Wednesday, December 15, 2021

PointsBet now live in Virginia, 11 sportsbooks available in the state

Online gaming operator PointsBet launched its sports betting app in Virginia on Wednesday. Virginia marks the eighth state for PointsBet, following successful launches in New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, Michigan, and West Virginia.

PointsBet started running ads over the Internet and TV promising to go live in Virginia since July, before they even had a temporary permit to operate in the state. PointsBet finally received a temporary permit from the Virginia Lottery on Nov. 22.

"I am excited to welcome PointsBet to my home state," said PointsBet brand ambassador Allen Iverson, former professional basketball player for 14 seasons.

Colonial Downs partnership

"We are thrilled to be launching in Virginia with our partner Colonial Downs," said PointBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken in a company press release.

The Virginia Lottery issued PointsBet, together with racetrack Colonial Downs, an official supplier license to offer online sports wagering in Virginia. Colonial Downs, a subsidiary of California-based Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, is a gaming company operating and headquartered in Virginia. The company operates Rosie's Gaming Emporiums in Richmond, Hampton, New Kent, Vinton, Dumfries and Collinsville, Va., as well as Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent.

Colonial Downs Group employs more than 1,000 team members in the Commonwealth of Virginia, paying over $30 million in annual salaries, wages, and benefits.

Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent hosts live thoroughbred racing on two nationally renowned surfaces – Secretariat Turf Course and a dirt track.

The company pays more than $32 million in annual state and local taxes plus an additional $12 million in racing industry payments annually.

Special offer for Virginia bettors

To help celebrate launch, PointsBet will provide Virginia clients with a very special "Bet & Get" offer. Across five tiers, users will earn 10% of their cumulative wagers in Free Bets during the month of December. Bettors wagering $500 in cumulative bets during December will earn a $50 Free Bet - $1,000 a $100 Free Bet - $2,500 a $250 Free Bet - $5,000 a $500 Free Bet - $10,000 a $1,000 Free Bet.

NBC Sports

As the official exclusive sports betting partner of NBC Sports, PointsBet will utilize the media giant's premium television and digital assets to promote the PointsBet brand in the state of Virginia. The sportsbook has already been integrated into NBC Sports Regional Networks, like NBC Sports Washington, appearing regularly on programming for the Washington Football Team, Wizards, and Capitals.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst receives first KC-46 tanker aircraft next month

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst will receive its first KC-46 tanker aircraft next month during a delivery ceremony at the military base in southern New Jersey. News of the delivery was highlighted in contract documents released Tuesday requesting audio visual services to film the ceremony scheduled for Nov. 9.

“The contractor will provide audio-visual support for the first KC-46 aircraft delivery ceremony, scheduled for Nov 9, 2021,” military officials said in contract documents. “The requested support includes video capture of aircraft arrival as well as the ceremony within the hangar.”

The new state-of-the-art KC-46 air-refueling jets being built by Boeing will become the new workhorse for the Air Force’s Air Mobility Wing. 

“The contractor will need capability to provide ceremony functions, including, but not limited to microphones for distinguished visitors and leadership speeches, video, as well as live broadcast to a screen inside hangar, simultaneously broadcast live audio radio calls between air control tower to aircraft to speakers inside ceremony location, livestream to 87th Air Base Wing Public Affairs social media, and video capability to play prerecorded videos,” according to contract documents.

The KC-46 is known for its advanced refueling capabilities, including the ability to refuel two aircraft simultaneously and capacity to get refueled in flight itself, according to military officials, as well as carry cargo passengers and be used for air medical evacuations.

The new tanker jets are intended to replace the Air Force’s entire fleet of its 1980s era KC-10 tankers and a large portion of its even older KC-135s, which date back to the 1950s.

The KC-46 1st Arrival Ceremony will take place on Nov. 9. A pre-event practice will occur on Nov. 8.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Kansas State University expands fleet of Skyhawk aircraft to 20

Textron Aviation announced Tuesday an order for 10 Cessna Skyhawk piston aircraft for the Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus, expanding the school’s fleet of Skyhawk aircraft to 20. The aircraft will help support the university’s pilot training programs.

The Cessna Skyhawk is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc.

“Kansas State University has been training future pilots in Cessna Skyhawks since their program’s inception in 1987,” said Chris Crow, vice president, Piston Sales, Textron Aviation.

In 2019, the school took delivery of five new Skyhawks in its efforts to continue to modernize its fleet.

Deliveries of the 10 new aircraft, which are equipped with the leading Garmin G1000 NXi avionics system, are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022.

The Cessna Skyhawk is considered the aircraft of choice for pilot training, and it is the most popular single-engine aircraft in aviation history. Since the aircraft first took to the sky in 1955, more than 45,000 Skyhawks have been delivered to customers around the world.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Griffin Global Asset Management adds five 737-8 jets to portfolio

Boeing and Griffin Global Asset Management announced Wednesday the aircraft lessor is expanding its commercial aircraft portfolio with five new 737-8 jets. The purchase is Griffin’s first direct order with Boeing as it sees strategic opportunities to place the airplanes during the market recovery.

“As market conditions rebound, we are finding opportunities to serve our airline customers in innovative ways,” said Ryan McKenna, founder and CEO of Griffin, in a Boeing press release. “This order lays a strong foundation for more to come with Boeing and Griffin on future opportunities.”

Designed and built in Renton, Wash., the 737 MAX family delivers superior efficiency, flexibility and reliability while reducing fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14% compared to the airplanes they replace. The 737-8 seats up to 189 passengers and can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers.

Backed by Bain Capital Credit, Griffin provides commercial aircraft leasing and alternative asset management with offices in Dublin and Los Angeles.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Beechcraft Denali completes initial ground engine runs before first flight

Textron Aviation has successfully completed initial ground engine runs on the prototype Beechcraft Denali single-engine turboprop powered by GE Aviation’s new advanced Catalyst engine. The ground engine runs, which took place at Textron Aviation’s west campus in Wichita, Kansas, verified the functionality of the fuel system and engine, as well as the interface with the avionics and electrical systems. The testing moves the aircraft closer to its milestone first flight, which is anticipated by the end of the year.

GE Aviation’s Catalyst engine has completed over 2,450 hours of testing and is prepping for a first flight on its Beechcraft King Air flying test bed. The 1,300 shaft horsepower-rated turboprop engine eases pilot workload with its single-lever power and propeller control. The Full Authority Digital Engine Controlled engine provides trend monitoring, which allows for on-condition maintenance with no mid-life Hot Section Inspection required.

The Beechcraft Denali development program has achieved several important milestones in recent months. Earlier this summer, GE Aviation Catalyst engine was installed on the Beechcraft Denali prototype airframe and the aircraft was powered on for the first time. Two other Denali flight test articles are also in development. Three additional ground test articles will be used for the airframe static and fatigue tests, and for cabin interior development and testing. The company anticipates certification for the Denali in 2023.

The Denali cockpit features the Garmin G3000 intuitive avionics suite featuring high-resolution screens and touchscreen controllers.

The aircraft boasts a digital pressurization system maintaining a 6,000-foot cabin altitude at a service ceiling of 30,000 feet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Qatar’s advanced F-15QA jet rollout

Boeing, in collaboration with the U.S. Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF), celebrated the naming and rollout of Qatar’s advanced F-15 jet fighter, the F-15QA.

“The relationship the United States shares with Qatar is critical to the stability and security of the central command area of responsibility,” said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, commander of 9th Air Force.

The first set of F-15QA jets will ferry to Qatar later this year following the completion of pre-delivery pilot training.

“The Qatar F-15QA program further enhanced next-generation technologies in the advanced F-15 such as the fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-glass digital cockpit and contemporary sensors, radar and electronic warfare capabilities,” said Prat Kumar, vice president of the F-15 program. “The F-15QA will enhance the superiority of the QEAF with more speed, range and payload than any fighter in the world.”

Boeing will establish and operate an aircrew and maintenance training center for the QEAF at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through 2024 while also providing in-country spares and logistics support once aircraft are delivered.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Navy schedules Classified Industry Day meeting to discuss TACAMO aircraft replacement

The Naval Air Systems Command, Program Executive Office for Airborne Strategic Command, Control, and Communication, issued an announcement Friday for an informational Classified Industry Day for the TACAMO Recapitalization Program.

The TACAMO Recapitalization Program will procure three C-130J-30 aircraft as test assets to replace the aging Boeing E-6B Mercury long-endurance command, control, and communications aircraft. The Navy is accelerating plans to field the Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules in the Take Charge And Move Out (TACAMO) survivable nuclear communications role.

The TACAMO mission is flown out of Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma by the Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron. The 16 E-6B Mercury aircraft provide reliable airborne communications between the U.S. National Command Authority and the U.S. strategic forces.

The objective of the Classified Industry Day meeting is to enhance government-industry communication, provide further information on the program, and provide an opportunity for meetings between industry and government personnel, the Navy said in a Special Notice contract document released Friday.

The Classified Industry Day will take place on Aug. 24 at the MITRE Corp. offices in McLean, Va. “One-on-one discussions will also take place at the same location on Aug. 25,” the Navy said in the Special Notice.

The meeting is open to companies that have developed or are developing new and innovative capabilities to act in a role as a Prime Lead System Integrator. Only contractors performing a current Department of Defense contract containing a DD254 will be allowed to attend the meeting. The day one events will be held at the Secret Level with no foreign nationals permitted. Day two one-on-one discussions will be at the Secret Level with no foreign nationals permitted, with the potential for Top Secret Level discussions. Only those with validated, proper clearances and citizenship will be permitted to attend.

Due to space constraints, attendance to this Industry Day is limited to a maximum of three individuals per company. MITRE company policy requires that all visitors show proof of COVID-19 vaccine (actual vaccination card or a clear photo of the card) to enter the location. Face masks are required for all participants.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Virginia Lottery passes casino gaming regulations, waits on governor approval

Casino gaming in Virginia moved forward on Wednesday with approval by the Virginia Lottery Board of proposed permanent casino gaming regulations. The regulations build upon initial emergency casino regulations previously approved by the board on Feb. 3. The proposed permanent regulations now go to the governor for approval, after which there will be a 60-day public comment period, leading up to final approval by the Lottery Board.

The Lottery’s Gaming Compliance Department and Office of General Counsel have been diligently working to set up the regulatory and licensing framework to ensure casino gaming in Virginia is secure and transparent,” said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall. “In this role, we see the Lottery as the public’s watchdog, confirming that the law and regulations are followed, and the integrity of casino gambling is protected.”

Currently there are four proposed land-based casinos in Virginia: Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Each was approved by voters in local referenda in November 2020. A fifth proposed casino, in the City of Richmond, is on a different timetable and has not yet been approved by local voters. It is expected to be on the ballot in November.

The Virginia General Assembly assigned regulatory oversight of expanded gaming in the Commonwealth to the Virginia Lottery in 2020. Expanded gaming is comprised of both land-based casinos and mobile sports wagering.

There are ten approved permit holders to provide sports betting in the commonwealth, with seven currently accepting wagers: BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, Unibet, William Hill and WynnBET.

Current plans show land-based casinos opening as early as 2023 in the commonwealth.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Contract: Transportation of three P-8A Poseidon aircraft engines

The Naval Air Systems Command in support of the Maritime, Patrol, and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office is seeking quotes to fulfill the requirement for the transportation of three P-8A Poseidon aircraft engines. The three engines: one for the Royal Australian Air Force, one for New Zealand, and one for the Republic of Korea, are manufactured by CFM International.

“The contractor will be required to provide transportation/shipping of three CFM 56-7B27AE engines including engine records and logbooks, shipment trailer, engine stand, and engine cover, from CFM’s facility located in Peebles, Ohio, to Everett, Wash.,” Navy officials said in contract documents released Tuesday.

The contractor shall transport two engines in November, and there is an option that may require transport of one engine on or about July 2022. For the November shipment, two engines can be transported together on one truck, but it is unlikely and there is no guarantee that both will be available for pickup within the same seven day period, and if not, two trucks and two November shipments will be required, Navy officials said.

The selected contractor shall arrange transportation and pick up each engine at CFM's facility within seven calendar days of receipt of the notification of availability from the government. The first engine will be available on or about Nov. 15. Storage is not authorized and therefore the selected vendor will be required to pick up each engine within seven calendar days of notification that it is available and transport it to the location specified as efficiently as possible. Once picked up, the selected vendor will have seven calendar days to deliver the engine to the Everett, Wash., location.

CFM will provide the shipping base which will be attached to the engine, place the engine on the truck, and monitor the chaining and tarping of the CFM56-7 engine by the selected vendor, and then release the engine for transportation. The shipping contractor is not responsible for the unloading of the material and Boeing will assume custody of the engine from the beginning of the off load procedure. Boeing will offload the CFM56-7 engine upon arrival as Boeing has several forklifts available for this specific purpose.

Each engine has an estimated replacement cost of approximately $14 million.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Eviation Aircraft unveils design for its Alice all-electric aircraft

Eviation Aircraft, a global manufacturer of all-electric aircraft, unveiled the design for its Alice all-electric aircraft, which is on track for first flight later this year. The production configuration, optimized based on real-world lessons learned and customer feedback, defines Alice's path to certification and entry into service expected in 2024.

Alice, a nine-passenger, two-crew member aircraft, produces no carbon emissions, significantly reduces noise, and costs a fraction to operate per flight hour. The aircraft is powered by two magni650 electric propulsion units from magniX, the only flight proven electric propulsion systems at this scale. The advanced fly-by-wire system is made by Honeywell, the market leader in such systems. The single-volume, high-energy density Alice battery system is made from currently available battery cells and is not reliant on future advancements.

Avianca Airlines aims to promote tourism to El Salvador

Ontario International Airport (ONT) officials are celebrating the launch of Avianca Airlines' service to El Salvador – the first of its kind between the Inland Empire to Central America. More than 100 passengers were expected aboard Avianca's history making inaugural flight Thursday night.

The Bogota, Colombia-based carrier will operate three flights a week from ONT to San Salvador International Airport (SAL), El Salvador.

"Our flight schedule will reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels this month as Ontario experiences the quickest recovery among airports in California,” said Mark Thorpe, chief executive officer of Ontario International Airport Authority. “In addition to Avianca's historic El Salvador service, airlines operating at ONT are offering nonstop service to two dozen popular destinations this summer, six more than the summer of 2019, including Charlotte, Chicago (O'Hare International), Honolulu, Houston (William P. Hobby Airport) and Mexico City."

Avianca will operate from Terminal 2 at ONT and serve the ONT-SAL route with Airbus 319 aircraft, accommodating as many as 120 passengers in business and economy class seating.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Estes model rocket company ready to support large aerospace companies

Estes Industries, the world leader in small solid-propellant rocket motors, announced Monday the creation of a spin-out company designed to serve government and industry customers. Known as Estes Energetics, the new company provides full-spectrum engineering capabilities and bridges the gap between the hobby rocket industry and large aerospace companies. With the formation of Estes Energetics, customers now have an agile and innovative source for solid rocket motors.

Estes Energetics will deliver research, development, rapid prototyping, testing, integration, and production for small solid rocket motors for a range of atmospheric and space applications. Utilizing the company's rapid prototyping capabilities, the Estes Energetics team recently completed the development of a booster motor for a rocket-launched unmanned aircraft for a prime defense contractor, taking the design from initial concept to delivery of an initial production lot in less than six months.

Estes Energetics is led by Karl Kulling, who has over fifteen years' experience leading engineering, manufacturing, and business development in aerospace and other industries. He most recently built and led the Future Vertical Lift strategy team at Bell and previous led one of Bell's composites manufacturing facilities. Karl started his aerospace career at Aurora Flight Sciences as a leader in the research and development organization.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

FAA plans purchase of Bombardier Challenger jets

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Program Operations has a requirement to purchase up to four used Bombardier Challenger 605 and/or 650 aircraft. The agency made the announcement in a contract solicitation document released in June.

The FAA intends to procure each aircraft on a separate contract, according to the solicitation. “Aircraft will be procured over the next two to three years depending on market conditions and funding availability,” the FAA said in the solicitation. “The government does not have a preference between Challenger 605 aircraft or Challenger 650 aircraft."

Friday, June 18, 2021

Successful first flight for Boeing's 737-10 jet

Boeing's 737-10, the largest airplane in the 737 MAX family, completed a successful first flight on Friday. The airplane took off from Renton Field in Renton, Wash., at 10:07 a.m. and landed at 12:38 p.m. at Boeing Field in Seattle.

"The airplane performed beautifully," said 737 Chief Pilot Capt. Jennifer Henderson. "The profile we flew allowed us to test the airplane's systems, flight controls and handling qualities, all of which checked out exactly as we expected."

Friday's flight was the start of a comprehensive test program for the 737-10. Boeing will work closely with regulators to certify the airplane prior to its scheduled entry into service in 2023.

The 737-10 can carry up to 230 passengers. It also incorporates environmental improvements, cutting carbon emissions by 14 percent and reducing noise by 50 percent compared to today's Next-Generation 737s.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Video: Navy and Boeing demonstrate air-to-air refueling using an unmanned aircraft

For the first time in history, the U.S. Navy and Boeing have demonstrated air-to-air refueling using an unmanned aircraft to refuel another aircraft.

During a test flight June 4, the Boeing-owned MQ-25 T1 test asset successfully extended the hose and drogue from its Navy-issued aerial refueling store and safely transferred jet fuel to a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, demonstrating the MQ-25 Stingray's ability to carry out its primary aerial refueling mission.

"Over the next few years, we will work side-by-side with Boeing to deliver this capability that will greatly enhance the future carrier air wing,” said Navy Rear Adm. Brian Corey, who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.

During the initial part of the flight, the F/A-18 test pilot flew in close formation behind MQ-25 to ensure performance and stability prior to refueling – a maneuver that required as little as 20 feet of separation between the MQ-25 T1 air vehicle and the F/A-18 refueling probe. Both aircraft were flying at operationally relevant speeds and altitudes. With the evaluation safely completed, the MQ-25 drogue was extended, and the F/A-18 pilot moved in to "plug" with the unmanned aircraft and receive the scheduled fuel offload.

The MQ-25 T1 will continue flight testing prior to being shipped to Norfolk, Va., for deck handling trials aboard a Navy carrier later this year.

National security payload scheduled for launch from Virginia's Wallops Island

A Minotaur I rocket carrying three national security payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is scheduled for launch June 15 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch vehicle, built and operated by Northrop Grumman, is scheduled for liftoff at 7:00 a.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s (MARS) Pad 0B on Wallops Island.

The launch may be visible along the U.S. east coast.

This mission, named NROL-111, will be the NRO’s second dedicated launch from Wallops in the last 12 months.

The NRO is a Department of Defense agency responsible for developing, acquiring, launching, and operating America’s intelligence satellites.

The 69-foot tall Minotaur I launch vehicle consists of two solid-fueled motors from decommissioned Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles as the lower stages and two solid-fueled commercial solid rocket motors as upper stages.

NROL-111 is the second Northrop Grumman orbital launch from the MARS launch pads in 2021. Minotaur rockets have been launched from Wallops for nearly 15 years.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

SMBC Aviation Capital orders Boeing 737 MAX jets

SMBC Aviation Capital announced Tuesday they have ordered 14 additional Boeing 737-8 jets, growing its 737 MAX portfolio. The new order comes as airlines prepare for a robust return to air travel and modernize their narrowbody fleets to reduce fuel use and carbon emissions.

SMBC says it is seeing increased customer demand for the 737 MAX jet following its successful return to service.

The new purchase builds SMBC Aviation Capital's 737 MAX portfolio to 121 jets, expanding their investment in Boeing's single-aisle family. In the first quarter of 2021, the lessor delivered 13 737-8s to customers, including 11 planes to Southwest Airlines in the U.S. and two planes to TUI in Europe.

The SMBC Aviation Capital purchase follows recent orders and commitments from Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. The total number of gross orders and commitments for the 737 MAX this year now exceeds 250 airplanes.

A member of the 737 MAX family, the 737-8 is designed to offer more fuel efficiency, reliability and flexibility in the single-aisle market. The 737-8 can fly 3,550 nautical miles – about 600 miles farther than its predecessor – allowing airlines to offer new and more direct routes for passengers. Compared to the airplanes it replaces, the 737-8 also delivers superior efficiency, reducing fuel use and CO2 emissions by 16% and also reducing operating costs.

SMBC Aviation Capital is one of the world's leading aircraft lessors, with 85 airline customers in 36 countries. As of March, the company owned and managed 496 aircraft.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Next Starliner flight will test capabilities to carry astronauts on future missions

NASA's Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for launch in July. This will be the second uncrewed flight test of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

Liftoff on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Starliner is targeted for 2:53 p.m. EDT July 30, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The uncrewed mission will test the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner spacecraft and Atlas V rocket from launch to docking to a return to Earth in the western United States. Following a successful completion of the OFT-2 mission, NASA and Boeing are targeting late 2021 for NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), Starliner's first flight with astronauts aboard. Currently, NASA launches U.S. astronauts to the space station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft and U.S. SpaceX Dragon vehicles.

OFT-2 and CFT will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying Boeing's crew transportation system for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station.

The rollout of the Starliner spacecraft from Boeing's Commercial Cargo and Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is scheduled for 4 a.m. EDT July 17.

NASA's laser communications demonstration launch

NASA's Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) will fly as a payload on STPSat-6, the primary spacecraft of the third Space Test Program (STP-3) mission for the Department of Defense. STP-3 is scheduled to lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket June 23, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

LCRD represents a significant step toward making operational laser, or optical, communications a reality. The payload's microwave-oven-size optical modules will send and receive data over infrared lasers – not visible to the human eye – at 1.2 gigabits per second from geosynchronous orbit to Earth. At that rate, it's possible to download a two-hour movie in about 20 seconds.

Once LCRD is in orbit and positioned more than 22,000 miles above Earth, engineers will beam data between LCRD and optical ground stations located in Table Mountain, California, and Haleakalā, Hawaii. Experiments will allow engineers to refine the transmission process, study different operational scenarios, and refine tracking systems. LCRD will generate essential data and information to prepare laser communications systems for operational missions, as engineers cannot replicate the same conditions with ground tests.

Later in its mission, LCRD will conduct optical communications relay services with a future terminal on the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS terminal is expected to launch on a commercial resupply services mission in 2022. These operations could prove the viability of using laser communications in future crewed missions to the Moon and Mars.

The LCRD mission is led by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Partners include NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Virginia rocket launch may be visible in US mid-Atlantic region

A NASA sounding rocket mission, launching Wednesday, will study radio waves that escape through the Earth’s ionosphere impacting the environment surrounding Global Positioning System (GPS) and geosynchronous satellites, such as those for weather monitoring and communications.

Launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket will carry the Vlf trans-Ionospheric Propagation Experiment Rocket, or VIPER. The mission is scheduled for at 9:15 p.m. EDT. The launch may be visible in the mid-Atlantic region.

VIPER is studying very low frequency radio, or VLF, waves that are produced by both natural (e.g. lightning) and artificial means. During the day these waves are trapped or absorbed by the Earth’s ionosphere. At night, however, some of the waves escape through the ionosphere and accelerate electrons in the Van Allen Radiation Belt.

“At night, the lower layers of the ionosphere are much less dense, and more of the VLF can leak through, propagate along the Earth's magnetic field lines,” said John Bonnell, the project’s principal investigator from the University of California, Berkeley.

“Those belts of intense energetic electron fluxes cover a range of distances from the Earth, from as close as 14,300 miles altitude out to 23,500 miles altitude. GPS satellites and geosynchronous satellites orbit the Earth at these altitudes. So, satellites in those orbits are often engulfed by the Van Allen Radiation Belts and have to tolerate the effects those energetic particles have on electronics and materials,” said Bonnell.

In addition to the in-situ measurements made by VIPER as it flies through the area of interest, the mission also will employ numerous ground-based systems, including those in Maine, North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado and Virginia.

“It was surprising to find that while lots of ground-based and orbital observations of the VLF absorption/reflections/transmission had been made, there's not been any measurements right in the region where all the action happens. While we have good models of what to expect in such regions, actual measurements are key to pin down the details of those models, as well as to develop the instruments required to explore more challenging regions,” said Bonnell.

The two-stage Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket will carry the VIPER payload to an altitude of about 94 miles before descending and landing in the Atlantic Ocean. The payload will not be recovered.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Pennsylvania launches BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker

BetMGM announced Thursday the launch of BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker in Pennsylvania, giving customers access to benefits tied to Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City as well as other MGM Resorts' casino-resorts nationwide. Pennsylvania is the third state to introduce BetMGM Poker and the second to introduce Borgata Poker.

Pennsylvania customers will find an ever-rotating number of poker variants, signature poker tournaments, and cash games of all buy-in levels – in addition to player favorites like Fast Forward, Spin the Wheel, and Grind Rewards.

To celebrate the arrival of BetMGM Poker and Borgata Poker to the state, new players in Pennsylvania are eligible for a $25 bonus and a 100% deposit match bonus, up to $600. All new players are eligible for one Opening Week Freeroll event (May 9 to 16) and existing BetMGM and Borgata Casino players who sign up for the poker offering with receive an invitation to the $40,000 Crossover Invitational Freeroll event (May 16).

Integration with MGM Resorts' M life Rewards program gives players in Pennsylvania the opportunity to redeem their gameplay for world-class experiences at MGM Resorts properties, including Borgata, as well as MGM Grand, Bellagio and ARIA in Las Vegas, MGM Grand Detroit, MGM National Harbor in Maryland, and Beau Rivage in Mississippi.

The BetMGM Poker Pennsylvania (iOSAndroid) apps are available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The Borgata Poker Pennsylvania (iOS; Android) apps will be available soon.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Unibet awarded sports betting permit in Virginia

Unibet Interactive, Kindred Group's U.S. arm, was awarded a direct market access mobile sports betting permit in Virginia on Wednesday. After successful launches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia will be a key state in Unibet's East Coast expansion. Virginia is one of the largest states in the U.S. market and mobile sport betting is expected to reach over $370 million in annual revenues at maturity.

"Our aim is to go live shortly and we expect that the success we have seen in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana will of course follow in Virginia", says Manuel Stan SVP US, Kindred Group.

"We are very grateful to the Virginia Lottery for awarding us one of the seven stand-alone mobile sports betting permits in a very competitive process. We look forward to opening an office in Virginia, which will function as our third hub together with our offices in New York and New Jersey,” concludes Stan. 

Currently there are six online sports betting services available in Virginia that started launching in January:

Jan. 21, 2021 - FanDuel

Jan. 24, 2021 - DraftKings

Jan. 27, 2021 - BetMGM

Jan. 27, 2021 - BetRivers

Feb. 3, 2021 - William Hill

March 10, 2021 - WynnBET

Coming soon - Bally's

Coming soon - Golden Nugget

Coming soon - Barstool Sportsbook

Coming soon - Unibet

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Bally's responds after casino proposal is no longer considered in Richmond

A resort casino evaluation panel in Richmond, Va., has reduced the list of proposed casino projects being considered to two, Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond and ONE Casino + Resort.

The proposed Bally’s Richmond Casino Resort and the project’s proposed site of Parkway Crossings (Chippenham Parkway and Powhite Parkway) are no longer being considered by Richmond's Resort Casino Evaluation Panel, officials said in a press release on Wednesday.

The Evaluation Panel is no longer considering the Bally’s project or the Parkway Crossings site for a resort casino due to concerns about site access, environmental factors, and required approvals from non-city entities that may not be granted or extend the project timeline,” said Leonard Sledge, director of the city’s Department of Economic Development. “We also appreciate the many Richmond citizens who have shared their thoughts throughout this process.”

President and Chief Executive Officer of Bally's, George Papanier, said his company's proposal is the best for Richmond and provided the largest financial package with the most economic benefit to RVA residents and business owners. “We were deeply committed to this project, as well as to becoming a responsible neighbor and member of the Richmond community,” Papanier said. “Should the city reconsider its decision, we would be pleased to reengage."

Papanier continued, “With a total value of $650 million, including an upfront, unrestricted $100 million payment to the city, along with $28-$30 million in annual tax payments, Bally's Richmond offered the largest financial package of the remaining finalists. Bally's Richmond was estimated to attract approximately 3.7 million visitors annually, generating $415 million in annual total gross revenue, $5.3 billion in economic value over 10 years as well as creating over 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs.”

Bally's currently owns and manages 12 casinos across eight states, a horse racetrack and 13 authorized Off Track Betting licenses in Colorado.

"We respect the city's decision, and look forward to providing our best-in-class online sports betting platform to sports fans across the State of Virginia under our recently awarded temporary sports wagering permit.” Currently, there are six online sports betting services available in Virginia.

Richmond's evaluation panel is continuing its evaluation of the remaining proposals and sites (Live! Casino & Hotel at 1301 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard and ONE Casino + Resort at 2001 Walmsley Boulevard).  Factors in the evaluation of the proposals include:  community impact and community benefits; location; direct revenue impact to the city; project feasibility and project sustainability; and economic development impact.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

BetMGM to integrate responsible gaming program into sports betting app

BetMGM announced Tuesday that it will integrate a responsible gaming program called GameSense into its mobile sports betting app. The agreement marks the first time an online gaming operator in the United States will utilize the industry-leading program.

Developed by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, GameSense is an award-winning program that incorporates responsible gaming resources and education into the customer service model – providing every player with tools and support to make informed decisions and play responsibly. It also connects players with trained specialists, known as GameSense Advisors, and focuses on positive, transparent, and proactive communication to educate players about healthy habits and how to keep gaming fun, safe and responsible.

GameSense is expected to be fully integrated into the BetMGM platform later this year.

MGM Resorts first launched GameSense at its U.S. properties in 2017, making available educational resources and interactive GameSense touchscreens at its M life Rewards desks.

GameSense will be available to customers in all current and future states where BetMGM operates, like Virginia.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Bowlero plans sports betting services at all Virginia bowling centers

The worldwide leader in bowling entertainment, Bowlero Corp., announced a collaboration last month with BettorView, the nation’s leading in-venue sports betting marketing and technology platform to distribute BettorView content across all of Bowlero’s centers that are located within legal online betting states.

BettorView will showcase customized sports stats, analytics and odds alongside special sports betting promotions across multiple touchpoints throughout Bowlero’s centers including its bars, lounges, and lanes, reaching millions of highly engaged sports fans.

Currently, over 20% of Bowlero’s 300+ locations across the United States are located within legal online betting states. If industry trends continue into 2022, this count will increase to over 50% of Bowlero locations.

BettorView and Bowlero will drive increased awareness for the numerous sportsbook brands that have already signed deals for Bowlero locations in highly competitive markets including Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

TwinSpires highlights surprising upsets ahead of Kentucky Derby

As we close in on the first Saturday in May, we’re only 17 days away from the 147th Run for the Roses Kentucky Derby.

The road to the Kentucky Derby wrapped up last Saturday with a pair of surprising upsets, according to TwinSpires, an online service for horse race betting in the United States.

In the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, 18-1 long shot King Fury rallied to claim victory and 20 qualification points, putting him in 28th on the leaderboard. Trainer Kenny McPeek indicated King Fury is eyeing the Derby if enough horses above him drop out to help him qualify. Those drop outs are occurring.

With 70 points and a 9th place spot on the leaderboard, Bob Baffert’s Concert Tour was the heavy favorite for the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park with 3-10 odds. But as Concert Tour weakened at the eighth pole, 12-1 long shot Super Stock took advantage and soared to victory to claim 100 points and a spot in the top 20.

One thing that does seem for sure is Essential Quality being the Derby favorite.

There is now no doubt in my mind that undefeated champion Essential Quality will start the Derby a well-supported favorite,” TwinSpires Handicapper Ed DeRosa said a WDRB TV articleThe combination of his unblemished record, fast times, local trainer and color (gray) will all add up to a large amount of public support.”

After Concert Tour’s stumble in the Arkansas Derby, DeRosa is predicting Essential Quality will go off at 7-2 odds.

Other Derby coverage:

Get to know the 2021 Kentucky Derby contenders

Kentucky Derby Pedigree Profile: King Fury

Kentucky Derby roundup: April 12, 2021

Monday, April 12, 2021

Bally's schedules 'listening tour' to hear community concerns over proposed Richmond casino

Richmonder's will have a chance to meet with Bally's Corp. officials this week to discuss the company's proposed $650 million Bally's Richmond Casino Resort, one of three casinos that may be selected for development in Virginia's capital. By law only one casino will be built in Richmond.

Recent editorials and opinion pieces appearing in local Richmond newspapers show strong opposition against all three proposed casino projects. More than 100 people participated in a protest against the project last week, according to an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Bally's, the proposed developer and operator of Bally's Richmond Casino Resort, will proactively embark upon a listening tour consisting of a series of in-person conversations and meetings in Richmond this week, the company announced on Monday.

“The objective of the tour is to provide Bally's, and Richmond residents and local business owners spanning all nine districts, with opportunities to engage with Bally's, and address important issues regarding the casino selection process, to ensure that Richmonders' interests and values are best served,” Bally's officials said in a company press release. Jonathan Davis, an African American Community Activist in Richmond, is partnering with Bally's in the planning and implementation of the listening tour.

The listening tour will consist of three events taking place on the following dates at each respective time and location:

  • Tuesday, April 13th, 6:30pm ET at Bryan Park (4308 Hermitage Road, Richmond, VA);

  • Wednesday, April 14th, 1:00pm ET at Battery Park (2803 Dupont Circle, Richmond, VA); and

  • Wednesday, April 14th, 6:30pm ET at Chimborazo Park (3215 E Broad St, Richmond, VA).

"As we've said from the start, a key component of our proposal is partnering with the City of Richmond,” said Michael Monty, senior project manager of Bally's Richmond. “A critical part of building that partnership consists of listening to the community and its stakeholders. We want to hear Richmonders' thoughts, ideas and concerns so that we can best represent their interests and values. We look forward to this opportunity to engage with the community so that Bally's is best positioned to put Richmond first."

Friday, April 9, 2021

Mars helicopter two days away from making historic flight

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is two days away from making humanity’s first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. If all proceeds as planned, the four-pound rotorcraft is expected to take off from Mars’ Jezero Crater Sunday at 10:54 p.m. EDT, hovering 10 feet above the surface for up to 30 seconds. Mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., expect to receive data from the flight attempt the following morning at around 4:15 a.m. EDT, Monday.

Flying in a controlled manner on Mars is far more difficult than flying on Earth. Even though gravity on Mars is about one-third that of Earth’s, the helicopter must fly with the assistance of an atmosphere whose pressure at the surface is only 1% that of Earth.

Sunday’s flight will be autonomous, with Ingenuity’s guidance, navigation, and control systems doing the piloting. That’s mostly because radio signals will take 15 minutes, 27 seconds to bridge the 173-million-mile gap between Mars and Earth.

Events leading up to the first flight test begin when the Perseverance rover, which serves as a communications base station for Ingenuity, receives that day’s instructions from Earth. Those commands will have traveled from mission controllers at JPL through NASA’s Deep Space Network to a receiving antenna aboard Perseverance. Parked at “Van Zyl Overlook,” some 215 feet away, the rover will transmit the commands to the helicopter about an hour later.

Then, at 10:53 p.m. EDT, Ingenuity will begin undergoing its myriad preflight checks.

“It should take us about six seconds to climb to our maximum height for this first flight,” said JPL’s Håvard Grip, the flight control lead for Ingenuity.

While hovering, the helicopter’s navigation camera and laser altimeter will feed information into the navigation computer to ensure Ingenuity remains not only level, but in the middle of its 33-by-33-foot airfield – a patch of Martian real estate chosen for its flatness and lack of obstructions. Then, the Mars Helicopter will descend and touch back down on the surface of Jezero Crater, sending data back to Earth, via Perseverance, to confirm the flight.

Perseverance is expected to obtain imagery of the flight using its Navcam and Mastcam-Z imagers, with the pictures expected to come down early morning Monday. The helicopter will also document the flight from its perspective, with a color image and several lower-resolution black-and-white navigation pictures possibly being available by the next morning.

Waltzing Matilda Aviation launching new airline

Boston-based Waltzing Matilda Aviation (WMA) will be launching Connect Airlines, a new airline starting operations in October, connecting Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport with airports in the Northeast and Midwest United States.

Using the Canadian built Q400 turboprop aircraft, Connect Airlines will offer a premium service for day-tripping business travelers direct into Toronto's downtown island Billy Bishop airport. Subject to regulatory approvals, the airline will provide a valuable alternative to business travelers as they start to fly between the United States and Canada again.

WMA is a FAA Part 135 jet charter operator (Certificate number 6WZA614N) that has started the process to add FAA Part 121 scheduled and non-scheduled services to its Air Operators Certificate. WMA began private (Part 91) operations in June 2008 and has operated thousands of hours of safe and reliable flying with a focus on delivering superior customer service.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Borgata Atlantic City fully integrated as MGM property; $40 member bonus in April

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, is going to be fully integrated as an MGM Resorts International property in April. The work will allow for:

  • Earning Tier Credits for non-gaming spend (dining, hotel and more)

  • A better experience with M life Rewards cards working at all MGM Resorts properties

  • to have a fresh, new look with easier navigation

  • Express Comps balances to be simplified (MGM & Borgata Express Comps are now combined)

“To implement these exciting changes, and prepare us for new promotions and events, we will pause promotional offers from April 17–30,” said Melonie Johnson, president and COO of Borgata, in an email to members. There will be limited disruption on the casino floor during this time. For any inconvenience this may cause, Borgata has added $40 Bonus SLOT DOLLARS to members M life Rewards account valid from April 1 – April 16.

“This will be in addition to the rest of your promotions. Rest assured, you will still be able to earn and redeem SLOT DOLLARS and Express Comps during this time,” Johnson said. “We are excited to resume promotional offers starting in May.”

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Company Profile; Rush Street Interactive, Inc.

In the latter half of 2013, New Jersey became the first U.S. state to legally permit online casinos. Rush Street Interactive, Inc. (RSI) entered the New Jersey online casino market approximately three years after that market opened and there were already numerous competitors in the market at that time. Less than three years after beginning operations in New Jersey, RSI was ranked the #4 online casino brand in New Jersey based on revenue, out of 19 total operators in the market at that time, according to the Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG) United States Online Casino Tracker for April 2019.

Today, Chicago-based RSI is a leading online gaming and entertainment company that focuses primarily on online casino and online sports betting in the U.S. and Latin American markets.

On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that PASPA – a nationwide ban of sports betting – was unconstitutional, thus allowing states to enact their own sports betting laws. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision 22 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting. Of those 23 jurisdictions, 15 states have authorized statewide online sports betting while eight remain retail-only at casinos or retail locations.

RSI provides customers an array of leading gaming offerings such as real-money online casino, online sports betting, and retail sports betting, as well as social gaming, which involves free-to-play games that use virtual credits that can be earned or purchased. The company launched their first social gaming website in 2015 and began accepting real-money bets in the United States in 2016. The company currently operates online casino and/or online sports betting in eight states (Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia). RSI's website and phone app went live in Virginia on Jan. 27, 2021. In addition, the company has secured potential market access to New York, Ohio, Maryland, Missouri and if certain conditions are met, Texas.

RSI has been operating online gaming in Colombia since 2018, a country with a population of approximately 50 million. Online gaming is also authorized in Mexico and Brazil, which have populations of approximately 128.9 million and 212.6 million, respectively. The highest populated country in Latin America, Brazil, legalized sports betting in December 2018.

Real-money online casino and online sports betting offerings are provided under and brands in the United States and under in Colombia.

Experienced gaming operators Neil Bluhm, Greg Carlin and Richard Schwartz founded Rush Street Interactive, LP (“RSILP”), which is now an indirect subsidiary of RSI. Company founders had invested approximately $50 million into RSILP. This capital was primarily used to fund the development of our proprietary online gaming platform and offerings, recruit and grow an experienced team, and expand into new geographic and product markets.

Online casino revenue from slot machines and table games in New Jersey grew from $277.3 million in 2018 to $461.8 million in 2019 according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Furthermore, land-based casino revenue in New Jersey grew during that same period from $2.51 billion in 2018 to $2.69 billion in 2019 according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, showing that land-based casino revenue can grow at the same time that online casino revenue grows. In 2020, New Jersey online casino revenue continued to increase to $931.6 million while revenues from land-based casinos decreased to $1.51 billion.

As of March 22, 2021, RSI had a global workforce of approximately 264 employees and contractors, with approximately 37% of people working in technical roles. Approximately 50% of their people are based in the United States with the remaining 50% being based elsewhere in the world, including Canada, Colombia, Estonia and Mexico.

According to EKG, the United States generated approximately $1.15 billion in online sports betting revenue in 2020, despite the impacts of COVID-19 and the cancellations, postponement, shortening or rescheduling of sporting events and seasons. Only 35% of the United States currently has access to online sports betting, according to EKG.

If every U.S. state was to legalize online casino, based on state level projections from EKG, it is projected that the U.S. market would generate approximately $20 billion in revenue. Similarly, if every U.S. state was to legalize online sports betting, based on state level projections from EKG, it is projected that the U.S. market would generate approximately $15 billion in revenue.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

NASA is targeting no earlier than April 8 to fly a helicopter on Mars

NASA is targeting no earlier than April 8 for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to make the first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. Before the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft can attempt its first flight both it and its team must meet a series of daunting milestones.

Ingenuity remains attached to the belly of NASA's Perseverance rover, which touched down on Mars Feb. 18. The rover currently is in transit to the "airfield" where Ingenuity will attempt to fly. Once deployed, Ingenuity will have 30 Martian days (31 Earth days) to conduct its test flight.

Flying in a controlled manner on Mars is far more difficult than flying on Earth. The Red Planet has significant gravity (about one-third that of Earth's) but its atmosphere is just 1% as dense as Earth's at the surface. During Martian daytime, the planet's surface receives only about half the amount of solar energy that reaches Earth during its daytime, and nighttime temperatures can drop as low as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius), which can freeze and crack unprotected electrical components.

"While getting deployed to the surface will be a big challenge, surviving that first night on Mars alone, without the rover protecting it and keeping it powered, will be an even bigger one,” said Bob Balaram, Mars Helicopter chief engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

"Ingenuity is an experimental engineering flight test – we want to see if we can fly at Mars," said MiMi Aung, project manager for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL. "There are no science instruments onboard and no goals to obtain scientific information.”

Ingenuity will run its rotors to 2,537 revolutions per minute and, if all final self-checks look good, lift off.  After climbing at a rate of about three feet per second (one meter per second), the helicopter will hover at 10 feet (three meters) above the surface for up to 30 seconds. Then, the Mars Helicopter will descend and touch back down on the Martian surface. Once the first few flights are complete the mission control team will develop a plan on how to move forward with Ingenuity.

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was built by JPL, which also manages the technology demonstration for NASA Headquarters. It is supported by NASA's Science Mission Directorate, the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, and the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA's Ames Research Center and Langley Research Center provided significant flight performance analysis and technical assistance.

At NASA Headquarters, Dave Lavery is the program executive for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. At JPL, MiMi Aung is the project manager and J. (Bob) Balaram is chief engineer.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Chinese weather satellite breaks into pieces in space

The U.S. Space Force's 18th Space Control Squadron (18 SPCS) has confirmed the breakup of China's Yunhai 1-02 satellite in Earth orbit. The breakup occurred on March 18 at 03:41 a.m. EDT, the military said in a post on Twitter. The 18th SPCS is tracking 21 pieces from the breakup - "analysis is ongoing."

Yunhai-1 is a series of Chinese meteorological satellites. The satellites are built by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology and used for observation of atmospheric, marine and space environment, disaster prevention and mitigation, and scientific experiments. Yunhai 1-02 was launched in 2019.

The Yunhai 1-02 event follows the breakup of NOAA 17 that just occurred on March 10. NOAA 17 is a U.S. weather satellite.