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Booming private jet market stretches rich buyers as climate clouds gather

Companies' bid to reduce pollution could impede business class, corporate planes

  • Calgary Herald
  • 22 Oct 2021
img?regionKey=G7UDV0EYUMey6XIJZxBESg%3d%3dSTEVE MARCUS/REUTERS The influx of new, affluent buyers of private planes brings some new risks for corporate plane makers, including the greater scrutiny of the industry's environmental record.

Private jet demand has boomed during the pandemic as the wealthy took control of their travel, yet the flight to luxury could have limited runway as some buyers spend beyond their means and the sector presents a prime target for climate critics.

Bidding wars for second-hand planes and premiums for early delivery of new ones dominated chatter at the National Business Aviation Association's (NBAA) show in Las Vegas last week.

It's a boon for publicly traded corporate plane makers who are increasingly selling aircraft without the discounts that had become pervasive after the industry fell from favour in the 2008-09 financial crisis.

General Dynamics Corp's Gulfstream Aerospace, Bombardier, Textron and Dassault Aviation are leaders by value of deliveries, which supplier Honeywell values at US$238 billion over the next decade.

“I'm hearing from people every day who are interested in getting into private aircraft,” said Stephen Hofer, president of Aerlex Law Group, which does aircraft transactions.

But the influx of new entrants, often wealthy individuals and families who upgraded their travel from first-class airline tickets during the pandemic, brings some new risks.

One veteran broker described a new buyer who had purchased a plane at prices he could only afford by leasing the aircraft for part of the time to other travellers. If leasing demand wanes, the buyer could have difficulty paying for the jet, warned the broker who spoke candidly on condition of anonymity.

“These are people who have never got a Us$1-million maintenance bill before,” said the broker, adding such practices are reminiscent of market activity before the 2008 crash.

Still, U.S. business jet flight hours rose 16 per cent during early October compared with October 2019, itself the strongest month for activity since 2008, according to consultancy Wingx.

And many executives, analysts, aviation lawyers and brokers are confident the rebound will continue into 2022.

“The activity rebound in 2021 is increasingly being seen as a green light for faster industry growth the next few years, not just a one-off bounce from the pandemic,” said Wingx managing director Richard Koe.

Deliveries are set to rise from around 700 a year now to roughly 900 by 2025, but still have room to grow given the peak 1,300 planes delivered in 2008, analyst Brian Foley said.

Business jet production will however be limited by supply chain capacity, added Don Dwyer, co-managing partner of aircraft brokerage Guardian Jet.

One unknown quantity is the amount of business-related travel, which is expected to take longer to recover than the leisure trips that underpin domestic U.S. airline traffic.

Vinayak Hegde, president of private aviation company Wheels Up, said he was now seeing more senior execs travelling for business.

But some companies are backing away from travel and setting “carbon budgets” to reduce pollution, in a move that would weigh on airlines' business class and corporate jets, which generate more emissions per passenger.

The industry is also battling to fend off questions over its environmental record. It hit the headlines recently when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drew media criticism for using private jets despite their stance on climate change.

Investors in the industry want it to tackle the issue.

Kenneth Ricci, principal of Directional Aviation Capital, a private investment firm that funds and owns business aviation companies, warned that corporate aviation must take action on the environment or risk having it used against the industry.

“My biggest concern, the one I'm watching all the time is what we're going to do on sustainability,” Ricci told a lunch event at the NBAA show. “We need to be vocally ahead of this.”

Business jet firms followed airlines last week in committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, but environmental campaigners say the pledges don't go far enough. “Business aviation is at a crossroads,” said Jo Dardenne, aviation manager for Brussels-based Transport & Environment. “If the sector wants to reach zero emissions, it should accept governments mandating the use of clean technologies and taxing wealthy private jet users to finance their deployment.”

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Space Engine Systems to test Mach 5 Spaceplane in Manitoba Canada


EDMONTON, Alberta, Oct. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Regulations can be a challenge for high altitude and supersonic innovation in aerospace. SES thought it would need to go to the U.S. or the U.K. to test its innovative DASS ram jet engine. But now SES is teaming with Lynn Lake Airport in northern Manitoba to demonstrate its proprietary technology in flight – “We look forward to working with Transport Canada to get the regulatory approvals for flight this year!” said Pradeep Dass, President & CTO, Space Engine Systems.

SES will deploy its Sexbomb lift body aircraft from a stratospheric balloon that lifts it to 110,000 ft. It will free fall to Mach 1.8 where the DASS engine ram jet fires to take it to Mach 5 at 57,000 ft over the northern barren lands, before gliding back to Lynn Lake.

Subsequent testing will use the self launching Hello 1 – Experimental in standard horizontal take-off and landing, towards reaching low earth orbit with the prototype Hello-1, delivering payloads at the lowest cost per kg of all the current space services.

Applications of low-cost reliable hypersonic flight are limitless. The Hello-1 could deliver human organs for life-saving transplants from Toronto to Edmonton in 30 minutes! SES is targeting crewed missions by 2025 at costs a third of space tourism so that more Canadians will be able to join William Shatner as true astronauts! See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVqU2iMPhbI&ab_channel=NASASpaceflight

In 2002, NASA launched from Lynn Lake, Canada, the largest balloon ever flown, with a volume of 60 million cubic feet, setting a new world record that had been unbeaten since 1975. The balloon climbed to an altitude of 49.4 km, for a flight that lasted 23 hours. “Lynn Lake has been used for stratospheric balloon launches for forty years,” reports Fredrick Petrie, Managing Partner, YYL Airport Inc.

Canadian Operations — Space Engine Systems

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47 minutes ago, Kargokings said:

Space Engine Systems to test Mach 5 Spaceplane in Manitoba Canada


EDMONTON, Alberta, Oct. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Regulations can be a challenge for high altitude and supersonic innovation in aerospace. SES thought it would need to go to the U.S. or the U.K. to test its innovative DASS ram jet engine. But now SES is teaming with Lynn Lake Airport in northern Manitoba to demonstrate its proprietary technology in flight – “We look forward to working with Transport Canada to get the regulatory approvals for flight this year!” said Pradeep Dass, President & CTO, Space Engine Systems.

SES will deploy its Sexbomb lift body aircraft from a stratospheric balloon that lifts it to 110,000 ft. It will free fall to Mach 1.8 where the DASS engine ram jet fires to take it to Mach 5 at 57,000 ft over the northern barren lands, before gliding back to Lynn Lake.

Subsequent testing will use the self launching Hello 1 – Experimental in standard horizontal take-off and landing, towards reaching low earth orbit with the prototype Hello-1, delivering payloads at the lowest cost per kg of all the current space services.

Applications of low-cost reliable hypersonic flight are limitless. The Hello-1 could deliver human organs for life-saving transplants from Toronto to Edmonton in 30 minutes! SES is targeting crewed missions by 2025 at costs a third of space tourism so that more Canadians will be able to join William Shatner as true astronauts! See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVqU2iMPhbI&ab_channel=NASASpaceflight

In 2002, NASA launched from Lynn Lake, Canada, the largest balloon ever flown, with a volume of 60 million cubic feet, setting a new world record that had been unbeaten since 1975. The balloon climbed to an altitude of 49.4 km, for a flight that lasted 23 hours. “Lynn Lake has been used for stratospheric balloon launches for forty years,” reports Fredrick Petrie, Managing Partner, YYL Airport Inc.

Canadian Operations — Space Engine Systems

Interesting... funny name though. :)

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New Mobility Options Coming to the Toronto Region for Passengers and Cargo



A Trillion-Dollar Global Industry, Advanced Air Mobility Will Transform Transportation and Offer Live-Saving Medical Benefits

TORONTO, ONT. (Oct. 26th, 2021) – The Greater Toronto Area has what it takes to be an early
user of Advanced Air Mobility—a new concept of air transportation that moves people and
cargo between places that are not conveniently served by surface transportation—according to
a new paper released by the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM) In the next
few years, quiet, lightweight, Zero Emission aircraft such as electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing
(eVTOL) passenger aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS, also known as drones)
will transform mobility in the Greater Toronto Area for commuters and cargo.

The paper, “Advanced Air Mobility Comes to Toronto: Exciting Opportunities to Improve Urban
Mobility of People, Goods and Services”(Summary here) was prepared by NEXA Advisors, a
financial and economic advisory company in Washington, D.C. The research anticipates that
Toronto will first deploy Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) in the medical field, transporting patients,
medications, defibrillators, blood, organs, PPE, and radioisotopes for cancer treatment. Since
AAM aircraft take off more rapidly than helicopters, they will more quickly transport patients
suffering life-threatening emergencies in rural areas of the Golden Horseshoe to the closest
trauma center. Moreover, the healthcare system will save a great deal of money using AAM
aircraft, given the lower cost to purchase, operate, and maintain them, in comparison to

AAM will open up new forms of regional air mobility: convenient, zero emission flights between
city pairs whose distances are currently not commercially viable for airlines. Passengers will hop
on quick, quiet flights from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop Toronto City
Airports to places like Kitchener, Peterborough, Barrie, Buffalo, Rochester, Detroit, Pittsburgh,
Syracuse, and Cleveland.

In terms of traffic reduction, strategic use of AAM aircraft for delivery can remove thousands of
trucks from the roads, trucks that often block entire lanes in rush-hour traffic. Cargo as diverse as heavy freight, depot-to-depot, retail packages, and just-in-time deliveries can be delivered in
a variety of efficient aircraft traveling above traffic. This would result in immense savings in
carbon emissions, noise, and wear and tear on the roads. The new aircraft are still in
development and testing, with some being certified by 2024.

Stephen Lund, CEO, Toronto Global, said, “The introduction of a sustainable, equitable, and
profitable Advanced Air Mobility industry in Canada and in the Toronto Region will create
innovative solutions to existing environmental, infrastructure, and economic challenges. We
welcome CAAM’s paper, and its recommendations, as we seek to leverage this innovative
technology and pioneer new opportunities for advanced air mobility to create better outcomes
for the Toronto Region.”

JR Hammond, Executive Director of CAAM, said, “Advanced Air Mobility is the next exponential
leap in aviation. CAAM, as the national voice for the future of zero emission aviation, is bringing
the knowledge and expertise to the greater Toronto region in helping craft the equitable,
inclusive and sustainable air transportation of our future.”

The research pointed to several factors determining Toronto’s likelihood of being an early AAM
user: high GDP, extreme road congestion, world class medical facilities, robust tech, strong
financial and STEM educational sectors, and a flourishing aerospace industry already in place.
As a next step, CAAM has retained NEXA Advisors to prepare an Economic Impact Analysis in the
coming weeks to determine the number of full-time permanent jobs AAM will bring to the
Greater Toronto Area, as well as tax revenues and new overall economic activity. Based on
similar studies, Toronto will likely see thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions in new tax
revenues, and billions in new overall economic activity between now and 2045.

About CAAM

Canadian Advanced Air Mobility (CAAM) is a Federal Not For Profit organization that acts as the
national catalyst for the new Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry in Canada. CAAM has
partnered with over 50+ organizations including industry, academia, private capital and all three
levels of government to launch projects aimed at getting the AAM industry off the ground. Our goal is to create a national AAM strategy for Canada while implementing regional revenue
generating use cases. CAAM was founded in partnership with Canada’s leading federal research
and development organization, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC).

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  • 3 weeks later...


SpinLaunch kinetic launch system celebrates a successful test flight

The thing that has been common for every satellite put into orbit in the history of spaceflight is that they’ve all used rockets. However, the need for rockets is changing with a company called SpinLaunch celebrating the first successful test launch for its kinetic launch system. The launch system doesn’t use a rocket and is zero emissions.


It uses a massive accelerator larger than the Statue of Liberty powered by an electric drive to throw payloads into orbit. SpinLaunch says its creation could reduce fuel consumption by a factor of four while costing ten times less than similar launches using traditional rockets. Another massive benefit is that the system would be able to put multiple payloads into orbit each day.

The test flight did not put the payload into orbit. The current test device is a Suborbital Accelerator featuring an upright vacuum chamber shaped like a disc and a carbon fiber tether. Together, the vacuum chamber and the tether spin projectiles at speeds of up to 5000 mph. Once the payload is accelerated fully, the tether is released, throwing the projectile out of the launcher, into the atmosphere, and into orbit.

A larger accelerator will be required to place payloads into orbit, known as the L100 Orbital Mass Accelerator. It would operate similarly to the smaller suborbital accelerator but will be able to place satellites up to 440 pounds into orbit. Accelerating something to 5000 mph, which is many times the speed of sound, means that electronics able to survive 10,000g are required. However, testing has proven satellite systems are capable of surviving that type of acceleration.

SpinLaunch conducted its first test of the suborbital launch on October 22. The test was conducted at a location in Spaceport America in New Mexico. The prototype vehicle launched during the test flight did reach supersonic speeds and was later recovered to be reused. Additional flight tests will occur in 2022 utilizing different vehicles at different launch velocities. Currently, SpinLaunch plans to put the first customer satellites into orbit in late 2024.

With the push towards being green, an emissions-free space launch technology will prove popular. SpinLaunch says in the future, it will be able to launch entire constellations of satellites into what it describes as the most mission-critical layers of the atmosphere. The company also mentions in a future where large numbers of people are traveling into space, there will be a need to launch structures, equipment, and supplies.

That statement seemingly suggests SpinLaunch sees a future where it will be able to launch objects larger than 440 pounds satellites. Development of the launch system began in 2015. Two years after beginning the project, SpinLaunch’s accelerator set a record for the fastest rotational tip speeds. However, the most significant milestone reached in the project so far was the launch last month.

It’s unclear how much larger the orbital-class accelerator needs to be. The suborbital accelerator stands 50.4 meters tall, and undoubtedly the orbital-class accelerator would be significantly larger. To put the size in perspective, the Statue of Liberty stands 46 meters tall. SpinLaunch points out that its suborbital system also provides long-term value as a satellite qualification facility.



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F.O.D. in space

Russia test blamed for space junk threatening space station

Marcia Dunn Published Monday, November 15, 2021 1:20PM ESTLast Updated Monday, November 15, 2021 3:21PM EST
International Space Station above the Earth

International Space Station above the Earth on May 23, 2011. (AP /NASA, Paolo Nespoli)


CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. -- A Russian weapons test created more than 1,500 pieces of space junk that is now threatening the seven astronauts aboard the International Space Station, U.S. officials said Monday.

The State Department confirmed that the debris was from an old Russian satellite destroyed in Monday's anti-satellite weapons test.

“It was dangerous. It was reckless. It was irresponsible,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

Earlier Monday, the four Americans, one German and two Russians on board were forced to seek shelter in their docked capsules because of the debris.

At least 1,500 pieces of the destroyed satellite were sizable enough to show up on radar, Price said. But countless other fragments were too small to track, yet still posed a danger to the space station as well as orbiting satellites.

“We are going to continue to make very clear that we won't tolerate this kind of activity,” Price said.

NASA Mission Control said the heightened threat might continue for another couple days and continue to interrupt the astronauts' science research and other work. Four of the seven crew members arrived at the orbiting outpost Thursday night.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who's midway through a yearlong mission, called it “a crazy but well-coordinated day” as he bid Mission Control good night.

“It was certainly a great way to bond as a crew, starting off with our very first work day in space,” he said.

The U.S. Space Command said it was tracking the field of orbiting debris. NASA had made no comment by mid-afternoon.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Space Agency said via Twitter that the astronauts were ordered into their docked capsules, in case they had to make a quick getaway. Later, the crew was “routinely performing operations,” the agency noted.

“Friends, everything is regular with us!” tweeted the space station's commander, Russian Anton Shkaplerov.

The cloud of debris seemed to pose a threat on each passing orbit - or every 1 1/2 hours. German astronaut Matthias Maurer was told to move his sleeping bag from the European lab to a safer location for the night.

Until Monday, some 20,000 pieces of space junk were being tracked. including old and broken satellites. Last week, a fragment from an old Chinese satellite - the target of a missile-strike test in 2007 - threatened to come uncomfortably close. While it later was dismissed as a risk, NASA had the space station move anyway.


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DART is the first-ever mission dedicated to investigating and demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection by changing an asteroid’s motion in space through kinetic impact. This method will have DART deliberately collide with a target asteroid—which poses no threat to Earth— in order to change its speed and path. DART’s target is the binary, near-Earth asteroid system Didymos, composed of the roughly 780-meter (2,560-foot) -diameter “Didymos” and the smaller, approximately 160-meter (530-foot)-size “Dimorphos,” which orbits Didymos. DART will impact Dimorphos to change its orbit within the binary system, and the DART Investigation Team will compare the results of DART’s kinetic impact with Dimorphos to highly detailed computer simulations of kinetic impacts on asteroids. Doing so will evaluate the effectiveness of this mitigation approach and assess how best to apply it to future planetary defense scenarios, as well as how accurate the computer simulations are and how well they reflect the behavior of a real asteroid.

Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) (nasa.gov)

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I hope this does not turn out to be "The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men" 😀

Nov 24, 2021
RELEASE 21-161

NASA, SpaceX Launch DART: First Test Mission to Defend Planet Earth

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, launched Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.


Just one part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy, DART – built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland – will impact a known asteroid that is not a threat to Earth. Its goal is to slightly change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be accurately measured using ground-based telescopes.


DART will show that a spacecraft can autonomously navigate to a target asteroid and intentionally collide with it – a method of deflection called kinetic impact. The test will provide important data to help better prepare for an asteroid that might pose an impact hazard to Earth, should one ever be discovered. LICIACube, a CubeSat riding with DART and provided by the Italian Space Agency (ASI), will be released prior to DART’s impact to capture images of the impact and the resulting cloud of ejected matter. Roughly four years after DART’s impact, ESA’s (European Space Agency) Hera project will conduct detailed surveys of both asteroids, with particular focus on the crater left by DART’s collision and a precise determination of Dimorphos’ mass.


“DART is turning science fiction into science fact and is a testament to NASA’s proactivity and innovation for the benefit of all,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “In addition to all the ways NASA studies our universe and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this test will help prove out one viable way to protect our planet from a hazardous asteroid should one ever be discovered that is headed toward Earth.”


At 2:17 a.m., DART separated from the second stage of the rocket. Minutes later, mission operators received the first spacecraft telemetry data and started the process of orienting the spacecraft to a safe position for deploying its solar arrays. About two hours later, the spacecraft completed the successful unfurling of its two, 28-foot-long, roll-out solar arrays. They will power both the spacecraft and NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster – Commercial ion engine, one of several technologies being tested on DART for future application on space missions.


“At its core, DART is a mission of preparedness, and it is also a mission of unity,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This international collaboration involves DART, ASI’s LICIACube, and ESA’s Hera investigations and science teams, which will follow up on this groundbreaking space mission.”


DART’s one-way trip is to the Didymos asteroid system, which comprises a pair of asteroids. DART’s target is the moonlet, Dimorphos, which is approximately 530 feet (160 meters) in diameter. The moonlet orbits Didymos, which is approximately 2,560 feet (780 meters) in diameter.


Since Dimorphos orbits Didymos at much a slower relative speed than the pair orbits the Sun, the result of DART’s kinetic impact within the binary system can be measured much more easily than a change in the orbit of a single asteroid around the Sun.


“We have not yet found any significant asteroid impact threat to Earth, but we continue to search for that sizable population we know is still to be found. Our goal is to find any possible impact, years to decades in advance, so it can be deflected with a capability like DART that is possible with the technology we currently have,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA Headquarters. “DART is one aspect of NASA’s work to prepare Earth should we ever be faced with an asteroid hazard. In tandem with this test, we are preparing the Near-Earth Object Surveyor Mission, an space-based infrared telescope scheduled for launch later this decade and designed to expedite our ability to discover and characterize the potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit.”


The spacecraft will intercept the Didymos system between Sept. 26 and Oct. 1, 2022, intentionally slamming into Dimorphos at roughly 4 miles per second (6 kilometers per second). Scientists estimate the kinetic impact will shorten Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos by several minutes. Researchers will precisely measure that change using telescopes on Earth. Their results will validate and improve scientific computer models critical to predicting the effectiveness of the kinetic impact as a reliable method for asteroid deflection.


“It is an indescribable feeling to see something you’ve been involved with since the ‘words on paper’ stage become real and launched into space,” said Andy Cheng, one of the DART investigation leads at Johns Hopkins APL and the individual who came up with the idea of DART. “This is just the end of the first act, and the DART investigation and engineering teams have much work to do over the next year preparing for the main event ─ DART’s kinetic impact on Dimorphos. But tonight we celebrate!”


DART’s single instrument, the Didymos Reconnaissance and Asteroid Camera for Optical navigation (DRACO), will turn on a week from now and provide first images from the spacecraft. DART will continue to travel just outside of Earth’s orbit around the Sun for the next 10 months until Didymos and Dimorphos will be a relatively close 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) from Earth.


A sophisticated guidance, navigation, and control system, working together with algorithms called Small-body Maneuvering Autonomous Real Time Navigation (SMART Nav), will enable the DART spacecraft to identify and distinguish between the two asteroids. The system will then direct the spacecraft toward Dimorphos. This process will all occur within roughly an hour of impact.


Johns Hopkins APL manages the DART mission for NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office as a project of the agency’s Planetary Missions Program Office. NASA provides support for the mission from several centers, including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, Johnson Space Center in Houston, Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, and Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX is the launch services provider for the DART mission.


For more information about the DART mission, visit:





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  • 2 weeks later...

Strange cube-shaped 'hut' spotted on moon, Chinese rover to investigate

Published Tuesday, December 7, 2021 8:29PM ESTLast Updated Tuesday, December 7, 2021 8:29PM EST

"Mysterious Hut" on the horizon, captured by Yutu 2. (Our Space)



China’s lunar rover, Yutu 2, will be investigating what appears to be a mysterious cube-shaped “hut” on the moon after spotting it recently on the horizon.

The strange shape was described first in a post last Friday on Our Space, which is associated with the Chinese National Space Administration.

In the post, Yutu 2 was rolling along at the end of October, navigating a complex region on the moon comprised of large impact craters, when drivers noticed something strange in the distance while taking pictures of the skyline with Yutu 2.

They observed what looked like a cube, protruding up from the horizon far away from them. Although it was far away, and thus hard to see properly, it looked unusually angular compared to other rocks, earning it the moniker of a “mysterious hut.”

According to Our Space, the “hut” is around 80 metres away from Yutu 2’s current location. Although the rover has a maximum speed of 200 metres per hour, the rough terrain it is in currently means that the rover will need around two to three Earth months to actually reach the structure. But a plan is in place to investigate.

Yutu 2, which means “Jade Rabbit 2,” is part of the Chang’e Lunar Exploration Program. It’s the first lunar rover to explore the so-called “dark side” of the moon, the side that faces away from Earth. While the dark side has been observed from orbit, it has never been explored on the surface in this way.

The rover is currently making its way west across the dark side of the moon, weaving through a canyon to avoid steep slopes. The day it spotted the strange hut shape on the horizon, it had conquered a climb up a hill after finding itself blocked in by slopes on three sides, according to Our Space.

While the cube-shaped object has spurred comparisons on social media to the monolith found on the moon in the sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey, it’s far more likely to simply be a large boulder.

Strange things have been seen on celestial bodies before, such as a photo taken of Mars by the Viking 1 orbiter in 1976 which appeared to show a person’s face rising out of the surface of the planet. Dubbed the “Face on Mars,” further photos have shown that it was a trick of lighting on a specific rock formation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On a more serious note:

Boeing and Airbus warn US over 5G safety concerns

7 hours ago

Bosses from the world's two biggest plane makers have called on the US government to delay the rollout of new 5G phone services.

In a letter, top executives at Boeing and Airbus warned that the technology could have "an enormous negative impact on the aviation industry."

Concerns have previously been raised that C-Band spectrum 5G wireless could interfere with aircraft electronics.

US telecoms giants AT&T and Verizon are due to deploy 5G services on 5 January.

"5G interference could adversely affect the ability of aircraft to safely operate," said the bosses of Boeing and Airbus Americas, Dave Calhoun and Jeffrey Knittel, in a joint letter to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The letter cited research by trade group Airlines for America which found that if the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) 5G rules had been in effect in 2019, about 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 cargo flights would have faced delays, diversions or cancellations.

The aviation industry and the FAA have raised concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft equipment like radio altitude meters.

"Airbus and Boeing have been working with other aviation industry stakeholders in the US to understand potential 5G interference with radio altimeters," Airbus said in a statement.

"An Aviation Safety Proposal to mitigate potential risks has been submitted for consideration to the US Department of Transportation."

This month, the FAA issued airworthiness directives warning 5G interference could result in flight diversions, saying it would provide more information before the 5 January rollout date.

In November, AT&T and Verizon delayed the commercial launch of C-band wireless service by a month until 5 January and adopted precautionary measures to limit interference.

Aviation industry groups have said the measures did not go far enough, with Boeing and Airbus saying they made a counterproposal that would limit cellular transmissions around airports and other critical areas.

Last week, United Airlines chief executive Scott Kirby said the FAA's 5G directives would bar the use of radio altitude meters at about 40 of America's biggest airports.

The US wireless industry group CTIA has said 5G is safe and accused the aviation industry of fearmongering and distorting facts.

"A delay will cause real harm. Pushing back deployment one year would subtract $50bn in economic growth, just as our nation recovers and rebuilds from the pandemic," CTIA chief executive Meredith Attwell Baker said in a blog post last month.

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Exchange Income Corporation Subsidiary, PAL Aerospace, Notified of Contract Award for Dutch Caribbean Coastguard Program

palareo.jpg?w=913 Logo: PAL Aerospace (CNW Group/PAL Aerospace)

WINNIPEG, MB, Dec. 21, 2021 /CNW/ – Exchange Income Corporation (TSX: EIF) (“EIC” or the “Corporation”) a diversified, acquisition-oriented company focused on opportunities in the aviation, aerospace and manufacturing sectors, is pleased to announce today that its subsidiary, PAL Aerospace, has received notice of the contract award decision to provide a dedicated air reconnaissance capacity for the Dutch Caribbean Coastguard. This future contract will see PAL Aerospace upgrade and operate two fully missionized DHC-8 maritime patrol aircraft, provide crew training on all systems, and support the operation of the aircraft for a minimum ten-year period, with options to extend.

The award follows a careful and thorough evaluation of tenders by the Dutch Defense Materiel Organization, through which the consortium of PAL Aerospace and JetSupport Amsterdam, as the incumbent provider, was found to continue offering the Best-Price-Quality-Ratio to the customer. The consortium anticipates receiving the final contract shortly.

“PAL Aerospace’s continued partnership with the Dutch Caribbean Coastguard is a testament to the positive relationships the company builds with its customers, and to the industry-leading intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services it provides,” said Mike Pyle, CEO of EIC. “This award also continues to validate EIC’s strategy of making long-term strategic investments to support organic growth across the EIC family of companies.”

PAL Aerospace will deliver this contract in partnership with JetSupport Amsterdam, an independent provider of aircraft maintenance and support based at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. Jet Support and PAL Aerospace are also partners in the delivery of and support for Maritime Patrol Aircraft for the Netherlands Coastguard.

“PAL Aerospace’s ongoing success in special missions aircraft operations, including these vital programs for the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands, the delivery and operation of Canada’s inland, coastal and offshore surveillance fleet for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Force Multiplier Intelligence,

Surveillance and Reconnaissance program and its ongoing support for the UAE Air Force’s maritime patrol aircraft, is a testament to EIC’s overall management strategy,” said Carmele Peter, President of EIC. “Our established practice of identifying well-run companies and empowering management with the support they need to grow their business continues to drive the kind of results we see at PAL Aerospace and deliver value to our shareholders, irrespective of ongoing challenges in the global economy.”

The Maritime Patrol Aircraft associated with this contract will be upgraded with state-of-the-art sensor systems to continue providing industry leading air reconnaissance capacity for the Dutch Caribbean Coastguard. Tasks will include surveillance activities, law enforcement and search and rescue.

“The crucial support PAL Aerospace continues to receive from EIC has facilitated this important award in the competitive global aerospace market,” said Jake Trainor, CEO of PAL. Our company is uniquely positioned to continue the successful delivery of our program in the Dutch Caribbean, and we look forward to building on our presence in the region through the life of this contract.

About Exchange Income Corporation 

Exchange Income Corporation is a diversified acquisition-oriented company, focused in two sectors: aerospace & aviation services and equipment, and manufacturing. The Corporation uses a disciplined acquisition strategy to identify already profitable, well-established companies that have strong management teams, generate steady cash flow, operate in niche markets and have opportunities for organic growth. For more information on the Corporation, please visit www.ExchangeIncomeCorp.ca. Additional information relating to the Corporation, including all public filings, is available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).

About PAL Aerospace

A member of the Exchange Income Corporation family of companies, PAL Aerospace is a Canadian-owned and operated international aerospace and defence company. With a focus on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, in-service support solutions and aircraft engineering and modification, PAL Aerospace is recognized by governments and militaries for on time/on budget delivery and high reliability rates. PAL’s record of accomplishment now extends to operations in Canada, the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. PAL Aerospace offers a single point of accountability for its programs and takes pride in being the trusted choice for clients worldwide.

For more information, please visit www.palaerospace.com

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Airlines Brace for Flight Restrictions in 5G Standoff

Carriers are taking steps to prepare for potential FAA flight limits when a new 5G wireless service goes live Jan. 5


Tue Dec 21, 2021 - WSJ
By Andrew Tangel and Drew FitzGerald


 “The aviation industry’s fearmongering relies on completely discredited information and deliberate distortions of fact,” 

Airlines have begun planning for possible flight disruptions from a new fifth-generation cellular service slated to go live early next year, industry officials said.

The early steps by airlines are a response to a Federal Aviation Administration order earlier this month. The directive outlined potential restrictions on landing in bad weather in up to 46 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, where the new wireless service is scheduled to roll out starting Jan. 5.

The planning comes as U.S. regulators consider two proposals––one from the telecom industry and another from the aviation industry––for protecting aircraft from potential 5G interference with cockpit safety systems. Commonplace in modern air travel, they help planes land in poor weather, prevent crashes and avoid midair collisions.

The wireless industry has said that the planned service poses no risk to aircraft, while the Federal Aviation Administration has said it is worried that the frequencies the cellular signals use could possibly disrupt the cockpit systems.

The airlines are in the middle of the dispute. “If there’s any kind of weather, if there’s high winds, if the visibility isn’t good because of smog, you can’t use that equipment,” United Airlines Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Scott Kirby told reporters Dec. 15. “You can’t land at airports—at Chicago O’Hare, at Atlanta, at Detroit—just think about what that means. This cannot be the outcome.”

As they game out various scenarios, airlines are awaiting specifics from the FAA about how broad or targeted the restrictions on landings might be—and where—starting Jan. 5, industry officials said. About a week before that date, the FAA is expected to issue pilot warnings specifying which airports will be subject to restrictions, people familiar with the matter said.

Air-safety regulators have been analyzing cell-tower and aircraft data to determine where 5G signals could potentially interfere with aircraft, people familiar with the matter said.

Despite the unknowns, airlines are assessing what canceled or diverted flights could mean for fuel, aircraft and crew needs, said George Paul, vice president for technical services at the National Air Carrier Association, which represents smaller cargo and passenger airlines.

“It’s like a bad hurricane—you don’t know where it’s going to hit until it actually gets a little closer,” Mr. Paul said.

The early planning by airlines is the result of long-simmering conflict between U.S. telecom and aviation regulators, which have been working out of sync for more than a year.

The Federal Communications Commission auctioned off portions of the 5G-friendly frequencies, also known as C-band, about a year ago. Top auction winners AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc. were authorized to start offering some of the faster cellular service early this month, but the companies delayed their rollout until Jan. 5 to address the FAA’s still-unresolved concerns. The companies also pledged to dim the power of C-band signals, especially near airport runways, for an additional six months.

Flight limits could complicate the U.S. airline industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Domestic travel has bounced back, and airlines have been betting on a surge in demand for international flights in summer 2022. While some carriers might need to trim travel plans because of Boeing Co.’s delays delivering its 787 Dreamliner, Mr. Kirby, speaking at a Dec. 15 Senate hearing, called possible 5G restrictions the “biggest and most damaging potential issue facing us.”

U.S. telecom industry officials have disputed claims about the new technology’s safety risks. “The aviation industry’s fearmongering relies on completely discredited information and deliberate distortions of fact,” said Nick Ludlum, a spokesman for the wireless industry group CTIA. “We will launch this service in January with the most extensive set of protective measures in the world.”

Regulators are at odds over competing proposals from the U.S. aviation and telecom industries to limit the new 5G signals near airports. At a high-level meeting Wednesday that included Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, officials discussed both industries’ proposals to create buffer zones around airports, people familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Buttigieg requested that the FCC consider the aviation industry’s proposal, some of these people said. FCC officials described that proposal as a nonstarter that would amount to a no-5G option, another person familiar with the meeting said.

The FCC’s Ms. Rosenworcel has said she believed officials would find a solution to allow 5G deployment swiftly and safely. “I have confidence in the mitigations that have been offered up by the wireless industry,” she said at a Dec. 14 press conference.

An FAA spokesman said the regulator continues to work with other federal agencies and wireless companies so “5G C-band and aviation can safely coexist.”

Boeing, which at times makes its own safety recommendations, is evaluating potential risks not addressed by the FAA, people familiar with the matter said.

Boeing engineers have been examining issues related to takeoff and pilots’ responses to possible 5G interference, according to one of these people.

European plane maker Airbus SE said it was working with its regulators and the FAA to provide guidance to airlines. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, the FAA’s counterpart, doesn’t view the 5G issue with as much concern as American regulators do, a person close to the regulator said, but is aware of unconfirmed reports of 5G interference and is fielding inquiries from worried airlines.

The scope of any U.S. flight restrictions is expected to depend largely on 5G buffer zones around airports. Such proposed protections include reduced 5G signal strengths and limits on antennas pointed in certain directions to avoid potential interference with planes’ radar altimeters, which measure the distance between aircraft and the ground.

A preliminary FAA analysis has found that the aviation industry’s proposal would likely avoid significant disruptions of U.S. air traffic, people familiar with the matter said. The agency’s early analysis of the telecom industry’s proposal suggests that it could lead to widespread cancellations and diversions in bad weather, these people said.

The FAA may also determine that certain radar altimeters aren’t at risk of interference, exempting aircraft equipped with them from any flight limits, according to a senior White House official involved with mediating the dispute.

Larger airport buffer zones would prevent cellphone carriers, which spent $81 billion for C-band licenses, from reaching as many customers in some of the often densely populated cities they serve.

Speaking at the recent Senate hearing, Delta Air Lines Inc.’s  operations chief, John Laughter, said: “The safety concerns with aircraft and aviation are very real, and I also know that there’s a solution here.”

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5G Rollout Could Disrupt Domestic Air Travel Within Weeks

Loren Thompson
Loren Thompson
Senior Contributor
I write about national security, especially its business dimensions.

Domestic air travel is hurtling towards a crisis beginning January 5, and neither policymakers nor the public seem to grasp the gravity of the situation.

January 5 is the day on which AT&T T +0.4% and Verizon plan to commence operation of 5G cellular services, using frequencies approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2020.


However, the federal regulatory agency that oversees airlines has determined that cellular base stations generating the 5G signals near airports could impair radio altimeters used by pilots to determine how close they are to the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an “airworthiness directive” earlier this month requiring that commercial and commuter aircraft cease relying on radio altimeters when operating in the presence of 5G interference.

The directive takes effect January 4—the day before AT&T and Verizon activate their 5G networks—and if nothing changes, domestic air travel could be crippled.

Radio altimeters play a critical role in enabling the safe operation of aircraft, especially when they are close to the ground but the ground cannot actually be seen by pilots.

Like, for example, in bad weather or after nightfall.

The airworthiness directive thus has the potential to disrupt up to half a million flights annually, forcing airlines to cancel or divert flights traveling to airports with nearby cellular towers when conditions dictate use of the altimeters.

An aviation expert explained to me that “if a radio altimeter is interfered with, it could result in bad data being propagated throughout the plane”—with potentially catastrophic consequences.

The problem can be minimized by replacing existing altimeters, changing 5G frequencies, or reducing the power output of cellular base stations.

Replacing altimeters on thousands of aircraft currently operating within U.S. airspace would take the better part of a decade.

Changing the frequencies of AT&T and Verizon’s 5G networks would be similarly difficult—although T-Mobile’s 5G offering operates on a different, non-threatening part of the radio-frequency spectrum.

So, the only near-term solution to avoid the disruptions entailed by the airworthiness directive would be to turn down the power on certain base stations.

The problem is less pronounced the farther aircraft are from the ground, because signal strength dissipates with distance.

Unfortunately, the biggest airports and most heavily used approach paths are located near the biggest concentrations of base stations, because that’s where the people are.

For instance, if you are traveling I-495 across the American Legion Bridge between Virginia and Maryland, a large cellular tower can be seen within a few hundred yards of the river.

When the river is visible, it is the preferred flight path to Reagan National Airport, and is also favored by rotorcraft including the president’s helicopter.

When the river is not visible, like at night or in a rainstorm, pilots still use the same path to the airport but must rely on their radio altimeters to maintain proper altitude.

Hundreds of commercial flights fly over that cellular tower during a typical week, but if it starts generating the power output planned for 5G signals, the airworthiness directive would kick in, severely restricting pilot options.

Planes might need to divert to other airports, however all of the nearby options have their own potential 5G problems, so there could be some lengthy detours for passengers.

One thing the FAA is determined will not happen is that pilots rely on spurious altimeter data when on final approach, which means steering clear of potentially disruptive 5G signals.

The directive allows for workarounds if pilots can avoid relying on potentially compromised altimeters, but the alternatives would increase cockpit workload during the most dangerous phase of flight (final approach).

The telecom industry insists that operating in the problematic portion of the radio-frequency spectrum is essential to fielding 5G services in a timely fashion, and argues that the Federal Communications Commission exhaustively reviewed spectrum options before settling on what is known as C-Band.

Dozens of other countries have done the same.

However, the FAA states in the official rationale for its directive that “no information has been presented that shows radio altimeters are not susceptible to interference caused by C-Band emissions permitted in the United States.”

AT&T and Verizon have offered to reduce the power levels generated by their 5G networks somewhat for a limited period of time, but the aviation community says that proposal is inadequate to meet the concerns driving the FAA directive.

A briefing generated by the aviation industry finds that “at least 70% of air transport aircraft would still be unable to safely operate under the wireless carriers’ proposal.”

So, a coalition of aviation stakeholders led by the Aerospace Industries Association has proposed bigger reductions in base-station power output for a longer period of time, until the FAA’s concerns can be fully addressed.

The telecom companies are resisting, saying that the power reductions would impair the functioning of 5G networks to a point where U.S. technology might not be competitive with that used in other countries (most notably China).

There doesn’t seem to be any easy way out of this impasse, and people on the telecom side of the debate are often dismissive of the FAA concerns; they say there is adequate separation between 5G and radio altimeter locations on the spectrum to prevent interference.

Maybe—but there’s a big difference between a dropped phone call and a dropped airplane, so don’t be surprised if your next flight to a major city ends up being diverting to avoid 5G disruption of vital flight systems.

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It's curious that the FAA are the only folks out there with an AD on this.  The Euros and other have had 5G for a while and are still watching for evidence of interference.  Canada has banned the towers from Airport approach areas.

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Aviation Capital Group signs for 20 A220s and 40 A320neos

From AeroTime Hub – link to source story



US-based lessor Aviation Capital Group (ACG) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 20 Airbus A220s and a firm order contract for 40 Airbus A320neo family jets, five of which are Airbus A321XLRs. 

“We are delighted to expand our portfolio with additional A220 and A320neo Family aircraft. These highly advanced aircraft will enhance ACG’s strategic objective to offer our airline customers the most modern and fuel-efficient aircraft available,” said Thomas Baker, CEO and President of ACG.  

The Airbus A320neo aircraft is a standard single-aisle jet suitable for short and medium-haul operations. The aircraft has two engine options: Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan, and CFM International’s LEAP-1A. It has a maximum range of 6,400 nautical miles (11,853 kilometers) and is capable of seating up to 180 passengers.  

The Airbus A220 family aircraft, including the A220-100 and A220-300 variants, are tailored to serve the 100-150 seat market. The A220-100 has a maximum range of 6,390 kilometers and the A220-300 has 6,297 kilometers. The aircraft family has only one engine option, Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engine. 

“It also forcefully confirms the A220 as a growingly desirable aircraft and investment in the commercial aviation landscape. We congratulate and thank ACG for its decision to select both the A220 and A320neo Families,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International. 

AirbusAirbus A220
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Aircraft loading bridge collapses at YVR, no injuries

From City News Vancouver – link to source story

A collapsed aircraft loading bridge at Vancouver International Airport on Jan. 1, 2022. A collapsed aircraft loading bridge at Vancouver International Airport on Jan. 1, 2022. (Submitted)

By Paul James and Aly Laube | January 1, 2022

A flight leaving Vancouver International Airport had to change gates Saturday after an aircraft loading bridge from the terminal to the parked jet collapsed.

Fortunately, no one was hurt. The bridge was empty when it caved in and crumpled close to where it connected to the unloaded plane.

No injuries following a scary incident @yvrairport late this afternoon. Airport walkway collapsed at one of the terminals. The passengers hadn’t started boarding their flight. YVR says it’s inspected all of its walkways, and says they’re safe. @CityNewsVAN pic.twitter.com/BYIqp6ECfU

Although those hoping to catch the flight had to move to another departure gate, airport operations weren’t impacted in any major way.

YVR is still responsible for the maintenance, and says it has since inspected all of its bridge equipment.

“We have a team that is actively investigating the exact cause of the failure and we don’t yet have a clear cost of the damage or duration that the bridge will be out of service,” a statement from the airport said.

“We are confident this was an isolated incident on one of the bridge components and all equipment at YVR is safe.”

The collapsed bridge will be out of service until further notice

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"In the case of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the restrictions will cover a broad area surrounding the runways themselves — where no 5G base stations will be permitted — plus two long stretches from Etobicoke to Brampton and another two from Downsview to Mississauga. In the longer stretches, there will be limits on power use, which can affect network performance.


ISED said the restrictions are needed because there is a possibility that radio signals from 5G equipment on the new spectrum frequency could interfere with the operation of altimeters, which are used in automatic flight guidance systems."

Canadians living near airports won’t get full 5G service

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