To: Scott Jenkins,
Subject: Aug. 8: New York's UAV Test Site Now Operational
Date: Fri Aug 08 12:00:46 MDT 2014
Policy News - State
New York’s UAV Test Site Now Operational.
Reuters (8/7, Krasny) reports that the FAA said yesterday that the UAV test site in Rome, New York, is now operational. This is the fifth of six the agency selected. Researchers will use a PrecisionHawk Lancaster Platform UAV to test ways to monitor agricultural fields.
UAV Crashes Into Yellowstone National Park’s Largest Hot Spring.
Reuters (8/7, Zuckerman) reports that on Wednesday, a Yellowstone National Park official stated that a tourist crashed a camera-equipped UAV into the Grand Prismatic Spring last Saturday. This is the park’s largest hot spring. The article notes that even though such flights have been banned in national parks since June, officials are still seeing a rise in UAV use. Yellowstone National Park is now trying to determine how to pull the UAV out without damaging the spring.
Policy News - Federal
Congress Mostly Approves Air Force Budget Reprogramming.
Defense News (8/7, Mehta) reports that “with two notable exceptions,” Congress largely approved the Pentagon’s Air Force-related reprogramming requests. The only ones that were denied were the request to be add $100 million to the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which was the “largest pushback,” and the request “to cut $23 million from an F-22 modernization program known as Increment 3.2B.” The article noted that other measures were deferred and may be “reconsidered” in the future.
GAO Report Says USAF Capital Fund Often Below Minimum Requirement.
According to Fierce Government (8/7), a July 31 report from the Government Accountability Office said that balances in the Air Force Working Capital Fund between fiscal years 2009 and 2013 were “below the minimum cash requirements one third of the time.” The report said that the fund’s balance was lower than required for 20 of the 60 months reviewed by GAO, and the average balance dropped each year in the same period.
New Russian Sanctions Do Not Target Space Sector.
Marcia S. Smith at Space Policy Online (8/7) writes that the new sanctions Russian President Vladimir Putin announced were “all ...in the agricultural sector,” with none in the space sector. Smith believes that because Putin said he wants to avoid hurting domestic activity, flights to the ISS and Russian engine sales will likely be left alone. Meanwhile, she noted that US.. sanctions against Russia also do not appear to have impacted cooperation in space.
Boeing, United Technologies Now Stockpiling Titanium.
The Wall Street Journal (8/7, Ostrower, Pasztor, Subscription Publication) reports that in order to prepare in case supplies from Russia are disrupted because of the tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine, Boeing and United Technologies Corp. are stockpiling titanium from their Russian supplier, VSMPO-Avisma Corp. This material is necessary for building jetliners. The article notes that while Airbus also gets its titanium supplies from the same company, it has not taken the same measure.
Boeing: July Was Biggest Sales Month Ever.
The Seattle Times (8/7, Gates) reports that Boeing recorded its largest-ever sales figure for a calendar month, with 324 orders booked in July. According to the Times, Boeing has reached 823 net orders through 2014 so far, giving it “a commanding lead” over Airbus’ 705 orders for the year. The article also notes Boeing’s lead over airbus in deliveries and fewer cancellations.
FAA To Revisit Rotorcraft Certification Standards.
Aviation International News (8/7, Huber) reported that “the FAA plans to formally reexamine the certification standards for helicopters under Parts 27 and 29 of the FARs, the agency announced.” AIN noted that “the FAA sought public comment in February about whether it should change existing weight and seat-based applicability standards for normal and transport rotorcraft.” It also noted that “commenters indicated a substantial interest in revising and restructuring the certification standards…and the FAA’s rotorcraft directorate will begin establishing appropriate forums to involve interested parties” to include Transport Canada and the EASA.
Eielson AFB Is Lead Candidate For F-35 Squadron.
Alaska Public Radio Network (8/7) reported on its website that the secretary of the Air Force on Thursday informed Alaska’s congressional delegation that Eielson Air Force Base was “the only candidate selected to house two squadrons of F-35 fighter planes.” The final decision, to be made next fall, is pending an environmental impact study, but the article noted that Sen. Lisa Murkowski has expressed confidence that the base will be selected. “Eielson clearly is the front-runner. There was no reasonable alternative which was identified, they moved straight to the preferred alternative, which I think is really quite compelling for Eielson,” said Murkowski.
Head Of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Program Defends Its Status. The Hill (8/7, Matishak) reported that Lorraine Martin, head of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, sent a “sharply-worded letter to The New York Times” defending the program following an editorial. The article noted that the F-35 is the “most expensive weapon project,” and is several years behind schedule. However, Martin stressed the progress that has been made, especially as it is now “on track to finish development by 2017.”
SpaceX Announces Plans For Dragon Abort Testing.
Space News (8/7, Leone, Subscription Publication) reported that at the AIAA SPACE 2014, Garrett Reisman, SpaceX Dragon Rider program manager, said that the company plans a pad abort test for the manned version of its Dragon spacecraft in December. An in-flight abort test would then follow in January. The article noted that this schedule means that the tests are coming a year after SpaceX initially planned when it signed its Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities contract with NASA. The next round of contracts for the Commercial Crew program, which will involve the “first round-trip astronaut flight to the international space station,” is expected late this month or early next.
Employees Sue SpaceX For Termination Without Advance Warning. The Long Beach (CA) Press-Telegram (8/7, England-Nelson) reports that two SpaceX employees are suing the company for letting go hundreds “without proper notice under” California’s WARN Act, which specifies that companies laying off more than 50 people in a 30-day period must give a 60-day warning. Speaking about the numbers let go, Marco Caceres, senior space analyst at the Teal Group, said that he would be more concerned if 1,000 were laid off.
Organizations, Businesses Attend Small Satellite Conference.
The Cache Valley (UT) Daily (8/7, Henline) profiled the Small Satellite Conference at Utah State University that was scheduled to end on Thursday. About “1,400 people from 33 different countries who represent about 430 different organizations, including commercial businesses, academic organizations and government organizations such as NASA” attended the event. The goal of the conference, according to the article, was for groups to show others “ideas and methods to utilize satellites in an affordable way.” For instance, Chris Flood of Planetary Systems Corporation, showed off the system his company makes that “detach the satellite from the rocket or the space station and into orbit.”
SLS Boosters Pass Critical Design Review.
The WAAY-TV Huntsville, AL (8/7) website reports that the boosters for the Space Launch System, “the most ambitious rocket to date,” passed a critical design review at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Because of this milestone, workers at ATK, which is building the boosters, can now start “building the actual hardware,” with qualification tests to start “shortly.”
Popular Science: “Everyone Hates” ARM.
Popular Science (8/7, Grush) summarizes the recent negative criticisms against NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission coming from the Small Bodies Assessment Group in an article titled, “Everyone Hates NASA’s Asteroid Capture Program.” The article notes that every person the publication contacted “with a vested interest in human spaceflight (and who works outside NASA’s walls)” unanimously panned the plan. The article claimed that NASA’s “tight budget” led to ARM’s development.
LightSquared Files Reorganization Plan Offering “Compromised Treatment” For Debt.
Bloomberg News (8/8, Kary) reports that LightSquared Inc. filed a reorganization plan that “offers a compromised treatment” for Dish Network Corp. Chairman Charles Ergen’s $1 billion in debt. Bloomberg News calls the move “a bid to resolve a protracted legal fight” that would “‘avoid costly litigation’ over how” Ergen’s claim “should be treated, according to court papers.” Bloomberg News adds that according to the filing the new plan would have a term loan of $1 billion if Ergen votes to accept it, or $1.2 billion “plus potential further amounts” if Ergen votes against it.
Survey: Automation Won’t Displace Many Jobs.
The Washington Post (8/7, Mcgregor) discusses in its “On Leadership” blog the impact that automation and robotics will have on American jobs and the economy as a whole. The article explores a Pew Research Center Internet Project on the subject that surveyed industry experts. The survey shows that 52 percent of experts surveyed do not think that robots are going to displace many jobs by 2025. The article interviews several experts who give a range of opinions on how automation will disrupt the workforce and impact the economy. Most noted that innovation has always been a part of the economy and that people still continue to find jobs.
National Science Foundation Grant Provides STEM Students With Scholarship.
The Tampa Bay (FL) Times (8/8, Starling) reports a National Science Foundation grant of $520,000 is being used to proved 80 female and minority STEM students with scholarships to St. Petersburg College in Florida. Students are eligible for $6,500 in scholarship funds by next spring if they are academically qualified, low-income students.
Thursday's Lead Stories
• Rubio Weighs In On SpaceX Decision, Upcoming Orion Flight.
• National Reconnaissance Office Disputes Congressional Report Finding.
• Kendall Asks Army To Justify Its Plan To Retire Kiowas, Creeks.
• Navy, NASA Complete Second Round Of Orion Recovery Tests.
• Dempsey Calls For Pro-Growth Policies In India Trade Deal.