|New and Notable|
777-300ER completes first flight
BY DEBBY ARKELL
The Boeing 777-300ER, the newest member of the 777 airplane family, completed its maiden flight on Feb. 24, beginning a 1,600-hour flight-test program that's expected to bring U.S. government certification by early next year.
The airplane, with its distinctive red, white and blue paint scheme, took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., and landed hours later at Seattle's Boeing Field.
Veteran Boeing pilots Capts. Frank Santoni and John Cashman were at the controls. Santoni is the chief 777 test pilot, while Cashman is director of Flight Crew Operations and chief pilot for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
"The Boeing 777 is an incredible flying machine," Santoni said. "It's no wonder pilots call it the 'World's Greatest Airplane.' Being at the controls of an airplane on its first flight is a rare and unique opportunity and is always exciting."
The 777-300ER is the fourth 777 model. Cashman and Santoni also took the 777-200ER and 777-300 on their maiden flights, and Cashman was at the controls when the first 777, the 777-200, first flew on June 12, 1994.
Orbital Sciences Corp. in February successfully launched the first prototype of the interceptor boost vehicle the company is developing and manufacturing for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system under a contract from Boeing.
The mission originated from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and was monitored by the Anaheim GMD Team. It flew a ballistic trajectory over the Pacific Ocean, reaching an altitude of approximately 1,125 miles and traveling about 3,500 miles down range from the launch site. Following preliminary post-flight analysis of the data collected from the mission, Orbital confirmed that all the primary objectives for the first launch of the GMD boost vehicle were achieved.
These included the verification of the vehicle design and flight characteristics, the gathering of flight data through comprehensive onboard instrumentation, and the confirmation of the expected performance of the propulsion system.
With a successful mission in late January, the Boeing XSS-10 micro-satellite has proven that an autonomous space system can operate near other orbiting space objects.
XSS-10 was one of two payloads launched Jan. 29 on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Work on this first micro-satellite began in 1997 when Boeing was awarded the contract under a project funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory. Boeing's Space and Intelligence Systems and Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power, both business units of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, designed, developed and built this 31-kilogram (68-pound) spacecraft.
"The XSS-10 not only proves that small autonomous spacecraft can be used to come close to other spacecraft in orbit, but proving this technology could result in additional benefits to the satellite industry as a whole," said Roger Roberts, senior vice president of Space and Intelligence Systems.
Boeing joined more than 60 other Fortune 500 companies in February in filing a "Friend of the Court" brief supporting the University of Michigan's affirmative action practices within its admission policies.
"The company strongly believes that a diverse student body of today offers a diverse workforce of tomorrow," said Joyce Tucker, Boeing vice president of Global Diversity. "This guiding principle is fundamentally linked to the success of our business."
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments April 1 in two cases relating to the constitutionality of the University of Michigan's use of affirmative action policies in admissions to its Law School and its undergraduate college.
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