NASA Invites Reporters to Observe Robotics Tests in Arizona Desert

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WASHINGTON — NASA will hold the annual Desert “RATS,” or Research and
Technology Studies, field test in the Arizona desert this fall,
hosting a media day for journalists on Sept. 15.

Desert RATS will help determine what technologies and capabilities
will be needed when NASA takes future trips beyond Earth. The tests
will include a simulated 14-day mission during which two crew members
— an astronaut and a geologist — will live inside NASA’s prototype
Lunar Electric Rover. They will scout the test area for features of
geological interest and conduct simulated moonwalks to collect
samples.

NASA’s heavy-lift rover Tri-ATHLETE, or All-Terrain Hex-Legged
Extra-Terrestrial Explorer, will carry a habitat mockup to which the
lunar rover will dock. The media day will include lunar rover and
Tri-ATHLETE demonstrations and opportunities to interview the
engineers, scientists and astronauts involved in the tests.

Interested reporters should contact Brandi Dean at 281-244-1403 by
Friday, Sept. 11, for the media day agenda and registration
information. Access to the test site is restricted, and reporters
must register in advance. NASA requires a letter of assignment on
company letterhead for credentials.

During the Desert RATS tests, which have been taking place for more
than a decade, engineers from NASA centers work with representatives
from industry and academia.

For more information about NASA’s lunar field tests and links to
follow Desert RATS activities on social media sites, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/analogs


NASA Sets Discovery, Space Station Crew News Conference

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HOUSTON — The 13 crew members flying aboard space shuttle Discovery
and the International Space Station will hold a news conference at
7:54 p.m. CDT on Friday, Sept. 4.

Reporters may ask questions from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in
Houston, Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Headquarters in
Washington. Journalists from Canada and Sweden also will participate
in the news conference. To take part, U.S. journalists must RSVP by
calling the public affairs office at a participating NASA center by
noon CDT on Sept. 4.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the 35-minute news
conference. For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video
information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Discovery’s 13-day STS-128 mission includes three spacewalks. The
flight also is delivering a new station crew member, storage racks,
materials and fluids science racks, a freezer to store research
samples, a new sleeping compartment, an air purification system, and
a treadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert.

For more information about STS-128 and its crew, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle


FAA Orders Pitot Tube Replacements

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By Graham Warwick

The FAA is instructing airlines flying the Airbus A330 and A340 to replace certain Thales Avionics pitot probes with Goodrich units to avoid an unsafe condition caused by airspeed discrepancies….
FAA Orders Pitot Tube Replacements


Alternate JSF Engine Team Pressures Pratt

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By Guy Norris
LOS ANGELES

General Electric and Rolls Royce have opened talks with U.S. defense officials on a fixed-price contract offer for the Joint Strike Fighter alternative F136 engine, which they hope to marshal the government’s new acquisition reforms and force a similar reaction from incumbent F135 engine supplier Pratt & Whitney….
Alternate JSF Engine Team Pressures Pratt


ISS Transfers Continue After First Spacewalk

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Frank Morring, Jr. morring@aviationweek.com

The 13 astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) and the space shuttle Discovery continued transferring cargo from the Leonardo pressurized logistics module Wednesday, after two of their number started an unprecedented on-orbit swapout of a depleted ammonia tank in a six-hour, 35-minute spacewalk Tuesday night….

ISS Transfers Continue After First Spacewalk


Traffic Declines May Be Slowing

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Madhu Unnikrishnan madhu_unnikrishnan@aviationweek.com

July passenger and freight traffic worldwide continued to slide year-over-year, but data from the Airports Council International suggest the slide may be slowing….

Traffic Declines May Be Slowing