The Orion Air Group upped its profile by displaying a Gulfstream IISP modified as an R&D testbed at the Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, UK, in mid-July. The privately held U.S.-based group was founded about three years ago, and generated nearly $200 million in 2010 from special mission and corporate aircraft services. The latter are marketed under the Tempus Jets name.
After a span of 30 years the space shuttle program ended on July 21 when Atlantis landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The landing represented the conclusion of the 135th flight of the reusable space plane, and for me, the end of the only manned space program I had ever really known.
At 11:29 this morning, the final space shuttle flight got under way as Atlantis rose from the launch pad on a column of fire from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The threat of thunderstorms had remained at bay, and, some 2.5 minutes later than planned, STS-135 headed skyward to punch through an overcast on its way to spending 12 days in the void above.
Hangar Ten held a grand opening for the second phase of its Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport FBO in Kansas City, Mo., on October 6. “With this new facility, we are bringing great hometown service that far exceeds anything currently available,” said owner James Stowers, who shared the ribbon-cutting duties with Missouri governor Jay Nixon.
So your best friend has a nicely appointed Boeing Business Jet. Big deal. Your BBJ is also nicely appointed, and it has room for your new Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4, a million-dollar automobile that comes as close to flying as any road car ever built. Now that’s one-upmanship, and New Zealand-based completion and refurbishment specialist Altitude VIP Interiors (Booth No. 1639) has just the airplane you’re looking for.
EADS Astrium (Stand H23) is displaying a model of its proposed Space Plane, which would require seven years of development between actual program launch and first commercial flight.
Global airlines are still suffering reduced demand for flights, but the Virgin Group’s dream of launching passenger flights into space has received a boost in the form of significant new investment from Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments. The Middle East firm will invest about $280 million to take a 32-percent stake in Virgin Galactic, valuing the subsidiary at almost $900 million.
Having carved out a reputation in the military field for high-performance actuators, auxiliary power units and other power/motion systems, Bental Industries is to take its expertise into the commercial field. This move was sparked by the takeover of Bental by environmental control system specialist TAT Technologies.
The NASA Authorization Act of 2008, which cleared Congress on September 27, gives the agency $208.4 million more for aeronautics research than last year’s budget.
It’s on the sectional. It’s been the subject of notams dating back decades. And yet it always seems that when NASA is about to launch yet another space shuttle, somebody blunders into the no-fly area extending for miles around the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in east central Florida. On December 4, it was a Bell 214 that strayed into the no-no zone a few hours before the 5:45 p.m. (EST) liftoff time of the space shuttle Endeavor.