If you're interested in aerospace activities in the Gulf Coast region, you'll want to take a look at a new quarterly newsletter coming out Tuesday. It's produced by the Gulf Coast Reporters' League, the same team that for three years has produced the annual Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor book.
The eight-page quarterly is designed to provide detailed stories about the Gulf Coast aerospace region during the period between the annuals. It also supplements the daily aerospace news digest and this weekly column.
Like the book, the newsletter is funded by underwriters who believe the stories are important and need to be told. That backing allows us to make the newsletter available free of charge to the public, without advertisements.
A PDF of the newsletter will be posted on the website www.gulfcoastaerospacecorridor.com.
Each of the stories, the first issue has four, also will be summarized in the daily aerospace digest, with a link to the separate story. So even if you forget about the newsletter, you'll still see the stories if you look at the daily aerospace news digest.
So what do we have in the first issue? Well there's a story on an airport in this region making a lot of land available for aerospace companies. There's also a story that shows how lucrative the aerospace field can be, even without a college degree. You'll also learn about the military drones that have been in this region since the 50s. Finally, there's a story about some unusual work at Stennis Space Center to prepare for the testing of the next generation of rocket engines.
We hope you enjoy the newsletter.
Now for the week in review:
Delta Air Lines plans to buy 40 Airbus jetliners between 2015 and 2017, and 30 of those planes will be A321 single aisle jetliners. Many of those planes will come off the $600 million assembly line being built at Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala.
The airline chose CFM56-5B engines from CFM International to power its A321s. CFM International is a joint venture between GE Aviation of the U.S. and Snecma, a division of Safran of France. Safran, of course, has an engineering center in Mobile, and GE Aviation has plants in Hattiesburg, Miss., and Auburn, Ala.
With the merger of Delta and Northwest Airlines, the Delta fleet includes 126 A320 aircraft. But Delta won’t be the first to get a Mobile-assembled jets. That honor will go to Jet Blue, which is slated to get an A321 in the fall of 2016. (Post)
-- The FOIA Group Inc. threatens to take legal action against the Mobile Airport Authority for denying a Freedom of Information Act request pertaining to that Airbus assembly line being built at Brookley. Roger Wehner, the authority's executive director, said the request was denied to protect the proprietary interests of current and future Brookley tenants, not just Airbus. (Post)
-- Five counties teamed up to form the Gulf Coast Aerospace Coalition in a bid to attract aerospace companies to Northwest Florida. The group includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay counties. Members of the group will go to Hamburg, Germany, to see an Airbus plant and to attend the Global Aerospace Supply Chain Conference in Hamburg Dec. 4-5. There also will be a Northwest Florida Leadership Forum in Hamburg Dec. 8-11. (Post)
-- The Aerospace Alliance, a non-profit that promotes the aerospace activities in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, is holding its third annual summit in Huntsville, Ala., in October. The first summit was held in Sandestin, Fla., and the one last year was in New Orleans. Huntsville is one of the premiere aerospace regions in the country. The summit is Oct. 17 and 18 at the Von Braun Center. The agenda calls for a UAV update, a session on composites manufacturing, commercial space and an update on the Airbus project in Mobile.
If you've never been to Huntsville, this may be a great opportunity to see an area that's home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the Army's missile program. You'll want to make sure you take a look at Cummings Research Park, one of the nation's largest.
For more information or to register, click here.
A series of hotfire tests on the next generation J-2X rocket engine came to an end during the week at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The gimbal test of J-2X No. 10002 was a 330-second test fire on the A-1 test stand. Now NASA has its sights on testing the RS-25. Both engines will be used with NASA's Space Launch System. The J-2X will be used on the upper stage and the RS-25 on the core stage. (Post)
-- The Lockheed Martin A2100 communications satellite series reached a milestone by
chalking up over 400 cumulative years of in-orbit operations. The orbiting fleet consists of 45 commercial and U.S. government communication satellites equipped with over 1,500 transponders transmitting data, video and audio for operators worldwide.
The A2100 satellite is also the platform for communications programs for the U.S. government, including the Advanced Extremely High Frequency and Mobile User Objective System. Core propulsion system work on the A2100 is done at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)
The Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft system set an endurance record last month when it flew for 25.3 hours in European airspace. Built by Northrop Grumman, operating through its subsidiary Northrop Grumman ISS International Inc. and Cassidian, the UAS climbed to 58,600 feet over Manching Air Base, Germany. Europ Hawk has completed 19 flights and about 200 flight hours. Euro Hawks were built in part in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)
-- The Navy awarded a $10 million contract to Northrop Grumman for additional operations and maintenance service for its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator. The unmanned aircraft, a Global Hawk, has been used by the Navy since 2009. The contract increases the operational tempo of the two demonstrator aircraft, from nine operations a month to 15. The follow-up aircraft is the MQ-4C Triton, and more than 60 will be purchased by the Navy. The BAMS and Triton are being built in part in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)
Closure: Ingalls is closing its Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport, Miss. The Navy recently decided to use steel rather than composite structures for the reduced number of Zumwalt-class ships. The facility will close by May 2014. (Post)
Lab: The University of New Orleans received $58,000 in donations so it can upgrade its ship-design computer laboratory. The lab is part of UNO's School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. (Post)
LCS: The Office of Secretary of Defense reportedly supports limiting the number of Littoral Combat Ship purchases to 24, way below the Navy’s goal of 52 ships. The Independence class versions of the ships are built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. (Post)