Saturday, August 29, 2015

Week in review (8/23 to 8/29)

It was a busy week for Stennis Space Center, Miss., and the Space Launch System program designed to send astronauts further into space than ever before.

Former Space Shuttle Main Engine 0525, a developmental engine that's never been in space, completed its seventh static fire during the week at SSC. Now it's time for the Aerojet Rocketdyne flight engine 2059 to be put on the A-1 Test Stand for the next test series into next year.

NASA's Space Launch System will make its first flight in 2018. (Post)

Meanwhile, work has been completed at SSC on a steel tower for tests of the SLS, the world’s most powerful rocket. An additional 1 million pounds of structural steel was put on the B-2 test stand.

The addition of the structural framework is needed to support the height and weight of the massive rocket’s core stage. NASA has been renovating the B-2 Test Stand for more than two years in preparation for the SLS test series.

The historic test stand was built in the 1960s and previously used to test both the Saturn V and the space shuttle propulsion system. (Post)

In another space item during the week, NASA officials held a networking event in New Orleans for small businesses interested in doing business with the federal space agency or its contractors. The event drew about 100 people. (Post)

GKN Aerospace executive Daryl Taylor was chosen to head the Airbus manufacturing facility in Mobile, Ala. Taylor will oversee all systems and support staff at the Mobile facility, reporting directly to Airbus Americas president Barry Eccleston.

Taylor, who has been VP and GM of GKN Aerospace facilities in Kansas and California, previously worked for Bombardier. He'll train for his new role at Airbus facilities in Europe before assuming leadership in Mobile in coming months. (Post)

Military aircraft
Four F-22 Raptors and about 60 airmen from the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., are now at Germany's Spangdahlem Air Base to train with allied air forces and U.S. services through mid-September.

It's the first-ever F-22 training deployment to Europe. The training will prove that 5th generation fighters can deploy successfully to European bases and other NATO installations while also affording the chance for familiarization flight training within the European theater. (Post)

On the unmanned front, endurance capabilities of the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter were demonstrated on the West Coast on a planned 10-plus hour flight and range out to 150 nautical miles flight from Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, Calif.

The MQ-8C Fire Scout achieved 11 hours with over an hour of fuel in reserve. The long range, long endurance flight was part of a series of capability based tests used by the Navy to validate their concept of operations and previously tested performance parameters.

The MQ-8C is built in part in Moss Point, Miss. It's a larger version of the MQ-8B, also built in part in Moss Point. (Post)

Economic development
The Bell Helicopter Lafayette Assembly Center officially opened for business during the week in Louisiana. The company will assemble the new commercial helicopter, the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X at the facility some 135 miles west of New Orleans.

Bell Helicopter, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, broke ground on the 82,300 square-foot helicopter assembly plant in August 2014 at the Lafayette Regional Airport. (Post)

Meanwhile, the Marianna/Jackson County Distribution/Construction Services Park has become the second certified site in Jackson County, Fla., through Gulf Power's Florida First Sites program.

The combined industrial park is 460 acres and is home to Family Dollar Distribution Center, Arizona Chemical and Hanson Precast Concrete. It is adjacent to Interstate 10 with 213 developable acres available.

Florida First Sites was created in 2013 to help communities prepare locations to attract new industries and new jobs to the region. Seven other Northwest Florida sites that have obtained certification include one more in Jackson County, two in Bay and Santa Rosa counties and one each in Okaloosa and Walton counties. (Post)

Over in Mississippi, a hangar at Mississippi’s Gulfport International Airport that was used during World War II is receiving a $2 million-plus facelift that will allow it to be used by the Air National Guard's Combat Readiness Training Center.

Built in 1944, the hangar was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Airport Executive Director Clay Williams said construction will start in a few weeks and it should be completed in April. (Post)

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded an $89.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract that provides for the system development and demonstration Phase I Increment 2, for the first aircraft arrival and initial operations in support of the F-35A conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) air system for the government of Israel under the Foreign Military Sales program. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … Lakeview Center Inc., Pensacola, Fla., was awarded a $7.7 million contract for dining facility attendants and contingency cook support at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2020.

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