Space geeks rejoice: NASA news abounds
I had the opportunity to meet with high-level executives at military and aerospace technology firms throughout the Pacific Northwest in the past couple weeks. I had the pleasure of discussing the avionics market, including military, commercial, and general aviation with professionals at industry firms VPT, Crane Aerospace & Electronics, Radisys, Martek Power, EDT, and others.
I learned in numerous face-to-face meetings that, when it comes to the current and future health of the industry, optimism abounds. Demand for avionics is growing across multiple segments and locales; among them are: the Asia-Pacific region, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and space. Space avionics sub-segments--including spacecraft systems, unmanned rovers, and satellites--are active and gaining considerable attention.
NASA officials have made several announcements, just in this first week of November. Among them is a rare opportunity.
For the first time in three decades, the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is open to tourists. Guests at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can take a tour of the 525-foot-tall VAB, where myriad rockets have been built—ranging from the first Saturn V rocket in the late 1960s to the last space shuttle, the STS-135 Atlantis.
NASA officials, together with engineers from Lockheed Martin Space Systems, also plan an unmanned flight test of the Orion spacecraft in early 2014. The test of Lockheed Martin’s multi-purpose crew vehicle supports NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS).
NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna in California captured radar images of the aircraft carrier-sized Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing roughly 860,000 miles away from Earth.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has appointed Mason Peck, a professor at Cornell University, to be the agency’s chief technologist starting in January.
The Juno spacecraft has launched on its five-year voyage to Jupiter, with help from American Pacific Corp.'s in-space propulsion subsidiary (AMPAC-ISP).
NASA engineers are busy and, in turn, keeping aerospace technology companies busy and innovating. Space is a bright spot in the avionics community, and recent activity should allay concerns over a dwindling U.S. space industry. Kudos and keep up the great work--to 2012 and beyond!