ... Fortunately, we have a robust maintenance, inspection and structural integrity program to discover and repair deficiencies as they occur.” According to the article, officials are now working with Lockheed Martin to determine the cause of the cracks and the repair strategy. According to Flightglobal, this event demonstrated the “aging inventory of fighters” the U.S. now has before the introduction of the F-35A. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/USAF)
More Info > (Defense News)
More Info > (Flightglobal)



19 August 2014
AIAA Celebrates National Aviation Day

WrightBrosGliderAIAA celebrates National Aviation Day today, Tuesday, 19 August, the anniversary of the birth of Orville Wright. This day honors all who work in aviation and aerospace, and commemorates the sacrifices of the early aviation pioneers who first dared to prove that powered flight was possible. “Aviation has transformed our world – from bringing people closer together, to speeding commerce, to ensuring a strong national defense, the aviation enterprise shapes all of our lives,” said AIAA President Jim Albaugh. (Image: Wright Brothers early glider)
More Info > (AIAA)



19 August 2014
UAVs Are Subject Of August Edition of Popular Science

UAV_WikiThe Washington Post reported that this month’s edition of Popular Science focuses on UAVs and the FAA’s efforts to develop regulations for their usage. Popular Science wrote that the U.S. is now in a “Kitty Hawk moment” in aviation because of how UAVs will change how people live. While UAVs will bring benefits, the article noted that there also will be “drawbacks,” such as loss of privacy, misuse, and the possibility of more aviation accidents. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Washington Post)
More Info > (Popular Science)



18 August 2014
X-47B Flies Alongside Of F/A-18 Hornet After Launching From Aircraft Carrier

X-47B_CarrierDeck_USNThe Newport News (VA) Daily Press reported that on Sunday, the Navy launched, flew and landed the X-47B, a prototype unmanned aircraft, alongside an F/A-18 Hornet. The test took place aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Rear Adm. Mat Winter, head of the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons, said this test was “history in the making.” Over the next 10 days, the Navy plans to undertake a total of six test flights. These tests bring unmanned flight a step closer to becoming part of the Navy’s arsenal, but that is expected to take years of additional work. Winter stressed, “It’s not an unmanned over all others. ... It’s a blending of unmanned and manned capabilities, and that will be the naval aviation strategy as we move into the future.” (Image Credit: Wikipedia/U.S. Navy)
More Info > (Newport News (VA) Daily Press)



18 August 2014
Amazon Steps Up Efforts On Prime Air Drone Delivery System

Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonUSA Today reported on Amazon’s efforts to get federal approval for its planned Prime Air drone delivery system, although this is not likely to happen anytime this year, or even next. Amazon Vice President of Global Public Policy Paul Misener said that Amazon Prime Air is participating in several groups that share Congress’ goal of getting small UAVs flying commercially in the United States safely and as soon as possible. Les Dorr, FAA spokesperson, said that the agency was working out how to reply to Amazon’s petition to begin tests with drones that weigh less than 55 pounds and fly below 400 feet. (Image Credit: YouTube/Amazon)
More Info > (USA Today)



14 August 2014
Worldview-3 Satellite Launches Into Orbit

Worldview-3_Launches_ULAThe Worldview-3 satellite was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket on Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellite, owned by DigitalGlobe and built by Ball Aerospace, is designed to capture high-resolution pictures of Earth, and is capable of collecting information in 29 different spectral bands. Touting the ability of the satellite to capture small images, Neal Anderson, DigitalGlobe’s vice president for Technology, said, “From 400 miles we can see home plate of a baseball stadium.” The satellite is the first spacecraft to launch since the U.S. Commerce Department decided to loosen federal regulations on space-based commercial imagery resolution. (Image Credit: ULA)
More Info > (SPACE)
More Info > (NBC News)



13 August 2014
ESA’s ATV Spacecraft Docks at ISS for Final Time

ESA_ATV_Approaches_ISS_CreditNASAThe ESA’s Georges Lemaitre Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the last spacecraft in the series, successfully docked at the ISS on Tuesday. This ATV spacecraft is expected to make history during its atmospheric reentry by gathering important data on the optimal angle to be used to de-orbit the ISS safely. The technology in the ATV will also be transferred to NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Reportedly, the choice to end the ATV program with just five spacecraft is a subject of debate in Europe because of how useful the vehicle would have been to de-orbit the ISS in the future. The ESA made the choice because it wants to focus on research and development instead of just building the same hardware, even for vehicles as sophisticated as ATV. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (AFP)
More Info > (Space News)



13 August 2014
Airbus A350 Flight Trials Almost Complete

AirbusA350_WikiToday, an Airbus 350 is expected to complete the program’s flight trials. Fernando Alonso, senior vice president for Flight Testing at Airbus, said that nothing new was discovered during the trials. Airbus still needs to finish paperwork before the plane can be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency. Airbus now has to make the plane profitable, avoiding the financial issues that the A380 has experienced since it was first delivered. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Wall Street Journal)



12 August 2014
Panel Discusses Current, Future Mars Missions at AIAA SPACE 2014

JoeCParrish_NASAJPL_At_SPACE2014In an article for the Space Review, Duane Hyland, AIAA communications specialist, STEM/Workforce portfolio manager, and Grassroots Program manager, wrote that “a panel of experts” from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory gave “a comprehensive look at current and past missions” to Mars at AIAA SPACE 2014. Joe C. Parrish, NASA JPL deputy manager of the Mars Program Formulation Office, said, “We are quite fortunate at this time to have eleven missions over the next decade: five operating, two on their way, and four on board for future deployment.” (Image: Joe C. Parrish, NASA JPL deputy manager of the Mars Program Formulation Office, provides remarks during AIAA SPACE 2014. Credit: AIAA)
More Info > (Space Review)



12 August 2014
ESA Work May Delay Orion’s 2017 Launch

OrionModel_atSPACE2014Space News, in its coverage of AIAA SPACE 2014, reported that Mark Geyer, NASA’s Orion program manager, said that the spacecraft’s “notional December 2017 launch date” to “lunar space” may be delayed because of the ESA, which is trying to adapt its Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) into a service module for Orion. Geyer said, “They’re finalizing their contract in September with Airbus, and they have challenges on the schedule that we are negotiating with them on what that means for me. ... We’re going to finalize their delivery date probably by the end of this month.” Meanwhile Todd May, NASA’s SLS program manager, said that the SLS, which will launch Orion, is on track for the 2017 date. (Image: A model of the Orion Service Module on display at AIAA SPACE 2014. Credit: AIAA)
More Info > (Space News)



11 August 2014
Officials Say LDSD Test Very Successful

Falcon9StaticFireTestDespite a parachute not working as intended upon deployment, NASA officials insist that the recent test of a new re-entry system to be used at Mars met most of its objectives. Ian Clark, principal investigator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said, “The vehicle did an amazing job of getting to the right speed and altitude.” Project Manager Mark Adler said that this was one of three test flights, adding, “The idea of taking 200 pounds of Kevlar and nylon and deploying it at 2,500 mph, 200 pounds that inflated would be the size of a small warehouse, is certainly a challenging endeavor." On Friday, officials released video of the test taken by cameras mounted on the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD). Other than the parachute, the LDSD’s systems performed well. Clark noted that engineers are already redesigning the parachute for the next test. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (Los Angeles Times)



11 August 2014
Officials Indicate Widespread UAV Use Still Years Away

Falcon9StaticFireTestDuring a panel sponsored by the Air Line Pilots Association last week, regulators from the U.S., Canada, and the ICAO said that widespread use of commercial UAVs may take much longer than proponents anticipate. John Hickey, deputy associate administrator for Aviation Safety at the FAA, said, “We’re still many years away from what you would see as safe integration in the very busiest airspace. ... We will not allow [drones] to come into the system until we are completely sure they are safe.” The Journal said that these comments indicate that the FAA thought itself obligated only to formulate a plan for integration of UAVs into U.S. airspace by 2015, rather than allowing widespread use by then. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
More Info > (Wall Street Journal – Subscription Publication)
More Info > (Washington Post)



11 August 2014
WorldView-3 Satellite Launches Wednesday

Falcon9StaticFireTestOn Wednesday, an Atlas V rocket will launch the WorldView-3 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base. If successful, WorldView-3 will be the first multipayload, super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite deployed in space. Col. Marc Del Rosario, 30th Operations Group commander and the launch decision authority, said that the 30th Space Wing is honored to be taking part in the Atlas V rocket’s first commercial launch from Vandenberg. The launch has a 15-minute window opening at 11:29 a.m. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Lompoc (CA) Record)



8 August 2014
Yes, Virginia, You Will Be Able to Download your iTunes on Mars, Eventually

CommsPanel_8Aug14Our world is becoming rapidly connected, and as humanity ventures off planet they will take their appetites for LOLz cat memes, silly YouTube videos, and iTunes with them, making a need for space-based internet and other broadband services a reality, according to panelists speaking on “The Future of Space-Based Communications,” at the AIAA SPACE 2014 Forum in San Diego.

Currently, there’s not much going on in space in terms of broadband based communication systems. Chris Hoeber the senior vice president and chief technology officer at Technology & Innovation, SSL, explained that “nobody will put a satellite up to talk to mars tomorrow, there’s nobody to talk too.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



8 August 2014
Getting From Earth-Dependent to Mars-Ready Requires Team Effort

Greg-Williams_NASATo achieve a manned mission to Mars, it’s going to take countless new technology developments, innovative strategies for coordinating NASA’s inter-agencies, and increased collaboration with private industry and international partners. That was the message delivered by NASA representatives during the “From Earth Dependent to Mars Ready” panel at the AIAA SPACE 2014 Forum Thursday in San Diego.

“The wonder of the universe around us connects us and builds a better global society, and we believe the human exploration of space does likewise," said panel co-moderator Greg Williams, deputy associate administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Directorate.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



7 August 2014
Rosetta Spacecraft Now Traveling with a Comet

Falcon9StaticFireTestThe ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft successfully reached orbit around the comet it had been traveling toward over the past ten years. The pair are now flying in tandem, with plans for a gentle landing on the comet in November. When the mission was first envisioned there were plans to bring back samples from the comet, but that plan was scrapped after NASA pulled out of a joint mission at an early stage. NASA still developed three of the 21 instruments aboard Rosetta and its Philae lander. Holger Sierks, principal investigator for Rosetta’s high-resolution camera, released new images of the comet during a news conference showing cliffs, deep shadows and also flat areas with boulders sitting on the surface. Over the next few months, the spacecraft will be looking for a safe place for Philae to land. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (New York Times)
More Info > (USA Today)
More Info > (Washington Post)



7 August 2014
Tech Progress, Outreach Hurdles Seen on Road to Mars

LarryPrice_7Aug14_AIAASPACEIt’s going to take a mix of effective public outreach, space-community buy-in and clear technical progress for international partners to assemble the funds and technology they'll need to get human explorers to Mars in the next two decades, NASA and industry officials said today.

On the technology side, an unmanned test version of the planned Orion crew module is almost finished. That will clear the way for preparations to launch it on Dec. 4 aboard a Delta 4 Heavy rocket.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



7 August 2014
As Earth Observation Data Grows, So Does Public Access

Space-Based-Remote-Sensing-Observations-and-Data_Panel_7Aug14The next generation of satellites will enhance space-based remote-sensing observations and, coupled with public access to their data, support a host of global weather, space weather and climate products, a panel of government and private industry experts told an audience Wednesday at the AIAA SPACE 2014 Forum in San Diego.

“It’s a great time for looking at our planet,” said Jack Kaye, associate director for research at NASA's Earth Science Division, noting that the massive amount of data collected by NASA's earth observation constellation is now publicly available.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



6 August 2014
For Spaceflight Managers, Thoughts to Turn to 2016 Presidential Election

human-spaceflight-panel-discussion_6Aug2014Let’s say you manage an expensive government-funded space technology program. All you need to do to ensure continuity through the next presidential administration is make sure you deliver on time and on budget and don’t overreach, right?

Different schools of thought about that question were on display during a Tuesday afternoon human spaceflight panel discussion at AIAA’s Space 2014 Forum in San Diego.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



6 August 2014
How to Make MILSATCOM More Resilient and Affordable

Falcon9StaticFireTestA panel of industry experts provided an overview of the current challenges and future opportunities in military satellite communications Tuesday afternoon at the AIAA SPACE 2014 Forum in San Diego.

Referencing the forum’s theme -- “Connecting, Protecting, and Enhancing a Global Society” -- retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Larry D. James, the panel moderator, said, “In many ways MILSATCOM addresses each one of those things.” James, the deputy director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an AIAA Associate Fellow, also noted that coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq relied on commercial communication satellites, “not those purely MILSATCOM capabilities.”
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



5 August 2014
SpaceX Selects Texas for Commercial Launch Site

Falcon9StaticFireTestSpaceX has decided to develop “the world’s first” commercial orbital launch site in Texas, which has offered more incentives to the company for the site. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, “Texas has been on the forefront of our nation’s space exploration efforts for decades, so it is fitting that SpaceX has chosen our state as they expand the frontiers of commercial space flight.” Rick Tumlinson, co-founder of Space Frontier Foundation and Texas Space Alliance, previously said that the launch site could one day be the location of manned flights to the ISS. Carissa Bryce Christensen, managing partner at The Tauri Group, and a panelist at AIAA's Space and Astronautics Forum and Exposition (SPACE 2014) taking place in San Diego 4-8 August, stated back in April that the launch site should give the company more “predictability.” (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info > (Associated Press)



4 August 2014
ULA Launches Next GPS Satellite

AtlasVLaunches_1Aug14_ULAA United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched the U.S. Air Force’s GPS IIF-7 satellite on Friday from Cape Canaveral. Liftoff occurred at 11:23 p.m. EDT. The satellite takes over the duties of a 17-year-old satellite, which will now become a backup satellite. It is the third of four GPS satellites launched this year to modernize the Department of Defense's largest constellation, now comprising 31 active spacecraft. The launch marks the third time this year ULA has successfully launched two missions within a week. AIAA congratulates ULA, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: ULA)
More Info > (Florida Today)
More Info > (CBS News)
More Info > (SPACE)



4 August 2014
SpaceX Will Use 3D-Printed Parts for Manned Dragon Missions

Falcon9StaticFireTestSpaceX announced last week that parts of the Falcon 9 rocket that launched in January were developed using 3D printing. The company also plans to use 3D-printed parts in the Dragon V2 spacecraft, which could bring astronauts to the ISS. A printed thrust chamber will be used on the upcoming test of the Dragon’s launch escape system. Meanwhile, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is another group using 3D-printing to develop rocket engines, for low-cost launch vehicles for carrying small satellites. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
More Info > (Los Angeles Times)



30 July 2014
Skunk Works, the Hub of Aerospace Innovation

Apollo11_NASAAlton Romig, vice president of engineering and advanced systems at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics – better known as the Skunk Works – addressed a packed house at AIAA’s Propulsion and Energy Forum Tuesday evening. He shared a brief history of Lockheed and the creation of the Skunk Works during World War II. The name, he noted, has come to mean any hub of innovation, in the same way that a photo copier is often referred to as a Xerox machine.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



29 July 2014
The Future of Energy is Almost Here

Apollo11_NASAThe future of energy will be here before we know it, said Alton Romig, vice president of engineering and advanced systems at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, better known as the Skunk Works. He was addressing today’s plenary session at AIAA’s Propulsion and Energy Forum in Cleveland. Romig discussed the state of the art in energy systems, considered the possible futures, and analyzed the challenges that may prevent such a future from unfolding.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



28 July 2014
Shaping the Future of Hybrid Electric Propulsion

Apollo11_NASAThe aviation industry is a vital component of the U.S. economy, and hybrid electric propulsion systems are likely to be a key element of the aerospace industry’s future: That was the primary message delivered by of a panel of industry experts who met to discuss “A Future with Hybrid Electric Propulsion Systems – Opportunities and Challenges,” at AIAA’s Propulsion & Energy Forum on Monday morning. Moderating the panel was Rubén Del Rosario, manager of the Fixed Wing Project at NASA Glenn Research Center.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



28 July 2014
For Aircraft Engine Researchers, Auto Industry Brings Inspiration

Apollo11_NASADramatically improving the efficiency of power and propulsion systems aboard aircraft is going to require openness to tapping developments in other disciplines. That was one of the themes struck by members of the opening panel of AIAA’s Propulsion and Energy forum in Cleveland. The session, “Perspectives on the Future of Propulsion and Energy – The Art of the Possible,” was moderated by James Free, director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



28 July 2014
Propulsion and Future Challenges: The Users’ View

Apollo11_NASAIndustry experts gathered on Monday afternoon to discuss “Perspectives on the Future of Propulsion & Energy – The View from Users.” The panel, part of AIAA’s Propulsion and Energy Forum in Cleveland, was moderated by Graham Warwick, managing editor, technology, at Aviation Week. Panelists included James Petersen, vice president and senior chief engineer in Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Propulsion Systems Division; Sebastien Remy, head of Airbus Group Innovations at Airbus; Leslie Kovacs, director of Washington operations for United Launch Alliance; and John Henderson, Lockheed Martin Fellow, Space Propulsion, at Lockheed Martin.
More Info > (AIAA Communications)



25 July 2014
Boeing Touts 777’s Safety Record, Despite Malaysia Airlines Incidents

Apollo11_NASADespite the two recent incidents involving Malaysia Airlines this year, Boeing is stressing the fact that its 777 has only had five accidents with hull loss in its 19-year career, and only three of those accidents suffered a loss of life. Boeing said that since entering service in June 1995, the 777 family has flown almost 5 million flights and accumulated more than 18 million flight hours. According to the manufacturer, today’s 777 operators enjoy a 99.3 percent dispatch reliability rate, which Boeing calls "the highest amongst all twin-aisle airplanes in service today." (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (International Business Times)



24 July 2014
FAA Lifts Ban on Flights to Israel

Apollo11_NASAThe FAA lifted its ban Wednesday on U.S. flights in and out of Israel. In a statement, the FAA said the decision was made in collaboration with U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and considered significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation. Reuters reported on Wednesday that the State Department said that Hamas has rockets that are capable of reaching Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, but more specifics about the group’s missile capability are unknown. Spokeswoman Marie Harf said, “We don’t have confirmation that Hamas has launched heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles” during the conflict “or that Hamas has access to the type of missiles” that brought down the Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (Reuters)



24 July 2014
United Launch Alliance Delays Air Force Delta 4 Launch Until Today

Apollo11_NASAThe launch of a Delta 4 rocket containing three U.S. Air Force satellites scheduled for Wednesday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was postponed 24 hours because of a ground system problem at the launch pad. A ULA spokesperson said that an issue with the ground support equipment environmental control system that supports the launch vehicle caused the delay with less than two hours to go prior to launch. The three satellites comprise the Air Force Space Command (AFSC)-4 mission, and ULA has rescheduled the launch, pending weather conditions and a solution to the environmental control problem, for Thursday evening at 6:59 p.m. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Space News)



23 July 2014
FAA Bans U.S. Flights from Landing in Tel Aviv

Apollo11_NASAThe FAA announced Tuesday its decision to prohibit U.S. airlines from flying into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. The FAA’s move was prompted by the chance that air travelers could again become casualties of war. Every U.S. airline has been instructed not fly into Israel’s biggest city for the next 24 hours, something the FAA hasn’t done in more than 20 years. The move came after a rocket landed early Tuesday less than a mile from Ben Gurion Airport in a very close call. So close, in fact, that a Delta flight headed from New York to Tel Aviv was rerouted to Paris mid-flight. Israel disagrees with the move and Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Secretary Kerry to help lift the flight ban. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (New York Times)
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22 July 2014
Future Mars Crew Will Carry Apollo 11 Patch

Apollo11_NASANASA officially announced yesterday that when astronauts go to Mars, they will carry an Apollo 11 patch signed by American heroes Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. NASA also renamed the historic Operations and Checkout building at the Kennedy Space Center after Armstrong. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden gave the patch to KSC Director Bob Cabana during the naming ceremony, symbolically linking the past to the future. Meanwhile, ISS astronauts Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman also took part in the ceremony. Wiseman said that the Apollo landing was a huge inspiration for him even though he joked that he was not alive when it took place. When presenting the patch to Cabana, Bolden said, “We present this patch because it’s here where the Mars 1 crew will lift off on America’s next bold mission. ... We salute Neil Armstrong and his crewmates for blazing a path that is leading us all the way from the first footprints on the moon to, very soon, the first footprints on Mars.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
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21 July 2014
Apollo Landing Took Place 45 Years Ago Sunday

Apollo11_NASASunday marked the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder of the Apollo 11 lunar lander and placed his boot into the moon's dirt, as billions of people around the world watched. The moment still stands as perhaps the most memorable moment in all of human history, as the whole world stopped to watch what was taking place. NASA is now planning another giant leap by heading to Mars. NASA’s Denisse Aranda said, “Going to Mars, searching for life in the universe has allowed us to blend technology and innovation.” NASA today is focused on sending astronauts to Mars by first heading to an asteroid instead of back to the moon. Even with these plans, it is expected to take over a decade before astronauts are able to go beyond the ISS. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (USA Today)
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21 July 2014
Texas Search-and-Rescue Group Readies Drones for Takeoff After Court Win Over FAA

Apollo11_NASATexas EquuSearch, a Houston-based group of volunteer search-and-rescue personnel who use drones to find missing persons across the U.S., is resuming operations following its Friday courthouse victory against the FAA. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that a “cease and desist” warning the FAA had issued against Texas EquuSearch in February to stop using UAVs didn’t have any legal consequences. The group had sued the agency, seeking to overturn its warning, although the FAA responded by issuing a statement saying the appeals judges’ ruling has no bearing on its authority to regulate the commercial use of UAVs. The FAA didn’t say whether it would take official action against EquuSearch to enforce a 2007 ban. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (Ars Technica)



18 July 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight Downed by Suspected Surface-to-Air Missile Over Ukraine

Apollo11_NASAU.S. military and intelligence sources confirmed to NBC News that the U.S. has evidence a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by a missile while flying at a high altitude over eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. Eyewitnesses on the ground reported seeing what looked like a missile, then an explosion in the sky. USA Today reported Malaysia Airlines said there were no distress calls from the plane. U.S. officials say they believe it was shot down. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported on its website that Secretary of State Kerry issued a statement Thursday night saying the State Department was still reviewing whether any American citizens were on board. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
More Info > (USA Today)
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17 July 2014
Apollo 11 Launched 45 Years Ago

Apollo11_NASAWednesday evening marked the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission launching on its mission to the moon. The Apollo missions helped blaze a path for human exploration to the moon and today we are extending that path to near-Earth asteroids, Mars and beyond. Meanwhile, submissions are pouring in for Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s social media campaign. Aldrin asked the public to send in descriptions or videos of what they were doing 45 years ago when the mission launched. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (Associated Press)
More Info > (NASA)



17 July 2014
NASA, SpaceX Plotting Mission to Mars In 2022

Apollo11_NASAFollowing three years of research, scientists at NASA Ames Research Center announced that a modified crew-carrying version of the Dragon X capsule from Space X could be a way to make it to the red planet and return samples of rocks, carrying 4,000 pounds of equipment–the most in history. The partnership is proposing a 2022 mission, which would serve as a precursor to a planned human flight to Mars. (Image Credit: NASA-JPL)
More Info > (KPIX-TV San Francisco)



16 July 2014
Cygnus Spacecraft Arrives at ISS Today

Apollo11_NASAOrbital Sciences' Cygnus cargo spacecraft that launched on Sunday successfully docked with the International Space Station Wednesday at 8:53 a.m. EDT. The Expedition 40 crew will begin unloading food, supplies, and science investigations when the hatch is opened Thursday. Included on the Cygnus spacecraft is the Λ-Sat satellite, the first ever Greek satellite, developed by Periklis Papadopoulos of the University of San Jose. Once launched it will examine the cosmic radiation on graphenium while at low earth orbit conditions. Cygnus is scheduled to spend about a month attached to the station. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info > (SPACE)
More Info > (The Greek Star)



16 July 2014
F-35 Will Not Appear at Farnborough Airshow

Apollo11_NASADefense News reported that to the disappointment of attendees, program supporters, and partnered militaries, the F-35 will not be flying at the Farnborough Airshow. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that when it came to clearing the jet to appear at the show following the end of the grounding that was caused by an engine fire, “nobody in senior leadership wanted to rush to do this for the sake of the air show.” Kirby added, “We haven’t seen anything that points to a systemic issue across the fleet, with respect to the engine.” Because the F-35 is the only advanced, fifth-generation fighter available, the U.S. and its allies may in the end have no choice but to back it. (Image Credit: USN)
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15 July 2014
F-35, A350 Expected to be Highlights of Farnborough Airshow

Apollo11_NASAThe Associated Press reported on the start of the Farnborough Airshow, listing some of the expected highlights. Industry experts reportedly most want to see Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and the Airbus A350. Having missed the start, there is now a lot of pressure to get the F-35 to the show. Meanwhile, the A350 is also under pressure to have a good show following Emirates’ recent order cancellation. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that an unnamed source on Tuesday said that the U.S. has lifted the F-35s flight ban, but it is still not certain whether the F-35 will appear at the show or not. (Image Credit: USN)
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15 July 2014
SpaceX Launches Orbcomm Satellites

Apollo11_NASAA SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, delivering a half-dozen commercial communications satellites into orbit, completing a mission for Orbcomm Inc. While the satellites were successfully launched, a controlled landing test of the reusable booster ended less successfully. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that more work was needed to determine what caused the loss of hull integrity when it landed. With this launch complete, the SpaceX plans to make its next commercial satellite launch within a few weeks. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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13 July 2014
Cyngus Headed to ISS After Successful Antares Launch

Apollo11_NASAOrbital Sciences' Antares rocket lifted off at 12:52 p.m. EDT Sunday from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on a mission to deliver supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station. Cygnus will rendezvous with the ISS on Wednesday, 16 July. Among the research investigations headed to the space station are a group of nanosatellites that are designed to take images of Earth, developed by Planet Labs; and a satellite-related investigation called TechEdSat-4 built by NASA’s Ames Research Center, which aims to develop technology that will eventually enable small samples to be returned to Earth from the space station. In addition, a number of student experiments are being flown in association with the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, an initiative of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and NanoRacks. AIAA congratulates Orbital Sciences Corporation, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: NASA)
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10 July 2014
Russia Launches Angara Rocket, Without Live TV Coverage

Apollo11_NASAAfter being repeatedly delayed, Russia finally launched its Angara rocket for the first time on Wednesday. As planned, the rocket carried a dummy payload and did not obtain an orbital altitude. The launch received “muted coverage” in Russia, especially when compared to the launch attempt in June, which was carried live on national TV. Meanwhile, the Moscow (RUS) Times reported that officials were “reverting to Soviet form” by not televising the launch attempt. Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly was informed of the success by Russian Defense Ministry Army General Sergei Shoigu. (Image Credit: YouTube/RT)
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10 July 2014
FAA Approves SpaceX Launch Site In Texas

Apollo11_NASAOn Wednesday, SpaceX received final approval from the FAA to build a launch site near Brownsville, Texas. This clears the way for the company to decide whether or not to build the site there as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he would do if approved. Due to the number of issues the company is dealing with at the moment, including the impending decision by NASA to launch astronauts to the ISS on SpaceX rockets, there’s still a question of whether SpaceX is actually ready to construct the launch site or not. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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9 July 2014
Hagel to Visit Site of F-35 Fire Tomorrow

F-35 USNDefense Secretary Chuck Hagel will visit Eglin Air Force Base on Thursday, the site of the recent F-35 fire that has resulted in the entire fleet being grounded. During his visit, Hagel is expected to speak with those looking into the incident. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the visit will send a strong message to the U.S.’s international partners that the it remains fully committed to the F-35 program. While there is still no decision on whether the F-35 will attend the Farnborough International Airshow as originally planned, the Pentagon would reportedly be “disappointed” if it does make an appearance. Kirby suggested that there’s no rush to get the F-35 back into the air and that the situation has done nothing to lessen the confidence in the F-35. (Image Credit: USN)
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9 July 2014
Aldrin Promotes Apollo 11 Anniversary

Apollo11_NASAApollo astronaut Buzz Alrdrin participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session Tuesday to highlight the upcoming 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Aldrin thought that it would not be the best use of NASA resources for it to return to the moon, stressing that it would be better off focusing on establishing a permanent colony on Mars. He feels that Mars missions cannot be “tourism trips.” Instead, they have to be one-way trips from the start, or else the mission becomes very expensive and delays any permanent habitat. (Image Credit: NASA)
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8 July 2014
Atlantis’ Final Crew Optimistic About Progress Since Final Flight

STS135_NASAFlorida Today reported that three years after Atlantis launched on the final shuttle mission, the astronauts on that mission – Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Rex Walheim, and Sandy Magnus – expressed optimism about how NASA has progressed recently. Hurley, assistant director for New Programs in NASA’s Flight Crew Operations Directorate, said recently that the Orion capsule’s upcoming test flight and commercial crew progress show that NASA is “getting serious, really serious now, and we’re getting close” to more missions. Magnus, now AIAA executive director, saw “steady progress,” adding, “All of the really interesting, creative stuff is going on right now, and it’s happening behind the scenes.” Magnus said, “If people had a window into it, I think they’d be fascinated. ... We have a plan right now, we’ve got momentum in the plan, and we need to stay the course.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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7 July 2014
Orbital Sciences to Launch Next ISS Mission 11 July

Antares_Awaits_Launch_NASAOrbital Sciences Corporation will launch its Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft on its second ISS resupply mission on 11 July. Orbital cleared the mission after confirming that the AJ26 engines that the rocket uses would not suffer the same fate as one that failed during testing back in May. Liftoff is targeted for is 1:40 p.m. It will take about four days for the spacecraft to reach the ISS, where it will spend for 40 days while astronauts unload and reload cargo. The mission, originally scheduled for June, was delayed twice after a rocket engine failed during testing at Stennis Space Center in May. (Image Credit: NASA)
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7 July 2014
Pentagon Grounds All F-35s for Additional Inspections

F-35 USNAll of the Pentagon’s F-35s have been grounded due to a runway fire last month. Additional inspections have been ordered by the Air Force and Navy to determine if other jets could suffer the same problem. In a statement, the Defense Department said that the results of the inspections will determine when the F-35 will fly again. Meanwhile, a decision will be made early this week on whether the F-35 will participate in the upcoming overseas airshows. (Image Credit: USN)
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7 July 2014
Report Finds UAVs Are “Dangerously Vulnerable” to Hackers

Drone_WikiA federal study has determined that commercial UAVs are “dangerously vulnerable” to hackers unless potentially costly countermeasures are implemented. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Intentional Interference and Spoofing Study Team report found that GNSS repeaters and GNSS simulation tools can transmit hazardously misleading information ‘spoofing’ GNSS use. This result has been suspected for years because of tests done by University of Texas researchers back in 2012. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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3 July 2014
Joint Directive to Require Inspection of All F-35 Engines

F-35 USNDue to last week’s Air Force F-35A fire, U.S. and UK defense officials plan to issue a joint directive for mandatory inspections of every F-35 engine. This is not expected to impact the F-35’s appearance at the Farnborough International Airshow or the Royal International Air Tattoo, but it likely will prevent the F-35 from participating in a 4 July naming ceremony for a new British aircraft carrier. While not confirmed, a quality issue with an engine part is suspected. (Image Credit: USN)
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2 July 2014
OCO-2 Launches from Vandenberg

OCO-2_Launches_NASAFollowing a launch scrub Tuesday due to the failure of a water flow system, a Delta 2 rocket successfully launched NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) spacecraft early Wednesday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base during a 30-second window opening. The launch followed the replacement of a bad valve. The spacecraft faces six to seven weeks before it can begin to take the measurements that are expected to help determine the rise and fall of carbon dioxide with the seasons. It also will help scientists determine whether the carbon dioxide emissions will continue to be absorbed at the same rate in the future. There is some uncertainty as to what comes next after OCO-2, since, in March, the administration’s budget request put the OCO-3, which would have been hosted on the ISS, on indefinite hold. (Image Credit: NASA)
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1 July 2014
Inspector General Finds FAA Won’t Meet UAV Deadline

Drone_WikiThe Department of Transportation Inspector General has issued a report forecasting that the FAA won’t meet a September 2015 deadline to provide UAV access to U.S. skies. Assistant Inspector General for Aviation Matthew Hampton said in the report that the FAA hasn’t determined what kind of technology UAVs should use to avoid crashing into other planes and to prevent lost links with ground control stations. The FAA also hasn’t set design standards, developed standard procedures, training programs, or training criteria. The report found that until these problems are resolved integration will continue to move slowly, and safety risks will remain. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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1 July 2014
Retiring Air Force Space Chief Talks RD-180, Deterrence and Sequestration

SheltonIf Gen William L. Shelton decides to tell war stories after his September retirement, those stories are likely to focus on the White House and Congress more than on China or Russia. Much of Shelton’s time since becoming commander of Air Force Space Command in January 2011 has been spent coping with the impacts of the U.S. budgetary impasse. Shelton and his staff managed to fit most of the command’s 2013 technology plan into a budget squeezed by sequestration cuts. Shelton suggested that if the automatic cuts happen again in 2016, his successor Lt Gen John Hyten could have no choice but to cut “hardcore capability,” something Shelton compares to “literally choosing among your children.” Shelton spoke by phone with Aerospace America Editor-in-Chief Ben Iannotta after the annual Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. (Image Credit: AIAA)
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30 June 2014
Orbital-Built OCO-2 Satellite Ready for Launch

OCO-2_ReadyForLaunch_June2014_NASAOrbital Sciences Corporation is in final preparations for the launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite. Orbital designed, built and tested the carbon dioxide-measuring spacecraft at its satellite manufacturing facility in Gilbert, AZ for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA’s first satellite dedicated to making space-based measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), OCO-2 is scheduled to launch aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday, 1 July at 2:56 a.m. (PDT). Following its deployment, the OCO-2 satellite will undergo several weeks of in-orbit testing to verify that all major subsystems are operating as planned. (Image Credit: NASA)
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30 June 2014
Aviation Industry Moving Fast On New System for Tracking Planes Over Oceans

MA_370_TrackingThe aviation industry, hoping to avoid a future aircraft being lost in the way Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been, is working to devise measures for tracking all flights that pass over oceans, amid obstacles such as minimal government radar over oceans, airlines’ costs in maintaining plane-to-satellite communication links, and an absence of official requirements that airlines stay in frequent-enough contact to find lost planes. While other airplanes have disappeared in the past, none have been of the size and the ability of Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777-200ER. This September an airline task force intends to recommend new government policies to better track flights to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and next February the ICAO will conduct a high-level conference to begin negotiating standards for governments to require better tracking, with a goal of completing the global rule by 2017. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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30 June 2014
NASA Tests “Flying Saucer” Technology

FlyingSaucerTest_NASAFollowing several weather delays, NASA on Saturday launched a helium balloon carrying a saucer-shaped vehicle high into Earth's atmosphere to test technology that could someday be used to land on Mars. After taking off at 11:40 a.m. from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, the balloon boosted the disc-shaped vehicle over the Pacific, where its rocket motor ignited, carrying the vehicle 34 miles high at supersonic speeds. As the vehicle prepared to drop back to Earth, a tube around it expanded, creating atmospheric drag to dramatically slow it down from Mach 4, or four times the speed of sound. The vehicle splashed down about three hours later. At 110 feet in diameter, the parachute is twice as big as the one that carried the Curiosity rover through the Martian atmosphere in 2011. (Image Credit: NASA)
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30 June 2014
SpaceX, Orbcomm Aim to Launch Six Commercial Satellites in July

Falcon9_CapeCanaveralSpaceX and Orbcomm are hoping that it can launch six commercial satellites from Cape Canaveral early next month. The two companies are now targeting Monday, 14 July. Two previous attempts to launch the first half-dozen of 17 Orbcomm Generation 2 satellites were scrubbed on 20 and 21 June due to technical problems and weather, and a third try on 22 June was postponed due to another issue with the Falcon 9 rocket. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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26 June 2014
F-35A Flights Still Grounded, But Not Likely to Impact British Air Show Plans

F-35 USNF-35A Lightning II flights are still suspended at Eglin Air Force Base even though training was expected to resume Wednesday. This comes after a plane caught on fire during takeoff Monday. While flights are suspended, the Marines still plan to send the F-35B to the UK for the Royal International Air Tatoo and the Farnborough Airshow. F-35B flights have been suspended as well, according to Captain Richard Ulsh. A spokesperson for the Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command, said a safety investigation team is now looking into the incident, noting that it is still too early for any prediction on whether specific inspections will be required. (Image Credit: USN)
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26 June 2014
Recent FAA Memo on UAV Use Would Ban Deliveries

Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonThe FAA memo released earlier this week, titled “Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft,” said that UAVs cannot be used for commercial deliveries “until further notice” and that “any operation not conducted strictly for hobby or recreation purposes could not be operated under the special rule for model aircraft.” The memo goes on to state that commercial operations would not be considered hobby or recreation flights, and that likewise, “flights that are in furtherance of a business, or incidental to a person’s business, would not be a hobby or recreation flight.” Ryan Calo at the University of Washington School of Law predicted that concerns over the safe use of UAVs likely will not decrease until operations become more autonomous than they are now. (Image Credit: YouTube/Amazon)
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25 June 2014
NTSB Cites Over-Reliance on Automated Systems in Asiana Crash

Asiana_Crash_WikiCovering the NTSB’s hearing yesterday on the deadly crash of Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco, news sources cited comments made by NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart, who was quoted in several reports as stating that “the flight crew over-relied on automated systems without fully understanding how they interacted.” The NTSB determined that the Asiana pilots had given too much control to the Boeing 777’s autopilot functions, and recommended better pilot training. In the wake of the 6 July 2013 crash, the NTSB started focusing its probe on pilot error, saying that the plane was flying far too slowly to reach the runway when the crash occurred. NTSB Investigator Roger Cox said that the pilot flying the Asiana plane was experienced, but lacked certain critical skills for guiding the aircraft. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/NTSB)
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25 June 2014
ICAO Official: Airliner Tracking Not So Hard

tracking-Boeing-777-200ERIn a world of few easy solutions, a senior official from the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization said there’s a straightforward answer to the question of how to track aircraft as they cross the world’s oceans. Most airliners – including the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared in March – are equipped with ACARS – the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System – a set of electronics that can transmit tracking information and engine health reports to airlines via geosynchronous satellites.

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24 June 2014
SpaceX Launch Postponed Until Early July

SpaceX_Falcon9_onLaunchPad_WikiFollowing the launch scrub over the weekend, SpaceX has decided to delay the launch of six Orbcomm communications satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket until early July in order to properly investigate an unidentified ‘potential issue’ discovered Sunday during pre-flight checks. The Air Force already planned to shut down the Eastern Range this week for scheduled maintenance, so the delay allows SpaceX and Air Force teams to work on their separate tasks. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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24 June 2014
Antares Launch Delayed Until 10 July

Antares_Awaits_Launch_NASAThe next launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo capsule from the Wallops Flight Facility to the ISS has been pushed back to at least 10 July. Orbital is scheduled to test the rocket’s AJ26 engine to see if it has the same issue as another engine that previously failed during testing at the Stennis Space Center. The launch date will be solidified based on those tests. All other elements of the mission are reportedly ready to go. (Image Credit: NASA)
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24 June 2014
Air Force F-35 Catches Fire During Takeoff

F-35 USNAn Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighter caught fire during takeoff on Monday Eglin Air Force Base. The pilot was able to exit the cockpit unharmed. Officials are now looking into the cause of the fire. This is the second recent major incident involving an F-35. Last month, flights were halted for a time to deal with an oil flow management valve fitting inside the engine. The F-35 is scheduled to be flown soon to the UK to make its international debut, but it is unclear whether the recent incident will delay those plans. Furthermore, it is not certain yet whether all F-35s will have to be inspected to make sure they do not catch fire in a similar fashion. (Image Credit: USN)
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23 June 2014
UAVs to be Banned In All National Parks for Now

MicroDroneThe National Park Service (NPS) plans to ban drones from 84 million acres of public lands and waterways, including all 401 national parks, citing expectations that unmanned aircraft would cause disruptions to visitors and wildlife, and threaten safety. NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis signed a policy memorandum Friday directing all national park superintendents to write rules barring the launching, landing, or operation of drones, joining a few parks where prohibitions are already in place. The NPS has been working with the FAA, although the parks service’s action is separate from the FAA’s ban on the commercial operation of drones. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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23 June 2014
FAA Approves UAS Testing for Texas A&M Corpus Christi

PumaAEUAV_wikiThe FAA gave its approval to Texas A&M University Corpus Christi to use unmanned aerial systems to collect data that will be used to create safety rules nationwide. University researchers will conduct flights from 11 ranges in Texas that offer access to a wide range of geography and climate.” The school was one of six UAS test sites selected in the country. The university is using data collected from the UAS flights to observe changes in coastal habitats and the shoreline, but the FAA will also examine the data to help determine how to regulate unmanned commercial and civilian aircraft. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
 



23 June 2014
SpaceX Scrubs ORBCOMM Launch Multiple Times Over Weekend

SpaceXFalcon9_NASASpaceX scrubbed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket with its payload of ORBCOMM satellites because of something found during pre-flight checks. The launch was also scrubbed Friday and Saturday, and now may take place on Tuesday. On Saturday, the company had no Webcast, and no online updates or tweets, so observers had little real-time information. It is considered rare for a company to decide not to broadcast a launch to the media or public like SpaceX did on Saturday. SpaceX claimed this was because launches are now too routine and that the full webcast is no longer appropriate. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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19 June 2014
‘Tough decisions’ ahead for NextGen

MajGen_EdBolton-USAFRet_19Jun2014Budget cuts to the FAA’s NextGen air traffic management modernization program over the past few years are beginning to take a toll, and in response FAA officials are seeking to protect core NextGen projects, a senior FAA official said Thursday. One of those core projects is FAA’s effort to ensure communications compatibility with whatever system Europe chooses to deploy after completing research under the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research project, or SESAR. (Image Credit: AIAA)
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19 June 2014
Partnering with Governments for UAS Success

Creating_Successful_commercial_UAS_Business_Panel_18Jun14The message from the Wednesday afternoon panel, “Creating a Successful Commercial UAS Business Environment: Challenges and Opportunities,” is that if unmanned aerial systems – UAS – are to thrive in the U.S., the federal government, state governments, and the private sector will have to work together to achieve that goal. As the industry faces a host of issues from airspace integration to privacy law to emerging technologies and safety questions, no one entity can go it alone. (Image Credit; AIAA)
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19 June 2014
Bolden Calls Orion Flight “Most Significant Human Spaceflight Milestone” of 2014

ORION_Wiki-NASAOn Wednesday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was at the Kennedy Space Center speaking about the Orion capsule, which is scheduled to make its first test flight aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in under six months from now. During the test, Orion is scheduled to go 15 times further away than the International Space Station before returning to Earth. Bolden said, “It’s possibly the most significant human spaceflight milestone this year.” It is expected to take at least seven years before astronauts fly in the spacecraft. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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18 June 2014
Collective Effort Needed to Tackle Aviation's Challenges

Axel_Krein_LittlewoodLectureThe issues and challenges facing today’s aviation industry can’t be solved “just by one company, by one country,” said Axel Krein, senior vice president, research and technology, Airbus, during Tuesday evening’s William Littlewood Memorial Lecture. They can “be solved only together,” he said, adding that this week’s AIAA 2014 Aviation Forum and Exposition is an excellent opportunity to bring industry members together for the purpose of “exchanging and defining solutions for tomorrow.” (Image Credit: AIAA)
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18 June 2014
FAA: New Tech, Fuels Necessary for Cleaner Future

Carl_Burelson_18Jun14The navigation improvements being rolled out under the FAA’s NextGen initiative won’t by themselves bring the industry in line with the ambitious carbon reduction goals for aviation laid out in a 2012 policy statement, the FAA’s Carl Burleson told an audience at AVIATION 2014 Wednesday. Burleson said improvements in engine technology and alternative fuels will also be needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2005 levels by 2020, and “then reduce them thereafter, all while allowing the system to grow.” (Image Credit: AIAA)
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17 June 2014
Aviation Inudstry Vital to U.S. Economy

Aviation Challenges PanelThe importance of the aviation industry, not only to the state of Georgia but also to the U.S. economy, was the focus of a Monday morning panel discussion at AIAA’s AVIATION Forum, taking place this week in Atlanta, Ga. The panel, called “Aviation’s Challenges & Opportunities – Georgia’s Global Perspectives,” included three industry representatives: moderator Steven Justice, director, Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace; Jack Crisler, vice president – new business, air mobility, special operations, and maritime requirements, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics; and Steve Dickson, senior vice president, flight operations, Delta Air Lines. The panel looked at aviation from two perspectives, operational and manufacturing. (Image Credit: AIAA)
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16 June 2014
UAV Enthusiasts Want FAA to Ease Strict Rules

Drone_WikiUAV enthusiasts are eager for the federal government to come up with some common-sense rules that can keep pace with the rapidly evolving technology. But, the FAA remains strict on its current guidelines. A spokesman for the FAA said one of its major qualms with personal UAVs is that “they could potentially interfere with an already crowded airspace if not properly regulated.” Personal UAVs currently may be purchased and legally operated only for hobby or recreational purposes, while all potential commercial operations must have a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and approval from the FAA. Reports from the Department of Transportation and the Government Accountability Office said the FAA is behind schedule to open up the airspace for drone or Unmanned Aerial Systems use in the U.S. Although Congress mandated a 2015 deadline back in 2012, of the 17 UAS initiatives the FAA laid out in its timeline, DOT found that only eight were completed and not a single one on time. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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13 June 2014
Airbus Considers Reengining A330, A380

AirbusA380_wikiFabrice Bregier, chief executive of the plane making unit of Airbus Group, said that Airbus will decide by the end of the year whether to place a new engine on the A330. He said the company has been studying the situation, which involves similar discussions with engine makers about whether the project could support multiple engine types. The company is also considering reengining the A380, as well as what strategy to take once the A350 enters service in December as expected. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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12 June 2014
Weather Delays LDSD Again

LDSD_NASANASA’s Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) test over Hawaii, which could eventually lead to ways to land larger and heavier payloads on Mars, was delayed again on Wednesday, with the next attempt now expected to take place on 14 June. Weather, which has delayed the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) test several times already, was cited as the reason once again. NASA believes a new design is needed because the same parachutes have been in use for several decades now. In order to eventually land a human on the surface of Mars, NASA realized that it needs to develop new technologies. (Image Credit: NASA)
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11 June 2014
FAA Approves Commercial Use of UAV Over Land for First Time

PumaAEUAV_wikiFor the first time, the FAA is allowing a commercial UAV to be flown over land. BP and AeroVironment are using a Puma AE UAV to survey Alaskan oil fields in order to target maintenance activities. The first flight took place on Sunday. The Puma AE, which takes off after being thrown into the air, was originally designed to give troops on the ground a bird's-eye view of what's happening over unseen terrain. While this is a commercial venture, because the UAV has already been approved for military use, the news is not considered a big step forward for the variety of commercial purposes many industry officials want. The FAA did say that military use of the UAV did help it gain approval for commercial use. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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11 June 2014
Astronauts Safe After Detecting Small Amounts of Smoke at ISS

ISS-NASAISS astronauts are safe after they noticed a small amount of smoke originating from the Zvezda Service Module yesterday afternoon. After an emergency procedure was executed, the situation was reportedly resolved quickly. ISS Commander Steve Swanson told Mission Control, “We believe it’s under control at this time.” Engineers are now investigating whether any next steps have to be taken. (Image Credit: NASA)
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11 June 2014
CSeries Ground Tests Resume

Bombardier_CSeries_WikipediaBombardier said that it has added new control measures to its CSeries plane, allowing it to resume ground testing. However, the plane will no longer be at the Farnborough Airshow because Bombardier does not want to lose additional time from the already delayed flight-test program. Bombardier still has not explained what caused the engine failure that led to the disruption in testing. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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10 June 2014
Nevada Cleared to Begin UAS Tests

Predator_Defense.govThe FAA has approved the opening of its third of six Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) testing sites at Desert Rock Airport in Nevada, which is owned by the Department of Energy. The first tests will involve an Insitu ScanEagle this summer. The ScanEagle will help test whether UAS can fly safely at an airport. The FAA is making a concentrated effort to bring the vehicles into the national airspace despite criticisms that it is not proceeding fast enough. The opening of the Nevada location follows the FAA's recent announcement that it will consider allowing the use of small UAS for filming movies and television shows. (Image Credit: defense.gov)
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10 June 2014
Orbital Postpones Next Launch Until at Least 1 July

Orbital_Antares_Launchpad_NASAOrbital Sciences Corporation has postponed the launch of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS until at least 1 July due to the failure of an engine during routine testing. Orbital says it is delaying the mission until engineers are able to determine why the engine failed. Orbital’s last cargo delivery to the ISS took place in January. Orbital is expected to deliver a total of 44,000 pounds of cargo during several missions to the space station through late 2016. (Image Credit: NASA)
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9 June 2014
OPALS Experiment Beams Down “Hello World” Message

NASALaserLast Thursday, NASA successfully beamed a high-definition video 260 miles from the International Space Station to Earth using a new laser communications instrument. Transmission of "Hello, World!" as a video message was the first communication for the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), a technology demonstration that allows NASA to test methods for communication with future spacecraft. ISS astronaut Reid Wiseman made a pioneering small step in social media by sending the first Vine video from the ISS on Friday. Wiseman wrote, “1st Vine from space! Single Earth orbit. Sun never sets flying parallel w/terminator line.” At the time, the video had already been retweeted over 2,500 times. If researchers can make laser communications feasible in space, it may revolutionize deep space communications. (Image Credit: NASA)
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9 June 2014
FAA Orders Boeing to Bolster 737s Against Potential Hacking

SWAirlines_Boeing737The FAA published an order in the Federal Register requiring Boeing, effective immediately, to modify the technology aboard most 737 jetliners built in the past 20 years so that they’re less prone to being damaged by computer hackers. The agency, through its certification-services manager, Jeffrey Duven, called on Boeing to “ensure that the airplanes’ electronic systems are protected from access by unauthorized sources external to the plane, including those possibly caused by maintenance activity.” The FAA said it is trying to avoid causing any delay in the design or delivery of new planes. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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9 June 2014
Bombardier Explains CSeries Engine Failure

Bombardier_CSeries_WikipediaBombardier downplayed the impact of an engine failure during a test on a CSeries test plane last week. The company explained that the failure occurred in the engine’s low-pressure turbine, and that the jet’s airframe was damaged during the test. Pratt & Whitney, the manufacturer of the engine, said that it has been disassembled and that they are working with Bombardier to continue testing. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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6 June 2014
Orion’s Heat Shield Now Installed

OrionAndHeatShieldNASA and Lockheed Martin engineers have installed the heat shield on the Orion capsule, which will make its debut test flight later this year. Mark Geyer, Orion program manager at the Johnson Space Center, said in a statement, “It is extremely exciting to see the heat shield in place, ready to do its job. ... The heat shield is such a critical piece, not just for this mission, but for our plans to send humans into deep space.” Now that this work is complete, Orion will be shipped to the Kennedy Space Center for its launch, now scheduled for December. (Image Credit: NASA)
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5 June 2014
Report Finds NASA Should Focus On Mars Mission, But Needs More Funds

MarsMission_JPLNASAThe National Research Council (NRC) released a report, co-chaired by Cornell University astronomer Jonathan Lunine and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, saying that NASA needs to focus on sending astronauts to Mars, but will not be able to do so by the 2030s unless it is given a greater budget because the current path is going nowhere. Under current projections, the report found “no viable pathways to Mars,” including the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which will result in “dead end technologies not needed for Mars.” Instead, a unified human exploration strategy is recommended that would involve international partners like the ISS partners and China. The report comes while there is political fighting over where NASA should go next and debate over whether the Space Launch System is needed and worth the money. (Image Credit: NASA-JPL)
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5 June 2014
NASA Delays Launch of Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator

LDSD_NASAThe launch of NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii will be delayed and will not be taking place today as was initially scheduled. The launch needs to wait for a time when the winds are blowing out to sea, so that it splashes down safely into the Pacific Ocean at the end of its high-altitude test. This test launch will serve as an opportunity to see how a new kind of atmospheric braking system performs under conditions similar to those faced during entry, descent and landing on Mars. (Image Credit: NASA)
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4 June 2014
FBI Expands Program Offering Reward for Information on “Lasing” Suspects

LaserInCockpit_FBIgovAn FBI campaign unveiled on Tuesday will display public safety messages during movie previews, offering rewards of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest of anyone who shines laser lights at airplanes. The program builds on a similar pilot program launched in a dozen cities in February. Now, the FBI’s 56 field offices are offering the same rewards for the next 90 days. The latest known incident of “lasing” occurred on 23 May, when a pilot for Shuttle American said that someone flashed a laser at his aircraft as it approached LaGuardia Airport. Since the FBI began tracking lasing incidents in 2005, there has been a 1,000 percent increase in recorded occurrences. The FBI reported a 19 percent drop in incidents since the pilot program was launched in February. (Image Credit: FBI.gov)
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4 June 2014
BoldlyGo to Propose Private Space Science Missions

MarsSuface_WikiAt the 224th American Astronomical Society meeting, the new non-profit BoldlyGo is expected to announce a project to send a robotic mission to Mars and return samples to Earth, as well as a new space telescope mission for the post-Hubble era. The group has an experienced board of directors, including Jon Morse, former director of Astrophysics at NASA, Laurie Leshin, former deputy associate administrator of Exploration Systems at NASA headquarters as well as a member of the Curiosity rover team, and AIAA Fellow Steven Battel, president of Battel Engineering, among others. Morse said he founded the group because of flat budgets at NASA, so there is a place for private space science programs to bring "transformative" discoveries. It is anticipated that BoldlyGo will develop discovery or probe class exploration missions, beyond the price-range of research organizations and universities. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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3 June 2014
FAA Considers Allowing Film Companies to Use UAVs

Mini_UAV_WikiThe FAA is considering granting exemptions to seven movie and television filming companies to allow them to use UAVs for their work if they can demonstrate their use won’t harm safety, and would be in the public interest. There is currently a lot of pressure on the FAA to allow more commercial uses of UAVs even as it works on the rules to allow them into the national airspace. Furthermore, despite the current ban on their commercial use, UAVs are being used to film motion pictures like the recent movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Despite the statement from the FAA, there is currently no “firm schedule” on when the permission will be granted, if at all. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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3 June 2014
Solar Impulse 2 Makes First Flight Over Switzerland

SolarImpulseSolar Impulse 2 has made its first flight, flying for two hours and 17 minutes over Switzerland on Monday. Solar Impluse 2 is a bigger and improved version of the solar-powered plane that first flew five years ago. After several more flights, team founders Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg hope to take the plane on a round-the-world flight in 2015. The pair claim that Solar Impulse 2 should potentially be able to stay in the air indefinitely. (Image: Solar Impulse 1. Credit: Wikipedia)
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3 June 2014
Lockheed Chosen to Construct Space Fence

USAF_Surveillance_System_wikiLockheed Martin has been chosen by the U.S. Air Force to develop the Space Fence, which will detect smaller orbital debris than currently done under an Air Force system installed in 1961. This system was deemed a priority because space debris endangers the ISS and other satellites. Once constructed, the Space Fence should be able to detect debris as small as the size of a baseball, as compared to the current system that detects items the size of a basketball. Some of the junk now in space includes old satellites, rocket boosters and even a tool bag that drifted away from an astronaut at the space station. (Image: Part of the Air Force Space Surveillance System, aka Space Fence. Credit: Wikipedia / PD-USGOV-MILITARY-NAVY)
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2 June 2014
CSeries Testing Halted Following Engine Incident

Bombardier_CSeries_WikipediaBombardier halted the CSeries test flight program on Friday because of an engine-related incident during maintenance testing on Thursday. How this might impact the plane’s already-delayed certification is not known. Because the incident involved a Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engine, other companies like Airbus, Embraer, and Mitsubishi Aircraft could be affected as well because they are also utilizing the engine in their models. A failure analysis on the engine was scheduled to begin yesterday in order to determine what happened. There is currently no information on whether this is potentially a simple production issue or a more complex design issue. (Image Credit: Wikipedia / Yan Gouger)
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2 June 2014
Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator Set for Test

LDSD_NASAOn Tuesday, NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will fly a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into space from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The test is designed to investigate breakthrough technologies to benefit future Mars missions. Engineers are being cautious about the chances for success for the flight, which will involve sending the supersonic parachute high into the atmosphere at speeds of four times the speed of sound to simulate what could happen on Mars. To reach the desired altitude of 120,000 feet, the LDSD project will use a helium-filled scientific balloon. Once at supersonic speeds, the deployment and function of the inflatable decelerators will be tested to slow the test article to a speed where it becomes safe to deploy a supersonic parachute. NASA has identified six potential launch dates for the balloon carrying LDSD: 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 14 June. (Image Credit: NASA)
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30 May 2014
SpaceX Unveils Manned Version of Dragon Spacecraft

Dragon_Manned_Version_SpaceXSpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Dragon V2 Thursday evening, the manned version of the cargo spacecraft already making deliveries to the ISS. Musk touted the fact that it should be able to be relaunched relatively frequently because it has the “accuracy of a helicopter” when landing, thus revolutionizing access to space. John Logsdon, professor emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, said that SpaceX and Boeing are now more or less neck and neck in their competition to develop a spacecraft for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, but both have more work to do. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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30 May 2014
Virgin Galactic, FAA Sign Agreement On Integrating Launches Into National Airspace

SpaceportAmerica_VirginVirgin Galactic, Spaceport America, and the FAA have finalized an agreement on how Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo launches will be integrated into the National Airspace System once they begin. While a step closer to that start-date, it still is unclear when exactly that would be. New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Christine Anderson said that this is the first agreement of its kind because it involves both a space and air system. The agreement was needed before the FAA could grant commercial licensing for the launches. (Image: Spaceport America. Credit: Virgin Galactic)
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29 May 2014
New Crew Arrives at ISS

Expedition40_NASAA Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, cosmonaut Max Surayev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst successfully launched and arrived at the ISS on Wednesday after traveling for six hours. Hatches between the Soyuz and the ISS opened at 11:52 p.m. EDT, bringing the station’s crew back to six. Expedition 40 will focus on a variety of research projects including human research, biology and biotechnology, Earth and space science, physical science investigations, technology demonstrations and educational activities.  Two Russian and three U.S. spacewalks also are planned. When Swanson, Skvortsov and Artemyev return to Earth on 10 Sept., it will mark the end of Expedition 40 and the start of Expedition 41 under the command of Suraev. (Image Credit: NASA)
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29 May 2014
Boeing 787 Cleared for Transoceanic Flights

Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe FAA has cleared the Boeing 787 to make transoceanic trips up to 5 1/2 hours away from the nearest emergency landing site. This puts the FAA in opposition to the NTSB, which is still looking into the plane’s 2013 battery fire and has criticized the FAA for its certification practices. The Boeing 787 and 777 are currently the only twin-engine planes with this type of approval, although Airbus wants the A350 to have it as well. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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29 May 2014
Next Orbital Launch Delayed Until 17 June Pending Engine Failure Investigation

RD-180_AtlasVOrbital Sciences has delayed its next cargo launch to the ISS by one week to no earlier than 17 June in order to determine the cause of a recent Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 engine test failure at the Stennis Space Center. This date could change depending on the results of the Aerojet and Orbital investigation. (Image Credit: Wikipedia / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
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28 May 2014
New Crew Launching to ISS Today

Soyuz_at_launchpad_May2014_NASANASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, cosmonaut Maxim Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst are set to launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:57 p.m. EDT today. They are expected to arrive less than six hours later, at 9:48 p.m. Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov, who have been at the ISS since 27 March, will welcome the new crew aboard when the hatches open at 11:25 p.m. NASA TV coverage of the launch begins at 3 p.m. EDT Wednesday. (Image Credit: NASA)
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28 May 2014
SLS, Orion May Open “New Era Of Space Exploration”

SLS_artistsConcept_NASAThe Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft are generating a lot of excitement in the space community as they push forward in their development toward their first joint manned mission in 2021. The systems could open a “new era of space exploration.” Both also have recently passed important tests, remaining on schedule, although more testing remains. In a recent article for Space Review, Editor Jeff Foust summarized recent developments with Orion and SLS, noting that both are “polarizing” projects in the space community. Despite concerns from the GAO and others about total costs, companies are now aiming at near-term milestones like Orion’s first test flight later this year and the SLS’ critical design review, which starts in June. (Image Credit: NASA)
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27 May 2014
New Station Crew to Launch Wednesday

Soyuz_ReadyToLaunch_May2014_NASAOn Wednesday, 28 May, three new crew members will lift off to join the three orbiting residents already at the International Space station. Soyuz Commander and cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst are set to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft at 3:57 p.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. At the station, Commander Steve Swanson and Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev are also getting ready to receive the new trio on Wednesday. (Image Credit: NASA)
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27 May 2014
Pratt & Whitney Official Believes “Miracles” Needed for Electric Planes to be Viable

EACprototypeElectraFlyer-XAlan Epstein, Pratt & Whitney’s vice president of Technology and Environment, says in a recent Flight Global article that there needs to be revolutionary leaps in electronic aircraft technology before it could be used in commercial or military aircraft. He believes there would have to be three “miracles” in battery developments, which are currently “two-and-a-half too [many] for an industrial organisation and one-and-a-half [too many] for most companies.” Despite these roadblocks, he does believe Pratt & Whitney’s parent company United Technologies will lead development when the technology has advanced enough. (Image: Prototype ElectraFlyer-X. Credit: Wikipedia / Electric Aircraft Corporation)
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23 May 2014
NTSB Issues Recommendations for Lithium-Ion Battery Tests, Certification

Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe NTSB said that tests on lithium-ion batteries for 787 planes were inadequate, and has recommended new tests to determine whether batteries with new chemistries are safe for use on airliners. Boeing said in response that the tests the company conducted after the battery system was redesigned were consistent with the NTSB’s recommendations issued on Thursday. Late Thursday, the NTSB issued a statement that “as provided to us by Boeing,” the description of tests on the redesigned battery was “consistent with the N.T.S.B. recommendations.” The NTSB’s report indicates that the FAA relied too much on Boeing for technical expertise, and criticizes the process used by the FAA to certify the new jet in 2007. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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23 May 2014
Popular Science Publishes Weekly UAV News Roundup

WhiteSandsNationalMonumentPopular Science provided a round-up of UAV-related news from the past week. A video on YouTube shows a UAV flying over rural parts of New Mexico, including the Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, and the White Sands National Monument. Additionally, the proposed amendments to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act would limit how drones are used in war. The Archdiocese of Washington has also revealed it used a UAV to fly above the processions in Washington, DC on Mother’s Day, which challenges the FAA restriction of unmanned aircraft flying near Reagan National Airport. (Image: White Sands National Monument. Credit: YouTube / The-flying-eye.com)
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22 May 2014
ULA Atlas V Launches NRO Payload

AtlasVLaunch_WikiA United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this morning at 9:09 a.m. EDT, carrying a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) military payload. Many of the details surrounding Thursday’s launch, such as the type of satellite being deployed, are classified. The rocket is believed to have headed East after liftoff, flying over the Atlantic, which could suggest that the Atlas will be targeting a geosynchronous transfer orbit, the only low-inclination orbit generally used for NRO payloads of this size. AIAA congratulates ULA, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/NASA/Kim Shiflett)
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22 May 2014
Commission Recommends Work Begin On New Engine Program

RD-180_AtlasVBased on a summary briefing of a yet-to-be-released report, a commission led by Air Force Maj Gen (ret.) Howard Mitchell, along with former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin as deputy chair, recommends that the U.S. begin work as soon as possible on a new liquid oxygen (LOx)/hydrocarbon engine program to mitigate the effects if Russia decides to ban the sale of RD-180 engines to the U.S. The group found that, if in a worst-case scenario the Atlas V rocket was retired because of a lack of engines, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and ULA’s Delta IV would not be able to immediately pick up the launch slack. SpaceX, in particular, could only accommodate a small number of the satellites. Therefore, a joint NASA/Air Force engine program would provide options in the future, including an alternative to the Delta IV. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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21 May 2014
SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Reset for 11 June

SpaceX_Falcon9_onLaunchPad_WikiThe SpaceX launch of commercial satellites, originally scheduled for 10 May, is now targeted for 11 June from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX delayed the planned 10 May launch when the company discovered unspecified issues the day before, while fueling the Falcon 9 for a test-firing of its engines. The static fire test is expected to be take place again two or three days before the new launch date. The Falcon 9 will attempt to place six satellites in low Earth orbit for Orbcomm Inc. The mission is the first of two planned for this year to deploy 17 Orbcomm Generation 2 spacecraft. (Image Credit: Wikipedia / Ken Thornsley, NASA)
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20 May 2014
Bolden: No One Nation Can End ISS

ISS-NASAFollowing Russia’s threat to pull out of the ISS program in 2020, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told reporters at Berlin’s annual airshow that the ISS could continue to function. Bolden said, “There is no single partner that can terminate the international space station.” Bolden also added that despite the tensions on Earth, the relationship between the U.S. and Russian space programs has not changed “one iota.” As for whether or not NASA could work with China in the future, Bolden said, “There is nothing that I see in the tea leaves that says our relationship is going to change.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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20 May 2014
Orion Test Flight Could be Accelerated to September

Orion in Orbit - NASANASA Administrator Charles Bolden, in an interview with the publication SEN, said that the first flight of the Orion capsule, now set for December, could be moved up to September. This was the original launch timeframe, but it was pushed back to make room for other launches. Bolden reportedly said that all options are still on the table, adding that the vehicle will be ready to fly in September no matter when the final launch date is. (Image Credit: NASA)
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19 May 2014
Dragon Capsule Returns to Earth With ISS Science

Dragon_Lands_in_Pacific_NASAOn Sunday, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft landed in the Pacific Ocean, off Mexico's Baja California coast, just five hours after leaving the ISS with two tons of equipment. Splash down occurred at 3:05 p.m. EDT. This was the fourth such spacecraft to make the return trip. Part of the returning cargo included scientific experiments. The Dragon will now be taken to SpaceX’s McGregor facility while all experiments will be delivered to NASA. The SpaceX Dragon is currently the only supply ship capable of returning items to Earth. All others burn up on re-entry. AIAA congratulates SpaceX, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful completion of its SpaceX-3 mission. (Image Credit: NASA)
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19 May 2014
Delta IV Successfully Launches New GPS Spacecraft

DeltaIVLaunch_WikiA United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket successfully launched on Friday with its Global Positioning System (GPS) payload. The launch, which took place at 8:03 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, had been delayed one day due to the weather. This was the sixth in a series of 12 new-generation GPS spacecraft that will help ensure the system stays online. With over 30 of the spacecraft now in orbit, the GPS constellation needs at least 24 satellites for global service, but many are getting older. Two more GPS launches are planned this year, with all 12 expected in orbit by 2016. AIAA congratulates ULA, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: Wikipedia / U.S. Air Force)
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16 May 2014
House Members Ask Bolden How ISS Could Function Without Russia

ISS-NASAIn a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, members of the House Science Committee asked how NASA could maintain the ISS without Russia if it follows through with its threat of pulling out of the program after 2020. They wrote, “Our international space partnerships, including our partnership with Russia, have historically endured political division. But Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin’s statements raise serious concerns about the strength of those partnerships. As we move forward, it is important that we fully understand our nation’s independent capabilities with regard to ISS operations.” The letter also follows concerns raised by Sen. Bill Nelson on the Senate floor about what will happen if Russia does withhold its RD-180 engines that American rockets currently use. (Image Credit: NASA)
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16 May 2014
GPS Satellite Launch Delayed One Day Due to Weather

ULA_DeltaIV_Prepares_to_LaunchUnited Launch Alliance postponed Thursday’s planned launch of a Delta IV rocket with its Global Positioning System satellite payload by one day due to poor weather conditions. The weather forecasts for Friday evening are much better, with a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions. The 19-minute launch window opens at 8:03 p.m. (Image Credit: Wikipedia / NRO)

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16 May 2014
SpaceX-3 Mission to Return Space Station Science

DragonAtISS_NASAWith the splashdown of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on 18 May, the company’s third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station will officially conclude, but it is also expected to serve as a high point for the scientists who have investigations returning to Earth. Dragon will carry more than 1,600 pounds of scientific supplies, including samples from biology, biotechnology and physical science investigations, as well as human research. (Image Credit: NASA)
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14 May 2014
Russia Threatens to Pull Out of ISS Partnership, Halt Engine Sale

ISS-NASACooperation in space between the U.S. and Russia could be in jeopardy, according to a report issued yesterday that says Russia will no longer send astronauts to the ISS after 2020. Just ahead of the return of three astronauts, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin issued Russia’s intent to leave the partnership, saying the U.S. is an “unreliable partner” for “politicizing everything.” He added Russia’s segment “can exist independently of the American one, but the American segment cannot exist on its own without the Russian one.” Rogozin also said that Russia will not sell the U.S. any Russian RD-180 engines unless they are used only for non-military launches. United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket currently uses those engines. So far, NASA is downplaying Rogozin’s statement, reportedly saying that so far NASA has not received any word of Russia’s intentions. (Image Credit: NASA)
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14 May 2014
Potential Storms Could Delay Thursday’s Delta IV Launch

ULA_DeltaIV_Prepares_to_LaunchPossible thunderstorms and lightning could delay a scheduled Delta IV rocket launch Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The United Launch Alliance rocket is targeting an 8:08 p.m. liftoff from Launch Complex 37. The Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron forecasts a 30 percent chance of favorable launch conditions. If the mission is delayed, the next launch window will be on Friday, when weather forecasts improve to 80% “go.” The Delta IV contains the sixth of 12 satellites updating the Air Force’s Global Positioning System constellation. (Image Credit: Wikipedia / NRO)
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14 May 2014
Sikorsky to Develop Autonomous Black Hawk

Sikorsky_UH-60_wikipediaSikorsky announced it will demonstrate a fully autonomous version of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter after having already shown a version operated remotely by a pilot on the ground. The company has acquired a UH-60A to serve as a proof-of-concept demonstrator that a Black Hawk can take-off, fly and land under control of onboard computers and a newly-installed fly-by-wire flight control system. The company is in the process of selecting partners to develop the autonomous version of the Black Hawk. (Image Credit: Wikipedia / Defenseimagery.mil)
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13 May 2014
Inmarsat Offers Tracking Services for Commercial Flights

Inmarsat_TrackingInmarsat, a UK-based provider of global mobile satellite communications services, will offer free basic tracking services for planes flying over oceans in the hope of preventing another incident such as the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The service will be offered to all 11,000 commercial passenger aircraft already equipped with an Inmarsat satellite connection, which include most of the world’s long-haul commercial fleet. Inmarsat said it would also offer both an enhanced position reporting facility and a 'black box in the cloud' service that would stream flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder information when a plane deviates from its course. However, these services would not be free. (Image Credit: engadget.com)
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13 May 2014
Lockheed Announces Upgrades to Desert Hawk UAV

DesertHawkUAV_LMCLockheed Martin completed a series of upgrades for its Desert Hawk UAV, increasing endurance while also preparing it for the integration of additional capabilities. The addition of a new all environment smart battery will boost the UAV’s endurance to 2.5 hours. Lockheed also added a new propulsion system with three to four times more thrust and made changes to Desert Hawk’s fuselage and nose. Those improvements allow Desert Hawk to perform deep stall landings, which reduce the space required. (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)
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12 May 2014
UAV, U.S. Airways Jet Nearly Collided In March

USAirwaysJet_wikiA recent release by the FAA said that a UAV and a U.S. Airways regional jet almost collided on 22 March. The report quoted the jet’s pilot as saying the unmanned model aircraft was heading straight for him. The aircraft, Flight 4650 arriving from Charlotte, North Carolina, was in its landing approach over Tallahassee when the incident occurred. The drone was described as a small, camouflaged F-4 fixed wing aircraft. The disclosure was made by Jim Williams, head of the FAA’s Unmanned-Aircraft Office, at a conference on drones Thursday in San Francisco. The FAA is investigating the incident, which caused no damage. (Image Credi: Wikipedia)
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12 May 2014
Sikorsky Unveils King Stallion Helicopter

Sikorsky_King_Stallion_Hellicopter_MCTimesLast week, Sikorsky unveiled the King Stallion, the third evolution of its Stallion helicopter. This version is similar to the Super Stallion, the company’s helicopter that entered service in 1981 and has served in both Iraq wars. Although they appear similar, the King is much stronger than the Super—able to carry 27,000 pounds, or almost three times as much cargo. (Image Credit: Marine Corps Times)
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12 May 2014
Falcon 7X Sets New Speed Record Between London and New York

Dassault_Falcon_7X_wikiOn 2 May, the Dassault Falcon 7X set a new speed record for flying between New York and London. There are currently 218 Falcon 7Xs in service, with the 7X being the only aircraft that can fly non-stop from London City Airport to New York. The 2 May flight set a new speed record of 5 hours and 54 minutes between New York’s Teterboro Airport and London City Airport. (Image Credit: Wikipedia, Dmitry A. Mottl)
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12 May 2014
SpaceX’s Orbcomm Launch Delayed

Falcon9_CapeCanaveralSpaceX has delayed the launch of six Orbcomm satellites for a couple of weeks. No new launch date has been set, but Orbcomm CEO Marc Eisenberg had said that if the launch did not take place over the past weekend, it likely would not launch until 26 May. The delay came after problems arose during a test on Friday. SpaceX did not specify what those issues were. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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9 May 2014
Injunction Against Rocket Engine Purchase Lifted

RD-180_AtlasVAccording to United Launch Alliance (ULA), after a hearing Thursday with ULA and the Justice Department, Federal Claims Court Judge Susan Braden decided to lift the injunction preventing the company from buying more engines from NPO Energomash. It is anticipated that SpaceX will continue its dispute with ULA and the government over satellite launches. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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9 May 2014
Good Weather Forecast for Planned Saturday Launch of Falcon 9

Falcon9_CapeCanaveralSo far there is a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday. The launch, planned for 9:47 a.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is the first of two that SpaceX will conduct for Orbcomm this year. There was supposed to be a test-firing of the rocket’s engines on Thursday, but the test was delayed until today because of unspecified issues. So far, this has not changed the scheduled launch date. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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8 May 2014
HDEV Camera Experiment Providing Views of Earth from ISS

Earth_NASA_HDEV_CameraA new, high-definition, live-stream video showing Earth in real-time might potentially be the beginning of the world’s largest reality show. NASA said that the cameras taking the videos are in a pressurized box filled with dry nitrogen at atmospheric pressure to protect them from the elements of space. The views from the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment make it easier to imagine what it might be like to be an astronaut. NASA hopes to learn how cameras function in the extreme radioactive environment of low-earth orbit. Meanwhile, Bruce Kasanoff at Forbes praised the feed, saying no one should miss the view, even recommending the purchase of larger TV screens to get better views. (Image Credit: NASA)
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8 May 2014
Easyjet Developing UAVs to Inspect Aircraft

EasyJetUAVInspector_EasyJetEasyjet will begin developing UAVs that it will use to scan and assess its fleet of Airbus aircraft, reporting damage back to engineers. They may also introduce flying maintenance robots as early as next year. The UAVs are being developed by a team that includes experts from the University of Bristol, with tests expected in coming months. The UAVs can be remotely controlled, but Easyjet wants UAVs with automated laser scans. (Image Credit: EasyJet)
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7 May 2014
Quadriplegic Drives Racecar Using Aerospace Technology

Sam_SchmidtFormer Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt refused to let a disabling crash end his love affair with auto racing. Now the quadriplegic motorsports business owner is back in the driver’s seat with the help of aerospace engineers and scientists.

On Tuesday, May 6, Schmidt demonstrated an experimental system that allows him to control a car with head movements. He drove a modified 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray on a closed runway at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base behind the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at speeds of up to 84 miles per hour. (Image Credit: Timothy R. Gaffney)
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7 May 2014
EASA Recommends Ways to Improve Flight Recorders

FlightDataRecorder_WikiThe European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is recommending ways to improve aircraft flight recorders and underwater locating devices to increase the chances of locating planes that crash. EASA was reportedly prompted to take this action because of the difficulties in finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which may have crashed two months ago and has not yet been found. The measures would need to be approved by the European Commission before they could be implemented. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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6 May 2014
FAA Approves Start of UAV Testing In Alaska

Alaska_UAV_youTube-BPThe FAA has approved UAV testing to begin at sites overseen by the University of Alaska, one of the six programs selected last year to help integrate UAVs into the national airspace. The University of Alaska testing sites are the second of six testing sites to be approved by the FAA, the first being in North Dakota. Two of the testing sites planned as part of the University of Alaska’s Pan-Pacific Unmanned Aircraft System Test Range Complex will be located at two small airports in Oregon and Hawaii. The test sites located in Alaska include the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Poker Flat Rocket Range, and sites near Barrow, Kodiak, and Homer, according to Ro Bailey, Director, Pan-Pacific USA Test Range Complex, and a confirmed speaker on the AVIATION 2014 panel on UAV test sites, taking place at AIAA AVIATION 2014, 16-20 June, in Atlanta, GA. The UAV panel is set for Tuesday, 17 June, from 1400-1600 hrs. (Image Credit: YouTube/BP)
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5 May 2014
More FAA Regulations Expected Over UAV Use

Drone_WikiWith the various ways UAVs have been used of late – photographing a tornado disaster zone in Arkansas, flooding in Florida, and the opening of a highway sinkhole – drone enthusiasts are likely to face more FAA regulations by year’s end. The FAA’s probe of an Arkansas TV station for flying a UAV during news coverage of a tornado is one example highlighting the need for unmanned-aircraft technology in connection with severe weather. The FAA is now testing drones in six states to determine the new regulations. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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5 May 2014
NASA, CNES Sign Work Agreement for SWOT Spacecraft

Bolden_LeGall_signing_May2014NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of France’s space agency, CNES, have agreed on a formal work-share agreement for the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) altimetry satellite. NASA will supply the launch vehicle, the U.S. ground segment, and the satellite’s payload for the mission launching in 2020. (Image Credit: NASA)
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5 May 2014
SpaceX Conducts Another Test of Falcon 9 Reusable Rocket

Falcon9ReusableRocketTest_SpaceXSpaceX recently made another test flight of its Falcon 9 Reusable rocket at its McGregor, Texas facility, while collecting hexacopter-filmed footage of the test as well. The tests are designed to help the SpaceX engineers devise a way of eventually bringing full-size, fully-loaded launch vehicles back to the launch pad. As it currently stands, most space launch vehicles simply fall into the ocean, never to be used again. (Image Credit: YouTube/SpaceX)
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2 May 2014
Bolden: Dispute with Russia Has Not Harmed Space Programs’ Relationship

ISS-NASANASA Administrator Charles Bolden told Congress on Thursday that the ongoing dispute with Russia has not harmed Americans’ ability to get astronauts to the International Space Station. Bolden was attempting to reassure lawmakers who are concerned the U.S. space program could be disrupted after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said U.S. “astronauts soon will need a trampoline to get to the space station.” Bolden said ties between the two countries’ space programs remain strong. Bolden also suggested that U.S. launches to the ISS could be accelerated with additional funds. (Image Credit: NASA)
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2 May 2014
Boeing 787-9 On Track for Start of Operations

Boeing-787-9-wikiThe Boeing 787-9 is on track for a mid-year start of operations, a sign that it has been largely unaffected by the technical difficulties experienced by the 787-8 when it was being developed. Earlier this week, journalists were allowed to tour one of the test planes and hear from Mark Jenks, vice-president of 787 Development, about changes to the model. Jenks said that the company made sure that any unique components on the 787-9 would not suffer reliability issues. One of these components includes a hybrid laminar flow control system embedded in the vertical fin. Overall, Jenks said that no major issues surfaced during development, thus allowing for the on-schedule production. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/Gordon Werner)
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1 May 2014
Lockheed: Flying Wing UAV Design Will Provide “Inherent” Stealth for UCLASS

USN_UCLAS_Program_WikiIn an interview with Flightglobal, Bob Ruszkowski, Lockheed Martin’s capture director for the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program, said that the company’s flying wing UAV design adds an inherent stealth capability that is important for the Navy. He also stressed that Lockheed’s design for the UCLASS program will include an open systems architecture, which will allow it to easily be upgraded over time. While a draft request for proposals was recently issued, Ruszkowski would not discuss any of the details of what it included. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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1 May 2014
SpaceX to Attempt Next Launch 10 May

Falcon9_CapeCanaveralSpaceX aims to launch the first six of Orbcomm’s 17 OG2 satellites on 10 May from Cape Canaveral, with a backup date of 11 May. SpaceX will launch the remaining satellites in the constellation later this year. SpaceX is expected to continue to conduct rocket reusability tests on future launches, like the one recently done as part of its mission to the ISS, as long as those leave enough leftover fuel to accomplish the complicated re-entry maneuvers. This will be dependent on the weight of the satellite, since some will be so heavy they will require more of a boost from the Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX did not indicate which launches would or would not be suitable. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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30 April 2014
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Warns U.S. Could “Use Trampoline” to Access ISS

Soyuz_Launch_WikiWith more U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia for its actions in Ukraine, Russia’s deputy prime minister said that the U.S. could “use a trampoline” if it wanted to get its astronauts to the ISS. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin commented that the sanctions do not seem to be working and that the U.S. and Europe are causing more damage to themselves. Despite the statement, analysts believe that Russia will not halt launches because it is heavily reliant on the millions of dollars the U.S. spends per launch. Sergei Oznobishchev, director at the Institute for Strategic Assessments, believes that Russia will lose out in the end because Russia also needs the West’s high-tech electronic components and is not prepared at this time to produce them. (Image: Soyuz launch. Credit: Wikipedia)
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30 April 2014
SpaceX Releases Footage of Falcon 9 Ocean Landing

SpaceXFalcon9_Ocean_LandingOn Tuesday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted an image of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket stage landing vertically in the ocean shortly after the 18 April launch that delivered cargo to the ISS. Rough ocean conditions prevented the stage from being recovered. The NBC News website also noted that Musk released videos with “fragmentary views” of the reusability test in the hopes that someone in the public can improve the low-quality footage. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
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29 April 2014
NASA Asking for Proposals to Open Up ISS to Industry

ISS-NASANASA officials are asking for ways to increase the commercialization of the ISS, a shift in the agency’s position as it previously gave little consideration to allowing private citizens to pay millions to travel there. To date, the agency has accommodated seven private citizens. American Dennis Tito was the first in 2001, with Canadian Guy Laliberte the most recent in 2011. NASA is soliciting innovative ideas from companies interested in using the space station and the low-Earth orbit environment to help develop a strong commercial market and assist NASA in achieving its exploration goals. (Image Credit: NASA)
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29 April 2014
S2 Personal Plane Could One Day Make Runways Obsolete

S2_Personal_Electric_Plane_YouTubeAs part of its Invention Awards 2014, Popular Science reported on the S2 personal electric airplane created by JoeBen Bevirt, that launches like a helicopter but flies aerodynamically like an airplane. His team has developed two dozen 10-pound models that have drawn the interest of NASA, as the agency is now funding construction of a 55-pound unmanned aerial vehicle. The full-scale vehicle could one day fly two people 200 miles on the equivalent of 1.5 gallons of fuel, which is five times more efficient than typical two-seaters. If successful, the plane could someday make runways obsolete. (Image Credit: YouTube/Joby Aviation)
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28 April 2014
Musk Announces Reusable Rocket Test Success, Suit Against Government

Grasshopper_SpaceXOn Friday, Elon Musk said that his company SpaceX is going to sue the government to protest the U.S. Air Force awarding United Launch Alliance (ULA) a contract to launch 36 rockets back in December. Musk told the National Press Club that he does not think that SpaceX necessarily deserves the award, just that it should have been given the chance to compete. Musk said there is no reasonable basis that his company should be able to send cargo to the ISS and yet is not allowed to launch a GPS satellite. At the same news conference, Musk also said that the Falcon 9 first stage successfully made a soft landing although the weather and unsafe sea conditions prevented its recovery. The data from that attempt was so promising that SpaceX now thinks it can return the booster successfully to land before 2015. (Image: SpaceX Grasshopper. Credit: Wikipedia / Steve Jurvetson)
 



28 April 2014
NASA Testing Designs That Could Make Overland Supersonic Flights Possible

LMC_SupersonicDesignConceptNASA is currently working on designs aimed at decreasing the strength of sonic booms. Supersonic flights over land are currently banned by the FAA because of how loud sonic booms can be. NASA currently is exposing small-scale model designs by Boeing and Lockheed Martin to wind tunnel tests to see how they react. The agency also is examining how air flows through the engines. Capturing this flow rate is considered important because it directly impacts a supersonic aircraft’s thrust performance in flight, as well as cruise efficiency. (Image Credit: Wikipedia/Lockheed Martin Corportion)
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28 April 2014
North Dakota UAV Industry Benefits from Proactive Officials, Environment

UAV_NDSUNorth Dakota’s footprint in the UAV industry is growing, aided by the recent announcement that the FAA has approved small UAV flights at its test site. By proactively addressing topics like public safety procedures and privacy restrictions, the state has not been caught up in the privacy debates others have been. North Dakota is benefiting not only from this lack of controversy and state investment to encourage UAV research, but also from its environment. A relatively small population and lack of commercial air traffic combines with varying weather conditions to make the state an attractive test site. (Image Credit: NDSU)
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25 April 2014
Ostapenko: Russia Plans to Increase Collaborations with China

Soyuz_Launch_WikiOleg Ostapenko, head of Roscosmos, said that the Russian space agency could function without any Western space technology, contradicting concerns that more sanctions from the U.S. could damage the country’s efforts in space and harm the ISS program. He also reportedly stated that Russia would be increasing its collaborative efforts with China, and that Russia is the country other nations most rely on because it currently has the only rockets that can send astronauts to the ISS. Ostapenko also said that the draft Federal Space Program (FSP) includes plans to develop a super-heavy carrier rocket that could launch 70 to 80 metric tons into space and eventually 100 to 120 metric tons, payload capacities that are similar to the Space Launch System that NASA is developing. (Image: Soyuz launch. Credit: Wikimedia)
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25 April 2014
X-37B Space Plane Reaches 500th Day In Orbit

X-37B_SpaceplaneThursday marked the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane’s 500th day in orbit. It is still unknown to the public when the spacecraft could return to Earth. Brian Weeden, a technical adviser with the Secure World Foundation and a former orbital analyst with the Air Force, said that amateur observations of the space plane indicate that it still has plenty of thruster fuel remaining. Weeden noted that while its primary mission is unknown, the X-37B may be testing technology for agencies like the National Reconnaissance Office. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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24 April 2014
Sikorsky Announces First Flight of Manned/Unmanned UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter

Sikorsky_UH-60_wikiSikorsky announced that it conducted the first flight demonstration of an “optionally piloted” UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on 11 March at the company’s flight test center near West Palm Beach, Florida. During the flight, the unmanned aircraft hovered and conducted flight operations under the control of an operator using a ‘man-portable’ ground control station. The company said that unmanned Black Hawks could be used for resupply missions and expeditionary operations, allowing crews to conduct more sensitive operations. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)
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23 April 2014 - Updated 2:00 p.m. EDT
Spacewalk to Replace Backup Computer Successful

Expedition 39 Spacewalk. Credit NASAAstronauts Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio completed a brief spacewalk at the International Space Station Wednesday to replace a failed backup computer. The excursion, which kicked off at 9:20 a.m. EDT, wrapped up at 11:32 a.m. A backup computer had failed 11 April following a routine checkup by the Mission Control team in Houston. While the primary computer continues operating without issue NASA managers ordered Wednesday’s spacewalk to ensure redundancy on critical systems. The computer outage did not pose a risk to the six crew members aboard the space station. (Image Credit: NASA)
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23 April 2014
ISS Spacewalk Underway

Exp39SpacewalkExpedition 39 has begun its scheduled 2.5 hour spacewalk, which kicked off at 9:20 a.m. EDT this morning. The station crew is also preparing to send off a Russian space freighter for two days of tests before it redocks with the station Friday morning. Astronauts Steve Swanson and Rick Mastracchio are installing a spare backup computer on the S0 truss located on top of the Destiny laboratory module. They will remove the old computer which failed on 11 April. The spacewalk is being broadcast live on NASA TV. (Image Credit: NASA TV)
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23 April 2014
Texas EquuSearch Sues to Use UAVs for Search and Rescue

Mini-UAVsTexas EquuSearch filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against the law prohibiting the use of UAVs for humanitarian search and rescue activities, which it claims is not governed by the guidelines prohibiting the use of UAVs for business purposes. The non-profit organization has four unmanned model aircraft that have been grounded since the FAA ordered the group to stop flying the planes earlier this year. The FAA said it is reviewing the case. This is the second such challenge to the FAA’s guidelines on private use of UAVs. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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22 April 2014
AIAA Celebrates Earth Day

Earth_NASAAIAA celebrates Earth Day and salutes the role that the aerospace industry plays in protecting our fragile planet. AIAA Executive Director Sandra H. Magnus said, “Because of the advances in aerospace science and technology we continue to monitor and expand our knowledge of the planet. Earth observing satellites allow us a greater understanding of the Earth’s land and ocean spaces—and provide critical insight into weather patterns and the plight of wildlife; farmers use GPS technology to better manage their crops; and public safety officials rely on critical technology to keep millions of people safe in the face of impending natural disasters. All of these amazing advances that improve life on our planet happened because of the hard work of aerospace professionals.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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22 April 2014
North Dakota’s UAV Test Site to be First of Six to Fly Missions

Mini_UAV_WikiFAA Administrator Michael Huerta said on Monday that North Dakota will be the first of six UAV test sites around the nation to begin flight tests, with the first flights scheduled as early as next month. In that first set of flights, a Draganflyer X4ES UAV will fly at North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center to examine the ways UAVs could be used to check soil quality and the status of crops. In a statement, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “North Dakota has really taken the lead in supporting the growing unmanned aircraft industry.” (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
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22 April 2014
Next Antares Launch Rescheduled for 9 June

Antares_Awaits_Launch_NASAThe next launch of Orbital Science’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS has been rescheduled for 9 June. The original launch date had been 6 May. If all goes according to plan, the 9 June launch will be the first night-time launch of Antares. It is currently scheduled to lift off at approximately 2 a.m. EDT. The launch will be the second of eight cargo missions to be launched from Wallops under Orbital’s Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. (Image Credit: NASA)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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.”
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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.
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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.)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
More Info > (Reuters)



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)
More Info > (Aviation Week)



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)
More Info > (USA Today)



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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Safety Through Helicopter Simulators (SA-031) >
Helicopter Safety Starts in the Hangar (SA-032) >  



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)
More Info > (NASA.gov)



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)
More Info > (Aviation Week)



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)
More Info > (Florida Today)



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)
More Info > (The Canadian Press)



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)
More Info > (The Associated Press)



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
Cygnus Arrives at ISS

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)
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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)
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