A United Launch Alliance Delta IV carried a National Reconnaissance Office satellite into orbit Saturday, though the outlook for future launches is uncertain. According to Lockheed Martin, military launches could be postponed due to the partial government shutdown.
The first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft will be accepted by the US Air Force this week. The Air Force eventually will take delivery of five Pegasus tankers, and the service is preparing for initial operational test and evaluation as early as March.
The Pentagon expects China to field a new tactical bomber in 2025 or later. "These new bombers will have additional capabilities, with full-spectrum upgrades compared with current operational bomber fleets," the US Defense Intelligence Agency says.
A Gulfstream G280 made history by using sustainable alternative jet fuel for a record-breaking flight from Savannah, Ga., to Van Nuys, Calif. "Gulfstream has been involved with SAJF since June 2011, when a Gulfstream G450 became the first business jet to cross the Atlantic on a blend of the fuel," Gulfstream President Mark Burns says.
US Air Force Undersecretary Matt Donovan says the pursuit of an off-the-shelf light attack aircraft is on hold indefinitely, noting that the service will "broaden the scope" of its search. The Air Force had been evaluating the Textron's AT-6 Wolverine and Sierra Nevada and Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano.
Russia has reportedly completed another test of its anti-satellite missile system, and its capabilities are being monitored by the Pentagon. "Kinetic impacts could cause problems for other nations, besides the one you are attacking," Frank Slazer of the Aerospace Industries Association said about the system's effectiveness.
SMBC Aviation Capital has finalized its order with Airbus for 15 A321neos and 50 A320neos. The order of narrow-body aircraft has a list-price value of $7.4 billion.
NASA engineers and management staff are continuing preparations for the February test flight of the SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, despite the partial government shutdown. They are working without pay, and it's not clear whether the launch will still happen if the shutdown continues through the test day.
Stratolaunch has reportedly stopped the development of its own launch vehicles in favor of the Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket. "We are streamlining operations," a spokesman said.
Big contractors such as Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton and Rand have been forced to halt programs, furlough workers and shift project priorities in response to the partial federal shutdown. Contractor Tethers Unlimited has laid off 20% of its workers.
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