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Why China Won’t Start a Space War 

When China shot down its own aging FY-1C weather satellite last January, demonstrating its anti-satellite capabilities, alarms sounded around the globe (AW&ST Jan. 22, 2007, p. 24). Political and Pentagon leaders, who largely had ignored warnings voiced by national security space professionals for many years, finally were paying attention.

'Dash 4' Engine Upgrade Breathes New Life into Falcon 50s 

An engine upgrade slated for FAA certification this month will give operators of Dassault Aviation's long-range, mid-size Falcon 50 trijet significantly improved high-and-hot takeoff performance, direct climbs to 39,000 ft. and about 6% more range than their factory-delivered aircraft.

Academy Designed to Motivate Students Via Aviation 

An ambitious program to launch a National Flight Academy (NFA) in concert with an expansion of the National Museum of Naval Aviation is on track to break ground late this year. The new academy will employ the lure of aviation to kindle an interest in mathematics, science and technology among students in grades 7-12.

Navy Updates Hypoxia Training 

The U.S. Navy is fielding a new system to familiarize tactical aircraft crews with their personal hypoxia symptoms, precluding a need for more expensive and riskier low-pressure chamber training every four years.

Aviators are subject to four types of hypoxia, but the new regimen specifically teaches them to recognize and respond to "hypoxic hypoxia," a lack of oxygen associated with high altitudes.

Marrying Supercomputers to Aircraft Powerplants 

By incorporating powerful supercomputers into traditional jet engine-development processes, a not-for-profit research startup hopes to drastically cut the time required to build, test and field new powerplants.

Homeland Defense Exercise Challenges Norad/Northcom 

Vigilant Shield 2007: A 1-kiloton nuclear blast near the Pentagon kills approximately 22,000 people. The associated electromagnetic pulse (EMP) disables thousands of vehicles in the greater Washington area, clogging major arteries. Two days later, "Topolian" bombers penetrate U.S./Canadian airspace--after several key radars are destroyed--and fire eight air-launched cruise missiles from somewhere over Canada. Four slip by U.S. and Canadian defenders, and one tactical nuclear device detonates at 2,000 ft.

FlexSys 'Morphing' Wing Offers Big Fuel Savings 

A flight-test program recently flown on Scaled Composites' White Knight testbed provides a glimpse of a fuel-saving feature that aircraft may incorporate in the near future--"adaptive compliant" wings.

Scaled Composites' White Knight Doubles as Testbed 

It's one of the strangest-looking aircraft in recent aeronautical history, but Scaled Composites' "White Knight" was the ideal vehicle for carrying SpaceShipOne (SSO) to high altitude. Dropped there, SSO ignited its rocket and flew into space and the record books in 2004--twice. Now, the one-of-a-kind White Knight is serving as an ideal testbed for large, heavy payloads.

Laser Communications Systems Are Advancing Rapidly 

A laser communications terminal developed by Boeing and Ball Aerospace & Technologies for the U.S. Air Force Transformational Satellite Communications System's intersatellite crosslinks is starting a round of technology readiness assessments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory.

Blues Pilots Step to Their Hornets, Ignoring Preflight Checks 

The degree of trust exhibited by pilots during a performance is merely an extension of what the entire Blue Angels team practices every day, whether in the air or in the hangar.

Blue Angels 'Diamond' Epitomizes Team's Contract of Trust 

The 2006 air show season marks the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team's 60th anniversary. Known for dynamic, precision flight maneuvers in close proximity, the team's pilots live by an almost-mystical credo that permeates the entire Blue Angels squadron. Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief William B. Scott was invited back for a second flight with the team--this time in the four-ship Diamond formation--providing a close-up look at the Blue Angels' formula for breeding perennial excellence.

New U.S. Policy Spurs Debate over 'Space Control' 

An updated U.S. National Space Policy (NSP), released last month, provides new top cover for military space commanders, who now are discussing "space control" and "space superiority" issues with unusual candor. For years, both of those politically sensitive terms were off limits, and senior officers rarely mentioned them in unclassified forums.

Radioactive Gases Linked to North Korean Test 

Sampling aircraft and ground-based collection sites have found two isotopes of xenon, indicating North Korea's Oct. 9 detonation probably was a nuclear weapon test. However, doubts remain.

Despite Bush administration assertions that the device was a plutonium-based weapon, an official close to the analysis process is somewhat less certain, suggesting "it was most probably a plutonium device." If aircraft or ground sites find particulate nuclear debris, such remaining doubts likely would disappear.

Space Situational Awareness: A Command Priority 

The U.S. Air Force's new space commander is raising the space-surveillance bar well beyond simply counting and tracking objects in orbit. He intends to fully characterize a spacecraft's movements, capabilities and purpose.

Navy's New Seahawk Tailored for Littoral Ops 

The U.S. Navy's new MH-60R Seahawk is bringing orders-of-magnitude improvements to surface and undersea warfare, both in open ocean and close-to-shore littoral environments. The next-generation submarine hunter's sophisticated mission avionics also make the helicopter a critical node in the maritime service's network-centric warfare architecture.

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