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MIchael Taverna

MIchael Taverna
Nations Looking For a Piece of the Exploration Pie 

A Japanese spacecraft arriving at the Moon on the 50th anniversary of Sputnik this week marks the beginning of what may be a lucrative sweepstakes in space for generations to come.

But instead of Cold War-style political prestige, the purse for this space race could be long-term market position as the world’s high-tech economy begins to move off-planet.

EADS Can Focus on Capital Structure, Cost-Cutting 

EADS shareholders and the German government pledge to start talks soon on a new shareholder structure for Europe’s biggest aerospace company, following agreement last week on a simplified management structure.

ESA contracts with Russia for first Kourou Soyuz vehicles 

The European Space Agency has contracted with the Russian Space Agency to acquire the first four Soyuz rockets for the new launch pad under construction at the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The launch vehicles will be built by Samara and operated by Arianespace. ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain says he hopes to have the vehicles and the pad ready for an initial launch by early 2009.

Europe Moves Ahead on Mars Probe as NASA Targets Moon 

Robotic missions to Mars promise to provide a space-exploration second front as humans prepare to return to the Moon in the decade ahead.

While NASA concentrates on building the human-rated Ares launch vehicles along with the Orion crew carriers and upper stages and landers needed to put four human explorers at a time anywhere on the Moon, the focus in Europe will be on a sophisticated rover that can drill as much as 6 ft. beneath the Martian surface to look for evidence of water and life.

Virtual Constellation, Sentinel Asia Projects lead Global Earth-Observing Effort 

Space leaders appear increasingly confident that they will meet a self-appointed deadline to have an integrated global Earth observation network up and running by the middle of the next decade.

NASA's ISS Partners Turn Attention To Exploration 

A broad-brush framework for future international exploration of the Moon should be ready by the end of the year, now that NASA has satisfied its partners that it doesn't intend to leave their space station hardware on the ground.

Huygens' Discovery of Earthlike Terrain on Titan Seen as Boost for Exploration 

The next Titan landing will likely include a rover, now that Europe's Huygens probe to Saturn's largest moon has delivered enticing images and data of a landscape that looks a lot like Earth--except with hydrocarbon rain, marshy methane lakebeds and granite-like ice canyons.

Eurocopter Unveils Heavy-Lift Helo Concept 

Engineers at Eurocopter have begun working on a concept for a heavy-lift helicopter that European industry and defense officials hope could become the basis for a joint transatlantic development initiative.

Lufthansa Cargo and Partners Buoyed by JAL Alliance, DHL Sale 

Japan Airlines' entry into the Lufthansa Cargo-led WOW alliance and the sale of Lufthansa's share in DHL International to Deutsche Post signify new steps forward in the attempt by the German carrier and its WOW partners to establish a lead position, and ensure profitability, in the competitive air freight market. Japan Airlines Cargo joined the WOW airfreight alliance earlier this month after lengthy negotiations (AW&ST July 15, p. 19). The alliance was created in early 2002 by LH Cargo, SAS Cargo and Singapore Airlines Cargo, under the name New Global Cargo.

Europeans Ink A400M, 

After months of uncertainty, European nations have given a conditional green light to a huge joint tactical airlifter purchase and endorsed further consolidation of Europe's missile sector.

Eight countries last week inked an agreement authorizing the acquisition of 196 A400M transports from Airbus Military Co. (AMC), ending rancorous debate within the governments of two of the nine original partners--Germany and Italy--about whether to fully honor initial commitments to the program.

A400M Advances 

European political leaders are scrambling to save two key strategic program proposals even as they prepare to lead a U.N.-sponsored international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.

Prospects for the A400M airlifter, an essential element of Europe's new rapid reaction force, appeared to improve last week following what appeared to be a last-minute breakthrough in Germany, whose still-undecided 73-aircraft commitment is considered the key to the program.

Germany, France Take More 

Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has won a key parliamentary victory that will allow the country to take an active military role in international conflicts outside of Europe for the first time since World War II.

Satellites Seen as Bridge 

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. and a subsequent chemical plant explosion here cast a pall over the 50th-anniversary International Astronautical Federation congress, keeping many U.S. attendees at home and blanketing the congress site in this picturesque medieval city with tight security.

Satellite Broadband Services 

Broadband satellite service, long heralded as the next big thing for the commercial communications satellite industry, is finally moving into the starting position despite unexpected financial and technical hurdles.

Shortfall Threatens 

NASA human spaceflight managers trying to stanch a hemorrhage of funds from the International Space Station face the unpleasant task of deciding where to amputate in order to save the patient, looking for the least painful design changes they can find in order to cut costs.

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