Archive | October, 2006

Sabena – Such a brand elicits no affection

I know, I know, a horribly contrived headline. But anyway, I’m surprised to learn that the smart managements of SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Express are planning to resurrect the Sabena brand for their joint operation. In fairness I have little idea how the Sabena name is viewed in Belgium these days, but it wasn’t […]

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Climbers, hitch hikers and heat beyond belief

Rather you than me I thought as the Spanish team member continued her soldering of solar panels for her team’s tether climber machine. But at least the young student from Barcelona got to work inside on a very hot Sunday, while others toiled out in the sweltering heat setting up the crane and tether.

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It’s cold out here in the desert at the Wirefly X Prize Cup event, waiting for the Northrop lunar lander challenge

Rushing between the space elevator competition, interview opportunities with “private space explorers”, presentations in the Learning Center tent and getting to the Jumbrotron screen in time to watch the latest attempt by the Armadillo Aerospace team leaves you somewhat dizzy and not entirely sure if you’ve got everything done and exploited every opporuntity that could have presented itself.

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Success begins with self-belief whether its dowsing or space tourism

Whether it’s the science fiction appeal of going into the final frontier or the idea of becoming a new Microsoft for a new industry, or both, there is a lot of time and effort going into creating a new industry. The symposium, organised by New Mexico state’s space grant consortium, had sessions including astronauts, suborbital vehicle developers, community leaders, politicians and even an insurance broker, for the throng of a few hundred wannabe space tourists, potential suppliers, oh, and me, that had decided to attend.

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Hitching a lift: flying in the UK’s EH101 Merlins

I fulfilled a long-held ambition a few weeks ago, when I got the chance to tick another UK military aircraft type – AgustaWestland’s EH101 – off in my flight log. Surprisingly though, it turns out that Merlins (as EH101s are known in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy rotorhead communities) are a bit like London […]

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Lockheed, the US government and the New space industry are surprising us all this year

The Russian media reported that Lockheed was dropping out of the global commercial market and focusing only on US government launches. Not so. Its Commercial Launch Services arm will still market the Atlas booster. What the ULA derived subsidy means for Lockheed and Boeing’s commercial arms is a sensitive issue amongst the industry’s players. If you talk to satellite manufacturers and launch providers about what all this means for the market they, apparently quite honestly reply, we don’t know.

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Brazilian theories on the Gol crash and the treatment of the US pilots

Brazil‘s blog forums are buzzing, if you can read Portuguese, and there appears to be a concerted opinion forming. The topic of interest is the fatal crash of Gol Lihnas A駻eas flight 1907. Indeed, type in “V 1907″ into a blog search engine such as and a multitude appear, such as those from Varanda […]

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The Virgin America saga is an embarrassment to the USA

If the supposedly bright folks at the US Department of Transporation still cannot work out whether or not Virgin America is in accordance with US ownership rules then they’re in the wrong jobs. They should call in some expertise from Wall Street where there are a couple of thousand lawyers who could give them an […]

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Wing and a prairie: flying BAE Systems’ Hawk with Canada’s NFTC

It was never going to end well. “You’re a tall, skinny guy, you’re tired and dehydrated, and your blood pressure is low,” the air force doctor told me, about four hours before I was due to strap myself into the back of a BAE Systems Hawk jet trainer for my first flight in the type. […]

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All of humanity: free or not

The State Security agent had been quick, he’d spun round as I stood up, camera in hand, but I was just as swift and I chuckle to myself thinking about the intelligence officers back in Beijing who will look at the pictures of me making faces.

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