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11 May 07. Nasa unveils Hubble’s successor. The US space agency Nasa has unveiled a model of a space telescope that scientists say will be able to see to the farthest reaches of the universe. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is intended to replace the ageing Hubble telescope. It will be larger than its predecessor, sit farther from Earth and have a giant mirror to enable it to see more. Officials said the JWST – named after a former Nasa administrator – was on course for launch in June 2013. The full-scale model is being displayed outside the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in the US capital, Washington DC. The $4.5bn (£2.27bn) telescope will take up a position some 1.5 million km (930,000 miles) from Earth. It will measure 24m (80ft) long by 12m (40ft) high and incorporate a hexagonal mirror 6.5m (21.3ft) in diameter, almost three times the size of Hubble’s. Hubble, launched in 1990, has sent back pictures of our solar system, distant stars and planets, and remote fledgling galaxies formed not long after the Big Bang. But scientists say the JWST will enable them to look deeper into space and even further back at the origins of the universe. “Clearly we need a much bigger telescope to go back much further in time to see the very birth of the universe,” said Edward Weiler, director of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre. Martin Mohan of Northrop Grumman, the contractor building the telescope, said that the team was making excellent progress. “There’s engineering to do, but invention is done, more than six years ahead of launch,” he said. When ready, the JWST will be launched by a European Ariane V rocket. It is expected to have a 10-year lifespan. (Source: BBC)
14 May 07. Raytheon Company has demonstrated a key propulsion component of the Network Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE) program. NCADE is a missile defense system that will affordably leverage operational tactical missile technologies and infrastructure. As part of the NCADE risk-reduction program, Raytheon and partner Aerojet tested an advanced hydroxylammonium nitrate thruster that provided more than 150 pounds of thrust for longer than 25 seconds. This test, which took place at the Aerojet facility in Redmond, Wash., demonstrated what the Missile Defense Agency calls “knowledge points.” The thruster is an advanced monopropellant that provides increased performance and high-density packaging that will result in lighter, higher- velocity interceptors. Hydroxylammonium nitrate is also less toxic and easier to handle than other propellants. This propulsion technology could eventually enable safe shipboard operation. Raytheon also fabricated two prototype NCADE seekers. The seekers have undergone characterization testing in a high-fidelity simulator demonstrating their ability to track a booster in the presence of a bright rocket plume.
08 May 07. General Dynamics Robotic Systems has achieved the SAE Aerospace AS9100 Quality Management System certification. Certification helps ensure that General Dynamics Robotic Systems will continue to provide the highest-quality, best-value products to its aerospace industry customers. Most major aerospace companies require the coveted AS9100 certification to ensure product quality. The certification was a requirement as a prime contractor on U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems’ (FCS) Autonomous Navigation Systems (ANS) program. The two-year process required upgrading existing policies, procedures and forms to meet AS9100 standards. General Dynamics Robotic Systems used Intertek Testing Services as its certification registrar. The AS9100 incorporates aspects of ISO 9001:2000 with unique elements focused on aerospace industry needs and requirements. General Dynamics Robotic Systems has been ISO 9001 certified since 1995.
11 May 07. The final qualification firing of the Exocet MM40 Block3 anti-ship missile was performed success