Friday, October 21, 2016

P-8A aircraft training center opens at Whidbey Island

Boeing has installed a training center for the new P-8A Poseidon aircraft at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., as the base begins preparations for the arrival of P-8s beginning in 2017.

“About 70 percent of the training we do for our P-8 crews happens in this building,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad. “That is going to make that wonderful aircraft last longer and longer. As much as 45 years.”

The complete training system uses simulators and classroom-based materials to train pilots and mission crews to operate the aircraft, its sensors, communications and weapons systems without relying on live flights.

Boeing is on contract to modify and provide updates to the training devices over the next three years.

Boeing also provides P-8A aircrew training devices, electronic classrooms and courseware for the Navy at its Integrated Training Center (ITC) at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. Aircrews began training in the ITC in early 2012.

New hunting ground for planets outside our solar system

Eight people with no formal training in astrophysics helped discover what could be a fruitful new place to search for planets outside our solar system - a large disk of gas and dust encircling a star known as a circumstellar disk.

A paper, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and coauthored by eight citizen scientists involved in the discovery, describes a newly identified red dwarf star, AWI0005x3s, and its warm circumstellar disk, the kind associated with young planetary systems. Most of the exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system, that have been imaged to date dwell in disks similar to the one around AWI0005x3s.

The disk and its star are located in what is dubbed the Carina association - a large, loose grouping of similar stars in the Carina Nebula approximately 212 light years from our sun. Its relative proximity to Earth will make it easier to conduct follow-on studies.

Since the launch of NASA's Disk Detective website in January 2014, approximately 30,000 citizen scientists have performed roughly two million classifications of stellar objects, including those that led to this discovery. Through Disk Detective, citizen scientists study data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission (WISE), the agency's Two-Micron All Sky Survey project, and other stellar surveys.

"Without the help of the citizen scientists examining these objects and finding the good ones, we might never have spotted this object," said Marc Kuchner, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Fight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who leads Disk Detective. "The WISE mission alone found 747 million objects, of which we expect a few thousand to be circumstellar disks."

The eight citizen scientist co-authors, members of an advanced user group, volunteered to help by researching disk candidates. Their data led to the discovery of this new disk.

Disk Detective is a collaboration between NASA, Zooniverse, the University of Oklahoma, University of Córdoba in Argentina, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Space Telescope Science Institute, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Carnegie Institution of Washington, University of Hawaii and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

First Ariane 5 mission to loft Galileo navigation satellites

The first Ariane 5 mission to loft four global positioning satellites for Europe's Galileo navigation system has begun its build-up at a spaceport in French Guiana with a planned launch in November.

The mission will use an Arianespace Ariane 5 ES launcher designated as Flight VA233.

Arianespace has orbited 14 Galileo spacecraft, all lofted in pairs on seven previous missions utilizing the company's medium-lift Soyuz launcher - with the most recent conducted last May.

Europe's Galileo navigation system provides highly accurate global positioning services under civilian control. The European Commission funds and manages its Full Operational Capability phase, during which the network's complete operational and ground infrastructure will be deployed; with the European Space Agency designated as the system's design and procurement agent.

The Ariane 5 launcher will deploy the four Galileo satellites at a targeted release altitude of 23,222 kilometers.

The four spacecraft were built by OHB System in Bremen, Germany, with their navigation payloads provided by Surrey Satellite Technology in the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Kuwait Air Force orders Lockheed Martin sniper pod for Eurofighter Typhoon

Lockheed Martin has received a direct commercial sale contract for the integration of Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) onto the Eurofighter Typhoon swing-role fighter.

The contract, signed with Eurofighter partner company Leonardo Aircraft, includes 18 pods, integration and logistics support for the Kuwait Air Force's Eurofighter Typhoon. The Eurofighter Typhoon is the ninth aircraft platform to be equipped with Sniper ATP, joining variants of the F-15, F-16, F-18, A-10, B-1, B-52, F-2 and Harrier.

"The Kuwait Air Force will see significant targeting benefits, including high-resolution imagery, advanced targeting modes, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,” said Ken Fuhr, fixed-wing program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

Pod deliveries will begin in 2017 to support integration efforts.

Sniper ATP detects, identifies, automatically tracks and laser-designates small tactical targets at long ranges. It also supports employment of all laser- and GPS-guided weapons against multiple fixed and moving targets.

Air Canada adds six new destinations to its international network

Air Canada announced the addition of six new destinations to its international network Wednesday, including year-round Boeing 787-9 service between Toronto and Mumbai and between Vancouver and Taipei. The new services will launch for summer 2017, with the Montreal-Algiers and the Vancouver-Taipei routes subject to government approvals.

"Air Canada is pleased to offer customers these new non-stop routes," said Benjamin Smith, president, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada.

"Toronto-Mumbai is our third route between Canada and India starting with the launch of Toronto-Delhi service last fall, and Nagoya will be our fourth airport in Japan. With these new services, we will now operate 21 routes between Canada and Asia, including the Middle East. Berlin and Marseille will bring the number of European routes we serve to 44 next summer, including four cities in France. Algiers will be our second destination in Africa, which makes Air Canada one of only a small number of global carriers flying to all six inhabited continents," said Smith.

Air Canada will be the only carrier to offer non-stop service between Canada and Mumbai and the only Canadian carrier to operate non-stop service to Taipei. These routes will operate year-round aboard Air Canada's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The aircraft feature 30 International Business Class suites, 21 Premium Economy and 247 Economy Class seats.

The new seasonal routes to Berlin and Nagoya will be the only non-stop services between these cities and Canada. The service to Algiers will be the only non-stop flight by a Canadian carrier between Montreal and the North African city and the Marseille service will be the only non-stop flight operated by a network carrier between Marseille and North America. All will be operated with an Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Xiamen Airlines launches first direct international service between Shenzhen and US

Xiamen Airlines launched its Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle service on Monday, the first direct international service between Shenzhen and the U.S.

The service will be handled by a Xiamen Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with three flights per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The flight numbers are MF845 and MF846.

Xiamen Airlines chairman and general manager Che Shanglun said, "The launch of the Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle service is an important reflection of the results of the meeting between Chinese and American leaders in 2015. On the heels of these events, a Fuzhou-New York and a Xiamen-LA service will also be initiated, making air travel, and, by consequence, exchanges between the two countries much easier."

The Xiamen-Shenzhen-Seattle service is the sixth long haul and the first American route that Xiamen Airlines has launched. The existing services including Xiamen-Amsterdam, Fuzhou-Sydney, Xiamen-Sydney, Xiamen-Melbourne and Xiamen-Vancouver. The newly opened Seattle service is Xiamen Airlines' first long haul route with a stop at a city outside of the Fujian province.

To complete the build out of a network that extends beyond Seattle, Xiamen Airlines has signed a partnership agreement with Alaska Airlines that enables passengers traveling to Seattle via Xiamen Airlines, to fly onward to 61 major and secondary destinations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico by connecting to an Alaska Airlines flight in Seattle.

Xiamen Airlines operates the largest all-Boeing aircraft fleet in China. Seattle, where Boeing is located, is where each member of the 165-strong fleet of aircraft was manufactured.