Saturday, September 9, 2017

Week in review (8/27 to 9/9)

As Hurricane Irma swirls around threatening Florida, it's still uncertain at this writing where the monster will head and make landfall. Sure, there are the models, but that's all they are - best science-based estimates. For the moment, it seems the Gulf Coast aerospace corridor region for the most part will escape the destruction. But the extreme eastern edge of the region will feel some impact.

Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, has relocated high-value equipment, including aircraft, to Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, as a precaution. But an evacuation of base personnel has not, as of this writing, been ordered.

As anyone who lives in hurricane territory will tell you, you can't let down your guard. I'm no stranger to covering hurricanes as a journalist. I covered my first one in 1985 and my last one in 2005, and I've seen just how unpredictable they can be.

As of this writing, the Florida Panhandle has become something of a safe haven for some of those fleeing from the Florida peninsula. Shelters have opened up for temporary refugees from other parts of Florida. An associate who closely follows the military messaged me the other day about the temporary relocation of some operations and aircraft to bases in this region.

As for my family, we're still planning a cookout for Sunday, and I still plan to keep two appointments during the week. But with Irma acting up in the region, all we can do at this point it remain vigilant, and pray for the safety of anyone touched by this monster.

Now for your aerospace week in review:

A full-scale model of a Space Launch System core stage was recently completed at a plant in North Alabama and will soon be shipped to NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

The steel article was assembled at G&G Steel’s facility in Cordova. Radiance Technologies and Dynetics were contracted by NASA to build the Pathfinder, and G&G Steel performed the final welding and assembly. It will be delivered by barge via the Black Warrior River to New Orleans.

NASA will use the Pathfinder at Michoud Assembly Facility, Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Kennedy Space Center, Fla., to practice handling a fully assembled SLS Core Stage, including transportation, before they have to start doing it with the real thing as early as next year. (Post)

- NASA engineers closed a summer of successful hot fire testing late last month for flight controllers on RS-25 engines that will help power the new Space Launch System rocket being built to carry astronauts to deep-space destinations, including Mars.

The space agency capped off summer testing with a 500-second hot fire of a fifth RS-25 engine flight controller unit on the A-1 Test Stand. The controller serves as the "brain" of the engine, communicating with SLS flight computers to ensure engines are performing at needed levels. NASA tested the first flight controller unit in March. (Post)

- Earlier this month, NASA announced it exercised the first option year under its existing contract with CSRA of Falls Church, Va., for the continuation of financial management, human resources, procurement, information technology and agency business services to NASA.

The option increases the existing NASA Shared Services Center support contract by more than $60 million and provides services through Sept. 30, 2023. The contract is administered by the NSSC at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. The NSSC performs select business activities for all NASA centers. (Post)

United Technologies Corp. has acquired Rockwell Collins in a transaction valued at $30 billion. A new business unit, Collins Aerospace Systems, will be created when the transaction is completed. Kelly Ortberg will keep his CEO status. UTC Aerospace Systems President Dave Gitlin will serve as president and COO. UTC Aerospace Systems has an operation in Foley, Ala. (Post)

Engility Corp., Andover, Mass., was awarded a $49 million contract to provide research and development for Kinetic Kill Hardware-in-the-Loop (HWIL) Simulation Technology for Advanced Research. This contract provides for the development of multi-spectral and multi-modal phenomenology modeling capabilities, to advance the start-of-the-art of HWIL test technology and to perform a critical role in the research, development and transition of Air Force munitions through the use of integrated guidance simulation. The location of performance is Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with the ordering period expected to be complete by Aug. 31, 2022. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded an $8 million modification to a previously awarded contract for field team support services for Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) development test mission support including, test planning, test operations, test reporting, and telemetry analysis. This contract modification provides for exercise of the first option, for an additional 12 months of services to support ground tests, captive flight tests, and live fire tests conducted for developmental purposes, up to and including operational test readiness reviews. The effort also encompasses management and maintenance of AMRAAM separation test vehicles and other assets used for the test programs. The work performed under this option is expected to be complete by Sept. 5, 2018. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … Raytheon Missiles Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $38.6 million contract for the System Improvement Program 3- Engineering Manufacturing, Development. This contract provides an incremental software solution for AIM-120D missiles to improve its performance against rapidly advancing threats. Work will be performed in Tucson and is expected to be completed by Jan. 5, 2021. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. … PAE Aviation and Technical Services LLC., Marlton, N.J., earlier this month was awarded a $17.3 million modification to a previously awarded contract for functional and quality assurance support for the aerial targets program, which directly supports live-fire weapons system testing and enables the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group in the developmental and operational weapons testing for all air-to-air missiles for F-22, F-35, F-16, and F-15 aircrafts. Work will be performed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2018.

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