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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

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 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.


18 April 2019
Northrop Grumman Antares Rocket Launches Cygnus On ISS Cargo Mission

OrbitalATKAntaresLaunch-Nov2017-NASA-Bill_IngallsCNET News reports that NASA and Blue Origin “have signed an agreement that will provide Blue Origin access to the historic test stand and strengthen growth in the commercial space sector, NASA announced Wednesday.” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a press release, “Through this agreement, we’ll provide for the refurbishment, restoration and modernization of this piece of American history – and bring the sounds of rocket engines firing back to Huntsville,” Alabama. (Image Credit: Blue Origin)
More Info (CNET News)


18 April 2019
NASA, Blue Origin Partner Up For New Rocket Engine Tests

NewShepardLaunch_Apr2016_BlueOriginCNET News reports that NASA and Blue Origin “have signed an agreement that will provide Blue Origin access to the historic test stand and strengthen growth in the commercial space sector, NASA announced Wednesday.” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a press release, “Through this agreement, we’ll provide for the refurbishment, restoration and modernization of this piece of American history – and bring the sounds of rocket engines firing back to Huntsville,” Alabama. (Image Credit: Blue Origin)
More Info (CNET News)


17 April 2019
NASA Plans To Send Humans To An Icy Part Of The Moon For The First Time

Moon-AeroAmerica-March2018CNET News reports that NASA is studying the lunar South Pole as part of its “plan to return astronauts to the moon within five years.” Although “the Apollo missions of the ‘60s and ‘70s all landed around the moon’s equator...the pole has” ice capable of extraction and use in various applications. NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Steven Clarke said in a statement, “We know the South Pole region contains ice and may be rich in other resources based on our observations from orbit, but, otherwise, it’s a completely unexplored world.” (Image Credit: (Aerospace America)
More Info (CNET News)


16 April 2019
United Cancels 737 MAX Flights Through Early July

UA-737Max-wikiReuters reports that United Continental Holdings Inc. announced Monday that it was removing flights operated using Boeing 737 MAX jets from its schedule “through early July.” The carrier has limited the number of cancellations to date by using Boeing 777 and 787 passenger jets to service its 737 MAX routes, but United Airlines President Scott Kirby “warned last week that the strategy was costing it money and could not go on forever.” (Image: United Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX. Credit: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt | Wikipedia)
More Info (Reuters)


16 April 2019
NASA’s TESS Mission Observes Earth-Sized Exoplanet

TESS-NASAReuters reports that United Continental Holdings Inc. announced Monday that it was removing flights operated using Boeing 737 MAX jets from its schedule “through early July.” The carrier has limited the number of cancellations to date by using Boeing 777 and 787 passenger jets to service its 737 MAX routes, but United Airlines President Scott Kirby “warned last week that the strategy was costing it money and could not go on forever.” (Image: United Airlines Boeing 737-9 MAX. Credit: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt | Wikipedia)
More Info (Reuters)


15 April 2019
World’s Largest Plane Makes First Flight Over California

Stratolaunch-aircraftReuters reports that “the world’s largest aircraft took off over the Mojave Desert in California on Saturday, the first flight for the carbon-composite plane built by Stratolaunch Systems Corp.” The Roc aircraft “has a wingspan the length of an American football field and is powered by six engines on a twin fuselage.” The white airplane “took to the air shortly before 7 a.m. Pacific time (1400 GMT) and stayed aloft for more than two hours before landing safely back at the Mojave Air and Space Port as a crowd of hundreds of people cheered.” (Image: Stratolaunch aircraft by Stratolaunch Systems Corp., Mojave Air and Space Port. Credit: Robert Sullivan | Wikipedia)
More Info (Reuters)


15 April 2019
NASA Chooses SpaceX To Launch Asteroid Mission

SpaceXLaunchFacility-KSC-NASASPACE reported that on Thursday, NASA “announced that SpaceX will fly its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) planetary-defense mission.” DART “will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in June 2021,” and it will have a “total launch cost for NASA” of “about $69 million, agency officials said.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (SPACE)


12 April 2019
FAA To Meet With Airlines, Pilots On 737 MAX Safety

Boeing737MaxReuters reports that the FAA confirmed on Thursday that it will hold a meeting on Friday with airlines and pilot unions to discuss the 737 MAX. The FAA said that the purpose of the meeting is to help the agency “gather facts, information, and individual views to further understand their views as FAA decides what needs to be done before returning the aircraft to service.” The FAA said that it “continues to gather all available information and data in considering the return of the 737 MAX to service.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Reuters)


12 April 2019
NASA Twins Study Shows Impact Of Time Spent In Space

ScottKelly_ISS_NASAThe New York Times reports that researchers have published the results of the NASA Twins Study, which found both temporary and permanent changes to astronaut Scott Kelly’s biological makeup and genetic mutations. Researchers studied the impact of time spent in space by comparing astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days in space on the ISS, with his identical twin brother, Mark Kelly. (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info ()


11 April 2019
SpaceX Postpones Falcon Heavy Launch Due To High Winds

Falcon-Heavy-APSPACE reports that “SpaceX called off the much-anticipated second launch of its massive Falcon Heavy rocket on Wednesday (April 10) due to unacceptable wind conditions in the upper atmosphere.” In a Twitter post, SpaceX representatives said, “Standing down from today’s Falcon Heavy launch attempt; next opportunity is tomorrow, April 11.” The rescheduled Thursday launch “would occur at 6:35 p.m. EDT (2235 GMT), with weather forecasts currently predicting a 90% chance of good weather, according to the 45th Weather Squadron at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.” Less than one hour before SpaceX announced the postponement, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said, “Upper atmospheric wind shear is very high. ... Will have to postpone launch unless weather proves soon.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (SPACE)


11 April 2019
Boeing 737 MAX Grounding Could Be Lifted By Early July

Boeing-737s-AP-PurchasedThe Wall Street Journal reports that the FAA has created an international panel featuring regulators from the European Union, China, Canada, Brazil, the UAE, Indonesia, and others that will assess the Boeing 737 MAX’s safety certification and The Boeing Company’s software fix for the jet. Sources believe that the 737 MAX grounding could be lifted in early July in the US, Canada, and Latin America – but the grounding could extend for additional weeks or months in Europe and other regions. (Image: Boeing 737-MAX 8 planes are parked Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, near Boeing Co.'s 737 assembly facility in Renton, WA. Credit: Associated Press-©)
More Info (Wall Street Journal)


10 April 2019
Wreckage Confirmed To Be Crashed Japanese F-35 Fighter, Pilot Still Missing

F-35-Paris-Air-Show-June2017 Reuters reports that “search and rescue teams found wreckage from a Japanese F-35 stealth fighter that crashed over the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan, but the pilot remains missing, authorities said on Wednesday.” An Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) spokesman said, “We recovered the wreckage and determined it was from the F-35.” (An F-35 flies over the Paris Air Show in June. Credit: Aerospace America)
More Info (Reuters)


10 April 2019
Alphabet’s Wing UAVs Are Now Delivering Consumer Goods In Australia

Flirtey-Delivery-Drone-Dropbox CNET News reports that Alphabet’s startup Wing “on Tuesday launched its commercial drone delivery service in North Canberra, Australia.” The UAVs “will deliver fresh food, hot coffee and over-the-counter health products to customers’ homes within minutes, the company said.” In a blog post, the company said, “Wing has teamed up with local Canberra businesses to give customers the opportunity to have a range of goods delivered in a handful of minutes.” UAV delivery service “will initially be offered to a limited set of eligible homes in the suburbs of Grace, Palmerston and Franklin,” and “the company plans to expand over the upcoming weeks and months.” (Image Credit: Flirtey Technology)
More Info (CNET News)


9 April 2019
Gulfstream G650ER Sets Speed, Distance Jet Flight Record

/Gulfstream-G650ER Aviation International News reports that Gulfstream set a new city-pair speed record after “the ultra-long-range G650ER flew” March 29 “from Singapore to Tucson, Arizona, in 15 hours and 23 minutes, with fuel in excess of NBAA IFR reserves, eclipsing the previous record set earlier last month by a Bombardier Global 7500 by 44 minutes.” The flight also “established a new record for the farthest business jet flight in history, the company announced” April 8. Gulfstream President Mark Burns said, “With 350 aircraft in service, the G650 and G650ER show day in and day out that they are class-creating and leading aircraft that set the standard when they were announced and continue to do so today.” (Image: Gulfstream G650ER. Credit: Gulfstream)
More Info (Aviation International News)


9 April 2019
ISS Filled With Bacteria, Study Finds

InternationalSpaceStation_NASA CNET News reports that “a diverse population of bacteria and fungi – similar to the ones found in hospitals, gyms and offices on Earth – has been found on surfaces inside the ISS, according to research published Monday in the journal Microbiome.” Study researchers said that the majority of the organisms found on the US module in the ISS were related to humans, for instance, from the Staphylococcaceae and Enterobacteriaceae families. Data “were collected from eight locations throughout the ISS during three flight missions over a period of 14 months” and analyzed by a group of scientists including those from JPL. (Image: International Space Station. Credit: NASA)
More Info (CNET News)
More Info (Orlando Sentinel)


8 April 2019
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch Set For Tuesday Night, But Weather Variable

Falcon-Heavy-APThe Orlando Sentinel reported that “SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launch is officially scheduled for Tuesday night” with a launch window from 6:36 p.m. to 8:33 p.m. local time “from Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A.” However, “the 45th Space Wing [weather] forecast from Patrick Air Force Base calls for just a 30% chance of the weather cooperating because of potential rain, clouds and lightning.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Orlando Sentinel)


8 April 2019
F-35 To Hit 80% Mission Capability Rate By September 2019

F35_Wikipedia FlightGlobal reported that “combat units of the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter fleet within the three US military services and eight international programme partners are on track to reach an 80% mission capability rate by September 2019.” In prepared testimony before the US House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee on April 4, Joint Program Office Executive Officer Vice Admiral Mathias Winter indicated that “the entire F-35 Lightning II fleet should reach an 80% mission capability rate by September 2020.” (Image Credit: U.S. Navy | Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (FlightGlobal)


4 April 2019
Piper Launches “Value-Priced” Training Aircraft

Piper FlightGlobal reports that manufacturer Piper Aircraft has launched its Pilot 100 and 100i entry-level trainers, “which are designed to plug a gap in the market from the growing training school sector for aircraft with ‘optimal acquisition and operating costs and economics.” The $259,000 “value-priced” trainers “are trimmed-down derivatives of the PA-28 Archer TX and feature a 180hp Continental Prime IO-370-D3A piston engine and Garmin G3X Touch Certified avionics.” (Image: Piper. Credit: Piper.com)
More Info (FlightGlobal)


4 April 2019
NASA, Boeing Delay Starliner Test Flight To ISS

Boeing_CST-100 CNET News reports that “NASA announced on Wednesday that Boeing will target August for the first uncrewed Orbital Flight Test of the CST-100 Starliner,” and “a crewed mission is unlikely to happen until late 2019.” Although “the Starliner spacecraft is close to completion and is designed to be reusable up to 10 times,” NASA has yet to “set a solid date for a crewed SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the station.” (Image: Boeing CST-100 Starliner. Credit: NASA)
More Info (CNET News)


3 April 2019
SpaceX Delays Test Firings

Falcon-Heavy-AP CNET News reports that “early Tuesday morning, Elon Musk said on Twitter that the first test of a Raptor engine as part of Starship had been set back by ‘some challenges with ice formation in the cryogenic propellant prevalves. Hopefully overcome soon.’” SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket’s test firing also was delayed, but the rocket “is still slated for its first commercial launch on Sunday evening when it carries commercial communications satellite Arabsat 6A to orbit.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (CNET News)


3 April 2019
USAF Again Stops Deliveries Of Boeing KC-46 Tanker Aircraft

BoeingKC-46Tanker_CreditBoeing Reuters reports that the U.S. Air Force “said on Tuesday that it again stopped accepting deliveries of Boeing Co’s KC-46 tanker aircraft after finding foreign object debris in the planes.” USAF spokesperson Captain Hope Cronin said, “Our inspectors identified additional foreign object debris and areas where Boeing did not meet quality standards.” (Image Credit: Boeing)
More Info (Reuters)


2 April 2019
Boeing To Release 737 MAX Software Patch In “Coming Weeks”

Boeing-737s-AP-Purchased Reuters (4/1) reports that The Boeing Company announced Monday that it will submit its software patch for the 737 MAX “for FAA review once completed in the coming weeks.” The company added, “We will take a thorough and methodical approach to the development and testing of the update to ensure we take the time to get it right.” The certification of the Boeing 737 MAX is under investigation by federal prosecutors and the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is forming an outside committee to look into the certification. (Image: Boeing 737-MAX 8 planes are parked Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, near Boeing Co.'s 737 assembly facility in Renton, WA. Credit: Associated Press-©)
More Info (Reuters)


2 April 2019
NASA Strives To Meet White House Mandate To Return Astronauts To Moon By 2024

LunarBase-NASAThe Washington Post reports that NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine “said Monday that the agency will need additional funding to meet a White House mandate to land people on the moon by 2024.” In remarks at a town hall meeting at NASA headquarters, Bridenstine said, “In the executive branch, people are very serious, we are going to the moon and going fast.” He added that “he was confident the agency would achieve the White House’s goal, whatever the difficulties.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Washington Post)


1 April 2019
Japan Declares F-35A Squadron Initial-Operation-Capable

F35-LukeAFB_USAF-Wikipedia FlightGlobal reported that “Japan’s air force stood up its first operational F-35A fighter squadron, the 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, on 29 March.” The nation joins the US and other military services “with operational F-35 squadrons.” Vice Admiral Mat Winter said, “This is a major milestone for the F-35 enterprise, as it marks the first F-35 IOC for an Indo-Pacific region customer.” Added Winter, “This could not have happened without the hard work and collaboration between the F-35 JPO, the Japan F-35 programme, our industry partners and the Japanese Air Self Defense Force.” (Image: F-35 Lightning II. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann via Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (FlightGlobal)


1 April 2019
SpaceX May Test Rockets This Week

Falcon-Heavy-AP CNET News reports that this week, SpaceX may ignite “Falcon Heavy, the biggest rocket currently in its stable, as well as its next-generation Starship, designed to eventually take passengers to Mars.” The opportunity for “so-called static or ‘hold down’ test firings of both rockets could take place as soon as...Monday, April 1 for Falcon Heavy.” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk added that the Starship rocket will not “get very high off the ground, if at all,” during the initial test, “but the FAA still issued an airspace closure for the area this past Monday through Thursday.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (CNET News)


28 March 2019
NASA To Continue Using Government Rocket To Take Humans To Moon, Will Likely Miss 2020 Deadline

EM-1-NASAThe Houston Chronicle reports that “on Wednesday, NASA’s leader said that using a commercial rocket wasn’t feasible” for transporting humans to the moon. Administrator Jim Bridenstine added in remarks before the US House Appropriations Subcommittee, “I don’t think it’s in the cards to meet June 2020.” Bridenstine also concluded that using the Space Launch System rocket for the Europa Clipper mission “might not be best” given NASA’s intent “to stay within cost and increase the schedule.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Houston Chronicle)


28 March 2019
Pence Says US Is In A New Space Race With China And Russia

Change4-NASA SPACE reports on Vice President Pence’s remarks March 26 “during the fifth meeting of the National Space Council (NSC) at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.” Pence said, “Make no mistake about it – we’re in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s, and the stakes are even higher.” Added Pence, “The United States must remain first in space in this century as in the last, not just to propel our economy and secure our nation but, above all, because the rules and values of space, like every great frontier, will be written by those who have the courage to get there first and the commitment to stay.” Pence highlighted China’s Chang’e 4 mission to the far side of the moon as evidence of that nation’s “ambition to seize the lunar strategic high ground and become the world’s pre-eminent spacefaring nation.” (Image: Chang’e 4 spacecraft. Credit: NASA)
More Info (SPACE)


26 March 2019
Boeing Finalizing Software Patch for 737 MAX 8

Boeing-737s-AP-PurchasedThe Seattle Times reports that The Boeing Company is finalizing its “proposed software fix” for the 737 MAX 8, with flight tests “likely to begin this week.” The manufacturer “has invited airlines to order [the software fix] pending formal approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.” Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the software patch will be provided to airlines “free of charge” once it has been certified by the FAA and released. The software patch has been in development since November following the Lion Air crash, and it will “revamp” how the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System works, including using input from both of the 737 MAX 8’s angle of attack sensors and ensuring that the anti-stall system is not “triggered multiple times, as it was in the Lion Air crash.” (Image: Boeing 737-MAX 8 planes are parked Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, near Boeing Co.'s 737 assembly facility in Renton, WA. Credit: Associated Press-©)
More Info (Seattle Times)


26 March 2019
NASA Cancels First All-Female Spacewalk Due To “Spacesuit Availability” Issues

PeggyWhitson-at-ISS-NASA Reuters reported that “teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets headed to Boeing Co’s factory in Renton, Washington, to review a software upgrade on Saturday, as U.S. regulators prepared to receive and review the fixes in coming weeks.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Reuters)


25 March 2019
U.S. Airlines Visit Boeing As 737 MAX Upgrades Remain Pending

Boeing737Max Reuters reported that “teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets headed to Boeing Co’s factory in Renton, Washington, to review a software upgrade on Saturday, as U.S. regulators prepared to receive and review the fixes in coming weeks.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Reuters)


25 March 2019
Two Minotaur Launches Planned This Year From Virginia

Antares-set-for-launch-2017-NASA Spaceflight Now reported that “Northrop Grumman is gearing up for up to four launches this year at Wallops Island, Virginia, including two launches with Cygnus cargo ships heading to the International Space Station, and a pair of Minotaur rocket flights carrying classified payloads into orbit for the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency.” The USAF “confirmed plans for another Minotaur launch for the NRO – a mission designated NROL-129 – in the fall of this year.” However, specific “details about the spacecraft launching on the NROL-129 and NROL-111 missions are classified, Air Force officials said.” (Image: Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, on launch Pad-0A, 10 Nov. 2017 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
More Info (Spaceflight Now)


22 March 2019
Blue Origin Studying Repurposing Of New Glenn Upper Stages

NewShepardLaunch_Apr2016_BlueOrigin Space News reports that “Blue Origin has studied repurposing upper stages of its future New Glenn launch vehicle to serve as habitats or for other applications as part of a series of NASA-funded commercialization studies.” Blue Origin Vice President of Government Sales and Strategy Brett Alexander “said the company looked at ways it could make use of the second stage of New Glenn rather than simply deorbiting the stage at the end of each launch.” However, Blue Origin does not currently have plans to reuse stages, as the study “was part of a series of study contracts awarded by NASA last August to study future concepts to support commercial human spaceflight in low Earth orbit.” (Image Credit: Blue Origin)
More Info (Space News)


22 March 2019
AIAA Members To Speak At National Space Council Meeting On March 26

Dan-Dumbacher-Testifies-House-SC-Space-13June2018 SpaceRef reports that “American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) members Col. Eileen Collins, Daniel Dumbacher, Sandra ‘Sandy’ Magnus, and Wanda Sigur will lend their expertise on human space exploration at the fifth meeting of the National Space Council on March 26 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.” AIAA Executive Director Emeritus and former NASA astronaut Sandy Magnus “will sit on the first panel, ‘Ready to Fly,’ which includes AIAA Associate Fellow Col. Eileen Collins, U.S. Air Force (ret.), former NASA astronaut and the first female Space Shuttle commander, and Gen. Lester Lyles, U.S. Air Force (ret.) and former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.” AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher and AIAA member Wanda Sigur will join the University of Colorado Boulder’s Jack Burns in the additional “Ready to Explore” panel. (Image: AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher testifies on Capitol Hill, 13 June 2018 Credit: AIAA)
More Info (SpaceRef)


21 March 2019
Boeing Delays Test Flights For U.S. Human Space Program By Months

BoeingStarliner-Boeing Reuters reports that The Boeing Company “has delayed by at least three months its first uncrewed flight to the International Space Station under NASA’s human spaceflight program, and pushed its crewed flight until November, industry sources said on Wednesday.” Initially scheduled for August, the crewed mission “will be delayed until November” following reports last month about NASA concerns regarding design and safety for human spaceflights. (Image Credit: Boeing)
More Info (Reuters)


21 March 2019
NASA Wants To Put A Rover On The Moon By 2023

Curiosity-on-Mars-ArtistsImpression_CreditNASA SPACE reports that on March 18, NASA officials said in remarks at a NASA town hall during the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference that the agency is seeking to land a rover on the moon by 2023. Science Mission Directorate Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Steve Clarke said, “We’re trying to get to the moon with a rover as soon as possible, we’re really trying to target 2023.” The agency emphasized a “desire to make sure scientists feel included in the quest to return humans to the moon, which can sometimes feel like a separate endeavor directed toward separate goals.” (Image Credit: )
More Info (SPACE)


20 March 2019
Northrop Grumman Advances Hypersonic Defense Campaign

X-60A-USAF Air Force Times reports that Northrop Grumman “last week launched a new campaign website focused on hypersonic defense as part of a broader push into the business area, where the Pentagon expects to spend more than $10 billion in the next five years to develop offensive and defensive capabilities.” Vice President, Missile Defense Solutions Kenn Todorov said that customer input on the burgeoning hypersonic defense market has emphasized experimentation in tackling both kinetic and non-kinetic challenges in battlespace. Added Todorov, “As a company, we’re investing a lot of our own resources to give us a leg up and to do some things so we’ll be ready, forward-looking as opposed to reactionary.” (Image: Artist’s drawing of an X-60A launch. Credit: USAF)
More Info (Air Force Times)


20 March 2019
Visiting Spacecraft OSIRIS-REx Finds Surprises At Bennu Asteroid

OSIRIS-REx-NASA CBS News reports that NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft “flying in close formation with a tiny asteroid named Bennu, has found clear signs of water-rich clays on its rock-strewn surface, as well as another mineral – magnetite – that forms in aqueous environments, project scientists said Tuesday.” OSIRIS-REx “also observed repeated outbursts that send small particles and pebbles shooting away into space,” which indicates that “scientists now know” Bennu “is an ‘active asteroid,’ one of a small number of small bodies that exhibit the unexplained behavior.” OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Lauretta said that Bennu is “creating its own set of natural satellites.” Added Lauretta, “Basically, it looks like Bennu has a continuous population of particles raining down on it from discrete ejection events across its surface.”(Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (CBS News)


19 March 2019
AFRL, Universities Form Additive Printing Partnership For Spacecraft Structures

AR1-Rocket-test-additive-manufacturing-AP-purchased ExecutiveGov reports that “the U.S. Air Force Laboratory’s composites branch partnered with the University of Miami, Louisiana Tech University, University of Arkansas and the University of Texas to highlight the application of 3D printed carbon fiber and epoxy components on air and spacecraft structures.” The USAF indicated that additive printing “supports the integration of metal and electrical parts which can accelerate the construction of multifunctional structures for unmanned aircraft systems.” AFRL Composite Performance Research Team Research Leader Jeffery Baur said, “The potential to quickly print high strength composite parts and fixtures for the warfighter could be a tremendous asset both in the field and for accelerating weapon system development.” (Image Credit: Associated Press-©)
More Info (ExecutiveGov)


19 March 2019
Australia To Obtain 4 Gulfstream G550s Equipped For EW Mission

GulfstreamG550-Wiki FlightGlobal reports that Australia “will obtain four modified Gulfstream G550 business jets that will be modified for the electronic warfare (EW) mission in the USA.” In a deal worth $1.7 billion, “the aircraft will be designated the MC-55A Peregrine, [said] a joint statement from Australia’s defence minister and the country’s minister for defence industry.” Australian Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said, “The Peregrine is a new airborne electronic warfare capability that will be integrated into Defence’s joint warfighting networks, providing a critical link between platforms.”(Image Credit: Edwin Leong via Wikipedia) 
More Info (FlightGlobal)


18 March 2019
DOT Probes FAA Approval Of 737 MAX

Boeing737Max Reuters reports that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) “is investigating the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX jetliners, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the probe.” The DOT inquiry began “in the wake of October’s Lion Air accident that killed 189 people and is being conducted by its inspector general, which has warned two FAA offices to safeguard computer files, the Journal said.”(Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Reuters)


18 March 2019
Hypersonic Engine Set For Key Tests

Reaction-Engines-Liftoff-wiki BBC News Online (UK) reported that Reaction Engines’ “project to develop a hypersonic engine that could take a plane from London to Sydney in about four hours is set for a key demonstration.” The company’s Sabre engine “is part jet, part rocket, and relies on a novel pre-cooler heat-exchanger technology.” The ESA-approved review “sets the stage for this central section of Sabre to begin its own demonstration campaign at Wescott Space Cluster in Buckinghamshire next year.” (Image: computer generated image illustrating concept of the Reaction Engines A2. Credit: Reaction Engines | Wikipedia)
More Info (BBC News Online)


15 March 2019
Space-Based Surveillance Of North Atlantic Begins March 27

Virgin-Atlantic-Flight-Wiki Aviation Week reports that beginning March 27, “air navigation service providers (ANSPs) in the UK and Canada later this month will start a joint trial of space-based surveillance of aircraft flying over the North Atlantic, a capability that will deliver immediate safety and capacity benefits for oceanic travel.” (Image: Virgin Atlantic Airbus A320-200. Credit: Aero Icarus | Wikipedia)
More Info (Aviation Week)


15 March 2019
Bridenstine Reiterates Commitment To SLS

EM-1-NASA Space News reports that “a day after announcing that NASA was studying the possibility of shifting an Orion mission from the Space Launch System rocket to commercial vehicles, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he and the agency still support development of the SLS.” Bridenstine said in remarks at a Space Transportation Association luncheon held March 14, “We take advantage of all the capabilities that we have as a nation to get the Orion crew capsule and the European service module in orbit around the moon in order to test it.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Space News)


14 March 2019
ULA Plans Friday Evening Delta 4 Launch

ULA_Nov2010_Wiki Spaceflight Now reports that “United Launch Alliance ground crews are putting the final touches” on a 218-foot-tall Delta 4 rocket scheduled for liftoff at 6:56 EDT Friday evening from Cape Canaveral with a USAF 10th Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellite payload. The satellite “will relay high-data-rate communications in X-band and Ka-band frequencies during a mission expected to last at least 14 years.” With a launch window extending until 9:05 p.m. EDT, Friday’s launch has a favorable weather outlook of “70 percent probability of acceptable conditions.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Spaceflight Now)


14 March 2019
US Expects Software Fix For Boeing 737 MAX Planes To Take Months

Boeing737Max Reuters reports that FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell said in “a conference call with reporters that the ‘black boxes’ from Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines plane crash are headed to France later on Wednesday.” Elwell “expects it will take months before a software fix for Boeing 737 Max planes is complete.” Elwell also indicated “that he does not know how long the country’s grounding of the aircraft will last.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
More Info (Reuters)


13 March 2019
Airlines Cope With Boeing Jet Groundings

Boeing-737s-AP-Purchased Reuters reports that the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 passenger jet by many nations “sent shockwaves through global aviation after a crash in Ethiopia, but many airlines are managing to keep to schedule with other jets while economic woes mean some may be grateful for a pause.” (Image: Boeing 737-MAX 8 planes are parked Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, near Boeing Co.'s 737 assembly facility in Renton, WA. Credit: Associated Press-©)
More Info (Reuters)


13 March 2019
Toyota, JAXA Partner To Develop Moon Rover

Toyota-JAXA-moon-rover Reuters reports that Japan’s space agency announced Tuesday that they have agreed to cooperate with Toyota to develop a crewed lunar rover that runs on fuel cell technologies. The rover “is still in the conceptual stage, but an illustration in the news release showed a six-wheel vehicle that somewhat resembled an armored personnel carrier.” According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Vice President Koichi Wakata, the rover “will be an important element supporting human lunar exploration, which we envision will take place in the 2030s.” (Image Credit: JAXA)
More Info (Reuters)


12 March 2019
USAF Resumes Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker Delivery

BoeingKC-46Tanker_CreditBoeing Reuters reports that the USAF announced that a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker jet is scheduled for delivery on Monday to Altus AFB in Oklahoma. An Air Mobility Command representative “said that under the corrective action plan, subsequent deliveries would occur as The Boeing Company successfully completes each aircraft’s inspection.” The USAF had stopped accepting the tankers as of February 20. (Image Credit: Boeing)
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12 March 2019
NASA Interested In Potential For Nuclear Rockets To Help Settle Space

Nuclear-Rocket-NASA USA Today reports that NASA awarded a nearly $19 million contract for the development of nuclear rockets, and “this year’s NASA budget contains $100 million for nuclear thermal research.” (Image: Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket. Credit: NASA)
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11 March 2019
Boeing Postpones 777X Event After Ethiopian Airlines Crash

Boeing-777X-Wiki Reuters reports that The Boeing Company announced Sunday that it has postponed the planned ceremonial debut of its 777X widebody aircraft after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane on Saturday. Boeing “said after the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 is focused on ‘supporting’ the airline and would not proceed with Wednesday’s planned debut of the” 777X in Seattle, Washington. (Image: Boeing 777X. Credit: Boeing–© (fair use) | Wikipedia)
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11 March 2019
After Successful ISS Mission, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Arrives At Port Canaveral

SpaceX-Crew-Dragon-splashes-down-March-2019-NASA Bloomberg reported that the Crew Dragon “splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 am Eastern time Friday about 250 miles east of Kennedy Space Center in Florida, roughly six hours after undocking.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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8 March 2019
USAF Completes First Flight Test Of XQ-58A Valkyrie Demonstrator

XQ-58A-Valkyrie-Demonstrator-USAF Airforce Technology reported that the USAF “has completed the first flight test of the long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle, XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator” at Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. The 76-minute test flight is the first of five planned flights that will be carried out in two phases, testing the aircraft on factors that include “system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems.” Developed by AFRL, the XQ-58A has the ability to fly alongside crewed aircraft in combat. (Image: XQ-58A Valkyrie Demonstrator. Credit: USAF)
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8 March 2019
X-60A Hypersonic Research Rocket Completes Critical Design Review

X-60A-USAF FlightGlobal reports that USAF’s X-60A hypersonic research vehicle has completed its critical design review and has moved into its fabrication phase. AFRL “is developing the X-60A to increase the frequency of flight testing at hypersonic speeds, which it hopes will lower the cost of maturing hypersonic technologies.” According to USAF, the X-60A’s initial flight is scheduled to take place in about a year at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida. (Image: Artist’s drawing of an X-60A launch. Credit: USAF)
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7 March 2019
NASA Captures Images Of Supersonic Shockwaves Interacting In Flight

Supersonic-Shockwave-NASA CNET News reports that NASA captured the “first air-to-air images of the interaction of shockwaves from two supersonic aircraft flying in formation.” These images “show for the first time how shockwaves interact in flight,” giving “a gorgeous visualization of the shockwaves that are heard on the ground as loud sonic booms.” NASA’s advanced air-to-air imaging system “will come in handy as NASA continues work on the X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology X-Plane.” (Image: Credit: NASA)
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7 March 2019
Kepler Space Telescope Launched 10 Years Ago Today

Kepler_NASA SPACE reports that “NASA’s recently deceased Kepler space telescope launched atop a Delta II rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on March 6, 2009,” a milestone that occurred exactly 10 years ago as of Wednesday. (Image: Artist’s conception of the Kepler space telescope observing planets. Credit: NASA Ames/ W Stenzel via Wikimedia Commons)
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6 March 2019
Airports Scramble To Handle UAV Incidents

UAVs-in-NationalAirspace-Credit-AP CNN reports that recent incidents involving UAVs at worldwide airports show how UAVs “have become an increasing nuisance for airports worldwide in recent months, and good solutions to keep them from interfering with flights aren’t yet available.” Airports Council International-North America Senior Vice President Chris Oswalds said, “One major underlying concern across industry sectors is the lack of tested and fully vetted drone detection and counterdrone systems.” Experts “fear catastrophic damage or death could result” from a collision between an airplane and a UAV. (Image Credit: Associated Press-©)
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6 March 2019
ESA Solicits Public Opinions

ESA-Discovering-our-universe SPACE reports that the ESA is “asking the public which questions the agency should tackle with ‘Voyage 2050,’ its space science program for the 2035-2050 timeframe.” In a statement Monday, ESA Director of Science Günther Hasinger said, “We wish to encourage a sense of ownership and involvement in the space science program with our public, and so we want to hear everyone’s views and choose our next set of missions in an open and transparent way.” This marks the first request for public input by the ESA, and “the opportunity is open to everyone around the world over the age of 16, from today through the end of June.” (Image Credit: ESA)
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5 March 2019
Bombardier’s Global 7500 Sets Longest-Distance Business Jet Record

Bombardier-Global-7500-Wiki Aviation Week reports that Bombardier’s Global 7500 “has set a record for the longest mission ever flown by a purpose-built business jet in a nonstop flight spanning 8,152 nm,” beating the advertised range of 7,700 nm. The flight “also set a long-range speed record for the Singapore to Tuscon, Arizona, city pair,” and “landed with 4,300 lb. of fuel, representing nearly 1.5 hr. of additional flight.” (Image: The Global 7500 flight test vehicle at EBACE in 2018. Credit: Matti Blume | Wikipedia)
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5 March 2019
First All-Female Spacewalk Set For March

PeggyWhitson-at-ISS-NASA Florida Today reports that “the first all-female spacewalk is scheduled to take place March 29.” NASA astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will have CSA Flight Controller Kristen Facciol “serving as console at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.” (Image: Retired NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who holds the U.S. record for most cumulative time in space, at the ISS. Credit: NASA)
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4 March 2019
USAF Grounds Boeing’s KC-46 Tankers Over Debris Issue

BoeingKC-46Tanker_CreditBoeing Reuters reported that the US Air Force announced Friday that it had stopped accepting The Boeing Company’s KC-46 tankers since February 20, and it is “working with the company to resolve the issue of foreign object debris (FOD) that were found in the aircraft.” A USAF official “told Reuters that the issue was not with the aircraft itself, but with the process in place for building the aircraft.” Boeing “has offered to inspect all the aircraft that have been accepted by the Air Force.” (Image Credit: Boeing)
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4 March 2019
NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Returns To Service

MarsRover2020-ArtistsImpression-NASA CNET News reported that NASA announced in a mission update issued Thursday that the Curiosity rover is back in working condition after a unknown glitch temporarily took it out of commission two weeks ago. NASA previously announced that the rover experienced a “hiccup during boot-up” and went into a protective safe mode. Curiosity is transmitting fresh raw images of an intriguing outcrop nicknamed “Midland Valley” in the Gale Crater. (Image Credit: NASA)
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1 March 2019
Navy Declares Lockheed Martin F-35C Has Achieved IOC

F35_Wikipedia FlightGlobal reports that the US Navy announced February 28 that the Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC). The Navy’s first F-35C squadron “completed aircraft carrier qualifications aboard USS Carl Vinson and received a Safe-For-Flight Operations Certification.” The Israeli Air Force, the Italian Air Force, and the UK’s Royal Air Force have declared that their F-35s have also achieved IOC. (Image Credit: U.S. Navy | Wikimedia Commons)
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1 March 2019
SpaceX’s 1st Crew Dragon Spaceship Prepares For Launch

SpaceXLaunchFacility-KSC-NASA SPACE reports that “SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon spacecraft is poised for a historic test flight Saturday.” In remarks during a prelaunch conference February 28, NASA Deputy Manager Joel Montalbano said, “We’re looking forward to the launch this weekend.” SpaceX Vice President Hans Koenigsmann said, “The task ahead of us is really historic.” Added Koenigsmann, “I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a great launch and a great mission. I’m pretty optimistic.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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28 February 2019
USAF Develops App To Accelerate F-35 Flight, Maintenance Planning

F-35-Lightnight-II-Wikipedia ExecutiveGov reports that the USAF’s Kessel Run software development team has developed the Kronos application with the purpose of accelerating the process of planning the weekly maintenance and flight schedule for F-35 fighter jets. The Kessel Run team “partnered with developers from Lockheed Martin, Pivotal Software and the Blended Operational Lightning Technician team at Nellis Air Force Base to develop Kronos, which is set to launch in March.” USAF Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Will Roper “said the service expects the Kronos app to result in updates to the Autonomic Logistics Information System.” (Image Credit: US Air Force Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen | Wikipedia)
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28 February 2019
US Sen. Cornyn Files Measure To Extend US Operations On ISS To 2030

InternationalSpaceStation_NASAThe Houston Chronicle reports that Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) filed a bill Wednesday to continue US operations on the ISS until 2030. In a statement, Cornyn said that the bill “sets the stage for a new era of space exploration and to reassert American leadership in space discovery.” Cornyn “hopes this measure, when passed, will provide some stability for the space program” given the current operational end date of 2024. (Image: International Space Station. Credit: NASA)
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27 February 2019
Boeing Unveils Unmanned Combat Jet Developed In Australia

Boeing-ATS-AEWC-credit-Boeing Reuters reports that The Boeing Company unveiled a prototype fighter-like jet “developed in Australia and designed to fly alongside crewed aircraft in combat for a fraction of the cost.” The multi-role, uncrewed aircraft “is Australia’s first domestically developed combat aircraft since World War II.” Boeing did not specify a dollar amount for the jet, but it is the company’s “biggest investment in unmanned systems outside the United States.” Boeing Autonomous Systems Vice President Kristin Robertson said, “It is a very disruptive price point. Fighter-like capability at a fraction of the cost.” (Image Credit: Boeing)
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27 February 2019
Good Weather Anticipated For Historic SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch From Florida

Falcon-Heavy-AP Florida Today reports that Air Force 45th Weather Squadron Forecasters currently anticipate 80 percent “go” conditions for the liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday from the Kennedy Space Center on DM-1. After a flight readiness review “last Friday,” NASA officials “confirmed the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket will not descend toward Cape Canaveral and instead target a drone ship landing in the Atlantic Ocean.” Crew Dragon will not transport humans on this mission, but a NASA anthropomorphic test device is on board, which “will help experts understand the stresses seen during liftoff and splashdown, as well as several other objectives.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
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21 February 2019
NASA Selects Organizations In Texas, Nevada To Test UAV Traffic Management

UAVs-in-NationalAirspace-Credit-AP CNBC reports that NASA has “chosen two organizations to ‘host’ the last stage of technical demonstrations involving drones.” The agency “said Tuesday that the Lone Star UAS Center for Excellence & Innovation in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems in Las Vegas will host demonstrations...to confirm that NASA’s UAS Traffic Management system could ‘safely and effectively manage drone traffic in an urban area.’” NASA “said its demonstrations will allow itself and partners such as the Federal Aviation Administration to ‘help the commercial drone industry understand the challenges posed by flying in an urban environment.’” (Image Credit: Associated Press-©)
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21 February 2019
NASA, SpaceX Look Ready To Finally Launch Crew Dragon Capsule To ISS

Falcon-Heavy-AP CNET News reports that new details “make it sound like” March 2 could be the launch date of the SpaceX Demo-1 uncrewed test flight of the Crew Dragon capsule. NASA “shared details of the mission on Wednesday, including a launch-time target of 11:48 a.m.” PT. The Crew Dragon launch “will mark a major milestone in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which features both SpaceX and Boeing working to bring launches back to US soil.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
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20 February 2019
Virgin Galactic To Make Second Key Test Flight To Space

SpaceShipTwo_2013_AP_Purchased CNN reports that Virgin Galactic has scheduled the rocket-powered spaceplane VSS Unity to “attempt one of its highest and fastest test flights ever on Wednesday, potentially bringing the company closer to its goal of launching paying customers to space this year.” VSS Unity is set to lift off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California, and it will be piloted by Virgin Galactic test pilots Dave Mackay and Mike Masucci. Virgin Galactic “will fly four research payloads for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program on Wednesday’s mission,” which makes “this flight the second revenue-earning mission for the company.” (Image: SpaceShipTwo. Credit: Associated Press–©)
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20 February 2019
Virginia Named “2018 State Of The Year”

DJIPhantom4_WikimediaCommons Business Facilities reports that it has named Virginia as its “2018 State of the Year.” While announcing Virginia as the recipient of the award, BF Editor in Chief Jack Rogers said, “Virginia snared more than $5.5 billion in capital investment for its top two projects, and its top five job-creation efforts netted nearly 28,000 new jobs in a diverse and well-executed growth strategy that has made VA a high-tech force to be reckoned with.” Virginia also placed a “winning bid for a spot in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program,” and, in regard to that, Sen. Mark Warner (D) said, “I congratulate the team for winning this slot, and thank Secretary Chao (U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao) and the FAA for giving us the opportunity to continue Virginia’s leadership in this field.” (Image Credit: Doodybutch, Wikimedia Commons)
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19 February 2019
Final Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Bill Secures $21.5B For NASA

InSight-Lander-NASA Space News reported that “an appropriation bill signed into law Feb. 15 gives NASA $21.5 billion for fiscal year 2019, $1.6 billion above the administration’s original request.” The final bill “rejects the proposal to reorganize the accounts used to fund the agency that NASA included in its budget request a year ago,” and retains NASA provisions identical to the bill passed by the House in January. NASA’s science programs “were among the biggest beneficiaries of the budget increase” after receiving $1 billion above the original request. The bill did not contain “provisions guaranteeing back pay to contractors who were affected by the five-week partial government shutdown,” including NASA contractors. (Image: Artist's rendition of the InSight lander operating on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
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19 February 2019
Trump Administration Discloses Proposed Regulations, Regulatory Modifications Regarding UAVs

Engineer-Flies-Phantom3-APThe Washington Post reports that over “two years after receiving warnings about a regulatory loophole that could put law enforcement at risk from booby-trapped drones, the Federal Aviation Administration said it will use a truncated public process to fix the problem within two weeks.” The action was a component “of a dizzying array of proposed rules and regulatory changes published last week by the Trump administration, which wants to roll back rules on use of the devices while simultaneously taking steps to ease concerns raised by security officials.” (Image: An engineer flies a DJI Phantom 3 drone. Credit: Associated Press–©)
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15 February 2019
Growing Number Of Nations Racing To Get To The Moon

Moon-AeroAmerica-March2018The Washington Post reports that after the Space Age of the 1960s and ‘70s, the moon “was virtually abandoned.” Now, however, the moon “is again the center of a reinvigorated space race that...features a new cast of characters,” including China and India. On Thursday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the agency “intends to partner with the private sector to land an American spacecraft on the moon as early as this year.” (Image Credit: Aerospace America)
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15 February 2019
DOD Plans Negotiations To Buy 485 Lockheed Martin F-35s

F35-LukeAFB_USAF-Wikipedia FlightGlobal reports that February 13, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office of the DOD announced its intent to “solicit and negotiate multiple contracts to buy 485 stealth fighters from Lockheed Martin.” The contracts, which have an anticipated award date in Q3 of 2021, “would provide for long lead time materials, parts, components, initial spares, and labour, as well as production and testing equipment.”(Image: F-35 Lightning II. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann via Wikimedia Commons)
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14 February 2019
Airbus Shuts Down A380, As Many As 3,500 Jobs Affected

Airbus-A380-Wikimedia-Commons FlightGlobal reports that February 13, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office of the DOD announced its intent to “solicit and negotiate multiple contracts to buy 485 stealth fighters from Lockheed Martin.” The contracts, which have an anticipated award date in Q3 of 2021, “would provide for long lead time materials, parts, components, initial spares, and labour, as well as production and testing equipment.”(Image: F-35 Lightning II. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann via Wikimedia Commons)
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14 February 2019
NASA To Work With Private Companies To Complete Space Policy Directive 1 Mandate

Boeing_CST-100 SPACE reports that “in a statement published Feb. 7, NASA laid out how it will work with U.S. companies to develop reusable systems through which astronauts could return to the moon by 2028.” Agency officials reported that NASA will use current and anticipated technologies to complete the Trump Administration’s Space Policy Directive 1 mandate “as quickly as possible.” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine added that these partnerships with the private sector would be multiphased and could include collaboration with other nations to “advance our missions to farther destinations, such as Mars, with America leading the way.”(Image: Boeing CST-100 Starliner. Credit: NASA)
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13 February 2019
Virgin Galactic Donates SpaceShipTwo Rocket Motor To Smithsonian

SpaceShipTwo_2013_AP_Purchased CNET News reports that Virgin Galactic announced Monday that the SpaceShipTwo rocket motor was donated to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, and will be exhibited in its Future of Spaceflight gallery. Since that gallery doesn’t open until 2024, the motor will be displayed at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, for now. The Smithsonian will likely “gather items from other private spaceflight companies, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, in the meantime.” (Image: SpaceShipTwo. Credit: Associated Press–©)
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13 February 2019
FAA Mandating That Registration Numbers Be Present On Exteriors Of Small UAVs

UAVs-in-NationalAirspace-Credit-AP CNET News reports that “in preparation for the launch of its next Mars rover, NASA is undertaking some quick, interplanetary KonMari.” NASA wants to have the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft operate “as a communications relay for the Mars 2020 rover mission.” The spacecraft “has been orbiting Mars since September 2014, occasionally dipping into the Martian atmosphere to study how it has changed over time,” but NASA is “going to tidy up its orbit just a little.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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12 February 2019
NASA Spacecraft To Prepare For Mars 2020 Rover Landing

MAVEN-NASA CNET News reports that “in preparation for the launch of its next Mars rover, NASA is undertaking some quick, interplanetary KonMari.” NASA wants to have the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft operate “as a communications relay for the Mars 2020 rover mission.” The spacecraft “has been orbiting Mars since September 2014, occasionally dipping into the Martian atmosphere to study how it has changed over time,” but NASA is “going to tidy up its orbit just a little.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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12 February 2019
Oklahoma Measure Seeks To Regulate UAVs Over Private Property

Drone_Over_Neighborhood_AP_PurchasedThe AP reports that Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation to ban UAVs over private property in rural areas. Oklahoma state Sen. Casey Murdock (R) said that the proposed bill “would govern drones flying at 400 feet (120 meters) or lower” and have an exemption for rural Oklahoma residents. Said Murdock, “For me right now, this is a private property rights issue and a privacy issue.” The bill would also need to allow for commercial energy and weather UAV usage. (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
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11 February 2019
Delta’s First Airbus A220 Has New Technologies

AirbusA220_Wiki Avionics International reported that Delta Air Lines’ Airbus A220 aircraft has a major avionics fly-by-wire software system upgrade that enables CATIII operations capabilities. In remarks to Avionics International, Airbus A220 Program Head of Engineering Rob Dewar said that the system “was designed to provide a dedicated heads up display guidance and aural cues to the flight crew to ease handling of the landing.” The A220 also has “a suite of new pilot tablet integration functionality [in] the aircraft’s avionics data bus” with the option of having the Esterline CMC aircraft information server, “an integrated information management system and network connectivity.”(Image Credit: Delta News Hub [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
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11 February 2019
National Defense Could Benefit Alabama’s Space Industry

small-satellites-NASAThe Houston Chronicle reported that government space programs in Huntsville, Alabama, such as Blue Origin and Aeroject Rocketdyne are expanding with new jobs and new facilities due to national defense and telecommunications funding in the billions of dollars. Projects would include “an array of initiatives such as communications satellites, possibly armed satellites, and even satellite clusters that may one day become home to the internet.” United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno said, “The idea is the internet being based in space instead of here and based on fiber optics as it is today.”(Image Credit: NASA)
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8 February 2019
Safran Opens Turbine Blade Research Center Near Paris

Dassault-Rafale FlightGlobal reports that Safran Aircraft Engines opened a new turbine blade research center “at its Gennevilliers site near Paris.” According to the manufacturer, the facility is capable of performing “all development work necessary for next-generation very-high-performance turbine blades” for military and commercial engines used in fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Around 30 engineers and experts will focus on “multi-disciplinary design, single-crystal casting, 3D-printed ceramic blade cores, thermal coatings, cooling circuits, digitised processes, self-adapting micro-drilling, and non-destructive testing based on artificial intelligence.” Safran cited a project to develop enhanced turbine blades to “improve aircraft dispatch reliability” for the company’s Snecma M88 engines, which are used on the Dassault Rafale. The center will also work on “blades for the engine that will power France and Germany’s planned joint Future Combat Air System (FCAS), which will be jointly developed by Safran and MTU Aero Engines.” (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
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8 February 2019
Delta Celebrates First Flights Of P&W-Powered Airbus A220

AirbusA220_Wiki CNBC reports that the first flights of Delta’s first Airbus A220 jet “took off Tuesday morning from New York’s LaGuardia Airport with one flight to Boston and another to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.” Equipped with new “Pratt and Whitney geared turbofan engines, the A220s have higher fuel efficiency compared with other models, a key selling point for carriers whose second-largest expense after labor is fuel.” Another key selling point for the aircraft is its range of “nearly 3,400 miles.” According to Teal Group Vice President Richard Aboulafia, “Compared to everything else in its size class it’s unprecedented.” Delta ordered 75 of the jets from Bombardier in April 2016, and last month, the carrier “increased its order for the planes and added some of the larger model, the A220-300, for a total of 90 A220 jets.”(Image Credit: Delta News Hub [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
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6 February 2019
Orion’s Launch Abort System Test Delayed

NASAOrion2018The Houston Chronicle reports that the recent government shutdown “continues to claim victims at NASA,” which is delaying a planned “emergency system test for the Orion spacecraft being built to take humans back to the moon.” NASA officials “confirmed this week that the launch of the Orion test module, previously scheduled for April from Cape Canaveral, Fla., would be delayed.” NASA hopes to determine a revised launch date next week. According to Orion Program Manager Mark Kirasich, the new date “is going to be past where we were, but it’s not going to be more than the duration of the shutdown.” The three-minute launch will test the module’s “primary safety feature, known as the launch abort system.” However, Kirasich said that the shutdown is not currently expected to affect Orion’s planned test flights. Once the launch abort test is complete, the “simplified” test module will not be reused, and additional capsules “for the unmanned and crewed missions are under construction.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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6 February 2019
Boeing Announces “Significant Investment” In Aerion’s Supersonic Business Jets

Aerion_SBJ_model_small Reuters reports that The Boeing Company announced Tuesday that it has made a sizable investment in “supersonic business jet developer Aerion, as the world’s biggest planemaker looks to tap into rising demand for high-end aircraft that can reduce travel time.” Boeing plans to provide engineering, manufacturing, “and flight testing services for Aerion’s $120 million supersonic business jet, which is slated for its first flight in 2023.” The aircraft is expected to fly at speeds “of up to Mach 1.4, or about 1,000 miles (1,610 km) per hour, 70 percent faster than conventional business jets.” GE Aviation recently “said it completed initial designs for the new Affinity turbofan engine, which will be used in Aerion’s AS2 jet, while Honeywell Aerospace has said it would develop the cockpit for the AS2.”(Image: Aerion SBJ model, background clipped Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
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5 February 2019
Gulfstream Delays G600 Certification, “Ramping Up” PW800 Nacelle Production

Gulfstream-G500-Savannah-GA-HDQTRS-AP-Purchased FlightGlobal reports that Gulfstream has “pushed back certification and service entry of the G600, blaming the 35-day partial shutdown of the US government for the delay.” The long-range business jet had been scheduled for validation in early 2019, but during a fourth quarter earnings call on January 30, Phebe Novakovic, CEO of Gulfstream parent company General Dynamics, “said the exact timing is now ‘hard to predict,’ given the impact of the shutdown on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).” Gulfstream has outstanding trials “related to flight into known icing, function and reliability.” Novakovic is confident of securing approval before the end of June. The company is also “ramping up production of the nacelle system” for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800 engine, which “powers the G600 and its smaller sibling, the G500, which entered service in October.” (Image: Gulfstream G500 at its Savannah, GA headquarters. Credit: Associated Press-©)
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5 February 2019
Space Startup Investment Rose 29% In 2018

Falcon-Heavy-Launch-6Feb2018 Space News reports that investment in space startups is continuing “at an accelerating rate, according to two firms that track activity in the sector.” Seraphim Capital data shows that venture capital “poured $3.25 billion into space technology companies in 2018, an increase of 29 percent.” In an annual report, Space Angels, “which unlike Seraphim does not include drone startups in its count, tallied $2.97 billion in space startup equity investments last year.” Space Angels “said 2018’s total counts for a sixth of all the equity capital invested in space companies since 2009.” Both firms identified launch services “as the single largest area of investment activity, totalling between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion, according to their estimates.” According to Seraphim, European companies saw their share of global investment grow from 13 percent in 2017 to 18 percent, “with satellite and component manufacturing as a bright spot.” China accounted for 5 percent of “global space investment over the past 10 years, according to Space Angels.” (Image Credit: NASA Kennedy)
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4 February 2019
Boeing’s Starliner Spacecraft Will Be Ready For First Test Flight In March

Boeing_CST-100 SPACE reported that The Boeing Company is on track to “launch its new astronaut taxi to the International Space Station (ISS)” in a test flight in March 2019. In remarks to Space.com during a Boeing space travel presentation, Boeing spokesperson Maribeth Davis indicated that “if this test flight goes according to plan, Boeing will be ready to launch its first crew of astronauts to the space station in August.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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1 February 2019
Bell Begins Flight Tests Of eVTOL Autonomous Pod Transport

Bell-Urban-Air-Taxi-Concept-AP-Purchased Aviation Week reports that Bell has begun flight tests of the “largest version yet of its tail-sitting electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) Autonomous Pod Transport (APT).” The vehicle will form a “key element of a NASA program” aimed at “paving the way for routine flights of unmanned air systems” in the US national airspace. (Image: Bell Helicopter's autonomous air taxi concept is displayed at CES International, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. | Associated Press–©) /Jae C. Hong)
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1 February 2019
China Plans More Than 30 Launches In 2019

Long-March-3B-Rocket-Launch-Wiki SPACE reports that China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the Chinese space program’s main contractor, plans more than “30 launches in 2019, with major missions including the crucial return-to-flight of the heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket in July.” CASC announced Tuesday “that it would aim to loft more than 50 spacecraft on 30-plus launches this year.” The Long March 5 mission will carry the Shinjan-20 communications satellite into orbit, and if successful, the rocket “would then be used to launch the Chang’e-5 lunar sample return toward the moon in late 2019.” A “nominal return-to-flight” would also “clear the way for the test launch of the Long March 5B, a variant of the Long March 5 designed specifically for lofting the 20-metric ton modules of the planned Chinese Space Station (CSS) into low Earth orbit.” CASC did not release a “full, detailed launch manifest,” but known missions include launches of 10 additional Beidou navigation satellites and the Gaofen-7 Earth observation satellite. (Image: The launch of Long March 3B Rocket, Xichang Satellite Center, China. Credit: AAxanderr, Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 | Wikipedia)
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31 January 2019
Space Company Executives Optimistic About 2019

SpaceX-Launches-Inmersat-Sat-2017-AP-Purchased Space News reports that despite recent layoffs and a partial government shutdown, many companies “remain optimistic about the overall prospects for the space industry in the coming year.” In a panel discussion Wednesday at the Space Foundation, executives “from companies ranging from a launch startup to an established satellite operator talked up the state of the industry and their belief that it is poised for much faster growth in the near future.” Vector Director of Government Affairs Courtney Stadd called the current environment “an extraordinary time,” citing Air Force Space Command Commander Gen. Jay Raymond’s recent comment that it is an “inflection point” for the industry. Stadd argued that “what we’re witnessing in 2019 is a convergence of technologies, low cost, market changes, and so forth.” Made In Space President and CEO Andrew Rush admitted that the company “felt a pinch” from the shutdown, but with the shutdown over, “we’re putting our toe back on the pedal, but...not slamming it all the way to the floor.” NanoRacks Vice President of Business Development and Strategy Allen Herbert does not see the recent rounds of layoffs as a signal, and argued “that the marker is still vibrant.” Inmarsat Senior Vice President Rebecca Cowen-Hirsch believes that “what we’re seeing in space is prioritization.” (Image: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, May 15, 2017. The satellite added to Inmarsat's Global Xpress network linking airplanes, ships and other mobile terminals with broadband Internet and data services. Credit: Associated Press–©)
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31 January 2019
US Air Force May Add UAVs, Helicopters To Light-Attack Experiment

MQ-1-Predator-USAF Air Force Times reports that the US Air Force’s light-attack experiment is “set to get a lot bigger, with the service considering adding drones, helicopters and more sophisticated aircraft to the mix in the future.” According to Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force is seeking to understand the answers to questions such as: “What is the right mix of fixed wing, rotary wing, manned and unmanned that can do the business of light attack?” The Air Force is also considering how to “expand” the experiment to include US partners as well. Goldfein’s comments “hint that a lack of interest by partner nations may have shaped the decision not to press ahead with a program of record late last year.” Goldfein “said the Air Force chose not to release that RFP for two reasons: ongoing budget uncertainty and the desire to expand the parameters of what the service is seeking.” Goldfein added that light attack is not a central need of the Air Force, and will only be funded if upcoming budgets allow. Interoperability appears to have “taken on new importance as the experiment potentially moves forward.” (Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Lt Col Leslie Pratt| Wikipedia)
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30 January 2019
Avianca Plans To Use UAVs In Aircraft Maintenance Inspections

Donecle-drone-autonmous-inspection-wiki MRO Network reports that Colombian airline Avianca is planning to employ UAVs and cameras to perform some of its aircraft maintenance inspections. To date, the use of UAVs for such inspections “has not been approved for by any airframe OEM or regulatory authority for inspections.” As such, Avianca Vice President of Engineering and Maintenance Miguel Angel Montoya Estrada said, “So we are reviewing the state of [the] art and waiting for the approval of different authorities and aircraft manufacturers.” Estrada explained that the carrier is pursuing this strategy to reduce inspection time and improve quality by improving its precision in locating and evaluating damage. Avianca hopes that UAV inspection will also “reduce maintenance costs and facilitate the execution of inspection task cards.” Avianca is currently working with Airbus and Donecle and “testing their equipment.” The carrier “estimates that Donecle drones can reduce inspection time from eight hours to 30 minutes.” As Avianca seeks approvals, the carrier is also “completing the integration of the entire system as a line map, including the structural repair manual for mechanics, the 3D scanner and the drone.” (Image: Donecle drone performing an autonomous aircraft inspection. Credit: Josseli Bequet | Wikipedia)
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30 January 2019
SpaceX May Launch Falcon Heavy From KSC In Early March

Falcon-Heavy-AP The Orlando Sentinel reports that according to two new filings with the Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX “revealed it is targeting no earlier than March 7 for a second launch of its three booster, 27 engine Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center.” According to Monday’s filings, “SpaceX is targeting the six-month window between March 7 and Sept. 7.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)


28 January 2019
US Air Force Receives First Two Boeing KC-46 Tankers

BoeingKC-46Tanker_CreditBoeing CNBC reported that the US Air Force’s first two Boeing KC-46 tankers “touched down at McConnell Air Force base in Kansas on Friday after departing the company’s Everett, Washington, facility.” The delivery marks a “major milestone for the program, which is two years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget.” Boeing is expected to deliver around three tankers per month to the Air Force, which would total “approximately 36 aircraft by the end of the year.” Boeing plans to build a “total of 179 refueling aircraft to replace the Air Force’s aging tanker fleet.” The Air Force accepted the delivery “despite outstanding issues with the aircraft.” As a result, Boeing has “agreed to foot the bill for software and hardware upgrades for the camera system used in refueling operations, and the Air Force will finance the redesign of the tankers’ boom, which is used to deliver fuel to an aircraft.” The Air Force plans to withhold 20 percent of Boeing’s payment “until progress is made on aircraft deficiencies.” Speaking in an interview, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said that there are “always technical issues when you take a new weapons system like this, and actually there are fewer technical issues than there are on most major procurements that we do.” Wilson added that with Boeing’s corrective actions, the Air Force is “ready to take the next step, which is operational test and evaluation, and get these aircraft in the hands of our airmen.” (Image Credit: Boeing)
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28 January 2019
ISRO Successfully Launches Military Satellite In First Mission Of 2019

ISRO-launch-Nov-2018-AP-Purchased SPACE reported that India launched its first rocket of 2019 on Thursday, “lifting two payloads into orbit: a military imaging satellite and a student-built orbital laboratory.” The ISRO Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launched from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The launch was the “first time this rocket was used in conjunction with two strap-on boosters.” The rocket’s main payload deployed, followed by the fourth stage and the Kalamsat-V2 cubesat laboratory. The project will measure the “performance of student-designed communications, electronics and solar panels.” India plans to launch the next PSLV in February. (Image: Rocket lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. Credit: Associated Press–©)
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24 January 2019
Boeing’s Self-Flying Taxi Prototype Completes First Test Flight

Voyager-2-NASA Reuters reports that The Boeing Company said Wednesday that its flying car prototype “hovered briefly in the air during an inaugural test flight, a small but significant step as the world’s largest planemaker bids to revolutionize urban transportation and parcel delivery service.” The 30-foot-long hybrid aircraft, “part helicopter, part drone, and part fixed-wing plane,” lifted a “few feet off the ground and made a soft landing after less than a minute of being airborne on Tuesday.” John Langford, president and CEO of Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, said in a statement announcing the test flight, “This is what revolution looks like, and it’s because of autonomy.” Future flights will test “forward, wing-borne flight.” Major hurdles to Boeing’s “low-stress” mobility push include “sorting out numerous critical safety and regulatory issues to meld traditional roadway traffic with fleets of flying cars.” The company plans to test a “package-hauling version” of the aircraft with the ability to carry up to 500 pounds later this year. (Image: Boeing autonomous passenger air vehicle. Credit: Boeing)
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24 January 2019
Blue Origin To Open Alabama Rocket Engine Plant Friday

Voyager-2-NASA The AP reports that Blue Origin plans to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new rocket engine production facility Friday in Huntsville, Alabama. The plant will produce Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine, “which will power the next generation of rockets produced by United Launch Alliance in Decatur.” The engine will be powered “by liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas,” and also will be used on the New Glenn rocket. (Image: Blue Origin BE-4 engine. Credit: N2e | Wikimedia Commons)
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23 January 2019
Bell-Boeing Joint Venture Wins $144 Million DLA V-22 Support Contract

Voyager-2-NASA GovCon Wire reports that a joint venture of The Boeing Company and Bell Helicopter won a potential $143.8 million Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) contract to “engineer and provide logistics support for the U.S. military’s V-22 Osprey tiltrotor planes.” The Bell Boeing Joint Program Office will “deploy field personnel and support equipment as well as perform maintenance planning, training and site activation for V-22 squadrons worldwide, Boeing said Friday.” (Image Credit: FOX 52 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 | Wikipedia)
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23 January 2019
Boeing 727 Makes Final Commercial Flight

Boeing-727-Aseman-Airlines-Wiki CNN reports that the “distinctive” Boeing 727 made its last passenger flight on a domestic Iranian route operated by Iran Aseman Airlines. (Image: Boeing 727; Iran Aseman Airlines. Credit: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt | Wikimedia Commons)
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22 January 2019
F-22 Receives First Metal 3D-Printed Component

F-22Raptor-Wiki UPI reported that a metallic 3D-printed component has been installed on an “operational F-22 Raptor for the first time, which the Air Force hopes will lower costs and reduce maintenance time.” The titanium cockpit part was “installed by the 574th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Hill Air Force Base in Utah on Wednesday,” and replaced a conventional aluminum component. According to 574th Squadron Director Robert Lewin, “One of the most difficult things to overcome in the F-22 community, because of the small fleet size, is the availability of additional parts to support the aircraft.” The Air Force “noted 3D printing allows for replacement parts on short notice without minimum order quantities.” The printed bracket was made from a titanium powder and is resistant to corrosion, replacing a “corrosion-prone aluminum component in the kick panel assembly of the cockpit.” The part can be “ordered and delivered to the depot in as soon as three days, the Air Force said.” At least five additional metal 3D-printed parts are “planned for validation on the F-22.”  (Image: F-22 Raptor. Credit: Rob Shenk from Great Falls, VA, USA | Wikipedia)
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22 January 2019
Blue Origin Reschedules New Shepard Test Flight

NewShepardLaunch_Apr2016_BlueOrigin Space News reported that Blue Origin rescheduled a test flight of the company’s “New Shepard suborbital vehicle for Jan. 22 as the company edges closer to flying people into space.” The company announced the new launch date for the NS-10 flight on Sunday. Blue Origin will launch the mission from a test site in West Texas. The flight will be the first for New Shepard “since a July 18 launch that tested the abort motor in the crew capsule.” The vehicle will carry “nine experiments provided by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program,” including “microgravity research payloads in fields like fluid dynamics and planetary science to technology demonstrations that will monitor conditions in the vehicle.” (Image: New Shepard launch, April 2015. Credit: Blue Origin | Wikipedia)
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18 January 2019
Collins Aerospace To Supply Flight Deck For NASA’s X-59A Supersonic Demonstrator

NASA-X-Plane Aviation Week reports that Collins Aerospace has been selected to supply the avionics for NASA’s “X-59A QueSST low-boom supersonic flight demonstrator, now under development by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works.” Collins will provide “flight-deck avionics and an enhanced vision system,” as well as assist Lockheed with “developmental engineering support to tailor its Pro Line Fusion avionics system to the requirements of the single-seat, Mach 1.4 X-59.” The companies plan to “jointly develop software applications for the flight-deck avionics.” Collins will also provide ARC-210 radios, a suite of “navigation and surveillance equipment,” and a “dual-camera multispectral infrared enhanced vision system, the EVS-3600.” (Image: artist’s concept of a possible QueSST x-plane design. Credit: Lockheed Martin via NASA)
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18 January 2019
Blue Origin Shares Video Rendering Of Planned New Glenn Rocket Launches

NewShepardLaunch_Apr2016_BlueOrigin The Orlando Sentinel reports that Blue Origin has “shared a new video rendering of what launches would be like beginning in the company’s target date of 2021 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.” New Glenn launches will “take place at Launch Complex 36 for commercial, civil and national security customers, the company said.” The company is slated to “begin human launches this year, but has not set a date, and plans at least one more unmanned test before then.” (Image: Artist’s impression of a New Glenn launch. Credit: Kevin Gill | Wikipedia)
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17 January 2019
DIA: China Likely Developing Nuclear-Capable Long-Range Bomber, Space-Based Early Warning System

F-35A-LighteningII_USAF-Wiki.png Bloomberg News reports that the Defense Intelligence Agency “released a report Wednesday saying China is likely developing a long-range bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons and a space-based early warning system it could use to more quickly respond to an attack.” (Image: One counter-strategy would involve the possible use of F-35 jets. Credit: US Air Force Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen | Wikipedia)
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17 January 2019
Iridium Satellite Network Enhances Aircraft Tracking Capability

Iridium-satellite-artistImpression-Iridium The Hill reports that the Iridium satellite network officially launched last week is “meant to make it impossible for commercial airplanes to go missing, according to a new CBS report.” The new Iridium Communications satellites “will have improved airplane-tracking abilities, which could reduce the number of flights that vanish per year.” Aireon CEO Don Thoma said in a CBS interview, “Seventy percent of the world’s airspace has no surveillance.” Iridium satellites contain an Aireon-manufactured system “built to surveil all airplanes on the globe.” (Image: Iridium satellite constellation. Credit: Iridium)
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16 January 2019
Airbus Completes Second Vahana eVTOL Demonstrator

Vahana-AerospaceAmerica Aviation Week reports that Airbus’ A3 subsidiary has completed a second “Vahana electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) technology demonstrator.” The Alpha 2 aircraft is “based at Pendleton, Oregon as a backup for the first Vahana, which is undergoing flight testing.” The first Vahana is undergoing transition testing, and “has not yet flown with the wings tilted fully down, says Eduardo Dominguez-Puerta, Airbus head of urban air mobility (UAM).” (Image Credit:  Aerospace America )
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16 January 2019
Draft FAA Proposal Does Not Address Counter-UAV Technology

DJIPhantom_AP_Purchased Aviation Today reports that on Monday, the FAA released a “draft rulemaking proposal seeking feedback from the public on ways to limit the public safety and national security risks of operating small drones in the national airspace.” The advance notice is a step by the agency to “improve the integration of small unmanned aircraft systems...into the national airspace, permissions that were granted in August 2016 under an agency rule known as Part 107.” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao “said the advanced notice will be published in the Federal Register as soon as possible.” The draft provides a series of “discussion points and questions related to safety and security risks around a number of subjects, including stand-off distances for UAS, limitations on altitude, speed and other performance characteristics, incorporation of unmanned traffic management (UTM) for small drones, payload restrictions, and critical system design requirements such as redundant power systems.” However, the notice does not address counter-UAV technologies. (Image: DJI Phantom 2. Credit: Associated Press–©)
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15 January 2019
US Army Plans Small UAV Demonstration

GA-MQ-1C-Gray-Eagle-Wiki Aviation Week reports that the US Army plans to demonstrate a “small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that can be launched from its manned helicopters and unmanned aircraft and controlled from the cockpit.” The Air Launched Effects (ALE) program “aims to develop a family of small UAS that would team with other manned and unmanned platforms to penetrate denied airspace and attack integrated air defense systems.” ALE will also support “interchangeable payloads” for a variety of mission profiles. The short-term demonstration’s goal is to “launch a minimum of four UAS from a Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter hovering below 150 ft. above ground level (AGL) and a minimum of four from a General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle flying at about 10,000 ft. AGL.” According to the request for information, ALE will “use artificial intelligence, operate semi-autonomously and will implement the commander’s intent through collaboration with other team members. They will not have continuous or near-continuous data links to the host platform.” (Image:General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle. Credit: US Army | Wikipedia)
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15 January 2019
China Exchanged Data On Lunar Landing With NASA

Change4-NASAThe AP reports that China exchanged data with NASA regarding its “recent mission to land a Chinese spacecraft on the far side of the moon, the Chinese space agency said Monday, in what was reportedly the first such collaboration since an American law banned joint space projects with China that do not have prior congressional approval.” Chinese space agency Deputy Director Wu Yanhua “said NASA shared information about its lunar orbiter satellite in hopes of monitoring the landing of the Chang’e 4 spacecraft, which made China the first country to land on the far side of the moon earlier this month.” Wu “added that while NASA’s satellite did not catch the precise moment of landing, it took photographs of the area afterward.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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14 January 2019
Using UAVs And Satellite Imagery, US Farming Is Increasingly High-Tech On Both Industrial, Small Farms

UAV_Monitors_Idaho_Farm1_APThe New York Times reports that farming is “increasingly a high-tech endeavor,” as large industrial farms increasingly adopt technology such as GPS-guided combines, soil sensors, UAVs, satellite imagery, and supercomputers to aid food production. While most such technology is used in large-scale production, there is also a growing use of affordable robots and other machines on small, specialty, and family-owned farms. These machines reduce tedious labor and may “help persuade a younger generation to stay put on family farms rather than sell out.” (Image Credit: Associated Press–©)
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14 January 2019
SpaceX Reveals Starship Test Rocket

SpaceX-Starship SPACE reported that the assembly of the “test-flight version of SpaceX’s Mars-colonizing Starship vehicle is now complete, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced Thursday night.” Musk posted a photo of the vehicle to Twitter, and “said earlier [last] week that SpaceX aims to start such trial runs, which will take place at the Texas site near Brownsville, in the next four to eight weeks.” (Image Credit: Elon Musk/SpaceX via Twitter)
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7 January 2019
US Army Plans “Advanced Teaming” Demo For FVL Platforms

aircraft-teaming-USArmy Aviation Week reported that the US Army plans to demonstrate “advanced teaming technology that would enable manned and unmanned aircraft to operate as part of a combined-arms team in contested environments.” The Army plans to apply the demonstration for its planned Future Vertical Lift (FVL) platforms, “the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and companion Advanced Unmanned Aircraft System (AUAS).” According to a draft solicitation, the teaming demo requires the development of new mission-system technologies, including “a digital backbone, advanced survivability and protection systems, enhanced lethal and nonlethal effectors, secure communications and networking, and highly advanced autonomy technologies.” The planned Advanced Teaming Demonstration will “mature, integrate and demonstrate technologies for autonomy and teaming to meet requirements for FARA, FLRAA, and AUAS as well as enhancing the capabilities of the current fleet.” (Image: Manned-unmanned teaming demonstration. Credit: US Army)
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7 January 2019
Boom Raises $100 Million For Overture Supersonic Airliner

Boom-Overture Aviation Week reported that Denver-based startup Boom Supersonic closed a “$100 million Series B investment round to finance continued work on its Mach 2.2 commercial airliner” called the Overture. “The 55-seat aircraft is planned to enter service in the mid-2020s.” Boom “has said it expects development of the Overture to cost about $6 billion.” (Image: Boom Overture. Credit: Boom)
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4 January 2019
Bell-Boeing Joint Venture Wins $23.3 Million NAVAIR V-22 Osprey Flight Test Sustainment Contract

V-22_Osprey_Wiki Defense Industry Daily reports that the Bell-Boeing joint venture has won a $23.3 million contract from Naval Air Systems Command to “provide flight test sustainment support to V-22 Osprey test, tiltrotor military aircraft.” Bell-Boeing will offer support and “provide analysis of light test for five MV-22 aircraft.” (Image: A V-22 Osprey flies a test mission. Credit: James Haseltine, U.S. Air Force | Wikipedia)
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4 January 2019
University Of North Dakota Announces “Major Industry Milestone” For Commercial UAV Use

DJIPhantom_AP_Purchased Defense Industry Daily reports that the Bell-Boeing joint venture has won a $23.3 million contract from Naval Air Systems Command to “provide flight test sustainment support to V-22 Osprey test, tiltrotor military aircraft.” Bell-Boeing will offer support and “provide analysis of light test for five MV-22 aircraft.” (Image: A V-22 Osprey flies a test mission. Credit: James Haseltine, U.S. Air Force | Wikipedia)
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3 January 2019
Rolls-Royce Plans To Break Electric Aircraft Speed Record In 2020

SiemensExtra330LE Aviation Week reports that Rolls-Royce revealed more details about a “light aircraft currently under development that it hopes will break the electric flight speed record in 2020.” The Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (Accel) project “builds on the company’s partnership with high-power motor developer YASA, start-up Electroflight and the UK’s Aviation Technology Institute announced at last year’s Farnborough Airshow.” Accel plans to “speed past the previous record of 210 mph (337.5km/h) set by Siemen’s electric-powered Extra 330LE aerobatic aircraft, set in March 2017, and achieve speeds of 300+mph.” Details released by Rolls-Royce “reveal the single-seat Accel monoplane with a wingspan of 24 ft (7.32m), will use a densely-packed 6,000 cell battery system capable of delivering 750kW of power.” The batteries power “three lightweight YASA 750R motors which Rolls-Royce says will deliver the equivalent of 500hp to the propeller.” (Image: Siemens’ Extra 330LE battery-powered plane. Credit: Siemens)
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3 January 2019
New Horizons Transmits Images Of Ultima Thule

Ultima-Thule-New-Horizons-NASAThe AP reports that NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft – currently 4 billion miles from Earth – “yielded its first close-up pictures Wednesday of the most distant celestial object ever explored, depicting what looks like a reddish snowman.” The icy space object Ultima Thule “was found to consist of two fused-together spheres, one of them three times bigger than the other, extending about 21 miles (33 kilometers) in length.” NASA Ames Research Center scientist Jeff Moore “said the two spheres formed when icy, pebble-size pieces coalesced in space billions of years ago.” Lead Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Alan Stern “noted that the team has received less than 1 percent of all the data stored aboard New Horizons.” NASA expects to receive the remaining data over two years. Clues about the “surface composition of Ultima Thule should start rolling in by Thursday.” Scientists suspect that the object’s “icy exterior is probably a mix of water, methane and nitrogen, among other things.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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2 January 2019
Boeing Preparing 777X For Flight Testing

Boeing-777-Folded-Wingtip-Credit-BoeingThe Seattle Times reported that assembly of The Boeing Company’s “first 777X flight test plane is all but complete.” Engineers and mechanics expect to “roll out this majestic jet for its public debut as early as February.” According to Boeing Vice President of 777 Operations Jason Clark, “In the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing the airplane to life.” The aircraft is powered by GE’s new GE-9X engines, the second of which will be installed in early 2019. The 777X will replace the 777-300ER, “an all-metal airplane that has long been Boeing’s star widebody airplane.” The 777-9X is the first planned variant, and is the larger of the two. While “similar in weight to the -300ER, it’s more fuel efficient and flies 250 miles further, giving it an 8,750-mile range.” The increased performance “comes from the enormous new fuel-efficient GE engines and the new super-aerodynamic wings.” (Image Credit: Boeing)
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2 January 2019
Delta IV Heavy Launch Of NRO Satellite Pushed Back A Week

Delta-IV-Heavy-at-Launchpad-NASAThe AP reported that the “repeatedly delayed launch of a National Reconnaissance Office [NRO] satellite from California has been pushed back another week.” United Launch Alliance (ULA) “said Friday the launch of the NROL-71 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base will now occur no earlier than Jan. 6.” (Image Credit: NASA)
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