BAE Systems, a British multinational security, defense, and aerospace company, has recently taken a 20% stake in Reaction Engines, which is a small, privately held, British technology company. Reaction Engines has been investing in innovative propulsion technology which would hopefully cut the costs of space travel significantly. According to the managing director of Reaction Engines, the company has been working on new ways to create a launcher which could take off in a similar fashion to an aircraft, which would then fly into space, release its satellite, and then ultimately return to Earth for reuse within 48 hours.


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Engineers from NASA and Lockheed Martin have recently welded the forward bulkhead and tunnel of the Orion crew module which will fly on top of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. This module for the Orion is currently being worked on at an assembly facility in New Orleans. The main structure of the Orion crew module requires seven substantial aluminum pieces. The forward bulkhead, which sits on top of the spacecraft, will feature vital systems such as the parachutes which will deploy during re-entry. The tunnel of the Orion crew module will act as a passageway for astronauts to navigate through between the module and other spacecraft.


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After winning the bid in the Joint Strike Fighter competition nearly 15 years ago, the first squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighters has been cleared for active combat by the US Marine Corps. The F-35B is the short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant of the platform.


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Northrop Grumman has received a contract to provide upgrade work and spares for the LITENING G4 targeting pods belonging to the United States Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard. The $74 million indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract upgrades will enable digital, high definition video from the AN/AAQ-28(V) LITENING G4 advanced targeting system to the cockpit.


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In June 2015, Airbus Helicopters revealed the concept of a successor to the popular Super Puma aircraft. The radical heavy-weight twin-engine X6 appears as though it will share many of the design features of the company’s recently-launched H160 medium helicopter, with a five-bladed main rotor, making use of new low-noise blade technologies as well as new materials in the fuselage and structure. This new X6 program was launched at the 51st Paris Air Show and Airbus Helicopters CEO Guillaume Faury is very excited. He said in a statement that the X6 will be the company’s first commercial product to adopt a fly by wire control system. Currently, the NH90 helicopter is the only one in the Airbus fleet that is stable enough to support this system.


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