Boeing’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on October 17, completing its third and longest test mission since 2010. The unmanned spaceplane under development by the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office orbited for 674 days following its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle last December.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on Wednesday transferred the Mitsubishi Regional Jet’s static strength test article from the final assembly factory—the Komaki South plant of MHI’s Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works in Aichi Prefecture—to the strength test station, where preparations have begun to start the program’s static trials this summer.
The drive for low collateral damage weapons continues, and one recent focus has been on making air-ground rockets ‘smarter’ by adding seekers. The U.S. has led the way, but Europe is catching up. Rocketsan of Turkey has developed a product; and now Thales subsidiary TDA Armaments is flight-testing a metric precision rocket (French acronym RPM) on the Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter.
At $200,000 a ticket it isn’t cheap but it is definitely out of this world and you get a great view. Virgin Galactic’s plans to be the first space tourism business really took off after SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X-Prize back in 2004.
UK-based Reaction Engines has carried out a series of tests on a key component for its new engine, the Sabre, which is capable of operating as both a jet and a rocket engine by employing a translating intake. The novel feature will enable the aircraft–such as the Skylon reusable spaceplane–that the Sabre will power to fly anywhere on earth in less than four hours or directly into space and back to deliver satellites or cargo.
Futures Day at Farnborough International 2012 on Friday, July 13, is expected to see more than 10,000 young people, aged 11 to 21, being hosted for a full day of visits and activities intended to inspire them to pursue careers in the aerospace industry. A careers fair with conferences, seminars, learning activities and interactive experiences will highlight Futures Day.
The FAA has posted new information for airport workers on how to respond to the scene of an accident involving rocket-propelled ballistic parachute-equipped airplanes such as the BRS system in Cirrus airplanes and other aircraft with parachute retrofits. CertAlert 04-13 was originally issued in 2004, but the FAA has added a first-responder video to the CertAlert Web page (see the 04-13 entry at ww.faa.gov/airports/airport_safety/certalerts/).
“The launch of a new era in space travel” is the bold claim of EADS Astrium for its Spaceplane, a model of which stands at the company’s booth (C220). Unlike space tourism proposals that involve a space element taken aloft beneath a ‘mother’ aircraft, the Astrium Spaceplane would operate from any airport or airfield that grants permission.
EADS Astrium plans to move into the space tourism market, the company revealed. Rides, including three minutes of weightlessness at an altitude of 330,000 feet, are likely to cost upward of $200,000. The only route to space for non-astronauts today, a ride on the Russian Soyuz to the International Space Station, costs $25 million and involves “six months of horrible training,” the company said.
U.S.-based TGV Rockets has completed test firings of a 30,000-pound-class throttleable rocket engine that uses JP-8 kerosene fuel. The first phase of testing was conducted over the past two months at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The second phase, focused on gaining more information on the performance of the JP-8 fuel, is under way.
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