Launch Date Set for First Crew Flight from U.S. Soil Since 2011
A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:32 p.m. EDT on May 27, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, for an extended stay at the space station for the Demo-2 mission. The Demo-2 mission will be the final major step before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station. The specific duration of the mission is to be determined.
Airbus Achieves World’s First Fully Automatic Refuelling Contacts
Airbus has achieved the first-ever fully automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) operation with a boom system. The flight test campaign, conducted earlier this year over the Atlantic Ocean, involved an Airbus tanker test aircraft equipped with the Airbus A3R solution and an F-16 fighter aircraft of the Portuguese Air Force acting as a receiver. This milestone is part of the industrialization phase of A3R systems ahead of its implementation in the A330 MRTT tanker development. The A3R system requires no additional equipment on the receiver aircraft and is intended to reduce air refuelling operator (ARO) workload, improve safety, and optimize the rate of air-to-air refuelling transfer in operational conditions, helping maximize aerial superiority. The goal for the A3R system is to develop technologies that will reach fully autonomous capabilities.
U.S. Air Force Selects Orbital Insight for Strategic Financing SBIR Phase II Contract
The United States Air Force (USAF) has awarded Orbital Insight an SBIR Phase II contract with AFVentures Strategic Financing (STRATFI). It will help the USAF detect anomalies across the world with analytics powered by artificial intelligence and multiple geospatial data sources such as satellite imagery, SAR, AIS, and IoT devices. AFVentures was created to serve as an umbrella organization for USAF’s efforts to work with small businesses while funding critical technologies for the military. AFVentures has designated a total of nearly $1B in strategic financing, with $550M for 21 small businesses as part of Phase II’s four-year, fixed-price contracts.
NGA And Vricon Collaborate On 3D Geodata and Software to Further the Mission
Vricon and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to explore and potentially improve 3D data exploitation. CRADA allows federal agencies and non-federal partners to optimize their resources, share technical expertise and intellectual property, and increase the commercialization of federally developed technology. Simply put, NGA and Vricon will pursue joint research and development goals that will benefit both organizations under an agreement that poses no additional costs to the government.
Booz Allen Secures $194M Follow-on CMS System Integration Support Contract
Booz Allen Hamilton continues its efforts as the marketplace system integrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under a potential five-year, $194M contract. CMS issued the award under its Strategic Partners Acquisition Readiness Contract vehicle. The company has helped CMS maintain a “system of systems” on federally run health insurance marketplaces through a $202M contract awarded in August 2015.
Featured Image: The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft | Photo Credit: NASA