Monday, December 30, 2013

US seeks helicopters for Colombian National Police

The Department of State’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, is seeking potential sources capable of providing five Bell 206B3 helicopters for the Colombian National Police (CNP).

All aircraft will be delivered to, assembled (if required), and test flown, by the contractor, in Bogota, Colombia, at the CNP Aviation Base in Guaymaral, Santa Fe de Bogota, Cundimarca (approximately 12 kilometers north of Bogota).

"The U.S. government recognizes that the Bell 206B3 is no longer in production; therefore this will be a procurement of helicopters that are not in a new condition,” the State Department said in contract documents released Monday.

Companies interested in supplying the helicopters are requested to respond to the State Department by Jan. 17.

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Survey: Being 'naughty' on New Year's Eve

Don't be shy on Dec. 31.
  • Nearly 50 percent of men and women have had a one night stand on New Year's Eve.
  • It's women who are most likely to shed their inhibitions on New Year's Eve; 62 percent of them believe it's the best night to experiment.
  • 70 percent of men would be up for having group sex on what they believe to be the wildest night of the year. Only 38 percent women would be up for making several new friends at once.
  • 83 percent of us would use the countdown as an excuse to finally lock lips with someone we've wanted all year.
  • 63 percent of us would most like to be in bed with someone when the clock strikes midnight.
  • 85 percent of us would welcome waking up to a new year with a stranger.
Source: BeNaughty.com

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2014: One birth every 8 seconds and one death every 12 seconds in US

As each nation prepares to begin the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday projected that on Jan. 1 the United States population will be 317,297,938. This represents an increase of 2,218,622, or 0.7 percent, from New Year's Day 2013.

In January, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the United States and one death every 12 seconds.

World population

The projected world population is set at 7,137,577,750, an increase of 77,630,563, or 1.1 percent from New Year's Day 2013. An estimated 4.3 births and 1.8 deaths are expected worldwide every second, the Census Bureau says.

India added 15.6 million people over the one-year period, which led all countries, followed by China, Nigeria, Pakistan and Ethiopia.

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Air Force releases B-1B crash investigation report

A displaced fold-down baffle in the left overwing fairing of a B-1B Lancer led to a fuel leak and a series of detonations that disabled the aircraft prior to it crashing Aug. 19 near Broadus, Mont., according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released Monday.

The four crewmembers ejected safely and sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The aircraft was destroyed, with the government loss valued at approximately $317.7 million. There were no injuries to civilians, and damage to private property consisted of burnt pasture land.

Both aircraft and crew were assigned to the 34th Bomb Squadron, 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. When the accident occurred, the pilots were participating in a post-deployment training flight allowing them to become current on combat-mission readiness training items.

The wings of the B-1B move from a forward position to an aft position to increase the aircraft's performance at different speeds. During a training mission, the pilot leveled the aircraft off at an altitude of roughly 20,000 feet. While on a descent to 10,000 feet, he swept the wings from the forward to the aft position. During the sweep, the aircraft developed an undetectable fuel leak in the main fuel line. Unbeknownst to the crew, approximately 7,000 pounds of fuel leaked into the aircraft during the training mission.

Eventually, the fuel contacted exposed portions of the hot precooler duct, ignited, and caused an explosion that separated the left overwing fairing from the aircraft.

Ignited fuel streamed from the exposed left overwing fairing cavity, heated one of the aircraft's fuel tanks, and ignited the fuel vapors inside the tank. This detonation spread through the fuel venting system that connects the fuel tanks in the aircraft, and resulted in a cascade of detonations that caused a complete and permanent loss of power to the crew compartment.

According to the results of the investigation, at some time prior to pilot's initiation of the wing sweep, the left fold down baffle became detached at one or more points, preventing it from folding as the wing swept aft. Because the baffle was detached, the wing pushed the baffle into the overwing fairing cavity where the tapered edge of the baffle cut a v-shaped hole in the main fuel line.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Atmospheric effects on satellite V and W radio frequencies

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Space Vehicles Directorate, in collaboration with the Space and Missile Systems Center, Military Satellite Communications Directorate, and NASA Glenn Research Center, plan to conduct fundamental research to increase knowledge and understanding of atmospheric effects on radio frequency signal propagation in the V and W bands. The Air Force announced the research effort in a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) on Monday.

Known as the W/V-band Satellite Communications Experiment (WSCE) program, “specifically, the objective is to statistically characterize channel propagation effects in the V (71 - 76 gigahertz) and W (81 - 86 GHz) frequency bandwidths of the electromagnetic spectrum,” the AFRL said in the BAA. “Channel propagation effects can include, for example, signal attenuation, phase dispersion, and depolarization. It is necessary to correlate the long-term channel behavior to atmospheric and meteorological parameters. Measured data will be used to develop and validate modeling and design tools that can be used to design and assess future military satellite communication architectures.”

The Air Force invites companies interested in participating in the research to submit a proposal to the AFRL at Kirtland Air Force Base by Feb. 7. The Air Force anticipates awarding a minimum of one contract. Anticipated period of performance is approximately 108 months.

Cost of the overall WSCE program is estimated to be $30 million. The initial task order is estimated to not exceed $2 million.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

US paid estimated $8.2 million to transport VIPs for Mandela funeral

The U.S. Embassy in South Africa paid an estimated $8.2 million for vehicle transportation services so VIPs could visit Pretoria and Johannesburg to attend the funeral for Nelson Mandela, according to contract documents released Dec. 17 through the Federal Business Opportunities website.

“Vehicle types included passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, and buses, as well as supplies and good vehicles such as pickup trucks, box trucks, and larger capacity vehicles,” the Department of State said in a "Justification and Approval" contract document. “The maximum estimated cost is $8,286,194.74.”

“Two vendors have been identified as being most suitable to meet U.S. government needs: Europcar and Kwathlano,” the State Department said. “The U.S. Embassy will contract with both vendors.”

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

UAV chase plane services needed at Southern California Logistics Airport

The Air National Guard (ANG) is seeking a contractor capable of providing chase plane services in support of unmanned aerial vehicle flight operation at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville. The chase plane will help ensure the safety of non-participating manned aircraft flying in the operations area. “Frequency of requirement is five days per week plus one weekend per month,” the ANG said in contract documents released Tuesday through the Federal Business Opportunities website.

Aircraft requirements:
  1. Ability to cruise up to 150 knots and fly as high as 13,000 feet.
  2. Endurance capability of up to five hours hours.
  3. Supplied aircraft quantity must be sufficient to provide up to one chase plane for up to five hours per day. In addition, the contractor must be able to provide night chase support.
  4. Supplied aircraft must be capable of landing on paved runways at least 3000 ft long.
The contract is for one year with the possibility of additional option years.

The full solicitation for this requirement is expected to be posted Jan. 8,” the ANG said.

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Last DC-9 flight for Delta Air Lines

On Jan. 6, Delta Air Lines will retire its remaining Douglas DC-9 aircraft following Flight 2014 scheduled to depart Minneapolis/St. Paul for Atlanta at 5:20 p.m. (EST), the last scheduled commercial flight of the DC-9 by a major U.S. airline.

Since 2008, Delta has removed or retired more than 350 aircraft from its fleet including 50-seat CRJ-200s; Saab 340s and DC-9s; while adding economically efficient, proven-technology aircraft such as the Boeing 777-200LR; two-class, 65 and 76-seat regional jets and variants of the 737 and 717, largely on a capacity-neutral basis.

The DC-9 retirement comes just months after Delta began taking delivery of its orders of 88 Boeing 717-200 aircraft and 100 Boeing 737-900ER aircraft, which began entering service in October and November, respectively. Each aircraft features a First Class cabin and slim-line seats throughout Delta's Economy Comfort and Economy cabin along with Wi-Fi connectivity and in-seat power ports. Additionally, the Boeing 737-900ER offers on-demand entertainment throughout the cabin. Delta also recently announced its order for 40 Airbus aircraft including 30 narrowbody A321s, which will begin to be delivered in 2016.

Delta was the launch customer for the original 65-seat version of the DC-9 in 1965 as the airline replaced propeller aircraft on high-frequency, short-haul domestic routes. The twin-engine plane was removed from the Delta fleet in 1993, but larger variants reentered service following the merger; those aircraft joined Northwest after it acquired Republic Airlines in 1986. Delta has flown a total of 305 DC-9s since 1965.

To acknowledge the DC-9's retirement, the last flight has been tagged DL2014 noting the final year of service, while the preceding flight operating from Detroit to Minneapolis/St. Paul will be flight DL1965, the aircraft's initial year of service.

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MGM Resorts another step closer to new casino in Massachusetts

MGM Resorts International received a unanimous vote Monday from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) finding the company a suitable candidate for a casino license in the commonwealth. The decision moves MGM Springfield another step closer to being awarded the sole license to operate a destination resort casino in Western Massachusetts.

The next step in the licensing process for MGM is the submission of its full license application, which is due to the MGC by Dec. 31. Following that submission, MGM will be required to present its proposal in a public hearing before the MGC. That presentation will be followed by two community public hearings, one in Springfield and one in an abutting community. Details of those meetings, including dates and locations, are expected to be set soon for January and February.

For nearly two years, MGM officials have been working with Springfield's community and business leaders, stakeholders and residents to gain understanding and support for MGM Springfield.


MGM Springfield, an approximately $800 million resort, is proposed for 14.5 acres of land between Union and State streets, and Columbus Avenue and Main Street.

The MGC anticipates that the resort-casino licenses for Eastern Massachusetts (Region A) and Western Massachusetts (Region B) will be awarded in spring 2014.


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

NASA's Orion spacecraft mockup stops in Tucson

A test version of NASA's Orion spacecraft has been on a cross-country road trip for the past week, and it's taking a week-long rest stop in Tucson, Ariz, the space agency announced on Thursday.

Called “the boilerplate test article,” it is a structural mockup of the spacecraft NASA is building to take humans farther than they've ever been before that will be used in tests off the coast of San Diego in February. It left NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia on Dec. 11 and has been making its way to California via truck since then. But the trip will pause for the holidays starting Thursday, and the test article will spend two weeks at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson. The Orion test article is set to arrive at the museum between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. MST.

Once it arrives Thursday, the test article will be available to be seen by the public for free for two hours outside of the museum. Afterward, it will be moved into a hanger inside the museum, where the public can see it with a museum ticket.

The test article will leave Tucson on Jan. 2 and arrive at the U.S. Navy's Naval Base San Diego by Jan. 7.

The 18,000-pound mockup is a full-sized replica of the Orion spacecraft currently being built at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The mockup has already been used in a number of tests to ensure that Orion will be ready for its first mission, Exploration Flight Test-1, scheduled for September 2014. That mission will take Orion to 3,600 miles above the Earth's surface before returning it at speeds of up to 20,000 miles per hour for a splash landing in the Pacific Ocean.

In February, it will be used for an underway recovery test in the Pacific Ocean. For this test, the mockup will be set adrift in open and unstable waters, providing NASA and U.S. Navy the opportunity to recover the capsule and bring it into the well deck of the USS San Diego. While deployed, the team will seek out various sea states in which to practice the capsule recovery procedures. This will help build a knowledge base of how the capsule recovery differs in calm and rough seas and what the true physical limits are.

NASA and the Navy previously used this mockup to practice recovery in calm seas during a stationary recovery test in August where the spacecraft was set adrift in the waters of Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia and recovered into the docked well deck of the USS Arlington. The mockup was also dropped from 25 feet above the water of Langley's Hydro Impact Basin to simulate different splashdown scenarios.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dallas-area power outages to be restored late Sunday night

Nearly all Oncor Electric customers will have power restored by late Sunday night, Oncor officials announced Saturday. The company has increased their workforce by nearly 50 percent, or 1,200 personnel, by bringing more contractors and employees from other utilities to assist in repairs.

In less than 24 hours, workers restored power to 140,000 customers.

Significant progress was made on Friday as crews reduced outages from a peak of 270,000 to about 130,000. Icy conditions and dangerous roads significantly slowed the crews' progress.


"We continue to call on additional resources to assist with restoring power around the clock until everyone is restored, and this winter emergency is over," said Jim Greer, chief operating officer for Oncor. Greer noted the only customers that may not be restored are those customers whose equipment on their homes was damaged or those customers in rural areas.

With the addition of 1,200 out-of-area workers, Oncor will have more than 3,700 workers completing repairs.

Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC operates the largest distribution and transmission system in Texas, delivering power to more than 3.2 million homes and businesses and operating approximately 119,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines in Texas.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lawsuit filed over Bronx train derailment

The law firm of Ronai & Ronai, LLP, has filed a notice of claim against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro North Railroad Company and William Rockefeller, Jr., on behalf of a victim of the Bronx train derailment which occurred early Sunday morning.

A female passenger, who is an attorney and was on her way to work at the time, was severely injured when she was violently thrown from her seat as the train car derailed. Her name is being withheld at her request. She is now unable to care for herself and her special needs child.

Holly Ostrov Ronai, a lawyer with the firm stated that "Traveling at 82 miles per hour around a curve in a 30 mph zone is not just negligent, it is an action which demonstrates reckless disregard for the safety of his passengers."

Those injured in the derailment are seeking the truth about what happened and are hoping that the cause of this tragedy, and how it might have been prevented, will be revealed during litigation,” the law firm said. “Further, they want all of those responsible to be held accountable.”

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Over 3,000 space payloads to be launched over next 20 years

An estimated 3,164 space payloads are proposed to be built and launched to earth or deep space orbits between 2013 and 2032, according to Teal Group, an aerospace and defense market analysis firm based in Fairfax, Va. They estimate the value of these satellites and other space payloads at more than $235 billion.

Teal analysts identify and quantify 276 proposed launches in 2013 (minus the 150 launched through Nov. 20), 481 in 2014, 481 in 2015, 329 in 2016, 173 in 2017, 102 in 2019, 111 in 2020, 98 in 2021, 103 in 2022, 81 in 2023, 82 in 2024, 99 in 2025, 89 in 2026, 75 in 2027, 83 in 2028, 86 in 2029, 104 in 2030, 79 in 2031, and 85 in 2032.

"Keep in mind, probably half (or more) of the spacecraft announced and identified in our Teal Group Worldwide Mission Model will never be built and launched, because of insufficient funding or technical challenges,” said Marco Caceres, a lead analyst for Teal Group. “And other spacecraft not yet proposed or even conceived will be built and launched.”

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

New secret nuclear site found in Iran

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) will expose a new secret nuclear site of the clerical regime during a press conference in Paris on Monday.

According to the NCRI, specific details of this site-including exact location, its latest status, organs, and companies involved in construction of the site-that have been compiled by the resistance sources inside of Iran in the past few months, will be revealed in Monday's press conference.

Mehdi Abrichamtchi, chairman of the Peace and Security Committee of the NCRI, who will conduct the press conference, will also provide the latest information on the mullahs' nuclear dossier and its attempts to conceal its nuclear activities prior to new round of negotiations in Geneva.

Throughout the last decade, the NCRI has revealed scores of sites and centers involved in the Iranian regime's clandestine nuclear project. These include Natanz and Arak (August 2002), Kala-Electric (February 2003), Fordow (December 2005), the Center for Command and Control of nuclear weaponization in an area known as Mojdeh (February 2008), and subsequently the new center known as SPND (July 2011). In July, it revealed a new site near city of Damavand.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Video: Two comets make rare double flyby of Mercury this month

Consider it a cosmic coincidence: On Nov. 18-19, two comets (ISON and Encke) are going to fly by the planet Mercury in quick succession. NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft will have a front-row seat for the rare double flyby.
















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Lockheed Martin cutting 4,000 positions and closing several US facilities

Lockheed Martin announced Thursday that it will close and consolidate several of its U.S. facilities and reduce its workforce by 4,000 positions as part of its effort to increase the efficiency of its operations and improve the affordability of its products and services. “These actions are in response to continued declines in U.S. government spending,” the company said in a press statement.

By mid-2015, the corporation plans to close its operations in Newtown, Pa.; Akron, Ohio; Goodyear, Ariz.; and Horizon City, Texas; and four buildings on its Sunnyvale, Calif., campus. The facility closures will result in the elimination of 2,000 positions and ongoing operational efficiency initiatives will result in the elimination of an additional 2,000 positions in the company's Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS), Mission System and Training (MST), and Space Systems business areas by the end of 2014.

As part of the consolidation, all program work and some employees will transition to other Lockheed Martin facilities, creating operational efficiencies and reducing costs. Space Systems and IS&GS will transition work to its Denver, Colo. and Valley Forge, Pa. facilities. The corporation is reviewing potential sites to transition the MST work, including its facilities in Owego, N.Y. and Orlando, Fla., and expects to finalize plans in early 2014.

"In the face of government budget cuts and an increasingly complex global security landscape, these actions are necessary for the future of our business and will position Lockheed Martin to better serve our customers,” said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chief executive officer and president.

Since 2008, Lockheed Martin has reduced overhead costs, cut capital expenses, removed 1.5 million square feet of facility space and made the difficult decision to reduce its workforce from 146,000 employees to 116,000.

The facility closures announced Thursday will further reduce the corporation's operational footprint by nearly 2.5 million square feet of facility space and lower overhead costs. Affected employees will receive job placement assistance and severance benefits to assist their transition.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Navy renews AAR airlift support contract

Global aerospace and defense contractor AAR announced Monday that the Military Sealift Command (MSC) has exercised a second one-year renewal option for the company's airlift division to ferry critical supplies to U.S. Navy ships in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Arabian Gulf.

MSC is the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense, operating approximately 110 ships daily around the globe. Under the agreement, AAR will support MSC's vertical replenishment program, delivering supplies to support combatant ships at sea.

The contract renewal is valued at approximately $15 million, and includes the use of four helicopters, personnel, and operational and technical support services.

The original contract, awarded to AAR in 2011, included a one-year initial base period, three one-year options and an additional 11-month option for an estimated total value of $77 million.

AAR provides expeditionary airlift services in support of contingency operations worldwide. The company currently operates a fleet of more than 50 fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft to transport personnel, supplies, and mail for the U.S. Department of Defense in Afghanistan and the Western Pacific.

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JetSuite expands service to the Caribbean

JetSuite, a private jet charter company headquartered in Irvine, Calif., has expanded service to include non-stop flights to popular locations in the Caribbean just in time for the holiday travel season.

Passengers can now fly non-stop from the east coast to St. Maarten, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, as well as Nassau and Eleuthera in The Bahamas on the JetSuite Edition Citation CJ3. These six-passenger aircraft can fly up to 2,000 miles, and offer free onboard WiFi, increased interior comfort and speeds up to 480 miles per hour.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Video: Estes' newest radio controlled aircraft Silver Cloud

Take to the skies with Estes' newest radio controlled aircraft Silver Cloud. You better have a lot of room because the Silver Cloud has a 500 foot flying range.



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Air Force orders three Global Hawk drones

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a $114 million advance procurement contract in preparation to build three more RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems and associated sensors. The intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft allows military commanders to receive high-resolution imagery, survey vast geographic regions and pinpoint targets on the ground.

This contract provides for advance procurement of three Block 30 aircraft, including three enhanced integrated sensor suites, three airborne signals intelligence payload (ASIP) and two ASIP retrofit kits to be installed on previously purchased aircraft. The work under this contract is expected to be completed in 2015.

The Global Hawk can remain airborne for more than 30 hours at high altitudes while gathering multiple types of intelligence data. Combined with Global Hawk's ability to fly for long periods at altitudes up to 60,000 feet, the aircraft's 12,300 nautical mile range makes the system ideally suited to take on many different ISR missions.

The system has logged more than 100,000 flight hours and has been used over battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The system has also supported ISR efforts following the devastating earthquakes that struck Haiti and Japan.

In addition, NASA has been using Global Hawks for scientific and environmental research, recently flying over two hurricanes in September as part of a broader project studying how tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

DCNewsroom most popular posts September 2013

1.) Pentagon ends sweetheart fuel deal for Google executive aircraft - The Department of Defense has ended a sweetheart fuel deal that allowed a company owned by top Google executives to buy discounted jet fuel for a fleet of aircraft based at Moffett Federal Airfield in California. [Full post]

2.) Spirit AeroSystems layoffs - Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. continued its previously announced workforce reductions by issuing layoff notices to approximately 150 salaried and management workers in Wichita, Kan. [Full post]

3.) Moscow-based ViraZH orders 79 Cessna 172 aircraft - Cessna Aircraft Company announced in September an order for 79 Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft, one of the largest orders on record for the aircraft, at Moscow’s JetExpo 2013. [Full post]

4.) Beechcraft Baron, eye in the sky for ISR missions - Military and law enforcement agencies across the globe will find the mission persistence of the Beechcraft Baron ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) to be efficient and effective. [Full post]

5.) Coast Guard to reevaluate C-130 maintenance contract award - On Sept. 5, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sustained a protest filed by Triad International Maintenance Corp., Aviation Services, Inc. (TIMCO) alleging that the United States Coast Guard unreasonably evaluated its technical proposal for progressive structural inspections on its fleet of C-130 aircraft. [Full post]

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NASA cancels all public activities/events

Due to the government shutdown, all public NASA activities/events are cancelled or postponed until further notice, the space agency announced on Tuesday.

Sorry, but we won't be tweeting/responding to replies during the government shutdown,” officials at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia said on Twitter. “Be back as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

During the shutdown, most NASA operations would cease and most employees would be furloughed, with the exception of operations and personnel needed to protect life and property.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

ClixSense enhancing its affiliate signup commissions

In an effort to provide their users with an opportunity to earn more commissions, the website ClixSense announced Monday they are enhancing their affiliate signup commissions for all members. ClixSense is a website that provides a fast, fun and easy way to make a little extra money with paid surveys, micro task, free offers and paid-to-click (PTC) advertising.

“With our old commission structure only premium members earned a $0.50 signup commission once their affiliate has earned $1.00 in PTC ad clicks,” ClixSense officials said in a notice on the website. “With the new commission structure all members (standard and premium) can now earn from their affiliate signups as follows:
  • Standard members will now earn $0.50 for each affiliate that has earned a total of at least $10.00 from his own activity.
  • Premium members will now earn $1.00 for each affiliate that has earned a total of at least $5.00 from his own activity.
We are also making this retroactive for all active members, meaning we will be crediting you with signup commissions for all of your active referrals who have met the above criteria.

We've made it easier for you to earn more money and we have more exciting changes coming your way very soon.”

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

US firms asked to help with satellite project in Azerbaijan

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is seeking proposals from U.S. firms that are qualified to perform a feasibility study for a second satellite project in Azerbaijan. USTDA made the request in contract documents released Thursday through the Federal Business Opportunities website.

“This feasibility study will help Azercosmos to assess the technical, economic, and financial feasibility for a second communications satellite,” USTDA said in the announcement. Azercosmos is a state-owned Azerbaijan satellite communications company.

Azercosmos has already launched and is operating its first satellite, the Azerspace-1 communications satellite. Azercosmos partnered with MEASAT Satellite Systems, the leading satellite operator in Malaysia, to jointly operate this satellite, which has an orbital slot that covers not only the entire territory of Azerbaijan, but also the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe as well as Middle East, Commonwealth of Independent States region and Africa. In order to meet the expected future demand in Azerbaijan, the region and Africa, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan announced in 2012 the commitment to launch a second communications satellite, Azerspace-2. Azerspace-2 will meet this increased demand by using three different satellite frequency ranges, C-band, Ku-band and Ka-band; Azerspace-1 only uses C-band and Ku-band.

Azerbaijan established its space program in 2009 with the aim of improving communications in the country, diversifying the economy from oil and gas by establishing a satellite industry, and contributing to bridging the global digital divide. As part of this program, Azercosmos was created by the President of Azerbaijan that same year as the key implementation arm for the mandated space program. As such, Azercosmos is responsible for the design, implementation and management of the current and planned satellite projects of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The U.S. firms selected to perform the feasibility study will be paid from a $604,000 grant from the USTDA. Interested companies should submit their proposal by Oct. 24.

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Air Force delays Launch Services Mission Assurance contract award

Due to unforeseen issues and federal sequestration implications, the Air Force announced Friday they are delaying the award of a Launch Services Mission Assurance (LSMA) follow-on contract. Air Force Space Command announced the delay in a notice published on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

The Air Force released the final Request For Proposal for the LSMA follow-on contract on Sept. 10 with proposals due Oct. 25.

“Due to unforeseen issues and federal sequestration implications, the LSMA follow-on award is delayed,” the Air Force said in the notice released Friday. As a result of the delay, the Excess Ballistic Missile (XBM) Sustainment contract incumbent, TASC, Inc., will continue engineering support until the follow-on LSMA contract is awarded in April.

TASC, Inc. helped ensure the success of the inaugural mission of the Air Force's Minotaur V rocket from NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Sept. 6 by providing independent mission assurance, launch site support and engineering analysis.

“It is critical for XBM Sustainment Engineering Support to be continued,” the Air Force said.

The extension of the XBM contract with TASC, Inc. will run for four months, Dec. 14 through April 14; in addition to this extension, the government is considering additional option months to ensure XBM sustainment support is provided until award of the LSMA contract.

“The sole purpose of this contract modification is to ensure the critical XBM Sustainment Engineering services continue until award of the competitive solicitation is awarded,” the Air Force said. “This acquisition action does not assume that the incumbent is the only contractor who can provide this support. This action only assumes that there are no other contractors at this time who are capable of providing these services without an unacceptable delay. As stated previously, full and open competition is expected for the follow-on effort.”

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Coast Guard to reevaluate C-130 maintenance contract award

On Sept. 5, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sustained a protest filed by Triad International Maintenance Corp., Aviation Services, Inc. (TIMCO) alleging that the United States Coast Guard unreasonably evaluated its technical proposal for progressive structural inspections on its fleet of C-130 aircraft.

TIMCO Aviation Services, Inc., of Greensboro, N.C., has performed a substantial amount of maintenance repair and overhaul services for the U.S. military, and has performed heavy maintenance services on more than 2,000 C-130 aircraft over the past 30 years.

TIMCO, represented by Centre Law Group, filed a protest of an awarded contract to DRS Technical Services, Inc., of Herndon, Va., which challenged the Coast Guard's evaluation of its past performance, proposed price, technical proposal, and also argued that the agency's evaluation of the protester's and awardee's proposals reflected disparate treatment in favor of the awardee. The GAO sustained the protest due to the agency's unreasonable evaluation of the protestor's past performance and price. Upon review, the GAO also made recommendations that the agency reevaluate the proposals and issue a new decision.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Video: Air Force F-16 takes off after pilot leaves cockpit

The Boeing Company and U.S. Air Force have completed the first unmanned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flight, demonstrating the next generation of combat training and testing.




Two U.S. Air Force test pilots in a ground control station remotely flew the QF-16, which is a retired F-16 jet modified to be an aerial target. The QF-16 mission profile included auto takeoff, a series of simulated maneuvers, supersonic flight, and an auto land, all without a pilot in the cockpit.

The milestone flight initiates more operational evaluations, including a live fire test at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The Navy, Army and Air Force will ultimately use QF-16s for weapons testing and other training.

Boeing has modified six F-16s into the QF-16 configuration. Low-rate initial production is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter, with first production deliveries in 2015.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Orbital Sciences launches new cargo ship to space station

NASA commercial space partner Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., successfully launched a Cygnus cargo ship aboard its new Antares rocket at 10:58 a.m. EDT Wednesday from the Mid-AtlanticRegional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

This is the first time a spacecraft launched from Virginia is blazing a trail toward the International Space Station (ISS).

Traveling 17,500 miles per hour in Earth's orbit, Cygnus is on its way to rendezvous with the ISS on Sunday. The spacecraft will deliver about 1,300 pounds of cargo, including food and clothing, to the Expedition 37 crew aboard the space station. The crew will grapple and attach the capsule using the station's robotic arm.

Wednesday's launch was a test flight for the
Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Program. The successful completion of the COTS demonstration mission will pave the way for Orbital to conduct eight planned cargo resupply flights to the space station through NASA's $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with the company. NASA's other cargo resupply provider, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., began flying regular cargo missions to the space station in 2012, following its own COTS demonstration mission.


"Today's launch is the culmination of more than five years' work between the NASA and Orbital teams," said Alan Lindenmoyer, NASA's program manager for commercial crew and cargo.

Over the next several days, Cygnus will perform a series of maneuvers to test and prove its systems are working properly.

The ISS crew is scheduled to capture Cygnus with a robot arm at
7:25 a.m. EDT on Sunday.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Mokulele Airlines inaugural flight from Waimea-Kohala Airport

Mokulele Airlines, Hawaii's low-cost inter-island air carrier, is set to begin service from its new location at the Big Island's Waimea-Kohala Airport. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for Saturday and will begin with a traditional Hawaiian blessing followed by the inaugural flight of the new route which will depart at 7:00 a.m. for Kahului Airport on Maui.

Saturday also marks the day that Mokulele will begin daily service between Waimea-Kohala Airport and Kahului Airport with connections available to Honolulu International Airport.

To celebrate the new route, Mokulele is offering an introductory rate of just $59 one way, including taxes and fees, for reservations made by Oct. 31.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Discovery Communications selects Intelsat 19 for Asia-Pacific region services

Intelsat S.A., one of the world’s leading providers of satellite services, announced Sunday that Discovery Communications has signed an agreement to use the company's Intelsat 19 satellite. As part of the multi-transponder agreement, Silver Spring, Md.,-based Discovery will use Intelsat 19 to expand the reach of its more than 190 worldwide television networks, including its portfolio in the Asia-Pacific region.

Located at 166 degrees East on the Earth's equator, Intelsat 19 hosts the leading video neighborhood in the Pacific Ocean region, and reaches more than 37 million Pay TV subscribers. The satellite offers primary C-band distribution for many of the world’s leading programmers, and a Ku-band Direct-To-Home platform that serves customers in Australia and New Zealand.

Discovery has more than two billion cumulative subscribers in over 220 countries and territories.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pentagon ends sweetheart fuel deal for Google executive aircraft

The Department of Defense (DOD) has ended a sweetheart fuel deal that allowed a company owned by top Google executives to buy discounted jet fuel for a fleet of aircraft based at Moffett Federal Airfield (MFA) in California. The public interest group Consumer Watchdog said Friday the aircraft should be evicted from the facility and an investigation opened to see if laws were broken.

H211, a company owned by Google CEO Larry Page, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, apparently bought fuel to which it wasn't entitled under the agreement with the Defense Department, Consumer Watchdog said in press statement Friday. “The fuel was purchased below commercial market prices. Consumer Watchdog first raised concerns about the Google executives' sweetheart deal in a 2011 report. New details of about the arrangement emerged in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report Thursday.

The Google executives' aircraft, a Boeing 767, a Boeing 757 and four Gulfstream V's, were allowed to be based at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Federal Airfield, ostensibly because they were to be used to do research flights for NASA, but the WSJ documented that few of the flights originating from Moffett were NASA related. Some were flights to Tahiti, Hawaii and Croatia.

"What's truly outrageous is their company appears to have bought $6 million worth of fuel subsidized by taxpayers that they weren't entitled to at all,” said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project Direct. “Why should they get to fill up their fuel tanks to fly on personal junkets around the world, when we're all struggling to fill our gas tanks?"

H211 was only entitled to buy fuel from the Department of Defense when the planes were used for NASA missions. However, as The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, only 155 scientific missions had been flown for NASA as of last year, while more than 710 flights had departed Moffett since 2007.

The contract between H211 and the Pentagon specifies that the fuel was supposed to be used only "for performance of a U.S. government contract, charter or other approved use."
The Wall Street Journal reported that 2.3 million gallons of fuel were purchased from the DOD since 2009 for the Google jets at an average cost of $3.19, while the average price at commercial airports for the same period was $4.35, a savings totaling $2.67 million.
NASA's relation with the Google executives is under investigation by NASA's Inspector General (IG).

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Idaho) has also raised questions about the arrangement. The sweetheart deal that allowed the fuel purchases was terminated Aug. 31, probably because of the IG's investigation, Consumer Watchdog said. However, the aircraft are still based at Moffett, about three miles away from Google's headquarters.

Up for lease

In May, the General Services Administration (GSA) on behalf of NASA issued a Request for Proposals to solicit lease proposals for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of NASA's historic Hangar One located at Moffett.

The proposed long-term lease of Hangar One and MFA offers a unique opportunity for the private sector to collaborate with the government to reposition and manage federally owned property for private and public sector reuse, the GSA said.

"In the face of declining budgets and significant mission changes, NASA has been challenged to repurpose historic Hangar One and manage the airfield to support other non-NASA users,” said GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini. “This competitive approach is designed to create opportunities for development while eliminating NASA's management costs of the airfield."

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