Saturday, January 10, 2015

Week in review (1/4 to 1/10)

Je Suis Charlie

The terrorists who thought murdering unarmed journalists was the best way to silence what they found offensive didn't understand human nature. The best way to ensure people will do something is to tell them they can't.

"We always long for the forbidden things, and desire what is denied us." – Francois Rabelais

"There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable." – Mark Twain

That said, here's your aerospace week in review:

SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Saturday morning in a mission to bring supplies to the International Space Station and its six astronauts. But another part of the mission, the unprecedented return of the first stage to a floating barge in the Atlantic Ocean, failed.

The company's founder, Elon Musk, said the first stage of the rocket made it to the platform east of Jacksonville, Fla., but the booster came down too hard and broke apart. Activities of SpaceX are of interest to this region because the company plans to test its latest generation rocket engine at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)

While we're on the subject of Stennis Space Center, the RS-25 engine that will power America's Space Launch System launch vehicle into deep space had its first successful test Friday at NASA's rocket engine testing facility in South Mississippi. The RS-25, formerly the space shuttle main engine, fired up for 500 seconds on the A-1 test stand. It was the first hot fire of an RS-25 engine since the end of space shuttle main engine testing in 2009. Four RS-25s will power the SLS on future missions that will launch the Orion capusule into space. (Post)

-- The third Mobile User Objective System satellite is scheduled to launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Jan. 20. The MUOS satellite is designed to improve secure satellite communications for mobile U.S. forces. Five of the Lockheed Martin MUOS satellites will eventually be launched to form the constellation. Work on the propulsion system for the A2100 satellite-based spacecraft is done at Stennis Space Center. (Post)

Turkey plans to buy four more F-35 fighters from the United States, in addition to the two it had already ordered, according to the country's defense ministry. Turkey has long planned to purchase 100 jets to replace its F-4 and F-16 fleet, but increasing costs have hampered the acquisitions. Turkey is one of the nine partner nations that helped fund development of the Lockheed Martin F-35. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. (Post)

In another F-35 item during the week, the Pentagon said the two squadrons of U.S. Air Force F-35s will be based at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom. The first aircraft are scheduled to arrive at Lakenheath in 2020. At the same time the Pentagon announced that decision, it announced the consolidation of some U.S. infrastructure in Europe. It includes the return of 15 sites to host nations. It’s part of the European Reassurance Initiative, and will save the U.S. $500 million annually. Changes will impact the U.K., Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal. (Post)

Speaking of bases, Florida's Naval Air Station Pensacola and Naval Air Station Whiting Field won a sweep of the Navy's 2015 Installation Excellence Awards. NAS Pensacola was No. 1 in the large base category, and Whiting was No. 1 in the small base category. The award lauds the top Navy commands at shore for their installation management, program excellence and community outreach. Now the two first-place winners compete for the nomination to represent the Navy for the DoD-wide 2015 Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence, which will be announced in the spring. (Post)

-- The 325th Fighter Wing is now conducting a deployment exercise designed to test the wing's ability to deliver combat air power. The exercise will evaluate the wing’s ability to prepare personnel, aircraft and support equipment for a simulated departure. The wing typically exercises a variety of situations six times a year ranging from hurricane preparations to emergency responses. The 325th Fighter Wing's primary mission is to train and project combat power for F-22 Raptor pilots and maintenance personnel. (Post)

-- Air Force Col. Daniel J. Orcutt of Hurlburt Field, Fla., has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Orcutt is currently serving as commander, 505th Command and Control Wing, Air Combat Command, Hurlburt Field. (Post)

-- Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Alabama’s Fort Rucker recently tested a device that may make hoist rescues less risky. The Enroute Care and Airworthiness Division, using an HH-60M, Army medic, rescue basket and crash dummy, tested an anti-rotational device designed to reduce the potential for an uncontrolled spin of a stretcher being lifted to the helicopter. (Post)

Airbus, Boeing
Airbus increased its deliveries in 2014, setting a new company record, a source at the
company told Reuters during the week. The Airbus Group subsidiary beat its 2013 peak of 626 deliveries. An Airbus spokesman would not comment on orders or deliveries ahead of the annual news conference Jan. 13. Meanwhile, Boeing set a record in 2014 for commercial airplane deliveries and orders, the company said. Boeing delivered 723 commercial airplanes last year, breaking a company record for the second consecutive year. Airbus is building an A320 family final assembly line in Mobile, Ala., that will open this year. (Post)

While on the subject of Airbus, the company posted its first available position of 2015 for its A320 final assembly line being built at the Mobile Aeroplex. It’s for a quality services technician, responsible for implementing and monitoring quality management processes and procedures. (Post)

Economic development
Two industrial parks in Santa Rosa County, Fla., have been certified by Gulf Power's "Florida First Sites" program. They are Northwest Florida Industrial Park at Interstate 10 and Santa Rosa County Industrial Park. Certification means the sites have proper zoning, service to utilities and meet other qualifications that make them ready for development. Both sites are targeting aerospace along with other types of businesses. The first site certified as VentureCrossing in Bay County, Fla., which also targets aerospace. (Post)

Northrop Grumman Global Hawks unmanned systems in all its variants have flown more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission hours in one week than ever before. Global Hawks flew 781 hours from Sept. 10-16. The Air Force's RQ-4 Global Hawk flew 87 percent of the missions, while the Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration aircraft and NASA's Global Hawk hurricane research assets flew the rest. Global Hawks are manufactured at Northrop Grumman facilities in Moss Point, Miss., and Palmdale, Calif. (Post)

Exelis, Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded an $8.4 million modification to a previously awarded contract for system sustainment. The contractor will sustain the infrastructure of the C-6 radar to include the weapon system management and engineering; field service team; radome maintenance; and requirements definition, analysis, and modeling. Work will be done at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2015. Space and Missile Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity.

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