Cosmo-Skymed Checks Out, Delivers 1st Radar Images

The Italian government

released the first images from the Cosmo-Skymed civil-military radar satellite Oct. 5,

saying the first of its four planned radar

spacecraft is now fully operational.

The release should help end several months of speculation about whether Cosmo-Skymed was delivering on its promise of high-resolution imagery for Italian civil and military authorities. Germany’s TerraSAR-X civilian radar satellite, launched a week after Cosmo-Skymed, began publishing images this summer, prompting public remarks by TerraSAR-X managers questioning the quality of Cosmo-Skymed.

The image here is of the Rio Grande de Bubariver in Republic of Guinea Bissau in western Africa.

Cosmo-Skymed is capable of taking images with a ground resolution ranging from 80-90 centimeters to 100 meters in diameter, depending on the user’s requirements. Its higher-resolution imagery is reserved for military use and will be shared with France under a bilateral agreement that will permit the Italian military to use French Helios-2 optical reconnaissance satellite imagery.

APT Denies Sale Rumors After Stock Price Doubles

The stock price of satellite-fleet operator APT Satellite Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong has more than doubled on the New York and Hong Kong exchanges in the past two weeks for no apparent reason, forcing the company

Oct. 5 to officially deny that an acquisition or other deal was imminent.

The announcement followed a similar statement issued Sept. 27, when the share price first spiked in heavy trading volume. APT is one of several satellite-fleet operators in Asia that are viewed as potential consolidation plays, as one or more industry leaders seeks to combine the assets of the smaller operators.

“We are not aware of any reason for such increases,” APT said in its Oct. 5 statement, which was issued on request from Hong Kong Stock Exchange authorities. “We also confirm that there are no negotiations or agreements relating to intended acquisitions” that the company is obligated to disclose.

The announcement did not deter investors. APT stock had climbed another 46 percent in trading on the Hong Kong exchange Oct. 5 and was up 25 percent in early trading in New York that day.

NASA Picks Atlas 5 To Launch Juno, LDCM

United Launch Alliance of Denver will launch an Earth-observing spacecraft and a planetary probe for NASA in 2011 aboard separate Atlas 5 rockets under contracts announced by the U.S. space agency Oct. 3.

NASA will


$124 million to launch the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) aboard an Atlas 5 model 401 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in July 2011. LDCM is being procured by NASA but will be operated by the U.S. Geological Survey once in orbit.

The following month, United Launch Alliance

will launch the Juno mission to Jupiter from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard an Atlas 5 model 551 rocket. NASA will pay $190 million for that launch, which will put Juno on a

trajectory to reach Jupiter in August 2016.

Juno will use remote sensing and gravity science measurements to characterize Jupiter’s interior, atmosphere and polar magnetosphere. The mission, funded under NASA’s New Frontiers solar system exploration program, is being led by the San Antonio

-based Southwest Research Institute.

Japan’s Kaguya Successfully Enters Orbit Around Moon

Japan’s Kaguya/Selene lunar-observation satellite was successfully placed into initial lunar orbit

Oct. 4. Ground controllers subsequently began

preparing for the separation of two smaller spacecraft and the start of Kaguya’s observation mission by Oct. 19, the Japanese space agency, Jaxa, said Oct. 5.

Launched Sept. 14 aboard a Japanese H-2A launch vehicle, Kaguya had

already taken high-definition videos of the Moon as it made its approach. The orbit-insertion maneuver performed Oct. 4 placed the satellite into an orbit with a perigee of 101 kilometers over the lunar surface, and an apogee of 11,741 kilometers, Jaxa said.

The 50-kilogram data-relay satellite is scheduled to separate from Kaguya Oct. 9. Separation of the 50-kilogram Vrad spacecraft, designed to study the Moon’s gravity field, is scheduled for Oct. 12.

By Oct. 19, Kaguya is

expected to have completed a series of firings of its on-board thrusters to arrive at its final

circular orbit of 100 kilometers above the lunar surface. At that time it will begin its observations, which are scheduled to continue for about a year.

OrbcommTo Pick Satellite Builder by End of the Year

Satellite two-way messaging service provider Orbcomm Inc. increased the number of billable terminals using its system by 39,200

in the three months ending Sept. 30, Ft. Lee, N.J.-based Orbcomm said Oct. 4. The new additions bring the total number of terminals to 317,000.

Of the new subscribers booked in the period, 31,700 were for the satellite service and 7,500 were for terrestrial subscriber equipment, the company said.

is expected to select a prime contractor for its second generation of low-orbiting satellites by the end of the year.

The company is also planning to launch its

final group of first-generation satellites this year aboard a Russian Cosmos rocket operating from Russia’s Kapustin Yar spaceport. This launch will include a satellite equipped with an Automatic Identification System payload developed under contract to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard officials had threatened to demand a refund because of delays in the launch, but reached a settlement with Orbcomm in mid-September, Orbcomm told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Sept. 19.

Under the settlement, the Coast Guard agreed to extend the launch deadline to Dec. 31 without insisting on a refund. In exchange, Orbcomm will provide additional technical support, at no cost, to the Coast Guard for up to 14 months after the launch, and will reduce other post-launch maintenance service charges to $200,000 from nearly $398,000.

also agreed to make it less expensive for the Coast Guard to exercise options in the post-launch contract for data-transmission services provided by Orbcomm in 2009.

Loral’s Deal with Telesat Approved by the FCC

Loral Space and Communications’ acquisition of a majority economic stake in Telesat Canada is expected to take effect before the end of October following the deal’s approval by U.S. regulators, New York-based Loral announced Oct. 5.

U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval followed a similar green light given in mid-September by Canada’s regulatory body, Industry Canada.

Loral will merge its Skynet fleet of telecommunications satellites into Telesat Canada’s fleet and will have a 64 percent economic ownership of the enlarged Telesat. PSP Investments, a Canadian company that manages Canadian government employee pension funds, will have a 66.7 percent voting interest in Telesat.

Loral and PSP agreed to purchase Ottawa-based Telesat Canada for 3.25 billion Canadian dollars ($3.25 billion) and the assumption of 172 million Canadian dollars of Telesat debt.

Senate Confirms Kerr For Intelligence Post

National Reconnaissance Office Director Don Kerr was confirmed Oct. 4 by the U.S. Senate to become principal deputy director of National Intelligence. Kerr was nominated for the post in July.

The principal deputy, the second ranking intelligence official, oversees the day-to-day activities of the 16 agencies that make up the sprawling intelligence community. Kerr has served as director of the National Reconnaissance Office since July 2005. Before that he was deputy director for science and technology at the CIA.

NASA and ATK Test Main Recovery Chute for Ares 1

NASA and AlliantTechsystems (ATK) completed the first successful drop test of the main parachute that will be used to recover the first stage of the agency’s planned Ares 1 crew launch vehicle.

ATK Launch Systems Group is the prime contractor for the Ares 1 first stage

, which is based on the solid rocket boosters the Brigham City, Utah-based company builds for the space shuttle. Ares 1 is being developed to launch the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

The parachute test was conducted Sept. 25 at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The main parachute was dropped from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft with a 18,270-kilogram

load from an altitude of 5,250 meters


“The test went flawlessly and met our initial expectations,” Mike Kahn, ATK vice president for space launch systems, said in a statement. “We have a great team of individuals and subcontractors who helped ensure the success of this important test and bring us closer to full development of this new five-segment booster.”

The Ares 1 parachute recovery system consists of a pilot, drogue and three main parachutes. The next test is slated for November 2007.

Earth Captured in High Def By Japan’s Kayuga Probe

Japan’s Kayuga lunar explorer spacecraft has taken first high-definition video of Earth from space, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA.

In an Oct. 1 press release, JAXA said Kayuga’s high-definition television camera, developed for space by the Japan Broadcasting Corp., captured an eight-minute video from a distance of about 110 kilometers.

The video, which has not yet been released, was taken Sept. 29 Japan time and received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center Sept. 30.

, launched Sept. 14, is Japan’s first lunar explorer. It is also known as Selenological and Engineering Explorer and according to JAXA is the largest lunar mission since the Apollo program.

The probe, consisting of a mothership and two smaller spacecraft,

will study the Moon’s

chemical composition, surface and subsurface structure, the remnants of its magnetic field, and its gravity field. The results are expected to lead to a better understanding of the Moon’s origin and evolution.

Proposed Galileo Competition Might Have Geographic Twist

European transport ministers declared Oct. 2 their continued backing for the Galileo satellite-navigation project but hinted that a competitive procurement of the multibillion-dollar system might

need to accommodate political demands for work distribution in the major participating nations.

Meeting in Luxembourg, the European Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council said it intends to resolve the impasse over Galileo funding one way or another by the end of this year. European heads of state are expected to decide the issue in December if European economic and finance ministers, together with the transport ministers, cannot reach a compromise before then.

To manufacture

and deploy the 30-satellite constellation, the European Commission has said it needs to find an additional 2.4 billion euros ($3.39 billion) – funding that European governments previously had hoped would come from private-sector investors. The commission has already secured 1 billion euros in future financing for the project, which could be in operation no sooner than 2013.

The commission has proposed that the 2.4 billion euros be taken from the unused portion of the European Union’s farm-subsidy budget in 2007 and 2008. Such a move is beyond the transport ministers’ authority and was not addressed in the Oct. 2 council statement.

The commission also proposed that Galileo contracts be awarded on a fully competitive basis within Europe. Depending on the winner, this could in theory result in German or Italian industry being left largely on the sidelines even though Germany is the European Union’s biggest financial contributor and Italy is its fourth-largest.

German government officials have said publicly that they will fight to assure that German industry is represented in Galileo contracts at a level that is at least roughly proportional

to the country’s

contribution to the project. They have threatened to block the commission’s proposed financing scheme unless industrial-return guarantees are made in advance.

The European Union’s 27 member governments finance the commission through annual contributions based on national gross domestic product. With Europe’s largest economy, Germany is the largest net contributor to the commission’s budget.

The transport council, in its statement, said it “looks forward to a balanced participation of all member states during the different phases of the project, while taking maximum benefit of open competition.”

One European government official said Germany appears isolated in its insistence on guarantees that its industry will get a share of Galileo contracts. This official said Italy, which in the past has taken the same position as Germany, has now lined up in favor of the commission’s position. France has too, despite the fact that France is the biggest annual recipient of European Commission farm aid.

“It is hard to understand why Germany is so worried about its industry,” the European government official said. “Galileo is a big enough project that it will take the participation of all the member states. The reality is that while we want to run a competitive procurement, we will need everybody on board. Germany has a good industrial sector and we need them, too. Nobody will be completely left out.”

House Passes Bill To Bolster IG Oversight

A bill designed to improve the quality and independence of the U.S. government’s internal watchdogs was approved Oct. 3 by the U.S. House of Representatives with the help of a lawmaker who has sought the dismissal of NASA’s inspector general, or IG.

Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.),

chairman of the House Science and Technology subcommittee on investigations and oversight, offered two amendments to the bill, both of which passed on voice vote, that Miller said grew out of his work “investigating the misconduct” by NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb.

“The first amendment expands the reasons for which an IG can be removed, to include abuse of authority and gross mismanagement,” Miller said in a statement announcing the passage of The Enhancing the Effectiveness and Independence of Inspectors General Act (H.R. 928). “The second amendment establishes a panel to screen IG nominees and provide the Senate with a review of their qualifications. If this second provision had been in law seven years ago, Mr. Cobb never would have become NASA’s IG since he had no meaningful management, accounting or investigative experience – core requirements for any IG under the law.”

Miller has said he has no confidence in Cobb and has taken over investigating matters that he would normally rely upon the NASA inspector general to investigate.

A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a former government auditor.

Arabsat Launches Probe of Satellite Component Failure


atellite-fleet operator Arabsat said it has opened an inquiry to determine why the Arabsat-2B satellite suffered an in-orbit failure of its antenna-pointing system that disrupted the satellite’s broadcasts and resulted in a temporary drift of the spacecraft out of its operating position, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Arabsat announced Sept. 27.

Arabsat-2B, a ThalesAlenia Space-built satellite launched in November 1996 carrying 32 C- and Ku-band transponders, was restored to full capacity and returned to its 30.5 degrees east orbital slot hours after the Sept. 26 incident, Arabsat said.

The company said those customers with tracking antennas recovered their service. Those using antennas that do not track the satellite were shifted to other Arabsat spacecraft.

“According to a preliminary analysis gathered since the incident occurred, the interruption of services on Arabsat-2B has no impact on the performance of the satellite, whose [transponders] are all in perfect working order,” Arabsat said.

plans to replace Arabsat-2B with the Arabsat-5A satellite, which was ordered in June from

a joint Astrium Satellites-ThalesAlenia Space team as part of a contract that also includes the Badr-5 satellite. Both of these spacecraft are scheduled for launch in 2009 or 2010.


VSAT Network To Support U.S. Postal Service

Spacenet Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Israel-based Gilat Satellite Networks, will provide broadband communications services for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) using a custom-built satellite network, Spacenet said in an Oct. 1 press release.

Verizon Business, the primary on the USPS contract, ensures the satellite components work with the “wireline” and wireless networks, Stan Schneider, a spokesman for Spacenet said.

Mclean, Va.-based Spacenet did not disclose the financial terms of the deal


The GilatSkyEdge Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) network will link

more than 5,000 postal sites in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico with broadband communications, Spacenet said.

The network also will provide back-up support communications

for several post office facilities and mobile communications for vehicles from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

“The network is providing communications for both fixed and transportable locations, as well as supporting complete converged communications of voice, video, and data,” Spacenet Chief Executive Andreas Georghiou said in a prepared statement.

Installation is under way and expected to be completed by later this fall.

NASA Extends Deal With Health Research Institute

A NASA-funded research institute that studies the health effects of long-duration space flight has been awarded a five-year, $120 million extension of its cooperative agreement.

The Houston-based National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) was established in 1997 with a nearly $94 million grant from NASA. In 2002, NASA gave NSBRI its first five-year extension worth $148.5 million.

NSBRI-funded scientists study space health concerns such as bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular changes, infection, balance problems, sleep disturbances and radiation exposure effects.

Ball Completes Coating of Kepler’s Primary Mirror

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. successfully has completed coating the primary mirror and integrating the detector array with the rest of the instrument for

NASA’s Kepler Mission

, Ball Aerospace of Boulder, Colo., said in a Sept. 25 press release.

Slated to launch in February 2009, Kepler is a space telescope designed to find Earth-size planets in a single group of solar systems within our galaxy. The telescope will detect differences in the brightness of stars as planets pass between the star and the telescope. Kepler then will analyze the star’s corresponding change in brightness to determine the passing planet’s orbit and size.

Surface Optics Corp. of San Diego provided the enhanced silver coating for the 1.4-meter primary mirror.

The 95 megapixel-detector array will do imaging every 30 minutes.

Integration and testing of the photometer telescope and focal plane array assembly now will begin with the completion of these two milestones.

Chilton Takes Over as Commander of Stratcom

U.S. Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton assumed command of U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom)

Oct. 3, taking the reins from Air Force Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler, according to a Stratcom news release. The U.S. Senate

confirmed Chilton, who previously served as commander of Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., to the


Sept. 28.

, the deputy commander of Stratcom, had been

serving as acting commander following the departure of Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, who now is

vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The

Senate confirmed Kehler

Aug. 3 to receive his fourth star and replace Chilton as commander of Air Force Space Command.

Meanwhile, the Senate confirmed U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Carl Mauney

Sept. 28 to replace Kehler as deputy commander at Stratcom. Mauney currently serves as the director of the submarine warfare division on the Navy staff at the Pentagon.

Russian Instruments To be on NASA Interplanetary Missions

Russian science instruments will be included on two upcoming NASA missions, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Science Laboratory.

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and Anatoly Perminov, director general of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, signed the agreements Oct. 3 in Moscow, NASA said in an Oct. 3 press release.

The Russian-built Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector, which will be included on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, is designed to search for evidence of water ice in the form of hydrogen concentrations at or just beneath the Moon’s surface.

Russia’s Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons instrument, which measures hydrogen to analyze neutrons interacting with a planet’s surface, will be integrated into the Mars Science Laboratory.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, designed to orbit the Moon for at least a year, is slated for launch October 2008 and the Mars Science Laboratory, a robotic rover, is due to launch sometime in 2009.

Denco to Build Facility for Testing Ares 1 Abort System


Inc. of Las Cruces, N.M., has been awarded a NASA contract worth up to $3.21 million to build

facilities in New Mexico for flight testing of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle’s launch abort system, NASA said.

Under the terms of the contract, announced Oct. 1, Denco will build a 36-by-48 meter

integration and test

building and make improvements to the surrounding site

at Launch Complex 32 at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for mid-November. The Abort Flight Test Launch Facility will be used to support the first pad abort test in fall 2008. Additional

ascent abort flights are slated to start

in fall 2009 and extend

through 2011, according to NASA.

Raytheon Begins Work on Navy Multiband Terminal

With the protest of its contract award on the Navy Multiband Terminal (NMT) dismissed Raytheon Co., of Waltham, Mass., said it is set to

begin work on the three-year $960 million

contract to develop and build the Navy’s next-generation satellite communications system.

Raytheon originally was awarded the contract

May 31, but work was authorized only recently to begin following a Government Accountability Office review of a protest by the Harris Corp., of Melbourne, Fla., Raytheon spokesman

M.B. Hodgkiss said.

The NMT system will replace several existing satellite communications systems and will be installed on more than 300 Navy ships, submarines and land stations. Development at the company’s Marlborough, Mass., facility will begin immediately, and production is scheduled to begin next year at the Largo, Fla., facility, according to an Oct. 1 company press release.

GMV Releases New Version Of Satellite Control Software

GMV Space Systems has released a new version of its reconfiguration software for controlling telecommunications satellites.

SmartRings 2.0 can be used if there are transmission plan changes, service interruptions or component failures to the payload of a telecommunications satellite. The software presents all possible payload reconfigurations within seconds, therefore allowing satellite operators to choose the best solution quickly, the Rockville, Md.-based company said in a Sept. 20 press release.

Md. Firms Gets $40 Million C4ISR Contract from SpaWar

Eagan, McAllister Associates, Inc., of Lexington Park, Md., a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corp., was awarded a one-year, $40.1 million contract to provide integration and support services for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center’s command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, the company announced in a Sept. 24 press release.

The base contract could possibly be extended to as many as 10 years and more than $459 million. Work for the contract will be performed in Charleston, S.C., Lexington Park, Md., and Norfolk, Va.

Senate Follows Committee’s Space, Missile Defense Lead

The U.S. Senate followed all of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s recommendations on major space and missile defense programs when it

passed a $648 billion 2008 defense spending bill Oct. 1

by a margin of 92-3.

When t


Appropriations C

ommittee marked up the bill Sept. 12, it

cut $200 million from U.S. President George W. Bush’s request for the Transformational Satellite (T-Sat) program. The committee’s report said the cut was intended to slow down the program to ensure it is “fiscally and technically executable.”

The Senate also followed the committee’s recommendation to add $125 million more than the request to build a fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite, cut $150 million from the request for the GPS 3 program, and cut $155.9 million from the president’s request for funding the Alternative Infrared Satellite System. On missile defense, the bill fully funds the Airborne Laser, cuts $30 million from the Kinetic Energy Interceptor and cuts $59 million from the Space Tracking and Surveillance System. The bill now has to be reconciled with the House version and signed by the president.

Spitzer Identifies Possible Earth-Like Planet Formation

A scientist using

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has found evidence that an Earth-like planet might be forming in a solar system 442 light years away,

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), announced in an Oct. 3 press release.

Sitting at just the right distance from the

solar system’s young star, which carries the designation HD 113766, is

a swath of dust that has similar material to that found on Earth – with the potential to form a rocky planet about the size of Mars, or maybe bigger.

The dust belt is in the middle of the 10-million-year-old star’s terrestrial habitable zone where liquid water can exist on a rocky planet.

APL researcher Carey Lisse

found the material in the dust belt very different from the

material that has been found in comets and asteroids using Spitzer’s infrared spectrometer. Instead, the material in the dust belt is

more like material found on rocky planets, Lisse said, noting that it reminded him of material found at Mauna Kea, a Hawaiian volcano.

“If the system was too young, its planet-forming disk would be full of gas, and it would be making gas-giant planets like Jupiter instead,” Lisse said.

“If the system was too old, then dust aggregation or clumping would have already occurred and all the system’s rocky planets would have already formed.”

Google Moon Updated with Higher Resolution Images

The Google Moon Web site now has new higher-resolution photographs and maps as well as links to video and audio clips, NASA announced in a Sept. 18 press release. Many of the images

and multi-media additions are from the Apollo missions. The Apollo content is imbedded on the lunar maps.

The site has aligned its imagery and topography with the current lunar coordinate system. The new, more accurate alignment is meant to help NASA with lunar mission planning.

“NASA’s objective is for Google Moon to become a more accurate and useful lunar mapping platform that will be a foundation for future web-based moon applications, much like the many applications that have been built on top of Google maps,” Chris Kemp, director of strategic business development at NASA Ames Research Center, said in a prepared statement.


SBX Mooring System Installed at Home Port

The mooring system for the Missile Defense Agency’s

Sea-Based X-Band Radar

has been installed successfully

at the tracking system’s Adak, Alaska, homeport, according to agency

and Boeing press releases.

Built by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems of St. Louis, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar features a large radar antenna atop a converted, semi-submersible oil-drilling platform.

Once operational, it will be a part of the U.S.

ballistic missile defense architecture, capable of operating at sea

for extended periods to provide tracking, discrimination and hit-assessment functions for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, MDA said in a Sept. 19 press release.

During a demonstration

in March, the radar

detected and


a test missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.,

Boeing said in a Sept. 20 press release.

The mooring system will ensure that the radar platform

is safely secured while at its homeport. It consists of

eight 75-metric-ton anchors embedded at the bottom of Kuluk Bay in the Aleutian Islands. Boeing subcontractor Manson Construction Co. of Seattle delivered the anchors

21 days ahead of schedule, Boeing said.

Northrop Grumman, SAIC Team on Masint/AGI Bid

Northrop Grumman Corp. and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) announced Oct. 1 they will partner

to bid on the upcoming contract for the Measurement and Signature Intelligence/Advanced Geospatial Intelligence (Masint/AGI) program for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

The Masint/AGI program is intended to provide timely intelligence information and capabilities to national defense policy makers. It also is intended to provide data for treaty monitoring, arms control, acquisition policy and a variety of other needs to serve the military, scientific and intelligence communities.

Northrop Grumman will be the team’s prime integrator. The request for proposals and contract award are expected in 2008, according to an Oct. 1 Northrop Grumman press release.

Aerojet Completes Dual Combustion Ramjet Test

, of Sacramento, Calif., has completed wind tunnel testing on

its experimental hypersonic Dual Combustion Ramjet (DCR) engine under Mach 6-like conditions, the company announced in a Sept. 18 press release.

is building the DCR for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems of St. Louis as part of a joint U.S. Navy and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program called HyFly. The 240-second June 14 ground test in Orange Va., validated the engine’s durability under hypersonic conditions and paves the way for the first flight test, the company said.