Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Northrop Grumman has delivered the first set of instructional materials needed to train pilots and aircraft maintainers for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It was delivered to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Integrated Training Center, which will open this summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Called courseware, the electronic materials include all of the presentation materials that classroom instructors will use to teach pilots how to fly the F-35, and maintainers how to repair and support the aircraft. The courseware also includes students' self-study materials and pilot briefing materials used to support F-35 simulator and flight training events. Northrop Grumman is a principal subcontractor for the Lockheed Martin-built plane that will be used by the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and foreign nations. (Source: Globe Newswire, 06/30/10)
In a ruling that could impact the current battle between Boeing and EADS over building Air Force tankers, the World Trade Organization ruled that aid European governments provided to Airbus violated global trade rules. The WTO ruled that four decades of government-backed loans to Airbus helped it gain foreign sales, harming Boeing. The ruling was anticipated by the U.S. aerospace industry. The U.S. filed the case in 2004, accusing the European Union of unfair trade practices by subsidizing Airbus with hundreds of millions of dollars in "launch-aid loans." Airbus officials said the EU would appeal the ruling. "There's not a single WTO case that hasn't been changed on appeal," said an Airbus official. The WTO is expected to rule next month on a countersuit accusing the U.S. of unfairly subsidizing Boeing. (Source: Multiple, including Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, Orlando Sentinel, 06/30/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS, owner of Airbus, wants to assemble its tankers in Mobile, Ala.
WASHINGTON - A House panel agreed Tuesday to accept President Obama's proposed funding increase for NASA, but without taking a position on changing the agency's course. The House appropriations subcommittee governing NASA unanimously approved $19 billion for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, a nearly $276 million increase from the current year. The panel opted to take to take no position on White House plans to scrap NASA's moon-rocket program and replace the space shuttle with commercial rockets. (Sources: Multiple, including Florida Today, Orlando Sentinel, 06/30/10) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans are both key NASA centers.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
MOBILE, Ala. - The city council, county commission, airport authority and city industrial development board will be meeting to modify incentive agreements each made in 2006 in an attempt to lure refueling tanker assembly to Mobile. Officials have indicated that the deals are similar to those granted at that time, but it’s likely that details will remain under wraps. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/29/10) The Northrop Grumman/EADS team won the $40 million contract in February 2008, but it was overturned after a Boeing protest. Northrop dropped out after it determined the new requirements favored a smaller plane offered by Boeing. EADS is submitting a bid as the prime contractor.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Roy Estess, long associated with NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, died Friday. He was 71. Estess, of Carriere, had an allergic reaction to an insect string while at his camp in Tylertown. His career at NASA spanned 37 years, with 25 of that at Stennis Space Center. He was a founding director of the board of Infinity Science Center, a science learning center being built along Interstate 10, just south of Stennis Space Center. (Source: Sun Herald, 06/26/10)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
SURVICE Engineering Co., Belcamp, Md., was awarded a $67,800,000 contract which will provide support to the Air Force Seek Eagle Office for the purpose of augmenting its highly technical workforce with contracted skills and expertise to primarily provide modeling and simulation, and analysis and product development support. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/23/10)
Jacobs Technology Inc., Tullahoma, Tenn., was awarded a $16,254,943 contract modification which will provide technical, engineering and acquisition support at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla, and various other tenant originations. This contract will increase work requirement. AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/23/10)
FORT WORTH, Texas - A Lockheed Martin F-35C carrier variant successfully completed testing in which it was dropped from heights of more than 11 feet during a series of simulated aircraft-carrier landings. The tests validated predictions and will help confirm the F-35C's structural integrity for carrier operations. The jet, a ground-test article known as CG-1, underwent drop testing at Vought Aircraft Industries in Grand Prairie, Texas. This final drop test follows the recent first flight of the first F-35C. (Source: Lockheed Martin, 06/23/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be home to the Joint Strike Fighter training center.
The president submitted to Congress last week a fiscal year 2011 budget amendment that targets up to $100 million toward spurring regional economic growth and job creation in the aerospace industry. The amendment would provide up to $40 million in aid for Florida's Space Coast and a maximum of about $60 million for other affected regions. The funds would be made available from the Constellation Program transition element of the agency's exploration request. The amendment does not increase the total of the administration's fiscal year 2011 budget request. (Source: NASA, 06/21/10) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in Constellation.
NASA is considering new target launch dates for its last two shuttle missions to give engineers more time to prepare equipment for the International Space Station. Launch of Discovery carrying a station warehouse module would be targeted for Oct. 29. Endeavour would aim for liftoff on Feb. 28, 2011. Senior managers are expected to approve the new dates at a meeting on July 1. (Source: Florida Today, 06/23/10) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the shuttle program.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The first pilots and maintainers for the F-35 will start a training regimen this fall calling for airmen, naval officers, sailors and Marines to learn the ins and outs of the Joint Strike Fighter on laptops and full-motion simulators. Instructors will do a dry run of the course in July. Right now, the wing has about 200 instructors from the Air Force, Navy and Marines, but should hit full strength of 2,000 by 2014. By then, the wing will have at least 59 F-35s for training. The first one is scheduled to arrive in November. (Source: Air Force Times, 06/20/10)
Saturday, June 19, 2010
GULFPORT, Miss. - The U.S. Transportation Security Administration unveiled a full-body X-ray scanner Friday at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport's security checkpoint. It's built by Rapiscan Systems' plant in Ocean Springs, Miss. Gulfport is the first airport in Mississippi, Alabama or Louisiana to use advanced imaging technology scanners before passengers board the airplanes. The scanner can detect metallic and non-metallic items including weapons and explosives, concealed beneath a passenger's clothes. Rapiscan is part of OSI Systems of Hawthorne, Calif. The federal government is buying a total of 450 advanced imaging systems with stimulus money, split between Rapiscan and a competing technology built by L-3 Communications. (Sources: Sun Herald, Mobile Press-Register, 06/18/10)
It will be mid-November before the Pentagon awards a contract for Air Force refueling tankers. That word came Friday from Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford, the Air Force's top uniformed acquisition official, during a briefing with reporters. The Pentagon had earlier claimed the award date would not change from "early fall" despite granting a 60-day extension to EADS to prepare a bid. EADS needed the extra time after partner Northrop Grumman dropped out of the competition. The original deadline for EADS and rival Boeing to submit their bids was May 10, but is now July 9. EADS is offering a tanker version of its Airbus A330 jetliner and Boeing is offering the 767 jetliner. (Sources: Defense News, 06/18/10; HeraldNet, 06/19/10) Gulf Coast note: EADS wants to assemble the tankers in Mobile, Ala.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Air Force water survival courses have temporarily relocated to Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash. Training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., was suspended June 4 when oil was discovered inside the training area used by Detachment 2 of the 66th Training Squadron. The instructors at Det. 2 teach students how to survive in cases where the aircrew has to abandon their aircraft over water. The course covers a variety of open-water scenarios. Up to 55 students a week attend the three-day course, said Lt. Col. Christopher Tacheny, the 66th TRS commander. The Pensacola facility is just one of the locations the 66th TRS has used. Previously, water survival was taught off the coast of Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle and at Homestead Air Reserve Base, south of Miami. It's unclear how long training operations there will be suspended. (Source: 92nd Air Refueling Wing, 06/17/10) The Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 workers. Oil from the well has spewed into the Gulf of Mexico since then.
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - Cmdr. Cris Treharne turns over command of the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit to Cmdr. Angie Walker, 11 a.m. June 25 at Welch Auditorium, followed by a reception at Vandenberg Community Center. Walker is reporting from Stennis Space Center, Miss., where she served as the deputy assistant chief of staff for operations for the Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. (Source: 81st Training Wing, 06/17/10)
Thursday, June 17, 2010
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The STS-132 Atlantis space shuttle crew visited NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center Thursday to thank personnel for their role in the May mission to the International Space Station. Crew members presented a video recap of their mission, scheduled as the last flight for the Atlantis shuttle. Since the 1960s, Stennis has tested every engine used in all crewed Apollo and space shuttle missions. Atlantis now is being prepared to serve as a backup craft should an emergency arise during the final two scheduled shuttle missions. (Source: NASA, 06/17/10) The crew also visited NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Lawrence D. Thomas was appointed manager of NASA's Constellation Program, which manages the effort to take humans beyond low-Earth orbit and develop the next generation launch vehicle and spacecraft. Charles M. Stegemoeller was appointed deputy program manager. They’ll be based at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Thomas most recently served as the deputy program manager of the Constellation Program at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. (Source: NASA, 06/14/10) The Orlando Sentinel reported last month that lawmakers who support Constellation were upset the agency reassigned the former head of the program, Jeff Hanley, to a deputy position at Johnson Space Center. Hanley had opposed administration efforts to shut down the program. (Previous story) Gulf Coast note: Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, are both involved in the Constellation Program.
The Defense Department is threatening to withhold payments to Lockheed Martin starting as early as next month if it doesn't submit a suitable plan for fixing problems for tracking contract costs and schedules. The plan is due June 30 and a decision will come several weeks later on whether Lockheed has demonstrated it can fix the problems within six to nine months, according to Shay Assad, the Pentagon procurement director. It could impact payments on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. (Source: Bloomberg, 06/15/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be the JSF training center.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
NEW ORLEANS, La. - The Orion crew exploration vehicle took shape as the two halves of the crew module were fused together at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The Lockheed Martin Orion team welded the forward cone assembly to the aft barrel assembly using the next generation friction stir weld process. The 445-inch long weld is the longest such weld of its kind. Prior to flight testing, this crew module will be tested on the ground in flight-like environments, including static vibration, acoustic, and water landing tests. The welds were done on a Universal Weld System II, which allows virtually unlimited five-axis welding on fixture-mounted hardware. The UWS II is part of the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, managed by the University of New Orleans Foundation in partnership with NASA and the State of Louisiana. (Source: PRNewswire, 06/15/10)
The short-takeoff and vertical-landing version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter broke the sound barrier June 10. It’s the first U.S. operational STOVL aircraft to exceed that milestone. A Marine pilot flew BF-2 to a speed of Mach 1.07 during a test at 30,000 feet over an off-shore range near Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. Two Air Force F-35A conventional takeoff-and-landing test aircraft also have broken the sound barrier. (Source: Defense News, 06/14/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be the home of the JSF training center.
Monday, June 14, 2010
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Six members of space shuttle Atlantis' STS-132 crew will visit NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center Thursday to thank employees for their part in a safe mission to the International Space Station in May. The mission was the last scheduled flight for the Atlantis shuttle, which will be prepared to serve as an emergency backup craft for the final two shuttle missions. Atlantis'12-day mission carried the Russian Rassvet Mini-Research Module-1 to the ISS. Atlantis also was the first shuttle to dock to the Russian Space Station Mir. It traveled to the ISS 11 times. (Source: NASA, 06/14/10)
Friday, June 11, 2010
McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $98,000,000 contract which will provide a five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity basic contract for the production of the Small Diameter Bomb I weapon system for various Foreign Military Sales customers aircraft platforms throughout the life of the contract. At this time, no money has been obligated. 680 ARSSG/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/11/10)
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Members of the STS-134 space shuttle mission crew addressed employees at the foot of the A-2 Test Stand during a visit to NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center today. The crew members were Commander Mark Kelly, Mission Specialist Mike Fincke, Pilot Greg Johnson, Mission Specialist Greg Chamitoff, European Space Agency Mission Specialist Roberto Vittori and Mission Specialist Andrew Feustel. The flight of Endeavour will be in November. (Source: NASA, 06/11/10)
EADS North America will transfer to Mobile, Ala., later this month 100 workers as it prepares to bid on the Air Force tanker project. The Mobile Press-Register reports that the company leased office space at Bel Air Mall to house employees now located in Arlington, Va., and Melbourne, Fla. EADS and rival Boeing plan to bid on the $40 billion contract. EADS, which already has operations in Mobile, wants to assemble the KC-45 at Brookley Industrial Complex. (Source: Mobile Press-Register, 06/11/10)
Thursday, June 10, 2010
NASA picked 18 projects for Phase II funding under the Small Business Technology Transfer program. Eighteen businesses are partnered with 15 universities in projects valued at $11 million. In a project of interest to NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, Miss., Combustion Research and Flow Technology of Pipersville, Pa., is teamed with the University of Florida to develop simulation software to predict potential damage to a propulsion system and test stands that can be caused by vibrations of liquid rockets. Mississippi State University is involved in two winning projects. In one, it's working with Keystone Synergistic Enterprises of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., on a process to solid-state weld high strength and temperature alloys used to make engine nozzel skirts. MSU is also working with Streamline Numerics of Gainesville, Fla., on an advanced simulation framework for design and analysis of space propulsion systems. (Source: Tcp, based on NASA release, 06/09/10)
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
R.C. Construction Co. Inc., Greenwood, Miss., was awarded a $37,517,930 firm-fixed-price contract to construct a new taxiway extension to include expansion joints, sealants, lighting, etc.; a new aircraft parking apron to include expansion joints, lighting, electrical, communications, etc.; and a new load area to include expansion joints, lighting, electrical, communications, etc. The project will also include a load crew shelter, flare facility, and a munitions holding area. Work is to be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an estimated completion date of July 15, 2011. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/09/10)
L3 Communications Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded a $9,246,999 time-and-material contract for logistical support in the areas of aircraft workers, aircraft painters, and other areas. Work is to be performed in Corpus Christi, Texas, with an estimated completion date of July 26, 2010. Corpus Christi Army Depot, Corpus, Christi, Texas, is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/09/10)
NASA's unmanned Global Hawk aircraft completed four science flights over the Pacific Ocean in April in a joint project between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and plans are on track to use the UAV later this year to track hurricanes in the Atlantic. In the Global Hawk Pacific (GloPac) mission, a Global Hawk fitted with 11 science instruments acquired and transmitted data that has never before been accessible through either manned flights or satellites. Flights reached up to 65,000 feet where information was collected from the air as well as the water and polar ice below. Later this year, NASA Global Hawk will examine hurricanes and their formation process to explore the possibility of improving hurricane forecasts in the GRIP experiment. (Source: Northrop Grumman via Globe Newswire, 06/09/10) Gulf Coast note: Global Hawks are built in part in Moss Point, Miss. Background on GRIP.
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - NASA is inviting members of the public to send an electronic image of their faces into orbit aboard one of the final remaining space shuttle missions. Visitors to the "Face in Space" Web site can upload a portrait to fly astronauts aboard shuttle Discovery’s STS-133 mission or shuttle Endeavour’s STS-134 mission. Participants will receive special certificates once the mission is completed. Visit http://faceinspace.nasa.gov/ to submit an image. Those without a picture can skip the image upload and NASA will fly their name. (Source: NASA, 06/08/10)
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sunrise Beach Corp., Allen, Texas, was awarded a $59,471,900 fixed-price-labor hours for aircraft paint and maintenance services for the 1108th Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot for the Mississippi Army National Guard at Gulfport, Miss. Fifty-seven percent of the work will be done in Gulfport, with the remainder done in Birmingham, Ala., Salisbury, N.C., Eastover, S.C., Frankfort, Ky., Smyrna, Tenn., Brooksville, Fla., Jackson, Tenn., Saint Croix, Virgin Islands, Dobbins, Ga., Fort Rucker, Ala., Hope Hull, Ala., and Mobile, Ala., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2015. National Guard Bureau, U.S. Property and Fiscal Office for Mississippi, Jackson, Miss., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/08/10)
Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $17,619,018 contract which will provide for the electronic protection improvement program. At this time, $2,114,605 has been obligated. 696 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity. (Source: DoD, 06/08/10)
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - The six crew members of the last scheduled space shuttle mission will visit NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center this week. The shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station, and is slated to launch in November. Visiting on Friday will be Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg Johnson, Mission Specialists Greg Chamitoff, Drew Feustel, Mike Fincke and European Space Agency Specialist Roberto Vittori. Shuttle crew traditionally visit NASA centers instrumental to the missions. Stennis has tested all of the main engines used on space shuttle missions. (Source: NASA, 06/08/10)
Monday, June 7, 2010
FORT WORTH, Texas - The Navy version of the F-35 made its inaugural flight Sunday. The carrier variant took off from Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base and logged a 57-minute flight. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with principal industrial partners Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. (Source: Lockheed Martin via PRNewswire, 06/07/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be the initial JSF training center.
Friday, June 4, 2010
The Falcon 9, first of a new generation of private rockets, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Friday. The 180-foot Space-X rocket put a model of its Dragon capsule into orbit about 160 miles up, setting the stage for possible flights to the international space station early next year. The flight came after an initial abort right at ignition. The launch was important to the Obama administration, which has proposed a far greater role for commercial space companies in the future of NASA. SpaceX plans to send a fully operational rocket and capsule into orbit later this summer and one to the space station next year. (Source: Washington Post, 06/04/10) Gulf Coast note: Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and Stennis Space Center, Miss., are both involved in NASA programs.
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Advanced Media Design Systems was recently awarded the audio visual component of the Joint Strike Fighter Air Force/Navy/Marine Squad Ops at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. AMDS will be renovating a hanger including over 45 rooms with new AV control systems and equipment. The Joint Strike Fighter School is expected to be completed in early October 2010. The training facility is expected to instruct over 500 F-35 pilots a year from the Air Force, Navy, Marines and at least eight other countries. (Source: PR.com, 06/04/10)
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Thirty-five units at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., will be getting name changes. Air Force Materiel Command officials notified commanders last month that headquarters approved converting the command structure from wings, groups and squadrons to directorates, divisions and branches. The target date is June 30. At Eglin, the 308th Armament Systems Wing will be impacted the most with all of its units undergoing a name change. The Air Force decided to standardize the size of wings, groups and squadrons across the Air Force. Wings now must contain 1,000 or more members, groups 400 and squadrons 35. As a result, many wings, groups, and squadrons at AFMC Centers will be inactivated, and replaced by new directorates, divisions and branches, which do not have mandatory minimum manning thresholds. (Source: Materiel Command, 06/02/10)
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
GULFPORT, Miss. - Three units representing each component of the Air Force made history last month when they completed the first homeland defense operational readiness inspection. Held at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, the ORI marked the first time the Air Force validated a unit's capability to defend the homeland by fighting an enemy on U.S. soil. Like other ORIs, this one tested the ability of each unit to mobilize, fly to a remote site, defend against enemy attacks and redeploy back home. Unlike traditional ORIs, in this one participants were tasked with supporting civil authorities while fighting an unconventional foe. The 123rd Airlift Wing from Kentucky represented the Air National Guard, the 317th Airlift Group from Texas provided active-duty forces and the 70th Aerial Port Squadron from Florida contributed Air Force Reserve. The ORI was May 16 through 23. (Source: AFNS, 06/01/10)
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The first F-35 mission rehearsal trainer recently arrived at the 33rd Fighter Wing. It replicates the cockpit of an F-35, and is a containerized, forward-deployable version of the full mission simulator slated to arrive late this year. The trainer is one of many new technologies the three U.S. military services and eight partner nations purchasing the Joint Strike Fighter will be using. From their arrival at the 33rd Academic Training Center, students will interact with the latest technology, receiving laptops instead of books. The training will be a far cry from the traditional training methods using chalk boards, stacks of books, poster-sized visual aids and cockpit mock-ups. When the wing reaches full strength in 2014, it will train Air Force, Marine, Navy and international partner operators and maintainers of the F-35 Lightning II. (Source: Eglin PAO, 06/02/10)
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - Thirty-two physicians and dentists graduate from 81st Medical Group internship and residency training next week. It marks Keesler's first internal medicine residency graduating class since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the culmination of five years of dealing with infrastructure challenges and rebuilding teaching faculty in the wake of the hurricane. Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Charles Green will deliver the commencement address at the graduation, scheduled for 2 p.m. June 10 in Keesler Hospital's Don Wylie Auditorium. (Source: 81stMG, 06/02/10)
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is behind schedule, billions over budget and the roar of its jet engine could eclipse the older planes it will replace. Still, 11 bases in seven states are hoping to convince the Pentagon to choose them to house the plane. The first round of selections is slated for 2011. (Source: AP via Google, 05/31/10) Gulf Coast note: Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is already scheduled to become a joint training center. Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, Fla., hopes to get some of the jets.