Korea Aerospace Industries has selected Harris Corporation to provide carriage and release systems for the next-generation Korea Fighter-Experimental (KF-X) programme, expanding the company’s presence among new customers and aircraft platforms in Asia.

The Korea Aerospace Industries KF-X jet is a programme to develop an advanced multirole fighter for the Republic of Korea air force.

“The KF-X aircraft represents a new strategic customer and fighter development platform for Harris in the Asian market,” said Ed Zoiss, president, Harris Electronic Systems. “This selection reaffirms our position as the supplier of choice worldwide for proven, leading edge carriage and release solutions.”

The company will supply its BRU-47 and BRU-57 release systems, which are currently fielded on numerous aircraft including the F-15E, F-16 and the F-22A. The BRU-47 single store carrier, known for its reliability and ease of maintenance, also reduces the time needed for loading stores using Harris’ patented sway-brace technology – which minimises rack sway due to aircraft manoeuvres and munition release. The BRU-57 is a smart-weapon-enabled, twin store carrier that doubles the payload capacity of aircraft without modifying any hardware – providing for a wide array of payload configurations.

Article by AeroAustraliaMag, Complete Article [ HERE ]

KAI selects Harris payload carriage and release systems for KFX

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has selected Harris Corporation to supply bomb rack units (BRUs) for South Korea’s next-generation Korea Fighter Experimental (KFX) development programme, the Melbourne, Florida-based company announced on 14 November.

Harris said in a statement that it will provide the BRU-47 and BRU-57 release systems, which are already fielded on United States Air Force (USAF) and international multirole combat aircraft including the US-made Boeing F-15E Eagle and Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 Raptor platforms.

The company describes the 14/30-inch BRU-47 single store carrier as a reliable and versatile system that incorporates its patented sway-brace technology. This feature, it claimed, minimises rack sway caused by aircraft manoeuvres and munition release as well as eases the loading of stores in challenging situations by eliminating the need to tighten individual screw jacks to precise torque values.

Article by Jane’s IHS Jane’s International Defence Review, Complete Article [ HERE ]

Northrop Grumman's little-known recon airplane program will be crucial to the company's financial success.

Northrop Grumman’s little-known recon airplane program will be crucial to the company’s financial success.

Major defense contractors earned big contracts with work in Central Florida/SpaceCoast, and all of them are hiring dozens — even hundreds — of local workers.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Northrop Grumman Corp: The Falls Church, Va.-based company won a $66.3 million contract with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency on Nov. 16. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Melbourne will deliver aircraft power amplifier modules, which is equipment used for ground and airborne communications. The contract has a Sept. 30, 2021, completion date.
  • Northrop Grumman: The company’s Melbourne unit landed another contract on Nov. 16, this one worth $15 million with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency. The contract is to deliver aircraft high-voltage power supply. The contract has a Sept. 30, 2020, completion date. Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) has more than 400 jobs available in Melbourne. Its career website lists 150 job titles as being open, but many of those titles will have multiple hires. A few job titles are engineer material process, software engineer and engineer electrical.
  • Lockheed Martin Corp.: The Bethesda, Md.-based defense firm won a $44.1 million contract with the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 14 to produce intelligent test instrumentation kits to be used on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, which Lockheed Martin also designs and builds. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) also is hiring more than 900 workers in Central Florida — mostly in Orlando, where the company has two major locations with 7,000 workers. Job titles include software engineer, cybersecurity analyst, machinist, multimedia designer and more.
  • General Dynamics Mission Systems: The Falls Church, Va-based company won a $14.7 million contract from the U.S. Navy for sustainment of the U.S. and United Kingdom fire control and weapon control systems and equipment. Work for the contract will take place in seven locations around the world, including Cape Canaveral. The contract has a September 2023 completion. General Dynamics has 10 locations listed on its website.

Military contracts contribute to the local economy in the form of jobs and subcontractor opportunities, and Central Florida is a major player when it comes to defense contracts. The region snags about $4 billion in government contracts each year because the nation’s Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines simulation operations are based in Central Florida Research Park. That work helps make Orlando the modeling, simulation and training capital of the world, according to the Orlando Economic Partnership.

Article by Matthew Richardson, Orlando Business Journal, Complete Article [ HERE ]

The work involves cutting-edge technology.

It’s challenging and rewarding.

The jobs pay well, often pushing over six figures a year.

And yet leaders in the aerospace and defense industries are sounding the alarm that more needs to be done to ensure there’s a steady stream of workers to fill a void left by what’s expected to be a wave of retirements in the near future in engineering and high-tech manufacturing fields.

And there is another wrinkle. Competition used to be among sector players,  with Northrop Grumman cherry picking from Boeing who was luring engineers from Harris and so on.

Now, companies like Amazon and Apple are putting themselves in the mix, attracting talent that might otherwise go to aerospace and defense sectors — the bread-and-butter industries on the Space Coast.

“To satisfy projected demand and offset retirements and normal attrition, we need to hire more than 5,000 engineers over the next five years,” said William Brown, chairman, president and chief executive of Harris Corp. “It’s the reason we nearly doubled our college recruiting this year, and we expect to increase it again next year.”

Brown’s comment on Wednesday came at the kick-off of a two-day summit put on by the Aerospace Industries Association. The Melbourne-headquartered Harris, which has 17,000 employees across the globe, hosted the summit at its Technology Center in Palm Bay.

About 200 people attended the summit’s opening, including government officials, business leaders and educators from across Florida.

The general consensus among aerospace and defense leaders was that companies need to do more to engage people early on —as in grade school — in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.

“Our industry has great potential to create new high-skill, high-wage jobs, but it takes the right kind of people to create the innovations and ideas that keep our industry vibrant long into the future,” said  Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher.

The aerospace and defense industry employs more than 70,000 people in Florida and accounts for approximately 10 percent of the state’s exports and 1.3 percent of its GDP.

During a panel discussion Wednesday morning, industry leaders said more progress needs to be made advancing women and minorities in engineering careers, and getting workers involved in other areas, including cybersecurity and big data analytics.

If there was one major concern presented Wednesday it came during a panel discussion involving Brown, Rick Matthews, vice president of global operations of Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.; Jim Chilton, senior vice president of the Space and Missile Systems division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security; and Alan Pellegrini, president and CEO of Thales USA Inc.

Pellegrini worried about the mediocre — if not downright softness — in math and science performance by students in schools in the United States vs. other countries, particularly those in Asia.

He also worried about commitments to diversity.

“If you look at broader statistics, where do U.S. students rank on a national scale in terms of science and math?” Pellegrini asked. “It’s poor. We’re in the middle of the pack. If we look at the statistics around diversity, we see that there’s marginal progress at best.

“What are we doing wrong?”

On a positive note, research presented Wednesday by Aviation Week Network showed:

  • Most of the hires in aerospace and defense are taking place in the Southwest United States (15.1 percent), the Southeast (13.6 percent) and the Northeast (12.7 percent.)
  • The universities with the highest number of grads hired in the aerospace and defense sectors were the University of Central Florida (No. 1), the University of Florida (No. 2) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (No. 3.)

Contact Price at 321-242-3658 or wprice@floridatoday.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Fla2dayBiz.

Article by Wayne T. Price, Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]


A once-empty parking lot at Northrop Grumman Corp.’s top secret aircraft plant in Palmdale is now jammed with cars that pour in during the predawn hours.

More than a thousand new employees are working for the time being in rows of temporary trailers, a dozen tan-colored tents and a vast assembly hangar at the desert site near the edge of urban Los Angeles County.

It is here that Northrop is building the Air Force’s new B-21 bomber, a stealthy bat-winged jet that is being designed to slip behind any adversary’s air defense system and deliver devastating airstrikes for decades to come. The Pentagon is aiming to buy 100 of the bombers by the mid-2030s for at least $80 billion, though the exact amount is classified.

Sources: Mapzen, OpenStreetMap

Northrop won the bomber contract in 2015, but the pace of activity is ramping up sharply under an Air Force budget that has reached $2 billion for this fiscal year.

Construction crews are getting ready to add 1 million square feet to the plant, a 50% increase over what is already a huge facility that is protected by razor wire-topped fences, electronic sensors and military air space surveillance, according to interviews and government documents.

Artist rendering of Air Force’s new B-21 bomber.
Artist rendering of Air Force’s new B-21 bomber. Northrop Gruman

The project marks a sharp turnaround in the fortunes of the Southern California aerospace industry, which has been atrophying since the end of the Cold War. It was widely assumed that the region would never again be home to a large aircraft manufacturing program and now it has one of the largest in modern history. The program is breathing new life into an industry that once defined the Southern California economy.

The bomber — dubbed the “Raider” — is expected to become Northrop’s largest cash cow, which could run for two decades if it does not encounter technical or political setbacks. But it will be competing with other nuclear and nonnuclear modernization programs for limited defense funds — a cutthroat political contest.

Northrop has 3,000 employees at the Palmdale plant and is still hiring at a rapid clip. By late 2019, the operation will have 5,200 employees at the site, Kevin Mitchell, deputy vice president of global operations, recently told a Lancaster Chamber of Commerce meeting.

A Boeing C-17 Globemaster III lands at Palmdale Regional Airport during recent exercise flights. Northrop Grumman (background) was awarded the new B-21 bomber contract in 2015.
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III lands at Palmdale Regional Airport during recent exercise flights. Northrop Grumman (background) was awarded the new B-21 bomber contract in 2015. Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

The facility also produces Northrop’s high-altitude surveillance drones, the Global Hawk for the Air Force and the closely related Triton for the Navy, as well as the center fuselage for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Company officials declined to be interviewed on the B-21, citing Defense Department restrictions.

The Palmdale factory is part of the Air Force’s massive Plant 42 operation, where some of the nation’s most secret warplanes have been built, including Northrop’s flying wing B-2 bomber.

The B-21 program is not just secret but “special access,” setting a much higher bar on who can get a clearance and how data are stored, among much else. An executive conference room at the plant is actually a high security windowless vault, where a massive conference table is surrounded by three dozen leather chairs and the walls are adorned with large photographs of the company’s long line of weapons. No cellphones are allowed in the room.

Heavy bombers, particularly those capable of carrying nuclear weapons, have been among the most controversial military projects in U.S. history. When the B-1 bomber was rolled out, pacifists attempted to throw themselves under its wheels. The Northrop B-2 stealth bomber gave Congress sticker shock with its $1-billion-per-plane manufacturing cost.

Ally J. Levine

By contrast, the B-21 so far is slamming through the political system with few obstacles with a projected cost of $550 million per plane, translating to production costs alone of $55 billion, according to staff at the House Armed Services Committee. The dollar amount for research and development is highly classified, Under Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan said in an in interview.

The service is committed to releasing that cost information as soon as possible, Donovan said, “but we have to balance that with protecting the capabilities of our aircraft against potential adversaries.”

Even more highly classified are the technical details of the future bomber.

A crude drawing of the plane released by the Air Force seems to resemble the company’s B-2 bomber, but Donovan and others say the new plane is not a derivative but a “clean sheet” design. It is supposed to carry nuclear weapons, though the Air Force does not plan to certify it for such missions until two years after it first becomes operational, a cost-saving decision that the House Armed Services Committee criticized in a 2013 report.

Evading more capable future radar systems is a singular requirement. When the B-2 was built, some experts claimed it looked no bigger than a hummingbird on a radar screen. The B-21 would have to be even stealthier. The preliminary design of the bomber’s stealth characteristics was “investigated in detail against current and anticipated threats,” according to a Congressional Research Service report released in June.

The plane will be operated either by an onboard crew or autonomously, the report said. Without a crew, the bomber could linger much longer over targets, requiring fewer sorties and holding an enemy hostage much longer. Unlike the B-2, it is planned as part of a “family of systems,” implying that it would fly with other aircraft or weapons systems, though government officials declined to say anything about it.

A B-2 bomber refueling from a KC-135 Stratotanker over the Pacific Ocean. The B-21 will be designed to be even stealthier than the B-2.
A B-2 bomber refueling from a KC-135 Stratotanker over the Pacific Ocean. The B-21 will be designed to be even stealthier than the B-2. AFP/Getty Images

The B-21 will benefit from much more sophisticated, faster and cheaper computer systems, as well as software, said Don Hicks, who was Northrop’s senior vice president for research during the B-2 era and later served as the Pentagon’s research and engineering chief. He said Northrop developed crucial technology in its X-47B drone, an experimental jet that made history in 2013 with the first autonomous landing on an aircraft carrier.

“The B-21 is much better than the B-2,” Hicks said. “It has a lot of capability built into it that the B-2 doesn’t have.”

The B-21 is being marketed as a replacement for the Air Force’s aging bomber fleet, which dates back to the 1960s for the B-52 and the 1980s for the B-1. The Air Force says potential adversaries are improving their air defense systems and it has to find new capabilities to ensure it can hold them at risk. Even if the Air Force gets all 100 bombers now planned, it will end up with a smaller fleet than it has now.

The Pentagon fears a repeat of the B-2 bomber program, in which the nation invested $20 billion in research and development with a plan to buy 132 airplanes. The plan’s cost ballooned and the Cold War ended just before production began, leaving even the Defense Department questioning why it was needed. In the end, the Air Force got only 21 aircraft, which forced it to keep using the older bombers.

The B-21 also faces a tough road ahead because of competing programs. The Pentagon has plans to update every leg of the nuclear weapons complex, including warheads, missiles and submarines, at an estimated cost of $1.2 trillion, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate released Oct. 31.

Source: U.S. Air Force

The B-21 is getting an early start, but some other programs are scheduled just when the B-21 would enter production in the mid-2020s and could challenge the bomber for funding.

“They don’t have enough money,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons analyst with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif. “Building everything at once is the best way to build nothing.”

Unlike many strategic weapons systems, such as submarines or intercontinental ballistic missiles, bombers are in use daily on missions in the Middle East. More than a decade of war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have made clear that bombers play a big role in limited conventional war.

The ultimate success of the program will depend on continued government support and cost controls. The Air Force considers the bomber one of its top three priorities, along with the F-35 and a new aerial refueling tanker.

So far, the program has received all the money that President Obama and President Trump have requested. Last year, two dozen members of the House — a colorful political mix of conservatives and liberals — sent a letter to appropriation committee leaders asking them to maintain funding for the bomber.

The only grumbling has surfaced from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who has pressed for more disclosure about the cost of research and development. The Air Force has resisted, arguing it would disclose the scope of the technology development underway.

Los Angeles Times

To help keep Northrop on schedule, the Air Force is managing the B-21 through its Washington, D.C.-based Rapid Capabilities Office, which is intended to cut red tape, said Donovan, the undersecretary. The Air Force is requiring that any design changes, which often slow progress and increase costs, be approved at a higher level than is typical.

Building bombers under the black budget is not unprecedented. The U.S. government didn’t lift the veil on the B-2 program until a decade after it had begun, revealing one of the largest weapons development efforts since the Manhattan Project produced the atomic bomb in the 1940s.

The Air Force and Northrop went to great lengths to conceal even the smallest detail of the B-2 program. Many suppliers had no idea they were making parts for the bomber. The government created dummy companies that ordered the parts, which were often picked up in the middle of the night by unmarked trucks.

Northrop made a bold decision a decade ago when it decided against teaming up with either Lockheed Martin Corp. or Boeing Co., going it alone. That led to Boeing and Lockheed, the nation’s two largest defense contractors, teaming up against Northrop. When they lost that competition, it left Northrop with 100% of the prime contract profits, not having to share it with a partner.

“I said we don’t need either of them,” said a person who was involved.

In addition to the major work in Palmdale, parts of all sizes will pour from factories in California and across the nation. The bomber, like other big-ticket aircraft programs before it, will probably spur new housing and commercial development. Mitchell, Northrop’s vice president, told the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce that the company is working with local leaders to make sure employees have access to services and amenities they want.

Sources: Mapzen, OpenStreetMap

The company, for example, is working with Antelope Valley College, which recently developed an eight-week training program for aircraft fabrication and assembly, said Liz Diachun, a college spokeswoman. The vast majority of the college’s aircraft fabrication graduates go to Northrop. The college even has a bachelor’s degree program with a course on the theory of “low observable” technologies.

Northrop’s website has 272 jobs posted for Palmdale, including flight test engineers, machinists, aircraft electricians, composite technicians and low-observables mechanics. Many postings have multiple openings.

But the B-21 will probably not have the economic power of past defense programs. The industry is more efficient now, with production using more robots and other automated machinery. In 1992 when Northrop’s B-2 bomber was near its peak, the company had 9,000 workers at a now-shuttered plant in Pico Rivera and an additional 3,000 in Palmdale. The entire B-2 program employed 40,000 across the nation.

The mix is also changing. In the B-21, Palmdale already has as many workers as the B-2 and is headed higher, suggesting that its role will include not only final assembly but a significant amount of parts or process work. Although the plane is being assembled at Palmdale, the Northrop program office is located at another major company aircraft facility in Melbourne, Fla.

Manufacturing engineering work is being planned in Palmdale, while Melbourne serves as a design center. A longtime aerospace industry veteran said Northrop has also opened a modest B-21 engineering office at its plant in El Segundo, because it is challenged to find all the engineers it needs in Florida.

Mike Blades, a securities analyst with Frost & Sullivan, said he believes that about 30% to 50% of the Air Force’s $2-billion bomber budget for fiscal 2018 is flowing through Northrop.

“By far, it is going to be the largest source of their funding,” Blades said. “It is going to be a big deal for a long time. You are talking $2 billion and they are just in research and development.”

Investors have taken close note. Since the company was awarded the contract in October 2015, Northrop shares have nearly doubled, outpacing industry rivals over the same period.

Northrop Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Bedingfield earlier this year told securities analysts that the company’s restricted activities, which refer to secret contracts such as the B-21, made up more than 20% of sales last year.

“I will tell you that it is a nicely growing part of our business,” he said.


Twitter: @rvartabedian


Twitter: @smasunaga

Article by Los Angeles Times, Complete Article [ HERE ]

With the growing use of unmanned vehicles on the Space Coast, local providers and users have joined to create a Space Coast chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) with a kick-off launch party on November 15.

With the growing use of unmanned vehicles on the Space Coast, local providers and users have joined to create a Space Coast chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) with a kick-off launch party on November 15.


BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – With the growing use of unmanned vehicles on the Space Coast, local providers and users have joined to create a Space Coast chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) with a kick-off launch party on November 15.

This event will be held at Groundswell Startups, located at 2412 Irwin Street in Melbourne, and will include presentations on how AUVSI can help Space Coast businesses. The meeting will run 5:30 to 8 p.m., with the presentation beginning at 6 p.m.

The organization is a subsidiary of AUVSI’s Florida Peninsula Chapter.

The event is expected to attract government officials, local businesses offering unmanned vehicle services, officials from AUVSI, entrepreneurs interested in launching drone businesses in the area and such major players as Harris Corporation, which is involved in drone integration.

The satellite chapter will also support a new Brevard County School Board STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative to bring AUVSI Foundation SeaPerch kits to county middle and high schools.

“The industry on the Space Coast is maturing, expanding rapidly since 2016,” said Planet Inhouse, Inc. President and Founder Todd Hillhouse, whose Melbourne-based company provides professional support, training, sales and services for unmanned inspections and commercial use of drones.

“This is true in all of Florida with unmanned systems playing a critical role in hurricane recovery. The time is ripe to launch a local chapter. The technology used by companies on the Space Coast has become quite sophisticated and broad-ranging.”

Article by Space Coast Daily, Complete Article [ HERE ]

Melbourne-based Harris Corporation headquarters (Paul Brinkmann / Orlando Sentinel)

Melbourne-based Harris Corporation headquarters (Paul Brinkmann / Orlando Sentinel)

Florida law enforcement officials received hands-on training from Harris Corporation’s cyber security experts during a free workshop held in South Florida.

The Melbourne-based aerospace and defense contractor hosted more than 50 people at a workshop that took a look at some of the tools cyber criminals have at their disposal.

They also learned how to protect their networks.

“Cybersecurity is a complex industry,” said Greg Coleman, marketing intelligence manager for Harris Communications Systems, in a release. “Harris is pleased to offer the best of the best experts in the industry to help our law enforcement partners take action against this everyday threat.”

The energy giant Siemens says a partnership it announced Tuesday positions the company to help other businesses stave off cyber attacks.

The company has partnered with the small Maryland-based security company Tenable Inc. to help utilities, oil and gas companies to prepare their critical infrastructure for cyberattacks.

The two firms will combine services to help companies assess their resources to determine where they might be vulnerable.

An October survey found that cyber attacks on utility infrastructure is one of the biggest threats the energy industry faces.

The cybersecurity group for Siemens, which employs more than 5,000 in Central Florida, falls under its Power Generation Services Division, which has its hub in Orlando.

Tenable CEO Amit Yoran said the need to understand how exposed a company is to cyberattacks has become increasingly important to critical infrastructure companies.

“We have seen the rise of cloud, mobile and ‘Internet of Things’ … which have made the critical systems vulnerable to increasingly aggressive adversaries and attacks,” he said.

Simulation firm lands work

An Orlando simulation firm is jumping into augmented reality after landing a research and development contract with a Melbourne-based company.

Serious Simulations, which until now had focused on immersive military training systems, will produce a series of prototypes for wireless augmented reality headsets for Aeronyde Corporation.

Aeronyde specializes in fixed-wing drones that can carry tools that help in thermal imaging and mapping.

“This will be a terrific leap forward in visualization of a variety of data,” said Christopher Chambers, CEO and founder of Serious Simulations.

In a release, Serious Simulations’ officials say the first prototype will be ready by the end of the year. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

Got a news tip? msantana@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5256; Twitter, @marcosantana

Article by Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel, Complete Article [ HERE ]

A new organization focusing on drones, automation and other technologies is starting in Brevard County. The The Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International Space Coast Chapter will hold its first meeting Wednesday at Groundswell Startups. WAYNE T. PRICE/FLORIDA TODAY

You hear about their exploits in war zones, killing terrorists and capturing vital surveillance images.

Amazon talks about using them to deliver packages to your house.

And someday soon they may even fly you soon coast to coast.

This is the world of drones and a group of local engineers and drone enthusiasts want to make sure the Space Coast plays a significant role in the burgeoning technology. That’s why the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems (AUVSI) is starting the Space Coast Satellite Chapter, focusing on robotics and autonomous systems like drones.

With area companies like Harris Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and others already deeply involved in those technologies, Brevard County seems have a good start.

The new AUVSI chapter is holding a kickoff event at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Groundswell Startups, 2412 Irwin St, Melbourne. All persons interested in unmanned systems and technology are welcome to attend.

“The Space Coast has such an amazing and storied history,” said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI. “We are thrilled for the technology rebirth currently underway — this new chapter is testament to our support to help enable that growth,”

The Space Coast Satellite Chapter, a subsidiary of AUVSI’s Florida Peninsula Chapter, will focus on building awareness and dialogue among the region’s defense, civil, commercial, academic, and government sectors. The satellite chapter will also support a new Brevard County School Board Science, Technology, Engineering and Math initiative to bring AUVSI Foundation SeaPerch kits to area middle and high schools.

Uses for drone technology seem endless in Brevard. They’re already being used to monitor the Indian River Lagoon and the coast for environmental purposes, not to mention inspecting crops and structural damage to buildings.

AUVSI unanimously selected Melbourne  unmanned systems entrepreneur Todd A. Hillhouse to lead the new Space Coast satellite chapter.

Hillhouse, who will serve as the interim chapter director, will engage with local and regional companies, entrepreneurs, government agencies, and academic institutions to capitalize upon the momentum already building throughout the region.

“While growing up in the Midwest I remember watching the future happen right here in the Space Coast,” Hillhouse said. “The whole world had eyes on Florida. We will see Florida once again capture the attention of the world.”

Uses for drone technology seem endless in Brevard. They’re already being used to monitor the Indian River Lagoon and the coast for environmental purposes, not to mention inspecting crops and structural damage to buildings.

“Companies, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, educators and members of this new satellite chapter will come together to transform this area into not just the Space Coast, but the ‘Space and Technology Coast,’ ” Hillhouse said.

For more information and to RSVP for Wednesday’s event visit www.AUVSIspacecoast.org.

Contact Price at 321-242-3658 or wprice@floridatoday.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Fla2dayBiz.

Article by Wayne T. Price, Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]

A SpaceX booster that launched a Korean communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center this week sailed into Port Canaveral on Friday, again highlighting the Space Coast’s role in rocket reusability.

Bathed in the sunset atop the company’s Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, the Falcon 9 first stage quietly sailed into port just after 6 p.m., a departure from previous recoveries that included early morning arrivals.

The brand new nine-engine rocket roared off pad 39A at 3:34 p.m. Monday, taking with it South Korean operator KT SAT’s Koreasat-5A satellite to orbit. The booster then descended down to the drone ship several hundred miles off the coast of Florida, marking the California company’s 19th successful landing – both on land and ship – in less than two years.

2017 has, so far, been a banner year for SpaceX with 16 successful launches, doubling last year’s count of eight missions – and more are still on the way.

The company is targeting Nov. 15 for the launch of a secretive mission named “Zuma” for Northrop Grumman, which described its payload only as a “government mission.” The launch from KSC’s pad 39A is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will include a booster landing at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

SpaceX is also expected to launch its 13th resupply mission to the International Space Station in December, this time from Launch Complex 40. The pad and surrounding structures were damaged in September 2016 when a Falcon 9 rocket exploded during a test operation known as a “static test fire.”

Finally, the highly anticipated three-core, 27-engine Falcon Heavy launch vehicle is expected to blast off on a demonstration flight before the end of the year, though the company has not yet confirmed an official date.

Contact Emre Kelly at aekelly@floridatoday.com or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook at @EmreKelly.

Article by Florida Today, Complete Article [ HERE ]

A rendering of Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket, which is still under development. Blue Origin

Dive Brief:

  • A new $2.5 billion master plan for Florida’s Port Canaveral will include the construction of three new $150 million cruise ship terminals, renovations to two existing terminals and the possibility of a fourth new terminal after 2040, according to The Maritime Executive.
  • Port Canaveral’s upgrade would also feature a designated spaceport area near existing SpaceX facilities; improvements to current dining and retail establishments; a 500-person conference space; and a new transit center.
  • Funding for all of the improvements and upgrades will come from revenue generated by port operations.

Dive Insight:

The number of people opting for vacation cruises has continued to tick up over the past decade. Nearly 26 million people were forecast to take a cruise this year, according to the Cruise Lines International Association — a 62% increase from 2007.

In order to accommodate these new passengers, cruise lines planned to invest almost $7 billion in new ships, with 26 ocean liners on order at the end of 2016. But to accommodate for that increased capacity, a number of ports are beginning to expand their operational facilities.

Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, FL, will also see an increase of its cruise ship capabilities as part of a $437 million upgrade that will allow bigger ships to pull into the port. Dubbed the Southport Turning Notch Expansion, the project will deliver new berths, post-Panamax crane infrastructure and three times the deep-water turnaround space. Earlier this month, port officials announced that they had finished expanding the capacity of one cruise ship slip, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

According to a 2015 report from the American Association of Port Authorities, ports and their associated operations generate more than 23 million jobs. A separate report from the American Society of Civil Engineers found that more than 900 U.S. ports facilitate 99% of overseas trading — that adds $4.6 trillion to the U.S. economy, or more than a quarter of the country’s overall economic activity.

To manage the rise in traffic, ports are increasingly upping their technology game through automation. Though that trend has received pushback from port workers, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has acknowledged that the volume of West Coast port traffic is straining its workforce, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. To mitigate those effects, the ILWU recently voted to authorize a three-year contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association, an agreement that allows for use of automation to stay in place.

Follow Kim Slowey on Twitter
Article by Kim Slowey, Construction Dive, Complete Article [ HERE ]