Severe Weather Curtails Pad Activity

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Thu, 31 Mar 2011 04:19:03 PM GMT

Another round of strong storms is passing over NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla. this morning. A tornado watch remains in effect until early this afternoon and initial indications are a tornado was sighted north of Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39A about 8:30 a.m. EDT. That’s also about when a media Q&A session was schedule to take place at the pad with space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-134 astronauts, but due to the severe weather, the media briefing on NASA TV was moved inside to Kennedy’s Press Site. The astronauts’ training related to the launch dress rehearsal, known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT), is being adjusted because of the weather.

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Vessel Grounded in Montreal South Shore Canal


Cornwall, Ontario (March 31, 2011) – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) reported this morning that navigation is currently halted within the Seaway’s South Shore Canal.

At approximately 3:13 a.m. on Thursday, March 31, the BBC Steinhoelft veered off course and became grounded in the South Shore Canal between the St. Lambert Lock and the Jacques Cartier Bridge. No pollution has been reported as a consequence of the grounding.

Inspectors are currently in the process of boarding the vessel in order to assess any damage and formulate a plan to free the vessel. Seaway officials estimate that the vessel may be moved out of the canal by Thursday evening, enabling the full restoration of navigation within the canal.

As of 9:20 a.m. Thursday morning, there were five vessels delayed due to the grounding.

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WTO Ruling Exposes Massive Airbus Advantage From Illegal Subsidies


– Trade court rejects nearly 80% of EU claim of improper support for Boeing; finds no U.S. equivalent for billions in illegal European launch aid provided to Airbus
– Final rulings in U.S. and EU cases now public; findings show Airbus received more than $20 billion in impermissible funding versus $2.7 billion for Boeing.
– Boeing reiterates call for Airbus to fund A350 and other new programs on commercial terms, and remedy prohibited export subsidies on the A380

CHICAGO, March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — A World Trade Organization final case ruling published today confirms the massive market advantage Airbus has enjoyed from billions in illegal government subsidies provided to fund the company’s commercial airplane product line since its inception more than 40 years ago.

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General Dynamics Awarded $23 Million Contract to Support the U.S. Air Force

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FAIRFAX, Va., March 31, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —

General Dynamics Information Technology, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has been awarded a contract to support the U.S. Air Force’s F-22A Integrated Maintenance Information System (IMIS) program. The three-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a total potential value of $23 million if all options are exercised. An initial order of $3 million was awarded.

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SuperJet International completes first Aeroflot Flight Crew Training Course

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SuperJet International (SJI) – a joint venture between Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica Company, and Sukhoi Holding – has completed Flight Crew Training Course for Aeroflot pilots at its Training Center facility in Moscow.


The “Type Rating course for Aeroflot pilots” on the SSJ100, conducted by SJI Staff Pilots, had a duration of 24 days.

The courses involved three flight crews (6 pilots) in classroom sections which required the use of CBT (Computer Based Training), the FTD (Flight Training Device) level 5, based in Zhukovsky (Moscow Region) with the aim of FPTD (Flight Procedure Training Device).

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Harris Corporation Receives Order from German Ministry of Defence for Falcon III AN/PRC-117G Wideband Manpack Radios

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• Harris to provide AN/PRC-117G manpack radios to Germany for next-generation tactical communications.
• German Bundeswehr will deploy radios for improved interoperability, simultaneous voice and data transmissions and wideband networking capabilities.
• Six countries now utilizing the Falcon III AN/PRC-117G.

MELBOURNE, Fla., and ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 31, 2011 — Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS), an international communications and information technology company, has received a $1.6 million order from the Bundeswehr, the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, for Falcon III® AN/PRC-117G ( multiband manpack radio systems. This order brings to six the number of countries that have adopted the AN/PRC-117G to provide defense personnel with next-generation tactical communications capabilities such as wideband networking.

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Celestial Mountains


Wed, 30 Mar 2011 23:00:00 -0500

The Tien Shan mountain range is one of the largest continuous mountain ranges in the world, extending approximately 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) roughly east-west across Central Asia. This image taken by the Expedition 27 crew aboard the International Space Station provides a view of the central Tien Shan, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of where the borders of China, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan meet. The uplift of the Tien Shan, which means celestial mountains in Chinese, like the Himalayas to the south, results from the ongoing collision between the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates. The rugged topography of the range is the result of subsequent erosion by water, wind and, in the highest parts of the range, active glaciers. Two high peaks of the central Tien Shan are identifiable in the image. Xuelian Feng has a summit of 21,414 feet (6,527 meters) above sea level. To the east, the aptly-named Peak 6231 has a summit 6,231 meters, or 20,443 feet, above sea level. Image Credit: NASA

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Astronauts in Last Phase of Training for Mission


Thu, 31 Mar 2011 08:09:08 -0500

The six astronauts who will fly space shuttle Endeavour on its last scheduled mission are moving through the last phases of training as launch day nears. The crew is at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test known as TCDT. The work culminates with a dress rehearsal of launch day for the astronauts and the whole launch team. Endeavour, standing on Launch Pad 39A, is set up exactly as it will be for liftoff and the crew takes their assigned seats.

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Earth’s gravity revealed in unprecedented detail

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ESA’s GOCE mission has delivered the most accurate model of the ‘geoid’ ever produced, which will be used to further our understanding of how Earth works.

A precise model of Earth’s geoid is crucial for deriving accurate measurements of ocean circulation, sea-level change and terrestrial ice dynamics. The geoid is also used as a reference surface from which to map the topographical features on the planet. In addition, a better understanding of variations in the gravity field will lead to a deeper understanding of Earth’s interior, such as the physics and dynamics associated with volcanic activity and earthquakes.

Credits: ESA/HPF/DLR

31 March 2011
After just two years in orbit, ESA’s GOCE satellite has gathered enough data to map Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision. Scientists now have access to the most accurate model of the ‘geoid’ ever produced to further our understanding of how Earth works.

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Warship handling and anti-piracy training capabilities boost for RAN

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) opened its recently upgraded ship’s bridge simulator training facility at HMAS Watson in Sydney on 25th March 2011. Featuring a host of new full mission and desktop simulators from Kongsberg Maritime, the new facility represents one of the most advanced naval training centres in the world and will be used by RAN cadets to learn to pilot the next generation of warships, alongside a wide range of critical training applications, including anti-piracy.

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