"A Boeing X-51A WaveRider unmanned hypersonic vehicle achieved the longest air-breathing, scramjet-powered hypersonic flight in history May 1, flying for three and a half minutes on scramjet power at a top speed of Mach 5.1. The vehicle flew for a total time of more than six minutes. The flight was the fourth X-51A test flight completed for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. It exceeded the previous record set by the program in 2010."
Recently in Aircraft Category
"Following a meeting with Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), GSA, NASA, and the White House at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 26, the General Services Administration will issue a Notice of Intent regarding Hangar One and Moffett Federal Airfield, which reflects the following: 1. Moffett Federal Airfield will NOT be excessed. It will remain a restricted Federal Airfield and NASA will remain its custodian. 2. The Notice of Intent outlines a competitive bid process and the Request for Proposal (RFP) will be released this spring seeking a qualified lessee to provide for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of historic Hangar One."
"While the primary objective is to facilitate the expeditious re-siding of Hangar One, the Government will also consider proposals to manage the Moffett Federal Airfield."
Keith's note: Charlie Bolden has been relentlessly trying to shut this airstrip down and/or get rid of it for years.
"NASA/DFRC has a requirement for qty 1, Aircraft Coffee Brewer, P/N 400-1794-02, model 1603-AC3P-F, Pour Over, Bottled Water, Fixed Mount, 115VAC 3Ph 300-700Hz, 1000 Watts, Dimensions: 13.0" x6.37" x 10.0". Unit must come with FAA 8130-3, comply with RTCA DO-160D and conform to NASA Quality assurance Document Q-1A (attached). The solicitation is due by 4:30pm local time on January 25, 2012."
"Initial test flights are planned for the week of June 27, with up to 14 science flights starting as early as July 1. The P-3B, a four-engine turboprop, will carry nine instruments. The two-engine UC-12 will carry two instruments. Sampling will focus on an area extending from Beltsville, Md., to the northeastern corner of Maryland in a pattern that follows major roadway traffic corridors. The flight path passes over six ground measurement sites operated by the Maryland Department of the Environment."
NASA overflights postponed, Baltimore Sun
"NASA's plans to send low-flying aircraft over the Baltimore-Washington area to measure air pollution levels have been postponed to allow more time to increase public awareness of the flights."
"On Memorial Day weekend in 2007, Kelly flew to Indiana to watch the Indy 500 with Giffords, his then-fiance. Kelly listed the purpose of the trip as "Space Flight Readiness Training." NASA later said the flight may have violated the agency rules requiring astronauts "to avoid any appearance of inappropriate use of NASA T-38's" when logging their required monthly flight hours. The trip cost taxpayers almost $9,000."
"2. 0-KE.07.0167-S, March 11, 2008, Possible Misuse of NASA Aircrafts/Lisa Nowa k"
On May 7, 2007, Raymond Sander, Johnson Space Center, presented the following scenario to Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator, at an ongoing "Ask the Administrator" meeting: "If 1, as a NASA employee in good standing get involved in some emotional, non lethal altercation and arrested by law enforcements agents in Florida, will NASA quickly dispatch my supervisor in a Government T-38 or equivalent, to represent NASA and assess the matter?" The Administrator responded to this question by answering "No."
Keith's note: I find it somewhat annoying that JSC often complains that there is not enough travel money for astronaut appearances and yet astronauts can fly T-38's almost any where they want to since the T-38 air time counts against their flight proficiency. That said, based on my experience, such questionable T-38 usage is the exception - not the rule. But it still happens.
Ex-NASA chief was flying high on tax dollars, report says, Orlando Sentinel
"Former NASA chief Sean O'Keefe wasted about $1,800 of taxpayer money using NASA planes to fly to Syracuse, N.Y., to play golf and to New York for an awards ceremony, according to a watchdog report released Thursday. ... But NASA has declined to demand repayment of the money, asserting that O'Keefe did not knowingly break the rules. The former administrator, who headed the agency from 2001 to 2005, also denied wrongdoing."
"Committee Members called NASA's refusal "troubling" and "unconvincing." Administrator Griffin announced at the October 31 hearing that NASA would release the NOAMS data, reversing NASA's earlier stance. Now however, NASA is claiming that the data may not be fully released for up to a year from now. In their letter today to Dr. Griffin, Committee leaders noted that, "...we are troubled by NASA's plan to take up to a year to complete the release of the NAOMS data, and we consider such a delay to be totally unacceptable."
"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) currently provides reduced gravity flight services using NASA owned and operated aircraft. NASA will begin acquiring Reduced Gravity Aircraft services through outside sources."
Editor's note: The more I read the documents associated with this draft solicitation, the more convinced I am that the NASA civil servants who wrote this procurement are going out of their way to make it hard - if not impossible for a private contractor to meet these requirements. In so doing they serve to safeguard NASA's current monopoly. It is no secret that the folks at JSC see the operation of their reduced gravity airplane as a God-given right (or at least one handed down by George Abbey) - one they will not easily give up.
Editor's update: Well, the folks at JSC clearly do not like the idea of private sector competitors encroaching upon their turf and the Aircraft Operations folks (and someone at JSC OIG) are actively blocking companies from using NASA facilities such as the SLF at KSC. Stay tuned.
Editor's note: Too bad NASA can't find a way to open this program to private sector participation - it would certainly be cheaper than paying to have this plane on call 24/7/365. But I am biased: I have seen this with my own eyes.