First female space tourist returns to Earth
Tourism The world’s first female space tourist Anousheh Ansari will land in Russia on 28 September after a 10-day trip to the International Space Station (ISS). Launched on 18 September from Baiknour, Iranian-born US citizen Ansari spent eight days at the ISS and carried out human physiology experiments for the European Space Agency (ESA). Ansari travelled to the station onboard Soyuz TMA-9 with ISS expedition 14’s commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin.
2007 plan for fuel inerting regulations
Safety US rules on preventing airline fuel-tank explosions will not be finalised before September 2007. US Federal Aviation Administration associate administrator for aviation safety Nicholas Sabatini told the US House of Representatives aviation subcommittee last week that regulations, under study since the July 1996 mid-air disintegration of a TWA Boeing 747, are “not a simple issue” and require further investigation. The FAA official added that the rule would allow alternatives to fuel-inerting, although inerting achieved by nitrogen-injection will be the preferred method.
Chelton supplies systems to MD Helicopters
Electronics MD Helicopters has selected Chelton Flight Systems to supply an electronic flight instrument system for its light turbine singles. Chelton is working with Grand Prairie, Texas-based Heritage Aviation on supplemental type certification of its system in the MD 500E, 520N, 530F and 600N. Factory deliveries will begin late next year. The system includes two displays, attitude/heading reference system, air-data computer and GPS/WAAS receiver.
BBJ to confirm new jet at NBAA in Florida
Orders Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) has received its first launch order for the 737-900ER-based BBJ3 and is expected to formally announce the inauguration of the latest corporate jet family member at the upcoming National Business Aviation Association meeting in Orlando, Florida in late October. The first 737-900ER entered flight tests on 1 September and initial deliveries of the commercial version are expected to be made to Indonesian-based launch airline Lion Air in February 2007.
Boeing to develop Orion crew vehicle shield
Contract Boeing Advanced Systems has been awarded a 16-month contract with a maximum potential value of $14 million by NASA Ames Research Center to design and develop an expendable ablative thermal protection system (TPS) for the Orion’s block 2 version that would carry astronauts to the Moon. The phenolic impregnated carbon ablator (PICA) heat shield could also be used for International Space Station missions
Avisys secures second anti-missile buyer
Countermeasures L-3 Communications’s Avisys subsidiary has secured a second, unnamed VVIP customer for its flare-based self-protection system for civil aircraft. The anti-missile system will be installed on three Boeing aircraft, an undisclosed mix of 737s and 747s. Avisys has already installed the system on an Airbus A340 used to transport the Jordanian royal family, and L-3 says an order is pending to equip a business jet for an undisclosed customer.
Raymond Baxter OBE dies aged 84
Obituary Raymond Baxter OBE, the ex-Royal Air Force Spitfire fighter pilot who for many years was the “voice of Farnborough” to British television viewers, has died aged 84. After briefly working in Forces Broadcasting after the Second World War, Baxter began a long career with the BBC in 1950 commentating on motor racing and aviation events, including the first flight of Concorde in 1969. He was also the original presenter of BBC technology current affairs programme Tomorrow’s World.