Harris Corporation Awarded $50 Million Order from Nation in Middle East for Integrated Tactical Communication System

AN PRC 152 Appl tcm26-12066

• Delivers fixed and mobile communications system capabilities to nation's armed forces
• Provides forces with tactical Internet wherever they are on the battlefield
• Expands Harris’ international position in command and control communications solutions

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS), has received an order valued at more than $50 million from a nation in the Middle East to deliver a secure, integrated tactical area communications solution using Falcon III® wideband tactical radios.



As part of this Integrated Tactical Area Communications System (ITACS) solution, the nation is acquiring Harris’ software-defined radios to provide mobile, net-centric capabilities to its armed forces. The solution supports the latest wideband and narrowband networking waveforms and enables country-wide voice and data capabilities for critical missions. This allows forward-deployed teams to stay in constant communications with commanders at operating bases and headquarters.

"The Harris ITACS enables this nation to make a rapid transition to modern, flexible and modular IP-based tactical area communications," said Brendan O'Connell, president, International Business, Harris RF Communications. "The system dramatically improves situational awareness by creating a mobile tactical Internet that delivers voice, data and situational awareness across the country."

Harris RF Communications is the leading global supplier of secure radio communications and embedded high-grade encryption solutions for military, government and commercial organizations. The company's Falcon® family of software-defined tactical radio systems encompasses manpack, handheld and vehicular applications. Falcon III® is the next generation of radios supporting the U.S. military's Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) requirements, as well as network-centric operations worldwide. Harris RF Communications is also a leading supplier of assured communications® systems and equipment for public safety, utility and transportation markets — with products ranging from the most advanced IP voice and data networks to portable and mobile single- and multiband radios.

Update on deliveries as we close down ahead of Christmas plus a FREE GIFT to XH558’s supporters

Vulcan XH558 - The Spirit of Great Britain
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News from XH558, the last flying Vulcan
1/ Christmas Gift for everyone 2/ Vulcan XH558 Merchandise 3/ Our teams & invaluable volunteers
4/ Latest on pledge fund 5/ First dispatch of pledge rewards 6/ Give XH558 a Christmas present
7/ Vulcan Ales this Christmas 8/ Have a great Christmas! 9/ Coming up next week
10/ Our FREE GIFT to you
First, a Christmas gift for everyone
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First, a Christmas gift for everyone
Vulcan rare images
We launch today’s edition with the Christmas treat of a really unusual and very rare view – looking straight down the air-intake tunnels of XH558 while she is airborne. Captured by Eric Coeckelberghs during one of our air-to-air photographic sorties this year.
We have another present for you at the very bottom of this newsletter.
Vulcan XH558 Season Greetings
Thank you for your great support in 2014
School party Santa's visit
We had several parties of school children in the hangar yesterday and at one point, Santa made a surprise visit!
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Vulcan XH558 Merchandise – all out by lunchtime today
merchandise ready to ship in post van The last batch of orders from the web store left our Hinckley stores just after lunchtime today, collected by the Post Office van or by our courier company. It marked the end of a hectic eight-week period for our team and the local volunteers that give their time to support our growing commercial operations and make a great contribution to our funding needs by servicing the great support seen from the public. (See the article below on what a task it has been!) A van load of parcels off to the sorting office.
A big ‘thank you’ to all our customers for supporting Vulcan XH558 through your purchases.
The last major push of the week was to send over 900 copies of the new Avro Sisters DVD that arrived fresh from the production process early on Wednesday morning. If you pre-ordered a copy or managed to place a late order ahead of the initial stock being fully allocated then rest assured, your copy is now in the postal system – first class!
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Well done to all our teams and especially, our invaluable volunteers
post office collection Since 1st November, the web store team has moved over 6,000 orders, with perhaps nearer 9,000 individual packages being placed in the post or on couriers. This represents an average of over 300 orders that have to be picked, collated and packed each and every day! On top of the physical goods, we also had Gift Vouchers, Share Certificates and Raffle tickets to issue, so rather a challenge logistically! This was a massive task for a team that has nowhere near the resources of other well-known online retailers. They coped with it admirably and with great spirits.
A typical days’ work awaiting another collection by the Post Office.
We should also thank our busy team and volunteers in the hangar at Doncaster who have been handling far more visitors and events over the last few weeks, with extended opening hours and a number of regional promotions that has kept our supply chain between the Hinckley stores and the hangar very active. The greater number of hangar visitors has meant far more volunteer guides have been on duty and many have gladly found additional free time to help. We recently had chance to welcome several new members to the volunteer team who have been ‘shadowing’ in order to take up their own roles next year, so all in all, a very busy and exciting time.
Our sincere thanks go to all who are parts of making it all happen.
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Latest on pledge fund as we go to the break
As we close down for the holiday break, the latest readings show we are just over 10% short of reaching the pledge appeal target needed to fully cover the costs of the winter service. This will be our focus during the first week back as our engineering team need to work on preparing XH558 for the tasks required to keep her airworthy. First tasks will be removal of the canopy and the lifting of the ejection seats to go off for inspection. We must ensure there are no delays to this process if we are to meet the tight service schedule.
If you still intend to make your payment to redeem your pledge, then please do so over the holidays from the email or letter you will have received.
We certainly hope that by our first newsletter of 2015, we will have closed the gap sufficiently to enable the works to begin. This is where we stand as at lunchtime today. pledge fund
If you have not paid your pledge yet, and if you can pay your pledge by 5th January, we will send your rewards then.
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Good news on first dispatch of pledge rewards
Pledge certificate Pledge picture The first wave of rewards for those who have paid their pledge were released into the post today. This will cover all those that qualify for the certificate, the car sticker and the never-published air-to-air photo for any who pledged before 31st August.
Pledge badge
This will be for all pledges which have been paid, whether in your own name, as a gift or in memoriam.
Other applicable rewards will follow on early next year and we will keep you updated on progress in these newsletters.
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Would you like to give XH558 a Christmas Box present?
£5 Christmas box £10 Christmas box £20 Christmas box £55.80 Christmas box
Would you like to make a donation to XH558 this Christmas? Our present gift boxes are pre-loaded by value and are a simple way to make online donations through our web store. Simply click on the level of Gift you would like to send XH558 this Christmas and follow through to the checkout. If you are a UK taxpayer, you will have the option of adding on Gift Aid that will make each donation worth 25% more without costing you any extra. This can make a £20 donation worth £25 when we claim the extra £5 from the government on your behalf.
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Added opportunity of Vulcan Ales this Christmas
Vulcan ales We have just been advised by the Yorkshire Drinks Company that they have been able to secure additional bottled supplies of our two fine Vulcan Ales, and are making these available for sale right now. All the listings have been updated to reflect the stockholding and arrangements made with couriers to assure pre-Christmas delivery for any orders placed ahead of midnight on Saturday. (That is just over 24 hours in which to place your orders). The supplies include a limited number of the special three bottle presentation packs – the perfect last minute much appreciated Christmas Gift. Vulcan Ales
CLICK HERE TO ORDER Please order and drink responsibly – ENJOY!
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Have a great Christmas!
Merry Christmas from Vulcan
XH558 receiving some appropriate tinsel decorations in the hangar!
We will turn our focus and energies to supporting XH558 in the New Year, but in the meantime, do remember that wearing Vulcan clothing and badges, or talking about XH558 over the holidays can lead to a whole new range of people being aware of the aircraft. Parties and family gatherings are an ideal time to help spread the word and going by the level of spending in our web store this year, many will be having Vulcan XH558 related gifts as a result! Maybe some people would like to accompany you to see the aircraft in her hangar in Doncaster? It is the ideal time to ask, find out who would like to join you and plan your visit. Next week, our special Holiday newsletter edition will have some great details on the many types of tours you can enjoy. Perhaps you could also promote and sell some of our raffle tickets that you might have? It is another great way of raising valuable funds and in lifting our profile. As we close down for Christmas, we would like to wish all of XH558's supporters, and all those who have helped her in any way, a Very Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Successful and XH558-filled New Year! Thank you.
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Coming up next week
Already planned for our Holiday newsletter edition:
  • In aircraft video from the Cold War Tour overhead Doncaster and the final landing of the year.
  • Extensive details on our range of hangar tours for the 2015 season.
  • Santa’s Lost Property Department   (A chance to buy the presents you really wanted!)
  • Two articles from the Cold War period for your holiday reading enjoyment.
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Finally, our FREE GIFT to you
Many thanks to our designer Mark Freshney, for working on an appropriate layout of XH558 as she appeared in the early part of the 1960s - right around the time of growing tensions in the Cold War and the Cuban Missile crisis. How appropriate this is released just days after the welcome news of warming relationships between Cuba and the United States of America with the proposals to begin lifting the trade sanctions that have lasted since that time. Vulcan cut out gift Our card flyer design is aimed at giving you the ideal Vulcan project over the holiday break, by printing out either directly on thin card or by gluing a paper version to a cereal packet or similar and then carefully cutting out and assembling. The addition of a little bit of special aeronautical tape (cellotape will suffice), and a piece of blu-tack placed on the nose should give you lots of fun in aiming for the best flying Vulcan in the family. Perhaps challenge the Children to see who can make theirs fly the longest distance? We hope you enjoy it! (Click the image to go to our pdf A4 download or CLICK HERE)
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Copyright © Vulcan To The Sky Trust 2014

This Week’s Sailing News: Job Opportunity, 12 Days of Christmas, Presidents Blog and more

ISA Newsletter 18th December 2014
ISA Website | More News | Subscribe | Archive | Contact Us www.sailing.ie
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ISA Job Vacancy The ISA is now recruiting a Regional Development Officer to join the ISA's professional team as part of The Way Forward Strategic Plan. The prime role of the RDO is to provide support to member clubs and affiliated organisations for the purpose of increasing activity and participation. Read on...
Members Offers, Freebees and Prizes The 12 ISA Days of Christmas are in full swing with discounts, special rates, luxury afternoon tea, free books, ladies buffs and a ferry crossing so far. More to come over the next 6 days to celebrate the Membership Benefits. A massive thank you to all the providers. Find out more...
President's Blog President David Lovegrove has given an update on the fundamental restructure of the organisation. Get the link here...
Remember 1895 The crew of the RNLI lifeboat station at Dun Laoghaire will hold their annual ceremony to remember the 15 volunteers that died on service in 1895 on Christmas Eve as well as all those who lost their lives around our coasts in 2014. Families are especially welcome to attend this long-standing local tradition of remembrance. Read more...
Clontarf IDRA14 The team are progressing well and she is looking more and more like a boat now. Follow the progress...
Irish Match Racing Open Success An incredible 36 races were sailed on Saturday between dawn and dusk - not a minute was wasted, so when high winds cancelled racing on Sunday there were enough races in the bag to give a result. Congratulations to Mark Lees and team. Read more...
Young Squad Sailors Performing in Sunshine While we are battening down the hatches here in Ireland, some of our young squad sailors are competing for Ireland in warm breezes. The Optimists are in Malta and the 420's in Palamos. What are they up to...
The ISA Offices will be closed for the Christmas holiday from 5pm on Tuesday, 23rd December 2014 and will reopen on Monday, 5th January 2015.
    In this Issue      - New ISA Job Vacancy      - 12 Days of Christmas      - President's Blog      - RNLI Remembrance      - Clontarf IDRA      - Irish Match Racing      - Warm Breezes      - New Spar Buoys
INSTRUCTOR TRAINING Have you booked your 2015 instructor Training yet?
Senior Instructor Courses 2015 30 Mar - Dunmore East AC 20 Apri- Shackleton OEC 22 June - Lough Derg YC
Instructor Courses Jan & Feb 20 Jan - Adv. Powerboat Irish National SS, Dublin
12 Feb - Safety Boat Shackleton OEC, Dublin
16 Feb - Dinghy Irish National SS, Dublin
Full Instructor Course details here.
More Maritime News Afloat Magazine Inshore Ireland News Outsider Magazine Seascapes Broadcast Island Nation Broadcast View this email in your browser

Sikorsky Commercial Links Newsletter

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Sikorsky S-92® Helicopter Marks a Decade of Trusted Service and PerformanceIn September, Sikorsky marked the 10-year anniversary of delivery of the first production S-92® helicopter. “On behalf of Sikorsky, I would like to congratulate and thank all of our customers, suppliers and employees upon reaching this milestone,” said Carey Bond, President, Sikorsky Commercial Systems & Services. “We are incredibly proud of this aircraft’s accomplishments, especially in safety and reliability, and look forward to continued success of the platform.”  
Bristow Accepts First Sikorsky S-92® Helicopter for Long-Term Search and Rescue Services in UKSikorsky and Bristow Group Inc. announced the acceptance of an S-92® helicopter by Bristow Helicopters Ltd. The helicopter, configured for search and rescue service, was accepted during a ceremony at the Sikorsky facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. In March 2013, Bristow Helicopters Ltd. was awarded the contract to provide search and rescue helicopter service in the United Kingdom. The contract begins in April 2015 and runs until 2026. Bristow Helicopters Ltd.’s U.K. SAR (search and rescue) fleet of 22 aircraft will include 11 Sikorsky S-92 helicopters that are fitted with state-of-the-art technology.
Sikorsky Celebrates 30th Anniversary in China at Zhuhai Air ShowSikorsky celebrated its 30th anniversary in China together with China civil aviation industry peers at Air Show China from November 11-16, 2014, in Zhuhai, China. “We have been a long-term friend to the China civil aviation industry,” said Mick Maurer, president, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. “We delivered our first five S-76A™ helicopters to Chinese companies in 1984. Today, we have more than 100 Sikorsky civil helicopters supporting offshore oil, search and rescue, executive transport and other commercial business needs throughout China. We’re excited to celebrate our three-decade friendship with the China civil aviation industry at Air Show China.”
Also In this Issue:
Sikorsky Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Skyline to Explore Customer Support Center Potential for the S-76® Helicopter in Turkey
COHC Accepts Delivery of S-92® Helicopter
Sikorsky Hosts S-76® an S-92® Operators Conference in Coatesville, Pennsylvania
Igor Sikorsky’s VS-300 Helicopter Transformed Aviation 75 Years Ago

Season Greetings from AsianYachting & Hobart Race preview

Goto AsianYachting site Seasons Greetings from AsianYachting From AsianYachting MultiMedia 19 Dec 2014: We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas plus a safe and prosperous New Year for 2015. Also take this opportunity to thank all our faithful subscribers, regatta organisers and advertising sponsors for coming aboard with us, plus safe boating where ever your travels may take you over the holiday season.
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FREE Image Christmas Presents AY Regatta Photo LibraryHurry for your last minute Christmas presents. All you have to do is check out the extensive AY Regatta Photo Library over the last 11 years and if you find a photo you like, email the details under the image and which gallery it came from. If for personnel use only, we will send you "Absolutely free" the highest quality resolution image that we have on file. It's that easy! So what are you waiting for? Start Clicking the mouse and send your photo requests to: info@asianyachting.com We are ready and waiting to send your Christmas presents...

Goto Big 5 comparison drawings70th Sydney Hobart Race... A fleet comprising 117 yachts to match the occasion, including several international entrants, five 100-ft Maxis (See comparison drawings), seven former winners and the current race record holder, is arguably the strongest in recent Rolex Sydney Hobart history. The international fleet includes entries from the Cayman Islands, UK, USA, NZ, Germany and Poland.

Goto Rolex Sydney Hobart 2014Asia's biggest hope lays with regular competitor in Asian waters, Ray Roberts latest Farr 55 One Sails, after 5 years absence is making a return to the Aussie racing scene, and more than ever determined to win the race, that has left them in second place a couple of times.

The start at 1pm AEST (10:00am East Asia) on Boxing Day, 26th Dec. Check out the start line action from 12:30pm AEST (09:30am East Asia) through its online affiliate Yahoo!7

2014 Rolex Syd-Hobart RaceAlso possibly on the Australia Plus Network (Astro Channel 521 Malaysia) broadcast to 31 million homes across 45 countries in Asia-Pacific and the Indian sub-continent. Goto live tracking throughout the race at the official CYCA - Rolex Sydney Hobart 2014 website.

AY Regatta Photo LibraryMeanwhile take a look at “50 Golden Years of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race” produced to celebrate the 50th race in 1994 or anyone looking for some warm-up action, to whet the appetite while waiting for Boxing Day to arrive, check out a video taster from the Bow Caddy team featuring Comanche duking it out with Wild Oats XI and Perpetual Loyal on Sydney Harbour. Only eight sleeps to go!

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rshyr Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RolexSydneyHobart

Goto One Sails
Goto Top of the Gulf Regatta
Goto Royal Langkawi Int Regatta
Bringing North Sails to Southeast Asia
Check out the bargains at Quantum Sails
Goto Multihull Solutions.

End of Year Newsletter

Friday 19 December 2014
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Click on this link to see our ann

End of Year Newsletter

Please CLICK HERE to view our end of year newsletter. It's been a busy year but, thanks to your support, a hugely successful one. We hope you enjoy our newsletter which includes details of our new service delivery programmes and forthcoming events including The Cumbrian Challenge and The Ride Of The Lions: Waterloo 200. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a successful New Year. The Walking With The Wounded team.

Support The Walk

Make a difference to the lives of our ex-servicemen and women.

Walking Home For Christmas

It's not too late. Join in the fun, plan a walk with family and friends, and sign up here#WalkingHomeForChristmas

Love it? Then like it!

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Support the Team and Walking With The Wounded on Twitter by tagging @supportthewalk in your tweets.

Walking With The Wounded

Stody Hall Barns, Stody, Melton Constable, Norfolk NR24 2ED Telephone: 01263 863 900 info@wwtw.org.uk

Origin of high-latitude auroras revealed

Cluster and Image during aurora observation node full image 2

Title Cluster and Image during aurora observation
Released 18/12/2014 8:00 pm

The night side of the terrestrial magnetosphere forms a structured magnetotail, consisting of a plasma sheet at low latitudes that is sandwiched between two regions called the magnetotail lobes. The lobes consist of the regions in which Earth’s magnetic field lines are directly connected to the magnetic field carried by the solar wind. Different plasma populations are observed in these regions – plasma in the lobes is very cool, whereas the plasma sheet is more energetic.

The diagram labels by two red dots the location of an ESA Cluster satellite and NASA’s Image satellite on 15 September 2005, when particular conditions of the magnetic field configuration gave rise to a phenomenon known as ‘theta aurora’.

Full story: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cluster/Origin_of_high-latitude_auroras_revealed
Id 332445


18 December 2014

Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun’s effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood. Thanks to ESA’s Cluster and NASA’s Image satellites working together, a particular type of very high-latitude aurora has now been explained.



Although separated by some 150 million kilometres, the Sun and Earth are connected by the solar wind. This stream of plasma – electrically charged atomic particles – is launched by the Sun and travels across the Solar System, carrying its own magnetic field with it.

Depending on how this ‘interplanetary magnetic field’ is aligned with Earth’s magnetic field when it arrives, there can be various results.

At the point where the two fields meet, Earth’s magnetic field points north. If the interplanetary field is pointing south, then ‘magnetic reconnection’ can occur, where magnetic field lines pointing in opposite directions spontaneously break and reconnect with other nearby field lines.

Title Formation of a theta aurora
Released 18/12/2014
Length 00:00:39
Language English
Footage Type Graphic
Copyright ESA/NASA/R. Fear et al (2014)

Left: The development of the theta aurora on 15 September 2005, as seen by NASA’s IMAGE far-ultraviolet wideband imaging camera. Each frame is projected onto a grid of magnetic latitude against magnetic local time, with local noon at the top and dawn to the right.

The footprint of the Cluster satellites is indicated by a red dot. Times are indicated in the clock.

Initially the aurora conformed to a standard ‘oval’ configuration, but then, at about 16:40 GMT, a small feature emerged from the nightside and grew into a transpolar arc, connecting the two sides of the oval and intersecting with the footprint of the Cluster satellites at around 17:15 GMT. The arc eventually moves past the satellites and dissipates, corresponding with the interplanetary magnetic field turning southward from an initially northward direction.

Right: Cluster measurements during the development of the theta aurora. The uncharacteristically energetic plasma corresponds to the times where the ‘arc’ of the theta aurora is seen to intersect the spacecraft footprint in the IMAGE data.


This opens the door to solar wind plasma entering the magnetosphere – Earth’s magnetic ‘bubble’.

The ultimate result can be colourful displays in the night sky known as the Northern or Southern Lights, produced when the particles are channelled along Earth’s magnetic field lines and strike atoms high in the atmosphere.

The interaction with oxygen atoms results in a green or, more rarely, red glow in the night sky, while nitrogen atoms yield blue and purple colours.

Normally, the main region for this impressive display is the ‘auroral oval’, which lies at around 65–70 degrees north or south of the equator, encircling the polar caps.

Theta aurora as seen by NASA s Image satellite on 15 September 2005 node full image 2

Title Theta aurora as seen by NASA’s Image satellite on 15 September 2005
Released 18/12/2014 8:00 pm
Copyright NASA/R. Fear et al (2014)

The theta aurora as seen by NASA’s Image satellite on 15 September 2005.

The green lines show latitude and longitude lines and the outlines of the continents; Australia is to the right, South America is to the left and Antarctica is in the middle. The theta aurora is seen slightly off-centre, above the right-hand side of Antarctica in this orientation, its characteristic shape defined by the ‘bar’ connecting the auroral oval. The bright region to the left is ‘day glow’ (the sunlit atmosphere).

The resolution of the image is 256 x 256 pixels, which is the native resolution of the far-ultraviolet Wideband Imaging Camera.

Full story: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cluster/Origin_of_high-latitude_auroras_revealed
Id 332446

But when the interplanetary magnetic field points northward, auroras can occur at even higher latitudes. One type is known as a ‘theta aurora’ because seen from above it looks like the Greek letter theta – an oval with a line crossing through the centre.

While the genesis of the auroral oval emissions is reasonably well understood, the origin of the theta aurora was unclear until now.

A clue comes from the particles observed in the two ‘lobe’ regions of the magnetosphere. The plasma in the lobes is normally cold, but previous observations suggested that theta auroras are linked with unusually hot lobe plasma, though quite how was unclear.

“The possibilities have been debated since the first satellite observations of the phenomenon were made in the 1980s,” describes Robert Fear of the University of Southampton in the UK (formerly at the University of Leicester), and lead author of the paper reporting the results inSciencethis week.

“Previously it was unclear whether this hot plasma was a result of direct solar wind entry through the lobes of the magnetosphere, or if the plasma is somehow related to the plasma sheet on the night side of Earth.

“One idea is that the process of magnetic reconnection on the night side of Earth causes a build-up of ‘trapped’ hot plasma in the higher latitude lobes.”

NASA’s Orion Arrives Back at Kennedy, Media Invited to View Spacecraft

OrionReturn-14-339 0

NASA’s Orion spacecraft returned to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Dec. 18, 2014. The spacecraft flew to an altitude of 3,600 miles in space during a Dec. 5 flight test designed to stress many of the riskiest events Orion will see when it sends astronauts on future missions to an asteroid and on the journey to Mars.
Image Credit: NASA

After traveling more than 3,600 miles above Earth and 600 miles over sea, NASA’s Orion spacecraft completed the final leg of its journey by land Thursday, arriving home at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Media representatives are invited to attend an event at 10:30 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 19, marking the arrival.



U.S. media must apply for credentials to attend Friday’s event at Kennedy by 8 a.m. Friday. All media must present two forms of legal, government identification to access Kennedy. One form must be a photo ID, such as a passport or driver's license. Media not previously credentialed for SpaceX CRS-5 will be issued badges at the Kennedy Badging Office, located on State Road 405 east of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Journalists must arrive at Kennedy's Press Site by 9:45 a.m. Friday for transportation to the event.

Media accreditation requests must be submitted online at:


The deadline for international media to attend in person already has passed.

The spacecraft’s cross-country return, a 2,700 mile road trip from Naval Base San Diego to Kennedy, sets the stage for in-depth analysis of data obtained during Orion’s trip to space and will provide engineers detailed information on how the spacecraft fared during its two-orbit, 4.5-hour flight test, completed on Dec. 5.

“Orion’s flight test was a critical step on our journey to send astronauts to explore deep space destinations,” said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We stressed Orion to help us evaluate its performance and validate our computer models and ground-based evaluations, and the information we gathered will help us improve Orion’s design going forward.”

Data was gathered in real time during the flight test, and more was removed from the vehicle when it arrived on land in San Diego before it was crated for the drive to Florida.

“The flight itself was such a great success, but that’s only the beginning of the story,” said Orion Program Manager Mark Geyer. “Now we get to dig in and really find out if our design performed like we thought it would. This is why we flew the flight. We demonstrated on Dec. 5 that Orion is a very capable vehicle. Now we’re going to keep testing and improving as we begin building the next Orion.”

An initial inspection of the crew module turned up nothing unexpected. There were indications of some micrometeoroid orbital debris strikes on the sides of Orion, which was anticipated.

With the spacecraft back at Kennedy, where it was assembled and prepared for launch, engineers will be able to remove the back shell of the spacecraft and perform inspections of its cabling, fluid lines, propulsion system and avionics boxes. Heat shield samples already have been removed and sent to a laboratory where their thickness, strength and charring will be examined.

The information will be used to make improvements to Orion’s design before its next flight, Exploration Mission-1, when it will launch uncrewed on top of NASA’s new Space Launch System for the first time into a large orbit around the moon.

While the information is being gathered from the flight test, testing also will continue on Earth. On Dec. 18, engineers dropped a test version of the Orion capsule from a C-17 aircraft 25,000 feet above U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The latest in a series of tests designed to certify Orion’s parachute system, the test simulated a failure of one of Orion’s three main parachutes for a first-time demonstration of several modifications made to the parachute system to improve its performance.

Panels for the pressure vessel that will form the inner structure for the next Orion crew module are in production and set to be welded together at the end of summer 2015. Meanwhile, the European Space Agency is building the test article of the Orion service module they will be supplying for Exploration Mission-1, and assembly of the launch abort system for that flight will begin in April.

NASA’s Ground Systems Development and Operations Program managed Orion’s cross-country trip from Naval Base San Diego to Kennedy. The crew module will be refurbished for use in Ascent Abort-2 in 2018, a test of Orion’s launch abort system.

For more information about the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program at Kennedy, visit:


For information about Orion, visit:


Boeing, BOC Aviation Finalize Order for Two Additional 737-800s

BOC+Aviation 737-8 K66262 sm

Order grows Singapore-based leasing company's portfolio of fuel-efficient airplanes

SEATTLE, Dec. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] and BOC Aviation have finalized an order for two additional 737-800s, valued at $186 million at current list prices.



The order is a part of the Singapore-based leasing company's effort to grow its portfolio of fuel-efficient airplanes.

"Building on our order of 80 737 aircraft earlier this year, these two additional Next-Generation 737s enable us to respond to demand from airline customers which are expanding or replacing older fleets," said Robert Martin, BOC Aviation managing director and chief executive officer. "The 737 is known for its operational and fuel efficiency, and BOC Aviation expects continued healthy demand for the Next Generation 737 and 737 MAX."

"BOC Aviation has played an important role in the success of the Next-Generation 737 and we are excited to continue our relationship with their order of two additional 737-800s," said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president, Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

BOC Aviation, owned by Bank of China, is the leading global aircraft leasing company based in Asia, owning one of the youngest fleets in the industry with an average aircraft age of less than four years. These two aircraft add to BOC Aviation's order of 82 Boeing aircraft in August, which comprised 80 737s, of which 50 are 737 MAXs, as well as two 777-300ERs (Extended Range).

The 737-800 is the best-selling version of the highly successful Next-Generation 737 family, the most technologically advanced airplanes in the single-aisle market. The Next-Generation 737's market success has been confirmed by investors who consistently rank it as the most preferred single-aisle airplane due to its wide market base, superior performance efficiency and lowest operating costs in its class. The Next-Generation 737 has accumulated more than 6,800 orders from customers worldwide.