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Successful Sub Operations Underscore Strike Potential 

The recent successful submarine operations of U.S. Navy SSN attack boats and SSGN guided-missile vessels showcase the need to maintain and augment the strike potential for the subs, as well as the value of performing or supporting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

Endeavour Launch Slips To No Earlier Than May 10 

houston – Endeavour’s second launch attempt will come no earlier than May 10, shuttle and International Space Station program managers decided May 2, following a detailed look at plans to replace Loads Control Assembly-2, an electronics box blamed for last week’s scrub. A retest of the new hardware will also be conducted.

A May 10 launch would be targeted for 11:21 a.m. EDT.

NASA Now Targets May 8 For Endeavour Launch 

HOUSTON – NASA’s mission management team is aiming for May 8, at the earliest, for the next bid to launch the space shuttle Endeavour on its 25th and final flight, as technicians began on May 2 to remove the aft compartment avionics box suspected of prompting the scrub for the first attempt to equip the International Space Station with the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

French Helo Sector Seeks Overturn Of Rules Aimed At Cutting Urban Noise 

The European helicopter industry is in an uproar over a French government move to limit rotorcraft activities in urban areas, saying implementation of the order would threaten the industry’s survival.

Technology Investments Pay Off For U.S. Manufacturer

The return in force of Boeing to the weakening communications satellite market has rival manufacturers scrambling for the right response.

Boeing’s return, after a long absence related to poor program execution, lack of a suitable mid-range product and over-reliance on the military market, is all the more significant because it straddles all three of the industry’s major segments—fixed satellite service (FSS), mobile satellite service (MSS) and broadband.

Cheaper But Reliable Off-The-Shelf Space TechnologiesAttract Interest 

Buoyed by sustained economic growth, Asian governments are investing more in small satellite systems to gain autonomous access to remote-sensing data over their region and to develop indigenous engineering capabilities.

Surrey Concept Would Rely On Higher-Performance Bus Designs 

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. is planning a major upgrade to its Disaster Monitoring Constellation that will provide submetric resolution and day/night all-weather operation without overly impacting affordability for the company’s core emerging-market users.

Operators Say Contracting Problems Snarl U.S. Satcom Buys

Commercial satellite communications operators complain that a broad overhaul in satcom procurement initiated a year ago, under the new U.S. National Space Policy to help overcome a glaring shortfall in bandwidth, is not working as intended because of contracting inefficiencies.

FSS Operators Like Eutelsat, SESAre Threatening Status Quo 

Recent moves by the EchoStar Corp./Dish Network group to acquire Hughes Communications and ICO Communications subsidiary DBSD have recast the battle for control of the fast-growing broadband and mobile satellite sectors.

U.S. Budget Crunch Seen Boosting Hosted Payloads

Satellite operators who have faced an uphill battle trying to sell space on their platforms to government customers believe the new wave of congressional budget-cutters may give their hosted-payload business a boost—once the dust settles.

While the idea of piggybacking specialized government and commercial applications hardware on satcom and other commercial spacecraft is not new, governments are only beginning to overcome their inertia and adopt the approach as a way to stretch their space budgets.

Helicopter Industry Fights New French Flight Restrictions 

The helicopter industry here is in an uproar over a government move to limit rotorcraft activities in urban areas.

The ministry of ecology, energy and sustainable development published an order on Oct. 20, 2010, that severely restricts helicopter use in densely populated areas, except for emergency services or government/military applications. Densely populated areas are defined as any conglomeration greater than 3.6 km (2.2 mi.) wide or any point within 0.5 nm of these areas, or for coastal regions, 0.25 nm distant.

Results Indicate Continued Unabated Growth For FSS Sector 

A slight wrinkle appeared in SES’s guidance for 2011. And although the operator insisted the impact will be temporary—and, like rival Eutelsat, forecast strong growth in the years ahead—the dip may carry a premonitory warning.

French Helo Sector Seeks Overturn Of Rules Aimed At Cutting Urban Noise 

The European helicopter industry is in an uproar over a French government move to limit rotorcraft activities in urban areas, saying the measures threaten the industry’s survival.

The Ministry of Ecology, Energy and Sustainable Development—which under President Nicolas Sarkozy is in charge of air transport—published an order Oct. 20, 2010, that severely restricts helicopter use in densely populated areas, except for air ambulance, civil protection or government/military applications.

European Meteosat Third Generation System Finally Approved 

PARIS — The Eumetsat member states have given final approval to a new geostationary weather satellite system that will ensure improved weather and climate forecasting for the next three decades.

On Feb. 25, Belgium, the lone holdout, agreed to release funds for the space segment of the €2.8 billion ($3.8 billion) project, permitting full-scale development to proceed.

Thales Alenia Space To Build Up German Base

PARIS — Thales will redeploy space-related activities at Thales Alenia Space (TAS) to enable the Franco-Italian space contractor to establish a significant presence in Germany.

In releasing final 2010 results Feb. 25, Chairman/CEO Luc Vigneron said the company will transfer undisclosed equipment activities to TAS so it can build up an industrial base in Germany that will allow it to bid more effectively for German and European institutional awards. The activity will “just be a kernel initially,” he says, “but will grow over time.”

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