Space Center plans for heavy
By the year 2052, Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida may have landing strips for rocket planes going to the International Space Station, rockets launching every 36 hours, hotels near the Visitor Complex and even space tourists flying out of Brevard County, reports Florida Today.
Space officials recently unveiled their land-use plan for Florida's spaceport, which encompasses the space center and the Air Force Station, for the next 50 years.
Airlines tighten screws on tech expenditures
When the economy boomed in the late 1990s, airlines couldn't sink enough money into efficiency-producing information-technology initiatives funded by business travelers' hefty fares. But as Business Week Daily Edition reported, IT spending was cut to the bone after air travel declined following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
With the airline industry's financial picture looking grim, many carriers are rushing to outsource their remaining IT functions, according to consultants and industry experts. And in an industry spending from $8 billion to $10 billion on IT annually, that should mean big contracts for outsourcers such as IBM, Accenture, Unisys, and Electronic Data Systems.
Atlas V launch marks new era for U.S. rockets
The first of a powerful new breed of unmanned American rockets roared into space Aug. 21 with the launch of Lockheed Martin's Atlas V.
According to Washington Post reports, the Hot Bird 6 communications satellite, built by Alcatel Space and owned by Paris-based Eutelsat, was safely ejected into its planned preliminary orbit 31 minutes after liftoff. Lockheed Martin is relying on the successful debut of the Atlas V to bolster its position in the fiercely competitive launch marketplace.
Boeing is competing with the Delta IV, which is scheduled to conduct its first launch in October. Boeing has won most of the near-term military contracts, with 22 firm orders versus seven for the Atlas V.
The U.S. Air Force paid Lockheed Martin and Boeing more than $500 million each to design and build state-of-the-art rockets to provide assured access to space for high-priority military spy satellites and other large payloads. Each company added more than $1 billion of their own money to develop the new models, also known as evolved expendable launch vehicles and to build the modern launch pads, control facilities and support infrastructure needed to streamline and consolidate launch processing.
Wanted: great minds for missile defense
In January, reports Aviation Week and Space Technology, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld set four top missile defense priorities, calling for an integrated multiservice system to be developed by the newly titled Missile Defense Agency.
The agency's biggest hurdle isn't a technical one: MDA is short of qualified engineers and scientists. An additional 300 engineers and scientists need to be hired this year to meet the current requirement. "[Rumsfeld] said assign the best and brightest people to this work," Christopher Taylor, MDA spokesman, told Aviation Week and Space Technology. "We are getting our message out to audiences beyond the beltway, so we can attract engineers and scientists from the uniformed and civilian services, from industry and academia. The primary overall challenge is recruiting and retaining the best and brightest who think out of the box."
Capability is the key word, requiring that military strategists, scientists and engineers thoroughly and carefully examine potential threats first.
U.S. may get another try at Czech fighters
The United States may get another opportunity to sell fighter aircraft to the Czech Republic after the Czech government agreed to postpone its decision on replacing its MiG-21 fleet until after a November NATO summit meeting. According to Aerospace Daily, the Czech government has said that after paying bills to recover from recent devastating floods, it will no longer be able to afford to buy 24 Jas-39 Gripen fighters from BAE Systems/Saab at a cost of about $2 billion.
U.S. hopes were raised by foreign minister Cyril Svoboda, who told Czech ambassadors at a meeting in Prague that the post-flood situation had "opened room for considering the purchase of U.S. planes," although he did not elaborate on his comments.
According to Aerospace Daily, Czech defense minister Jaroslav Tvrdik said at a press conference that the flooding would have such a huge economic impact on the country that he would not propose the purchase of 24 Gripens. Other options would be considered, including purchasing fewer Gripens or buying older aircraft, he said.
The Czech Republic is under pressure to resolve the issue of air protection fairly quickly, since its current fleet of MiG-21s will reach the end of its service lifespan in 2004.
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