"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words." That chilling quote is from a character in George Orwell's 1984. As someone who likes to write, I usually disagree with that sentiment. But every so often, a word merits destruction. It's time to destroy (or at least avoid) the word "shortage." Shortages are a serious problem...if you are living in the old Soviet Union. "Comrades," they'd say, "the minister in charge of APU factories has failed to meet his quota. Due to the shortage of APUs, aircraft production is off by 25%. We will airbrush him out of all Politburo photos, and send his widow a bill for the bullet."
BAE Systems plc (BAE), the United Kingdom's largest defense and aerospace contractor and the world's third largest defense contractor, is working to manage pressures on its business from budgetary cut¬backs in the United States and the United Kingdom.
First, the good news. Even though the recent F-35 fire and subsequent fleet grounding came at a bad time, it likely will be brief. Since the aircraft has accumulated more than 3,000 flights and 5,000 flight hours, the problem is highly unlikely to be related to a serious design flaw. As of late last week, it appeared to be the result of "excessive rubbing" of engine blades on the powerplant cowling.
Deliveries from just Airbus and Boeing last year reached $92 billion in value, another record after two other record years. In 2012, they rose 29.4% in value over 2011, capping a remarkable 55.5% growth spurt in 2008-2012.
If you look at the number of satellites being launched to earth orbit over the past decade, there has been consistent growth. In 2004, a total of 76 satellites were launched (or attempted). In 2013, there were 215. That is almost a tripling of the market. But these numbers are deceptive. Here's why. In 2004, only 17% of the satellites that went up had a mass of 100 kilograms or less. In 2005, it was 11%. Last year, about half of the satellites weighed 100 kg or less.
Repeat after me... Z-vez-da. Remember that word, because you'll be hearing it a lot over the next few months, and probably years. Zvezda is a space module that weighs about 42,000 pounds. It was launched aboard a Russian Proton K rocket to low earth orbit (LEO) on July 12, 2000. About a year later, it became the cornerstone of the International Space Station (ISS)...
Cemeteries are sad; sadder still is a large field of unmarked graves. After this year's Berlin Air Show (ILA), my Teal colleagues Bill Storey, Joel Johnson, Phil Finnegan and I all trundled off on a road trip to see battlefields in Eastern Germany and Poland. Thanks to Bill's borderline obsessive attention to topographical detail, we walked on pretty fields where, in 1945, tens of thousands of bodies fell along the Kustrin Highway, the Third Reich's last stand.