A relaxed regulatory environment and increasing development in the fledgling space tourism industry may lead to opportunities for privately owned passenger-carrying space vehicles by the end of the decade, suggested government and industry officials at space-related hearings and conferences in February.
“Elbit covers the tactical side of the spectrum, from the diminutive Skylark to the Hermes series,” claimed Eli Yitzhaki, the company’s vice president, business development and marketing. But while the Hermes 450 provides the backbone of Israel defense force UAV operations, the Skylark mini-UAV is showing great promise during development trials undertaken by the Israeli Army.
Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems (ACSS), an L-3 Communications & Thales company, is at Dubai 2005 (Stand E609) featuring its new SafeRoute software which provides flight and ground separation functions residing on a common computing platform.
Kazakhstan’s KazCosmos, is making its first appearance at Asian Aerospace, having been founded only last March. Kazakhstan has long been known for being the home of the famous Baikonur Cosmodrome, the site from which most of the major Soviet space launches were conducted, and has a wealth of facilities which the country now wants to market to the international space launch/satellite community.
Michael Griffin reported to work late last month as the 11th administrator of NASA. By his own admission, Griffin will be “spending a good deal of my time reviewing our progress toward returning the space shuttle safely to flight,” so it remains to be seen if his experience as a flight instructor and instrument-rated multi-engine pilot will result in a renewed emphasis on aeronautics research.
In the race for space tourism dollars, Oklahoma-based Rocketplane is vying for a head start by refurbishing hardy Learjet 25 airframes as the platforms for suborbital reusable launch vehicles capable of carrying up to four people to altitudes of 330,000 feet.
Two teams, one American and one Canadian, are poised to capture the Ansari X Prize by mid-October, having announced initial launch dates of their privately funded suborbital space vehicles within days of each other.
Before it adjourned for its summer recess, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to authorize an extra $1.3 billion for NASA over the next two years to fund earlier cuts in aeronautics research.
Reno start-up Aerion, which is developing a supersonic business jet (SSBJ), is evaluating different means of demonstrating full-scale supersonic natural laminar flow performance, including use of a rocket sled. To verify the feasibility of such a test, the company plans to conduct an evaluation test on a supersonic rocket sled at Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, Calif., this summer.
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