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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

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    2013 Industry News

    2013 Industry News Archive

    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).



    31 December 2013
    FAA Selects Sites to Conduct UAV Tests

    NMSU_UAV_FlightTest The FAA has announced six test sites in six states to guide the future course of UAVs in the U.S. Each of the six test sites pose unique challenges for drone operations, and it is expected to take years before the necessary safeguards and regulations are in place. The six institutions selected to operate test locations include Griffiss International Airport near Rome, New York, Virginia Tech, which has an agreement with Rutgers University in New Jersey for testing there as well, the University of Alaska, which plans to test in Hawaii and Oregon as well as Alaska, the State of Nevada, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. The FAA anticipates that within five years, 7,500 commercial drones will share the skies with passenger planes. (Image Credit: NMSU Flight Test Center)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)

    More Info > (USA Today)  



    30 December 2013
    SpaceX Prepares for Its First Launch of 2014

    SpaceXFalcon9_NASA SpaceX has set 3 January as the targeted launch date of the Thaicom 6 satellite aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. This would be the company’s second commercial satellite launch if successful. On Saturday, SpaceX conducted a static fire test of the rocket ahead of the launch. If the launch takes place when scheduled, SpaceX should have plenty of time to prepare for its 11 February mission to the ISS. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)  



    30 December 2013
    States Expect UAV Test-Site Decision to Come Before the New Year

    NMSU_UAV_FlightTestOfficials in 24 states are eagerly awaiting the FAA’s decision regarding six UAV test sites. According to Marshall Wright, business development director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, aviation or aeronautics companies are sure to develop around these areas, potentially meaning a substantial increase in tax revenues over the first decade if Utah becomes a test site. Alison Duquette, an FAA spokesperson, stated that the FAA will make the decision regarding the test sites by year’s end, although it has no set date planned. (Image Credit: NMSU Flight Test Center)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    27 December 2013
    2013 Called A “Big Year” for UAVs

    Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonSix events took place in 2013 that made it a significant year for UAVs. All told, 2013 was the year the public started to understand UAVs are not just unmanned attack aircraft for the military, but can reshape commerce and transportation and even ethics. Among some of the significant UAV events in 2013, Amazon unveiled its plans to start shipping packages by delivery drone sometime in the next five years, Washington began work on drone regulation, and a Colorado town proposed open season on drones. (Image Credit: YouTube / Amazon)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    23 December 2013
    Astronauts Make Good Progress on First Repair Spacewalk

    Spacewalk_21Dec13Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins completed a 5 hour and 28 minute spacewalk Saturday to remove a faulty ammonia pump on the International Space Station. They wrapped up the spacewalk at 12:29 p.m. EST. A second spacewalk to install a replacement pump module, originally planned for Monday, is now scheduled for Tuesday, 24 December. The extra day will allow time for the crew to resize a spare spacesuit on the space station for use by Mastracchio. NASA TV will cover Tuesday's spacewalk beginning at 6:15 a.m. EST. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    20 December 2013
    Billions of Dollars, Many Jobs Depend on FAA UAV Site Decision

    NMSU_UAV_FlightTest States across the U.S. are waiting for the FAA to decide where it will station test sites for UAVs. Laura Brown, an FAA spokeswoman, said the agency hopes to make the decision by the end of the year. Ultimately, the decision could be worth billions of dollars in economic activity, and tens of thousands of new jobs, thus handing some states a Christmas bonus, while leaving others with a lump of coal during the holidays. A number of states have pitched themselves in different ways, with some offering wide-open spaces and others highlighting access to maritime airspace. (Image Credit: NMSU Flight Test Center)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)
    More Info > (The Philadelphia Inquirer)



    19 December 2013
    Boeing Promotes Three AIAA Members to Key Leadership Posts

    DennisMuilenburg-Credit-Belleville-News-DemocratThe Boeing Company, an AIAA corporate member, has named AIAA Fellow Dennis A. Muilenburg president, chief operating officer, and vice chairman. Raymond L. Conner, also an AIAA member, was also promoted to vice chairman. Muilenburg was formerly the head of the company’s defense unit, and now will be succeeded by Christopher Chadwick, an AIAA member as well. Conner will still run Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, but will report directly to McNerney. AIAA congratulates all three on their promotions and thanks them for their strong support of the Institute and for their many contributions to the aerospace industry. (Image Credit: Belleville News-Democrat, Tim Vizer)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)



    19 December 2013
    Lockheed Martin Appoints AIAA Associate Fellow Michael A. Hamel President of Commercial Ventures

    LtGenHammel_speaks_at_AIAASPACE2013Lockheed Martin Corp., an AIAA corporate member, has appointed retired U.S. Air Force Lt Gen and AIAA Associate Fellow Mike Hamel as president of its Space Systems’ Commercial Ventures division. Hamel, a former commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, succeeds Linda Reiners,who has been appointed president of Lockheed corporate ventures. Hamel is responsible for leading and growing commercial satellite communications, remote sensing, and wind energy programs, driving program execution across existing commercial programs and managing related launch campaigns. Most recently, Hamel was senior vice president of corporate strategy and relations at Orbital Sciences Corp. AIAA congratulates Lt Gen Hammel on his appointment and thanks him for his strong support of the Institute, as a frequent speaker at the annual AIAA SPACE conferences, and as a past winner of the Goddard Astronautics Award, as well as for his many contributions to the aerospace industry. (Image: Lt Gen Hamel speaks at AIAA SPACE 2013 as a participant of the "The Evolving Landscape of the Space Business" panel discussion)
    More Info > (SpaceRef)
    More Info > (Space News)



    18 December 2013
    Astronauts Will Conduct Three Spacewalks to Repair ISS

    ISS-NASANASA has decided astronauts at the International Space Station will conduct three spacewalks to repair the broken cooling pump affecting operations. These will take place this Saturday, next Monday, and on Christmas. Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins will conduct the space walks, the first ones since an astronaut nearly drowned when his spacesuit started leaking. The Christmas spacewalk will only take place if needed. The repair has taken priority over the launch of Orbital’s Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus™ spacecraft that was scheduled for later this week. NASA reportedly is confident the repairs can be done successfully. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The New York Times)
    More Info > (CBS News)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    18 December 2013
    NASA postpones Antares launch

    Antares_Awaits_Dec2013_LaunchNASA has announced the postponement of the upcoming Orbital Sciences commercial cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station in order to proceed with a series of spacewalks to replace a faulty pump module on the space station. Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft, mounted atop the Antares rocket, which was scheduled to launch 19 December, will now launch no earlier than 13 January. The postponement of the Antares launch should allow enough time for the station crew to repair a faulty pump module that stopped working properly on 11 December. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Space News)



    18 December 2013
    NASA Spacecraft Watch Chinese Spacecraft on the Moon

    LRO_Orbits_Moon_NASANASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is now observing China’s rover as it travels on the moon. NASA said in a statement last Friday, “Repeated imaging of the landing site by LROC [the LRO Camera] will allow for detailed measurements of changes to the surface caused by the landing and movement of the Chang’e 3 rover.” NASA also said that the ARTEMIS spacecraft would also look for any plume signatures in the plasma or magnetic field associated with Chang’e 3’s landing. Meanwhile, since NASA’s LADEE spacecraft has been in orbit, researchers have observed unexpectedly large amounts of dust coming off the lunar surface that may have been caused by an impact plume. (Image: Artist's impression of LRO spacecraft orbiting the moon.  Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (SPACE)
    More Info > (Discovery News)



    17 December 2013
    Orbital’s Antares Rocket Rolled Out to Launch Pad for 19 December Launch

    Antares_Awaits_19Dec2013_LaunchOrbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket was rolled out to the launch pad this morning at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in preparation for launch of the company’s first Cygnus™ spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) for its demonstration mission under the COTS joint development program with NASA. Since NASA continues to work on the cooling loop issue aboard the ISS, Orbital does not yet have a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ decision for the launch, scheduled for 19 December. The roll-out operation preserves that option for NASA in the event they are able to develop a plan that will allow the Cygnus spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with the ISS on 22 December. Other launch and rendezvous/docking date options are also being considered. (Image Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.)
    More Info > (SpaceRef)
    More Info > (Orbital Sciences Corp. press release)



    17 December 2013
    States Compete for UAV Test Sites, Potential Economic Windfall

    Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonTwenty-four states are competing to be selected by the FAA to open testing facilities designed to see how unmanned aircraft can be integrated into the national airspace. The biggest barrier to the integration of UAVs is providing assurance that they won’t crash into the 70,000 manned aircraft flights each day. Meanwhile, some state and local lawmakers are trying to slow the introduction of UAVs based on privacy concerns. In spite of these concerns, states are moving forward with UAV programs because of the potential economic impact of the technology. Some states plan to move forward with UAV testing even if they are not selected by the FAA. An announcement is expected this month. (Image Credit: YouTube / Amazon)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)



    16 December 2013
    China Successfully Lands Rover on the Moon

    YuTu-lunar-roverChina completed the first soft landing on the moon’s surface in 37 years Saturday, becoming only the third country to pull off the feat. Chinese television showed scientists shaking hands and congratulating each other after the craft, Chang’e 3, landed safely at 9:12 p.m. local time. The landing marked a significant advance in China’s space program and a step toward its ambitions of one day following the United States in mounting a manned lunar mission. On Sunday, a six-wheeled rover named Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, was scheduled to emerge from the landing vehicle and begin a three-month-long mission to explore the moon’s surface. (Image: Artist's conception of YuTu lunar rover deployment from China's Chang'e-3 lunar lander. Credit: CNSA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (The New York Times)
     



    16 December 2013
    NASA Prepares to Conduct Spacewalk if Needed

    ISS_NASANASA is preparing a delicate and potentially dangerous spacewalk to fix the urgent cooling system issue at the ISS. Although NASA has been working around the clock to find a solution, so far there has been no success. The spacewalk could take place as early as Thursday. Meanwhile, NASA has decided to delay the launch of the Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft at least one day until Thursday. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    16 December 2013
    Dream Chaser Completed All Goals During October Flight Test

    DreamChaserThe Sierra Nevada experimental Dream Chaser spacecraft, which could one day launch astronauts to the ISS, completed all the NASA test-flight goals during a computer-guided glide test on 26 October. The spacecraft reportedly performed well. As for the landing gear malfunction that was reported, it appears to be a mechanical issue caused by contamination in the gear’s hydraulic lines, and not a design issue. (Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.)
    More Info > (Denver Business Journal)



    23 December 2013
    Astronauts Make Good Progress on First Repair Spacewalk

    Spacewalk_21Dec13Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins completed a 5 hour and 28 minute spacewalk Saturday to remove a faulty ammonia pump on the International Space Station. They wrapped up the spacewalk at 12:29 p.m. EST. A second spacewalk to install a replacement pump module, originally planned for Monday, is now scheduled for Tuesday, 24 December. The extra day will allow time for the crew to resize a spare spacesuit on the space station for use by Mastracchio. NASA TV will cover Tuesday's spacewalk beginning at 6:15 a.m. EST. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 7:10 a.m. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    20 December 2013
    Billions of Dollars, Many Jobs Depend on FAA UAV Site Decision

    NMSU_UAV_FlightTestStates across the U.S. are waiting for the FAA to decide where it will station test sites for UAVs. Laura Brown, an FAA spokeswoman, said the agency hopes to make the decision by the end of the year. Ultimately, the decision could be worth billions of dollars in economic activity, and tens of thousands of new jobs, thus handing some states a Christmas bonus, while leaving others with a lump of coal during the holidays. A number of states have pitched themselves in different ways, with some offering wide-open spaces and others highlighting access to maritime airspace. (Image Credit: NMSU Flight Test Center)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)
    More Info > (The Philadelphia Inquirer)



    19 December 2013
    Boeing Promotes Three AIAA Members to Key Leadership Posts

    DennisMuilenburg-Credit-Belleville-News-DemocratThe Boeing Company, an AIAA corporate member, has named AIAA Fellow Dennis A. Muilenburg president, chief operating officer, and vice chairman. Raymond L. Conner, also an AIAA member, was also promoted to vice chairman. Muilenburg was formerly the head of the company’s defense unit, and now will be succeeded by Christopher Chadwick, an AIAA member as well. Conner will still run Boeing’s commercial airplanes division, but will report directly to McNerney. AIAA congratulates all three on their promotions and thanks them for their strong support of the Institute and for their many contributions to the aerospace industry. (Image Credit: Belleville News-Democrat, Tim Vizer)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)



    19 December 2013
    Lockheed Martin Appoints AIAA Associate Fellow Michael A. Hamel President of Commercial Ventures

    LtGenHammel_speaks_at_AIAASPACE2013Lockheed Martin Corp., an AIAA corporate member, has appointed retired U.S. Air Force Lt Gen and AIAA Associate Fellow Mike Hamel as president of its Space Systems’ Commercial Ventures division. Hamel, a former commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, succeeds Linda Reiners,who has been appointed president of Lockheed corporate ventures. Hamel is responsible for leading and growing commercial satellite communications, remote sensing, and wind energy programs, driving program execution across existing commercial programs and managing related launch campaigns. Most recently, Hamel was senior vice president of corporate strategy and relations at Orbital Sciences Corp. AIAA congratulates Lt Gen Hammel on his appointment and thanks him for his strong support of the Institute, as a frequent speaker at the annual AIAA SPACE conferences, and as a past winner of the Goddard Astronautics Award, as well as for his many contributions to the aerospace industry. (Image: Lt Gen Hamel speaks at AIAA SPACE 2013 as a participant of the "The Evolving Landscape of the Space Business" panel discussion)
    More Info > (SpaceRef)
    More Info > (Space News)



    18 December 2013
    Astronauts Will Conduct Three Spacewalks to Repair ISS

    ISS-NASANASA has decided astronauts at the International Space Station will conduct three spacewalks to repair the broken cooling pump affecting operations. These will take place this Saturday, next Monday, and on Christmas. Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins will conduct the space walks, the first ones since an astronaut nearly drowned when his spacesuit started leaking. The Christmas spacewalk will only take place if needed. The repair has taken priority over the launch of Orbital’s Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus™ spacecraft that was scheduled for later this week. NASA reportedly is confident the repairs can be done successfully. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The New York Times)
    More Info > (CBS News)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    18 December 2013
    NASA postpones Antares launch

    Antares_Awaits_Dec2013_LaunchNASA has announced the postponement of the upcoming Orbital Sciences commercial cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station in order to proceed with a series of spacewalks to replace a faulty pump module on the space station. Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft, mounted atop the Antares rocket, which was scheduled to launch 19 December, will now launch no earlier than 13 January. The postponement of the Antares launch should allow enough time for the station crew to repair a faulty pump module that stopped working properly on 11 December. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Space News)



    18 December 2013
    NASA Spacecraft Watch Chinese Spacecraft on the Moon

    LRO_Orbits_Moon_NASANASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is now observing China’s rover as it travels on the moon. NASA said in a statement last Friday, “Repeated imaging of the landing site by LROC [the LRO Camera] will allow for detailed measurements of changes to the surface caused by the landing and movement of the Chang’e 3 rover.” NASA also said that the ARTEMIS spacecraft would also look for any plume signatures in the plasma or magnetic field associated with Chang’e 3’s landing. Meanwhile, since NASA’s LADEE spacecraft has been in orbit, researchers have observed unexpectedly large amounts of dust coming off the lunar surface that may have been caused by an impact plume. (Image: Artist's impression of LRO spacecraft orbiting the moon.  Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (SPACE)
    More Info > (Discovery News)



    17 December 2013
    Orbital’s Antares Rocket Rolled Out to Launch Pad for 19 December Launch

    Antares_Awaits_19Dec2013_LaunchOrbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket was rolled out to the launch pad this morning at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in preparation for launch of the company’s first Cygnus™ spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) for its demonstration mission under the COTS joint development program with NASA. Since NASA continues to work on the cooling loop issue aboard the ISS, Orbital does not yet have a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ decision for the launch, scheduled for 19 December. The roll-out operation preserves that option for NASA in the event they are able to develop a plan that will allow the Cygnus spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with the ISS on 22 December. Other launch and rendezvous/docking date options are also being considered. (Image Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.)
    More Info > (SpaceRef)
    More Info > (Orbital Sciences Corp. press release)



    17 December 2013
    States Compete for UAV Test Sites, Potential Economic Windfall

    Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonTwenty-four states are competing to be selected by the FAA to open testing facilities designed to see how unmanned aircraft can be integrated into the national airspace. The biggest barrier to the integration of UAVs is providing assurance that they won’t crash into the 70,000 manned aircraft flights each day. Meanwhile, some state and local lawmakers are trying to slow the introduction of UAVs based on privacy concerns. In spite of these concerns, states are moving forward with UAV programs because of the potential economic impact of the technology. Some states plan to move forward with UAV testing even if they are not selected by the FAA. An announcement is expected this month. (Image Credit: YouTube / Amazon)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)



    16 December 2013
    China Successfully Lands Rover on the Moon

    YuTu-lunar-roverChina completed the first soft landing on the moon’s surface in 37 years Saturday, becoming only the third country to pull off the feat. Chinese television showed scientists shaking hands and congratulating each other after the craft, Chang’e 3, landed safely at 9:12 p.m. local time. The landing marked a significant advance in China’s space program and a step toward its ambitions of one day following the United States in mounting a manned lunar mission. On Sunday, a six-wheeled rover named Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, was scheduled to emerge from the landing vehicle and begin a three-month-long mission to explore the moon’s surface. (Image: Artist's conception of YuTu lunar rover deployment from China's Chang'e-3 lunar lander. Credit: CNSA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (The New York Times)
     



    16 December 2013
    NASA Prepares to Conduct Spacewalk if Needed

    ISS_NASANASA is preparing a delicate and potentially dangerous spacewalk to fix the urgent cooling system issue at the ISS. Although NASA has been working around the clock to find a solution, so far there has been no success. The spacewalk could take place as early as Thursday. Meanwhile, NASA has decided to delay the launch of the Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft at least one day until Thursday. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    16 December 2013
    Dream Chaser Completed All Goals During October Flight Test

    DreamChaserThe Sierra Nevada experimental Dream Chaser spacecraft, which could one day launch astronauts to the ISS, completed all the NASA test-flight goals during a computer-guided glide test on 26 October. The spacecraft reportedly performed well. As for the landing gear malfunction that was reported, it appears to be a mechanical issue caused by contamination in the gear’s hydraulic lines, and not a design issue. (Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Corp.)
    More Info > (Denver Business Journal)



    13 December 2013
    NASA Will Decide Monday About ISS Spacewalk, Upcoming Launch

    ISS-NASAThe International Space Station’s Expedition 38 crew worked Thursday with team members on the ground to deal with a malfunction that occurred Wednesday on one of the station’s two external cooling loops that uses ammonia to prevent station systems from overheating. The flight control teams worked to get the cooling loop back up and running, and they suspect a flow control valve actually inside the pump module itself might not be functioning correctly. NASA Mission Control is still working on how to correct the cooling loop, but the crew is in no danger. The decision on whether to fix the problem with a spacewalk is expected Monday, but NASA is confident it will be repaired one way or another. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The New York Times)
    More Info > (Fox News)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    13 December 2013
    Scorpion ISR Strike Aircraft Makes Its First Flight

    CessnaScorpion- Textron announced the Cessna Aircraft Scorpion Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Strike aircraft made its first flight Thursday, 12 December. The aircraft took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas and flew for 1.4 hours. The aircraft was developed in 24 months and has a cruising speed of up to 450 knots. It is expected to be deployed on ISR and homeland security missions. (Image Credit: Textron)
    More info > (The Aviationist)



    12 December 2013
    NTSB’s Asiana Crash Hearing Draws Attention to Automation, Training

    SKoreanJetlinerCrashAccording to an NTSB report released Wednesday, the captain flying the Asiana Airlines flight that crashed in San Francisco in July told investigators the approach for landing was “very stressful” and he thought the plane’s automatic throttle was always working. The report was released as the NTSB opened a day-long hearing in Washington, DC to explore the crash that killed three passengers and injured 180 on 6 July. Asiana Flight 214 struck a seawall and slammed into the runway, severing its tail section and scattering wreckage.  The investigation has focused on whether the automatic throttles were working properly and how closely the Asiana pilots were monitoring their altitude and speed during the landing. Meanwhile, during Wednesday's hearing, representatives of the Boeing Co. stressed that safety is ultimately the responsibility of the pilots, not automated flight systems. (Image Credit: The Washington Post)
    More Info > (USA Today)
    More Info > (The New York Times)
    More Info > (CNN)



    12 December 2013
    Number of Students Studying How to Fly UAVs Growing

    USC_2012DesignTeamThere are hundreds of students across the U.S. now learning how to operate UAVs, and the number is growing. These students are eager to be ready for the anticipated booming market when UAVs are allowed to fly in the national airspace. Because of the expected growth in the UAV market, students today have strong job prospects after graduation. Many students who once wanted to become commercial pilots are now switching their majors because of the tougher prospects, minimal growth with larger airlines, and sometimes poor pay at smaller airlines. (Image: Top Three 2012 AIAA Design Competition Teams with Planes: USC, Purdue, and Georgia Tech. Credit: AIAA)
    More Info > (Arizona Daily Sun)



    11 December 2013
    Mars One Aims to Send Spacecraft Based on NASA’s Phoenix to Mars

    PhoenixMarsRover_NASAMars One announced that Lockheed Martin will develop an unmanned vehicle based on NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, which Lockheed managed, for a mission concept study to Mars in advance of sending people there, thus proving people could live there by showing how water could be extracted from the soil. The unmanned vehicle is targeted to launch in 2018. Mars One, a not-for-profit organization that wants to turn the colonization of Mars into a worldwide reality TV show, is also working with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. to develop a demonstration satellite that could send a live video feed from Mars, as the Lander will have a video camera. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)
    More Info > (CBS News)



    10 December 2013
    Curiosity Finds Ancient Freshwater Lake, Dates First Rock on Mars

    Curiosity_Rover_NASANASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover has found signs of an ancient freshwater lake thought to have existed 3.5 billion years ago, a perfect spot for any life that may have once lived on the planet. John Grotzinger of Caltech said the lake appears to be a lot like an ordinary Earth-like lake.  Even though the question of whether life on Mars existed is still being debated, this reinforces the idea that it could be possible. In another finding from the rover, Curiosity was able to date a sample’s age, something that has never been done outside of Earth before. It found one rock was 4.2 billion years old and was exposed to galactic cosmic rays for 78 million years. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    10 December 2013
    Antares Rocket Set to Launch 18 December

    Antares_Awaits_Dec2013_LaunchThe next Antares rocket is set to launch a Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS on Wednesday, 18 December, from Wallops Island. This will be the first official resupply mission for Orbital Sciences, and the first resupply mission from Virginia's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. NASA TV is expected to air the proceedings. The Cygnus spacecraft has been named after the late astronaut, C. Gordon Fullerton. Once launched, the spacecraft is scheduled to reach the station on 21 December, where it will be berthed for the next 42 days. (Image Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.)
    More Info > (Newport News (VA) Daily Press)
    More Info > (collectSPACE)



    9 December 2013
    Northrop Is Flying Classified RQ-180 UAV

    AviationWeeks_Concept_of_RQ180Northrop Grumman is now flying a large, classified unmanned aircraft called the RQ-180 developed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and scheduled to be operational by 2015, according to a report in Aviation Week. While the U.S. Air Force has not made any official statements about the project, it is believed to be key for the USAF’s goals of operating in contested airspace. While it is not known whether the RQ-180 will be involved in strike missions, the UAV is believed to be a stepping-stone to the Long Range Strike Bomber, while also claiming a foothold for stealth in the future. (Image: Aviation Week concept of U.S. Air Force RQ-180. Credit: Aviation Week)
    More Info > (Aviation Week)



    9 December 2013
    IRIS Yields Unprecedented Images of Sun

    IRIS-ImagesSunAccording to images and data from NASA's newest solar observatory, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, the region located between the surface of the sun and its atmosphere has been revealed as a more violent place than previously understood. For the first time, IRIS is making it possible to study the explosive phenomena in the interface region in sufficient detail to determine their role in heating the outer solar atmosphere. Over its first six months, IRIS has provided scientists with detailed images of the interface region, finding even more turbulence and complexity than expected. IRIS scientists presented the mission's early observations at a press conference at the Fall American Geophysical Union meeting on 9 December. (Image Credit: NASA/LMSAL/IRIS)
    More Info > (NASA.gov)



    6 December 2013
    Atlas Rocket Carrying NRO Payload Successfully Launches From AFB

    AtlasVLaunches_5Dec13_CreditNASAAn Atlas V rocket carrying a secret payload for the U.S. government successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Thursday at 11:14 p.m. The temperature at the time of the launch was close to freezing. The rocket carried a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, but the agency has not released any details about the payload. Cold weather had threatened a possible delay, but the rocket took off within moments of the opening of its launch window. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)



    6 December 2013
    Navy, Marines Order RQ-21A Blackjack UAV After Tests

    RQ-21ABlackjack_Credit_InsituThe U.S. Navy and Marines believe the RQ-21A Blackjack UAV is worth the gamble of purchasing following tests in November. Insitu, a Boeing subsidiary, has been tasked to deliver one low-rate initial production of an RQ-21A Blackjack UAV system that includes one aircraft, ground control stations, and launch and recovery equipment. Blackjack is attractive due to its ability to adapt to various environments, both land and sea, with customizable features. Blackjack, which is 8 feet long and has a wingspan of 16 feet, is a small tactical drone that can fly as fast as 104 mph and as high as 19,500 feet for more than 13 hours. (Image Credit: Insitu)
    More Info > (Wired "Danger Room" blog)



    5 December 2013
    Atlas V Rocket to Launch NRO Satellite Today

    ULA_AtlasVA United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is set to launch a National Reconnaissance Office satellite this evening from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Twelve microsatellites will also be launched which are expected to conduct a variety of unique scientific experiments and demonstrate high-technology operational concepts. These spacecraft make up the Government Experimental Multi-Satellite (GEMSat) payload, part of the NRO’s Mission Integration Directorate and NASA Launch Support Program. This evening’s launch, scheduled for a little after 11 p.m., will be the tenth rocket launch from Vandenberg and the first Atlas V this year. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Santa Ynez Valley News)



    5 December 2013
    X-37B Space Plane Nearing One Year In Space

    X-37B-artists-rendition-USAFThe U.S. Air Force’s unmanned X-37B space plane has now been in space almost a year, although what it is carrying is still classified. Flying a mission known as Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (OTV-3), the X-37B launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 11 Dec. 2012. While there’s no official word how long the current mission will go, there has been some talk that this craft may not land at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Air Force has been evaluating auto-piloting the vehicle down at the space shuttle landing strip at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Making use of former space shuttle infrastructure is viewed as a possible cost-cutting measure for the program. (Image Credit: USAF)
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    4 December 2013
    SpaceX Successfully Launches Its First Commercial Telecommunications Satellite

    SpaceXFalcon9_Launches_3Dec2013SpaceX launched an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday at 5:41 p.m. EST, successfully delivering its first commercial communications satellite into orbit. SpaceX confirmed via Twitter, about 40 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, that the rocket's upper stage Merlin engine had reignited – something it had failed to accomplish during a September test flight – and that the Orbital-built SES-8 communications satellite had deployed as planned 33 minutes after launch. The launch was the first from Florida, and second overall of SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, as well as the first launch of a commercial satellite from the Cape in four years. AIAA congratulates SpaceX, an AIAA corporate member, on its successful first launch of a communications satellite. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (NBC News)
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    4 December 2013
    Boeing 757 to be Used In Next Part of EcoDemonstrator Program

    Boeing757_CreditBoeingBoeing has chosen a 757 flown by TUI Travel to test future environmental technologies as part of its ecoDemonstrator program. Such technology had been tested in 2012 on an American Airlines 737-800. Now, Boeing wants to install a number of innovative technologies on a 757 to conduct validation flights in 2015. This year, Boeing planned to test technologies, such as aircraft hatches made from recycled composite materials, on a 787 as part of the ecoDemonstrator program. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Flightglobal)



    3 December 2013
    SpaceX Set for Next Launch Attempt Today

    SpaceXFalcon9_NASASpaceX is scheduled to make another attempt to launch the SES-8 communications satellite Tuesday evening. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the issues that scrubbed the launch attempts on Thanksgiving have been resolved, noting that oxygen in the ground-side igniter system was the cause of the scrub, and that a gas generator on one of the engines was switched out as a precautionary measure. There is a 90% chance the weather in the area will be good enough for launch, which is set for 5:41 p.m. EST, with the launch window extending until 7:07 p.m. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    3 December 2013
    FAA, Other Issues Stand In Way of Amazon’s UAV Plans

    Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonAmazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ idea of using UAVs to deliver packages to customers still faces a lot of challenges before coming to fruition. Not only is the FAA still working out how drones can safely operate below 10,000 feet, but the agency’s research and regulations are months behind the schedule Congress set for incorporating UAVs into U.S. air space. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has projected 7,500 drones flying over the coming five years, but the agency faces technical challenges, including how much training to require of UAV pilots, rules for UAVs that lose contact with their pilots, and the interaction of drones and other aircraft operating in the same area. The FAA is expected to choose six test locations among 25 applications later this month.  (Image Credit: YouTube / Amazon)
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    2 December 2013
    China Launches Rover to the Moon

    Chang-e-3-lunar-probeChinese media announced that China launched its Chang’e-3 lunar probe to the moon early Monday, carrying the country’s first robotic lunar rover, designed to explore a plain on the moon. If the mission’s rover, Yutu or Jade Rabbitt, successfully lands on the moon, it will mark the country’s first ever soft landing. The last American expedition on the moon’s surface was a manned visit in 1972. The Chang’e-3 mission’s rover, a solar-powered, six-wheeled vehicle similar to ones the U.S. has sent to Mars, will spend three months exploring and collecting data. The Chinese government said in 2011 it was also studying sending an astronaut to the moon, but that remains a distant prospect. (Image Credit: YouTube)
    More Info > (The New York Times)



    2 December 2013
    Bezos Unveils Amazon’s Plans for Delivery by UAV

    Mini_UAV_Credit_YouTube_AmazonAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos, speaking on 60 Minutes Sunday, said that Amazon.com is testing delivering packages using drones. The delivery service would be called Prime Air and was displayed in a demonstration video. It is intended to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less. Bezos said the service may be available in as little as four years, depending on improved technology and the FAA’s rules and regulations. The FAA has said that it will develop rules for commercial use of drones by 2015. (Image Credit: YouTube / Amazon)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    29 November 2013
    SpaceX Thanksgiving Day Launch Delayed

    Falcon9_awaitsLaunch_28Nov13_CreditSpaceXSpaceX’s scheduled Thanksgiving Day launch was aborted at the last moment after computers detected the engines were too slow building up thrust. It would have been the first Thanksgiving Day launch along the Space Coast since 1959. The Falcon 9 rocket had been set to take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Thursday sometime during a 65-minute launch window starting at 5:39 PM EST. Reports indicate that the payload was not damaged. Engineers will now investigate what went wrong before scheduling another launch. The Falcon 9 would have blasted the SES-8 communications satellite into geostationary orbit. When the launch occurs, it will be the first time SpaceX launches a commercial communications satellite. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (Spaceflight Now)



    27 November 2013
    FAA to Issue Airworthiness Directive Today Covering Boeing 787s, 747s

    Boeing 787 Dreamliner - The FAA will issue a new airworthiness directive today requiring that airlines that operate Boeing 787s and 747s with GE engines steer clear of thunderstorms with clouds more than 60 miles across. The FAA reports that it knows of nine instances where ice was sucked into an engine causing it to lose power and that two of those incidents caused engine damage. Japan Airlines has reportedly already changed some routes to avoid storms. In the U.S., the rule covers seven 787s flown by United Continental Holdings Inc., as well as some cargo-hauling 747-8s. (Imag Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    27 November 2013
    Planet Labs Delivers 28 CubeSats for Launch

    Cubesat_NASAPlanet Labs, which is planning to establish the world’s largest Earth imaging constellation, announced the successful launch of its triple cubesats Dove 3 and Dove 4 into polar orbit. The company has also sent 28 satellites, dubbed Flock 1, to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia for integration on the first of eight space station cargo transportation flights performed by Orbital’s Antares rocket under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program. Using the constellation, Planet Labs is seeking to provide Earth imagery at a higher resolution and with higher frequency than currently exists in the market. (Image Credit: Planet Labs)
    More Info > (Space News)



    26 November 2013
    SpaceX Pushes Back Falcon Launch

    SpaceXFalcon9_NASAA technical problem has pushed back the much-anticipated launch of SpaceX’s version 1.1 Falcon 9 rocket by three days. Monday’s launch attempt was repeatedly stopped and restarted, due to an anomaly with a vent valve for the rocket’s liquid-oxygen tank, then a power-supply parameter that was set too low. SpaceX said that the launch vehicle and satellite are in great shape. This will be the company’s first geosynchronous launch, a major milestone toward certifying the company’s rockets so they meet the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program’s stringent requirements. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    26 November 2013
    Progress 53 Launches for ISS

    Progress53Launches_CreditRoscosmosThe unmanned Russian Progress 53 cargo ship launched on Monday, carrying food, fuel, and other supplies to the International Space Station. It is scheduled for a Friday docking. While the normal trip for Progress vehicles is one or two days, NASA officials said this craft has a new docking system for future Russian spacecraft and will conduct a flyby of the orbiting outpost to test the new system before making its final approach. Progress is carrying two space cameras, one for photos, the other for streaming videos. They will be installed on the Russian Zvezda service module and are expected to begin transmitting high-definition images of Earth on the Internet early next year. (Image Credit: Roscosmos)
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    25 November 2013
    SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Scheduled for Monday

    SpaceXFalcon9_NASASpaceX plans the first launch of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Florida this afternoon. The planned 5:37 p.m. liftoff would be the company’s first of an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from Florida, after a test launch in California, and the first launch of a commercial communications satellite from Cape Canaveral in four years. The SES communications satellite mounted atop of the rocket also will be the first the company places in a geostationary orbit. The Falcon 9 has sent several spacecraft to the ISS, which is about 250 miles up, but has never placed a communications satellite in the orbit where they operate more than 22,000 miles above the equator. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    25 November 2013
    Boeing Issues Warning Over Dreamliner Engine Icing

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerBoeing is warning of potential serious problems with the engines on its Dreamliner, recommending that pilots avoid flying near thunderstorms because ice can form inside those engines, causing a drop in power. In six incidents from April to November, five 747-8s and one 787 had a temporary loss of thrust from GE’s GEnx engines while flying at high altitude. In response, Japan Airlines withdrew 787 Dreamliners from its Tokyo and Delhi and Singapore routes. Industry officials expect regulators to require airlines to make Boeing’s nonbinding recommendation mandatory and to install updated engine-control software once GE produces it. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (The New York Times)



    25 November 2013
    China Announces Test of Stealth Drone

    Chinas-SharpSwordChina says it tested its first stealth ‘killer’ drone, the Lijian, or Sharp Sword. The drone is similar to the X-47B drone being tested by the U.S. Navy. Some reports say the drone is a reverse-engineered copy of Russia’s Mikoyan Skat unmanned aerial vehicle. Additional reports indicate no weapon bays were visible in any of the photos of the drone. Additionally, the stealth features that would make a drone like this a potential ‘balance-shifter’ remain unproven in this design. The flight is significant due to the new capabilities that such drones provide for China’s rapidly modernizing armed forces. As a result, China may have an edge in spreading such technology around the world due to fewer technology export controls. (Image Credit: YouTube)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    22 November 2013
    China Flies “Sharp Sword” UAV for the First Time

    MiGSkatChina’s prototype attack drone has made its first flight, according to photos of the event recently posted on the Chinese Internet. There is currently very little known about the “Sharp Sword” UAV, although it seems to resemble a Russian MiG Skat. China is known to borrow heavily from Russian designs. While a first flight may be great public relations, the most challenging part of creating a finalized armed UAV happens in laboratories and workshops where many of the systems are made, and those are technologies that China has typically found easier to buy or steal than create itself. (Image: MiG Skat. Credit: Wikipedia)
    More Info > (War is Boring blog)



    21 November 2013
    NASA Receives Confirmation from “Cubesat” Satellites

    Cubesat_NASANASA is beginning to receive confirmation of activation and normal operation for 11 “cubesat” research satellites, including the first developed by high school students. NASA Associate Administrator for Education Leland Melvin said that cubesats offer the nation’s best and brightest young minds the opportunity to discover the excitement of space exploration. The satellites are designed to operate independently, carrying separate, though miniscule, missions with some as small as 4-inches square. (Image Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)
    More Info > (Albany (OR) Tribune)



    21 November 2013
    NASA Issues Request for Bids for Private Transport to ISS

    Cygnus_at_ISSNASA is working toward returning astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) launching from the Kennedy Space Center. The agency released a new proposal on Tuesday for private companies to provide transport to the ISS on U.S. built commercial ships as soon as 2017. The proposal says the companies must demonstrate how their spacecraft can safely send humans to and from the ISS. (Image: Cygnus Captured by Station Crew. Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Central Florida News 13-TV  



    20 November 2013
    Rocket Launches from Wallops with 29 Satellites

    MinotaurI_Launches_fromWallops_Nov2013An Orbital Sciences Minotaur I rocket launched a smartphone and 28 other tiny satellites Tuesday evening from Wallops Island. The payloads are part of NASA’s investigations using small, cheap, orbiting science projects. One of the satellites launched, the TJCubeSat, was built by students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the first satellite sent into space built by high school students. Students expect it to stay in space for about three months. There was a delay in the launch due to an issue with a North Carolina tracking station. Despite that issue, the rocket launched, breaking the record for the largest number of satellites ever launched aboard a single rocket in the United States. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)
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    19 November 2013
    MAVEN Spacecraft Now On Its Way to Mars

    MAVEN-Launches_CreditNASANASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission launched Monday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the 5,400-pound spacecraft lifted off at 1:28 p.m. EST. MAVEN's solar arrays successfully deployed and are producing power. Lockheed Martin, who built the spacecraft, is responsible for mission operations, while the University of California at Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory provided science instruments for the mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA provides navigation support, Deep Space Network support, and telecommunications relay hardware and operations. While the launch is considered a big milestone, MAVEN must get to Mars and complete a check-out period before it can begin collecting science data. It will take MAVEN 10 months to reach the Red Planet, with arrival scheduled for 22 Sept. 2014. AIAA congratulates ULA, Lockheed Martin, ATK, and many more AIAA corporate members on the successful launch of MAVEN to Mars. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)
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    19 November 2013
    Space Agencies to Mark ISS Anniversary

    ISS-NASANASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the ESA, and JAXA will mark the 15th anniversary of the ISS today with a worldwide wave on Twitter. The four space agencies are expected to issue 24 tweets related to the space station in 24 hours — one every 60 minutes at the top of every hour, starting at 7 p.m. EST under the hashtag #ISS15. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Canadian Press)  



    15 November 2013
    Boeing 757 Tail With Active Flow Control Tested In Wind Tunnel

    Boeing_NASA_ActiveFlowControlTailFollowing four weeks of wind-tunnel tests by Boeing and NASA at the Ames Research Center’s National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Facility, a full-scale 757 tail with sweeping jet active flow control (AFC) showed increased rudder effectiveness. NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) program funded the project, which aims to increase sideforce 20% on demand, and shrink the vertical tail by 17% to reduce aircraft fuel burn by 1-2%. These wind tunnel tests demonstrated a 20-30% increase in the sideforce, as well as an optimum actuator distribution and mass flow for a 2015 test flight for Boeing’s Eco Demonstrator program. NASA is also participating in that part of the project. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Aviation Week)  



    14 November 2013
    MAVEN Set to Launch 18 November

    Maven_NASANASA's next Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), is set to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket Monday, 18 November. The two-hour launch window extends from 1:28 p.m. to 3:28 p.m. EST. Liftoff is set to take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. MAVEN, the second mission under NASA's Mars Scout Program, will take measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help scientists understand climate change throughout the Red Planet's history. MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. On Thursday, MAVEN will be powered on for the last time before liftoff. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    14 November 2013
    Navy to Announce Boeing P-8A Ready for Operations

    Boeing-P-8AUnnamed sources say the U.S. Navy will soon declare the Boeing P-8A aircraft ready for initial operations. First deployment would then come in December. Boeing spokesperson Chick Ramey, who would only say the announcement would come soon, noted this initial operational capability (IOC) announcement is consistent with the timeline Boeing initially estimated when the project started. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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    13 November 2013
    Justice Approves US Airways, American Merger

    American_and_USAirwaysThe Justice Department gave the green light to US Airways and American Airlines to join forces to become the largest airline in the world. The department dropped its challenge to the merger after the two airlines agreed to give up some of their takeoff and landing slots at a number of major airports. When the deal is complete in December, the merger will create the world’s biggest airline, with 6,700 daily flights to 336 cities in 56 countries, and 80 million passengers each year. The decision also will allow low-cost carriers such as JetBlue and Southwest to expand. (Image Credit: US Airways)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    13 November 2013
    Orion on Track for 2014 Test Flight

    Orion_NASANASA said yesterday that the Orion spacecraft is on track for its first test flight in September 2014. Orion’s purpose is to replace U.S. capacity for manned space missions which ended with the retirement of the space shuttle program. Orion is not expected to carry humans on board until 2021 at the earliest. Its four-hour test flight next year will launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. After that, the craft is to make two orbits around the Earth and then plunge back into Earth's atmosphere at high speed. The test flight will take it 15 times farther than the International Space Station's orbit around the globe. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    12 November 2013
    GOCE Spacecraft Fell Into the Atlantic

    GOCE-CreditESAThe ESA said it had determined that the GOCE satellite fell into the Atlantic between Antarctica and South America, a few hundred miles from the Falkland Islands, with no known damaged caused. An estimated 25% of the satellite hit the Earth’s surface, with most burning up in the atmosphere as predicted. Noteworthy was the fact that even as it broke up, GOCE was generating useful data. And, the satellite’s fall brought the mission more media attention than it received while it was operating. (Image Credit: ESA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    11 November 2013
    Olympic Torch Taken Out On Spacewalk

    OlympicTorchSpacewalk_NASARussian cosmonauts made history with their spacewalk on Saturday by using an Olympic torch for a symbolic spacewalk relay ahead of the Sochi Olympics. Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy also conducted other tasks during the spacewalk, which got extra global promotion when it was aired live in New York’s Times Square. The five-hour and 50-minute spacewalk concluded with several tasks left unresolved for the next spacewalk. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    11 November 2013
    X-47B UAV Undergoes More Tests Aboard Aircraft Carrier

    X-47B-creditUSNThe X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator was tested Saturday and Sunday during flight operations aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. It also made arrested landings and catapult landings. Each 45-minute flight was monitored by mission operators from a command and control unit. The flights are believed to be a significant step toward incorporating UAVs into Navy carrier operations. (Image Credi: USN)
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    8 November 2013
    The FAA Releases Five-Year UAV Integration Roadmap

    USN_UAVThe FAA on Thursday released a five-year roadmap for regulated unmanned aircraft which indicates that during the next few years the use of drones will be limited to permits granted by the FAA to operators who have demonstrated procedures to reduce safety risks. Congress has directed the FAA to integrate UAVs into U.S. skies by September 2015 but the agency has already missed several milestones toward meeting that goal. Integration will begin at six test sites that the FAA has yet to select, from applications from 24 states. Meanwhile, until testing is complete, the FAA will only grant UAS flying privileges on a case-by-case basis. (Image Credit: USN)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    8 November 2013
    Space Station Home to Nine Residents

    SoyuzTMA-11Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin entered the International Space Station Thursday morning carrying the torch that will officially start the 2014 Winter Olympics, to be hosted by Russia. Tyurin's crew, which also includes NASA's Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata of Japan, launched first to bring up the torch for a departing crew to return home Sunday. Their Soyuz spacecraft docked at the station at 5:27 a.m. EST Thursday, just over six hours after launching from Kazakhstan. The station now has nine residents for the first time without a shuttle present since 2009. Two cosmonauts plan to take the torch outside for a spacewalk on Saturday. (Image: Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft / Credit: NASA)
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    7 November 2013
    BAE Systems Flight Tests Taranis UAV

    TaranisUAVFor the first time, the UK Parliament’s defense committee acknowledged that BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defense company flight tested the Taranis UAV, its first combat drone with jet fighter-like capabilities. It is the first public acknowledgment that the model has flown. Europe is trying to catch-up to the U.S. when it comes to UAV development. However, even with advances like this one, Europe is still years behind U.S. capabilities, as evidenced by the 100+ flights the X-47B has already made. (Image Credit: BAE Systems)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)  



    6 November 2013
    Lockheed Martin Announces “Son of Blackbird” for 2030

    SR-72_ArtistsConceptLockheed Martin Corp. announced on its website a project for the SR-72 “Son of Blackbird,” the successor to the SR-71 Blackbird. Lockheed Martin anticipates completion of the project by 2030. The SR-72 is slated to feature hypersonic missiles and speeds of Mach 6. The company’s website indicated that the aircraft could penetrate denied airspace and strike at nearly any location across a continent in less than an hour. The design needed to achieve Mach 6 doesn’t allow for stealth in the aircraft’s construction. Instead, the SR-72’s design philosophy is “speed is the new stealth.” (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin Corp.)
    More Info > (The Washington Times)
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    6 November 2013
    Space Station to Get Crowded as Three Arrive with Olympic Torch

    Soyuz_ready_for_launch_Nov2013At the International Space Station, crew members recently moved a Russian transport vehicle to a different dock to make room for three more arriving astronauts, which will bring the total number of astronauts at the station to nine, making for crowded quarters. The three Expedition 38 astronauts will be arriving at the station Thursday on a Soyuz spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan on Wednesday. They will be bringing an Olympic torch that will be returned Sunday by Expedition 37 crew members who are scheduled to depart the station. NASA will provide a live stream of the ISS launch but have added a unique public viewing event for the occasion in Times Square. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    5 November 2013
    India Launches Its Mission to Mars

    India_Launches_Mars_MissionIndia has launched a PSLV rocket with its Mars Orbiter Mission, which is now in an elliptical orbit around the Earth before beginning its journey to Mars. The mission launched at 09:08 GMT from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on India’s east coast. The spacecraft is set to travel for 300 days, and is expected to reach Mars’ orbit in 2014. If the satellite successfully orbits the Red Planet, India's space agency will become the fourth in the world, following the U.S., Russia, and Europe to undertake a successful Mars mission. (Image Credit: Press Trust of India)
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    4 November 2013
    Launch Countdown Begins for India’s Mars Mission

    MarsRoverMission_CreditNASAIndia has begun its countdown for the anticipated launch on Tuesday of its unmanned orbiter to Mars. A successful mission would be considered a source of national pride, and raise the nation’s reputation as a leader in low-cost innovation.  If all goes as planned, India will launch the spacecraft — called Mangal¬yaan, or the Mars Orbiter Mission probe — from a small island near Chennai on the country’s southern coast. The craft will take 11 months to reach the atmosphere of Mars traveling 140 million miles from Earth. (Image: An artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    4 November 2013
    Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Developing Successor to SR-71

    SR-72_ArtistsConceptLockheed Martin’s Skunk Works recently released information on the SR-72, an affordable hypersonic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike platform that could replace the SR-71 Blackbird. The plane, which would reach speeds of Mach 6, could be demonstrated as early as 2018. In the past, such a plane was a virtual nonstarter because of the cost, but Lockheed reportedly has developed a way with Aerojet Rocketdyne to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine with a scramjet to reach the needed speeds. (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)
    More Info > (Aviation Week)  



    1 November 2013
    FAA Changes Policy On In-Flight Electronic Device Use

    PassengerUsingIpad_CreditLufthansaA new Federal Aviation Administration policy allows airline passengers to keep their electronic devices on during flights. Passengers will soon be able to use such devices from take off to landing, but only in the airplane mode. While the new FAA policy allows passengers to use devices during all phases of flight, the ban on the use of cell phones to talk and text will remain in place. The FAA’s decision on this policy has received broad praise from pilots, flight attendants and members of Congress, as well as passengers. The changes are expected to take effect by the end of the year. (Image Credit: Lufthansa/Wunderman)
    More Info > (USA Today)
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    31 October 2013
    Boeing Memo Shows Intent to Build 777X Outside Washington State

    Boeing777x-CreditBoeingBoeing reportedly plans to concentrate most of its design overhaul of the 777X aircraft outside of the Seattle area and will locate much of the work in Charleston, South Carolina; Huntsville, Alabama; Long Beach, California; Philadelphia; and St. Louis, with some work in Moscow. A memo from Boeing to its employees confirms that Boeing has been looking to move design work to engineers elsewhere. Boeing had significant operations outside of Washington for the 787, and executives have made it clear that work will not be automatically assigned to its home area of Everett, where work is mostly unionized. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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    31 October 2013
    Virgin Galactic Launch Delay Impacts Spaceport’s Budget

    SpaceportAmericaVirgin Galactic has delayed its estimated start date for launching commercial flights from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. On Wednesday, Christine Anderson, executive director of the spaceport, said that she plans to ask the Legislature for $7 million to finish paving a road between the spaceport and Las Cruces because other expenses have eaten into her budget. A new budget from Spaceport America for fiscal year 2015 reveals that Virgin Galactic is expected to start flying by August 2014, about six months later than had been anticipated. (Image Credit: Virgin Galactic)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    30 October 2013
    Sierra Nevada Says Dream Chaser Test Flight Successful Despite Rough Landing

    DreamChaserEven though the left landing gear failed to deploy properly on Dream Chaser’s recent test flight, Sierra Nevada Corp. considers the test a success as it provided a lot of valuable data. The company tested a full-scale model at Edwards Air Force Base in CA on Saturday. A helicopter dropped the unmanned craft from 12,500 feet in a first free flight. Everything worked well until the end, when the left landing gear deployed too late and the test vehicle skidded off the runway. Nothing critical was damaged and the flight computers never stopped working. It is believed that a mechanical failure is likely to blame, and an investigation is underway. The mishap is not expected to hold up plans for a piloted landing test next year. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    29 October 2013
    Maven Spacecraft On Track for 18 November Launch

    Maven_orbits_Mars_NASADespite losing some time during the government shutdown, the Maven spacecraft is progressing towards its planned 18 November launch. It is important that the spacecraft not miss its launch window, or launch too late inside it; otherwise, it could have a shorter lifespan which would negatively impact its mission as a data relay. The Maven mission is a significant step toward unraveling the planetary puzzle about Mars’ past and present environments. Meanwhile, India is also launching its own Mars spacecraft next month, called the Mars Orbiter Mission. (Image: Artist's concept shows the MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet. Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)  



    29 October 2013
    Orion Capsule Powered Up for the First Time

    Working_on_Orion_CreditNASAAhead of its first launch next year, the electronics in Orion's crew module were powered up for the first time last week. This was the first step in six months of testing as more electronics are added. So far, reports are that the avionics are all working as hoped. Orion is being prepared to launch without a crew next fall atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket. Orion is designed to eventually carry a human crew farther than one has ever travelled before, first to near-Earth asteroids and one day to Mars. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)  



    29 October 2013
    NASA Plans Launch of First-Ever High School Student-Built Satellite

    Minotaur4_OrbitalNASA plans to launch the first-ever satellite built by high school students on 19 November. The satellite, TJ-cube-sat, was built by approximately 50 students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology over the past eight years. TJ-cube-sat is one of 20 satellites selected by NASA as part of its CubeSat Launch Initiative, which includes cube-shaped research satellites that weigh approximately three pounds, also known as nanosatellites. Students used commercial off-the-shelf hardware for the structure of the satellite, radio, voice synthesizer, and a flight computer designed by lead teacher Adam Kemp. The satellite is expected to stay in orbit for three months. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Fairfax (VA) News)  



    28 October 2013
    Dream Chaser ETA Suffers Landing Failure During Free Flight Test

    DreamChaserDuring a free flight test at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser ETA (Engineering Test Article), which is being developed to potentially launch astronauts to the ISS, experienced a mechanical failure on landing. Initially, the vehicle performed well after being released by a helicopter. However, when it landed, it flipped over on the runway. The ETA has a different landing gear than the one that would carry astronauts into space. While the damage is still being assessed, the early indications are that the vehicle should be repairable. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA Space Flight)  



    28 October 2013
    ATV-4 Spacecraft to Undock from ISS Today

    ATV-4-Docks-ISSThe ESA’s ATV-4 cargo spacecraft is expected to undock from the International Space Station today. It will then be five days before it is sent into the atmosphere to burn up. The spacecraft will be positioned so the ISS crew can observe what takes place in order to gather information that might be useful for calibrating future reentries. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (RIA Novosti)



    25 October 2013
    SpaceX Completes Another CCiCap Milestone

    DragonImagedfromISS_CreditNASASpaceX has announced that it, along with NASA and FAA officials, have completed a review of the Dragon spacecraft’s abort capabilities, a key element of allowing humans onboard their spacecraft. This was SpaceX’s eighth milestone for the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) program. The system is expected to be tested next year, and SpaceX could launch the vehicle with its own crew in 2015. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA Space Flight)  



    25 October 2013
    Boeing 747 Faces Uncertain Future

    Boeing747The Boeing 747 may be nearing the end of the line because Boeing has cut production twice in six months due to lack of sales. Airlines reportedly are more interested in newer two-engine jets that need less fuel. It also is too big for many routes, as it has more seats than airlines can usually fill. However, Boeing is not giving up on the line yet, and even if the passenger version is no longer desirable, the freighter version could survive longer. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    24 October 2013
    Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration Breaks Records

    LADEE-orbits-moon-CreditNASANASA’s groundbreaking Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration aboard the LADEE spacecraft just accomplished a record-shattering data download rate of 622 megabits per second, a download rate six times faster than the most recent state-of-the-art radio system from the moon. In 2017, the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration is going to test the ability to relay data from one ground station at White Sands, N.M., to another at NASA JPL through a laser communications terminal in geostationary orbit. The 2017 mission will involve a commercial satellite that will transfer information between the ground and other missions in low Earth orbit, including the International Space Station. Eventually, this technology might help NASA stay in contact with very distant spacecraft. (Image: An artist's concept of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft seen orbiting near the surface of the moon. Image credit: NASA Ames / Dana Berry)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    23 October 2013
    Cygnus Spacecraft Leaves the ISS

    Cygnus_Leaves_ISS_CreditNASATVOrbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft successfully departed the ISS on Tuesday. It was a flawless departure for the company’s commercial craft on its demonstration mission to prove it has the ability to deliver cargo to and from the orbiting laboratory for the next several years. It is anticipated that once the spacecraft completes its destructive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere today, NASA will take several weeks to review and then officially approve Orbital to make deliveries to the ISS. AIAA congratulates Orbital Sciences, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful mission. (Image Credit: NASA TV)
    More Info > (Florida Today)  



    23 October 2013
    Rolls-Royce Starts Work on New Engine Family

    RollsRoyceEngineRolls-Royce has started work on a concept engine that will be the foundation of a new family of jet engines. The new RB3039 engine could be tested within seven years and is expected to be radically different from the Trent series that it will replace, which is used on Airbus SAS and Boeing Co. (BA) wide-body airliners. The new engine is likely to have a composite fan to improve efficiency. (Image Credit: Rolls Royce)
    More Info > (Bloomberg)  



    22 October 2013
    Magnus: Budgetary Impasse Holding Nation’s Future “for Ransom”

    Sandy_Magnus_Addresses_AIAA_Aviation2013In an op-ed for Space News titled “Ransoming Our Future,” AIAA Executive Director, and former astronaut, Sandra Magnus writes that because the Federal government has shown itself unwilling to compromise, the future of the aerospace industry and the U.S. is being “held for ransom.” Magnus details how small aerospace businesses are especially impacted when the government fails to pass budgets, because they receive a significant percentage of DOD and NASA contracts and subcontracts. Magnus states that America needs “principled, well-thought-out and sustained budgeting” with a “long-term strategic focus.” She concludes by noting these issues will be addressed at the upcoming AIAA Science & Technology Forum in January 2014. (Image: AIAA Executive Director Sandy Magnus addresses attendees at AIAA AVIATION 2013 in August 2013.  Image Credit: AIAA)
    More Info > (Space News)  



    22 October 2013
    Cygnus Set to Leave ISS Today

    Cygnus-Docks-to-ISS_CreditNASANASA said Monday that Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus spacecraft is set to leave the ISS today. It is scheduled to detach at 1000 GMT and leave the ISS an hour and a half later. Orbital engineers then will perform a series of planned burns to move Cygnus toward a destructive re-entry in Earth's atmosphere. Orbital said Cygnus is due to re-enter the atmosphere on Wednesday, 23 Oct., at 1818 GMT over the Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand. The unmanned cargo ship docked to the ISS on 29 Sept., marking the first successful demonstration mission of a cargo resupply flight by Orbital Sciences. (Image: Cygnus docked to the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (AFP)  



    21 October 2013
    Delta IV Launch Delay Not Expected to Impact MAVEN Mission

    ULA-DeltaIVThe launch of the next GPS satellite aboard a Delta IV rocket has been delayed so that United Launch Alliance (ULA) can further analyze adjustments to the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10B-2 engine that were made following a fuel leak during a launch a year ago. The liftoff had been targeted for Wednesday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The delay is not expected to impact NASA’s planned 18 Nov. launch of the Maven Mars orbiter mission on ULA’s Atlas V rocket, which uses a similar upper stage engine. ULA said the new work should be completed in the coming weeks. (Imag Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)  



    21 October 2013
    Weather Impacts Launch Date for India’s Mars Mission

    MarsRoverMission_CreditNASAThe launch of India’s Mars Orbiter Mission has been delayed for at least a week because bad weather has prevented tracking ships from reaching their intended location near Fiji Island. NASA/JPL is also providing communications and navigation support to this mission with their deep space network facilities. An announcement on the final launch date is expected 22 October. The launch window extends to 19 November. (Image: An artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Hindu)  



    18 October 2013
    Federal Employees Glad to be Back at Work

    NASAHQWith the government shutdown over, employees are happy to be getting back to their jobs. NASA tweeted, “We’re back and in the process of turning things back on - www.nasa.gov and #NASA TV will be up as soon as possible!” NASA said it would now assess the status of programs at KSC to see how they were impacted. A message for employees said to expect some delays as services resume. Meanwhile, the shutdown did result in some missed opportunities for NASA to communicate with spacecraft to collect data, as well as chances to celebrate anniversaries, like NASA’s 55th and Cassini’s 16th birthdays. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (USA Today)
    More Info > (Houston Chronicle)  



    18 October 2013
    U.S. Air Force Preparing for Combat When GPS, Communication Is Denied

    USAF-F-15CAs U.S. forces pivot to potential future conflicts over the Pacific, Air Force pilots are now training for enemies that could deny them the GPS, data links, communications and radar they relied on in Afghanistan and Iraq.  However, training for such a situation in the field is challenging because of the logistics required. In order to get real-world experience, a system called Simulated Programmable Aircraft-Embedded Jammer (SPACEJAM) is now being tested that can calculate realistic GPS jamming effects directly on the aircraft’s equipment, without affecting other aircraft in the area, allowing for actual flights in the field. (Image Credit: U.S. Air Force)
    More Info > (Air Force Times)  



    17 October 2013
    Obama Signs Legislation Ending Government Shutdown

    Capitol HillAfter sixteen days of a shutdown of the federal government, both houses of Congress passed a bi-partisan debt ceiling agreement that will re-open the government. The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 81-18, followed by approval in the House by a vote of 285-144. Early Thursday morning, President Obama signed the measure into law. The agreement raises the debt limit until February 2014, funding the government through January 2014, and establishes a joint House-Senate committee to make spending cut decisions.
    More Info > (USA Today)  



    17 October 2013
    Boeing, GE Working to Address Icing Hazards on 747 Jet

    Boeing747Boeing and General Electric, whose engines have been installed on the new Boeing 747 jet model, are working on fixes to address ice accumulation that may cause engine problems. GE released a statement saying that carriers have experienced a rising number of ice-crystal incidents. Boeing announced that it is working with GE to develop a software solution to the problem. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Wall Street Journal)  



    16 October 2013
    SpaceX Official Says U.S. Needs to Commit to Space Like China

    Shenzhou-10-Launches-June2013During last month’s AIAA SPACE 2013 Conference, SpaceX vice president for government affairs Adam Harris said that China’s space program is SpaceX’s main competitor for commercial launches. Harris said that SpaceX currently has more than 50 missions on its books, but only about a third of those are with government agencies, such as missions launching cargo to the ISS. Harris warned that if the U.S. wants to continue as the leader in space, it needs a commitment like the one China is showing towards its space program. (Image Credit: Xinhua)
    More Info > (SPACE)  



    15 October 2013
    Government Shutdown Affects Spacecraft Development

    Capitol HillThe effects of the government shutdown on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program varies, depending upon the company. Boeing said that it was not scheduled to get a payment until December, while SpaceX said so far the effects are manageable. However, Sierra Nevada has not been able to test its Dream Chaser like it wanted to this month because it is locked up at the Dryden Flight Research Center. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin engineers have not been able to continue work preparing the Orion spacecraft for its test flight next year because they also have been locked out of the Kennedy Space Center.
    More Info > (Space News)  



    14 October 2013
    A350 On Track for 2014 First Delivery

    Airbus_A350_CreditAirbusThe CEO of EADS, Tom Enders, said Monday its aircraft division, Airbus, is on schedule to deliver the first A350 XWB, the latest passenger jet from Airbus, by the end of 2014. Enders said that while the plane was behind Boeing's 787 Dreamliner in terms of development, the A350 has benefited by the lessons learned from that plane’s progress. The new fuel-efficient A350 is designed to compete with Boeing's 787. (Image Credit: Airbus)
    More Info > (AFP)  



    11 October 2013
    Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter Passes Away

    Scott-Carpenter_NASALegendary Mercury astronaut, and American pioneer, Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth, has passed away at the age of 88, leaving John Glenn as the only Mercury 7 astronaut still alive today. Along with Glenn, who flew three months before him, Carpenter was one of the last two survivors of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. He lived in Vail, CO, until a few weeks ago, when he suffered a stroke. AIAA President Mike Griffin said, “We mourn the passing of Scott Carpenter, a true American hero, a space pioneer who risked his life to advance our nation's understanding of space flight in its very earliest days. His efforts, and those of the other Mercury astronauts, paved the way for the later triumphs of the American space program. His bravery, boldness, and vision will echo down through the years as an inspiration to those who seek to further humanity's progess in space.” (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    10 October 2013
    Juno Spacecraft Enters Safe Mode Following Earth Flyby

    Juno_CreditNASANASA’s Juno spacecraft flew by the Earth on Wednesday but experienced an anomaly that caused it to go into safe mode. The spacecraft had been in excellent condition before the encounter. Operators are now trying to determine what caused the problem. The flyby may give researchers the chance to understand why some spacecraft flying by the Earth vary speed and some do not. While much of NASA is closed by the government shutdown, ISS astronauts were expected to try to capture the spacecraft on video, possibly becoming the first people in space to film a deep-space spacecraft arriving at Earth. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    8 October 2013
    FAA Recalls Some Aircraft Inspectors

    AircraftInspectorA recent FAA statement said that the agency will recall more than 800 aircraft inspectors from furloughs, and that about 75% of these inspectors will focus on major airline operations. Most of the remainder are expected to focus on the most critical production of aircraft and parts. The FAA is also recalling about 25 doctors and support workers who oversee drug and alcohol testing of commercial pilots, mechanics, and others. Meanwhile, the shutdown is beginning to affect parts the aircraft market because the FAA has closed its ownership registry. (Image Credit: U.S. DOT)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)  



    7 October 2013
    NASA Outlines Latest Plan to Reach Mars With Multiple SLS Launches

    SLS-NASAThe latest version of the Space Launch System (SLS) Concept of Operations (Con Ops) presentation shows NASA is considering multiple SLS launches, including nuclear stages, to conduct a mission to Mars. However it presents NASA with a challenge to plan for such a long-term mission when the agency is provided with short-term budgets. The U.S.’ ace in the hole may be Elon Musk, who with SpaceX is likely to reach Mars first. There could ultimately be a level of cooperation between NASA and SpaceX, but either way, any plan for Mars is certain to go through more revisions. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA Spaceflight)  



    7 October 2013
    SM-3 Block 1B Interceptor Hits Target, Ready for Production

    InterceptorTestThe Defense Department announced Friday that a Raytheon SM-3 Block 1B interceptor, the most advanced interceptor being developed for launch from a ship, successfully hit a target during a flight test from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai late Thursday. Because this was the fifth successful back-to-back flight test, it is believed that the SM-3 Block 1B can go into production whenever the government gives authorization to proceed. The interceptor has been scheduled to be deployed by the Navy in 2015. (Image Credi: USN)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    4 October 2013
    Action On Electronic Devices, NextGen Development Affected by Shutdown

    PassengerUsingIpad_CreditLufthansaWhile the FAA has received a report from an advisory panel on the use of electronic devices in-flight, it cannot move forward until the U.S. government shutdown has been resolved. According to an FAA statement the staff that would advise the administrator on this report are furloughed. The federal shutdown and furlough of 15,000 FAA employees are having detrimental effects on the National Airspace System and may derail some NextGen initiatives. The FAA has shut down the Airmen and Aircraft Registry in Oklahoma City, meaning that there will be no sales or deliveries of commercial aircraft during the shutdown. In addition, DOT says that development, operational testing, and evaluation of NextGen technologies as well as development of NextGen safety standards have been suspended during the shutdown. Meanwhile, air traffic controllers are working but are not getting paid. (Image Credit: Lufthansa/Wunderman)
    More Info > (Aviation Week)  



    3 October 2013
    NASA Has Furloughed the Largest Percentage of its Employees

    NASAHQDue to the federal government shutdown, NASA has furloughed the largest percentage of its employees of any government agency, because it is not considered essential. For NASA, with exceptions like the ISS, most programs have shut down. This could have consequences for projects like the MAVEN mission to Mars, because its launch date is dictated by astronomical realities. There may also be delays in research in general as those processing grants are now at home. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    3 October 2013
    X-56A Receiving New Flexible Wings for Upcoming Tests

    X-56AThe Lockheed Martin Skunk Works X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed (MUTT) is getting flexible wings installed so it can conduct tests at the edge, and beyond, of the destructive flutter envelope. NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory are using the unmanned plane to test flutter suppression and gust-load alleviation technologies, which is considered vital research for future UAV designs. (Image Credit: NASA, by Kenneth E. Ulbrich)
    More Info > (Aerospace Daily & Defense Report)  



    2 October 2013
    FAA Furloughs Third of Workforce, Impacts on Travel Minimal So Far

    ATC-at-DullesThe FAA has furloughed 15,514 workers out of its total workforce of 46,070, including air traffic-control support staffers and performance analysts; facility inspectors; auditors; background checkers and drug-testing personnel. However, air traffic controllers and other safety-related personnel were exempted as the FAA has prepared a contingency plan to keep essential employees on the job in order to maintain the safety of the national airspace system. In addition, The FAA has announced the furloughing of almost 3,000 air safety inspectors as part of the shutdown, whose job it is to ensure that airlines are keeping up with planes’ mechanical upgrades; to perform inspections on the planes and pilots; and to visit the sites that airlines use to repair aircraft.
    More Info > (Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger)
    More Info > (Washington Times)  



    2 October 2013
    Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey May Serve To Refuel F-35B, Other Craft

    BellBoeingMV-22-refuelingAviation officials may use the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey to refuel other aircraft, including helicopters and the F-35B Joint Strike fighter. Tests occurred on 29 August and 23 September. The first tests of the aerial refueling system under development by Bell Helicopter Textron and Boeing determined how turbulence from the Osprey’s rotors affect the hose and drogue that deliver fuel to other aircraft, as well as how rotary-wing and jet aircraft react in the Osprey’s rotor wash. The second test proved that the drogue is steady when the Osprey has its nacelles – the engine enclosures – at a 60-degree angle, instead of in the horizontal airplane mode. (Image Credit: Bell Boeing V-22 Program)
    More Info > (Marine Corps Times)  



    1 October 2013
    Federal Government Shuts Down

    Capitol HillPortions of the federal government have started the process of shutting down for the first time in 17 years. However, the President has ordered that active-duty military still receive their pay. Nearly 3,000 aviation safety inspectors are being furloughed by the FAA as part of the shutdown. The inspectors check to make sure airlines are maintaining their planes safely, conduct inspections at airports of planes and pilots, and visit repair stations where airlines send planes for major overhauls. Meanwhile, AIAA Executive Director Sandra H. Magnus, in a letter posted to the AIAA website, wrote about the impending government shutdown, noting that AIAA is preparing for another difficult year because of the uncertainties in the Federal budget.
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    29 September 2013
    SpaceX Launches Updated Falcon 9

    Falcon9-Upgraded-Launches29Sep13-creditSpaceXSpaceX reached another milestone Sunday, successfully launching its most powerful rocket from California. The updated, nine-engine Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base shortly after 9 a.m. PDT delivering the CASSIOPE satellite into orbit, a project of the Canadian Space Agency. It marked the first time that a rocket made by SpaceX launched from California. Until Sunday, SpaceX had launched its rockets from Cape Canaveral in Florida. By launching from Vandenberg, SpaceX will have access to another launch facility as it aims to launch rockets carrying government and commercial satellites at a rate of about once a month over the next five years. AIAA congratulates SpaceX, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch of their updated Falcon 9. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    29 September 2013
    Cygnus Spacecraft Docks to Space Station

    Cygnus-Docks-to-ISS_CreditNASAOrbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft successfully docked to the Harmony node of the International Space Station ahead of schedule Sunday morning at 8:44 a.m. EDT. The spacecraft is delivering about 1,300 pounds of cargo, including student experiments, food and clothing. The crew will open the hatch to the spacecraft Monday to begin unloading cargo. AIAA congratulates Orbital Sciences, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful docking of Cygnus with the ISS. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA)
     



    27 September 2013
    Curiosity Finds “Surprising” Amounts of Water, Perchlorate On Mars

    Curiosity-on-Mars_NASAFive new studies chronicle Curiosity’s findings during its first 100 days on Mars. The rover found that liquid water was present in Gale Crater, answering the question of whether Mars was habitable at one point in time. The rover also discovered a type of rock that has never been seen before on Mars. The rover also found perchlorate salts that would destroy the organic compounds researchers hoped to find in the soil. There was a surprising amount of water found in the soil: 2% by weight of water. This amount would be good news for any person traveling to the planet, but the perchlorate would be dangerous to people. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Christian Science Monitor)  



    27 September 2013
    Cygnus Spacecraft to Dock at ISS Sunday

    Cygnus-approaching_ISS-creditNASANow that the next ISS crew has arrived at the space station, Orbital Sciences will try to dock its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS on Sunday instead of Saturday as originally planned. NASA TV will broadcast the berthing. The spacecraft is reportedly currently in a healthy condition. Sunday is expected to be a significant day for commercial spaceflight, with Cygnus’ docking and the planned launch of SpaceX’s upgraded Falcon 9 rocket. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)  



    25 September 2013
    Unmanned F-16 Breaks Sound Barrier In First Flight

    QF-16-USAFLast week, for the first time, the U.S. Air Force flew a zombie F-16, an unmanned version of the F-16 that has flown with pilots for millions of hours. During the test, the aircraft broke the sound barrier. The unmanned jet, the QF-16, was able to achieve all the maneuvers of the piloted craft. Instead of being a hunter drone, this jet is expected to be a faster, more agile target for fighter pilot training, an upgrade on the Vietnam-era F-4 now used. Once these flight tests are completed, the jets will be sent to Holloman Air Force Base for air-to-ground control system and live-fire testing. They are expected to be fielded next year. (Image Credit: U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz)
    More Info > (Air Force Times)  



    25 September 2013
    New Space Station Crew Set to Launch Today

    Soyuz_ready_for_Launch_Sept2013_NASAMichael Hopkins of NASA, and Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian Federal Space Agency will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome today at 4:58 p.m. EDT aboard a Soyuz spacecraft headed for the International Space Station. The Soyuz is expected to rendezvous with the space station and dock at 10:47 p.m. Hatches are expected to open at about 12:25 a.m. Expedition 37 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, as well as Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency will greet Hopkins, Kotov and Ryazanskiy. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)  



    25 September 2013
    Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Turns On Its Engines for the First Time

    MQ-8C-CreditNGCNorthrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire-X vertical take-off unmanned air vehicle (VTUAV) has fired its engines for the first time. The test lasted for 10 minutes. The engines will be engaged a couple more times this week before that information is sent to the U.S. Navy in preparation for first flight. While no firm first flight date has been established, it is tentatively scheduled for mid-October. Following first flight, the aircraft will enter a six-month flight test program before delivery to the U.S. Navy. (Image Credit: Northrop Grumman)
    More Info > (Flight Global)  



    24 September 2013
    FAA Reportedly Will Allow Expanded Use of Electronic Devices

    PassengerUsingIpad_CreditLufthansaThe FAA is preparing to recommend that airlines allow a select number of electronic devices to remain on during takeoff and landing, but will not allow the use of wifi below 10,000 feet or the use of cell phones or the transmission of text messages. The FAA has only had anecdotal evidence that suggests devices such as e-book readers or DVD players interfered with the aircraft’s performance. The changes are expected to be implemented sometime next year. The FAA advisory panel will meet in coming days and is expected to provide a report to the FAA by the end of the month. (Image Credit: Lufthansa/Wunderman)
    More Info > (USA Today)  



    24 September 2013
    Sikorsky S-97 Raider Prototype Expected to be Completed This Week

    SikorskyS-97Raider_CreditSikorskySikorsky officials say that the S-97 Raider helicopter prototype will be completed this week, with a first flight expected at the end of 2014. The company is confident the helicopter will have an unmatched mix of speed and maneuverability, and will be capable of winning the Army’s Armed Aerial Scout. It also is optimistic that the Armed Aerial Scout program will go forward despite the threat of budget cuts due to sequestration. (Image Credit: Sikorsky)
    More Info > (Defense News)  



    23 September 2013
    Cygnus Spacecraft Docking Delayed by Two Days

    Cygnus-approaching_ISS-creditNASAThe arrival of Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus capsule at the ISS has been delayed at least two days after it experienced a navigation system glitch Sunday. Operators discovered that the issue was due to a difference in data format. Orbital has subsequently found the causes of this discrepancy and is developing a software fix. Because of the approach trajectory of the Cygnus spacecraft, it will take two days for the orbital mechanics to align to allow a second attempt to link up with the space station. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)  



    23 September 2013
    Deep Impact’s Mission Has Ended

    DeepImpact_CreditNASA_ESANASA announced Friday that the Deep Impact mission has ended after failing to regain contact with the spacecraft over the past month. While a cause for the failure was not determined, researchers believe control was lost, and in the end it lost power and froze to death. Scientists are disappointed because they wanted to use the spacecraft to monitor Comet ISON as it approached the inner solar system. The spacecraft did live three to four times longer than originally planned, and mission team members were pleased by what the spacecraft observed, and by the data it collected, while functioning. (Image Credit: NASA/ESA)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    23 September 2013
    Dragon Capsule Upgrades Delay SpaceX Launch Into Next Year

    Dragon Capsule Awaits Launch - Sept2013SpaceX is modifying its Dragon capsule to accommodate more payload capacity for NASA cargo runs to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The major upgrade will increase the amount of cold-storage capacity the capsule can provide. As a result, SpaceX will not be able to make another trip to the ISS this year. The originally planned December launch date was chosen in cooperation with SpaceX and assumed the enhancements being implemented by SpaceX would be completed in time. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (Aviation Week)  



    19 September 2013
    Cygnus Spacecraft Now On Its Way to the ISS

    AntaresLaunchOrbital Sciences’ Antares rocket and Cygnus capsule had a successful debut with its launch from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Wednesday. The 13-story rocket blasted off at 10:58 a.m. EDT. The capsule named Cygnus, carrying 1,300 pounds of supplies, is now on its way to the ISS and is scheduled to arrive on Sunday. This is a “demonstration” mission to prove that Orbital has the capabilities to send cargo to the station. Once the Cygnus spacecraft reaches the space station it will remain docked until late October. (Image Credit: AIAA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    18 September 2013
    Orbital Sciences Launches Antares

    Antares_Launches_18Sept2013Orbital Sciences successfully launched its Antares rocket Wednesday at 10:58 a.m. EDT, carrying the second private cargo craft ever on a supply mission to the International Space Station. The rocket quickly reached 10,000 miles per hour, and will ultimately top 16,700 miles per hour before slowing down a bit on its way to a planned Sunday delivery. If this mission succeeds, Orbital Sciences will start launching more Cygnus cargo ships under a contract with NASA. AIAA congratulates Orbital Sciences Corp., an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: AIAA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    18 September 2013
    Orbital Sciences Ready for Today’s Launch

    Antares-awaits-launch-17Sept13-AIAAOrbital Sciences Corp. is all set to conduct its first-ever supply mission to the International Space Station. The company says everything looks good for today's launch from Virginia's Eastern Shore. An unmanned Antares rocket is scheduled to blast off from NASA's Wallops Island Facility at 10:50 a.m. EDT, carrying 1,300 pounds of food, clothes and other supplies as part of a test flight. Arrival of the Cygnus cargo ship at the ISS and delivery of the supplies is scheduled for Sunday. If this mission succeeds, Orbital Sciences will start launching more Cygnus cargo ships under a contract with NASA. (Image Credit: AIAA)
    More Info > (USA Today)  



    18 September 2013
    Boeing 787-9 Makes Its First Test Flight

    787-9FirstFlight-BoeingA longer version of Boeing Company’s 787 Dreamliner successfully completed its first flight on Tuesday. The 787-9 jet, which landed at 4:18 pm PDT at Boeing Field in Seattle, has room for 290 passengers, 40 more than the original 787-8 jetliner, and has about 300 more nautical miles of range. The jet flew at a speed of up to 366 knots (421 mph) and an altitude of 20,000 feet. The trip took it over Puget Sound and then over the eastern part of Washington state. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (The Associated Press)  



    18 September 2013
    Atlas V Rocket Successfully Launches

    ULA_AtlasV_Launches_Sept2013_CreditULAA United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Advanced Extremely High Frequency-3 (AEHF-3) satellite for the U.S. Air Force lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, at 4:10 a.m. EDT today. The AEHF satellite is a joint-service satellite communications system that will provide global and secure communications for military assets. This was ULA's 9th launch for the year and marks the 40th Atlas V mission and the 75th launch for ULA. ULA's next launch is the Delta IV GPS IIF-5 mission for the Air Force scheduled for 17 Oct. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (NASA Spaceflight)  



    17 September 2013
    Bombardier CSeries Makes Its First Flight

    BombardierCSeriesThe Bombardier CSeries completed its maiden flight Monday, ending more than eight months of delays for the aircraft program intended to challenge Boeing Co. (BA) and Airbus SAS. There was one minor fault in the flight, but there was no functionality issue involved. The plane touched down at Mirabel airport near Montreal after about a 2 1/2 hours flight. Bombardier will now examine the schedule to determine if the plane can enter service in a year. (Image Credit: Bombardier)
    More Info > (Associated Press)  



    17 September 2013
    Atlas V Rocket Moved to Launch Pad for Wednesday Launch

    ULA-AtlasV_Sept2013An Atlas V rocket that will launch the third Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite was moved to its launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ahead of its Wednesday launch. There is currently a 60 percent chance the weather will be acceptable for the launch. The 197-foot tall United Launch Alliance rocket and its payload, an Air Force communications satellite, are scheduled to lift off from Launch Complex 41 at 3:04 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The launch window will extend through 5:04 a.m. Wednesday. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)  



    16 September 2013
    Orbital Sciences Launch Delayed One Day to Wednesday

    OrbitalAntares_Sept2013Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft is now targeted to launch between 10:50 and 11:05 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, 18 September, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia. On Saturday, managers postponed the launch at least 24 hours. The postponement was due to a combination of Friday’s poor weather, which delayed roll-out of Antares to the launch pad, and a technical issue identified Friday night involving communications between ground equipment and the rocket’s flight computer. The problem has been identified and corrected. Orbital’s Cygnus cargo carrier will be the first spacecraft launched to the orbiting laboratory from Virginia. The spacecraft will deliver about 1,300 pounds of cargo to the Expedition 37 crew aboard the space station. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (SPACE.com)  



    16 September 2013
    Epsilon Rocket Launches, Places SPRINT-A Telescope in Orbit

    JapansEpsilonRocketLaunchJapan successfully launched its Epsilon rocket for the first time on Saturday. The rocket lifted off at 2.00 p.m. (0500GMT / 1:00 a.m. EDT) carrying a SPRINT-A telescope, the first space telescope designed to observe other planets. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the launch shows that Japan has “highly reliable” space technology. Meanwhile, Japan wants to use the rocket, which is one-third the cost of the H2A, to become more competitive in the international rocket-launching business. (Image Credit: NASA Spaceflight)
    More Info > (Associated Press)  



    13 September 2013
    Voyager 1 Leaves Solar System

    Voyager1_NASANASA confirmed Thursday that its Voyager 1 spacecraft has become the first probe to exit the solar system, an extraordinary achievement that NASA could only dream about when Voyager was launched in 1977. When it left Earth 36 years ago, it was only designed as a four-year mission to Saturn. Voyager 1 can now investigate the unexplored region in between the stars and send back details about conditions there. It takes 17 hours and 22 minutes for Voyager’s signals to reach NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The lonely probe, which reached interstellar space on 25 Aug. 2012, is now 11.7 billion miles from Earth, moving at 38,000 miles per hour, and is expected to keep sending back data until roughly 2025. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (USA Today)  



    12 September 2013
    NASA Discusses Asteroid Capture Mission

    AIAAsNASAAsteroidCapturePanel_11Sep2013NASA discussed its ambitious asteroid redirect mission from AIAA’s 2013 SPACE Conference and Exposition in San Diego, CA, Wednesday, 11 September. NASA plans to capture an asteroid as it tumbles past Earth and drag it into orbit around the moon. Then, once the space rock has moved into lunar orbit, the agency would like to send a pair of astronauts to collect samples from it. At the conference, Paul Chodas of the NASA Near-Earth Object Program Office said, “We have two to three [target asteroids] which we will characterize in the next year and if all goes well... those will be valid candidates that could be certified targets.” (Image Credit: AIAA)
    More Info > (Los Angeles Times)
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    11 September 2013
    MDA Oversees Two Successful Missile Tests

    Missile_Test_MDAThe U.S. Missile Defense Agency successfully conducted an exercise early Tuesday in the western Pacific in which a Navy destroyer tracked and shot down an overhead ballistic missile using a Standard Missile-3. Additionally, the 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment was able to shoot down an incoming missile in a live-fire test near the Marshall Islands. The results are considered a success for the Navy’s Aegis ballistic-missile defense system, which is becoming the future of the destroyer fleet, and the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, in demonstrating layered tracking and intercept capabilities against ballistic targets. (Image Credit: MDA)
    More Info > (Navy Times)  



    11 September 2013
    Expedition 36 Crew Safely Returns from ISS

    Exp36Returns_NASAAstronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin safely returned to Earth after departing the ISS Tuesday night following 166 days in space. The three men blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome on 29 March. Their return flight to Earth took just over three hours. Now that the three crew members have returned, Misurkin and Cassidy will undergo various tests that could provide information for future flights. Vinogradov, at 60 the oldest human ever to land in a Soyuz vehicle, will not take part in the same experiments. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)  



    10 September 2013
    Second Airbus A350 Test Aircraft to Start Flying In October

    Airbus_A350_CreditAirbusThe first Airbus A350 has almost completed the initial part of its flight-test campaign, having logged 150 flight hours since it first started flying. Currently, there is a temporary break in the flight-test campaign to allow for more equipment to be installed. The plane’s configuration is expected to be frozen shortly thereafter. At that point, the test campaign will continue with the introduction of the second test aircraft in October. It anticipated that the A350 will be delivered to its first customer in the third quarter of next year. (Image Credit: Airbus)
    More Info > (Flight Global)  



    10 September 2013
    Lockheed, Bell Helicopter to Develop V-280 Valor Tilt-Rotor

    V-280_valor_BellBell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin are collaborating on a third-generation tilt-rotor called the V-280 Valor that is expected to fly above 6,000 feet and compete for the Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program. The plans were announced Monday. Bell’s larger V-22 Osprey flies at 5,700 feet and is designed for a different set of missions. A model of the Valor was unveiled last April at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America’s exposition. (Image Credit: U.S. Army)
    More Info > (Ft. Worth (TX) Star-Telegram)  



    9 September 2013
    LADEE Launches from Wallops

    LADEE-Launches_NASANASA's LADEE mission successfully launched Friday night, 6 September, from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. An Orbital Sciences Corp. Minotaur V rocket launched the lunar probe at 11:27 p.m. EDT. LADEE scientists hope the mission will yield insights into the odd lunar glow spotted on the moon's horizon by Apollo astronauts during NASA's lunar landings in the 1960s and 1970s. The mission will also track how moon dust moves across the lunar surface. LADEE will take about 30 days to reach the moon and spend 100 days performing its lunar atmosphere and dust mission. At the end of its mission, LADEE will be intentionally crashed into the lunar surface. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    9 September 2013
    NASA Wants Several Launches of Upgraded Falcon 9 Before ISS Runs

    SpaceXFalcon9SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his company is taking every precaution in regards to its upcoming launch of its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, doing everything possible to make a successful launch more likely. Along with the payloads being launched, Musk said SpaceX will relight the engines before the boost stage hits the water to see if it can be recovered. Musk estimates possibly a 10 percent chance of success. Meanwhile, NASA wants two or three launches before it is willing to use the upgraded rockets on launches to ISS. The next ISS launch could take place between 17 January and 16 February of next year. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (Space News)  



    6 September 2013
    LADEE Ready for Launch Tonight

    LADEE_ready_for_LaunchEngineers from NASA's Ames Research Center have successfully completed launch preparations for NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) observatory, which has been encapsulated into the nose-cone of the Minotaur V rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. LADEE now is ready to launch when the window opens this evening. The launch window will be 11:27 p.m. to 11:31 p.m. EDT. LADEE is scheduled to orbit Earth for three weeks, then spend 100 days measuring lunar dust and the moon’s atmosphere. The mission’s results could be helpful in preparing for future manned missions to the moon. In Chincoteague, NASA has set up viewing areas that will include large televisions showing the launch, and NASA officials will be on hand to answer questions. Information on Chincoteague viewing areas can be found at www.tiny.cc/jmtm2w.  (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA)  



    6 September 2013
    SpaceShipTwo Conducts Second Powered Flight

    SpaceShipTwo_Sept2013Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo achieved supersonic speeds during its second powered test on Thursday. The vehicle achieved a speed of Mach 1.43 in a flight over the Mojave Desert, another key milestone toward its goal of launching tourists into space sometime next year. During the test, SpaceShipTwo was taken to about 46,000 feet by a carrier aircraft, and nearly one hour into the flight, it was dropped. After a short free fall, pilot Mark Stucky and co-pilot Clint Nichols engaged the hybrid rocket motor for 20 seconds. SpaceShipTwo blasted to Mach 1.43, reaching about 56,000 feet in altitude. The rocket plane flew solo for nearly 30 minutes, making a smooth landing in Mojave about 9:25 a.m. (Image Credit: Virgin Galactic)
    More Info >  (The Los Angeles Times)  



    5 September 2013
    HTV-4 Spacecraft Leaves the ISS

    JAXAsHTV-4JAXA’s HTV-4 cargo spacecraft, named “Kounotori” (White Stork), departed the International Space Station Wednesday, as planned, after delivering vital supplies. It is now scheduled for destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean. HTV-4 also delivered a small humanoid robot, known as Kirobo, which has the ability to interact with humans via speech. Kirobo will stay aboard the ISS until December 2014 to test human-robot voice interaction in space, prior to being returned to Earth. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA Spaceflight)  



    4 September 2013
    Israel, U.S. Successfully Test Missile-Defense System Over Mediterranean

    ArrowBallisticMissileDefenseIsrael conducted Tuesday what it called a successful joint test with the U.S. of its Arrow Ballistic Missile Defense system. The test launch was conducted in the Mediterranean Sea with the U.S. providing technical assistance and support to the Israelis. There was no mention that the launch was made in preparation for action in Syria. Israeli defense officials called the test routine. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
    More Info > (The New York Times)  



    3 September 2013
    NASA to Launch LADEE Friday

    LADEE-Prepares-for-Launch-NASANASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment (LADEE) mission will launch from Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Friday, on a five-stage Minotaur V rocket. The launch window will be 11:27 p.m. to 11:31 p.m. EDT. It’s scheduled to orbit Earth for three weeks, then spend 100 days measuring lunar dust and the moon’s atmosphere. The mission’s results could be helpful in preparing for future manned missions to the moon. In Chincoteague, NASA has set up viewing areas that will include large televisions showing the launch, and NASA officials will be on hand to answer questions. Information on Chincoteague viewing areas can be found at www.tiny.cc/jmtm2w. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    3 September 2013
    Cygnus Spacecraft to Launch for ISS 17 September

    Cygnus-Spacecraft-OrbitalOrbital Sciences is preparing to launch its Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket on Tuesday, 17 September from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The launch is currently set for 11:16 a.m., with a 15-minute launch window. This will be the first time a Cygnus spacecraft will deliver cargo to the International Space Station, and, if successful, will clear the way for Orbital to begin regular cargo supply missions. More than 1,300 pounds of non-critical crew supplies will be taken to the International Space Station on the demonstration mission. (Image Credit: Orbital Sciences)
    More Info > (Delmarva (MD) Daily Times)  



    30 August 2013
    Boeing Says Airlines Will Need to Hire 500,000 Pilots by 2032

    American_AirlinesBoeing predicts that airlines will need to hire 498,000 new commercial pilots by 2032 in addition to 556,000 new maintenance technicians, as airline companies expand their fleets. The projected increase is greater than Boeing had previously indicated and is driven in large part by airlines’ interest in single-aisle aircraft. Other variables include the retirement of thousands of pilots this year and new rules from the FAA that require more training and rest between flights. Meanwhile, analysts predict the shortage will be felt most by regional carriers that operate half of the USA’s scheduled flights. (Image Credit: American Airlines)
    More Info > (USA Today)  



    30 August 2013
    Virginia, Alaska Agree to Coordinate Spaceport Activities

    Wallops-Island-Launch-siteVirginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell announced Thursday a new operating agreement for the coordination of commercial space activities between the Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority and the Alaska Aerospace Corp. The Alaska Aerospace Corp., which has struggled financially in the past, is partnering with Virginia’s authority, which stepped into the national spotlight in April with the Antares launch, and has lunar spacecraft and ISS cargo launches slated for launch in the coming months. The two spaceports will work together to share engineering, technical knowledge and operating procedures. (Image: Wallops Flight Facility, VA.  Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)  



    29 August 2013
    ULA Launches Delta 4 Heavy

    ULA_DeltaIV_Launches_28Aug2013A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta 4 Heavy rocket carrying a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Wednesday at 11:03 a.m. PDT. Standing 235 feet tall, it is the United States’ largest rocket. This is the second time that a Delta IV Heavy rocket was launched from the pad at Vandenberg. The first time was in January 2011. AIAA congratulates ULA, an AIAA corporate member, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: Pat Corkery/United Launch Alliance)
    More Info > (Los Angeles Times)  



    29 August 2013
    California Uses MQ-1 UAV for Real-Time Wildfire Imaging

    Firefighting-DroneCalifornia firefighters are employing an MQ-1 UAV for almost immediate views of any portion of the flames in the Yosemite National Park wildfire. The MQ-1 unmanned aircraft quickly alerted fire bosses to a new flare-up they otherwise wouldn’t have immediately seen. The aircraft is being remotely piloted from hundreds of miles away by the 163rd Wing of the California National Guard at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, and is operating out of Victorville Airport. (Image Credit: University of Colorado)
    More Info > (Associated Press)  



    28 August 2013
    Nation’s Largest Rocket to Launch from Vandenberg

    ULA-Delta_IV_prepares-for-launchThe nation’s largest rocket is set to blast off today from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The 235-foot ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket will lift off from the base's Space Launch Complex 6, as early as 10:52 a.m. The rocket, the tallest ever to be launched from Vandenberg, will place a classified satellite into orbit on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office. The last time a Delta IV Heavy rocket launched from Vandenberg, in January 2011, people were able to hear the launch up to 50 miles away. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Los Angeles Times)  



    28 August 2013
    Orbital Launch to the ISS Set for 17 September

    Antares_Rocket_Awaits_Launch_Credit_OrbitalSciencesThe launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket and a Cygnus spacecraft with non-critical cargo to the International Space Station has been set for 17 September. This is the final milestone for the company’s work under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, after which regular cargo supply missions will begin. Orbital’s Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft is one of two high-profile missions planned for launch in September from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The ISS mission will mark the first time Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft will deliver cargo to the International Space Station. (Image Credit: Orbital Sciences)
    More Info > (Delmarvanow.com)  



    27 August 2013
    Astronauts, Satellites Image Yosemite Fire

    Yosemite_Fire_from_ISS_Aug2013_CreditNASAThe wildfire raging in Northern California can be seen from space. ISS astronaut Karen Nyberg took an image of the Yosemite wildfire from her post aboard the International Space Station on Saturday, 24 August. "Our orbit took us directly over California's Rim Fire about an hour ago Devastating August 26," Nyberg wrote on her Twitter account, @AstroKarenN. The fire, which started 17 Aug., has burned more than 149,000 acres of land. Astronauts aboard the ISS have spotted wildfires before. In June 2012, a wildfire in Colorado that consumed 15,517 acres of land was photographed from a window of the orbiting laboratory, and in 2011 a wildfire burning in Texas was seen by astronauts onboard the outpost. (Image Credit: Karen Nyberg, NASA)
    More Info > (International Business Times)  



    26 August 2013
    FAA, Navy Collaborating with NASA On Helicopter Crash Tests

    CH-46_CreditNASALangleyNASA and the FAA are preparing to intentionally crash a helicopter as part of a test designed to improve safety. The drop test, from a height of about 30 feet , will take place on 28 August at the space agency's Langley Research Center in Virginia. NASA is working with the FAA and the U.S. Navy to make helicopters and other rotary crafts more serviceable, quicker, quieter, safer, and greener. A CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter will be used in the tests. (Image Credit: NASA/Langley/David C. Bowman)
    More Info > (WTKR-TV)  



    26 August 2013
    Boeing Completes First 787-9

    Boeing-787-9Boeing has unveiled the first 787-9 Dreamliner which is 20 feet longer than its predecessor and capable of carrying 40 more passengers. The 787-9 is considered an improvement, flying roughly 300 nautical miles longer while burning 20 percent less fuel, and saving substantial weight through its carbon-fiber composite material. Boeing said Air Zealand will be the first recipient of the new aircraft, sometime in mid-2014. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (CNET)  



    23 August 2013
    Cosmonauts Overcome Telescope Mount Issue to Complete Spacewalk

    RussianSpacewalk_Aug2013_CreditNASACosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin completed a five-hour 58-minute spacewalk Thursday, successfully installing an optical telescope mount despite a misalignment that could potentially affect future observations. Officials decided the cosmonauts should install the device because the camera platform would only be out of alignment in the yaw axis, not in the roll or pitch axes. They determined it would be possible to correct for that misalignment by using the pointing platform. Meanwhile, NASA spacewalks are still suspended pending the completion of an investigation into why astronaut Luca Parmitano’s spacesuit sprung a leak during an earlier spacewalk. Part or all of the outfit will be brought back to Earth via a SpaceX spacecraft early next year. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    22 August 2013
    NASA to Reactivate WISE Telescope Next Month

    WISE_Credit_NASANASA announced Wednesday it will reactivate the WISE telescope in September for a three-year mission to search for potentially dangerous asteroids on a collision course with Earth. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, telescope also will hunt for suitable targets for a future mission to send a robotic spacecraft to rendezvous with a small asteroid and relocate all or part of it into an orbit around the moon. Astronauts would then visit the relocated asteroid during a test flight of NASA's deep-space Orion capsule, scheduled for launch around 2021. Orion and a heavy-lift rocket called the Space Launch System are slated for an unmanned debut test flight in 2017. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Universe Today)  



    22 August 2013
    Survey Finds Boeing 777 Fliers’ Favorite Plane

    Boeing-777-CreditBoeingA survey of 1,000 fliers by Airfarewatchdog found that 25% prefer the Boeing 777 (25 percent) followed by the even larger Boeing 747 (18 percent) and Airbus A380 (16 percent). The fact that the A380 was nearly as popular as the more familiar 747 may be due to the fact that the A380 is much quieter in flight. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is made mostly of composite materials and contains many passenger amenities, came in fourth, with 8 percent. The workhorse Boeing 737 came in fifth, at 7 percent. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Chicago Tribune)  



    21 August 2013
    Newest Astronaut Class Officially Introduced

    NewNASAAstronautClass_Aug2013-CreditNASANASA Administrator Charles Bolden formally introduced NASA’s new astronaut class at the Johnson Space Center Tuesday. The astronaut candidates are Josh A. Cassada and Victor J. Glover, both lieutenant commanders in the U.S. Navy; Tyler N. "Nick" Hague, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force; Christina M. Hammock; Nicole Aunapu Mann, a major in the U.S. Marine Corps; Anne C. McClain and Andrew R. Morgan, both majors in the U.S. Army; and Jessica U. Meir. They were selected from more than 6,100 applicants through a rigorous process. Bolden said the candidates “not only have the right stuff, they represent the full tapestry of American diversity.” (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (CBS News)  



    20 August 2013
    Skunk Works Developing Car-Transportation Transformer TX UAV

    TransformerTXLockheed Martin Skunk Works is developing a UAV, the Transformer TX, for DARPA that could transport cars, storage containers, and eventually even pods full of soldiers. The TX is currently in the phase 3 finalization design process, which means Lockheed is finalizing its design before building a working prototype. The design concept looks like a sedan with a propeller from a helicopter and the wings of a small plane. The final design will boast a range of 250 miles and a top speed of 200 knots. If DARPA determines that the prototype meets its needs, it can then opt to pay Lockheed to produce the drones for flight sometime in 2015. (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)
    More Info > (The Verge)  



    20 August 2013
    Indian Rocket Launch Canceled Due to Fuel Leak

    GSLV-D5-awaitsLaunch-Credit_ISROIndia canceled the launch of its GSLV-D5 rocket due to a leak in its fuel system, marking the third consecutive failure of the technology. India has been attempting to successfully launch a rocket using its own advanced cryogenic rocket technology to launch heavier satellite payloads. The leak was detected two hours before the scheduled liftoff. The rocket will be checked and repaired in its assembly building, meaning at least a week’s delay in the launch. (Image Credit: ISRO)
    More Info > (Space News)  



    19 August 2013
    ISS Testing RINGS Satellite Propulsion System

    RINGS-Satellite-Propulsion-SystemISS astronauts are testing a Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System (RINGS) propulsion system inside the space station. It uses magnetic fields instead of propellants to move spacecraft as a way to increase service life and make satellite formation flying more practical. The system uses magnets and reaction wheels to allow spacecraft in formation to move, change attitude, and spin. While electromagnetic formation flight has many potential benefits, it also will require superconducting wires, high-velocity reaction wheels, cryogenic cooling, and other critical technologies to be developed before they become practical. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Gizmag)  



    19 August 2013
    Kidde Aerospace Takes Responsibility for 787 Assembly Errors

    ANA-787United Technologies Corp.’s Kidde Aerospace unit took responsibility for assembly errors found in three All Nippon Holdings Inc. 787s’ engine-fire extinguishing systems. Boeing said that the issue doesn’t compromise safety because there are several redundancies in the fire extinguishing system. Boeing is asking airlines to check their 787s for the issue. Meanwhile a spokesman for UTC Aerospace Systems, said the company is aware of the issue and is working with Boeing to help resolve the matter. (Image Credit: All Nippon Airlines)
    More Info > (Chicago Business Journal)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)  



    19 August 2013
    Tornado-Chasing UAVs Could Increase Warning Times

    Tornado-Chasing-UAV_Credit_UofColoradoTornado chasers are working toward increasing safety by using UAVs equipped with sensors to track extreme weather. With the technology, warning times for tornadoes could be increased from a current average of 14 minutes to as much as one hour. The aircraft is reportedly ready for trial, but scientists are waiting on FAA integration policy. If new policies are put in place, these storm chasing UAVs could be widely operational in five years, allowing meteorologists to make more accurate tornado warnings. (Image Credit: University of Colorado)
    More Info > (NPR)  



    16 August 2013
    NASA to Stop Efforts to Fix Kepler’s Reaction Wheels

    Kepler-NASANASA announced Thursday that it will stop trying to fix its planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft’s non-functioning reaction wheels. As a result, Kepler will never improve enough to search for exoplanets again. While Kepler’s mission was considered a success, much of its data has yet to be examined, and NASA is still looking for ways to still utilize the telescope.  They have asked for ideas as the telescope remains perfect. Astronomers are still working on the large collection of observations Kepler made. Kepler discovered 3,548 possible planets, verified approximately 135 from other instruments, and hundreds or thousands more are in the pipeline. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)  



    16 August 2013
    Hollywood Increasing Use of UAV Cameras In Blockbuster Films

    FIlm-Drone-PerspectiveAerialsSeveral blockbuster films have used unmanned aerial footage during production, including “Skyfall,” “Man of Steel,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “The Hunger Games,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” and “Iron Man 3.” Drones can provide cinematographers a unique advantage over traditional filmmaking methods due to their extended range, agility, and ability to film acrobatic shots. Despite these advantages, film studios remain skeptical about relying too heavily on unmanned vehicles because of the expense to replace and insure them in the event of an accident. Additionally, filmmakers must receive permission from the FAA to operate the UAVs. (Image Credit: Perspective Aerials)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)  



    15 August 2013
    SpaceX Grasshopper Demonstrates Successful Vertical-Takeoff-and-Landing

    SpaceXGrasshoopperSpaceX successfully staged the most challenging test flight yet of its Grasshopper test vehicle, sending the vertical-takeoff-and-landing rocket 250 meters into the air and steering it 100 meters laterally before bringing it in for a landing. The test took place 13 Aug. at SpaceX’s test facility near McGregor, Texas. SpaceX is also preparing to fly Grasshopper at Spaceport America in New Mexico, where it would be possible to send the vehicle to higher altitudes. Grasshopper is a part of SpaceX’s initiative, first announced in 2011, to develop an orbital rocket with a reusable first stage. The test vehicle is based closely on the first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket but has landing legs and is powered by a single kerosene-fueled Merlin 1-D engine. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (SPACE.com)
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    15 August 2013
    Boeing to Test Advanced 777X Building Methods

    Boeing777x-CreditBoeingNext month a group of Boeing engineers will begin testing advanced automation methods for building the soon-to-be-launched 777X jet. The new system would dramatically change the way the plane’s metal hull is built with less manual labor and an increased overall production rate. The 777X, a major update to Boeing’s large widebody twinjet, features composite plastic wings and new fuel-efficient engines but retains the 777’s aluminum fuselage. It’s due to enter service by the end of the decade. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (The Seattle Times)  



    14 August 2013
    NASA Planning to Send 3-D Printer to ISS

    3-DPrinter-Made-In-SpaceNASA plans to send a 3-D printer to the International Space Station in June, on the fifth SpaceX supply mission. NASA says the printer would enable a steady supply of all the little parts for the station without needing to deliver or store them. The Marshall Space Flight Center recently tested the printer, built by Made In Space, to make sure it can withstand the pressure of a launch and perform in micro-gravity. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (CNN)  



    14 August 2013
    Titan Aerospace Reveals Solara 50

    Solara50-TitanAerospaceTitan Aerospace has unveiled the Solara 50 and Solara 60, two high-altitude solar-powered UAVs designed to fly up to 65,000 ft and remain there for up to weeks at a time. The aircraft is sustained by a 50m wingspan and a single large battery-powered propeller which is powered by thousands of solar cells placed on virtually every surface of the aircraft. It is not the first multi-week "atmospheric satellite" aircraft. A similar project initiated by DARPA became prototypes: the AeroVironment Global Observer and the QinetiQ Observer. (Image Credit: Titan Aerospace)
    More Info > (Flightglobal)  



    13 August 2013
    Musk Unveils Plans for Hyperloop

    hyperloop-artistsImpression_creditTeslaMotorsElon Musk, SpaceX CEO and chief designer, unveiled plans Monday for what he calls the Hyperloop, a way to travel near sonic speeds via a magnetic levitation system inside airless, low friction tubes. Engineers from Tesla Motors and SpaceX helped design the initial draft for the Hyperloop. Musk is also Tesla's chairman, CEO and product architect. Musk estimates that he could build a prototype Hyperloop in three to four years. If successful, someone could travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes. (Image Credit: Tesla Motors)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)  



    13 August 2013
    New Winglet Designs to Add to 737 Fuel Efficiency

    Boeing737_Split_Scimitar_WingletsBoeing says the new, two-part Split Scimitar Winglets now undergoing FAA testing will add to the efficiency savings of the current Next Generation 737s. These are different from the similar-looking advanced technology winglets that will be added to the 737 Max for even more savings. The Split Scimitar Winglets project both up and down, an advance that Boeing claims will add at least 2 percent in fuel efficiency to 737 Next Generation models. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Puget Sound (WA) Business Journal)  



    12 August 2013
    FAA Issues Airworthiness Directive On Airbus A320 Landing Gear Door Checks

    A320-LandingGearThe FAA is accelerating checks of A320 main landing gear doors after an incident involving an emergency landing of a Wizz Air A320. The new airworthiness directive (AD) involves combinations of landing gear control interface units (LGCIUs) and main landing gear (MLG) door actuator part numbers, and is based on an EASA directive. The urgency of this issue was why the FAA issued the AD without any public comment. (Image Credit: YouTube)
    More Info > (Aviation Week)
     



    12 August 2013
    Coast Guard Deploys ScanEagle UAV In Tests

    USCGScanEagleUAVThis past spring, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed a ScanEagle UAV during a two-week trial that resulted in the seizure of cocaine, the first time the Coast Guard deployed a unmanned aerial system from a cutter in a drug interdiction. The Coast Guard plans to purchase a small UAV as early as 2016, but this plan is an interim solution until a larger one like the Fire Scout is ready. UAVs would be used to augment manned operations. (Image Credit: Lt Cmdr Jeff Vajda / Coast Guard)
    More Info > (Navy Times)



    9 August 2013
    HTV-4 Cargo Spacecraft Arrives at ISS

    HTV-4-CreditNASAISS astronaut Karen Nyberg helped complete a smooth automated rendezvous of JAXA’s HTV-4 cargo spacecraft on Friday, following its launch from Japan on 3 August. HTV-4′s capture occurred at 7:22 a.m. EDT, ahead of berthing at 11:38 a.m. EDT, which marked a large delivery of critical supplies and research cargo to the orbital outpost. The spacecraft is scheduled to stay at the ISS until 4 September when it will be reloaded with trash and no-longer-needed equipment for disposal in the atmosphere. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (CBS News)



    8 August 2013
    Sixth WGS Spacecraft Launched Successfully

    ULA-DeltaIV-Launch-7Aug2013A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket successfully launched the sixth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) spacecraft at 8:29 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, 7 August, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. In a deal that gives the Australian Defence Force access to a constellation of U.S. military communications satellites, Australia paid to fund the Boeing-built spacecraft as well as the United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket that launched it into orbit. The deal lowers the overall U.S. cost of operating a six-satellite constellation of Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) spacecraft, and provides critical capability to Australia and enables U.S. and Australian military forces to use the same communications system when deployed together. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    8 August 2013
    Boeing Monitors 787 Operations Around the Clock

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerBoeing is following Dreamliner operations “around the clock” now that the plane is back in service following months of being grounded. Boeing Vice President Mike Fleming recently provided a rare tour of Boeing’s 787 Operations Control Center which allows the company to deal with any maintenance issue as fast as possible and sometimes have the necessary fix ready even before the plane lands. The center also helps Boeing spot trends or problems across the entire fleet faster. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (NPR)



    7 August 2013
    Navy Delays Retirement for X47-B UAVs

    X-47B-creditUSNThe U.S. Navy’s X-47B unmanned combat aircraft demonstrators will perform additional tests, according to the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command. The tests are expected to focus on reducing risks for the follow-on unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike program, and help the Navy to better understand how to operate unmanned systems of this size in the areas of research and development. The possibility of sequestration delaying the surveillance and strike program has prompted continuation of X-47B, which is now expected to fly into 2014. (Image Credit: USN)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    7 August 2013
    Rolls Royce, EADS Developing Hybrid Jet

    E-Thrust-concept-CreditAirbus-EIVIRolls Royce and EADS have announced a joint project to develop a commercial aircraft which works on a similar principle to today’s hybrid automobiles. The eConcept hybrid airliner program operates on the new e-thrust system, using smaller engines embedded in the jet, as well as a single turbine engine to drive a generator, storing the energy in batteries. Electricity is generated and fed to six fans in the back of the plane to propel the aircraft. EADS plans to test flight a smaller, two-seater hybrid later this year, but the airliner version would not be expected until 2030. (Image Credit: Airbus / EIVI)
    More Info > (Mashable)



    6 August 2013
    Curiosity Rover Marks First Anniversary on Mars

    Curiosity-on-Mars_NASANASA's Curiosity rover, which has already achieved its main science goal of revealing that ancient Mars could have supported life, is celebrating its one year anniversary on Mars. Following its successful landing in a crater on the Red Planet on 6 August, 2012 (EDT), Curiosity has provided more than 190 gigabits of data; returned more than 36,700 full images and 35,000 thumbnail images; fired more than 75,000 laser shots to investigate the composition of targets; collected and analyzed sample material from two rocks; and driven more than one mile. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (New York Times)
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    6 August 2013
    Next WGS Spacecraft Set for Wednesday Launch

    ULA-DeltaIVA Delta IV rocket carrying an advanced military communications satellite is being prepared for launch Wednesday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Delta IV will deliver into orbit the sixth in a series of Wideband Global SATCOM satellites. The spacecraft, made by Boeing, is designed to provide the U.S. Department of Defense, the White House, and U.S. and allied troops around the world with secure, high-bandwidth communications. The 217-foot-tall United Launch Alliance rocket is scheduled to launch from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:29 p.m. Wednesday. The launch window will extend through 9:18 p.m. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    5 August 2013
    Japanese Talking Robot On Its Way to the ISS

    Japanese-Rocket_4Aug2013A small talking robot launched into space aboard a Japanese cargo ship Saturday, 3 August. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the humanoid “Kirobo” robot astronaut into orbit from southern Japan as part of nearly 3.5 tons of supplies and equipment to resupply the space station's six-person crew. After it arrives at the ISS on Friday, Kirobo's primary role will be to keep Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata company. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    5 August 2013
    Army Successfully Tests Upgraded Gray Eagle UAS

    Gray-Eagle-UASThe U.S. Army performed a successful launch test on 26 July of the MQ1-C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system, according to manufacturer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The test was performed at the El Mirage Flight Operations Facility in Adelanto, California. According to General Atomics, the newly improved Gray Eagle can stay in the air 50 hours, carry 1,000 pounds, can equip a 360-degree traverse sensor, and is capable of surveillance over 24 hours per mission. (Image Credit: U.S. Army)
    More Info > (Defense Systems)



    2 August 2013
    Space Launch System Passes Preliminary Design Review

    SLS-NASANASA has achieved a key milestone in the development of the Space Launch System by passing a preliminary design review. About 200 documents and 15 terabytes of data were involved in the review. The review was incredibly detailed to ensure that plans for vehicle integration, flight software, test, verification and operations will result in a safe, affordable and sustainable vehicle design. The next significant challenge for the project will be the Key Decision Point-C when the rocket can transition from concept formulation to implementation. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Space.com)



    2 August 2013
    Cessna’s Revamped Citation X Completes Maiden Flight

    Cessna-CitationX-creditCessnaCessna Aircraft Co. on Thursday announced the first production unit of its revamped Citation X business jet, the “world’s fastest civilian aircraft,” has completed its maiden, three-hour flight. The Citation X flew at a cruising speed of Mach 0.915 or 604 miles per hour. Even though the successful flight shows progress on the program, it was nonetheless recently announced that deliveries of the Citation X had been delayed until early next year. (Image Credit: Cessna Aircraft Co.)
    More Info > (Wichita (KS) Business Journal)



    1 August 2013
    Commercial Technologies Perform Well In Advent Tests

    GE-AdventRecent tests on the Advent adaptive turbofan ground engine developed by General Electric indicates integrated commercial technologies are performing well. New turbofan engines designed for fuel efficiency demands in the commercial sector can operate at record-high temperatures, and new ceramic matrix composites (CMC’s) can help engines cope with the heat. Another commercial technology embedded in the Advent core includes a new die casting process that allows GE to insert more interior cooling passages in each turbine blade, allowing the metallic structures to survive in temperatures that would otherwise cause them to melt. Full-scale engine tests are up next with a production-ready engine expected by the end of fiscal year 2016. The adaptive fan may be used on sixth-generation Navy and Air Force fighters and to update the Lockheed Martin F-35. (Image Credit: GE)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    31 July 2013
    JLENS Blimps Slated to Hover Over Washington Within the Year

    JLENSBlimp-RaytheonAirships from the Army’s JLENS blimp surveillance program will hover 10,000 feet above Washington, DC within the year, in order to detect incoming missiles. This news comes after six weeks of testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground of the Raytheon Co.'s Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System, or JLENS. The JLENS blimps consist of an integrated surveillance and fire-control radar on two tethered, 74-meter aerostats. They are capable of remaining operational for 30 days and detecting threats up to 340 miles away. (Image Credit: Raytheon)
    More Info > (Washington Business Journal)



    31 July 2013
    New 900-Pound Personal Jet Will Require Some Assembly

    JSX-2-SonexSubSonex’s JSX-2, a single-seat jet small enough to be flown for personal use, will sell for an introductory price of $125,000 although customers will have to add the engine, fuel system, retractable landing gear, avionics and interior. The JSX-2, built by Oshokosh-based Sonex, has a wingspan of 18 feet and a maximum weight of 900 pounds. Models will have an engine capable of 257 pounds of thrust, a cruise speed of 180 miles per hour, and a range of more than 300 miles. The plane will be regulated in the FAA’s exhibition category and can deliver assembly kits to customers in mid-2014. (Image Credit: Sonex)
    More Info > (Wired)



    30 July 2013
    FAA Urges Foreign Airlines to Use GPS for SFO Landings

    SKoreanJetlinerCrashIn the wake of the Asiana plane crash, the FAA is now urging all foreign airlines to use a GPS system instead of visual approaches when landing at San Francisco International Airport. The FAA issued the recommendation on Sunday according to the Associated Press. The FAA cited a rise in the number of aborted landing approaches since the Asiana plane crash. Pilots on Asiana Flight 214 were cleared to make a visual approach when the jet crash-landed at SFO. On the day of the crash, the glide-slope indicator at the San Francisco airport was closed, and the pilots on Asiana Flight 214 were told to use visual approaches. (Image Credit: The Washington Post)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)



    30 July 2013
    Colorado Wants to Use UAVs for Firefighting Efforts

    Firefighting-DroneColorado officials want to incorporate UAVs into their firefighting programs because the sensor technology they carry could transform traditional efforts that have been conducted in the same fashion for decades. The state is already using UAVs in search and rescue efforts, monitoring livestock as well as environmental studies, and now wants to use them to see through smoke and go places where air tankers cannot to discover fires more quickly. It could be months before Colorado wins approval to use them in this way. (Image Credit: www.futuristspeaker.com / Thomas Frey)
    More Info > (Colorado Springs (CO) Gazette)



    29 July 2013
    FAA Certifies Two UAV Models for Civilian Use

    ScanEagle-IsituFAA regulators recently certified two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use, a milestone expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operations later this summer. The agency identified the UAVs as Insitu’s Scan Eagle X200 and AeroVironment’s PUMA. While a major energy company plans to fly the Scan Eagle off the Alaska coast starting in August to survey ice flows and migrating whales, the PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for oil spill monitoring and wildlife surveillance over the Beaufort Sea. (Image Credit: Boeing)

    More Info > (Aviation Week)



    29 July 2013
    NASA Receives 400 Proposals for Asteroid Mission

    Asteroid-Capturing-SpacecraftNASA has received more than 400 proposals from private companies, non-profits, and international organizations in response to a request for asteroid-retrieval mission suggestions released last month, agency officials announced Friday, 26 July. NASA is expected to review the submissions over the next month and plans to discuss the most promising ideas in a public workshop in September. NASA issued an official request for information on 18 June to seek input on how to achieve its asteroid retrieval mission. The NASA asteroid retrieval mission aims to send a robotic spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid, capture it with a "space lasso" and tow it back to a parking orbit near the moon to be explored by astronauts. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Space.com)



    26 July 2013
    FAA Directs Airlines to Inspect or Remove Beacons in 787 Dreamliners

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerOn Thursday, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive, which advised airlines to inspect or remove emergency locator transmitters in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners. The directive was issued in the wake of a fire that was linked to one of the devices and instructs airlines to inspect the units on 787s for pinched wires in the casing and evidence of heat or moisture. Boeing advised airlines last week to inspect or remove the device, known as an emergency locator transmitter (ELT). (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Sky News)



    25 July 2013
    Orion Completes Successful Drop Test

    Orion-Drop-TestThe Orion capsule successfully completed a drop test from 35,000 feet yesterday that simulated a main parachute failure. With just two parachutes remaining Orion made a relatively soft landing. A project manager for the Orion capsule parachute assembly system said that the closer the team can get to actual flight conditions, the more confidence they will gain in the system. Other than the failure intentionally put in for this test, the drop test was very similar to what Orion will look like coming back during Exploration Flight Test-1’s Earth entry next year. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    25 July 2013
    NASA Research Project Designs Aircraft for Shorter Runways

    Cruise-Efficient-Short-Take-Off-and-Landing-Aircraft-NASAA five-year NASA research project has yielded a 100-passenger airliner that requires shorter runways for takeoff. The Cruise Efficient, Short Take-Off and Landing (Cestol) aircraft could land at underused, shorter runways or at smaller regional airports, which would relieve congestion and substantially reduce flight delays. A 2,500 pound model with a 10-foot wingspan has been wind-tested for the past year. The NASA project was led by researchers from California Polytechnic State University. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Popular Science)



    24 July 2013
    Cassini Captures Image of Earth

    Cassini-Photographs-EarthFor only the third time in space history, Earth has been photographed from the outer solar system, NASA said Tuesday. NASA released the image of Earth, the moon and part of Saturn taken Friday by the Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting the planet for 15 years. The image, captured beneath Saturn's rings, shows Earth as a blue dot, 898 million miles away. A magnified version shows Earth and the moon more clearly. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (New York Daily News)



    23 July 2013
    Airbus A350 XWB Completes First Phase of Flight Tests

    Airbus-A350-XWBThe Airbus A350 XWB completed its first phase of the scheduled year-long series of flight tests. Before it can start the next phase of testing, the plane is undergoing scheduled maintenance and an upgrade of the flight test instrumentation and equipment. Over time, five test planes will be in the air to complete the planned 2,500 hours of testing Airbus expects it needs for certification. (Image Credit: Airbus)
    More Info > (Wired)



    22 July 2013
    Bezos Announces Recovery of Apollo 11 Engine

    Apollo 11 EngineCoinciding last week with the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, billionaire Jeff Bezos revealed Friday that one of the engines he recovered from the ocean earlier this year is from the Apollo 11 mission. A NASA spokesperson verified the discovery was confirmed using information from the Marshall Space Flight Center. Because this was a private venture, it is believed that these are not public domain by default, and museums are waiting for more details before making any statements. However, according to collectSPACE, there is an agreement between NASA and Bezos regarding the engines: NASA has ownership of the artifacts and will ultimately decide where they go on museum display. (image Credit: Bezos Expeditions)

    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    19 July 2013
    NASA Attempts to Rescue Kepler

    Kepler_artistsRendition-NASANASA began attempts to save the Kepler telescope on Thursday, with recovery efforts expected to last for a week. Officials won’t know until later this month at the earliest whether these efforts are successful. Two months ago, Kepler lost the second of four wheels that control its position in space. It needs three functional wheels, and engineers plan to send commands to try to get the broken wheels working again. Launched in 2009, Kepler has confirmed 134 planets and spotted more than 3,200 potential ones. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    19 July 2013
    Boeing, U.S. Air Force Ahead of Schedule for Tanker Fleet Modernization

    KC-46-USAFBoeing has conducted the Critical Design Review for the Air Force’s new KC-46A tanker program well in advance of a September deadline, putting it on track to deliver its first tanker by 2016 and modernize the entire fleet. The KC-46 is based on Boeing’s 767-200ER commercial plane and the program will produce 179 new planes to replace the aging KC-135 tanker fleet, with 18 tankers expected by 2017 and production ending in 2027. Air Force officials have identified the new tanker as one of its three key modernization priorities, alongside the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and a new long-range bomber. (Image Credit: USAF)
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    18 July 2013
    EASA: No Threat of Grounding Dreamliners So Far

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerOfficials from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said there is no immediate threat the Boeing Dreamliner will be grounded again following the recent fire at Heathrow airport. The fire is considered the most serious incident involving a Dreamliner since it returned to service following the events surrounding battery fires earlier this year. Boeing also has indicated that it doesn't expect the fire on the Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise Dreamliner to result in a grounding order. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)



    18 July 2013
    More Scientists Using UAVs for Monitoring Projects

    DroneMonitoring-FishbioTuesday’s spacewalk at the International Space Station by astronauts Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano ran into a significant problem 90 minutes in when Parmitano’s helmet filled up with water, possibly from his coolant system. Once the spacewalk was called off by Mission Control, Parmitano was brought inside where astronauts worked quickly to remove his helmet. Both astronauts are safely back in the space station, and engineers are continuing to evaluate data to determine the cause of the leak. (Image Credit: Fishbio.com)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    17 July 2013
    Tuesday’s Spacewalk Aborted

    Exp36spacewalkTuesday’s spacewalk at the International Space Station by astronauts Chris Cassidy and Luca Parmitano ran into a significant problem 90 minutes in when Parmitano’s helmet filled up with water, possibly from his coolant system. Once the spacewalk was called off by Mission Control, Parmitano was brought inside where astronauts worked quickly to remove his helmet. Both astronauts are safely back in the space station, and engineers are continuing to evaluate data to determine the cause of the leak. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    16 July 2013
    Investigators Examining Emergency Transmitter In Dreamliner Fire

    787Dreamliner-CreditBoeingInvestigators are examining whether an emergency transmitter was responsible for a recent Boeing 787 Dreamaliner fire, while Honeywell, the transmitter’s developer, said it will join the investigation into the incident. The transmitter uses a lithium-manganese battery, a more stable version of a lithium-ion battery. However, officials are not saying if this is the main suspect of the fire at this time and warned that it was too early to make any assumptions. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    16 July 2013
    NASA HS3 Team Deploying UAVs to Track Hurricane Intensity

    NASA Hurricane research UAVNASA’s Ames Research Center has scheduled unmanned flight missions for hurricane research in the Atlantic from 20 August to 23 September. The mission will involve two Global Hawk aircraft equipped with instruments to measure atmospheric humidity, pressure, temperature, aerosols and wind; and will focus on tracking intensity changes of hurricanes, which is the most difficult aspect for forecasters. Researchers hope the data from the Global Hawk flights will refine the existing models forecasters rely on to predict the course of storms.
    More Info > (Space News)



    12 July 2013
    X-47B Diverted to Wallops After Aborted Third Carrier Landing

    x-47B_Lands-Carrier_DeckThe Northrop Grumman X-47B landed twice aboard the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier Wednesday, but a malfunction with one of its three navigation computers precluded a third landing. The third X-47B subsequently diverted to Wallops Field, Virginia, as programmed, for a safe recovery. The next aircraft carrier test series is scheduled for 15 July. If all goes well, testing of the X-47B will conclude and the aircraft will be retired. The lessons learned from the X-47B demonstrations will be used to address the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program, with the goal of creating an operational production UAV for aircraft carriers. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy. Photo by MC3 Kevin J. Steinberg)
    More Info > (Los Angeles Times)



    12 July 2013
    Dream Chaser Completes Initial Tow Tests at Dryden

    Dreamchaser-tow-testSierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Engineering Test Article (ETA) has completed the opening series of tow tests at the Dryden Flight Research Center. The purpose of the tests was to validate the performance of the spacecraft’s nose skid, brakes, tires and other systems. More tests are expected later this month at higher speeds. The Dream Chaser is the only reusable lifting body vehicle currently under consideration to transport American astronauts to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) destinations, such as the International Space Station. All of the other commercial crew competitors are of the capsule design. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASASpaceflight)



    11 July 2013
    Proton Rocket Expected to Remain a “Key” Launcher

    Russian-Proton-M-RocketA Russian space scientist said Wednesday that Russia’s Proton-M heavy carrier rocket will remain a key space launch vehicle despite its rather poor safety record. Russia’s Proton-M and Europe’s Airane 5 currently are the most widely used heavy-lift space launch vehicles. The Proton-M has experienced several failed launches in the past three years, subsequently causing insurers to significantly raise premiums for insuring Russian rockets, which is likely to bring about higher prices for Proton launch services. Meanwhile, Russia has begun a criminal investigation into last week’s failed launch of a Proton-M carrying three Glonass navigation satellites. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
    More Info > (RIA Novosti (RUS)



    10 July 2013
    X-47B Navy Drone Completes First Ever Unmanned Carrier Landing

    X-47B-Launches-from-USSGeorgeBush-14May2013-CreditUSNThe U.S. Navy’s X-47B drone made history Wednesday as the first unmanned aircraft to land on the moving flight deck of an aircraft carrier at sea, according to the U.S. Navy. The drone, named "Salty Dog 502," took off from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, on a flight to the USS George H. W. Bush, in the Atlantic off the coast of Virginia.  The drone landed by deploying a tailhook that caught a wire across the ship’s flight deck, just like a traditional fighter jet. Unlike other military drones, the X-47B isn't remotely piloted and relies upon an automated computer system to complete its maneuvers.  On 14 May of this year, the X-47B executed the first ever "catapult takeoff" and landed successfully at Patuxent an hour later.  (Image: An X-47B unmanned drone takes off from the George H.W. Bush in May on its first catapult launch. Credit: USN)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)



    10 July 2013
    Astronauts Complete Spacewalk Tasks, Start On Next Week’s

    Exp36spacewalkTwo Expedition 36 astronauts - Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency – successfully completed a 6-hour, 7-minute spacewalk at 2:09 p.m. EDT Tuesday. The pair completed the first of two planned July spacewalks to prepare the International Space Station for a new Russian module and perform additional installations on the station’s backbone. The pair handled a variety of maintenance tasks that had been “piling up for years,” and even managed to get a jump on the tasks planned for next week's spacewalk. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    10 July 2013
    Rolls-Royce Completes Tests on Advanced Compressor

    RR-Highly-Energy-Efficient-Turbine-EngineRolls-Royce said it completed testing on an advanced technology compressor for the Highly Energy Efficient Turbine Engine (HEETE) program run by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The company claimed the compressor reached the highest pressure ratio ever demonstrated at the AFRL’s compressor research facility. If the HEETE program succeeds, it is expected to result in pressure ratios in excess of 70:1 while cutting specific fuel consumption by 25%. (Image Credit: Rolls-Royce)
    More Info > (Flight International)



    10 July 2013
    Navy Says P-8A Poseidon Ready for Fleet Introduction

    P-8A-Poseidon-CreditUSNThe U.S. Navy said in a 1 July initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) report that the Boeing P-8A Poseidon is “operationally effective, operationally suitable, and ready for fleet introduction.” As a result, it is anticipated that the Pentagon will soon approve the 737-based maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft for full-rate production. The P-8A is scheduled for its first operational deployment towards the end of 2013. (Image Credit: USN)
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    9 July 2013
    Navy, Lockheed Demonstrate Single Control System for UAS Operations

    UAVs-onCarrierDeck-USNThe U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated how a single command and control system could be used to operate several unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at the same time while providing one comprehensive mission picture. The test was conducted at Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD, where Lockheed worked to unify its system with the Navy’s C2ISR (command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) systems to provide operators a view of the mission. Lockheed aims for the integrated system to work with the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System and Common Control System programs. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy)
    More Info > (Defense Systems)



    8 July 2013
    South Korean Jetliner Crash Lands In San Francisco

    SKoreanJetlinerCrashThe NTSB determined Sunday that the South Korean Jetliner that crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday was flying too slowly to reach the runway and began to stall just before the pilot began a futile effort to abort the landing. The cockpit recorder revealed that seven seconds before impact there was a call to increase the plane’s speed. Three seconds later a violent vibration of the control yoke intended to be a warning to the pilot indicated the plane was about to stall. Just 1 1/2 seconds before impact, a crew member called out to abort the landing. Two Chinese teenagers were killed and a number of passengers were injured just before noon Saturday when the Boeing 777 airliner struck a sea wall at the end of the runway, tail first, and skidded about 2,000 feet before catching fire. (Image Credit: The Washington Post)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)
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    8 July 2013
    Solar-Powered Plane Completes Cross-Country Flight

    SolarImpulse-Across-AmericaSolar Impulse, a solar-powered, single-seated plane, completed the last leg of its history-making cross-country journey Saturday night, safely touching down at New York’s JFK International Airport at 11:09 p.m. The cross-country journey began in California in early May, with Saturday’s final leg taking off from Dulles International Airport a little before 5 a.m. The final leg of the flight, while short on distance, took the longest time because of the need to avoid air traffic. The only problem noted was a wing issue resulting from a tear in the fabric. (Image Credit: Solar Impulse)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    5 July 2013
    All Proton Rockets Halted Until Investigation Ends

    Proton-Rocket-CrashesFollowing the launch failure of a Russian Proton rocket with three GLONASS navigation system satellites on 2 July, an unnamed source said Russia is suspending all Proton launches until an investigation commission completes its work. Some are speculating the crash was caused because the rocket lifted off prematurely. In a statement, the Baikonur prosecutors office said a criminal case has been opened into the incident. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has said Russia’s rocket and space industry cannot continue to exist in its current form. (Image Credit: Roscosmos)
    More Info > (AFP)
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    5 July 2013
    Solar Impulse to Begin Final Leg of Journey This Weekend

    SolarImpulse_Lands_DullesSolar Impulse is set to make the final leg of its cross-country journey on Saturday, from Washington, DC to New York City, after arriving at Dulles on 15 June. Weather forecasts will determine the departure time from Dulles. Once Solar Impulse takes off, the flight to New York is expected to take hours, culminating in a flyby of the Statue of Liberty before touching down at JFK International Airport. (Image Credit: Solar Impulse)
    More Info > (Associated Press)
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    5 July 2013
    USAF Examining Future Role of UAVs

    Reaper-USAFThe U.S. Air Force is examining the role and makeup of UAVs in its fleet, particulary in campaigns inside an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environment. Currently, there are no current plans to develop a Reaper replacement, but the USAF is keeping a close eye on the Navy’s unmanned carrier-launched surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft program. One official said the Air Force could potentially leverage what is developed there, although no timeframe was specified. (Image Credit: USAF)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    3 July 2013
    UAV Swarms Expected to Benefit a Variety of Fields

    UAV-Swarm-DefenseTechScientists are working on applying swarm intelligence to UAVs because it could be beneficial to deploy several coordinated flying vehicles in a variety of fields. One application for UAV swarms would be search and rescue. A swarm could cover a lot of ground quickly while requiring only one operator. Another is exploration. Swarms could scan sites rapidly, whereas larger UAVs cannot. Swarming UAVs could also play a role in defense, as it is thought that such a coordinated attack could overwhelm standard missile-defense systems. (Image Credit: DefenseTech)
    More Info > (Popular Science)



    2 July 2013
    NTSB Recommends Changes In Air Traffic Control Procedures

    ATC-at-DullesFive near collisions involving planes that aborted landings prompted the NTSB to call Monday for changes in air traffic control procedures. The NTSB said in a letter to the FAA that aborted landings are putting planes on converging flight paths, forcing pilots to execute evasive maneuvers at a low altitude to avoid a potential collision. The NTSB cited four such near collisions last year: two in Las Vegas, and one each in New York and Charlotte, N.C. The NTSB also said that the board determined that existing FAA separation standards and operating procedures are inadequate and need to be revised to ensure the safe separation between aircraft near the airport environment.
    More Info > (Associated Press)

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    2 July 2013
    Proton Rocket Crashes During Launch

    Proton-Rocket-CrashesA Russian Proton rocket with three GLONASS navigation system satellites experienced a dramatic failure during a launch attempt that ended in a huge impact at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The launch attempt occurred Tuesday at 02:38 UTC (08:38 local time). While there were no reports of injuries, there is a concern of casualties due to the location on engineers during launches. A leading engineer with Space Corp. Energia said this crash is likely unrelated to the launch failure in 2010 where another Proton rocket crashed with three GLONASS satellites. (Image Credit: Roscosmos)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)



    1 July 2013
    New Atlantis Exhibit Opens

    Atlantis-Exhibit-CreditFloridaToday- The space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center officially opened on Saturday. Atlantis, the last space shuttle to fly, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit that chronicles the entire 30 year history of the shuttle program. The $100 million exhibit, showcasing the workhorse of the shuttle fleet that flew 33 times and more than 125 million miles, displays the orbiter as if in flight. (Image Credit: Florida Today/Craig Rubadoux)
    More Info > (Florida Today)
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    28 June 2013
    IRIS Spacecraft Launches

    IRIS-LaunchNASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) solar observatory began its mission Thursday after a 13-minute ride into orbit aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket that was dropped from a specially modified aircraft. The mission team made initial contact with IRIS through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System and received confirmation of separation and the unfurling of the spacecraft’s solar panels.  IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer Mission which will investigate the sun's lower atmosphere in unprecedented detail. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)
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    28 June 2013
    Orion Making Progress Towards Next Year’s Test Launch

    adapter-ring-Orion-ULAThe Orion capsule and the United Launch Alliance Delta IV were confirmed as a good fit during a test on Wednesday to determine how well an aluminum adapter ring made by the Marshall Space Flight Center worked. Officials were pleased with the results as the successful test means that Orion is still on track for next year’s launch, targeted for September 2014. (Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton)
    More Info > (AL.com)



    27 June 2013
    IRIS Set to Launch Today

    IRIS-Prepares-for-LaunchThe launch of NASA’s IRIS spacecraft, through which scientists hope to learn more about the sun, was delayed by one day. The Interface Region Imaging Spectograph, also known as IRIS, is now scheduled for launch today, 27 June, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California from an Orbital Sciences’ Pegasus XL rocket. The delay was the result of a significant power outage at Vandenberg earlier this week. The launch team will begin preparing the L-1011 for departure at 2:30 Pacific Time this afternoon. Departure is planned to occur at 6:27 p.m. PDT and the drop of the Pegasus XL is targeted for 7:27 p.m. PDT (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA)
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    27 June 2013
    FAA Releases NexGen Plan

    NextGen-FAAThe FAA released the NextGen air traffic control modernization plan, saying NextGen improvements will reduce delays by 41% compared with what would happen if no further NextGen improvements were made beyond what the agency has done already. The plan, described as one of the FAA’s highest priorities, provides some detail on progress so far and what is expected in the near term. (Image Credit: US DOT)
    More Info > (Flight Global)
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    26 June 2013
    Chinese Astronauts Return Safely to Earth

    ChineseAstronautsReturn-June2013China’s Shenzhou 10 spacecraft has safely returned to Earth with its crew of three astronauts after spending 15 days in space, China's longest manned mission. Astronaut Nie Haisheng now also has the distinction of being the Chinese citizen who has spent the most time in orbit. China still plans to launch the Tiangong-2 space lab around 2015 and launch an experimental core module of a space station around 2018 for completion in 2020. (Image Credit: Xinhua)
    More Info > (Space)



    25 June 2013
    Dual Rocket Launch from Wallops Postponed Until Friday

    sounding-rocket-ready-for-launch-Wallops-CreditNASAThe launch of two sounding rockets from Wallops Island has been delayed for a second time. The next launch attempt will take place Friday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. EDT. The launch is in support of the Daytime Dynamo experiment, which is a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The first rocket scheduled for launch is a single-stage Black Brant V, which will collect data on the neutral and charged particles it travels through. The second rocket is a two-stage Terrier-Improved Orion that will shoot out a long trail of lithium gas to track how the upper atmospheric wind varies with altitude. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (DelmarvaNow.com)



    25 June 2013
    Cosmonauts Complete Spacewalk to Prepare for New Lab

    June2013SpacewalkCosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin completed a spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Monday, replacing a main valve and preparing it for a new lab that Russia will launch by the end of the year to replace the Pirs air lock. They also installed clamps and retrieved science experiments, completing most of their tasks. Two spacewalks are planned for next month. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and the ESA’s Luca Parmitano will continue preparations for the lab on 9 and 16 July. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    25 June 2013
    J-2X Engine Tested at Stennis During Hot-Fire Test

    J-2X-testAerojet Rocketdyne announced last week it successfully tested the J-2X rocket motor during a hot-fire test at the Stennis Space Center. The test is noteworthy because the J-2X was selected by NASA as the upper-stage rocket for the new heavy lift Space Launch System (SLS), which will enable missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The hot-fire test occurred at the NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    24 June 2013
    IRIS Mission to Launch 26 June

    IRIS-NASANASA is set to launch its newest mission on 26 June, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS. IRIS will show the lowest levels of the sun’s atmosphere, the interface region, in more detail than has even been observed before. This will help scientists understand how the energy moving through this area helps power the sun’s million-degree upper atmosphere, the corona. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (YouTube / NASA)



    24 June 2013
    Two Rockets Launching for Daytime Dynamo Project

    sounding-rocket-ready-for-launch-Wallops-CreditNASANASA is set to launch two sounding rockets from the Wallops Flight Facility in a joint Daytime Dynamo project with JAXA. The launch was initially planned for today, 24 June, but was scrubbed due to high cirrus clouds. The next attempt will be Tuesday, 25 June, with a window of 9:30-11:30 a.m. By deploying lithium gas, the rockets will help study the global electrical current called the dynamo, which sweeps through the ionosphere, a layer of charged particles that extends from about 30 to 600 miles above Earth. The launch is expected to be difficult for the public to view, but NASA will use a uniquely equipped NASA King Air airplane to monitor the results. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Universe Today)
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    21 June 2013
    SpaceX Completes First Stage Testing on Falcon 9-R

    Falcon-9-creditSpaceX-2SpaceX representatives announced Thursday evening that the company has successfully completed development testing on the Falcon 9 v.1.1 (F 9-R) rocket. SpaceX is preparing their next generation rocket for its role in upcoming launches and the future goal of creating a fully reusable launch system. The company currently remains on schedule to begin their next slate of launches, starting with the CASSIOPE mission, within the current August/September timeframe, culminating in the Falcon Heavy demo flight later this year. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (NASASpaceflight.com)



    21 June 2013
    Atlantis Exhibit Almost Ready for Opening

    Atlantis-Exhibit-in-progess-KSCThe space shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is nearly ready for its 29 June grand opening. The final week of construction is expected to be one of fine-tuning. The exhibit features Atlantis, which flew 33 missions, and gives visitors a 360-degree view of the orbiter from just feet away. The 90,000-square-foot building also features 60 other exhibits, many interactive, which highlight the history of the space program. (Image Credit: NASA / KSC)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    20 June 2013
    SLS Enters Preliminary Design Review

    SLS-NASA-2013NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), the next-generation rocket built to launch crewed missions beyond Earth orbit, has formally entered the preliminary design review (PDR) phase. The PDR is a critical step as it demonstrates the SLS design meets all system requirements, thus providing a green light to proceed with the detailed design. The review is expected to take several weeks to complete. SLS is currently on track to meet all milestones necessary to fly in 2017. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    19 June 2013
    NASA Issues Asteroid Grand Challenge

    Asteroid-FlyBy-CreditNASANASA announced Tuesday a Grand Challenge through which it is seeking input from the public on how it can efficiently identify potentially hazardous asteroids or improve its plans for capturing one and placing it in lunar orbit. The six areas NASA is looking for ideas in are asteroid observation; asteroid redirection systems; asteroid deflection demonstrations; asteroid capture systems; crew systems for asteroid exploration; and partnerships and participatory engagement. The deadline for submission is 18 July. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)
    More Info > (NASA)



    19 June 2013
    Aerojet Rocketdyne Formed from Two Engine Rivals

    ULA Launch May 2012GenCorp Inc. has finished combining Aerojet and its recently purchased Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne under the new banner Aerojet Rocketydyne. This joins the two primary producers of rocket engines in the U.S. Aerojet Rocketydyne will continue to provide the primary products for ULA’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles, and develop the RL10-C, a common upper stage engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne president Warren Boley Jr. said the company plans to hire more engineers and support staff at its headquarters, noting that finding and retaining new talent is critical. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Spaceflight Now)



    19 June 2013
    Taranis Super-Drone Ready to Take Flight

    Taranis-Drone-ModelThe advanced super-drone Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, is ready for a test flight at its South Australian testing complex. Ten years in the making, Taranis is the first intercontinental supersonic drone and incorporates radar-evading design, two weapons carrying bays and defensive technologies to evade hostile aircraft and missiles. BAE Systems leads the design team which includes GE Aviation, Rolls Royce, QinetiQ and the British Ministry of Defence. Taranis’ test flight will operate within the Australian Woomera complex, which is roughly the size of England. (Image: Model of BAE Taranis UAV on display at Farnborough Airshow 2008. Credit: Wikipedia)
    More Info > (Forbes)



    18 June 2013
    NASA Selects New Class of Astronauts

    NewNASAAstronauts-june2013-CreditNASAFollowing an extensive year-and-a-half search, NASA has selected a new class of astronauts, the first team in four years. Four of the eight candidates are women which is the highest percentage of female astronauts ever selected. The group was chosen from more than 6,000 applicants. Most are military pilots, two are scientists and one is a medical doctor. Since NASA does not currently have a vehicle to carry them into space, they are expected to ride with the Russians to the space station and back. They also will help lead the first human mission to an asteroid in the 2020s, and then Mars, and could be among the first to fly to the space station aboard commercial spacecraft launched from the U.S. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)
    More Info > (NASA)



    18 June 2013
    U.S. Navy Releases Request for Proposal On Carrier-Launched Drones

    X-47B-on-USS-G-Bush-May2013-CreditUSNThe U.S. Navy released a request for proposal to Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Atomics-Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) to bring four potential Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) designs to maturity prior to a downselect. Following the Preliminary Design Review, a downselect to a single company is expected. The end result will be a stealthy unmanned air vehicle (UAV) for reconnaissance and light strike. (Image Credit: USN)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    17 June 2013
    ATV Cargo Spacecraft Docks at the ISS

    ATV-4-Docks-ISSThe Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) 4 successfully docked to the International Space station early Saturday. Launched 5 June atop an Ariane 5 rocket, ESA's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, dubbed Albert Einstein, successfully engaged the docking mechanism on Zvezda's aft port at 10:07 a.m. EDT to complete a challenging rendezvous 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft is loaded with more than 14,000 pounds of cargo. (Image Credit: NASA TV)
    More Info > (CBS News)
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    14 June 2013
    Airbus A350 Completes Maiden Flight

    Airbus_A350_FirstFlight-CreditAirbusThe Airbus A350 successfully completed its maiden flight Friday. The flight, with two former fighter pilots at the controls, took off at 10:01 a.m. local time (4:01 a.m. EDT) from the Airbus factory in southwestern France. It was watched by more than 10,000 staff and spectators. The A350 touched down at 2:05 p.m. local time after flying past the Toulouse production site, concluding eight years of development estimated to have cost $15 billion. (Image Credit: Airbus)
    More Info > (Associated Press)
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    13 June 2013
    Shenzhou-10 Arrives at Space Lab

    Shenzhou10-docks-with-spaceLab-Credit-XinhuaChina's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, carrying three Chinese astronauts, successfully completed an automated docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab Thursday at 1:11 p.m. Beijing time (1:11 a.m. EDT). The docking occurred two days after the crew launched from northwest China on a Long March 2F rocket. After pressure checks, the astronauts opened the hatch and entered Tiangong at 4:17 p.m. Beijing time. This is China's fifth manned space mission which is scheduled to last 15 days in total. Twelve days will be spent aboard Tiangong. (Image Credit: Xinhua)
    More Info > (NASA Spaceflight)



    12 June 2013
    Airbus Says A350 Will Fly Friday

    Airbus_A350_CreditAirbusAirbus says the A350 is undergoing final checks before receiving the green light for its maiden flight on Friday. The A350’s first take-off from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, is set for 14 June at 10 a.m., just days before the Paris Air Show. Airbus has spent $14 billion developing the A350, the company’s most advanced airliner, with composite materials and swept wings to compete with Boeing’s wide-body jets. The A350 is believed to be more critical to the future success of Airbus than the A380, as the superjumbo has garnered only 262 orders since the plane first became available in 2000. By comparison, the A350 has already totaled 613 orders even before first flight. (Image Credit: Airbus)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    11 June 2013
    Shenzhou-10 Spacecraft on Its Way to Space Lab

    Shenzhou-10-Launches-June2013China successfully launched three astronauts early Tuesday morning in a Shenzhou-10 spacecraft from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The Shenzhou-10 is now on its way to the Tiangong-1 lab after successfully entering its designated orbit. The Chinese astronauts reportedly will enjoy a more comfortable environment aboard the Tiangong-1 space lab, a target orbiter and space module that launched 29 September 2011, compared with the last manned mission. Shenzhou-10 is expected to dock with Tiangong-1 on 13 June, remain docked for a period of 12 days, and then return to Earth on 26 June. (Image Credit: Xinhua)
    More Info > (BBC News)  



    10 June 2013
    Opportunity Rover Makes New Discovery Before Heading to Next Locale

    Mars-creditNASAJune2013Nearly ten years after its launch, NASA’s Opportunity rover analyzed what may be the oldest rock captured, and found its first evidence that Mars once had nonacidic water – the kind of water that could sustain life on Earth. Opportunity is now heading to a new location so that the solar-powered rover can be in a favorable spot before the next Martian winter. Opportunity showed signs of wear, but was otherwise in good health. It recently experienced a bout of amnesia with its flash memory, but it was not serious. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The New York Times)
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    10 June 2013
    Shuttle RS-25 Engines to be Part of SLS

    RS-25Engine-NASAPratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s RS-25 engines, used in the space shuttle program, will undergo testing for use in the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket next year, once the test stand at the Stennis Space Center is upgraded. The engines have provided safe flight since 1981 with only one major malfunction during its flight history. Stennis’ A-1 Test Stand has to be adapted because it is specific to the J-2X and can’t be used for the RS-25, given that engine is much more powerful, with the ability to produce approximately 530,000 pounds of thrust. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA Spaceflight)



    7 June 2013
    Airbus Prepares for First A350 Flight

    Airbus_A350Airbus is looking to meet a company forecast for the new A350 of first flight by midyear as it prepares for the Paris Airshow. Once that flight occurs, the plane will undergo a year-long series of trials featuring five test planes, which is more than was used for the A380. The only issue engineers are working on now is a glitch in the software that controls signaling, but once that is fixed the plane is expected to run taxi tests at increasingly higher speeds to check that brakes, spoilers and thrust reversers all work properly to bring the aircraft to a controlled standstill. (Image Credit: Airbus)
    More Info > (Bloomberg News)



    7 June 2013
    Orion Capsule Passes Critical Pressurization Tests

    Orion-NASANASA’s Orion crew capsule achieved key milestones Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center by successfully passing its static loads tests, thus demonstrating it could survive what it is expected to experience in space, and validating its design. Orion was successfully pressurized to 110 percent of the conditions it will be subjected to in flight, also demonstrating that repairs made to superficial cracks will hold when it makes its first flight. Orion is scheduled to launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in September 2014.  (Image Credit: NASA)

    More Info > (Florida Today)



    6 June 2013
    ATV On Its Way to the ISS

    ATVLaunches_5June2013The fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), also known as Albert Einstein, is now on its way to the International Space Station after a successful launch on Wednesday at 4:52 p.m. EDT from French Guiana. It is scheduled to dock at the station on Saturday. The launch involved the heaviest spacecraft ever lifted by an Ariane rocket with 6.6 tons of cargo aboard. (Image Credit: ESA / Arianspace)
    More Info > (SPACE)



    5 June 2013
    ATV to Launch Today

    Ariane5-ATV-Credtit-ESAThe Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), also known as Albert Einstein, is set to launch today for the International Space Station aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. The rocket is scheduled to launch from ESA's base at Kourou in French Guiana at 4:52 p.m. EDT (2152 GMT). It has enough fuel to make three docking attempts if any issues arise during final approach, however this has never been needed before and the last three spacecraft in the series have performed well. This ATV will carry the largest assortment of goods yet delivered to the ISS – bringing food, water, oxygen, scientific experiments and special treats for the six orbiting astronauts. (Image Credit: ESA)
    More Info > (France 24)
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    5 June 2013
    SpaceX Performs First Test Firing of Falcon 9-R Rocket

    Faclon-9-R-Test-CreditSpaceXSpaceX performed the first test firing of its Falcon 9-R prototype rocket on 1 June. News of the test was announced 3 June by Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder. The test lasted about 10 seconds and included nine Merlin 1-D engines. Falcon 9-R is the name SpaceX is using for a planned Falcon 9 variant with a fully reusable first stage. The company has been testing reusable launch vehicle technology under its Grasshopper technology demonstrator program. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (Space News)



    5 June 2013
    UAV Maneuvered Using Pilot’s Thoughts

    Thought-controlled-quadcopter-droneIn a gymnasium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a drone quad-rotor helicopter made by French firm Parrot has been maneuvering right and left, up and down, and even through hoops as its pilot merely thinks of concepts related to such directions. This is not the first time a UAV has been piloted using an electrode gaming electroencephalography (EEG) headset, but the Minnesota team are claiming a first in that they use an EEG headset with 64 electrodes positioned on the pilot’s scalp. The goal of this project is to demonstrate the power of the brain to move the machines that aid disabled people, whether those machines are exoskeletons, wheelchairs or bionic prosthetic limbs. (Image Credit: University of Minnesota)
    More Info > (New Scientist)



    4 June 2013
    Rocket Launch Will Be Visible from East Coast

    Sounding-Rocket-Wallops-CreditNASANASA is set to launch the Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRiment (CIBER) on a Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket tonight between 11 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. EDT, from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The booster will carry instruments to study when the first stars and galaxies formed in the universe and how brightly they burned their nuclear fuel. The launch is expected to be visible from many locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic for up to two minutes after liftoff. The rocket will travel in a southeast direction, out over the Atlantic Ocean, and will reach a maximum altitude of 360 miles about 7.2 minutes after launch. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (SPACE)



    4 June 2013
    Solar Impulse Completes Third Leg of Cross Country Journey

    SolarImpulse-Across-AmericaThe Solar Impulse solar-powered plane touched down at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport at 1:28 a.m. CDT on 4 June, completing the third leg of its West Coast to East Coast flight across the U.S. The flight took off from Dallas-Fort Worth on Monday, and took a little more than 21 hours to touch down in St. Louis, making it the longest flight to date in the solar-powered airplane for Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard. The fourth leg will see the plane travel to Washington D.C. in the coming weeks. (Image Credit: Solar Impulse)
    More Info > (Red Orbit)
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    4 June 2013
    Hacker Claims NextGen Leaves Systems Vulnerable to Attack

    NextGen-CreditUSDOTBrad ‘Renderman’ Haines, who works in IT support for a company in Canada by day, and is a hacker by night, told CNBC that he has proof that the air traffic control system can be hacked. According to Haines, the NextGen air traffic control system, which is scheduled to be fully in place by the end of this decade, makes the whole system vulnerable to hackers because the system uses GPS (Global Positioning System) data instead of just radar. Haines and a fellow hacker put data that would be used in the FAA system, known as NextGen, into a flight simulator to show what could happen if the system is hacked. (Image Credit: U.S. Department of Transportation)
    More Info > (CNBC)



    3 June 2013
    Boeing Begins Construction of 787-9

    Boeing787-9-Assembly-CreditBoeingBoeing announced Sunday it has started building its 787-9, a longer version of its 787 Dreamliner. The 787-9 can carry 250 to 290 passengers – 40 more than the 787-8, which started operating in September 2011 – across an additional 300 nautical miles while using 20 percent less fuel than aircraft of the same size. A first flight is expected within months with first delivery in early 2014. Boeing is determined to show clients that it can keep deliveries on schedule after the Dreamliner entered service more than three years late. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Agence France-Presse)



    3 June 2013
    SLS Still Ahead of Schedule With No Major Issues

    SLS-NASA-2013The Space Launch System (SLS) is being prepared for its Preliminary Design Review (PDR) later this month, putting the project several months ahead of schedule. The rocket is fast approaching the state of the Ares I rocket before it was cancelled. While there have been some design issues, none of SLS’ challenges have resulted in any major concerns. Additionally, there is a plan for a dual-use Upper Stage – powered by up to four RL-10 engines – known as the ‘Duce’” that could save money because it would likely allow SLS to remain with its four RS-25E’s on the core stage, removing the redesign requirements to move to a five engine core when SLS evolves. The formal kick off for the SLS PDR is set for 18-19 June. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA Spaceflight)



    3 June 2013
    Military Sets Date for When F-35 Will Be Combat-Ready

    F-35s-Credit-USAFThe Department of Defense on Friday set dates for when the first squadrons of Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-35 fighter jets will be combat-ready. The initial short-takeoff and vertical-landing model for the Marine Corps will be ready no later than December 2015. The target for the Air Force’s version of the jet is December 2016, and the date for the Navy model, designed to take off and land on aircraft carriers, is February 2019. The Marines will declare a combat-ready squadron when it’s equipped with between 10 and 16 jets and has trained pilots. The Air Force will declare its first squadron ready when it’s equipped with at least 12 aircraft and combat-ready crews, while the Navy needs at least 10 aircraft crews. (Image Credit: USAF)
    More Info > (Bloomberg)



    31 May 2013
    Mars Mission Risky Due to Radiation

    Spacecraft-over-Mars-NASA-JPLAn analysis of the radiation data the Curiosity rover collected on its way to Mars has determined astronauts traveling to and from Mars would be subjected to as much radiation as they’d get from a full-body CT scan about once a week for a year. The research does not factor the radiation when on the planet itself. Since radiation is a big concern for missions to Mars, NASA says that before they can send astronauts there, they need to understand the environments and hazards that they would face. The amount of radiation likely won’t change unless there’s a rocket engine developed that can speed up the interplanetary ride. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    29 May 2013
    Scientific and Engineering Associations Ask Congress to Modify Restrictive Government Travel Rules

    ASM2013Leaders of 64 scientific, engineering, and technology associations today sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, calling for a reform of the government personnel travel rules recently imposed by OMB Memorandum M-12-12. Issued in the wake of the scandal that arose from a General Services Administration event held in Las Vegas, the OMB memorandum strictly limits the ability of government employees to attend professional conferences. (Image: 51st AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, January 2013)
    More Info > (AIAA Statement)



    29 May 2013
    Expedition 36 Arrives at Station

    Expedition36Launches-May2013NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano joined their Expedition 36 crewmates when the hatches between their Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station opened at 12:14 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The Soyuz carrying the three new Expedition 36 crew members docked with the station at 10:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday, completing its journey from the launch pad to the orbiting outpost in less than six hours. The trio launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:31 p.m. EDT. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    29 May 2013
    X-37B Space Plane Reaches Fifth Month in Space

    X-37B-Credit-USAFThe U.S. Air Force’s X-37B spacecraft has now been in space for over five months, although little is known about what it is doing on its third mission.The unmanned X-37B spacecraft launched into space atop an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 11 Dec. 2012, kicking off a mission whose objectives and payloads are classified. The winged craft is known as Orbital Test Vehicle-3 (OTV-3), since it is conducting the third mission of the Air Force's X-37B program. (Image Credit: USAF)
    More Info > (SPACE)  



    28 May 2013
    Expedition 36 Set to Launch Tuesday

    Soyuz-Prepared-to-Launch-May2013Three new Expedition 36 crew members are set to launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:31 p.m. EDT Tuesday, on their way to the International Space Station. Soyuz Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano are scheduled to dock their Soyuz to the station at 10:16 p.m. Once at the station, the team is expected to have a busy stay, highlighted by a full slate of scientific research, six spacewalks, the arrival of multiple cargo ships and, in early November, the Olympic torch, which will herald the 2014 Winter Games at Sochi, Russia, in February. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (CBS News)
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    28 May 2013
    Delta IV Rocket Successfully Launches WGS Spacecraft

    DeltaIV-Launches-May2013-2A Delta IV rocket successfully launched the fifth Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) spacecraft on Friday evening. About 40 minutes after the 8:27 p.m. EDT launch, the Air Force communications satellite was deployed from the Delta IV rocket. The spacecraft is the fifth in a series of Boeing-built Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft designed to provide the U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. and allied troops around the world with secure, high-bandwidth communications. A single WGS spacecraft is capable of providing more bandwidth capability than an entire constellation of preceding Defense Satellite Communications System (DCSC) spacecraft. The launch was the fifth this year for United Launch Alliance and its second in just nine days. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    24 May 2013
    Delta IV Rocket to Launch Tonight

    ULA-SATCOM-Launch-May2013A Delta IV rocket is set to blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station today after a one-day delay to resolve a technical problem. The United Launch Alliance rocket is scheduled to launch this evening at 8:27 p.m. EDT. A 30-minute window will extend through 8:57 p.m. The Delta IV will launch a U.S. military communications satellite into orbit. The Boeing-built Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft is the fifth in a series of new-generation satellites that provide U.S. and allied military forces with high-capacity broadband communications capability. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    24 May 2013
    Company Plans to Use UAV to Make Routine Deliveries

    Drone-Credit-3DRoboticsMatternet, a startup in Palo Alto, CA, plans to use small, unmanned aircraft to deliver medicine and other vital goods to places that are difficult to drive in, such as Haiti or sub-Saharan Africa. The company also wants to make deliveries in U.S. cities after the technology has been proven abroad. The drones are gaining attention because Congress approved legislation last year calling for them to be included in the airspace where planes fly by September 2015.  The FAA is currently developing regulations. (Image Credit: 3D Robotics)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    23 May 2013
    Triton Completes First Flight

    MQ-4C-TritonThe Northrop Grumman-built MQ-4C Triton high-altitude unmanned aircraft successfully completed its first flight Wednesday from the company’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, CA. The MQ-4C Triton is being produced for U.S. Navy high-altitude maritime surveillance missions, and is designed to fly up to 24 hours and 11,500 miles without refueling. The aircraft is a heavily modified version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, and has a strengthened airframe and de-icing features that allow it to fly at altitudes nearly ten miles above sea level, giving it a 2,000-nautical-mile view of the ocean in every direction. The first flight is considered a major step in the Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program. (Image Credit: Northrop Grumman Corporation)
    More Info > (Associated Press)
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    23 May 2013
    Solar Impulse Sets Distance Record for a Solar-Powered Flight

    SolarImpulse-Lands-in-DallasSolar Impulse, a solar-powered plane, flew from Arizona to Texas on the second leg of its cross-country journey Wednesday, landing in Dallas Thursday morning at 2:08 a.m. EDT. Solar Impulse's 12,000 photovoltaic cells kept the plane going in the dark. While not setting any speed records, the flight took more than 18 hours which did set a new distance record for a single solar-powered flight. The aircraft can’t withstand heavy turbulence, so the Solar Impulse team has to wait for clear weather before taking off again. Its next scheduled visits are to St. Louis, Washington, and New York. (Image Credit: Solar Impulse)
    More Info > (NBC News)



    22 May 2013
    Dream Chaser Arrives At Dryden for Testing

    DreamChaser-Arrives-at-DrydenSierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser arrived at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA, 15 May, where it is scheduled to undergo tests of its flight and runway landing systems. The company plans runway tow, ground resonance, and captive flight tests on the spacecraft. Additionally, Sierra Nevada provided NASA with hazard reports and safety and reliability plans for the major components of the Dream Chaser system as part of the Integrated Systems Safety Analysis. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Space News)



    21 May 2013
    Dreamliner Resumes Flights In the U.S.

    787Dreamliner-CreditBoeingBoeing’s 787 Dreamliner returned to service in the U.S. on Monday with a United Airlines flight from Houston to Chicago. A Boeing spokesperson said that the company has modified 45 out of 50 Dreamliners that were in service at the time of the grounding. The return to domestic service provides a welcome boost for Boeing following a fair amount of bad publicity resulting from the grounding. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    21 May 2013
    X-47B UAV Makes Its First Touch and Go Landing

    X-47B-Touch-and-Go-CreditUSNLess than a week after completing its first catapult launch from a carrier deck, the X-47B UAV achieved another milestone Friday when it executed its first touch and go landings aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, bringing the technology demonstrator ever closer to being fully carrier-capable. The tests demonstrated the ability for the UAV and the carrier to communicate with each other over the super-fast datalink that they share. This is especially important if conditions become unsafe for a landing and it needs to be waved off. (Image Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter, USN)
    More Info > (Popular Science)



    20 May 2013
    NTSB Investigating Emergency Plane Landing In New Jersey

    emergency-plane-landing-May2013A U.S. Airways plane made an emergency belly landing at Newark National Airport on Saturday morning, after part of the landing gear would not go down. The National Transportation Safety Board has the black boxes from the plane and is investigating. U.S. Airways believes this was a mechanical issue isolated to this particular plane and wasn’t part of a wider problem. Thirty-four people were on board the plane when it landed, but no one was hurt. The NTSB is working with the airline to assess the damage to the aircraft but does not yet have details on what may have led the landing gear to malfunction. (Image Credit: YouTube)
    More Info > (ABC World News)



    17 May 2013
    Spacewalk Appears to Have Fixed Ammonia Leak

    NASA-Spacewalk-11May2013_CreditNASAA spur-of-the-moment spacewalk conducted last weekend appears to have fixed a big ammonia leak at the International Space Station, NASA reported Thursday. The leak sprang a week ago, necessitating the hastiest repair job ever attempted by space station residents. Spacewalking astronauts replaced a suspect ammonia pump on Saturday, just two days after the trouble was discovered. Engineers don't know whether the pump replacement also took care of a smaller leak in the system that has been an issue for years. It will take at least a couple months of monitoring to know the full status. Ammonia is used as a coolant in the space station's radiator system. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    17 May 2013
    Astronauts Take Dream Chaser for Simulated Spin

    DreamChaserAstronauts recently took the Dream Chaser winged spacecraft for a simulated spin, rocketing down from 10,000 feet to land on a runway in the Mojave desert in southern California. While the astronauts experienced the turbulence of the craft, they were actually inside the motion-based Research Flight Deck simulator at NASA Langley Research Center, helping fine-tune a next-generation vehicle for manned space exploration. The Dream Chaser, developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation, is a 30-foot-long spacecraft that resembles a mini space shuttle, intended to help replace the space shuttle program, which retired in 2011. Expected to be operational by 2017, Dream Chaser will carry passengers into low-Earth orbit, or ferry them to and from the International Space Station. It will launch aboard a medium-lift rocket, and once in orbit can fly at 17,500 mph and circle the globe in an hour and a half. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Ino > (Newport News Daily Press)



    15 May 2013
    X-47B UAV Launches from Aircraft Carrier for First Time

    X-47B-Launches-from-USSGeorgeBush-14May2013-CreditUSNThe U.S. Navy made aviation history on Tuesday by launching an unmanned jet off an aircraft carrier for the first time. The X-47B stealth drone was catapulted at 11:18 a.m. EDT from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA. The X-47B flew a series of pre-programmed maneuvers around the ship before heading off for Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland where it was scheduled to land. The successful launch of the X-47B is “an inflection point in history on how we will integrate manned and unmanned aircraft on carrier flight decks in the future,” Rear Adm. Mat Winter wrote on the Navy’s official blog. With a range of 2,000 nautical miles, an unmanned jet like the X-47B could give the Navy both a long-range strike and reconnaissance capability. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy)
    More Info > (Associated Press)
    More Info > (AIAA Statement)
    Watch Video > (YouTube)



    15 May 2013
    Boeing Delivers First Dreamliner Since Grounding

    ANA-787Boeing restarted deliveries of 787 Dreamliners on Tuesday after a four-month pause while it dealt with the troublesome batteries that had kept the planes grounded. Japan's All Nippon Airways received the first plane which follows the resumption of some flights that began last month. (Image Credit: ANA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    14 May 2013
    X-47B to Attempt Carrier Launch Today

    X-47B-CarrierDeck-USNThe U.S. Navy is preparing to launch an unmanned aircraft from the deck of an aircraft carrier for the first time today. The X-47B will launch from the USS George H.W. Bush, currently in the Atlantic Ocean. Once launched, it will make a series of approaches toward the aircraft carrier before landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    14 May 2013
    Expedition 35 Crew Lands Safely

    Expedition-35-crew-undocksExpedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko landed in southern Kazakhstan at 10:31 p.m. EDT Monday. Recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit their Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft and adjust to gravity after 146 days in space. The trio launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in December and spent 144 days living and working aboard the International Space Station. Romanenko was at the controls of the spacecraft as it undocked at 7:08 p.m. Monday. The undocking marked the end of Expedition 35 and the start of Expedition 36 under the command of Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, who is scheduled to remain on the station with Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin until September. (Image Credit: NASA TV – Expedition 35 undocks from the station aboard the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft)
    More Info > (NBC News)

    Watch Video > (YouTube)



    13 May 2013
    NASA to Commemorate 40th Anniversary of Skylab

    SkyLab-NASAThe first human inhabitants took up residence aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2000. Since then, the ISS has been home to many resident crews. None of this would have been possible without America's first space station: Skylab. From its launch on 14 May 1973, until the return of its third and final crew on 8 Feb. 1974, the Skylab program proved that humans can live and work in outer space for extended periods of time. NASA will commemorate the 40th anniversary of Skylab today with a televised roundtable discussion featuring Skylab astronauts, a current astronaut, and agency managers. The discussion, open to the public, will begin at 2:30 p.m. EDT in the James Webb Auditorium of NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. The event will air live on NASA Television. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA)
    More Info > (NASA TV)



    13 May 2013
    Astronauts Conduct Hastily Planned Spacewalk

    NASA-Spacewalk-11May2013_CreditNASAISS astronauts Christopher Cassidy and Thomas Marshburn conducted a hastily planned spacewalk Saturday that involved replacing a pump in hopes of plugging a serious ammonia leak. Afterwards, Mission Control said it appeared as though the leak may have been plugged, although additional monitoring over the coming weeks will be needed. Another spacewalk will be needed to replenish the coolant that was lost from the leak. NASA never before staged such a fast, impromptu spacewalk for a station crew, and now is preparing for the departure of some of the crew today. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The New York Times)



    10 May 2013
    FAA to Issue Airworthiness Directive On Boeing 777 Wiring

    Boeing777-CreditBoeingThe FAA says unsafe wiring conditions on some Boeing 777 jetliners need to be fixed to prevent the possibility of an in-flight entertainment system fire which could lead to a crash. A proposed airworthiness directive is expected to be released today. If the fix is not carried out, the FAA said operators might not be able to control smoke or flames in the airplane flight deck or passenger cabin. The FAA also said the order was prompted by reports of smoke or flames related to wiring for in-flight entertainment systems, cabin lighting and passenger seats in the passenger cabins, but did not say what those cases were other than involving MD-11, DC-9, and L-1011 planes. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    10 May 2013
    ISS Experiences Radiator Leak

    ISS-NASANASA has reported a radiator leak in the International Space Station’s power system. ISS Commander Chris Hadfield reportedly said the issue is “serious, but not life-threatening.” A NASA spokesperson said engineers are working on rerouting electronics just in case the loop shuts down. So far there are no plans to evacuate the crew. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    9 May 2013
    FAA Reverses Decision to Close 72 Air Traffic Control Facilities at Night

    ATC-at-DullesThe Federal Aviation Administration announced Wednesday that seventy-two airport towers and other air traffic control facilities that were slated to close at night due to budget cuts will now remain open. FAA officials provided no reason for the decision to keep the 72 towers open at night, most of which have few takeoffs and landings during the relevant night time hours. Nonetheless, ending midnight shifts at airport towers had threatened to slow down late-night flights, when most cargo tends to get shipped. Meanwhile, the FAA has not yet made a decision on whether it will close 149 small airport towers operated under contract for the agency.
    More Info > (USA Today)



    8 May 2013
    NTSB Seeks Additional Boeing 787 Battery Tests

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe NTSB is looking to obtain additional CT scans of 787 lithium-ion batteries, and wants to have the project completed by 16 May. A "sources sought notice" from the NTSB stated that since the FAA recently approved a plan intended to result in the Boeing 787 being approved for a return to service, the information from these tests (and the CT scans required to support these tests) is needed as soon as possible. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Puget Sound Business Journal)



    7 May 2013
    K-MAX Unmanned Helicopter Performing Well in the Field

    K-MAX-Unmanned-HelicopterK-MAX unmanned helicopters are proving to be quite successful in the field in Afghanistan. Through more use of the K-MAX, Marine Corps commanders have been able to cut back on the number of supply convoys on the province's bomb-laden roads; reduce the workload and the risk for helicopter and Osprey crews, and save money. The K-MAX also has provided real-world evidence that remotely piloted drone aircraft are useful for much more than just surveillance and missile strikes. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy)
    More Info > (The Washington Times)



    7 May 2013
    Navy Successfully Simulates UAV Landing On Aircraft Carriers

    X-47B-ArrestedLanding-CreditUSNIn a milestone for robotic aviation, the Navy's most valued drone, the X-47B, has successfully simulated landing on an aircraft carrier deck for the first time. This could mean that UAVs could be used from operating aircraft carriers. The test could have large implications since it tested one of the hardest maneuvers in aviation that no other nation has come close to repeating. The bigger test is expected later this month when the X-47B will travel to the USS George H.W. Bush to attempt to take off and land at sea for the first time. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy)
    More Info > (Wired)



    7 May 2013
    Atlas Rocket to Launch GPS Satellite for First Time in Years

    AtlasRocket-May2013An Atlas rocket and a Global Positioning System satellite were paired for the first time in 28 years Monday, as the booster and payload were united for their 15 May launch from Cape Canaveral. During the 28 year gap, GPS satellites relied on the Delta family of rockets for launches. This time, an Atlas 5 will launch the GPS 2F-4 satellite. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Spaceflight Now)



    6 May 2013
    Solar Impulse Begins Journey Across America

    SolarImpulse_DepartsNoCa-CreditSolarImpulseOn Friday, Solar Impulse, a solar-powered airplane, took off on the first leg of its journey across America. Solar Impulse is the most advanced sun-powered plane ever, capable of flying day and night without any fuel. But the plane flies only about 40 miles an hour, and it cannot fly through the clouds. The first leg of the journey, from northern California to Phoenix finished early Saturday morning, arriving in Phoenix 18 hours and 18 minutes after taking off in San Francisco. The plane's 12,000 solar cells on its wings worked to recharge the batteries that allow it to fly at night. (Image Credit: Jean Revillard, Solar Impulse)

    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)

    Video > (Reuters)



    3 May 2013
    X-51A Waverider Successfully Achieves Flight Above Mach 5

    X-51A_DemonstratorThe US. Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Boeing X-51A Waverider demonstrator, on 1 May, successfully achieved sustained, scramjet-powered, air-breathing hypersonic flight above Mach 5 in its final test flight. The X-51A is thought to have experienced positive acceleration to speeds in excess of Mach 5 and run for the full duration of the planned powered phase of the test. The success of this test follows less successful prior tests and could be pivotal in helping drive further research and development to meet the Air Force's long-term goal of hypersonic capability. AIAA congratulates the entire X-51 team on their successful flight. (Image Credit: U.S. Air Force)
    More Info > (Aviation Week)
    More Info > (AIAA Statement)



    3 May 2013
    Navy Announces First Aircraft Squadron to Include Both Manned, Unmanned Vehicles

    X-51A_DemonstratorThe U.S. Navy on Thursday established its first aircraft squadron made up of both traditional helicopters and remotely piloted drones. The squadron’s first deployment is expected next year, and is designated Helicopter Maritime Strike 35, “the Magicians.” Its pilots will fly the drones from a control room inside the ship. The Magicians squadron will be made up of eight MH-60R Seahawks and 10 MQ-8B Fire Scouts. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy)
    More Info > (The San Diego Union-Tribune)



    2 May 2013
    Boeing Board Approves Marketing of 777X

    Boeing-777-CreditBoeingBoeing's board of directors has given the company the go ahead to market the Boeing 777X, an updated, larger version of its 777 passenger jet. A formal launch announcement of the program is anticipated once Boeing gains enough orders, which the board would again have to approve. Boeing is expected to offer a couple of versions of the 777X that include composite wings and a GE engine. The first model would probably seat about 400 people, while the second would hold about 350 passengers and could potentially be ready in 2021. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    1 May 2013
    Cargo-Carrying Boeing 747-400 Crashes in Afghanistan

    747-Crashes-In-Afghanistan-CreditYouTubeA cargo-carrying Boeing 747-400 operated by National Air Cargo crashed just after takeoff Monday from Bagram Air Base around 11:20 a.m. local time. All seven people aboard were killed. NATO says no cause has been determined. According to a coalition spokesperson, the NTSB will work with the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority to investigate the crash. Some are speculating a shift in the cargo is to blame. A mechanical problem with the flight controls, in particular the elevator trim known as a 'runaway trim' is another less likely scenario. The crash was filmed and placed on YouTube and LiveLeak. (Image Credit: YouTube)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    1 May 2013
    Solar Impulse to Make Several Stops on Cross-Country Flight

    Solar-Impulse-Credit-SolarImpulseA solar-powered plane making its first cross-country journey plans to make stops in several American cities along the way. Solar Impulse will take off from San Francisco, sometime in May, and fly to JFK in New York, making four stops along the way – Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis, and Washington, DC. The exact date of takeoff will depend on the weather as Solar Impulse is so light it can’t fly through bad weather. Each flight leg will take 20-25 hours. The plane is expected to stay at each stop for about 10 days. (Image Credit: Solar Impulse)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    29 April 2013
    Manned Mission to Mars Appears More Plausible

    Mars-Settlement-Credit-NASAManned missions to Mars seem more likely following the landing of the Curiosity mission, an increasing number of private Mars missions, and new information on space radiation risks, according to a recent Washington Post report. Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, and others met Monday at George Washington University to discuss manned missions, where Bolden maintained that a human mission to Mars is a NASA priority and that the organization’s entire exploration program is configured to support this goal. Michael Gazarik, associate administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate, said a manned lander is now plausible following Curiosity. According to the article, funding is the biggest obstacle for such a mission. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    29 April 2013
    Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Makes First Rocket-Powered Flight

    VirginGalactic-FirstPoweredFlight-CreditVirginGalacticVirgin Galactic’s passenger spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo, completed its first rocket-powered flight Monday morning above the Mojave Desert in California. Approximately 45 minutes into the flight, SpaceShipTwo was released from its carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, triggering ignition of the rocket motor, carrying SpaceShipTwo to a max altitude of 56,000 feet. During the 16-second engine burn, the spaceship broke the sound barrier, according to a statement released by Virgin Galactic. The rocket-powered portion of the flight lasted a little more than 10 minutes, and the entire flight took about an hour. Virgin Galactic said it will continue testing this year and plans to reach full space flight by the end of 2013. AIAA congratulates Virgin Galactic, an AIAA corporate partner, on achieving this milestone. (Image Credit: Virgin Galactic)

    More Info > (SPACE.com)
    More Info > (AIAA Statement)
    Virgin Galactic's Test Flight Photos > (SPACE.com)



    29 April 2013
    House Passes Bill Aimed at Ending FAA Furloughs

    ATC-at-DullesThe House of Representatives voted 361-41 Friday to give the Transportation Department flexibility to move funding to the Federal Aviation Administration in order to end air traffic controller furloughs and reduce flight delays. The Senate passed the legislation late Thursday, and President Obama has indicated he will sign it.
    More Info > (New York Times)



    26 April 2013
    FAA Lifts Dreamliner Grounding

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a formal directive lifting the ban on Boeing 787 Dreamliners. According to the directive posted online Thursday, airlines can begin flying the aircraft as soon its problematic lithium-ion batteries are replaced with a revamped battery system. The FAA will closely monitor the modification and inspect the work. The announcement ends the three-month grounding of the Dreamliner that began in mid-January following a battery fire on a 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport, and a smoking battery that led to an emergency landing by another 787 in Japan. There are 50 787s in service currently. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    26 April 2013
    ESA Calls for Space Junk Removal

    SpaceJunk-NASAScientists at an international conference on space debris in Darmstadt, Germany, said that nets, harpoons and suicide robots could become weapons of choice to hunt down space junk threatening crucial communications satellites currently in orbit round Earth. The European Space Agency says the growing amount of space junk requires that new technologies be developed soon in order to clean it up. An ESA space debris expert said that 5-10 large objects need to be collected each year to prevent “Kessler Syndrome,” in which major collisions trigger a cascade of each crash increasing the amount of dangerous debris. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    24 April 2013
    Long Range Strike-Bomber Will Be Manned On Entry Into Service

    Long-Range-Bomber-CreditBoeingThe U.S. Air Force has confirmed for the first time that the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) will be manned upon entry-into-service, one of a few new details revealed about the classified program. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, who revealed the information, said an unmanned option likely will be protected since it should be offered at some point. While no decision on a contract is expected as of yet, Donley indicated there have been no major changes in design or requirements since the program was launched. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    24 April 2013
    New Technologies Will Lead to More Fuel-Efficient Planes

    X-48C-NASAWhile the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is currently the most fuel-efficient commercial plane, researchers are already looking towards new technologies that will go beyond it. These include the geared turbofan engine, set to debut in June on the Bombardier CSeries plane, new composite ceramics, a "double bubble" fuselage being designed by NASA and MIT that will be wind tunnel tested at the Langley Research Center later this year, the "flying wing" concept NASA has been developing with Boeing through the X-48 program that just concluded this month, and Reaction's Sabre engine with its high-speed heat exchanger. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (National Geographic)



    23 April 2013
    Flights Delayed Due to Sequester-Related Furloughs

    ATC-at-DullesAirline delays are occurring throughout the U.S. because of the sequester, which has resulted in 10% fewer air traffic controllers who are still having to monitor the same number of planes up in the air at the same time. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called the situation "a calamity." Ten percent of the nation's controllers are scheduled to be off daily until October, and industry and government officials have predicted that the impact will become more severe as the nation enters peak travel season. The delays have revived the debate in Washington over whether the controller furloughs announced last week were necessary or a White House strategy to dramatize the effects of sequestration.
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    23 April 2013
    Boeing Begins Modifying Batteries Following FAA Approval

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Friday approved Boeing’s plans to make modifications to the 787 Dreamliner’s lithium-ion batteries to reduce the risk of overheating. The planes have been grounded for three months, since one of the batteries caught fire and another emitted smoke on separate planes in January. Boeing said it would deploy around 300 technicians to nine countries in the coming months to retrofit the 787s. It is not yet clear exactly when the first flights would resume but analysts believe it will not be long before the first passenger flights resume. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    21 April 2013
    Antares Launches from Wallops

    Antares-Launch-April2013-CreditNASAOrbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched its Antares rocket at 5 p.m. EDT, Sunday, 21 April, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. All systems are being reported as normal. The goal of this launch is not to connect with the space station, but to make sure the rocket works and that a simulated version of a cargo ship that will dock with space station on future launches separates into orbit. AIAA congratulates Orbital Sciences, an AIAA corporate partner, on the successful launch. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (SPACE)
    More Info > (AIAA Statement)



    19 April 2013
    Antares Launch No Earlier Than Saturday

    Antares-Awaits-Launch-CreditNASAOrbital Sciences Corporation now plans to test launch its Antares rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia no earlier than 5 p.m. EDT on Saturday, 20 April. Friday’s rescheduled launch attempt was called off following review of the weather forecast. Saturday’s forecast calls for an 85 percent chance of favorable conditions. If needed, a back-up launch opportunity is available on Sunday. (Image Credit: Orbital Sciences)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    19 April 2013
    ISS Spacewalk Set for Today

    Spacewalk-2013Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko will conduct a six-hour spacewalk today. Their objectives are to deploy and retrieve several science experiments and install a new navigational aid. The spacewalk is set to begin at 10:06 a.m. EDT. This is the first of as many as six Russian spacewalks planned for this year. Two U.S. spacewalks are scheduled in July. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA)



    19 April 2013
    Airport Furloughs to Begin Sunday, May Cause Delays

    ATC-at-DullesAir traffic controller furloughs are scheduled to begin on Sunday and could result in flight delays lasting several hours in Atlanta, as well as significant delays in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York-area airports. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said they have no choice but to cut controller staffing by 10 percent, which will reduce the number of aircraft airports can handle. In the most extreme case, the furloughs could delay flights up to 210 minutes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, depending upon the time of day and other factors. The FAA is saying that the average delay will be far less, about 11 minutes. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Airlines for America, an industry trade group, said the furloughs are unnecessary and they are considering legal action.
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    18 April 2013
    Antares Launch Rescheduled for 19 April

    AntaresRocket-Awaits-Launch-April2013-credit-NASAOrbital Sciences Corporation has set Friday, 19 April, as the new launch date for its Antares rocket. Orbital scrubbed Wednesday's planned launch because of a premature separation of an umbilical connection on the second stage. Pending final resolution of the issue and acceptable weather conditions, the next launch attempt from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va., is tentatively set for no earlier than Friday, 19 April. The targeted launch time is 5:00 p.m. EDT. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA)



    17 April 2013
    Antares Launch Postponed

    AntaresRocket-Awaits-Launch-April2013-credit-NASAOrbital Sciences Corp. postponed the first launch of its Antares rocket Wednesday when an umbilical line dropped off prematurely from the launch vehicle's second stage. The launch abort occurred at 4:48 p.m. EDT, minutes before the Antares was due to lift off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, VA. Back-up launch opportunities are available 18-21 April. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NBC News)



    17 April 2013
    Antares to Launch Today

    AntaresRocket-Awaits-Launch-April2013-credit-NASAOrbital Sciences Corporation is set to launch its first Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Wednesday, 17 April. Orbital managers held a Launch Readiness Review Monday afternoon and gave a “go” to proceed toward launch. Liftoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. with a launch window that runs until 8 p.m. There is a 45 percent chance of favorable weather at the time of launch. Low clouds are a concern. If needed, back-up launch opportunities are available 18-21 April. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    17 April 2013
    SpaceShipTwo Conducts First Cold Flow Flight Test

    SS2-ConductsColdFlowTestVirgin Galactic's suborbital SpaceShipTwo successfully conducted its first 'cold flow' flight test above the Mojave Desert last Friday, 12 April. During the test, oxidizer was run through the rocket's propulsion system and out the back nozzle of the ship, though the vehicle's rocket engine was not turned on. The next significant milestone for the commercial spaceflight company appears to be conducting a full flight test, igniting the rocket in the air. The company has not released an expected date for a powered test flight. (Image Credit: Virgin Galactic)
    More Info > (SPACE)



    16 April 2013
    Despite FAA Order, Boeing 737s Not in Danger

    Boeing737-inFlight-CreditBoeingThe FAA airworthiness directive ordering the inspection of over 1,000 Boeing 737 aircraft, because a pin that attached the aircraft's horizontal stabilizers is in danger of failing prematurely, is mostly for late model Boeing 737s. The FAA says there is no immediate threat and if that were the case they say the planes would all be grounded. The inspection was prompted by reports of an incorrect procedure used to apply the wear and corrosion protective surface coating to attach pins of the horizontal stabilizer rear spar. The FAA says the directive affects 1,050 planes flown by U.S. carriers and that airlines have until late May before the inspections begin, and have various compliance times based on the age of the aircraft and other factors. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (NBC Nightly News – Video)
    More Info > (CNN)



    15 April 2013
    Orbital Prepares for Antares Test Launch from Wallops Island

    AntaresRocket-Awaits-Launch-March2013Orbital Sciences is busily preparing for a test this month of its Antares rocket launcher, a critical step as the company prepares to complete its first resupply mission to the International Space Station. The launch will take place at the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority facility on Wallops Island, less than a month after SpaceX completed its second cargo flight to the space station. Both Orbital and SpaceX have deals with NASA to resupply the space station, as the agency looks to private space firms to supplement its capabilities. The goal of the launch isn't to connect with the space station, but to make sure the rocket works and that a simulated version of a cargo ship that will dock with space station on future launches separates into orbit. (Image Credit: Orbital Sciences)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    15 April 2013
    X-48C Aircraft Makes Last of 30 Test Flights

    X-48C-NASAThe experimental X-48C ‘blended wing body’ aircraft recently made the last of 30 test flights concluding an eight-month program backed by Boeing and NASA. The two organizations hope to build a bigger, faster (transonic - in the vicinity of the speed of sound) blended wing body aircraft at some point, and that within 15 to 20 years, the concept could be developed into military aircraft for cargo-carrying and aerial refueling missions. All 30 test flights were conducted at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. The X-48C flew for approximately 30 minutes on most flights, attaining an altitude of about 9,800 feet. Very quiet and efficient, the hybrid wing body has shown promise for meeting all of NASA's environmental goals for future aircraft designs. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (CNET News)



    15 April 2013
    FAA Orders Inspection of Boeing 737s

    Boeing737-CreditBoeingThe Federal Aviation Administration plans to inspect more than a thousand Boeing 737s to check for corrosion on certain pins that could compromise safety, according to a notice on the Federal Register. In the document, dated 15 April, the agency said it had been informed of an “incorrect procedure used to apply the wear and corrosion protective surface coating to attach pins of the horizontal stabilizer rear spar.” The FAA is expected to formally make an announcement Monday about the inspection. No accidents have been reported because of possible malfunctions. The inspection could affect more than 3,000 Boeing 737s. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Agence France-Presse)



    12 April 2013
    Hawaii's First Satellite Launch Could Come This Year

    NavyMissileTestingFacilityKauaiThe University of Hawaii plans to put a satellite into orbit from the Navy's missile testing facility on Kauai later this year in what will be the first launch of a satellite from the islands. The university will launch the student-designed HiiakaSat, which is expected to remain in orbit for a year or two. The project is expected to demonstrate how using a new launch vehicle can reduce mission cost. A University of Hawaii spokesperson said another satellite launch planned for next year or the year after will be used to study coral reefs from space. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    11 April 2013
    Boeing Continuing Testing On CST-100 Capsule

    Boeing-CST-100CapsuleBoeing is making progress on the CST-100 capsule that could one day deliver astronauts to the ISS. The next step in the program, set for July, is a final demonstration of the orbital maneuvering and control engine developed by Rocketdyne, ahead of a critical design review in the fall. Ground tests have also been completed to ensure good communications in all phases of flight. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    10 April 2013
    Orion Capsule to Start Load Tests This Month

    Orion-ArtistsImpression3The Lockheed Martin Orion capsule is scheduled for intensive load tests beginning 22 April, one of the last major test series in preparation for its 2014 first flight. Following the tests, which will measure how the capsule responds to the stresses of lift-off, as well as separation from the second stage of its launch vehicle, the capsule will undergo high-speed water testing to confirm its proposed recovery method in anticipation of its first flight in September 2014. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    9 April 2013
    Boeing Unveils Updated F/A-XX Fighter Concept

    FA-XX-FighterConcept-BoeingBoeing is unveiling an updated version of its F/A-XX sixth-generation fighter concept this week at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Exposition in Washington, DC. The plane could be submitted as a possible replacement for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler fleets following a request for information from the U.S. Navy. The concept jet, which can fly manned or unmanned, features diverterless supersonic inlets reminiscent of those found on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    9 April 2013
    3D-Textured Solar Cell to be Tested at the ISS

    3D-SolarCellAn experimental 3D-textured solar cell is being prepared to be bolted to the outside of the International Space Station (ISS), where it will experience 16 'sunrises' each day as part of a harsh performance test. W. Jud Ready of Georgia Tech is producing the solar cell that CASIS, manager of the ISS' national laboratory, will send to the station next year. This will be one of the first experiments to take place outside the space station. By being in space, researchers can test multiple configurations much quicker than what they could do on Earth. The researchers will then be able to determine the best size and spacing of the cells. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Tech News Daily)



    9 April 2013
    Lockheed Unveils Its UCLASS Proposal

    Lockheed-UCLASS-credit_LMCLockheed Martin unveiled its submission for the U.S. Navy's prospective unmanned carrier launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) aircraft at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Exposition in Washington, DC. The proposal bears a strong resemblance to the company's RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aircraft, which is being flown by the U.S. Air Force. Lockheed also claims that its UCLASS design will reduce manpower requirements because a single operator would be able to operate multiple aircraft. (Image Credit: Lockheed Martin)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    8 April 2013
    NASA Could Capture an Asteroid for Exploration

    NASA-Captures-Asteroid-Artists-ImpressionPresident Obama will reportedly announce his support this week for what some call the asteroid rodeo: A $100 million plan to use a lasso to capture an asteroid in space. NASA would try to capture an asteroid 25 feet wide. Scientists hope to drag it in orbit around the moon to study its composition. Sen. Bill Nelson announced in a press conference how the President plans to give NASA $100 million to start planning a mission that could have astronauts exploring an asteroid by 2021. The mission would bring together ongoing NASA projects, including asteroid detection, robotic spacecraft development, the construction of a new rocket - the Space Launch System - and the building of a deep-space human exploration capsule called Orion. NASA would have until this summer to decide if the mission is possible. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    8 April 2013
    Antares Rocket Rolled Out to Launch Pad

    AntaresRocket-Awaits-Launch-April2013Orbital Sciences rolled out the first fully integrated Antares rocket to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad early Saturday. The rocket is now one step closer to its first flight possibly next week as part of a NASA contract to deliver essential cargo to the International Space Station. The launch window for the test flight is between 17 and 19 April according to NASA. In February, Orbital Sciences conducted a 29-second "hot fire" test of the rocket engine to demonstrate the readiness of the rocket's first stage and launch pad fueling systems. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    8 April 2013
    LaHood Says Boeing Has Good Plan for 787 Battery Fix

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerOn Friday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Boeing has a good plan to fix a battery problem that has grounded its fleet of 787 Dreamliners. While speaking at the U.S. Export-Import Bank's annual conference on Friday, LaHood said Boeing is performing tests now, and that the Department of Transportation agrees that the right tests are being performed. A decision about whether the 787 flights can resume could be made following the completion of the tests. LaHood declined to say when he will decide whether to end the grounding. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Reuters)



    5 April 2013
    Flight Restrictions Lifted for F-22s

    F-22 USAFMost of the Air Force's F-22 fleet has returned to unrestricted flight operations after being limited for nearly a year to flying within 30 minutes of a safe landing area, and at lower altitudes, because of safety concerns. The restrictions have been lifted on those planes that have been retrofitted with automatic backup oxygen systems. The new oxygen systems will be installed on all of the stealth fighters by July 2014. (Image Credit: U.S. Air Force)
    More Info > (Air Force Times)



    5 April 2013
    Source: Boeing May Carry Out 787 Certification Flight Today

    ANA-787Bloomberg News reports that Boeing Co. has sent several teams of engineers to Japan, home to the biggest operators of the grounded 787 Dreamliner, to prepare for battery upgrades as the aircraft manufacturer escalates efforts to return the jets to service. Equipping each 787 with new lithium-ion batteries will take four to five days once the U.S. FAA approves the proposed fix, according to a Boeing spokesperson. Bloomberg reports that Boeing may fly a 787 carrying FAA officials as soon as today as the agency determines whether the battery system is safe for commercial flights again after two electrical failures in January. (Image Credit: ANA)
    More Info > (Bloomberg)



    4 April 2013
    First AMS Results Hint At Dark Matter Discovery

    NASA-AMS-ISSTwo years after installing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) at the ISS, scientists released the first results showing cosmic footprints of what could be dark matter, although the data is not yet conclusive and could be explained by other phenomena like pulsars. Principal investigator Sam Ting of MIT, speaking at CERN, announced the discovery of high energy positrons that could be from the annihilation of dark matter. Ting said he expects a more definitive answer in a matter of months. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    3 April 2013
    NASA to Unveil First Results of AMS

    NASA-AMS-ISSNASA will reveal the first discoveries from a $2 billion antimatter-hunting experiment on the International Space Station on Wednesday. The announcement will be broadcast live via NASA TV. NASA and the Department of Energy will announce the results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which NASA calls "a state-of-the-art cosmic ray particle physics detector located on the exterior of the International Space Station." While scientists are using the detector to search for antimatter and the source of dark matter, NASA officials have so far provided little detail on the exact discoveries that will be unveiled on Wednesday. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (SPACE)



    2 April 2013
    Boeing Flies Dreamliner Again to Test Upgrades

    Boeing787-TakingOffBoeing flew its Dreamliner again on Monday on a flight designed to test system upgrades. The test flight did not include checking the operation of the plane's batteries. The plane made a two-hour flight from the Seattle area to Moses Lake, WA, then returned to Boeing Field. The interim testing is believed to be focused on verifying the functionality of specific systems that could play a significant role in the upcoming battery demonstration flight, as well as other electrical systems unrelated to the battery modification. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    1 April 2013
    LaHood, Huerta: Tower Closures Will Not Sacrifice Safety

    Regional-ATC-Credit-Tony-OvermanThe Philadelphia Inquirer published a letter from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in which they describe the efforts to maintain safety while complying with the requirements of the sequester budget cuts. They note that the FAA must close 149 contractor-run air traffic control towers around the country, and state that "the FAA is working to reduce the impact on the majority of everyday travelers." They conclude with, "While we make difficult budget decisions, safety is not up for negotiation." (Image Credit: The News Tribune, Tony Overman)
    More Info > (Philadelphia Inquirer)



    1 April 2013
    ATK Building Mid-Span Supports for SLS Solid Motor

    ATK-SRB-TestATK will use two 'mid-span' supports on their upcoming static test of their five segment Solid Rocket Booster (SRB), which is necessary because ATK is increasing the length of the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM) used by the shuttle for the Space Launch System (SLS). It is expected that the five segment solid motor will be used on all SLS flights until at least the middle of the 2020s. SLS managers are expected to have the option of launching up to 10 missions using the current five segment booster design. (Image Credit: ATK)
    More Info > (NASA Spaceflight)



    29 March 2013
    Expedition 35 Docks with Space Station

    Expedition35LaunchesMarch2013Expedition 35 successfully docked to the International Space Station Thursday at 10:28 p.m. EDT carrying one American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts. The Soyuz TMA-08M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT. This was the first launch in which a manned flight made an express route towards the International Space Station, decreasing flight time from around two days to just six hours. In total, it took around eight hours to get from the launch point to inside the space station. The crew joined ISS Commander Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn of NASA, and Roman Romanenko of Roscosmos, who have been in the ISS since 21 December 2012. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    27 March 2013
    Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific Ocean

    DragonCapsule-SplashesDown-March2013The SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean Tuesday at 12:34 p.m. EDT, completing a successful, 23-day round trip to the International Space Station. The Dragon capsule is loaded with 2,668 pounds of equipment and science samples. SpaceX Dragon capsules currently are the only spacecraft capable of returning large amounts of cargo to Earth now that the U.S. shuttle fleet is retired. Launched 1 March from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon overcame thruster trouble and arrived at the station two days later. More than a ton of supplies were delivered to the station. AIAA congratulates SpaceX on a successful mission. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Fox News)



    27 March 2013
    XCOR Tests Piston Pump-Powered Rocket

    XCOR-tests-Pump-fed-engine-March2013XCOR Aerospace announced Tuesday a first in aviation and space history, the firing of a full piston pump-powered rocket engine, a major milestone in the company's quest to build a reusable suborbital vehicle. The engine burn lasted 67 seconds, about half the planned full burn time of 150 seconds. Through use of their rocket propellant piston pumps, XCOR delivers both kerosene and liquid oxygen to their rocket engines, eliminating the need for heavy, high-pressure fuel and oxidizer tanks. This will enable the XCOR propulsion system to fly multiple times per day and last for tens of thousands of flights. (Image Credit: XCOR)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    26 March 2013
    Dragon Capsule Departs ISS

    Dragon_Capsule-At-ISS_CreditNASAThe SpaceX Dragon capsule was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm by Expedition 35 crew members Tuesday at 6:56 a.m. EDT. The spacecraft now will begin a series of departure burns and begin its return trip to Earth. Dragon will return with about 2,668 pounds of science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities for NASA. The Dragon spacecraft launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket on the SpaceX-2 commercial resupply mission 1 March from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 12:35 p.m., off the west coast of Baja California, Mexico. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (NASA)



    26 March 2013
    Boeing 787 Flies with Redesigned Battery

    Boeing787DreamlinerA Boeing 787 with a redesigned battery system made a two hour test flight Monday. Boeing said subsequently that all went according to plan. The test flight was an important step towards Boeing's goal of resuming commercial Dreamliner flights. The data will be analyzed while Boeing prepares another test flight to demonstrate to the FAA how the plane performs. While Boeing maintains that the Dreamliner could be flying again by May or earlier, some officials are skeptical it will be cleared even by May. While there is no consensus on when approval will come, there is at least some consensus that at some point approval will be given. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    25 March 2013
    FAA to Shut Down Air Traffic Control Towers in 38 States

    Regional-ATC-Credit-Tony-OvermanThe Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that it would shut down air traffic control towers in 38 states, affecting operations at 149 small and medium-sized airports nationwide. Even without a staffed tower, the airports are able to operate with pilots communicating their positions by radio or by using other FAA facilities for guidance. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta emphasized that his agency would work closely to ensure safe landing and takeoffs at the affected airports. The closures, which begin 7 April, are part of the more than $600 million in cuts the agency must make. (Image Credit: The News Tribune, Tony Overman)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    25 March 2013
    U.S., India to Expand Cooperation in Space

    NASAHqtrsThe U.S. and India have agreed to expand their cooperation in civil space activities ranging from weather and monsoon forecasting to cooperative space exploration work, including future missions to the moon and Mars. The agreement between the two space agencies, Indian Space Research Organization and National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) was announced Friday after a meeting of the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group (CSJWG). The two sides exchanged information on a range of space and other policy issues and noted ongoing efforts to open up new opportunities for collaboration. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (AFP)



    21 March 2013
    Study Claims Voyager 1 Has Entered a New Region of Space

    Voyager-NASAVoyager 1, launched in 1977 to explore the outer planets, has passed into a new region on its way out of the solar system, scientists said on Wednesday. The spacecraft, now more than 11 billion miles away, detected two distinct and related changes in its environment 25 August 2012, astronomers report in the Geophysical Research Letters journal. The probe detected dramatic changes in the levels of two types of radiation, one that stays inside the solar system, the other which comes from interstellar space. Scientists behind the Voyager mission are not yet ready to say Voyager is in interstellar space, however. The probe, which blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 5 September 1977, may be in a new and previously unknown boundary region between the heliosphere and interstellar space. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (USA Today)
    More Info > (NASA JPL Update)



    21 March 2013
    Boeing Said to be Planning 787 Battery Test Flights for End of Week

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerBoeing is reportedly planning to conduct a pair of test flights of its updated 787 battery system as soon as the end of this week. The 787 flights, the first since February, would mark another step toward Boeing's recently announced goal of returning the grounded fleet to service in a matter of weeks rather than months. Last week, the company said that it expected to complete testing in one to two weeks. The test flights would depart from and return to Paine Field in Washington state.
    More Info > (Reuters)



    20 March 2013
    Second SBIRS Satellite Successfully Launched

    SBIRS-2-Launches-CreditULAThe U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin successfully launched the second Space Based Infrared System GEO-2 spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket Tuesday afternoon. The rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida shortly after 3 p.m. SBIRS is the United States' new consolidated system for infrared space surveillance. It is the second of the six planned GEO satellites that the Air Force plans to put into orbit. System surveillance includes: missile warning, missile defense, battle space awareness, and technical intelligence. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    20 March 2013
    NASA Resolves Latest Curiosity Issue

    AtlasV-SBIR-creditULAEngineers resolved the latest problem Tuesday with the Curiosity rover on Mars and it is expected to resume science operations this week after a three-week delay. Operators should now be able to finish the original troubleshooting work, and on Thursday, with both computers functional, start sending commands to the rover to operate its instruments. However, it'll only have a short time to work before an anticipated planetary alignment limits radio communication between Earth and Mars during most of next month. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    19 March 2013
    Weather Expected to be Acceptable for Atlas V Launch

    AtlasV-SBIR-creditULAThe U.S. Air Force is preparing for the planned launch Tuesday of a new-generation missile-warning satellite. Mounted atop a 189-foot-tall Atlas V rocket, the Space-Based Infrared System satellite is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:21 p.m. EDT Tuesday. Air Force meteorologists say there is a 70 percent chance the weather will be acceptable for flight. The main concern is the possibility of electrically charged cumulus clouds in the area during the launch window. Meanwhile, managers conducted a launch readiness review last Friday and cleared the United Launch Alliance rocket and its payload for flight. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    19 March 2013
    Curiosity Rover Back In Safe Mode Because of New Issue

    Curiosity-NASA-IIThe Curiosity rover is sidelined again and has returned to safe mode after experiencing a software file error over the weekend. This latest complication is expected to delay scientific activities until possibly the end of the week. Once Curiosity returns to normal, it'll only have a few days to work before a planetary alignment limits radio communication between Earth and Mars during most of next month. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    18 March 2013
    Orbital Sciences Targeting Mid-April for First Antares Rocket Launch

    AntaresRocket-Awaits-Launch-March2013Orbital Sciences has set a 'No Earlier Than' target for the first flight of its Antares Launch Vehicle which is the company's final step in advance of beginning International Space Station resupply missions under NASA's COTS and CRS Programs. Antares is currently planned to blast off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on 16 April 2013. However, this target is still NET (No Earlier Than) because a number of reviews have to be completed ahead of launch. The range is booked from 16-18 April. The A-One Test flight mission will be the maiden voyage of Orbital's Antares launch vehicle which will carry a Cygnus mass simulator to orbit to rehearse the Flight Profile required for an ISS flight. Following a successful A-One Flight, Antares would fly again in the summer of 2013 carrying an operational Cygnus spacecraft for Orbital's COTS Demo Flight to the ISS. (Image Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.)
    More Info > (NASASpaceflight.com)



    18 March 2013
    Expedition 34 Crew Lands Safely

    Exp34_Lands-CreditNASATVExpedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitskiy landed their Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft in Kazakhstan Friday at approximately 11:08 p.m. EST. Despite fog, low visibility, and freezing temperatures Russian recovery teams were on hand to help the crew exit the Soyuz vehicle and adjust to gravity after 144 days in space. The trio launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in October and spent 142 days living and working aboard the International Space Station. (Image Credit: NASA TV)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    15 March 2013
    Boeing Details Fixes for 787 Dreamliner Battery System

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerBoeing executives outlined plans Friday to get passengers back aboard 787 Dreamliners within weeks, after testing a new design of the innovative plane's lithium-ion battery. Changes include installation of a new enclosure for the battery, a focus of regulatory investigations after catching fire on one aircraft and smoking on another, and adjustments to the charger. The improvements will allow the resumption of service once the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators sign off. Air India may fly its five 787s as soon as April. Boeing would also be able to restart deliveries of the aircraft, for which it has a backlog of more than 800 jets. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    14 March 2013
    Hadfield Takes Command of ISS

    Exp34-35-CreditNASACommander Kevin Ford handed command of the International Space Station over to Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield during a change of command ceremony on Wednesday. Hadfield, a veteran of the Canadian Space Agency, is the first Canadian commander of the station. It is a milestone for the Canadian Space Agency as the space station has been staffed around the clock since November 2000, and for the most part, either U.S. astronauts or Russian cosmonauts have been in command. Frank De Winne, a European Space Agency astronaut, skippered the station in 2009. Expedition 35 will officially begin the undocking of the Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft Thursday. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    13 March 2013
    Curiosity Rover Finds Conditions Once Suited for Ancient Life on Mars

    Curiosity-Rover-CreditNASAAn analysis of a rock sample collected by NASA's Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes. Scientists identified sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – some of the key chemical ingredients for life – in the material Curiosity drilled out of a rock near an ancient stream bed in Gale Crater on the Red Planet. The analysis also suggests that Mars may have once had relatively fresh water in an area known as Yellowknife Bay. According to NASA, the clay found there was not harshly oxidizing, acidic or extremely salty. The agency hasn't said how long ago these chemicals may have existed, but suggested that they are very ancient. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    13 March 2013
    FAA Approves Boeing Plan to Fix 787 Dreamliners

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing's certification plan for the 787 Dreamliner's lithium-ion battery system Tuesday, giving the company the go-ahead to begin testing in the air. Boeing's plans call for redesigning the batteries to minimize the risk of a short-circuit, which caused a fire in a Dreamliner parked in Boston 7 Jan. The FAA approved limited test flights for two aircraft, which will have redesigned batteries and enclosures. Testing will cover each plane's two batteries and other systems. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    13 March 2013
    California State Senate Declares March as California Aerospace Month

    Ross-Duane-CAAerospaceWeek2013On Monday, during AIAA’s 2nd Annual California Aerospace Week taking place this week in Sacramento, California, State Senator Steve Knight honored AIAA on the floor of the California State Senate for organizing California Aerospace Month, while presenting the Institute with a resolution honoring its commitment to promoting aerospace. A Resolution declaring March California Aerospace Month passed 32-0, Monday, in the California State Senate. For more information on AIAA's 2nd Annual California Aerospace Week, visit www.aiaa.org/CAAerospaceWeek2013/.   (Pictured: Duane Hyland and Ross G Bell accept the resolution on behalf of AIAA's members and staff.)



    12 March 2013
    U.S., Japan Hold Talks on Space Collaboration

    ULA-Launch-June2012-CreditULAJapan and the United States held talks Monday on wide-ranging cooperation in space, including satellite monitoring of ships. Officials discussed ways to further collaborate in positioning, navigation, and timing services from the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and its Japanese counterpart, the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS). The talks are apparently aimed at countering China's growing assertiveness at sea and the expansion of its space exploration program. Other topics of interest include Earth observations, space debris information exchange, technology development, and asteroid detection and mitigation. Another meeting is scheduled for next year. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (AFP)



    11 March 2013
    NASA Launching Exploration Design Challenge

    Orion-ArtistsImpression-NASANASA and Lockheed Martin Corporation will unveil the Exploration Design Challenge, Monday, 11 March, with the aim of involving students in the flight testing of the next-generation Orion spacecraft. Former shuttle astronaut Leland Melvin, who flew aboard STS-122 and STS-129 and presently serves as NASA’s Associate Administrator for Education, will announce the details of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) challenge at 11:30 a.m. EDT in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (AmericaSpace)



    11 March 2013
    European Navies Could Become Part of Missile Shield

    USN-Missile-Defense-CreditUSNRaytheon said it successfully tested an upgrade to its SM-3 ballistic missile interceptor to help clear a path for European navies to protect the region against long-range weapons from countries such as Iran. The test took place last week and demonstrated that a radar used by Dutch, German and Danish navies could provide target information to the interceptor. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he could see European navies upgrading their ships with missile defense radars and interceptors so they can deploy alongside U.S. vessels.(Image Credit: USN)
    More Info > (Bloomberg)



    11 March 2013
    FAA Allows UAV Training Flights Over Pennsylvania Military Installation

    UAV-on-approach-CreditUSAFThe Federal Aviation Administration has authorized at least four drones to fly in restricted airspace over Fort Indiantown Gap, a large military installation in central Pennsylvania about 25 miles from Harrisburg. The drones - known as 'The Shadow' - are used solely for training purposes, and will not carry weapons or leave the fort's airspace. The FAA is currently compiling regulations which would allow drones in domestic airspace. (Image Credit: USAF)
    More Info > (Pocono (PA) Record)



    8 March 2013
    CSPAN Airing Columbia +10 Lessons Learned and Unlearned

    Columbia-Plus10ImageColumbia +10 Lessons Learned and Unlearned will look back at the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, examining the findings of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, and providing firsthand accounts from the individuals who led the investigation, addressing what they learned about the organizational needs of the human space exploration program, and about the review and oversight of long-term advanced technology programs. The program, which is going on today at George Washington University, is being aired live on CSPAN 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visit CSPAN to access the progam.



    8 March 2013
    SBIRS GEO 2 Satellite Mated to Atlas 5 Rocket

    SBIRSGEO2-Atlas5An Air Force surveillance satellite and its United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 booster were joined together as the pair targets a 19 March liftoff from Cape Canaveral. The rocket will launch the SBIRS GEO 2 satellite which will modernize the U.S.' early-warning missile detection system. It is advancing the heritage capabilities of the aging Defense Support Program satellites from the Cold War focus on intercontinental ballistic missiles to today's short-range missile threats by incorporating new technologies to make quicker detections of fainter objects. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (Spaceflight Now)



    6 March 2013
    AIAA Executive Director Provides Viewpoint in Aviation Week & Space Technology

    SandyMagnus-ASM2013AIAA Executive Director Sandra H. Magnus provides an important “Viewpoint” in the March 4/11 2013 edition of Aviation Week & Space Technology, in an article titled, “How to Stifle Innovation,” in which she warns of the dangers of limiting government employees' attendance at scientific and technical conferences. As Magnus states, “Conferences serve as a nexus for communications across academia, industry and government. Today, that synergy is under threat.”

    Full Story > (Aviation Week & Space Technology, 4/11 2013 – Article located on page 82)



    5 March 2013
    Boeing to Move Fast On Battery Fix With FAA Approval

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerBoeing said Monday that it is prepared to move quickly to get its 787s back in the air if it gets federal approval for a fix for the batteries that have grounded the planes. The FAA wouldn’t say whether it will recommend Boeing's plans this week. Boeing was confident about the battery fix it recently proposed after it conducted 200,000 hours of analysis and testing. Boeing’s plans to produce 10 Dreamliners a month by the end of the year are still proceeding as scheduled, but that could change depending on how the FAA rules. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    5 March 2013
    DARPA Looking to Launch UAVs from Small Surface Warships

    UAV-Launches-from-Ship-CreditUSNDARPA is working on how to launch UAVs from small surface warships under its Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (Tern) program. The goal is to boost a drone to flight velocity without the benefit of a five-acre aircraft carrier deck, and without resorting to a helicopter design. Enabling small ships to launch and retrieve long-endurance UAVs on demand would greatly expand situational awareness and the ability to quickly engage in hotspots over land or water. The project would fill a gap in the Navy's UAV manifest, and if successful, DARPA is poised to significantly expand the Navy's flying robotic arsenal, potentially transforming almost every warship into a mobile drone base. (Image Credit: USN)
    More Info > (Wired)



    5 March 2013
    JSfirm Releases Its 2013 Aviation Hiring Predicitons

    JSfirm.com, an online aviation only job board, released its 4th Annual Hiring Trend Survey. Jeff Richards, JSfirm.com manager said, "This survey gives our industry a sneak peak of what's going to happen in 2013. It's a great guide and has proven to be accurate in past years."
    More Info > (JSfirm)



    4 March 2013
    Dragon Spacecraft Docks at ISS

    Dragon-Docks-Mar2013-CreditNASAThe International Space Station welcomed its second commercial cargo delivery flight Sunday with the arrival of the SpaceX Dragon carrying around 1,200 pounds of science cargo, station hardware and supplies for the Expedition 34 crew. Controlling the Canadarm2 from a robotics workstation inside the ISS, Commander Kevin Ford, with assistance from Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn, grappled the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft at 5:31 a.m. EST as it flew within about 32 feet of the complex. The hatch to Dragon was opened at 1:14 p.m. The crew will begin to unload Dragon’s cargo on Monday morning. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    4 March 2013
    Antares Rocket Almost Ready for First Launch

    AntaresRocket-Awaits-Launch-March2013Following a successful test firing of its main engine 25 Feb., the Antares rocket developed by Orbital Sciences Corp. is in final preparations at its Virginia launch site, and is scheduled to roll out to the launch pad in mid-March in preparation for an early April launch. That is when the rocket is expected to make the first of two demonstration flights. When the April launch takes place, NASA will participate in tracking and telemetry, range safety and surveillance, control center operations, optical support, security, and a host of other facility activities. Representatives from Orbital, NASA and the state of Virginia will meet nine days before the launch for a range readiness review, and again for a launch readiness review two days prior to launch. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Space News - Subscription required to access full article)



    1 March 2013
    SpaceX Falcon 9 Lifts Off

    Falcon 9 Launches Feb2013The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft successfully lifted off Friday at 10:10 a.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, beginning its mission to resupply the International Space Station. The mission marks the third trip by a Dragon capsule to the orbiting outpost, following a demonstration flight in May 2012 and the first resupply mission in October 2012. The Dragon capsule is due to deliver 1,200 lbs of scientific experiments and supplies to the space station after docking on Saturday at 6:30 a.m. ET. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    28 February 2013
    Space Tourist Dennis Tito Plans First Human Mars Mission for 2018

    InspirationMarsSpacecraftIn 2001, millionaire Dennis Tito became the first paying space tourist when he purchased a flight to the International Space Station from the Russian space agency. Now, his sights are set higher. He and a group of fellow space entrepreneurs announced Wednesday that they will attempt the first-ever flight to Mars, sending a man and a woman to slingshot around the red planet and return safely in 501 days. They hope to pull it off by 2018, decades earlier than NASA or anyone else has considered. Tito will provide the initial funding for the project, called Inspiration Mars, which involves huge risk, such as higher radiation exposure, and a faster re-entry speed when the spacecraft returns to Earth. (Image Credit: Inspiration Mars Foundation)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    28 February 2013
    Recommendation on 787s Expected Next Week

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerExperts at the Federal Aviation Administration are expected to reveal next week whether they recommend accepting Boeing's plan to fix its fleet of 787 Dreamliners so the planes can resume flying. Officials in the FAA office near Seattle that certifies new planes as safe for flight are reviewing Boeing’s proposal to reconfigure the 787's lithium ion batteries to prevent them from catching fire, or to protect the plane in case of fire. Once Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta receives their evaluation, it'll be up to him to decide whether to accept the plan. The planes have been grounded since 16 Jan. after a battery caught fire in a 787 parked at Boston's Logan International Airport and a smoking battery in another 787 forced an emergency landing in Japan. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    27 February 2013
    F-35 Fan Blade Crack Will Not Require Redesign to Fix

    F-35 USNAfter examining a crack discovered in a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine fan blade, Pratt & Whitney has determined that the cause will not require a redesign. The company is 99 percent sure the fan blade problem that grounded the Pentagon's 51 new F-35 fighter jets was not caused by high-cycle fatigue, which could force a costly redesign. The cracked fan blade was likely the result of something like high heat exposure, or a manufacturing problem. (Image Credit: USN)

    More Info > (Reuters)



    26 February 2013
    SpaceX Set for Friday Launch

    SpaceX Falcon Awating LiftoffSpaceX is targeting Friday, 1 March, as the launch date for the next NASA cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Should a delay occur, SpaceX would launch its Falcon 9 rocket the following day. SpaceX conducted an engine test-firing Monday in preparation of the launch, calling the test a success. The engines' performance will be closely monitored on this flight as a result of one shutting down prematurely during the previous Falcon 9 launch in October. If all systems are “go” the Falcon 9 is set to lift off at 10:10 a.m. Friday carrying a Dragon capsule packed with more than 1,200 pounds of cargo. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    25 February 2013
    FAA Says Dreamliner Won't Fly Until It Is Certain Batteries Are Safe

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerAfter meeting with Boeing executives, top federal aviation officials said Friday that they would not approve any fix to the battery problems on the 787 jetliner until they were certain that the batteries would not fail again. At the meeting, Boeing executives outlined the company's proposals on how to keep the 787's new lithium-ion batteries from overheating and how to vent any hazardous gases out of the plane. Boeing's plan calls for revamping the aircraft's two lithium ion batteries to ensure that any short-circuiting that could lead to a fire won't spread from one battery cell to the others. The company proposes placing more robust ceramic insulation around each of the battery's eight cells, and placing the battery in a bigger and more robust box. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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    25 February 2013
    F-35 Fighters Grounded Due to Turbine Blade Crack

    F-35 USNThe Defense Department grounded all of its new F-35 fighter jets last week after an inspection discovered a crack in a turbine blade in the engine of one of the planes. The Pentagon grounded all three versions of the jets — for the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines — on Thursday while it investigated the problem. Lockheed Martin, which makes the aircraft, said 64 of the jets would be affected. The crack in the turbine blade was discovered on a test plane at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Tuesday during a routine inspection. The blade is being sent to a plant in Connecticut, where the engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, will inspect it and look for the problem’s cause. (Image Credit: USN)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    25 February 2013
    Orbital Sciences Successfully Tests Antares Rocket

    Orbital-Tests_Antares-RocketOrbital Sciences has successfully tested an engine of its Antares rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore. NASA says the test, conducted Friday, 22 Feb., demonstrated the readiness of the rocket's first stage and launch pad fueling systems to support upcoming test flights. The company is getting ready for flight demonstrations of its Antares medium-class launch vehicle and Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft as part of a NASA contract to deliver essential cargo to the International Space Station. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    22 February 2013
    Officials Still Considering Whether to Land X-37B Space Plane at KSC

    X-37B-Credit-USAFThe X-37B launched into orbit atop an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station 11 Dec. The mini-shuttle's mission is known as Orbital Test Vehicle-3 (OTV-3), since it is the third classified mission under the Air Force's X-37B program. The amount of time OTV-3 will remain in Earth orbit is unknown, but the current flight has reached one known major milestone — that of reusability. This same vehicle was flown on the maiden voyage in the X-37B program in 2010. That OTV-1 mission eventually touched down at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The OTV-2 mission also made a Vandenberg touchdown on 16 June of last year after remaining in orbit for 469 days. There's a possibility that OTV-3 may not land in Vandenberg, as there are ongoing discussions about bringing the space plane down at the shuttle landing strip at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, as a possible cost-cutting measure. (Image Credit: USAF)
    More Info > (SPACE)



    Update: 22 February 2013
    Dreamliner Could Fly as Early as Mid-March
    More Info > (New York Times)


    21 February 2013
    Boeing to Propose 787 Battery Fix to the FAA

    787-creditBoeingBoeing has reportedly developed a plan that it intends to propose to federal regulators to temporarily fix problems with the 787 Dreamliner's batteries that have kept the planes on the ground for more than a month. It is anticipated that Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner will present the plan to Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, in a meeting on Friday. Boeing has narrowed down the ways the lithium-ion batteries on the jetliners could fail, and believes that adding insulation between the cells of the batteries, and making other changes, would ensure their safe use. Michael Huerta is not expected to approve the changes immediately, but the meeting with Boeing is likely to start a discussion on the standards Boeing needs to meet as it tests the fixes and seeks to get the planes flying again. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    20 February 2013
    Communications Restored at ISS

    ISS-NASAU.S. astronauts restored full communications and command capability aboard the International Space Station Tuesday after a computer software upload triggered a three-hour loss of contact with Mission Control in Houston. The trouble arose when Mission Control was switching to a back-up U.S. computer so that new software could be loaded into the prime U.S. computer. NASA officials said a ground system was not configured properly for the switch. Consequently, the station’s S-band communications antenna could not be pointed properly at a NASA tracking and data relay satellite that enables crews to stay in contact with Mission Control. The glitch occurred at about 9:45 a.m. EST and communications and command control capability were restored at 12:34 p.m. EST.  (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    19 February 2013
    Boeing to Propose Short-Term Battery Fix to Get Dreamliners Flying

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerBoeing is expected to propose to regulators as early as this week a short-term fix to strengthen the 787’s defenses in case of battery fires like those that have kept the jet grounded for the past month. The company hopes that it's proposed fix will help to get the planes flying passengers again. That fix would involve a heavy-duty titanium or steel containment box around the battery cells, and high-pressure evacuation tubes that, in the event of a battery fire, would vent any gases directly to the outside of the jet. The short-term fix will take at least three months to design, test, certify and retrofit. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Seattle Times)



    19 February 2013
    Efforts Underway to Better Identify Space Threats

    Asteroid-Gaspra-CreditNASAIn the wake of the meteorite explosion over Russia on Friday, work on a meteor tracking system is under way. Dr. John Tonry, a professor at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, is developing what he calls an Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System. Tonry’s ATLAS project has recently received funding from NASA and will be developed to precisely detect when and where a meteorite would hit. The massive space rock that streaked across the Russian sky was estimated to be about 10 tons and 49 feet wide and entered the Earth's atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of at least 33,000 mph before breaking into pieces about 18-32 miles above the ground, the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement on Friday. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    15 February 2013
    Next SpaceX Dragon Capsule to Launch 1 March

    SpaceX Falcon Awating LiftoffSpaceX remains on schedule to launch its next International Space Station resupply mission in two weeks. A Falcon 9 rocket and an unmanned Dragon capsule are scheduled to lift off at 10:10 a.m. EST, 1 March, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The confirmation followed a meeting by NASA and its international partners to verify that the station and its six-person crew were ready for the Dragon’s arrival, and that SpaceX also was ready for the mission. All parties are ‘go.’ The flight will be SpaceX’s second of 12 under a NASA resupply contract, following a successful first flight last October. It would be the third flight to the station by a Dragon, including a demonstration flight last May. The Dragon will be loaded with about 1,200 pounds of food, supplies and science experiments. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    15 February 2013
    Asteroid Flyby Takes Place Today

    Asteroid-FlyBy-CreditNASAA rock the size of an apartment building, designated 2012 DA14, will buzz the Earth on Friday at a distance of about 17,200 miles, although it poses no danger. Though it will pass just inside the orbit of communications satellites, the chance that it will cause any disruptions is remote. Scientists point out that we have never detected an asteroid this large passing so close to our planet. The precise size and shape of the rock are unclear. In telescopes, DA14 is just a bright dot. That is expected to change Friday as astronomers observe it coming and going. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    14 February 2013
    FAA Official Says No Armed UAVs Will Fly in U.S. Airspace

    UAV-Credit-USNA top official with the Federal Aviation Administration reassured the public on Wednesday that, despite the concerns of some, no armed drones will be permitted to fly in U.S. airspace. Jim Williams, head of the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office said there are currently rules in the books that deal with releasing anything from an aircraft, and that those rules would prohibit weapons from being installed on a civil aircraft. The FAA doesn’t have any plans to change those rules for unmanned aircraft. The FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office was formed last year to shepherd drones into already-crowded American skies and integrate drone use with the manned-aircraft system. (Image Credit: USN)
    More Info > (The Washington Times)



    14 February 2013
    Boeing Warns of Rare Engine Instability in 737 Next Generation Planes

    boeing737NextGenBoeing alerted airlines Tuesday that 737 Next Generation aircraft flying on the West Coast have experienced intermittent and relatively rare instances of engine instability while climbing after takeoff. Boeing thinks the reason is fuel contamination. This instability disappeared after a few seconds to a couple of minutes, but two incidents last year suggest the potential for a more serious problem. Boeing said it is working closely on the problem with the fuel supply chain and has notified the Federal Aviation Administration. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Seattle Times)



    13 February 2013
    Pentagon to Continue to Use Lithium-Ion Batteries in the F-35

    F-35-Credit-USMCFollowing the issues Boeing is experiencing with lithium-ion batteries on the Dreamliner, the Pentagon says it will still use them on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. A Pentagon spokesperson said the batteries have been heavily tested and currently there are no discussions about swapping them out for other types of batteries like Airbus is considering for the A350. He did say there have been minor problems with the batteries but those involved software and not the batteries themselves. (Image Credit: USMC)
    More Info > (Reuters)



    12 February 2013
    LDCM Satellite Successfully Launched

    LandSatLaunches_Feb2013The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) spacecraft is safely in orbit and sending telemetry back to Earth following liftoff on Monday aboard an Atlas V rocket. Liftoff occurred at 1:02 p.m. EST from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. After about three months of testing, the U.S. Geological Survey will take control, and the mission, renamed Landsat 8, will extend more than 40 years of global land observations critical to energy and water management, forest monitoring, human and environmental health, urban planning, disaster recovery and agriculture. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (CNN)



    11 February 2013
    Curiosity Collecting First Samples for Analysis

    Curiosity Drill Feb 2013The Mars Rover Curiosity has achieved a long-awaited milestone by drilling a hole into the rocky surface of Mars, something that had never been done before, and is now collecting samples for analysis. NASA calls the drilling the most challenging engineering task the rover has faced since landing last summer. This first drill was so complex that several steps had to be completed before it could be undertaken. It is expected to take several days before Curiosity transfers the powder to its instruments to analyze the chemical and mineral makeup. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    11 February 2013
    Boeing Conducts Dreamliner Test Flight

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerBoeing has taken its first test flight of its 787 Dreamliner since problems with lithium-ion batteries aboard two planes grounded the worldwide fleet nearly a month ago. Boeing said the plane flew for two hours and 19 minutes on Saturday, while a crew of 13 people monitored the main and auxiliary batteries on the plane. The crew reported the flight as uneventful. The FAA and other regulators worldwide grounded the fleet of 50 planes on 16 Jan. after battery problems aboard two planes. Since then, the FAA allowed Boeing a one-time "ferry flight," which happened Thursday, to move a 787 from a painting facility in Texas to Washington. Later Thursday, the FAA authorized Boeing to conduct test flights. More test flights are planned this week. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    8 February 2013
    Landsat Go for 11 Feb. Launch

    LandSat-ReadyforLaunch-NASAManagers have given the "go" to proceed toward an 11 Feb. launch of NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The mission will extend more than 40 years of global land observations that are critical in many areas, such as energy and water management, forest monitoring, human and environmental health, urban planning, disaster recovery and agriculture. LDCM will be launched into orbit aboard a two-stage United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The five-year mission will begin with a launch from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Once in orbit, after three months of extensive testing, the LDCM satellite will be renamed Landsat 8 and operational control will then be transferred to the USGS. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    7 February 2013
    FAA Approves Boeing 787 Ferry Flight

    Boeing787-TakingOffBoeing's grounded 787 Dreamliner will fly today for the first time in three weeks after U.S. officials approved a one-time permit to ferry a plane from Texas to Washington state. The FAA said in a statement that the only people aboard will be those needed for operation, and that the plane must fly directly to Boeing's plant in Everett, just north of Seattle, from Fort Worth. The FAA also said the crew will have to perform a number of inspections to verify that the batteries and cables show no signs of damage and will also be required to check for specific status messages that could indicate problems, both before and during the flight, and will have to land immediately if one occurs. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Bloomberg)



    7 February 2013
    Embry-Riddle Offering the First Degree in Commercial Space Operations

    Dragon-Launch-Credit-SPACEXEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Wednesday announced plans to launch an undergraduate degree in Commercial Space Operations this fall at its Daytona Beach campus, the first of its kind in the United States. Officials said the timing was right for a specialized program with companies like SpaceX launching cargo to the ISS, and Virgin Galactic and XCOR preparing for suborbital tourist flights. The university's board of trustees still needs to approve the program, but Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana and Space Florida President Frank DiBello are among those who have submitted letters of support. As for the coursework, it was recommended the degree focus on policy and other issues still under consideration between the various agencies and spaceports. (Image Credit: SpaceX)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    5 February 2013
    Boeing Asks FAA to Begin Dreamliner Test Flights

    787inFlight-CreditBoeingBoeing has asked the FAA to allow it to begin test flights on its Dreamliner planes even as investigators still work to try to pinpoint what caused battery fires on the aircraft. The request is currently under review by the FAA. Officials at a recent Department of Transportation briefing said investigators may not be any closer to identifying the root cause than they were when the NTSB started examining the problem. Flying test planes would let Boeing study the Dreamliner's lithium-ion power packs in operation while the 50 787s in service stay grounded. The tests would include a potential resolution to the issue, but reportedly even if it was used passenger flights would still be off the table for weeks at least. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Los Angeles Times)



    4 February 2013
    NTSB Making Progress on Boeing 787 Investigation

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe NTSB said Friday that its investigators are making progress in its investigation into the Boeing Dreamliner battery fires. Investigators have not found enough evidence in the charred remains of two Boeing 787 batteries to determine why they overheated, and they are expanding their examination of other electrical components. The NTSB said it is also examining the flight data recorded by the 787 involved in the Boston incident. The NTSB said that an expert from the Department of Energy has joined the investigation, and that an NTSB investigator will travel to France with a "battery contactor" from the battery fire for a probe at the company's office. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    4 February 2013
    Germany to Develop Armed UAVs with France

    Armed_UAV_CreditUSArmyGermany plans to join the ranks of countries that deploy armed drones on the battlefield, a move critics say would lower the threshold for foreign military interventions. German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the country would team with France to develop armed UAVs which will join the unarmed ones that are already deployed. Since the German Parliament has to approve any troop deployment, opposition lawmakers warned that Germany could end up sending armed drones into conflicts abroad even when there are political reservations about deploying troops. (Image Credit: U.S. Army)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    1 February 2013
    Friday Marks 10th Anniversary of Columbia Disaster

    ColumbiaCrew-CreditNASAToday marks the 10th anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. The seven-member crew of the STS-107 mission was just 16 minutes from landing on the morning of 1 Feb. 2003 when Mission Control lost contact with the shuttle Columbia. A piece of foam, falling from the external tank during launch, had opened a hole in one of the shuttle’s wings, leading to the breakup of the orbiter upon re-entry. Addressing the nation, President Bush said, “mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.” AIAA remembers the seven crew members who were lost. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Los Angeles Times)



    31 January 2013
    TDRS-K Launches from Cape Canaveral

    TDRS-K-Launches-NASAThe first of NASA’s three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS), known as TDRS-K, launched at 8:48 p.m. EST Wednesday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, aboard an Atlas V rocket. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite project provides follow-on and replacement spacecraft necessary to maintain and expand the NASA Space Network. The TDRS system provides a critical communications link to Earth for the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and many satellites. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    31 January 2013
    Boeing Defends Use of Lithium-Ion Batteries

    787-creditBoeingBoeing said Wednesday it isn’t sure yet what caused the problem that grounded its 787 Dreamliners or when it will be fixed. The company said problems with the lithium-ion batteries on the plane haven’t changed their plans to step up production of the jetliner. Boeing is working with investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board, their Japanese counterparts and the Federal Aviation Administration to find the problem that caused battery fires on two planes earlier this month. Meanwhile, the company hasn't lost faith in lithium-ion batteries, which are flammable but provide power for the innovative plane that is 20% more fuel-efficient than similar planes. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    31 January 2013
    Sierra Nevada Teams with Lockheed on Dream Chaser Spacecraft

    SierraNevadas-DreamChaserSierra Nevada Corp. announced Wednesday it’s getting ready for test flights of its Dream Chaser mini-shuttle, and announced a partnership with Lockheed Martin Corp. to certify the spacecraft as safe for astronauts. The full-size Dream Chaser test vehicle will be put through a series of approach and landing tests at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Within six to eight weeks, the unmanned vehicle, which is in the competition to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, is expected to be dropped by a helicopter from about 12,000 feet and land autonomously. Sierra Nevada is competing with The Boeing Co. and SpaceX to develop vehicles for flights to low Earth orbit under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. (Image Credit: NASA)
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    29 January 2013
    Joint U.S., Japanese Probe Shifts From Battery-Maker to Monitoring System

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe joint U.S. and Japanese investigation into the battery problems associated with Boeing's 787s has shifted from the battery-maker to the manufacturer of a monitoring system. Japanese officials said Monday the current probe into battery-maker GS Yuasa has been ended since no evidence was found linking it to the source of the issues, and that they will now inspect Kanto Aircraft Instrument Co. as part of the ongoing probe. The company manufactures a system that monitors voltage, charging and temperature of the lithium-ion batteries. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    29 January 2013
    Crimped Fluid Line Cause of F-35 Propulsion-System Leak

    F-35-Credit-USMCAn improperly crimped fluid line was the probable cause of a propulsion-system leak that led the Pentagon to suspend flight tests of the F-35 fighter's Marine Corps version according to the Pentagon. A Pentagon spokesperson stressed there were no design or maintenance issues involved, but the grounding remains in place for now. Additionally, an audit of quality control records has identified six additional non-compliant units that have been removed from the aircraft and returned to Pratt & Whitney for replacement. The Marine Corps F-35 was the only version affected by the faulty parts. A Pratt & Whitney spokesperson said flights should be able to resume once the parts are replaced. (Image Credit: USN)
    More Info > (Bloomberg)



    28 January 2013
    Monday Marks 27th Anniversary of Challenger Disaster

    Challenger CrewToday marks the 27th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. The shuttle exploded less than two minutes after lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center in 1986. All seven crew members were killed. An investigation revealed that the cold temperatures compromised the seals on the solid rocket boosters, which led to the explosion. AIAA remembers the seven crew members who were lost. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (ABC News)



    25 January 2013
    NTSB Says Nothing Ruled Out Yet In Dreamliner Investigation

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerFederal investigators said Thursday they were still far from determining what caused a battery fire in a Dreamliner in Boston earlier this month – one of two battery-related incidents that led to the plane’s grounding by regulators worldwide – ending any hope that 787s would be flying in the near future. The National Transportation Safety Board said that the lithium-ion battery that caught fire in a parked 787 at Logan International Airport showed signs of short-circuiting and of a “thermal runaway,” a chemical reaction that begins to overheat the battery and speeds up as the temperature increases. Unlike the FAA, the NTSB does not have regulatory powers but its public recommendations can weigh heavily on air safety policy. The FAA has already made clear that the plane cannot fly again until the cause is determined and the problem fixed. Meanwhile, Boeing said Thursday it has formed teams consisting of hundreds of engineering and technical experts who are working around the clock to resolve the issue and return the 787 fleet to flight status. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    24 January 2013
    NASA Demonstrates Manufacturing Methods for Hybrid Wing Aircraft

    X-48CResearchers at NASA have demonstrated a manufacturing method that would make "hybrid wing" design practical. Combined with an extremely efficient type of engine, called an ultra-high bypass ratio engine, the hybrid wing design could use half as much fuel as conventional aircraft. Although it may take 20 years for the technology to come to market, the manufacturing method developed at NASA could help improve conventional commercial aircraft within the next eight to 10 years. NASA is now developing a 30-foot-wide, two-level pressurized structure that will be used in an attempt to validate the manufacturing approach that is expected to be completed in 2015. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (MIT Technology Review)



    23 January 2013
    Deep Space Industries Announces Plans for Asteroid Mining

    DSI_Asteroid_Miner_ArtistsImpressionDeep Space Industries (DSI) announced it is raising $20 million to fund the first stage of a mission to identify asteroids close to Earth and mine them for valuable materials. DSI is targeting 2015 to launch satellites called “Fireflies” to identify targets, followed a year later by “Dragonflies” to return samples. It plans to pay satellite companies to allow its 55-pound Fireflies to ride piggyback on existing launches of commercial satellites. The company also has a patent pending on a 3-D-printing process that can create high-strength metal objects from schematics in zero-gravity conditions. (Image Credit: Deep Space Industries)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)



    23 January 2013
    FAA Approval of Dreamliner Lithium Ion Batteries Being Examined

    Dreamliner-BatteriesThe FAA, in 2007, certified the use of lithium ion batteries aboard the 787 Dreamliner when regulators concluded that it was safe to let the batteries burnout mid-flight, as long as any fires were contained and fumes were vented. The FAA's decision is being carefully examined after two separate battery fires caused Dreamliners to be grounded worldwide. An FAA spokesperson defended the decision, saying that the whole aviation system is designed so that if a worst case happens, there are systems in place to prevent that from interfering with other systems on the aircraft. Meanwhile, Boeing has said it is confident that the battery could safety burn out during a flight because the 787 has a system for containing such a fire and venting any fumes. (Image Credit: Japan Transport Safety Board)
    More Info > (Reuters)



    22 January 2013
    Timetable to Lift Dreamliner Grounding Reportedly Extended

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerWhen the FAA grounded Dreamliner flights Wednesday, it said it hoped to allow 787s to resume operations as soon as possible. Subsequently, Boeing and FAA officials took interim steps to resume flights, expressing optimism that operational and maintenance changes could be quickly agreed upon to lift the grounding order by the early part of the coming week. That timetable has been extended, so a final decision may come at the end of this week or later. Japanese investigator Hideyo Kosugi said initially that the review of the ANA jetliner could take three months, but he updated that timetable to about a week after meeting with U.S. officials and Boeing experts. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (The Washington Post)



    22 January 2013
    Aerojet Successfully Tests AJ26 Engine

    AerojetAJ26Aerojet conducted a successful test fire of the company's AJ26 rocket engine Friday at NASA's Stennis Space Center located in Mississippi. Once the results are reviewed, the engine is expected to be shipped to the Wallops Flight Facility for installation in Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket. The rocket's first test flight is scheduled for next month. If all goes according to plan, the rocket will be used to send Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft into orbit. (Image: An AJ26 is test fired at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Credit: Orbital)
    More Info > (America Space)



    18 January 2013
    All Dreamliners Now Grounded

    Boeing787DreamlinerAll of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliners are now grounded. Airlines and governments all over the world on Thursday ordered the grounding of Boeing 787s until they could determine what caused a new type of battery to fail on two planes in recent days, resulting in an emergency landing Wednesday and a fire last week. Eight airlines now fly the 787, which entered service in November 2011, including All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines in Japan, Air India, Ethiopian Airlines, LAN, LOT, Qatar Airways and United. Boeing plans to keep building its flagship jetliner while engineers try to solve the battery problems. It's not clear how long the investigation, or the fix, will take. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    18 January 2013
    NASA Holding Contest to Help Boost ISS Power

    ISS-NASANASA is holding a $30,000 contest to boost the power of the solar arrays on the International Space Station. The object of the contest is to maximize power output and minimize shadowing of longerons, the long arms holding the arrays to the station, which are sensitive to temperature changes. The work of the ISS Longeron Shadowing Optimization Challenge would allow astronauts to perform more experiments, increasing the station's scientific returns. The contest is open to all TopCoder members, which itself is free to join. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (SPACE.com)



    17 January 2013
    FAA Orders Temporary Grounding of Boeing 787s

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerAfter several reported problems in recent weeks, the FAA has ordered all new 787 Dreamliners grounded for the time being. The FAA's emergency air-worthiness directive says before any other 787 can fly, the operator or Boeing, must prove the aircraft’s batteries are safe. Investigators are taking a hard look at the 787's electrical system and lithium batteries. The batteries in question are in protective housings that can withstand intense heat. Last week, as the FAA announced a complete review of the 787, Boeing reiterated, the plane is safe. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    16 January 2013
    Japanese Airlines Suspend Dreamliner Flights After Emergency Landing

    ANA-787All All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co., the world's largest users of Boeing Co. 787 jets, grounded their entire fleet of Dreamliners for at least two days after one of All Nippon's 787s made an emergency landing in Japan because of smoke coming from the aircraft. Japan Air also said it would idle its fleet, and neither carrier specified for how long. The NTSB is aware of the incident and monitoring it. Meanwhile, India’s Director General of Civil Aviation said the country will wait to decide whether to ground Air India's Dreamliners until after Boeing issues its report on the plane. (Image Credit: ANA)
    More Info > (Bloomberg)



    16 January 2013
    Curiosity Preparing to Make First Drill

    Curiosity-Image-CreditNASANASA said that it has discovered rocks on Mars that hint at a watery past on the Red Planet. The Curiosity rover sent back images of the rocks and will soon drill into them to collect samples for analysis. Curiosity is expected to test its drill for the first time on the rocks in the next two weeks. While NASA has been dealing with the possibility that the drill could contaminate samples, scientists are reasonably confident that it's something that they will be able to work their way around. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (USA Today)



    16 January 2013
    Boeing Unveils First Completed 787-9 Horizontal Stabilizer

    BoeingHorizontalStabilizer-787-9A new image released by Boeing shows the first completed horizontal stabilizer for the 787-9 and one of the key redesign efforts for the 290-seat wide-body aircraft as it moves closer to first flight later this year. Boeing unveiled the carbon fiber component at a ceremony on 11 January near Salt Lake City, Utah, where the company announced the acquisition of a new facility to support production of the stabilizer. Boeing brought design and production of the horizontal stabilizer in-house in 2011 after errors on the same section by Alenia Aeronautica had slowed early production of the 787-8. (Image: A new image released by Boeing shows the first completed horizontal stabilizer for the 787-9. Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (Flight Global)



    14 January 2013
    FAA Announces Dreamliner Safety Review

    Boeing 787 DreamlinerThe FAA has announced a new, comprehensive safety review of the Boeing Dreamliner. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and DOT Secretary LaHood say they believe the aircraft is safe, but they have ordered a thorough review of the plane, mechanical system, power system, electrical system, and battery system, after seemingly unrelated events. One Dreamliner recently experienced a fire, with no passengers on board, and an Al Nippon Airline 787 in Japan recently developed a crack in a cockpit windshield. Boeing insists these are unrelated incidents and most analysts say they are nothing more than “teething problems” for this new state-of-the-art plane. No planes will be grounded during the review. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (New York Times)



    14 January 2013
    UAV Designed to be Used by Amateurs

    LehmannAviation-LA100Lehmann Aviation has created the LA 100, a fully automated glider-like drone made for amateurs to easily shoot aerial images and video. To prevent the UAV from going astray, the LA100 follows a pre-programmed flight path, which returns to the original launch site for a horizontal landing. There's no way to override the LA100's planned flight pattern, making it simple for beginners. The LA100 can fly at speeds of up to 50 mph for up to five minutes and has a range of up to 0.3 miles. The LA100 is made mostly of foam and carbon fiber and weighs around 30 ounces with the camera attached. The LA100 was slated to go on sale this month for $1,275. (Image Credit: Lehmann Aviation)
    More Info > (Imaging Recource)



    9 January 2013
    Fifteen Launches Planned from Cape Canaveral This Year

    AtlasV-Launch-CapeCanaveralAlthough NASA's shuttle fleet is retired, the Air Force 45th Space Wing is still busy as it plans to launch 15 missions from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this year. First up is an Atlas V rocket with a NASA communications satellite, scheduled to launch 29 Jan. Atlas V launches also are tentatively scheduled for March, May, July, September and November. ULA Delta IV rockets are scheduled to launch three military payloads. The first is expected in March, with the others following in June and November. SpaceX has set 1 March as a target date for launch of its second ISS resupply mission. SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets plan to launch U.S., European and Taiwanese commercial satellites in April, May and June, respectively, before two more space station resupply missions targeted for August and November. (Image Credit: USAF)
    More Info > (Florida Today)



    8 January 2013
    Kepler Data Leads to Several Exoplanet Findings

    Kepler_artistsRendition-NASAA new study led by Francois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics used data collected by the Kepler telescope to determine that our Milky Way is home to at least 17 billion planets that are similar in size to Earth. Another team used a different method to come up with similar results. This is the first reliable tally of the number of worlds outside the solar system that are the size of Earth, but the hunt for Earth’s twin is far from over since no planet that is similar to Earth's size has been found in a star's habitable zone. Meanwhile, in a separate finding, the Kepler telescope has found 461 new candidate planets, bringing the total to 2,740 potential planets, with many of these Earth-size planets and super-Earths. (Image Credit: NASA)
    More Info > (Associated Press)



    7 January 2013
    Worldwide Aeros Completes Construction On Zeppelin Aircraft

    AerosCorp_PelicanAccording to aircraft manufacturer Worldwide Aeros Corp., construction is complete on a 36,000-pound blimp-like airship designed for the military to carry tons of cargo to remote areas around the world. Worldwide Aeros, a company of about 100 employees, built the prototype under a contract from the Pentagon and NASA, and named it Pelican. Pelican is a 230-foot long zeppelin that will be able to carry 66 tons of cargo, take off vertically and allow pilots to maneuver it on land without a ground crew. Worldwide Aeros is optimistic that the aircraft, like its namesake, will take to the air despite its weight. (Image: Artist's rendition of Pelican / Credit: Worldwide Aeros Corp.)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)



    7 January 2013
    Aviation Group Reports 2012 Safest Year On Record Worldwide

    American_AirlinesAccording to the Aviation Safety Network, 2012 was the safest year for air travel since 1945. The world's airlines - including passenger and cargo flights - reported only 23 accidents resulting in 475 fatalities last year, compared with the 10-year average of 34 accidents and 773 fatalities per year. The declining accident numbers are the result of several efforts by international aviation groups to require audits of airlines around the world to comply with safety standards. In the U.S., the Aviation Safety Network's database shows only two fatal commercial airline accidents last year, resulting in two deaths. (Image Credit: American Airlines)
    More Info > (The Los Angeles Times)



    4 January 2013
    NASA Considers Deployment of Robotic Spacecraft to Capture Asteroid

    Asteroid-Capturing-SpacecraftResearchers at the Keck Institute for Space Studies at Caltech have released a paper outlining a proposal to send an unmanned spacecraft into deep space to capture an asteroid and return it as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) orbiting the moon. In putting together the paper, the team at Keck worked with several NASA agencies, universities and private groups with the aim of discerning the feasibility of such a project and then outlining how it might come about. NASA is reportedly giving serious consideration to the project which, if implemented, could come to fruition in the 2020s. The Keck team's vision is to launch a slow-moving spacecraft, propelled by solar-heated ions, with an Atlas V rocket. The specially designed spacecraft would then propel itself out to a targeted asteroid, probably no bigger than seven meters wide. (Image Credit: Keck Institute for Space Studies)
    More Info > (Wired)



    4 January 2013
    2013 to Mark Several Key Space Anniversaries

    X-15-USAFLooking ahead into the coming year, 2013 will mark several key anniversaries for the events of the previous five decades of human activity outside the Earth. The new year brings with it the 50-year anniversary of the first woman in space. Launched by the Soviet Union on June 16, 1963, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first female space explorer as she circled the Earth 48 times. The first major milestone anniversary of the new year is also perhaps its most solemn: 10 years since the loss of space shuttle Columbia and the STS-107 crew. Skylab, the United States' first space station, lifted off 40 years ago this May 14. 2013 also marks the 30th anniversary of the first launch of space shuttle Challenger (STS-6) on April 4; the 50th anniversary of the first winged craft in space, the U.S. Air Force's X-15 rocketplane, on July 19; the 30th anniversary of Guion "Guy" Bluford becoming the first African-American in space on Aug. 30; and much more. (Image: X-15, Experimental high-speed rocket-powered research aircraft / Credit: USAF)
    More Info > (SPACE)



    2 January 2013
    Notable Launches for Coming Year Listed

    Atlas5-ULA-LaunchSPACE has published a list of what it considers the 13 notable launches to look out for in the coming year. These include the first launch of Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS, more SpaceX launches to the ISS, other ISS cargo and crew launches, and NASA's LADEE, MAVEN, and Iris unmanned spacecraft. Several foreign and commercial launches are also included in the list. (Image Credit: ULA)
    More Info > (SPACE)



    2 January 2013
    FAA Ordering More Inspections On Some Boeing 737s

    Boeing737Federal safety officials said Monday they are ordering additional inspections of some Boeing 737 jets after a hole tore open in a Southwest Airlines plane during flight in 2009. The FAA is calling for more inspections on 737-300, -400 and -500 models. The FAA previously issued rules back in 2005 and said those rules would be expanded to include new inspection methods with scanning technology, checks of more areas of the plane, the installation of additional reinforcements and checks for loose fasteners. The new rules are expected to be issued today. (Image Credit: Boeing)
    More Info > (USA Today)