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Industry News

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

*For member access to the AIAA Daily Launch, please log in to, 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).

25 August 2016
New FAA Drone Rule Set to Take Effect On Monday

DJIPhantom_AP_Purchased.jpg USA Today reports that the FAA’s new drone operator rule becomes official on Monday, and that thousands of UAS pilots are “eager” to obtain their certifications on the first day of eligibility. The article notes that Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA’s drone office, “said 3,351 people signed up to take a test of aviation knowledge Monday – the first day possible – to certify themselves as drone pilots,” and that another “20,000 commercial drone operators have already registered to start flying,” following successful completion of the FAA flying test. Addressing a group of congressional staffers on Wednesday, Lawrence said, “That’s a good indication we’re going to have a lot of people and a lot of aircraft operating from day one.” (Image: DJI Phantom 2. Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (USA Today)

25 August 2016
Northrop’s “Contender” for USAF T-X Next-Gen Trainer Competition Makes First Flight

USAF-T-38-Talon_OldTrainer_WikimediaCommons.pngAviation Week reports on Northrop Grumman’s “contender” for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X next-generation trainer and the completion of its first flight in Mojave, California, on August 24, where it went through “basic handling and systems tests.” According to the article, the new trainer is powered by a ““single, non-afterburning General Electric F404-102D turbofan and configured with side-mounted inlets and a conventional horizontal and large vertical tail.” (Image: USAF T-38 Talon, to be replaced by T-X program selection. Credit: SGT Jeffrey Allen, USAF, Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Aviation Weeksubscription content)

24 August 2016
American Retires 20 MD-80s In One Day

MD-80_AmericanAirlines_WikimediaCommons.pngBloomberg News reports on American Airlines’ effort to accelerate its fleet transformation with the airline’s announcement on Tuesday that it has retired 20 of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft in “one of the largest single-day aircraft retirements in airline history.” The airline explained, through a statement, that “summer is the busiest time of the year for airlines, and with summer flying winding down, we can go ahead and park these aircraft.” The article notes that the retired jets will be sent to the Roswell International Air Center in New Mexico and that American intends to retire an additional 45 MD-80s in 2016, most of which are slated for the third quarter, “and be rid of all of them by the end of 2017 as part of a fleet renewal project.” (Image Credit: Bill Abbott, Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Bloomberg News)

24 August 2016
Astronaut Jeff Williams to Set New U.S. Spaceflight Record

JeffWilliams_Works_Inside_BEAM_June2016_2NASA.pngFlorida Today reports on the breaking of the U.S. spaceflight record by NASA astronaut Jeff Williams who will establish the new mark on Wednesday with a collective 521 days in orbit, spanning four missions, breaking the previously established record set by recently retired astronaut Scott Kelly. Williams is expected to accumulate a total of 534 days in space by the time of his scheduled return to Earth on Sept. 6. Ars Technica mentions that Williams’ first spaceflight occurred in May 2000 on “the third shuttle flight devoted to construction [of the ISS],” and that he is the first NASA astronaut “to spend three separate increments aboard the orbiting laboratory.” (Image: NASA astronaut Jeff Williams works inside the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), June 2016. Credit: NASA)
More Info (Florida Today)
More Info (Ars Technica)

23 August 2016
NASA Restores Contact with STEREO-B

STEREO-NASA.pngNASA announced on Monday that it was able to re-establish contact with its STEREO-B solar observation satellite on Sunday after nearly two years of silence, CBS News reports. NASA said via a statement that the STEREO Missions Operations team is planning further recovery measures “to assess observatory health, re-establish attitude control and evaluate all subsystems and instruments.” Communications with the satellite were lost during a test that was performed on 1 October 2014. The Verge points out that STEREO-B is one of two satellites that make up NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) program, whose mission is to study and analyze the sun’s behavior. Referencing a report released in December 2015, Gizmodo notes that scientists had surmised that the October 2014 test of STEREO-B “went awry because the sensor that tells the spacecraft how fast it’s rotating failed, sending it spinning out of control.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (CBS News)
More Info (The Verge)
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23 August 2016
Aptonomy Unveils Autonomous UAV Flying Security Guard

AptonomyUAV.png TechCrunch features a story on UAV developer Aptonomy and its “flying security guard” UAV that is able to “record suspicious activity, shine a light on intruders, allow two-way communication with the intruder through loudspeakers, and generally scare off potential troublemakers as an intimidating presence in the air.” The UAV, using its artificial intelligence and advanced navigational capabilities, is able to fly fast and low to the ground while “avoiding obstacles in structure-dense environments, [while] detecting human activity or faces in the area, autonomously.” (Image Credit: Aptonomy)
More Info (TechCrunch)

22 August 2016
IDA Installed at ISS, Enabling Access for Future Commercial Spacecraft

KateRubins_ISS-Spacewalk-Aug2016_CreditNASA.png USA Today reported that on Friday, astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins successfully performed a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS). The duo installed an International Docking Adapter (IDA) that is required in order to receive SpaceX and Boeing capsules that are “currently being developed under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.” NASA engineers on the ground used the ISS’s 58-foot robotic arm to initially move the docking port from SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship to a position near the Harmony module. According to the AP, SpaceX and Boeing commercial crew spacecraft would not be capable of docking at the ISS without the IDA in place. Following the installation, NASA Mission Control said, “Thanks for your help in getting the front door on the space station.” SPACE , CBS News , and ABC News also covered the story. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (USA Today)
More Info (Associated Press)
More Info (SPACE)
More Info (CBS News)
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22 August 2016
U.S. Air Force Awards Boeing KC-46A Tanker Production Contract

BoeingKC-46Tanker_CreditBoeing.jpgOn Friday, the U.S. Air Force awarded The Boeing Company a $2.8 billion U.S. Air Force (USAF) contract for KC-46A tanker low-rate initial production, Avionics Magazine reports. The company is aiming to produce a total of 179 KC-46s as replacements for the Air Force’s current fleet of KC-135 refueling tankers. Airforce Technology added that the KC-46A’s mission will be “to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures as well as transport passengers, cargo and patients.” (Image Credit: Boeing)
More Info (Avionics Magazine)
More Info (Airforce Technology)

22 August 2016
NASA Requesting Ideas for Commercial Use of ISS

InternationalSpaceStation_NASA.pngPer a Bloomberg News report, NASA is soliciting ideas from private industry on the most effective ways to utilize the International Space Station (ISS) “for commercial purposes,” in an effort to move the U.S. closer toward creating “a marketplace in space.” In a blog posted by NASA as "additional context" to its RFI, the agency said that commercial companies “continue to approach NASA,” with ideas on how “to use the ISS in ways we never imagined.” According to Bloomberg’s report, NASA has requested additional ideas on “operating models, contract structures, and other sustainable business plans for future commercial endeavors 250 miles above the planet.” Also providing coverage was the Christian Science Monitor . (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Bloomberg News)
More Info (Christian Science Monitor)

19 August 2016
ULA Launches Space Surveillance Satellites for U.S. Air Force

ULA_Atlas5Launch_NASA.png A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Friday morning, reports Space News , placing two space surveillance satellites into geosynchronous orbit on behalf of the U.S. Air Force. Known as the Air Force Space Command-6 (AFSPC-6) mission, a Delta IV rocket delivered the third and fourth satellites for the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP), which the U.S. Air Force refers to as kind of a “neighborhood watch” for the geosynchronous belt, home of some of the Pentagon’s most technically advanced satellites. According to a CBS News report, Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, said via a statement on Thursday that the two new satellites will “enable us to understand completely what occurs in the geosynchronous orbit to a very high quality,” adding, “It’s a key piece in the puzzle for space situational awareness.” Spaceflight Now provides a video of the launch. Also providing coverage of the story are SPACE and The Verge . (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Space News)
More Info (CBS News)
More Info (Spaceflight Now)
More Info (SPACE)
More Info (The Verge)

19 August 2016
U.S. Navy Plans Upgrade to F/A-18 Super Hornet to Fly Alongside F-35

FA18SuperHornet_Wiki.jpgAccording to an Investor’s Business Daily report, the U.S. Navy will “continue to modernize” its Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets. The article mentions that in remarks on Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Naval Air Forces commander, called the new Super Hornets “4.5-generation” fighters, while underscoring that he is not calling for a reduction in the need for Lockheed’s fifth-generation fighter, the F-35, but instead calling for synergistic roles for both aircraft. According to the report, Shoemaker explained, “We absolutely need the F-35 as soon as we can get it,” adding, “We want to pair those two up together.” (Image: A U.S. Navy (USN) F/A-18F Super Hornet. Credit: U.S. Navy)
More Info (Investor's Business Daily)

19 August 2016
NASA Celebrates “Mars Day,” Provides Inside Glimpse at Eventual Mars Mission

MarsMission_JPLNASA.jpgNASA designated Thursday, 18 August, as “#NASAMarsDay,” in recognition of the Red Planet, NBC News reports, celebrating the occasion with a “a behind-the-scenes look on social media detailing the steps it has been taking to prepare for the eventual journey.” The celebratory day wrapped up with a test firing of an RS-25 rocket engine at NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. NBC News notes that the RS-25 engine will eventually power the Space Launch System (SLS), and “send astronauts on deep space missions.” (Image Credit: NASA/JPL via Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (NBC News)

The remainder of the 2016 Industry News archive is currently unavailable. Please check back periodically.