05.06.2007
FLUG REVUE

20070603 - News in briefNews in brief

KURZMELDUNGEN<br /> For years, the Finnish and Swiss air forces have successfully operated the proven RANGER reconnaissance drone that has demonstrated its reliability in far over 3,500 missions, both in military and – which is unique in Europe – civilian airspace.

Now, RUAG Aerospace of Emmen (Switzerland) will for the first time present its successor, the new Super RANGER UAV at the Paris Air Show, in June 2007. "The Super RANGER is a new development that is, however, based on field-proven components," explains André Rieder, Head of the UAV department at RUAG. The new UAV fills the gap between tactical drones like the RANGER and MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs. "The demand for growing performance faces ever-shrinking military budgets. We considered this fact in development," says Rieder. In fact, according to RUAG, the Super RANGER offers performance features comparable to those of a MALE UAV – at costs in an even lower range than tho se of today's tactical systems. Thanks to the extremely silent and powerful four-cylinder engine with fuel injection, the Super RANGER, according to information provided by RUAG, requires only a very short runway and allows for operations of up to 20 hours at a speed of 120 knots on flight level 200. The sophisticated de-icing system, a "zero visibility" auto landing and take-off system, and the high cross-wind tolerance make the Super RANGER an all-weather UAV. It is possibly the first UAV of its category to be equipped with lightning protection measures. The Super RANGER is the first UAV system to be built in accordance with the new international USAR (UAV Systems Airworthiness Requirements) standards, and is perfectly prepared for the future. According to RUAG, in addition to a satellite data link and a "see & avoid" sensor the new UAV will also feature a turbo-charged engine. Despite its considerable mass and a take-off weight of up to 500 kg, the Super RANGER will keep a slim profile during missions; thanks to its optimized design, the visibility on radar systems could be minimized.
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With reference to the sale of Saab Airborne Surveillance Systems to Pakistan, the customer has for financial reasons and in accordance with the original contract, asked to renegotiate part of the contract concerning a reduction of the number of systems. Together with Saab terms and conditions then have been agreed, concerning a reduction. Saab and the Government of Pakistan continue as planned with the delivery of the system. As a result of the renegotiation, the order value is decreased by approximately SEK 1.35 billion. Income will decrease proportionally to the volume change, but other commercial terms and conditions will remain unchanged. Concerning the fiscal year 2007 there is no impact on turnover or income as a result of the new conditions. The Saab Airborne Surveillance System includes Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft equipped with Saab Microwave Systems airborne radar system ERIEYE and associated support equipment.
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"Fraport AG continued to develop very positively in the previous year," said Fraport's executive board chairman Dr. Wilhelm Bender at the company's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Frankfurt -Hochst. Bender explained to shareholders how Fraport again in 2006 achieved traffic growth as well as over-proportionate gains in business results. "This also confirms the success of our strategy to focus consistently on flight and terminal operations and aviation ground services - the 'classic' airport business - as well as other revenue sources such as retailing, real estate utilization, and external business." Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) - operating results - climbed in 2006 by 6.6 percent to EUR578.4 million; profit for the year jumped by 41.7 percent to EUR228.9 million. Therefore, the executive and supervisory boards are recommending that shareholders receive a dividend of EUR1.15 per share - almost 28 percent more compared to fiscal year 2005. Speaking again about the necessity for market-driven capacity expansion of Fraport's Frankfurt (FRA) home base, Bender said: "We risk falling behind in the increasingly broader and ongoing redistribution of global air traffic flows, because no one around the world even takes into consideration the fact that in Germany we require a lead time of more than ten years for urgently needed infrastructure investments." He stressed that an international air transportation hub like FRA must have sufficient capacity reserves available to secure its top position in the future. "This is not only in the interests of Fraport and its shareholders but, above all, the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region and the entire Germany economy," Bender added. "And we don't have any more time to lose." Furthermore, Bender said that the agreement with Ticona/Celanese for closing its chemical plant northwest of FRA by 2011 substantially improves the calculability of the timeline for expansion planning. Fraport expects the final decision on the Airport Expansion Program from the Hesse Ministry of Economics by the end of 2007. Following foreseeable legal proceedings and a two-year construction phase, the inauguration of the planned Northwest Landing Runway can be expected between the end of 2010 and the 2011 Winter Timetable. "This gives Frankfurt Airport clear perspectives for securing its future and competitiveness." In this context, Bender campaigned for an "anti-noise pact," as envisaged in the Mediation on Airport Expansion process. He reiterated Fraport's readiness to intensify dialog with communities in region and with environmental organizations. "We certainly prefer having an alliance for reducing noise and promoting good-neighbour relations than time-wasting legal squabbles." Commenting on the 2007 prognosis, Fraport's executive board chairman said Group revenues for the current year a re expected to be higher than in 2006. After eliminating the 2006 special effects, operating results for 2007 are expected to hit or slightly exceed the previous year's level. "The signs for Fraport's continuing success remain unchanged," concluded Bender.
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Dominique Gavault, chairman of Eurocopter de México SA (EMSA), signed three major training agreements for aeronautical industry personnel within the framework of AeroExpo. The first was signed with the Mexican Polytechnical Institute (Instituto Politécnico Nacional) to create a course in Aeronautical Engineering for Helicopters, and the second with the CONALEP Technical College for a new Helicopter Technician course. The third agreement was signed with the Aviation School of Mexico (Escuela de Aviación de México) to form a new qualification body for helicopter pilots in Mexico. Eurocopter is set to actively participate in training all these categories of personnel, drawing on its wealth of experience and technical leadership. These training agreements will afford the company the skills essential to expanding its activities in the region, ensuring a valuable contribution to the development of the Mexican aeronautical industry. Eurocopter has decided to expand and renovate its facilities at Mexico City International Airport (AICM) – where it has already invested US$6 million – with the objective of maintaining its position as the most advanced company with extensive high-performance facilities. A 4,750 m² extension is planned across the site to enhance the workshops, warehouses, hangar, aprons/runway and offices. The company employs 130 staff for its assembly, customization, maintenance and sales activities for the Eurocopter helicopter range. Eurocopter has been present in Mexico since 1962, the year offices were opened and its first helicopters entered into service in the country.
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The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration has awarded Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH an order for Birdie 118 aircraft decoys for Swedish Air Force helicopters. The decoys will be delivered in 2007 and used in future international operations. Birdie, an acronym for "Bi-spectral InfraRed Decoy Improved Efficiency", is a proprietary development of Rheinmetall Waffe Munition. The Birdie represents a new departure in protecting helicopters against modern infrared-guided surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles. It is also uniquely effective in countering shoulder-launched MANPADS, which are increasingly used by non-state actors, terrorist organizations, etc. It can be used in any 1x1" Nato standard dispensing system for aircraft self-protection, and is also available in a 2x1" calibre version, the Birdie 218. Numerous Nato and national tests have proved the Birdie's effectiveness against even the most advanced guided missiles with two-colour analysis.
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Boeing and Russia's S7 Group announced an order for 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and purchase rights for 10 additional 787s. S7 Group subsidiary S7 Airlines will operate the Dreamliners. The 787s will replace S7's fleet of aging twin-aisle airplanes and provide capacity for growth. The order is valued at $2.4 billion at catalog prices. At a press conference today in Moscow, S7 Airlines said the new 787s will allow the airline to increase frequencies and add new destinations domestically and internationally. With the announcement, S7 becomes the first Russian carrier to order the 787 Dreamliner.
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Bombardier Aerospace introduced next generation versions of its CRJ700, CRJ900 and CRJ1000 regional jets. These new CRJ NextGen aircraft will feature significant operating cost improvements, an all-new cabin and the increased use of composite materials. The first next generation airliner will be a Northwest Airlines CRJ900 NextGen regional jet and will enter service in the second quarter of 2007. CRJ NextGen aircraft will achieve even better economics compared to the existing standard of CRJ Series aircraft. These improvements, under certain operating conditions, will come from fuel burn savings of up to four per cent and direct maintenance cost reductions achieved through lower airframe maintenance requirements. Maintenance schedule intervals are being increased, and tasks are being harmonized to reduce aircraft down time and labour over the life of the aircraft. CRJ NextGen aircraft interiors will include improvements designed with the overall passenger experience in mind. The passenger windows have been enlarged and have an increase of 24 per cent in the overall viewing area. The overhead bins have been modified to accommodate a larger roller bag as well as optimized to store up to 27 per cent more bags. The addition of LED lighting brightens the cabin environment while highlighting the improved aesthetics achieved with the new sidewall and ceiling panel design and dished window reveal.  
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Hamilton Sundstrand has delivered the first APS 5000 Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to Boeing for the initial flight-test of the 787 Dreamliner. A delivery ceremony recently took place at the Hamilton Sundstrand Power System facility in San Diego. Auxiliary power units provide power to aircraft while they are on the ground, and back-up power while in-flight. The APS 5000 APU is rated at 1,100 shaft horsepower and is designed to start and function throughout the full range of the 787 operating envelope up to 43,000 feet. Hamilton Sundstrand Power Systems, based in San Diego, currently has more than 13,000 APUs in commercial and military service. In addition to the APU, Boeing chose Hamilton Sundstrand to provide the 787's environmental control system, electric power generation and start system, remote power distribution system, primary power distribution system and high-voltage DC equipment racks, emergency power system, nitrogen generation system and electric pump subsyste m.
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Sun Microsystems announced that Singapore Airlines has rolled out StarOffice software in its new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Singapore Airlines is the first and only airline to install a productivity suite for the benefit of its passengers who can now continue to work after boarding the plane without having to power up their laptops. In addition to providing the world's widest First and Business Class seats and a technologically advanced seat in Economy Class, Singapore Airlines has also introduced StarOffice software as part of its next generation KrisWorld inflight entertainment system to meet the increasingly dynamic needs of travelers today. Passengers from Singapore Airlines will be able to use StarOffice's word processing, spreadsheets and presentation tools. With the ever-discerning premium traveler, it is imperative that airlines find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. Yet no other airline has come close to the technological offerings that Si ngapore Airlines offers its customers in the form of the KrisWorld entertainment system. The first of the new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft was delivered progressively from November, and entered commercial services on Singapore-Paris route in early December 2006. Singapore Airlines currently deploys the 777-300ER aircraft to destinations such as Paris, Zurich, Seoul, San Francisco, Milan, Barcelona and Hong Kong.
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Unmanned Air Vehicle systems are an important 'breakthrough technology' which can contribute significantly to meeting the objectives of ESDP operations. A range of aviation companies and research institutes are now investing in the development of UAVs and their related technologies. However, these efforts have been fragmented, with many projects spread across many European countries. The initiative launched today -- the result of extensive consultation between the Agency, the European Commission and the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) -- aims to establish a joint and complementary co-operation agenda. The main target of the joint agenda is to address the challenge of enabling UAVs to operate alongside conventional air traffic. This is the key to expanding the use of UAVs beyond the purely military into the security and ultimately commercial domains and to creating the scale of demand around which European industry can unite. Starting with a n EDA-funded roadmap study, the proposed approach aims at progression from the current state of affairs, in which military UAVs can fly in segregated airspace, to a situation in which civilian and government-operated UAVs could operate alongside other manned aircraft in integrated airspace by 2012. This will require innovative technology development and system demonstrations for UAVs to be considered fully airworthy and for the right regulatory framework to be in place for this integration. The initial study for a more detailed road-map has a budget of some Euro 500,000. The Agency will work with participating Member States, the Commission and industry on ideas for joint financing and an organisational model for future phases of this initiative. Working together on these issues at a European level can help to generate coherent projects for both security-oriented and commercial UAVs, as well as addressing their military use. This approach will also encourage the development o f multi-purpose technologies, supported by budgets of the Commission as well as investment by industry. It will reduce fragmentation and duplication of UAV components which civil and military applications have in common. It has the potential, if properly exploited by all stakeholders, to move Europe quickly to a leadership position in a field which is of prime importance for European armed forces and the European aerospace industry alike.
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A hard-working K-MAX helicopter has reached an impressive operational milestone, accumulating 20,000 flight hours over the past 12 years. It is the first K-MAX to have flown 20,000 hours. The worldwide K-MAX fleet has flown more than 212,000 hours. The record-setting K-MAX is owned and operated by Woody Contracting in Summerville, Ore. The company provides a range of logging, firefighting and construction-related services, specializing in providing helicopter support in environmentally sensitive areas where ground operations are not possible. Its K-MAX averages 1,700 flight hours a year.
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US Air Force officials released the amended Combat Search and Rescue Replacement Vehicle Request for Proposal. The release of the RFP amendment is the culmination of an open and transparent process which included the release of a draft, face to face meetings with the original offerors and the exchange of questions and comments relating to the content of the RFP amendment. Based on Government Accountability Office recommendations, the amended RFP clarifies the Air Force's evaluation of Operations and Support costs and provides the original offerors an opportunity to quantify and substantiate potential maintenance manpower efficiencies based on the reliability and maintainability characteristics of their proposed aircraft. Air Force officials will integrate this new O&S information with the offerors' previously submitted information in all other areas to arrive at a best value assessment in accordance with the instructions outlined in the amended RFP. This is a competiti ve procurement, and the Air Force will select the contractor who offers the best value to the Air Force based on evaluation factors of Mission Capability, Performance Risk, Past Performance, and Price/Cost.
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The U.S. Navy, in conjunction with Raytheon, successfully completed an at-sea firing of the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile using the MK 57 MOD 12 fire control system. The event marked the first Evolved SeaSparrow Missile firing from the Navy's new Self Defense Test Ship, formerly USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964), and was the first test of Evolved SeaSparrow Missile's improved surface-to-surface capability against surface threats. The test also marked the first Evolved SeaSparrow Missile firing from the MK 29 MOD 4, eight-cell trainable launcher that is being installed on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and select L-Class ships. The test also served as the first at-sea demonstration of the MK 57 MOD 12/13 and its MK 73 MOD 3 solid-state transmitter to support Evolved SeaSparrow Missile surface mode engagements while operating in autonomous mode.
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AERO Vodochody a.s. has already completed and expedited 150 helicopters for Sikorsky "The volume of the S-76 Program production increases every year by dozens of per cent, and although AERO is currently going through a tough period of changes, we committed ourselves to deliver more than by 30 % more units this year compared to the year 2006. The increasing interest proves that SAC is satisfied with the quality of our deliveries, which we are really pleased about," said Peter Ondro, President of AERO. AERO produces practically the whole Sikorsky S-76 helicopter excluding dynamic parts and final interior installations. After completing all works in AERO, the helicopters travel by truck to Bremerhaven, Germany, from where they are transported by ship to Stratford. SAC finalizes the helicopter at its headquarters in Stratford, USA.
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CAE announced contracts for the sale of five full-flight simulators (FFSs). At list prices, the contracts are valued at C$70 million and bring the total FFS sales that CAE has announced so far in fiscal 2008 to 10. "We're particularly pleased that Nippon Cargo and Embraer have selected CAE as we have a unique history of developing prototype simulators for new aircraft and we look forward to adding the new Boeing 747-8F and the new Phenom LJs and VLJs to our list of industry firsts." CAE won a contract to build one CAE 7000 Series full-flight simulator (FFS) and a suite of Boeing 747 ground school training devices for Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), including the industry's first FFS for the new Boeing 747-8 Freighter. CAE also won an order from Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT) for a Bombardier Q400 CAE 5000 Series simulator. LFT was one of CAE's launch customers for the 5000 Series. CAE sold an A320 simulator to Aviation Training Australasia, which trades as Anse tt Flight Simulator Centre. The simulator will be installed in the Ansett facility in Melbourne this summer.
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Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrated its High Altitude ASW Weapons Concept (HAAWC) from a P-3 aircraft recently. HAAWC employs the Lockheed Martin LongShot Wing Adapter Kit to allow the launch of torpedoes from high altitudes and long standoff ranges, allowing P-3 aircrews to remain beyond the reach of enemy air defenses. Additionally, the maneuverability of the concept allows for off-axis launch of torpedoes at potential undersea targets preventing the need for the aircraft to maneuver.
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Raytheon has delivered its first Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) Block II -- a new variant offering significantly lower unit costs and an additional payload option. "This delivery is the culmination of an effort that began three years ago to significantly reduce the cost of this weapon," said John O'Brien, Raytheon's JSOW Block II program director. "This achievement represents many long hours and hard work by the entire JSOW team, including the U.S. government and our suppliers." Block II maintains the standoff and survivability attributes of the current JSOW and includes an improved anti-jam capability. Block II uses an advanced Global Positioning System (GPS)-aided inertial navigation system that integrates the Raytheon Advanced Protection Technology Receiver and Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module.
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Boeing has been awarded a $4.2 million U.S. Air Force contract for the next phase of the Dual Role Air Dominance Missile -- Technology (DRADM-T) program, one of several efforts to develop technologies for the Joint Dual Role Air Dominance Missile (JDRADM). JDRADM is the first next-generation advanced missile intended to conduct both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions in a single weapon. DRADM-T focuses on the missile's propulsion and control systems. Boeing was selected following a competitive six-month Phase 1 study effort. Phase 2 will refine the technologies and configuration, leading to laboratory and ground testing. Boeing's Advanced Weapons and Missile Systems unit, part of Boeing Advanced Systems, will perform the work in St. Charles, Mo. The contract runs for 32 months.
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Athena Technologies a leading provider of flight control and navigation systems, today announced the successful flight demonstration of damage tolerant flight control and autonomous landing capabilities on a subscale F/A-18 UAV. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored the demonstration which was held on April 18, 2007 at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. The objective of the test was to prove that adaptive flight controls could regain baseline aircraft performance after the aircraft had sustained simulated battle damage and then safely land the aircraft autonomously with only the onboard INS/GPS functionality of Athena's GuideStar 111m for navigation. The demonstration involved a subscale F/A-18 UAV, powered by a turbojet engine, that sustained wing battle damage simulated with the in-flight ejection of an aileron. Athena's damage tolerant controls detected the damage in flight and adapted to the new air vehicle configuration for the eff ects of the lost aileron, recovering the baseline vehicle performance. The vehicle then successfully landed in the damaged state with Athena's INS/GPS-only autonomous landing system within a few feet of the target touch down point on the airfield runway.
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The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that Northrop Grumman´s MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical takeoff and landing Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV) has reached Milestone C, signifying the beginning of its low-rate initial production phase. The Fire Scout is the first unmanned aircraft system (UAS) within the U.S. Navy and the third UAS of all U.S. military branches to meet Milestone C in the Defense Department acquisition process. "With Milestone C complete, the Fire Scout program is on track to conduct payload flights this fall and enter initial operational evaluation and then achieve initial operational capability in 2008 as planned," said CDR Rob Murphy, Navy VTUAV program manager. The Navy has nine Fire Scouts currently on contract with Northrop Grumman. The first was delivered in November to Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The successful series of first flights was completed just weeks later. All nine are expected to be delivered by the end o f 2008.
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Against the background of an increasing number of Cessna Citation business jets in the South German region as well as a large number of operators on the Stuttgart airport, RUAG Aerospace, with the foundation of this Service Station, also contributes substantially to implement Cessna's customer support strategy of establishing maintenance sites near the customers. Over an area of 900m2 in the maintenance hangar at the General Aviation Terminal of the Stuttgart airport, line and base maintenance activities for nearly all Cessna Citation aircraft types have been accomplished since the beginning of this year. This Service Station in Stuttgart extends the newly developed Aircraft Services Network of RUAG Aerospace with its locations in Emmen, Bern, Lugano, Zurich and Geneva to a total of six stations. The team in Stuttgart closely cooperates with the Authorized Cessna Citation Service Center of RUAG Aerospace in Oberpfaffenhofen.
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Lufthansa Technik Budapest – the Eastern European subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik – celebrates the overhaul of the 100th aircraft with the redelivery of Wizz Air's Airbus A 320. With a total turnover of more than HUF 30 billion (EUR 120 M during 5 years period) to-date, the company has steadily expanded its portfolio and capacity. Lufthansa Technik Budapest is specialized in heavy maintenance for aircraft of types Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737 airplanes. Together with its sister company Shannon Aerospace in Ireland it forms the heavy maintenance network for short-haul aircraft of Lufthansa Technik Group in Europe.
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SWISS is to add its first new long-haul destinations to its network, with the introduction of scheduled services to the key cities of Delhi (India) and Shanghai (China). The new routes can be operated thanks to the addition of five further aircraft to the SWISS long-haul fleet, enabling the carrier to both increase frequencies on existing routes and introduce service from Switzerland to new destinations. The addition of Delhi and Shanghai should both boost the Swiss economy and enhance Switzerland's vacation appeal.
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Boeing announced that Ryanair, Europe's largest low fares airline, exercised options for another 27 Next-Generation 737-800s airplanes. The order is valued at $1.9 billion at list prices. These orders were previously accounted for on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries website, assigned to an unidentified customer. This option exercise brings Ryanair's total order book for 737-800s to 308, 137 of which have been delivered, leaving 171 to be delivered.  
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Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and Russia's national air carrier Aeroflot - Russian Airlines have signed an agreement of intent to supply 15 new-family Sukhoi Superjet 100 planes to the air company. Back in December 2005, Aeroflot - Russian Airlines and Sukhoi signed an agreement on the sale of 30 Sukhoi Superjet 100's, Aeroflot becoming the first buyer of Russia's new-generation regional jets. Under an additional agreement, Aeroflot will acquire 15 SSJ 100/95 jets of basic configuration beginning from May 2011.  
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Globalstar, a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services to businesses, government, and individuals, and Starsem, the Soyuz Company today announced that four Globalstar satellites were successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, using the Soyuz launch vehicle. These satellites, together with the additional four ground spare satellites due to be launched shortly, will augment the current operating constellation and improve the Globalstar quality of two-way voice and data service through the launch of the second generation satellite constellation. The Globalstar satellites were launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, May 30 at 2:31 am local time (20:31 UTC and 1:31 pm May 29 in California), using the Soyuz-Fregat version of the Soyuz launch vehicle. This is the 1721st successful launch of the Soyuz family rocket.  
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The Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, which will power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner into airline service, has successfully completed a number of key tests towards achieving engine certification from the airworthiness authorities. Dominic Horwood, Director – Boeing Programmes at Rolls-Royce, said: "As the manufacturer of the launch engine for the 787, we have the responsibility of powering the Dreamliner's first flight and also of being first into airline service in 2008. We have just a few tests remaining and we're on-track to achieve certification ahead of the 787's first flight later this year." The Trent 1000 has completed its altitude test phase at the Arnold Engineering Development Centre (AEDC) in Tullahoma, Tennessee. This has included complete icing compliance, engine operability and in-flight restarts across the flight envelope. The engine has performed excellently throughout altitude testing and the quality of data from the controlled environment at AEDC ha s met certification requirements. As part of Boeing's flight readiness programme, the Trent 1000 will now participate in a flight test phase on the Rolls-Royce flying test bed. Rolls-Royce has also successfully completed the fan blade containment test. A Trent 1000 was accelerated to full speed before a fan blade was released at its root by an explosive charge. The engine's behaviour after the event was as expected and comfortably met certification requirements. Separate bird ingestion tests simulated the impact of a single two and a half kilogram bird, and a flock of one kilogram birds. The Trent 1000 suffered thrust loss of less than two per cent during the two tests – well below the 25 per cent power loss allowed.  
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The Expedition 15 crew completed the first of three planned spacewalks this week and prepared for the upcoming arrival of space shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station. On Wednesday, Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov stepped outside the station and installed five additional debris protection panels on the conical section of the Zvezda Service Module, the area between its large and small diameters. The aluminum debris protection panels are designed to shield the module from micro-meteoroids. Also during the spacewalk, the cosmonauts relocated a Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna cable. The cosmonauts moved the GPS cable to assist the rendezvous and docking of the European Automated Transfer Vehicle later this year. On June 6, Yurchikhin and Kotov are set to wear Russian spacesuits again and install 12 additional protection panels on Zvezda. They also will install a section of an Ethernet cable on the Zarya module and a Russian e xperiment called Biorisk on the Pirs Docking Compartment. During the second spacewalk, Flight Engineer Suni Williams will remain aboard the station as the spacewalk choreographer, as she did this week, advising and keeping the spacewalkers on schedule. Additionally this week, Williams packed science payload and personal items she will bring with her when she returns to Earth at the end of the upcoming STS-117 shuttle mission, scheduled for launch Friday, June 8 at 7:38 p.m. EDT.
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The Boeing X-51A WaveRider Scramjet Engine Demonstrator recently completed a Critical Design Review (CDR) and fired its engine for the first time -- two major program milestones necessary for first flight. The X-51A program, managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory Propulsion Directorate, is a consortium of the U.S. Air Force, DARPA, NASA, Boeing and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to demonstrate hypersonic flight capability. Held last week in West Palm Beach, Fla., the CDR allowed government and industry officials to review and validate the vehicle's design, assembly, integration and flight test plan. The review is a critical part of the program where specifications are verified to indicate that the vehicle's design has matured to its requirements. Procurements, manufacturing and assembly processes also are established. During the successful firing of the Pratt & Whitney X-1 demonstrator engine, test engineers used a Full Authority Digital Engine Controller to simulate flight conditions at Mach 5 air speed. Test of the hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet engine also demonstrated a closed-loop thermal management system that cools engine hardware and regulates fuel for the engine's combustor. The X-1 is the first of two ground test engines proposed for the program.

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