International Aerospace Discussion

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Gerard
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Gerard » 18 Aug 2008 17:53


Gerard
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Gerard » 19 Aug 2008 03:33

Proton set for return to flight
The launch of the six-tonne Inmarsat-4 (I4) satellite is timed for 2243 GMT.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Gerard » 19 Aug 2008 03:34

U.S. tests unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile
Its three unarmed re-entry vehicles travelled about 6,800 kilometres over the Pacific Ocean to targets near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Gerard » 19 Aug 2008 03:37


Avinash R
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Avinash R » 21 Aug 2008 17:50

Iran's space agency says it will send man to space
TEHRAN, Iran - State TV says Iran's space agency aims to send an astronaut to space within 10 years.

The report Thursday quotes Space Agency chief Reza Taghipoor saying the mission's timing will be decided over the next year. It gives no other details.

Iran has stepped up its space ambitions in recent years, worrying world leaders already concerned about its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Iran would have a ways to go before a manned flight. On Sunday, Taghipoor said Iran test-fired a rocket capable of carrying a satellite into orbit. The two-stage rocket released equipment that beamed flight data back to ground control.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby ranganathan » 21 Aug 2008 19:08

They really need to stop smoking whatever they are smoking. They haven't been able to launch a satellite yet and want to send a man (does he mean one way mission?) in 10 years. When did the bug of verbal diarrhea cross the pak iran border?

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Gerard » 21 Aug 2008 20:53


Sontu
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sontu » 21 Aug 2008 23:02

Can we read this as "Iran want to build long range ICBMs ASAP ?" :-)

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Avinash R » 23 Aug 2008 13:58

NASA destroys rocket after failed launch
Fri Aug 22, 12:15 PM ET
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. - NASA destroyed an unmanned experimental rocket carrying a pair of research satellites Friday when it veered off course shortly after an early morning liftoff.


Officials said the rocket — a prototype made by Alliant Techsystems Inc., or ATK — was destroyed by remote control 27 seconds into the predawn flight. It was between 11,000 and 12,000 feet high when it exploded. Officials said they do not know why it veered off course. It was destroyed to avoid endangering the public.


NASA had paid $17 million for the two hypersonic flight research satellites and flight preparations. Rominger declined to put a value on the one-of-a-kind rocket, which he said was developed over the past few years to learn firsthand about launch vehicles and to test new technologies. The Minneapolis-based ATK makes the solid-rocket boosters for NASA's space shuttles and is working with the space agency on its new moon rockets.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Kartik » 28 Aug 2008 00:59

LM offers Brazil the "Most advanced and capable F-16 variant available" instead of the F-35

Brazil Offered F-16s, Not F-35s

Lockheed Martin has offered Brazil a tailored version of the F-16 instead of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter originally specified in the request for information (RFI) issued in July, a move that suggests the U.S. is not quite ready to offer its latest fighter beyond the JSF partner nations and close allies.

The F-16BR is one of six contenders for the F-X2 program. Brazil also requested information on the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen and Sukhoi Su-35, with the field expected to be narrowed to two or three candidates ahead of a contract award early next year.

Brazil requested information on the F-35, but Lockheed says it responded “with a ‘best value’ solution of the Advanced F-16 ... tailored to meet the requirements outlined in the RFI.” The F-16BR configuration has been developed “to satisfy the originating requirements, inventory and delivery dates, offset and industrial cooperation ... with the most advanced and capable F-16 available.”

The Brazilian air force has a $2.2 billion budget for an initial batch of up to 36 aircraft for delivery beginning in 2015, but could eventually require up to 120 new fighters to replace its fleets of Dassault Mirage 2000s and upgraded Northrop F-5Ms and Embraer/Alenia A-1Ms.

Analysts at Washington-area consultancy Forecast International say that although Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva likely has been stirred by Venezuela’s military buildup, he also recognizes a need to rectify his country’s deficient level of armaments and boost Brazil’s position in the region. In an Aug. 26 statement, the analysts said da Silva has increased pressure to make funds available for two ambitious military programs previously sidelined due to funding problems, the F-X2 and new nuclear submarines.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby rkhanna » 28 Aug 2008 21:57

^^ so the brazilians will get their MRCA's before us. lol..

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 28 Aug 2008 23:44

And the Danish the F-18:

Boeing Submits Danish Super Hornet Proposal

Graham Warwick

Boeing has formally offered the F/A-18E/F to Denmark after successfully persuading Copenhagen to include the Super Hornet in its new combat aircraft competition.

The F/A-18E/F will now be evaluated against the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Saab Gripen NG, with a decision expected by the end of 2009.

Boeing and the U.S. Navy delivered the proposal on Aug. 15, meeting the Danish deadline for responding to a request for information (RFI) received in May. The RFI was only issued to Boeing, which is entering the competition about two years behind its two rivals (Aerospace DAILY, June 17). A Danish flight evaluation of the F/A-18E/F is expected late this year.

According to Lt. Col. Anders Rex of Defence Command Denmark’s New Combat Aircraft program office, a defense commission will now determine whether the country should acquire new fighters, and if so, what tasks they should perform. Based on these tasks, the program office will then rank the three contenders and make a recommendation to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD will take the military recommendation and combine it with the results of strategic, security policy, economic and industrial participation evaluations and make a final recommendation to the Danish parliament. This process is expected to be complete by mid-2009, Rex says.

Although the stated initial requirement is for 48 aircraft to replace Denmark’s F-16s, the final number could be lower or higher. “The number has not been decided,” says Rex. The new fighters are expected to be phased in between 2016 and 2020.

Denmark is the third country to receive a Super Hornet proposal in recent months. An offer of 36 F/A-18E/Fs was submitted to Brazil in late July for its F-X2 competition. A downselect from six contenders to two or three is expected in September, and Brazil is aiming for contract award in October 2009, with deliveries to begin in 2013.

Boeing’s industrial participation proposal for the 126-fighter Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft program was submitted in early August, with in-country evaluations of the six candidates now expected to begin early next year. A decision is expected in 2010.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Gerard » 29 Aug 2008 05:45

Russia tests missile that can beat shield
The Topol (RS-12M) ICBM, launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, is equipped with features designed to defeat ABM systems. It flew 6,000km and successfully hit a target on the Kura testing ground, in Kamchatka in Russia's Far East, the Interfax news agency said.

"The experimental combat part of the missile has hit the target on the testing ground on the Kamchatka peninsula with high precision, demonstrating an ability to effectively hit high-security facilities," Alexander Vovk, the head of the RVSN information service, said.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 29 Aug 2008 16:01

AWST Aug 18/25 issue has a special feature on 50 yrs. of DARPA.Several experimental programmes are featured.A must read.The future is here today.A signal lesson for the DRDO as DARPA's style is as follows.

<The key word in Darpa's name is "projects," says Welby. "A project is something with a defined start, defined finish and clearly defined objectives. Something that can be written on a single piece of paper." The goal is to "prove the feasibility of a concept and take the specific technology risk off the table.">

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... nnel=awst#
Darpa Pushes To Transition Technology

Aug 15, 2008
By Graham Warwick and Guy Norris

As it enters its sixth decade, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency faces challenges in seeing ahead at a time when the U.S. military's focus is firmly on the present and on fighting two wars.

Established in February 1958 in response to the Soviet Sputnik launch in October 1957, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, as it was originally known, was chartered with "preventing technological surprise." Its initial task was to reorganize U.S. military space programs, but Darpa was also charged with looking into the future to ensure the U.S. was never again caught off guard.

Fifty years on, Darpa remains a uniquely lean and agile organization. The agency's focus has shifted over time, from space and missile defense to counterinsurgency during the Vietnam War; from negating massed Soviet armor in the Cold War to improving intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance after the Persian Gulf war. Today, many of its projects are focused on irregular warfare, but much of Darpa's work involves anticipating the military's needs for the war after next.

Some of Darpa's ideas can seem crazy, like unmanned aircraft or airships that stay aloft for five or even 10 years, but it's difficult to see 20 years ahead. "If you look at how we use UAVs today in conflict, they are all dreams of Darpa in the mid-1990s," says Stephen Welby, former director of the agency's Tactical Technology Office. "Global Hawk and Predator were born here, but UAVs are still at the Wright brothers' stage. There are new domains and new missions to be explored."

As U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq place heavy demands on military budgets and tight constraints on research and development spending, Darpa's role in funding science and technology (S&T) work is taking on greater importance. This creates tension between those who want Darpa to solve today's problems and those who recognize the agency does its best work when given the freedom to think about the future.

Darpa responds to perceived needs rather than validated requirements, and this creates tensions with the customers. "We are not captured by the services; we hold the status quo at risk," says Welby. He defends Darpa against criticism that its ideas can be too far-fetched. "We get criticized when we engage stovepipes with new ways of doing things that threaten their way of doing things," a process he describes as "creative destruction."

As Darpa's customer, the U.S. Air Force is aware of the tension. "We are always talking about the difference between requirements pull and technology push. Should we be essentially governed by either?" asks Mark Lewis, Air Force chief scientist. "There was never a requirements document for laser, or even the light bulb for that matter. [But] sometimes there is a need for a reality check."

Darpa's role is not to develop and procure systems, but to "take the technology question off the table" through demonstration, so a concept can be an option to meet a requirement. "We don't do the heavy lifting of delivering a system to the field," says Welby. "You can't go out and buy an aircraft by duplicating a Darpa bird, but you will have the database to design one."

Darpa casts a wide net for ideas, talking to "anyone, everywhere" from military operators about missing capabilities to laboratory researchers about emerging technologies. Project ideas can arrive as full-blown proposals or one-page white papers - "the envelope someone has drawn the future on," says Welby.

Many project proposals are rejected because they are not "Darpa hard." In talking to operators and researchers, the agency looks for the core technology that's lacking, but too risky for the service laboratories or industry to take on alone.

If projects can be started quickly, they can be stopped just as quickly when results disappoint or a better idea comes along. "We start a lot of things, but we also ruthlessly kill them," says Welby. "It's acceptable to fail as long as we have learned from it. If it succeeds, we get the data; if it fails, we find out it's a path not to take."

The key word in Darpa's name is "projects," says Welby. "A project is something with a defined start, defined finish and clearly defined objectives. Something that can be written on a single piece of paper." The goal is to "prove the feasibility of a concept and take the specific technology risk off the table."

Darpa's strength as an organization is in its structure, or lack thereof. The agency owns no facilities and has no infrastructure that needs long-term programs for support. Instead, it pursues high-risk, high-payoff research through short-term projects with aggressive technical goals. Project managers stay for only four years.

"They are all temporary hires," says Welby, "They are here to get something done. The clock is ticking, and there is personal pressure to advance the state of the art on very aggressive timelines." Welby left Darpa at the end of July after an unusually long 11 years at the agency - first as program manager, then later as office director.

"You can change rapidly and move quickly when 25% of your people change out every year," he says. "You would never want to run a business this way, but for preventing technological surprise and being the engine of innovation - it's perfect."

Some Darpa-watchers criticize the short-term project-by-project approach for preventing the agency from staging larger-scale demonstrations of integrated systems, as it has in the past. Such demonstrations have helped transition technology to the services - the metric by which Darpa's performance is often measured, particularly by Congress.

The agency's success in transitioning technologies has varied over the years. Successful transitions include stealth technology, precision-guided weapons and unmanned aircraft, but not all followed a direct path to the customer.

Stealth is the success story most often cited. Darpa began studying low-observable technology in 1974, Lockheed's Have Blue demonstrator flew in December 1977, and the F-117 entered service in 1982. Darpa also funded Northrop's Tacit Blue stealth demonstrator, which flew in 1982 and influenced the design of the B-2 bomber.

In 1982, the Assault Breaker program showed that airborne radars could guide ground-launched missiles to rain precision-guided submunitions on to formations of tanks. But the technology did not transition as an integrated system. Instead, separate service efforts produced the Joint Stars airborne radar, Army Tactical Missile System and Sensor Fuzed Weapon.

"How well technologies transition has a tremendous amount to do with what the secretary of Defense and President want from Darpa," says Richard van Atta of the Institute for Defense Analyses. Both Have Blue and Assault Breaker had top-level Pentagon support as responses to the Soviet buildup in Europe, he says, with then-Defense Secretary William Perry overseeing the four-year program to develop the F-117.

The story was different for unmanned aircraft, which had no constituency to champion them. While Darpa had demonstrated by the mid-1970s that small UAVs could be used for reconnaissance and targeting, the Army badly fumbled the transition and canceled its massively overbudget Aquila program, setting back U.S. tactical UAVs by 20 years.

The Darpa-funded Amber medium-altitude endurance UAV flew in 1986, but was not picked up by the military. The design did not evolve into today's Predator until after Desert Storm had highlighted the ISR gap and the Office of the Secretary of Defense had launched an advanced concept technology demonstration program to accelerate the UAV into Air Force service.

The same mechanism successfully transitioned the Global Hawk high-altitude endurance UAV from Darpa to the Air Force. But despite the successful demonstration of the X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle in 2005, the Air Force pulled out of the follow-on Joint Unmanned Combat Air System program, forcing its cancellation.

But flight demonstrators such as Have Blue and Global Hawk are only a small part of the technology Darpa has handed over. "As a measure of merit, transition has been relatively constant," says George Muellner, former president of Boeing's Advanced Systems and Phantom Works units. "A lot of Darpa activity is at a subsystem level, or in the black world, and we are not aware of it."

But Darpa has "had its ups and downs," Muellner acknowledges. Sometimes technologies were not embraced because they were out of step with the need. "Assault Breaker came at the right time, was mature enough, and there were a couple of conflicts it could be applied to," he says. "You have got to have the right environment."

Muellner believes a lot of technologies transition to industry and show up for the first time in a system for which Darpa gets no credit. "I think almost everything we do transitions. Even those that fail leave behind an industrial base or an aerodynamic database that can be used," says Welby.

Advancing S&T work to the next stage is an issue bigger than Darpa. "In the Defense Dept., we have the transition "valley of death" and all the organizations face this issue - how do we transition a useful product?" says Lewis. The valley of death is the 3-5-year funding gap before a capability gets picked up by the services.

Darpa Director Tony Tether has described technology transition as a "contact sport" that requires program managers to build constituencies within the services. "Program managers have to be evangelists," says Welby.

Now Darpa is trying to forge agreements with the services before building a demonstrator. An increasing number of projects are covered by memorandums of understanding that document the transition path. "We'll invest to the point of demonstration if the service will put dollars in its out-year plan to take the technology forward," says Welby. The service laboratories play a key role. "They are the flywheel that keeps us going."

As Darpa looks ahead, "there are lots of opportunities still out there," says Welby. Among them are technologies for the dismounted soldier, precision weapons for UAVs, space architectures, robotics, long-endurance propulsion and environmental power capture. "There is lots of interesting work left for Darpa to do."

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rupesh » 02 Sep 2008 11:58

China to launch third manned space flight in September

HONG KONG: China has brought forward the launch date of its third manned space flight to late September, a report said on Tuesday.

The launch of Shenzhou VII is now expected to take place between September 17 -- the end of the Beijing Paralympics and China's National Day on October 1, Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po said, citing unnamed sources.

The period offered the best launch window for Shenzhou VII, the source told the Chinese-language newspaper, without giving any more details.

The mission will blast off from China's Jiuquan launch centre in northwest Gansu province and land in northern Inner Mongolia province, Wen Wei Po said.

The launch schedule has been changed several times, with previous Chinese state media reports suggesting October or November launch.

Three "taikonauts" or astronauts will be on board the flight, with one of them conducting China's first space walk, China's official Xinhua news agency said in an earlier report, quoting a spokesman for the mission.

China successfully launched its first man, Yang Liwei, into orbit in 2003, making it the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States to put a man in space.

It sent two more astronauts into orbit in 2005 on a five-day mission

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/China_to_launch_third_manned_space_flight_in_September/articleshow/3435862.cms

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby merlin » 02 Sep 2008 13:34

A signal lesson for the DRDO as DARPA's style is as follows.


I'm sure that once DRDO learns this "signal lesson" there will be other lessons that it will be made to learn, i.e., endless learning enforced by the services and rejection of any products that it turns out. The services appear to want one thing and one thing only, for the DRDO to be in endless tech development mode and not turn out any products which they will then have to buy (put their money where their mouth is). Foreign uber alles appears to be the motto.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rahul M » 07 Sep 2008 20:39

Protective 'Skin' Could Herald Tiny Satellite Fleet
The new technology, called electro-chromatic film, turns the spacecraft skin into a heat-regulating system by shifting its color when an electric current passes through. With a positive charge, the coating darkens and can absorb heat from the sun. A negative voltage lightens the shade, increasing its reflectivity.

"It's kind of like a winter coat," explained Young. "When the sun is shining you open it up, in the shadows you zip up in an attempt to keep your temperature stable."

The technology has been used for terrestrial applications, including windows on high-end automobiles, but is fairly new to the aerospace industry.

"It's really hard to get technology demonstrated sufficiently for putting on a spacecraft," Young said. "You have to go through lots of tests and analysis on Earth because it's so hard and so expensive to get spacecraft into orbit."

Still to be determined is how the skin fares in the radioactive environment of space, where free-floating atomic oxygen and ultraviolet rays break down molecules.

"It's revolutionary in the sense that we've never had the capability to regulate how much heat we lose, other than the louvers. These electro-chromatics, in the next several years as they are proven, give us an ability to control the temperature of the spacecraft by radiation.

Prasanna Chandrasekhar, with New Jersey based Ashwin-Ushas Corp., is the lead researcher on the project, which is being developed in partnership with NASA.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby wrdos » 26 Sep 2008 07:26

Image

China launches space walk mission
By David Barboza

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/26/asia/26space.php

SHANGHAI: The Chinese Shenzhou VII spacecraft blasted off at 9:07 p.m. Thursday, carrying three Chinese astronauts into space on this country's third manned space mission in five years.

The three-day mission is expected to include the country's first attempt at a spacewalk.

The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars in recent years building up a space program that it hopes will help China establish a space station by 2020 and eventually will put a man on the moon, accomplishments that would certainly bring the country international prestige.

The launching of Shenzhou VII from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province, which is in western China, was shown live on state television.

At a ceremony before the launching, President Hu Jintao praised the space project's effort. "You will definitely accomplish this glorious and sacred mission," he told the astronauts before the launch. "The motherland and the people are looking forward to your triumphant return."

China sent into space a trio of experienced fighter pilots, all of them 42-year-old men. One is expected to walk in space for 30 minutes on Friday or Saturday, according to the state media.

The three taikonauts — the Chinese term for astronauts — plan to run tests in space and launch a small satellite monitoring station. They are carrying traditional Chinese medicine on board, in case of sickness, and their diet includes shredded pork sautéed with garlic and grilled beef with spicy sauce.

One astronaut is wearing what the state-run news media has dubbed "the most complicated, advanced and expensive suit in the world," a $4.4 million space suit designed and produced in China. The spacecraft was launched by what the Chinese space agency calls the Long March II-F carrier rocket, which took the spacecraft into a low orbit, about 210 miles above Earth. The mission, which is being covered extensively in the Chinese media, is another milestone for a country that got a late start in space exploration but is now aggressively launching commercial satellites, putting humans in space and even shooting down aging satellites.

"They have joined a very exclusive club; only the U.S. and Russians are members," said Roger Launius, a senior curator and expert on space history at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, referring generally to China's space program. "It's a great start, even though it's nowhere near what the Russians and the U.S. have accomplished with space flight."

Russia and the United States conducted their first spacewalks in 1965, and in 1969 the United States became the first country to put a person on the moon.

But Michael Griffin, the administrator of NASA, has repeatedly warned that despite the head start by other nations, the Chinese program is moving swiftly and could overtake American efforts to return to the moon by 2020. In testimony to the Senate last year, Griffin said it was likely that "China will be able to put people on the Moon before we will be able to get back." He added: "I admire what they have done, but I am concerned that it will leave the United States in its wake."

The Chinese government also hopes the national space program will aid the nation economically by helping to create technological breakthroughs that may someday be applied to computers or other digital equipment.

India and Japan are now aggressively developing their own space programs, creating some competition in Asia for space flight, and the Europeans have joined forces to explore space.

But China says its space program is speeding along, often with Chinese technology, helping establish the country as a technological power and bringing another dose of pride to the nation after the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer.

Because spaceflight requires large booster rockets and other sophisticated technology that often has military applications, national space programs are often veiled in secrecy, and cooperation among nations is complicated.

Indeed, on Wednesday, the FBI arrested a Chinese-born physicist in Newport News, Virginia, on charges of illegally exporting space launching technical data and services to China beginning in January 2003. The physicist, Shu Quan-Sheng, 68, was born in China but was a naturalized American citizen. He has a doctorate in physics.

Shu was also accused of offering bribes to Chinese government officials in exchange for a business contract, according to an FBI statement.

John Schwartz contributed reporting from New York.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 29 Sep 2008 06:09

MSNBC:

Low-cost rocket finally gets to orbit
After three failed attempts, SpaceX Falcon 1 succeeds in test launch

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 29 Sep 2008 06:27

Go here for a nice set of photos from SpaceX's successful Falcon1 launch:

http://spacefellowship.com/News/?p=6780

The next launch on SpaceX’ launch manifest will be a Falcon 1 carrying RazakSat for Malaysia. This launch if successful will be followed then by the maiden flight of the much larger Falcon 9 rocket in the second quarter of 2009.


Wow, very aggressive schedule.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 29 Sep 2008 06:39

Here's an article on Wired, with an embedded Youtube video of the Falcon1 launch and ascent:

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008 ... id-it.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To-XOPgaGsQ


Beautiful stuff.

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China's first spacewalk team returns to Earth

Postby wrdos » 29 Sep 2008 07:48

China's first spacewalk team returns to Earth

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080928/ap_ ... fq5Lms0NUE

By GILLIAN WONG, Associated Press Writer Sun Sep 28, 1:02 PM ET

BEIJING - Three Chinese astronauts emerged from their capsule Sunday after a milestone mission to carry out the country's first spacewalk, showing off China's technological know-how and cementing its status as a space power and future competitor to the United States.
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A senior space official said the mission — China's most ambitious yet — took the country one step closer in its plan to build a space station and then to land a man on the moon.

Wang Zhaoyao, deputy director of manned space flight, said the program is looking to launch a new orbiting vehicle and set up a simple space lab by 2011. There are also hopes of sending unmanned and manned space vehicles to perform docking activities with the target vehicle.

By 2020, China wants to launch a manned mission to experiment with technologies that will enable astronauts to take care of spacecraft for longer periods of time, Wang told reporters at a briefing in Beijing after a parachute brought the astronauts' capsule back to ground.

"After we have successfully completed these three steps, we will go to even more remote areas," Wang said. "We believe that as long as we can make further progress on the road of science and technology, China will achieve the target of putting a manned spacecraft on the moon in the near future."

The United States is the only country to have accomplished that feat, putting its first astronaut team on the moon in 1969. But its last human landing was in 1972, and it has since concentrated on unmanned probes.

China's communist leaders, riding a wave of pride and patriotism after hosting the Olympics, face few of the public doubts or budgetary pressures that have constrained space programs elsewhere. Saturday's spacewalk was watched by cheering crowds on huge outdoor TV screens.

State broadcaster CCTV showed the astronauts' return Sunday after their Shenzhou 7 ship's re-entry vehicle burst through the Earth's atmosphere to make a landing under clear skies in the grasslands of China's northern Inner Mongolia region.

The vessel touched ground at 5:37 p.m. after floating down gently while attached to a giant red-and-white striped parachute, marking the end of the 68-hour endeavor.

"It was a glorious mission, full of challenges with a successful end," said mission commander Zhai Zhigang, a 41-year-old fighter pilot. "We feel proud of the motherland."

Zhai, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng stayed inside the capsule after landing for about 46 minutes to adapt to Earth's gravity before slowly crawling out the narrow entrance.

Outside, the trio cheerily waved to cameras and reporters from Chinese state media before sitting down in blue fold-out chairs. They saluted as they were presented with bouquets of flowers.

Premier Wen Jiabao applauded at mission control in Beijing and shook hands with staff.

"This mission's success is a milestone; a stride forward," Wen said. "I would like to extend my congratulations to the heroic astronauts who successfully completed this mission."

The premier also reiterated Beijing's longtime stance that it is the Chinese people's "persistent aspiration" to develop space technologies for peaceful exploration.

The spacewalk was a key step in mastering techniques for docking two orbiters to create China's first orbiting space station. Tethered to handles attached to the Shenzhou 7 ship's orbital module, Zhai remained outside for about 13 minutes before climbing back inside.

China has relied heavily on homegrown technology, partly out of necessity. It has trouble obtaining such technology abroad due to U.S. and European bans and is not a participant in the International Space Station.

The Chinese program is backed by the secretive military. While Beijing insists it is committed to a peaceful program, analysts point to numerous potential applications for its technology, such as when it used a land-based missile to blast apart an old satellite last January.

China conducted its first manned space mission, Shenzhou 5, in 2003, becoming only the third country after Russia and the United States to launch a man into space. That was followed by a two-man mission in 2005.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rupesh » 29 Sep 2008 16:48

The Real Space Race Is In Asia


If the weather holds, China plans to celebrate another milestone on its long march to the moon this week in a PR extravaganza that will rival its Olympic performance a few weeks ago. Fittingly, a Long March II-F rocket will take off from the Jiuquan launch center in Gansu province carrying three astronauts on China's third mission to low Earth orbit. After a live broadcast of the launch and heartwarming made-for-TV linkups between the crew and their families, the ruggedly handsome Zhai Zhigang will open the hatch and emerge into outer space. It will be China's first spacewalk and another step in its ambitious plan to build its own space station by 2015 and—if the rumors are true—to put astronauts on the moon by 2020.

The display will no doubt be lauded as yet another indication that China is ready to join the ranks of the world's space titans, Russia and the United States. But are these missions cause for worry in Washington and Moscow? The Soviet Union performed the first spacewalk in 1965 when Aleksei Leonov stepped out of a Voskhod II capsule, and the United States did it later that year when Ed White left his Gemini capsule. Although the ability to launch payloads can also be used to lob bombs, the military implications of a manned program are virtually nil: nobody has yet figured out what humans can do in space that robotic weapons can't do better.

China sees its spacewalk as a way of proving that it belongs with the United States and Russia in the top tier of space-faring nations. But its true opponent in this space race is not the West so much as its Asian neighbors—India in particular. India has in recent years transformed its space program from a utilitarian affair of meteorological and communications satellites into a hyperactive project that seems designed to make a splash on the world stage. Its robotic-exploration program is scheduled to launch a probe on Oct. 22 that will orbit the moon for two years. And Japan is considering expanding its well-established (if less ambitious) space program—which includes research on the International Space Station and a respectable commercial satellite business—and exploring military applications. Against this backdrop, Beijing's dominance is not unshakable. Just as the Soviet Union's launch of its Sputnik satellite back in 1957 was only a fleeting victory, China's recent accomplishments have provided merely the opening salvos in a modern-day Asian space race.

The two biggest forces driving the race between China and India are their insistence on self-reliance and the idea that space exploration feeds national prestige. Naturally, the two ideas work in tandem. India was shut out from NASA and European space missions for years after testing its first nuclear bomb in 1974; now many technologies for its space program have been developed by Indian engineers with little outside help. (India has agreed to carry U.S. and European payloads on its moon launch.) Beijing has watched U.S.- Russian cooperation on the International Space Station rise and fall with their diplomatic relations. "The most important thing is that China has developed and formed its own system for space aviation independently," says Huang Hai of the China Aviation Science and Research Institute. Ouyang Ziyuan, a space expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, summed it up to People's Daily: China's program "suggests comprehensive national strength …, increasing China's international prestige and the cohesive power of the Chinese nation."

Beijing's space program electrified the competition when astronaut Yang Liwei orbited the earth in October 2003. Last year China shot down an aging weather satellite, adding an arms-race quality to the battle for prestige. It is now constructing its fourth launch base, on Hainan Island, for a new 25-ton booster rocket that will carry aloft modules for its space station, which will be permanently staffed. Also ahead: robotic moon landings (a data-gathering probe is already in orbit) and even a rumored manned trip to the lunar surface—a prospect that provoked a minor crisis in Washington, culminating in President George W. Bush's State of the Union promise in 2004 to establish a permanent U.S. moon base. Despite technology export controls imposed by the United States, China's commercial satellite business is thriving. It has launched 79 satellites altogether—10 of them in 2007. This year India has launched 11 satellites, including nine from other countries—and it became the first nation to launch 10 satellites on one rocket.

The United States and the Soviet Union were racing in the context of a cold war, but India and China are vying for leadership in a competitive marketplace of people and knowledge industries. It's about developing technology, talent and markets. All of which has stimulated Chinese technology: sensors built for space have ended up in GPS systems, washing machines and other products. The Chinese hope to spin out their rockets and orbiters into inventions and products they can patent. And "they're now right up in the world class of robotics," says British scientist Martin Sweeting, CEO of Surrey Satellite Technology, which built Beijing a pollution-monitoring satellite for the Olympics and does work on China's moon rovers.

None of this has gone unnoticed abroad. China's manned space program "shook up all the neighbors because the Chinese asserted, 'We are the dominant regional power'," says Jim Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. After China used a ballistic missile to blow up the aging weather satellite in January 2007, scattering debris into low orbit, Japan's Parliament overturned a law isolating its space program from military uses, and its space agency is trying to capitalize on the new mood by requesting a 29 percent budget increase at a time when the general science budget is growing by only 1 percent per year. The public, however, worries more about the social problems of an aging population than beating China to the moon. As a stable democracy and charter member of the world's most advanced economies, Japan simply has less to prove.

The repercussions of China's program were felt most strongly in Delhi, where the 36-year-old space program is now ramping up its moon project at launch speed. China first sent a man into space in 2003, and India won't achieve that goal until 2015, but according to unofficial schedules, China will beat India to a moon landing by only a year. Reaching the moon is the childhood dream of Madhavan Nair, chairman of India's space program, which is now spending about $1 billion per year, compared with an estimated $2.5 billion a year in China. If all goes well, at the end of October India will launch the $100 million Chandrayaan-I, its first lunar orbiter, using the workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The orbiter will fire a probe at the moon's surface, kicking up a cloud of lunar dust that scientists will analyze from afar—and it will plant the Indian flag in lunar soil. Its successor, Chandrayaan-II, a cooperative effort with Russia (and, therefore, one looked down upon by Chinese analysts), is expected to land a rover on the moon by 2012. The space agency, if it can persuade Parliament to fund all its dreams, aims to put a man on the moon by 2020, followed by robotic missions to Mars, a nearby asteroid and the sun—an agenda even more ambitious than China's.

The Indian space agency is careful to defend the program as more than an ego competition with the Chinese. It argues that its space program has earned a return of $2 on every dollar invested by the government, according to Nair. For example, its remote sensing satellites, which map the Earth's surface at a resolution of close to one meter, have helped find well water in dry regions, saving the government's drill boring program $100 million. And, while only a few years ago Indian space officials ruled out manned missions as too expensive and of dubious scientific value, they now speak—just like the Chinese—of mapping the moon for deposits of aluminum, silicon, uranium and titanium, probably with an eye to lunar mining. "I don't think we're in any race as far as the space program is concerned," says Nair. "We have our own national priorities, and based on those priorities we try to concentrate on developments which will benefit the people."

Moon shots for the masses? "If you ask people [in the space agencies], they will never acknowledge there is a competition," says Pallava Bagla, the author of "Destination Moon," a book about India's moon mission. "But subliminally there is a definite race there." The two sides don't talk about it because, says the Stimson Center's Michael Krepon, "for Beijing, you don't want to put New Delhi on the same playing field. For New Delhi, you don't want to acknowledge anxiety." Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, a member of Parliament and Nair's predecessor, says that in addition to luring Indian engineers from the high-paying IT divisions into astrophysics, the space program will "establish our credentials in the international community." It makes India a player.

The benefits of manned missions for the military are only somewhat clearer. Beijing's satellite shoot-down last year demonstrated the potential vulnerability of objects in space. Its space program—which is ultimately run by the Army—got its start when engineers took military rockets and stuck capsules on the tip. And despite Delhi's claims to the contrary, Western analysts suspect that booster technology developed for India's civilian space program is used by its military arm. But the quick way to strengthen military rockets is to fund them directly, not to fly moon missions. By the same token, ground-based and orbiting lasers would probably make better antisatellite weapons than missiles. "The U.S. military and the Russian military searched for years for good reasons to put military people in space and never found any," says John Logsdon, senior fellow at America's Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Still, a space race is a risky way to boost national status: after all, a catastrophic accident while attempting merely to repeat this step for mankind would be a historic humiliation. But the risk is not without rewards. Successful space flight is a kind of national advertisement for satellites and, more broadly, quality control. "[China's] manned space program has gone a long way to proving to potential customers that their products are safe," says Theresa Hitchens of Washington's Center for Defense Information. In these days of global competition, that's a message both China and India desperately want to send.

With Akiko Kashiwagi in Tokyo



http://www.newsweek.com/id/160037

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 30 Sep 2008 08:18

NASA Mars Lander Sees Falling Snow, Soil Data Suggest Liquid Past
09.29.08

This sequence of nine images taken by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander shows the sun rising on the morning of the lander's 101st Martian day after landing. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University
Full image and caption
Latest images and 3D images
Animations and videos PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds. Spacecraft soil experiments also have provided evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water, processes that occur on Earth.

A laser instrument designed to gather knowledge of how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars has detected snow from clouds about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) above the spacecraft's landing site. Data show the snow vaporizing before reaching the ground.

"Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars," said Jim Whiteway, of York University, Toronto, lead scientist for the Canadian-supplied Meteorological Station on Phoenix. "We'll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground."

Phoenix experiments also yielded clues pointing to calcium carbonate, the main composition of chalk, and particles that could be clay. Most carbonates and clays on Earth form only in the presence of liquid water.

"We are still collecting data and have lots of analysis ahead, but we are making good progress on the big questions we set out for ourselves," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Since landing on May 25, Phoenix already has confirmed that a hard subsurface layer at its far-northern site contains water-ice. Determining whether that ice ever thaws would help answer whether the environment there has been favorable for life, a key aim of the mission.

The evidence for calcium carbonate in soil samples from trenches dug by the Phoenix robotic arm comes from two laboratory instruments called the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer, or TEGA, and the wet chemistry laboratory of the Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer, or MECA.

"We have found carbonate," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the TEGA. "This points toward episodes of interaction with water in the past."

The TEGA evidence for calcium carbonate came from a high-temperature release of carbon dioxide from soil samples. The temperature of the release matches a temperature known to decompose calcium carbonate and release carbon dioxide gas, which was identified by the instrument's mass spectrometer.

The MECA evidence came from a buffering effect characteristic of calcium carbonate assessed in wet chemistry analysis of the soil. The measured concentration of calcium was exactly what would be expected for a solution buffered by calcium carbonate.

Both TEGA, and the microscopy part of MECA, have turned up hints of a clay-like substance. "We are seeing smooth-surfaced, platy particles with the atomic-force microscope, not inconsistent with the appearance of clay particles," said Michael Hecht, MECA lead scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The Phoenix mission, originally planned for three months on Mars, now is in its fifth month. However, it faces a decline in solar energy that is expected to curtail and then end the lander's activities before the end of the year. Before power ceases, the Phoenix team will attempt to activate a microphone on the lander to possibly capture sounds on Mars.

"For nearly three months after landing, the sun never went below the horizon at our landing site," said Barry Goldstein, JPL Phoenix project manager. "Now it is gone for more than four hours each night, and the output from our solar panels is dropping each week. Before the end of October, there won't be enough energy to keep using the robotic arm."

The Phoenix mission is led by Smith at the University of Arizona. Project management is the responsibility of JPL with development partnership by Lockheed Martin in Denver. International contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby soutikghosh » 02 Oct 2008 14:28

A nice flash presentation of A-380 cockpit.

http://www.gillesvidal.com/blogpano/cockpit1.htm

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby babbupandey » 03 Oct 2008 08:35

I came across this interesting documentary about Red Flag
http://www.hulu.com/watch/24197/fighter ... nformation

Notice how the AWACS works, with the 3-D graphics. So intuitive, like a video game, I was wondering if we have such technology.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 04 Oct 2008 08:40

Dangerous Fakes

"How counterfeit, defective computer components from China are getting into U.S. warplanes and ships" :D

by Brian Grow, Chi-Chu Tschang, Cliff Edwards and Brian Burnsed

The American military faces a growing threat of potentially fatal equipment failure—and even foreign espionage—because of counterfeit computer components used in warplanes, ships, and communication networks. Fake microchips flow from unruly bazaars in rural China to dubious kitchen-table brokers in the U.S. and into complex weapons. Senior Pentagon officials publicly play down the danger, but government documents, as well as interviews with insiders, suggest possible connections between phony parts and breakdowns.

In November 2005, a confidential Pentagon-industry program that tracks counterfeits issued an alert that "BAE Systems experienced field failures," meaning military equipment malfunctions, which the large defense contractor traced to

fake microchips. Chips are the tiny electronic circuits found in computers and other gear.

The alert from the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP), reviewed by BusinessWeek (MHP), said two batches of chips "were never shipped" by their supposed manufacturer, Maxim Integrated Products in Sunnyvale, Calif. "Maxim considers these parts to be counterfeit," the alert states. (In response to BusinessWeek's questions, BAE said the alert had referred erroneously to field failures. The company denied there were any malfunctions.)

In a separate incident last January, a chip falsely identified as having been made by Xicor, now a unit of Intersil in Milpitas, Calif., was discovered in the flight computer of an F-15 fighter jet at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga. People familiar with the situation say technicians were repairing the F-15 at the time. Special Agent Terry Mosher of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations confirms that the 409th Supply Chain Management Squadron eventually found four counterfeit Xicor chips.

THREAT OF ESPIONAGE
Potentially more alarming than either of the two aircraft episodes are hundreds of counterfeit routers made in China and sold to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines over the past four years. These fakes could facilitate foreign espionage, as well as cause accidents. The U.S. Justice Dept. is prosecuting the operators of an electronics distributor in Texas—and last year obtained guilty pleas from the proprietors of a company in Washington State—for allegedly selling the military dozens of falsely labeled routers, devices that direct data through digital networks. The routers were marked as having been made by the San Jose technology giant Cisco Systems (CSCO).

Referring to the seizure of more than 400 fake routers so far, Melissa E. Hathaway, head of cyber security in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, says: "Counterfeit products have been linked to the crash of mission-critical networks, and may also contain hidden 'back doors' enabling network security to be bypassed and sensitive data accessed [by hackers, thieves, and spies]." She declines to elaborate. In a 50-page presentation for industry audiences, the FBI concurs that the routers could allow Chinese operatives to "gain access to otherwise secure systems" (page 38).

It's very difficult to determine whether tiny fake parts have contributed to particular plane crashes or missile mishaps, says Robert P. Ernst, who heads research into counterfeit parts for the Naval Air Systems Command's Aging Aircraft Program in Patuxent River, Md. Ernst estimates that as many as 15% of all the spare and replacement microchips the Pentagon buys are counterfeit. As a result, he says, "we are having field failures regularly within our weapon systems—and in almost every weapon system." He declines to provide details but says that, in his opinion, fake parts almost certainly have contributed to serious accidents. When a helicopter goes down in Iraq or Afghanistan, he explains, "we don't always do the root-cause investigation of every component failure."

While anxiety about fake computer components has begun to spread within the Pentagon, top officials have been slow to respond, says Ernst, 48, a civilian engineer for the military for the past 26 years. "I am very frustrated with the leadership's inability to react to this issue." Retired four-star General William G.T. Tuttle Jr., former chief of the Army Materiel Command and now a defense industry consultant, agrees: "What we have is a pollution of the military supply chain."


Much of that pollution emanates from the Chinese hinterlands. BusinessWeek tracked counterfeit military components used in gear made by BAE Systems to traders in Shenzhen, China. The traders typically obtain supplies from recycled-chip emporiums such as the Guiyu Electronics Market outside the city of Shantou in southeastern China. The garbage-strewn streets of Guiyu reek of burning plastic as workers in back rooms and open yards strip chips from old PC circuit boards. The components, typically less than an inch long, are cleaned in the nearby Lianjiang River and then sold from the cramped premises of businesses such as Jinlong Electronics Trade Center.

A sign for Jinlong Electronics advertises in Chinese that it sells "military" circuitry, meaning chips that are more durable than commercial components and able to function at extreme temperatures. But proprietor Lu Weilong admits that his wares are counterfeit. His employees sand off the markings on used commercial chips and relabel them as military. Everyone in Guiyu does this, he says: "The dates [on the chips] are 100% fake, because the products pulled off the computer boards are from the '80s and '90s, [while] customers demand products from after 2000."

BusinessWeek traced the path of components from Guiyu to BAE Systems Electronics & Integrated Solutions in Nashua, N.H. The company's confidential reports to the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program were critical to this research. A unit of BAE's $15 billion U.S. division, the electronics operation makes a variety of sophisticated equipment, ranging from missile-warning systems for fighter jets to laser-targeting devices for snipers. It has reported far more counterfeiting incidents than its rivals: 45 over the past three years. Industry executives say that large figure may reflect BAE's candor or its aggressive pursuit of low-priced chips from China. The Justice Dept. is investigating BAE's military electronic-parts procurement, a company spokesman confirmed.

In a statement, the company said that it "has attempted to pursue the origin of components provided through the supply chain, [but] has no further insight, nor certification to the origins of components that are provided by supply-chain distributors." Only a "small percentage" of its parts have turned out to be counterfeit, BAE said. It now has restricted its purchases to original chipmakers and their approved distributors "except in very limited circumstances," such as when it needs a hard-to-find component.

BAE isn't unique. Other contractors that have reported counterfeit microchips to GIDEP include Boeing (BA) Satellite Systems, Raytheon (RTN) Missile Systems, Northrop Grumman (NOC) Navigation Systems, and Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control. The companies all said they take the threat of counterfeits seriously but wouldn't comment on specific incidents.

The flood of counterfeit military microelectronics results largely from the Pentagon's need for parts for aging equipment and its long efforts to save money. In the mid-1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Clinton Administration launched an initiative, continued during the Bush years, of buying all sorts of components off the shelf. In addition to the traditional pattern of purchasing equipment from original manufacturers and their large, authorized distributors, the Pentagon began doing business with smaller U.S. parts brokers that sprang up to offer low-cost items, including microchips. Federal affirmative-action goals have further encouraged the military to favor suppliers that qualify as "disadvantaged." The chips wholesale for as little as 10 cents and as much as $2,000 each, depending on their complexity and quality. The Pentagon spends about $3.5 billion a year on spare chips, many of them for planes and ships that are 10 or 20 years old.


Name-brand manufacturers and well-established distributors, some of which acquire the rights to make obsolete chips, say they mark up prices 10% to 30%. Smaller brokers settle for far less generous margins. The number of small brokers increased sharply after 1994, when Congress stopped requiring government contractors to certify that they were either original manufacturers or authorized distributors. The brokers have to obtain a contractor code but receive little or no oversight. Hundreds are now operating, some out of suburban basements and second bedrooms. A BusinessWeek analysis of a contracting database identified at least 24 active brokers that list residential homes as their place of business. Several have won chip contracts for "critical applications," which the Pentagon defines as "essential to weapon system performance...or the operating personnel." In many cases these entrepreneurs comb Web sites such as brokerforum.net and netcomponents.com, which connect them with traders in Shenzhen and Guiyu. The brokers sell either directly to Pentagon depots or via suppliers to defense contractors such as BAE.

ON A QUIET STREET
Mariya Hakimuddin owns IT Enterprise, a company she runs with her mother out of a modest one-story house in Bakersfield, Calif. Rosebushes line the street, and a basketball hoop hangs in the driveway. Hakimuddin, who is in her 40s, says she has no college education. She began brokering military chips four years ago, after friends told her about the expanding trade. Since 2004 she has won Pentagon contracts worth a total of $2.7 million, records show. The military has acquired microchips and other parts from IT Enterprise for use in radar on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the antisubmarine combat system of Spruance-class destroyers.

Hakimuddin says she knows little about the parts she has bought and sold. She started her business by signing up on the Internet for a government supplier code. After the Defense Dept. approved her application, with no inspection, she began scanning online military procurement requests. She plugged part codes into Google (GOOG) and found Web sites offering low prices. Then she ordered parts and had them shipped directly to military depots. "I wouldn't know what [the parts] were before I'd order them," she says, standing near her front door. "I didn't even know what the parts were for."

The Navy's Ernst became concerned about IT Enterprise in March 2007. His team found a suspicious transistor—a basic type of microchip—supplied by the firm for use in the AV-8B Harrier, a Marine Corps fighter jet. The transistor, which turned up during an inspection of a military depot in Cherry Point, N.C., was supposed to contain lead in its solder joints, but didn't. That defect could cause solders to crack and the flight control system to fail, Ernst explains. When a member of the team telephoned IT Enterprise in Bakersfield, he heard children chattering in the background, Ernst recalls. "It was the 'Aha!' moment for me on counterfeit parts," he says.

Unknown to Ernst, a separate Defense inquiry later found that at least five shipments from IT Enterprise since 2004 had contained counterfeit microcircuits, including those intended for the USS Ronald Reagan, according to Pentagon records. During her interview with BusinessWeek, Hakimuddin denied any wrongdoing and blamed her suppliers, but she wouldn't name them. In January the Defense Dept. banned IT Enterprise, Hakimuddin, and her mother, Lubaina Nooruddin, from supplying the military for three years.

The Hakimuddins weren't deterred. A month after Mariya was barred, her husband, Mukerram, received his own supplier code, using the same home address with a new company name, Mil Enterprise. This time the Pentagon caught on more quickly, banning Mukerram for three years as well. He couldn't be reached for comment. People familiar with the matter say the Defense Criminal Investigative Service is looking into IT Enterprise.

In written responses to questions about kitchen-table brokers, officials at the Defense Supply Center in Columbus, Ohio—a major Pentagon electronic-parts buyer—said they don't inspect brokers or conduct background checks. "The law does not prohibit" work-at-home brokers or using the Internet to find parts, the officials said. "Is there risk? Yes, there is risk," Brigadier General Patricia E. McQuistion, the center's commander, says in an interview. She estimates that "less than one-quarter of 1% of what we buy is compromised."

RULE CHANGE
Nevertheless, after BusinessWeek's inquiries, the center in August issued new contracting rules for microchips. Suppliers now must document the "conformance" and "traceability" of chips when they place bids. Previously such records didn't have to be filed at the bidding stage and were sometimes missing or faked, industry and government officials say.


Even after the likes of IT Enterprise are identified, it can take time to clean up the mess. On Feb. 5, 2008, a manager at Tobyhanna Army Depot, the Pentagon's largest electronics maintenance facility, in Stroud Township, Pa., notified the supply center in Columbus that his unit had discovered counterfeit chips supplied by IT Enterprise for use in global positioning systems on F-15 fighters, according to internal Pentagon e-mails reviewed by BusinessWeek. The e-mails show that, as late as July, the Columbus center was still trying to locate parts purchased from IT Enterprise.

In a July 24 e-mail, an F-15 engineer, whom BusinessWeek agreed not to identify, wrote: "Suppose that a part like that makes it onto a flight-critical piece of hardware or mission-essential piece of hardware. The[re] is a very good chance that the part may work...but what happens at 40[,000] ft and -50 degrees? Hardware failure. Not good."

Ernst says the Hakimuddin episode helped him realize how blind the military has been: "We don't know how big the counterfeit problem is, and, to me, that is irresponsible." Now he's trying to get others in the bureaucracy to confront what he considers to be a crisis: "The risk of counterfeiting is so high, and the cost to our weapon systems is so great, that we need to take action." Glenn Benninger, a senior civilian engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., concurs: "Counterfeiting has literally exploded over the last few years, but not a lot of people have been paying attention."

The pending investigations could force the Defense Dept. to heed such warnings. In addition to the Justice Dept.'s probe of BAE, there is the Pentagon's in-house criminal inquiry. "The DoD takes this threat very seriously," John J. Young Jr., Defense Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, said in a statement. "This security threat will require great vigilance by DoD to defeat, but we will do everything within our power to do so."

Policies aimed at promoting "disadvantaged" businesses have apparently encouraged dealings with brokers that otherwise might seem questionable. Federal affirmative-action goals require the Pentagon to seek to make 22% of its purchases from small contractors—as measured by staff and revenue—including those run by women, military veterans, or members of certain ethnic minority groups. A contracting database refers to IT Enterprise as a "Subcontinent Asian American Owned Business." Hakimuddin wouldn't discuss her ethnicity but says she was born in the U.S.

Daniel Spencer designated his wife, Brenda, as the legal owner of his brokering business, BDS Supply. "I thought we'd get some kind of benefit [from being woman-owned]," says Spencer, 54, who acknowledges that he runs the company with his wife. Working from home in Great Falls, Mont., he says, he buys from legitimate suppliers and has parts shipped to him before sending them on to the Pentagon. But he admits that, despite a background in computers, he doesn't have the expertise to identify fake chips. Promod Dubey, who runs Phoenix Systems Engineering, a broker in Lake Mary, Fla., complains that military procurement offices "want the cheapest possible s--t they can get." Dubey, who lists Phoenix as a "small disadvantaged" business on Pentagon documents, says he acquires parts from China only as a "last resort" because "sometimes the quality is questionable." Neither he nor Spencer has been accused of impropriety in their military work.

Contractor reports to the GIDEP counterfeits database show a total of 115 incidents over the past six years. But "everybody believes the [GIDEP] reports are just the tip of the iceberg," says Brian Hughitt, manager of quality assurance for NASA. Hughitt says that, during testing, NASA inspectors have identified two shipments of counterfeit chips in the past 18 months. One lot was installed in flight hardware. "That's something that is going to be launched into space," Hughitt says, declining to elaborate. "It could have been real bad." NASA, which helps launch military satellites and missiles, is investigating the shipments.

TRACKING THE CONNECTION
To understand the counterfeiting phenomenon, BusinessWeek independently traced four incidents of phony parts that BAE Systems reported to GIDEP. The circuitous trails all led back to China, as did those of at least six other BAE incidents that BusinessWeek did not investigate in detail.

In April 2007 BAE reported receiving fake military-grade chips purportedly made by Philips Semiconductor for undisclosed weapon systems. A production date stamped on the supposedly military-grade chips identified them as having been made in 1998. But NXP Semiconductors, a unit spun off from the Dutch company Philips two years ago, confirms that it stopped making military-grade chips in 1997.

BAE bought the chips from Port Electronics, a Salem (N.H.) distributor. Robert W. Wentworth, a vice-president at Port, says in an interview that BAE asked his firm to find a series of older microchips to avoid a redesign of weapon systems "that would have cost [BAE] millions." He declines to specify the weapons but adds: "These people [at BAE] were desperate to find the parts."

BAE said in a statement that, after discovering the counterfeits in 2007, it "immediately ceased" using all independent chip brokers, including Port. Following a careful review, BAE added, it again began buying certain products from Port, which it described as a "small disadvantaged and disabled veteran-owned business." Without commenting directly on Wentworth's account, BAE said that redesigning older weapon technology is expensive and that it sometimes makes more economic sense to seek "small quantities of the original parts."


Port obtained the fake Philips chips from another distributor, Aapex International, in Salem, Mass. Aapex had purchased the components from Hong Kong Fair International Electronics in Shenzhen, according to BAE documents. A brochure provided by Hong Kong Fair at its office on the 15th floor of a well-kept commercial building says it enjoys "a good relationship and faithful partnership" with Aapex. Jiang Hongyan, 43, Hong Kong Fair's export manager, says in an interview that her company never tests the microchips it supplies and rarely knows anything about the companies from which it buys. "We are a trading company," says Jiang, who wears red-rimmed glasses and uses the English name "Snow." She adds: "We buy goods with one hand and sell them with the other hand. We do not have any capability to do research, production, or modifications."

SUPPLIER WARNINGS
The owner of Aapex, Marie Gauthier, says her company purchased chips from Hong Kong Fair only once. She says she doesn't know anything about the brochure in which Hong Kong Fair boasts of its "faithful partnership" with Aapex. She says she made chip sales worth $2 million to Port Electronics between 1999 and 2007. "Ninety-nine percent of it was for BAE," she says. BAE engineers regularly contacted Aapex in their search for older, hard-to-find chips, Gauthier says. She told the defense contractor she was buying parts from China. "We notified BAE that this was high-risk," says Gauthier. "They begged us because they said they needed the product." E-mail exchanges, reviewed by BusinessWeek, confirm that Aapex repeatedly warned Port and BAE about parts from China.

Gauthier says BAE and Port no longer buy from Aapex. "I got thrown under the bus by BAE," she says. "They did not want to take responsibility, so they pointed at us." BAE declined to comment on her assertion or on the e-mail exchanges.

Hong Kong Fair bought the fake Philips chips from the Guiyu Electronics Market, according to the BAE documents. No specific vendor is listed in BAE's GIDEP report. At Jinlong Electronics Trade Center in Guiyu, proprietor Lu Weilong says he could easily supply many types of military-grade chips, including those acquired for BAE. As he speaks, he turns to a PC in the back of his cluttered store and types military part numbers into Google to see from which kinds of circuit boards they can be extracted. "I have the circuit boards at home," he says confidently.

Some Chinese parts providers appear to have set up front companies in the U.S. and sell to brokers that supply the U.S. defense industry. JFBK of Fullerton, Calif., seems to be one such Chinese affiliate. The company is identified in GIDEP documents from this past June as having provided chips to North Shore Components, a distributor in Bellport, N.Y. The chips, typically used in the FA-18 fighter and E-2C Hawkeye surveillance plane, were supposed to have been made by National Semiconductor (NSM) in Santa Clara, Calif., but they turned out to be counterfeits of only commercial grade, according to North Shore's report to GIDEP. North Shore Vice-President Joseph Ruggiero says in an interview that his company found JFBK on the chip-trading Web site NetComponents.

JFBK's office in a strip mall in Fullerton is a single small room that also houses two other companies: MeiXin Technologies and New World Tech, both chip brokers. JFBK's Web site describes a "knowledgeable and friendly staff" with "years of collective experience and professional support." One afternoon in mid-July, four women and a man, who all appeared to be in their 20s, sat at desks with small signs tacked above them bearing the names of the three companies. The employees answered the phone on each desk with the name of the company designated on the card. Asked about microchip sales, one young woman, who declined to give her name, said: "We're not allowed to talk about what we do."

According to the California Department of Corporations, JFBK and New World have been "dissolved" as legal entities since 2000. MeiXin is still listed as active. Public records identify a woman named JianJu Cho as the agent for JFBK. Reached by phone while on vacation in Florida, Cho said neither she nor her staff knows much about microchips. "I don't have any knowledge about electronic components," said Cho. "All the things just depend on what our supplier tells us." Cho says the owners of JFBK and MeiXin are "a couple from China and a man from Taiwan. MeiXin and JFBK [are from] China; New World is from Taiwan."

A company called Tongda MeiXin Electronics operates on the 15th floor of an office building in Shenzhen. Under the MeiXin nameplate is another sign that states, in Chinese, "JFBK Shenzhen office." Asked about the relationship between JFBK and Tongda MeiXin, Wang Tong, general manager of MeiXin, says: "We are their supplier." Wang, 27, says JFBK probably didn't appreciate that the purportedly military-grade chips supplied to North Shore were counterfeit because neither MeiXin nor JFBK knows where the product came from. "They don't understand the technology," says Tong. "They only do trade. None of us understand the technology."

Wayne Chao, secretary general of the China Electronics Purchasing Assn., based in Shenzhen, admits that microchip counterfeiting is rife in China: "It's widespread, and we acknowledge that." Asked why Chinese officials don't shut down the blatant counterfeiting, he says: "Everyone wants to blame China. But it's difficult to differentiate between a legitimate product and a fake."

U.S. chipmakers say it is not their job to police a disorderly global marketplace, although some companies are at least trying to assess the challenge. John Sullivan, vice-president for worldwide security at Dallas-based Texas Instruments (TXN), has traveled to chip markets in Shenzhen to photograph allegedly counterfeit stockpiles and label-printing machines.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection officials at American ports have seized eight shipments of fake military-grade chips purportedly made by Texas Instruments in the past three years, according to GIDEP records. Sullivan says Pentagon representatives have met with TI and other chipmakers. "They're not seeing it as just an economic problem; they're seeing it as a problem that could affect national security and health and safety," he says.

Major chipmakers blame the Pentagon and its practice of buying from small brokers for the spread of counterfeit military-grade chips. "We've been telling people [at Defense] for 10 years to buy only from us or our authorized distributor," says Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Intel (INTC). "The military is slavishly following the low-cost paradigm but not following the idea of checking the quality as well."

Hong Kong Fair's Jiang, the alleged supplier of counterfeit chips to BAE, argues that if the U.S. military wants guaranteed high-quality chips, it should purchase them directly from the original manufacturers or their official franchisees. "Why do you come to China to buy it? You know that these things in China are cheap," Jiang says. "Why are they cheap? They have problems with quality."

Grow is a correspondent in BusinessWeek's Atlanta bureau . Tschang is a correspondent in BusinessWeek's Beijing bureau. Edwards is a correspondent in BusinessWeek's Silicon Valley bureau. Burnsed is an editorial assistant for BusinessWeek based in Atlanta.

Philip
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Philip » 04 Oct 2008 13:38

Flight Intl. has a scoop about the JSF F-35 being in serious trouble after a Rand Corp. wargaming exercise saw the US defeated by China in a wargame where China attacked Taiwan.

The US was "outmatched" by the Chinese who used large numbers of Flankers (inferior to our SU-30MKIs).The F-22s,fielded in small numbers from their base in Guam,couldn't match the numbers of Chinese Flankers and their superior number of missiles carried (912 to 48),Even though no F-22 raptors were lost,the aircraft could not stop the Flankers from shooting down US tankers,which resulted in the F-22s being unable to refuel and return to base and were therefore lost! Britain is seriously thinking of withdrawingf from the JSDF project for the RN's new carriers due to US refusal to share technology with it.

The Rand report has also echoed the severe criticism from an Australian MP,David Jensen,an ex-naval analyst with the Oz's Min. of Defence.Jensen also says that "once the F-35 is detected,the thing basically will just have to accepot the conditions of the conflict".Jensen advocates scrapping of the F-35s and F-18s,would prefer that Oz maintained the F-111s in service,and bought Lockheed F-22s instead.I posted some time ago a series of studies by the Oz air force that showed the Flanker superior to everything except the F-22 and that Oz acquiring ther F-18 and JSF F-35 would not be advantageous.This study should be studied also by the IAF who are thinking of acquiring F-18s and other similar tech aircraft.

Rand says that the USAF's "current air dominance strategy relying on stealth,forward basing and BVR" suffer from deep concerns.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 04 Oct 2008 18:23

The Land Of Oz strikes again?

Suppose this is the article that you are talking about:

Leaked Rand analysis questions USAF fighter strategy, sparks inadvertent F-35 crisis


By Stephen Trimble

A leaked briefing about a recent Taiwan Straits war game has developed rapidly into an international crisis for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme.

The leaked Rand analysis obtained by Flight International reveals deep concerns about the US Air Force's current air dominance strategy relying on stealth, forward basing and beyond visual range kills.

Despite the report's impact on the F-35 programme, the Lockheed Martin stealth fighter is mentioned only briefly on a back-up slide. The F-35 was not singled out for criticism, but neither did its appearance in the war game measurably improve the blue force's odds of success.

"Rand did not present any analysis at the war game relating to the performance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, nor did the game attempt detailed adjudication of air-to-air combat," Rand says. "Neither the game nor the assessments by Rand in support of the game undertook any comparison of the fighting qualities of particular fighter aircraft."

Maj Gen Charles Davis, chief of the F-35 joint programme office, and Lockheed Martin executive Tom Burbage attacked critical press coverage based on the Rand report, and attempted to reassure sensitive international partners nearing major acquisition decisions.

The frequency and timing of the published attacks, as well as their "completely" errant content, has prompted Davis to suspect foul play.

"It's disappointing and I guess not surprising that these articles come when they do," Davis says. "When articles show up that are just flat false there's got to be a reason for that."

Davis, who has previously accused Boeing of spreading lies about the F-35, could not provide a specific agenda motivating the programme's critics, but speculated "there's money involved and companies involved."

However, Australian MP David Jensen, an outspoken JSF critic widely quoted in the recent articles, has offered a sharp rebuttal to Davis. "Quite frankly that's baloney," says Jensen, who previously worked as a naval analyst within Australia's Ministry of Defence. "My point is that once the F-35 is detected the thing basically will just have to accept the conditions of the conflict."

Jensen advocates scrapping the F-35A and Boeing F/A-18E/F. He would prefer that Australia, increasingly flanked by Sukhoi Su-27-equipped nations, maintain General Dynamics F-111s and seek US export approval to buy Lockheed F-22s.


Ironically this article is "sponsored" by https://www.teamjsf.com/jsf/data.nsf/splash?readform. The F-35 team!!!! Go figure.

NRao
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 04 Oct 2008 20:00

Flight Intl. has a scoop about the JSF F-35 being in serious trouble after a Rand Corp. wargaming exercise saw the US defeated by China in a wargame where China attacked Taiwan.


Oct 3, 2008 :: U.S. to sell $6.4 billion in weapons to Taiwan

Rahul M
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Rahul M » 04 Oct 2008 20:04

rand has come out with a declaration that it has nothing to do with this simulation.

NRao
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby NRao » 04 Oct 2008 20:15

That is funny.

In a world of science and the Internet someone needs to inject some sensibility to all this madness. Or else it will get worse that the Swift Water ads.

However, WRT Taiwan, the US does have the option to prelocate war material I would imagine. Which is perhaps what this aid is all about.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby soutikghosh » 06 Oct 2008 02:05


vavinash
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby vavinash » 06 Oct 2008 02:08

J-11 is license produced with some russian components replaced by chinese ones.

Sanjay M
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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 06 Oct 2008 10:09

This whole plasma actuator thing seems like a pretty cool idea, if it can get off the ground:

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/AFRL_ ... ators.html

http://plasma.ece.utk.edu/~plasma/publi/Reno%202006.pdf

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby kit » 06 Oct 2008 18:34

http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/neuron/#neuron_18261

Saab has built strong capability in UAV and UCAV technology with the SHARC Swedish Highly Advanced Research Configuration demonstrator, FILUR Flying Innovative Low-observable Unmanned Research UAV,

http://products.saabgroup.com/pdbwebnew ... uctId=1256

FILUR Stealth demonstrator
Last edited by Rahul M on 09 Oct 2008 06:06, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited link format. no need to to use the "url" code, it screws up the "automatically parse URLs" option AND messes up the page format.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby renukb » 07 Oct 2008 09:52

Russia's Space Program Could Crush the U.S. Over the Next Decade
http://io9.com/5059464/russias-space-pr ... ext-decade

When NASA retires its three space shuttles in 2010, US astronauts will have to rely on the Russian space program to gain entry to space and the International Space Station. Until 2015, when the Constellation program is scheduled to begin launching the Orion spacecraft, the US plans to purchase seats on the Russian Soyuz craft. Now some NASA officials are warning that America's presence in space could be hindered further by US-Russian tensions and the emerging Chinese program.

In 2004, the Bush administration introduced its “vision for space exploration,” which includes retiring NASA’s existing shuttle fleet and introducing Constellation, a new launching program using an updated capsule and rocket system. However, the administration, not wanting to inflate NASA’s budget, decided that manned space missions would go on a five-year hiatus, and that American astronauts should instead fly on Russian spacecraft.

But the recent political tensions between the US and Russia have complicated this plan. Although NASA does not doubt Russia’s commitment to transporting US astronauts, the US’s commitment to manned spaceflight will be greatly tested if relations with Russia continue to deteriorate. Following Russia’s military action in Georgia, Congress was stalled the bill to approve NASA’s purchase of seats on Russian spacecraft beyond 2011. The approval for the purchase of seats through 2016 did ultimately pass, but the incident prompted NASA administrator Michael D. Griffin to speak out against the current policy, which he called "unseemly in the extreme":

In an e-mail message he sent to his top advisers in August, Dr. Griffin wrote that “events have unfolded in a way that makes it clear how unwise it was for the U.S. to adopt a policy of deliberate dependence on another power.”

Griffin further suggests that the gap poses an unnecessary risk to the US space program:

“In a rational world, we would have been allowed to pick a shuttle retirement date to be consistent with Ares/Orion availability,” Dr. Griffin wrote. Within the administration, he wrote, “retiring the shuttle is a jihad rather than an engineering and program management decision.”

Griffin fears the consequences of any delay in the Constellation program, which comes at a time when China’s space program is rapidly advancing. Even if the current plans go according to schedule, the US will not return to the moon until 2020. Proponents fear that by then, the US will already be behind the curve.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Sanjay M » 09 Oct 2008 06:00

Another video of Falcon1, but this one includes a little extra footage of a later engine restart to boost orbital perigee:

http://spacex.com/multimedia/videos.php?id=31

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby renukb » 11 Oct 2008 13:49

Russia Unveils New Superjet Plane
http://www.mnweekly.ru/business/20070927/55279272.html

KOMSOMOLSK-ON-AMUR (AFP, MN) - Russia on Wednesday rolled out a new regional passenger jet that it hopes will revive the country's civil aviation industry and rival similar models from Brazil and Canada.

The Superjet 100 is being developed by state-run jetmaker Sukhoi with Western partners at a factory in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Russia's Far East, some 8,000 kilometers east of Moscow.

"The first plane of the new Russia is of great importance, a priority project, because the domestic market is not enough for a world economy," First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said at the unveiling ceremony.

With the Superjet 100, Sukhoi hopes to succeed where Soviet-era jetmakers Ilyushin and Tupolev failed: in taking a large share of the world's booming passenger jet market.

The plane, which can fit up to 110 passengers, is due to undergo test flights later this year, and developers hope to be producing up to six planes a month for world markets by 2010.

Sukhoi is hoping U.S. and European authorities will certify the plane in 2008.

For officials, the project is a symbol of Russia's ambitions to diversify its increasing powerful economy away from a reliance on oil and gas exports towards manufacturing and hi-tech.

U.S. jetmaker Boeing, Italy's Alenia, and French companies Snecma and Thales are all involved in the project, for which Sukhoi expects to spend around $1 billion.

Alenia, part of Italian industrial giant Finmeccanica, owns a 25 percent stake in Sukhoi Aviation.

Russian carrier Aeroflot has ordered 15 of the Superjet 100s for $400 million and Italian regional carrier ItAli has put in an order for 10 planes.

There are 73 orders in total so far for the Superjet, mainly from Russian regional carriers.

Sukhoi is aiming to break into the regional jet market, which is booming and is currently dominated by Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier.

Sukhoi chief Mikhail Pogosian estimated the Superjet 100 could take up a fifth of the market for planes with between 70 and 100 seats, which is estimated at 5,000 jets over the next 20 years.

Sukhoi estimates the project will become profitable after the 300th jet.

Pogosian said the plane offered "comfort and efficiency," as well as a price tag of $28 million, or 25 percent lower than the Embraer 190.

Meanwhile, Igor Kalygin, the general constructor of the Tu-334 plane expressed doubts about Superjet 100 prospects.

In an interview with Russia's Trud daily newspaper, Kalygin said the rollout of Superjet was a "PR action" and the aircraft still required a lot of work to be done.

"It will be wheeled out of its hangar and then wheeled back in for a long time. For the time being, it is - as constructors put it - a ‘painted shell.' It hasn't flown yet, and it won't soon as it requires serious fitting-out, during which its flying capabilities such as flying range, weight, etc., will likely change for the worse," Kalygin told the paper.

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Re: International Aerospace Discussion

Postby Gerard » 11 Oct 2008 20:47

Russian president observes record firing of Sineva ICBM
Medvedev announced that the missile had traveled a record 11,547 km (7,170 miles), declaring it a serious part of the arsenal for some time to come.
"For the first time in Navy history, the launch was not to the Kura test range in Kamchatka [Russian Far East], but to the area of an equatorial part of the Pacific,"


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