Saturday, June 1, 2013

Week in review (5/26 to 6/1)

The latest edition of the annual Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor book is now available. You can download the PDF for free, or if you want a printed version you can order one at cost from a print-on-demand service.

The 96-page book by four current and former reporters - I'm one of them - highlights aerospace activities in the region between Southeast Louisiana and Northwest Florida along the Interstate 10 corridor. There are chapters on the region's role as an aerospace showcase, space activities, unmanned systems, military aviation and more.

More than a dozen underwriters supported the project, making it possible to provide the PDF free of charge and the printed version at cost. Also this year, a benefactor will be providing printed books to the Okaloosa County STEMM Center for teachers with aviation-related programs. We hope to get additional books to more teachers throughout the region during the year.

To dowload the book, visit the Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor website and click on the link. You can either get the entire book or individual chapters.

Now for the week in review:

The chief executive of Airbus parent EADS says the company will sell more than 800 aircraft in 2013, beating its initial target by more than 100 units. That’s what Tom Enders told shareholders. His words come less than three weeks before the Paris Air Show, traditionally a robust ordering period for Airbus, which broke ground in April on a $600 million final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. (Post)

Mobile's Airbus plant is spurring some activity in Pensacola, Fla. The Florida Department of Transportation is offering Pensacola International Airport a three-year, $11 million grant for infrastructure improvements. Mayor Ashton Hayward said the airport needs apron space to draw the aerospace sector to the airport. (Post)

Huntsville, Ala.'s Cummings Aerospace now has an office in Niceville, Fla., to leverage opportunities at Eglin Air Force Base. Cummings Aerospace was established in 2009 as a defense contractor specializing in missiles. It has about 45 employees in Huntsville and Orlando and now one in Niceville. The company founder expects to have at least a dozen workers in Niceville by this time next year. (Post)

3-D printing is getting a lot of attention. In a story in Armed Forces Journal, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Llenza says 3-D printing, where items are printed layer by layer from powdered ingredients, could mean ships will be able to make their own parts insteaad of pulling into ports.

Last week NASA said it's given a grant to a company working on a 3-D food printer. It could transform the way astronauts eat in space. Next year, a 3-D printer is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station. It will produce the first parts ever made off planet Earth.

Earlier this year a J-2X engine with a 3-D part was tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Pratt & Whitney crafted the part with a 3-D print method called Selective Laser Melting to make the exhaust port cover. (Post)

NASA and Northrop Grumman will continue a partnership that involves using Global Hawks to track hurricanes. The unmanned aircraft, typically associated with the military, have been used on missions to investigate how hurricanes develop and to monitor their progress. Northrop's renewed agreement will run through April 30, 2018, and requires NASA to share the cost of operating the drones with Northrop, in exchange for being allowed to use the drones jointly. NASA this year is using a second Global Hawk in the program. Global Hawks, by the way, are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.

Col. Alexus Grynkewich assumed command of the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., from Col. David Hicks during the week. Grynkewich was the vice commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., prior to his arrival at Eglin. Hicks will transfer to North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. (Post)

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded a $435.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract to procure four CH-53K System Demonstration Test Article aircraft. Two percent of the work will be done in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (Post)

Sea lions: Four young sea lions stranded on California beaches have a new home at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss. More than 1,000 sea lion pups have been abandoned on California beaches since January, more than three times the usual number. (Post)

Shipyard: Private equity firm Littlejohn & Co. of Greenwich, Conn., now has an ownership stake in Gulf Coast Shipyard Group, which owns Trinity Yachts and TY Offshore shipyards in Gulfport, Miss., and New Orleans. (Post)

Research lab: The first new building at the Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Miss., since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 has opened. It’s the $1.2 million Field Studies Building. (Post)

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