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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

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

*For member access to the AIAA Daily Launch, please log in to www.aiaa.org/MyAIAA, navigate to "Access Publications & Materials" and select "Daily Launch." The AIAA Daily Launch, distributed to AIAA members each weekday morning, is a digest of the most important aerospace news selected from thousands of sources by the editors of Bulletin Media (formerly Custom Briefings).


22 September 2016
Senate Committee Authorizes Funding for NASA’s Mars Mission Efforts

NASAonMars_CreditNASA.pngOn Wednesday, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee passed a bill authorizing $19.5 billion for NASA to continue work on a future Mars mission, as well as efforts to transport astronauts on commercial rockets to the International Space Station from the US, reports USA Today . Members of the committee offered their support for the bipartisan bill, stating it is their hope “to protect long-standing priorities of the nation’s space program from the potential upheaval of an incoming administration.” According to the bill, NASA’s official goal will be to launch a crewed mission to Mars within the next 25 years. While it is unclear when the NASA funding bill will arrive on the floor of the full Senate, it is expected to pass once it does. (Image: Artist's concept of a human mission on the surface of Mars – 1989 painting by Les Bossinas of Lewis Research Center for NASA. Credit: NASA via Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (USA Today)


21 September 2016
DARPA Project Develops Hacker-Proof Code for UAVs

MQ-1_Predator.jpgQuanta Magazine , DARPA’s High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) project team has developed “hacker-proof” code to help protect unmanned systess. The code was able to defeat a “’Red Team’ of hackers” who were tasked with breaching the computer system of the “Little Bird” – an unmanned military helicopter built by Boeing. (Image Credit: Wikipedia / U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt)
More Info (Quanta Magazine)



21 September 2016
US Air Force, Aurora Flight Sciences Considering Applications for Orion UAV

OrionUAV-CreditAuroa.pngAviation Week reports on Aurora Flight Sciences CTO Tom Clancy, who recently spoke at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space, and Cyber Conference, where he announced that the US Air Force, along with Aurora, “are looking at maritime patrol applications for Orion, both domestic and international.” Clancy added that they’re “looking at ground surveillance and maritime domain awareness,” which are missions they’re “very interested in.” (Image Credit: Aurora Flight Sciences)
More Info (Aviation Week)



19 September 2016
Innovation and Diversity Propel Space Industry Forward

WandaAustin-SPACE2016.pngTo ensure the success of the space industry, it must embrace an inclusive vision for the future along with effective leadership, innovation and diversity, according to Wanda A. Austin, president and CEO of The Aerospace Corp. Austin spoke as this year’s honoree of the Yvonne C. Brill Lecture in Aerospace Engineering in a lecture titled “Engineering Leadership: The Need for Technical Excellence and Diversity” on Sept. 15 at AIAA SPACE 2016 in Long Beach, California. (Image Credit: AIAA)
More Info (AIAA SPACE 2016 Forum Notebook)



19 September 2016
Going Forward in Space Together

LarryJames_SPACE2016.pngAs global interest in the use and exploration for space grows, international cooperation and coordination are becoming more and more important, according to a panel of experts speaking Sept. 15 at AIAA SPACE 2016 in Long Beach, California. Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Larry James, deputy director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, kicked off the “Global Perspectives” forum by pointing out that activity in space is growing increasingly private and commercial in nature. He said the space budgets of the United States and all other space-faring nations combined only account for 28 percent of the total global expenditures on space exploration and use. (Image Credit: AIAA)
More Info (AIAA SPACE 2016 Forum Notebook)



19 September 2016
Humans Aren’t Yet on Mars, but Small Steps Are Happening Now

NextStopMarsPanel_SPACE2016.pngMany of the smaller pieces needed to eventually achieve the goal of landing humans on Mars are already in progress. “There are probably more human spaceflight vehicles in development than there ever have been in one time, and a lot of them are pointed to Mars,” said Frank Morring Jr., senior editor for space with Aviation Week and Space Technology, kicking off the “Next Stop Mars” panel Sept. 15 at AIAA SPACE 2016 in Long Beach, California. (Image Credit: AIAA)
More Info (AIAA SPACE 2016 Forum Notebook)



15 September 2016
Despite Challenges and Limitations, Reusability Is Key to Growing Space

Launch2020Panel_SPACE2016.pngStrong incentive exists for private industry to master launch reusability and open up commercial space opportunities, and collaboration will be key to overcoming many of the challenges and limitations, experts from the world’s leading commercial space launch companies said during the “Launch 2020” forum Sept. 13 at AIAA SPACE 2016 in Long Beach, California. “Space 2.0 is the new gold rush of space,” said John Steinmeyer, director of business development for Orbital ATK’s Launch Vehicle Division, referring to the idea that the main impetus for much of today’s space activity and growth no longer comes from the U.S. government, but instead from the commercial sector. (Image: Participants in the panel discussion, "Launch 2020," on Tuesday, 13 September, at AIAA SPACE 2016, taking place 13–16 September 2016, in Long Beach, CA. Credit: AIAA)
Full Story (AIAA SPACE 2016 Forum Notebook)



15 September 2016
Juno Mission Explores the Solar System’s Largest Planet

RickNybakken_SPACE2016.pngWhat happens when you set out to explore Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet — with the solar system’s largest magnetic field and fiercest radiation? Good things, according to Rick Nybakken, project manager of the Juno mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During the William H. Pickering Lecture titled “The Juno Mission” on Sept. 14 at AIAA SPACE 2016 in Long Beach, California, Nybakken took audience members through the entire Juno program, from inception to the current status of the mission, and shared some amazing video and images collected so far. (Image: Rick Nybakken, project manager, Juno mission, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, delivers The William H. Pickering Lecture, "The Juno Mission," on the evening of 14 September, at AIAA SPACE 2016, taking place 13–16 September 2016, in Long Beach, CA. Credit: AIAA)
Full Story (AIAA SPACE 2016 Forum Notebook)



14 September 2016
SpaceX Explosion Investigation Could Lead to Safer Astronaut Taxis

CommercialCrewPanel_SPACE2016.jpgWhen investigators pinpoint the cause of the Sept. 1 explosion of a SpaceX rocket on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA and SpaceX will use that information to make future astronaut transportation missions safer. "When we understand what happened, we will fold that back in to make the system more reliable, more safe," said Benji Reed, SpaceX director of crew mission management, speaking Sept. 14 at the "Commercial Crew Update" forum at AIAA SPACE 2016 in Long Beach, California. (Image: Participants in the panel discussion, "Commercial Crew Update," on Wednesday, 14 September, at AIAA SPACE 2016, taking place 13–16 September 2016, in Long Beach, CA.
Full Story (AIAA SPACE 2016 Forum Notebook)



14 September 2016
Space: It’s About Cooperation

OpeningPlenary_SPACE2016.pngThe U.S. can no longer go it alone when it comes to space, said speakers at the opening plenary session of AIAA SPACE 2016 on Sept. 13 in Long Beach, California. If the U.S. is to move forward, they said, it will be in partnership with other nations, corporations and entities. The standing-room-only session offered attendees three separate views of space access and use: one from NASA, one from the Department of Defense and one from the investment sector. (Image Credit: AIAA)
Full Story (AIAA SPACE 2016 Forum Notebook)



13 September 2016
Boeing to Unveil T-X Design

USAF_TXTrainers_Wiki.jpgAviation Week reports that Boeing’s design for the T-X trainer competition will be unveiled today. The design, created in partnership with Saab, is the last aircraft in the competition to be revealed. While Boeing has not yet confirmed where the aircraft will be produced, the article notes that it is “doubtful” that it would be built anywhere other than St. Louis, since Boeing’s current F-15 and F/A-18 production lines there are “winding down.” (Image: USAF T-38 Talon, to be replaced by T-X program selection. Credit: SGT Jeffrey Allen, USAF, Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Aviation Week)



12 September 2016
Musk Says Falcon 9 Explosion on Launch Pad “Most Difficult and Complex Failure” in SpaceX’s History

SpaceX_Falcon9_Explosion_1Sep16-AP-Purchased.jpgAccording to a Wall Street Journal report, Elon Musk, SpaceX founder, has made a request to the public to help provide the company with any video recordings of the Sept. 1 explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral in an effort to aid in the investigation into the cause of the mishap. On Friday, Must tweeted that the episode has “turn[ed] out to be the most difficult and complex failure we have ever had in 14 years,” adding that at the time of the explosion, “engines were not on and there was no apparent heat source.” According to Musk, investigators are attempting to figure out the source of a “quieter bang sound” that the recordings reveal, “a few seconds before the fireball goes off.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Wall Street Journal)



12 September 2016
U.S. Air Force to Add 24 MQ-9 Reapers to Its Fleet

MQ-9Reaper.jpgThe U.S. Air Force has plans to add 24 General Atomics MQ-9s to its existing fleet of UAVs, reports IHS Jane’s 360 .  A base in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, or South Carolina will be chosen to host the new MQ-9 operations group, where the MQ-9s will be piloted from, although the aircraft would be assigned to another base.  According the article, the second base would be located in Florida, California, or South Carolina. (Image: MQ-9_Reaper. Credit: Wikipedia/U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
More Info (IHS Jane's 360)



9 September 2016
NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex Lifts Off on Mission to Asteroid Bennu

OSIRIS-REx_Launches_8Sep2016_CreditNASA.jpgThe New York Times reports that NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral Thursday night mounted atop an Atlas 5 rocket. Having entered Earth orbit 12 minutes after liftoff, the rocket then fired its engines again to place the spacecraft on a trajectory around the sun. With OSIRIS-REx having “deployed its solar arrays and established communications with controllers on the ground,” Lockheed Martin’s Richard Kuhns noted that the “spacecraft is happy and healthy.” OSIRIS-Rex’s mission is to travel to the asteroid Bennu, take a sample of the asteroid’s surface material, and return it to earth for further study. USA Today also covers the story. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (New York Times)
More Info (USA Today)



9 September 2016
FDNY to Deploy UAVs In Emergency Response Efforts

FireDeptDeploysUAV-AP-Purchased.jpgAccording to a New York Times report, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) will soon begin deploying UAVs where “major fires and emergencies” occur in an effort to provide “high-definition images in real time to commanders as they decide how to respond,” fire officials said. Due to the federally restricted airspace above New York City, the FDNY has coordinated with the FAA to reach an agreement that will allow the department to obtain a “clearance before sending up a drone,” which is expected to “take about 15 minutes,” according to Timothy E. Herlocker, director of FDNY’s operations center. (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (New York Times)



8 September 2016
Amazon Delivery UAV Prototype Photographed In Flight

AmazonPrimeAirUAV_CreditAmazon.jpgThe Daily Mail posts a photograph of an Amazon Prime Air UAV performing a flight test in Cambridgeshire, UK, making it “the first time a prototype of Amazon’s new delivery drone has been seen in action in Britain.” According to the article, the prototype hovered around 50 feet above the ground for approximately two minutes, until a team of engineers “picked up the device and made some adjustments.” The UAV was later seen toting a cardboard box. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Amazon Prime Air told the Daily Mail, “We are rapidly experimenting and iterating on Prime Air, working to make it a reality. This includes controlled testing of many different experimental vehicle components, designs, and configurations.” (Image Credit: Amazon Prime Air)
More Info (Daily Mail)



8 September 2016
Virgin Galactic Announces Restart of SpaceShipTwo Tests

SpaceShip2_Wiki - Copy.jpgVirgin Galactic announced on Wednesday that it will restart test flights for its SpaceShipTwo (SS2) spacecraft, in Mojave, California, in the “near future,” reports the Los Angeles Times . During the first test flight, SS2 will be attached to its carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, for the entirety of the flight, allowing engineers to collect data on aerodynamic performance, as well as test one of SS2’s “abort modes.” The article reports that “the flight will be the first since the October 2014 crash of the original SpaceShipTwo, which killed one of two test pilots over the Mojave Desert.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Los Angeles Times)



7 September 2016
Cell Phone Networks Could Facilitate Beyond-Line-of-Sight UAS Operations

AltiGatorDrone_Wiki.jpg Digital Trends reports that in order for Amazon’s Prime Air UAS delivery service and other commercial UAS operations to come to fruition, “they will need a system of communication that allows them to travel farther, safer (and that will hopefully fend off doomsday scenarios).” According to a report in Wired , AT&T and Qualcomm are in the midst of developing a system for allowing “drones to connect to cell towers to achieve this goal.” If AT&T and Qualcomm are able to prove that it’s successful, they hope to reverse the FAA’s current ban on UAS flights beyond an operator’s line of sight. PC Magazine also reports on the story. (Image Credit: ZullyC3P via Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Digital Trends)



7 September 2016
NASA Set for Launch of First Asteroid Sample Return Mission

OSIRIS-REX-NASA-Engineers-NASA.jpg NASA reports that its Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex) is set to launch on September 8, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on a mission to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu with the goal of returning a small sample of the asteroid’s gravel back to Earth for further investigation. OSIRIS-Rex is set to launch on a ULA Atlas V Thursday evening and will return in seven years. According to the AP, the eventually returned sample “promises to be the biggest cosmic bounty since the Apollo moon rocks.” According to NASA, the weather forecast for launch “remains 80 percent ‘go’.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (NASA)
More Info (Associated Press)



6 September 2016
SpaceX Explosion a Blow to Aerospace Industry

SpaceX_Falcon9_Explosion_1Sep16-AP-Purchased.jpgA New York Times report focused on the anticipated consequences of last week’s SpaceX Falcon 9 explosion. The article notes that the mishap extends “far beyond the losses on the launchpad,” as satellite-based Internet services will be “delayed and put in doubt,” Israel’s ability to market its satellite operator is now “imperiled,” and NASA now anticipates disruptions to future ISS delivery schedules. The article explains that what will be crucial for SpaceX moving forward is “how quickly it can satisfy federal investigators, rebuild the damaged launchpad at Cape Canaveral and resume sending satellites into space.”(Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (New York Times)



6 September 2016
Air Force Working with Private Contractors to Operate UAS Due to Pilot Shortage

MQ-1_Predator.jpgThe New York Times reports that the Department of Defense is relying more and more on private contractors to operate UAS in Iraq and Afghanistan because of “a shortage of Air Force pilots and other personnel to operate the aircraft.” Many of the contracted UAV pilots are performing reconnaissance missions that include “live video feeds of battles and special operations,” while Air Force officials maintain that they are “legally prohibited from being ‘trigger pullers’ and firing weapons.” Defense officials note that several hundred contractors are flying UAS, “many of them former drone or fighter pilots who are making double or triple their military salaries.” (Image Credit: Wikipedia / U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt)
More Info (New York Times)



2 September 2016
SpaceX Falcon 9 Explodes on Launchpad at Cape Canaveral

SpaceXFalcon9_OnLaunchpad_NASA.jpgThe New York Times reports that a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, loaded with a Facebook Communications satellite, “exploded on the launchpad” Thursday when performing a test-firing of its nine Merlin engines at Cape Canaveral. The mishap is described as a “major blow” to Facebook’s plan to provide worldwide Internet service. While the cause is still being investigated, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted that the problem initiated in the Falcon’s upper stage oxygen tank. The destroyed Amos-6 satellite was intended to provide Internet access to remote areas in Africa. The Globe and Mail maintains that the explosion has “reverberat[ed] across the global space industry,” partially due to the fact that another Falcon 9 is scheduled to transport astronauts into space within the coming year. USA Today also covers the story. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (New York Times)
More Info (Globe and Mail)
VIDEO

(Video by U.S. Launch Report)



1 September 2016
FAA Selects Drone Advisory Committee Members

UAVs-in-NationalAirspace-Credit-AP.jpg Aviation International News reports that the FAA has announced the 35 “business, association, municipal and academic leaders” who will make up its new Drone Advisory Committee (DAC). The DAC will make recommendations in regards to the implementation of UAVs into the US national airspace. Modeled after the FAA’s NextGen Advisory Committee created in 2010 to make recommendations on ATC modernization, the DAC comprises the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, General Atomics, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Air Line Pilots Association, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Insitu, Rockwell Collins, and Lockheed Martin, in addition to others. (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Aviation International News)



1 September 2016
Wash Post Opines New FAA UAV Rule Still “Quite Restrictive”

DJIPhantom_AP_Purchased.jpgA recent Washington Post editorial maintained that even though the FAA’s new UAV rule that went into effect Monday avoids “several crucial mistakes that could have grounded a young [UAV] industry,” it is still “quite restrictive, particularly the requirement that operators keep drones within their line of sight.” The Post’s Editorial Board contended that “officials [who are] used to decades of regulating big airliners need to do a more nimble job [of] adapting to the revolution in unmanned and, someday soon, automated flight.” (Image: DJI Phantom 2. Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Washington Post)



31 August 2016
SpaceX to Launch SES-10 On Recycled Falcon Rocket

Falcon9Descends_Jan2016_WikimediaCommons.pngThe AP reports that SpaceX has a customer for the first launch of one of its recycled Falcon rockets. In a launch set for this fall from Cape Canaveral, Luxembourg-based SES will become the first SpaceX client to use one of SpaceX’s recycled rockets when one of its communications satellites (SES-10) is sent into orbit. On Twitter, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted the following message to SES, “Thanks for the longstanding faith in SpaceX. We very much look forward to doing this milestone flight with you.” In a press release, SES CTO Martin Halliwell said, “We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight.” Bloomberg News adds that Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX COO, said, “Relaunching a rocket that has already delivered spacecraft to orbit is an important milestone on the path to complete and rapid reusability.” Forbes also reports on the story. (Image Credit: SpaceX via Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Associated Press)
More Info (Bloomberg News)
More Info (Forbes)



31 August 2016
Some ANA Dreamliners to Have Compression Blades Replaced On Rolls-Royce Engines

ANA_Dreamliner_WikimediaCommons.pngThe Fiscal Times reports that last week, All Nippon Airways (ANA) revealed that damaged compressor blades in some of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines in use on some of their Boeing Dreamliner aircraft will need to be replaced, which is expected to create a number of flight cancellations over the next few weeks. Explaining the problem with some of the engines, Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East said that with ANA’s “more intensive use, the natural wear and tear on the engines” occurred sooner than anticipated, adding, “It is an issue but it’s a manageable issue.” According to Bloomberg News , ANA confirmed on Monday that it had discovered broken turbines on three 787 Dreamliners equipped with Rolls-Royce engines. Reuters notes that ANA stated that it might take up to three years to complete replacement of all of the damaged turbine blades. (Image Credit: Kentaro Iemoto, Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Fiscal Times)
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More Info (Reuters)
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30 August 2016
New UAV Rule Now In Effect

DJI_Phantom4_AP.pngThe FAA officially put in place a new rule on Monday that permits companies the use of UAVs without FAA approval, as long as they follow the FAA’s operating rules. According to USA Today , it is forecasted that the UAV industry will create as many as 100,000 new jobs and as much as “$82 billion in economic activity by 2025, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International [AUVSI].” On its website, NPR mentions that, according to AUVSI, the most common uses of commercial UAVs include “aerial photography, real estate, various inspections, agriculture and filmmaking.” In addition, NBC News reports that Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, while praising the benefits of UAVs, said, “There are literally dozens of missions a UAV can do that would otherwise put a human life at risk,” adding that “drones are opening up aviation to people who would have never thought of entering the field through a traditional route.” (Image: DJI Phantom 2. Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (USA Today)
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30 August 2016
CNN Receives FAA Approval To Fly Over People

DJIPhantom3_AssociatedPressAlexBrandon_Purchased.jpg CNN announced on Monday in a press release that it has been granted a waiver by the FAA to fly UAVs over people within the United States, becoming the first organization to be granted such a waiver. CNN can now operate its tethered platform UAV, the Fotokite Pro, weighing less than two pounds, “over uncovered people who are not directly participating” in the UAV activity. Lisa Ellman, co-director of the Commercial Drone Alliance, said, “Not only is this a milestone moment for CNN, this approval is a milestone for the commercial UAS industry as a whole.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (CNN)



29 August 2016
FAA’s New UAV Rule Takes Effect Today

DJIPhantom_AP_Purchased.jpgThe FAA is “preparing for a swarm of drone applications,’ The Hill reports, in anticipation of the new commercial UAV rule that becomes official Monday.  Earl Lawrence, the FAA’s Drone Integration Office director, said that “3,351 aspiring pilots already signed up to take the written test on Monday, while over 20,000 operators have registered commercial drones that will be able to take flight under the new rule.” WRIC-TV in Richmond, VA, notes on its website that the new rule precludes flying at night, flying above 400 feet, and flying above people who are “not directly involved and consenting.” MIT Technology Review also covers the story. (Image: DJI Phantom 2. Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (The Hill)
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29 August 2016
First Class of Pilots Graduate from General Atomics UAV Training Academy

GenAtomics_TrainingAcademyHangar_NorthDakato_AP-Purchased.png ExecutiveBiz reported that the first class of UAV pilots has graduated from the General Atomics Unmanned Aircraft System Flight Training Academy in Grand Forks, ND, which was opened in June for the purpose of providing UAV pilot training – a program that can be completed in as little as two months. Among the graduating class are three pilots who are now qualified to fly the Predator A UAV. The article notes that the Academy also plans to offer a Predator B training program later this year. (Image: A temporary hanger built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. is seen Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at the Grand Sky drone park in Grand Forks, N.D. Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (ExecutiveBiz)



29 August 2016
Dragon Returns With 3,000 Pounds of Research, Equipment

DragonDepartsISS_CreditNASATV-Aug2016.png NASA reports that SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule successfully returned to Earth on Friday, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean at 11:47 a.m. EDT. Dragon returned from the International Space Station with 3,000 pounds of research and equipment after having delivered a new docking port last month for future use by SpaceX and Boeing, for docking of their commercial crew capsules. The AP also reports on the story. (Image credit: NASA)
More Info (NASA)
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26 August 2016
ANA Cancels Flights, Orders Dreamliner Inspections Due to Rolls-Royce Engine Issue

ANA_Dreamliner_WikimediaCommons.pngThe Seattle Times reports that All Nippon Airways (ANA), the world’s largest operator of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, revealed on Thursday that it has canceled nine domestic flights scheduled for Friday due to possible corrosion on some of the aircraft’s engines. The article reports that Takeo Kikuck, ANA deputy senior vice president of engineering and maintenance, told reports in Tokyo that the airline might need to cancel more than 300 additional Dreamliner flights over the coming month as it investigates the potential need to replace engine parts. ANA said, via a statement, “We have learned of a possible issue with a component in the Rolls-Royce engines on a limited number of Boeing 787 aircraft,” adding that “We are communicating closely with Rolls-Royce and Boeing and performing inspections and maintenance on the aircraft involved.” Bloomberg News adds that a Rolls-Royce spokesperson said that the problem “is limited to a small proportion of the ANA fleet,” while noting that no other airlines are affected. The article also mentions that the FAA, through an email statement, downplayed any concern saying that they have “reviewed the problem and [have] determined it is not a safety concern.” (Image Credit: Kentaro Iemoto, Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (Seattle Times)
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26 August 2016
ULA Awarded NASA Contract for Mars 2020 Rover Launch

ULA_Atlas5Launch_NASA.png Florida Today reports that on Thursday, NASA announced the awarding of a contract worth $243 million to United Launch Alliance (ULA) for the launch in 2020 of the next-generation Mars rover. The Mars 2020 rover, based on the design of NASA’s Curiosity rover that is currently exploring Mars’ Gale Crater, will look for evidence of previous life on Mars in addition to gathering rock and soil samples to eventually bring back to Earth. The Denver Post adds that ULA said via a statement that the Mars 2020 mission “will launch aboard an Atlas V 541 vehicle, which includes a 5-meter diameter payload fairing and four solid rocket motors.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Florida Today)
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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.png Aviation 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.png Bloomberg 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)
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24 August 2016
Astronaut Jeff Williams to Set New U.S. Spaceflight Record

JeffWilliams_Works_Inside_BEAM_June2016_2NASA.png Florida 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)
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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)
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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)
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22 August 2016
How Will the Internet Work on Mars?


(Video produced and provided by InternetProviders.com)

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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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