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05 Dec 06. US plans permanent base on Moon. Man first set foot on the Moon in 1969. US space agency Nasa has said it plans to start work on a permanently-occupied base on the Moon after astronauts begin flying back there in 2020. The base is likely to be built on one of the Moon’s poles and will serve as a science centre and possible stepping stone for manned missions to Mars. The US has already said it plans to build a new lunar spacecraft to succeed the last Apollo mission in 1972. Funds will be moved from space shuttle flights, due to be scrapped in 2010. The structure of the base and the exact duties of the astronauts stationed there have not been decided. Nor is it clear when the base will begin functioning. Lunar outpost. “We’re going for a base on the moon,” Scott “Doc” Horowitz, Nasa’s associate administrator for exploration, said. The agency’s deputy head, Shana Dale, is quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying that the “fundamental lunar approach” will be very different to earlier Moon missions. A lunar spacecraft has already been commissioned by Nasa. Nasa has elected to build a lunar outpost rather than operate brief trips to the satellite as it did in the 1960s. Nasa is also expected to ask other countries – and businesses – to help it build the base. The permanent base will be built near one of the two poles, as these are felt to have a moderate climate and more sunlight – essential if the base is to use solar energy. “It’s exciting,” Shana Dale told the Reuters news agency. “We don’t know as much about the polar regions.” According to Reuters, funds for building the lunar base will be diverted from the space shuttle programme, which is to be phased out by 2010. (Source: BBC)

06 Dec 06. Navy to Christen USNS Alan Shepard. The Navy will christen the USNS Alan Shepard, the newest ship in the Lewis and Clark class of underway replenishment ships, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, during an 8 a.m. PST launching at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), San Diego, Calif. The ship honors the first American in space, Rear Adm. Alan B. Shepard Jr.Like the legendary explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, for whom the first ship of the class was named, Shepard bravely volunteered to explore the unknown and became the first American in space. Thus began one of the most challenging endeavors in human history: the manned exploration of space.

01 Dec 06. Official opening of new state-of-the-art Barracks in Colchester. Defence Minister, Derek Twigg officially opened Merville Barracks, part of a leading Private FinanceInitiative project. Mr Twigg led a list of distinguished guests attending the opening ceremony of Merville Barracks, the new home to Headquarters 16 Air Assault Brigade who have recently returned from six months in Afghanistan.

Nov 06. An Apache attack helicopter from 667 Squadron Army Air Corps lands aboard HMS Ark Royal [Picture: CPOA (Phot) Kev Preece]. The aircraft, from 667 Squadron Army Air Corps, landed on Ark Royal as she lay alongside at Portsmouth Naval Base for ship-air integration trials. The Apache was moved around the flight deck and lowered on one of the aircraft lifts into the ship’s hangar, giving Ark Royal’s aircraft handlers experience in dealing with the type. The carrier returned to Portsmouth on 28 October 2006 after completing a £20m refit in Rosyth, which included conversion to operate the devastatingly powerful Apache. The helicopter was designed to operate from land, but has been operated successfully by the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean. This, the fifth vessel to bear the name Ark Royal, was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, having been built at Swan Hunters Ship Builders’ yard, Wallsend, in December 1978, and was accepted into service on 1 July 1985. Head of Ark Royal’s Air Department, Commander Keith Muir, said: “Having the Apache on board was another milestone in Ark’s return to operational status. I

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