The time is getting near for the first exploration flight of the Orion crew capsule. Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) will happen in December when Orion lifts off from Florida atop a Delta IV rocket. When it happens, a lot of folks in this region will have played a big role.
Engineers from United Launch Alliance recently finished integration of the three primary core elements of the rockets first stage with the single engine upper stage at ULA's Horizontal Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The December flight will not have a crew.
So what did this region do? Quite a bit. The RS-68 engines that will power the core boosters of the Delta IV were assembled and tested by Rocketdyne at Stennis Space Center, Miss., NASA's huge rocket engine test facility. And the space-bound Orion itself was built in part some 40 miles away from SSC at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans.
The Delta IV isn't the final rocket that will be used for Orion. Eventually, the multi-purpose crew vehicle will be boosted in space by NASA's powerful Space Launch System. The core stage for that rocket is being built at Michoud, and the engines that will boost that core stage will be tested at Stennis Space Center. (Post)
Boeing during the week said it will increase production of 737 jetliners to 52 airplanes per month in 2018 because of strong market demand worldwide. The target is more than 620 of the 737s per year. Boeing currently produces 42 airplanes per month at its Renton, Wash., factory, and the company previously announced plans to increase the production rate to 47 per month in 2017. (Post)
A competitor of the 737, the A320, will be built in Mobile, Ala., beginning in 2015 at an expected rate of 40 to 50 per year. That plant during the week issued notice that it's seeking an information technology specialist and aircraft systems installation workers for the Mobile production line. (Post)
Meanwhile, Airbus Group during the week predicted airlines will buy planes worth $4.6 trillion over the next 20 years, with Chinese domestic travel surpassing the U.S. as the largest aviation market in a decade. Airlines will need 31,400 new jetliners and freighters during the period, 7 percent more than suggested in Airbus's 20-year forecast a year ago. (Post)
One of those planes in the mix, the Airbus A350 XWB, received type certification for airworthiness from the European Aviation Safety Agency late last month. The A350-900 XWB is a mid-size long range product line. The jetliner is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The A350XWB was in the Gulf Coast region during earlier testing at the McKinley Climatic Lab at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Post)
The first general officer has qualified to fly the F-35. Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, commander of the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., wrapped up his seven-week training program late last month at the F-35 integrated training center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The general was chosen to become qualified based on his position at the USAFWC. The center he leads is responsible for current and future F-35A operational testing, tactics development and eventual advanced training exercises and weapons school. (Post)
-- Lockheed Martin of Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $246.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract to develop, test, and certify two Drag Chute Systems for the Low Rate Initial Production Lot VII F-35. Work will be done in Fort Worth and at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (Post)
-- The Navy says it will base 100 F-35C variants, the version with a tailhook designed for use on carriers, at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. The joint strike fighter will be assigned in seven Navy Pacific Fleet squadrons of 10 jets each, and a Fleet Replacement Squadron will have 30 jets. The move will begin in 2016. (Post)
Exelis received official certification for an electronic countermeasures and radar warning system pod for the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Exelis’ AN/ALQ-211(V)9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare System (AIDEWS) was OKd to fly aboard Pakistani F-16 fighters. The pod is a self-contained integrated electronic countermeasures and radar warning receiver system designed to protect the F-16 from radio frequency (RF) threats. Tests were done at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (Post)
-- Demand for private air travel at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport prompted fixed base operator Sheltair to seek for more space. The Airport Authority approved a new, larger lease agreement for Sheltair, which has provided general aviation services at the airport since 2010. Sheltair’s new lease adds about five acres of space, mostly paved ramp space. (Post)
ACE Engineering Inc., La Verne, Calif., was awarded a maximum amount $20 million contract for installation and repair of asphalt and concrete pavement at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., Naval Support Activity Panama City, Fla., Naval outlying fields located in Florida and Alabama, and Naval Operations Support Center Tallahassee, Fla. Work for this task order is expected to be completed by January 2015. ... C.W. Roberts Contracting Inc., Tallahassee, Fla., was awarded a $9 million contract for paving. The work may consist of resurfacing, full depth reconstruction, and new full depth construction of bituminous concrete and portland cement concrete pavements to include airfield pavements, roadways, parking lots, and sidewalks. Work will be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 28, 2015. Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.
L3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $12.3 million modification to exercise option A00053 to previously awarded contract for trainer maintenance services. Work will be performed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, and Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2015. … Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $306.1 million definitive contract for Global Hawk contractor logistic services and sustainment III. Contractor will provide contractor logistics support of the Global Hawk fielded weapon system. Work will be performed at San Diego and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2015. Fuselage work on Global Hawks is done in Moss Point, Miss. … Webb Electric Co., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $9.2 million contract to repair airfield lighting system and to add/repair airfield lighting vault. Work will be performed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2015.
Mark Dunning Industries, Dothan, Ala., was awarded a $6.8 million modification under a previously awarded contract to exercise option three for base operations support services at Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, Ga. Work is expected to be completed September 2015. … Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded a $100 million contract for Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile production support. Contractor will provide JASSM system upgrades, integration, sustainment, management and logistical support. Work will be performed at Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 29, 2019. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Northrop Grumman, Annapolis, Md., was awarded a $19 million delivery order under a previously awarded contract for the procurement of field upgradeable kits and fleet support for conversion of the AN/AQS-24A systems to the AN/AQS-24B configuration in support of the Airborne Mine Countermeasure Systems Program. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity.