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2 hours ago, Kargokings said:

Missive from TC

They issued an AD subsequent to the CASA that effectivily duplicates the FAA AD.  I suppose they issued it to ensure Canadian Operators do not disregard the US airport Notams or have an AMOC they want to use?


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Space business: The final (profitable) frontier
By Joshua MELVIN
Las Vegas (AFP) Jan 5, 2022

File image of Dream Chaser

The snub-nosed craft resembles a shuttle-airplane mashup, and is the latest entrant in a profit-seeking push with staggering potential -- and risks -- for humans to visit, work or even live in space.

The display of technology like the life-size model "Dream Chaser" ship at the CES tech show in Las Vegas is a sharp signal that the commercial space era is upon us.

Experts see a path for companies to power an unprecedented era of rapid advances, but with the near certain peril that space disasters will occur and lives will be lost.

Sierra Space, a subsidiary of private aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corp., plans to have the 30-foot (nine-meter) "Dream Chaser" flying missions this year, making the reusable spacecraft key to its off-Earth ambitions.

"Before governments were the only ones that could do it. Now, it's getting down to regular human beings who can get a ride to space," Neeraj Gupta, the company's general manager of space destinations, told AFP.

The craft is meant to carry people and equipment to and from commercial space installations the company envisions building in the next decade, including a system of inflatable structures to house humans in orbit.

Sierra has a deal with NASA for unmanned flights to the International Space Station that are to start this year, and is working with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to develop a commercial outpost off-Earth.

"We really see a market opening to take more and more people to space," Gupta added.

Commercial space efforts have been growing rapidly and captured lots of attention, especially launches of Elon Musk's SpaceX rockets that have been carrying astronauts for NASA.

Bezos's own spaceflight last year alternately fascinated fans and outraged critics of the so-called "billionaire space race".

- Space risks -

Yet companies like Sierra are proposing something in addition to tourism -- a commercial hub in space that could be used to make products, and a ship that can provide transportation.

A video of their "space plane" shows the unmanned version of the craft cruising back to Earth and landing on a runaway like any other commercial aircraft.

Companies have proposed a series of ideas which until recently sounded like long shots, such as asteroid mining -- but they have also suggested less far-fetched biomedical applications or production of some types of technology.

Mason Peck, an astronautics professor at Cornell University, said that until the last five years making things in space and bringing them back to Earth just didn't make sense.

"Now there are companies... who are actually focused on this question: How can I make a buck in space?" he told AFP.

"This has never been the way that people articulate the benefits of space. It's always been something a little bit broader, like the benefit to mankind or humanity or the sake of science," he added.

But the power of profit has the potential to vastly accelerate efficiency, technological advances and capacity in ways that is not in the slow and purposely deliberate approach of NASA or the European Space Agency.

"It's pumping more money into the space industry. Technology improves, cost goes down so everybody benefits," said Mike Gruntman, a professor of astronautics at the University of Southern California.

This would come as NASA has agreements that are part of the agency's efforts to enable an American-led commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.

Yet the prospect of increasing activity in space which could be done by profit-seeking companies carries very real risks.

"There is certainly going to come a time when there will be tragedy and death and destruction as a result of this as there is with everything. There's car crashes, bridges fail, trains derail," Peck added.

"The next William Shatner we send to space might not make it back... and that will be terrible. But these are not reasons not to do it," he said referring to the Star Trek star's trip on a Blue Origin launch.

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Airbus C295 technology demonstrator of Clean Sky 2 makes its maiden flight 

Aviation Defense News January 2022 aerospace air force industry

The Airbus C295 Flight Test Bed 2 (FTB2) has successfully performed its maiden flight from the Final Assembly Line in Seville. The aircraft now starts a flight campaign with the aim of testing the new semi-morphing wing, the new affordable flight control system, as well as a SatCom antenna embedded within the aircraft’s fuselage.


Airbus C295 technology demonstrator of Clean Sky 2 makes its maiden flight 01The main modifications in the aircraft are a new high-efficiency semi-morphing wing, new dynamic winglets and a flat panel SATCOM antenna integrated within the top of the fuselage (Picture source: Airbus)

“The first flight of the C295 FTB2 is a key milestone that represents an important step forward in the programme, following the successful integration of the new aero structures, power-on and ground tests. A few years ago this programme was just a dream of a more sustainable future for aviation. Today we are at the final stage and we finally made it fly” said Francisco Javier Sánchez Segura, Executive Vice President Engineering Airbus Defence and Space.

Based on the Airbus C295, the Flight Test Bed 2 is an in-flight demonstrator of the European Clean Sky 2 (CS2) and the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, where technologies related to CS2’s future regional multimission aircraft are tested.

The modifications include new materials and technologies designed to achieve noise, CO2 and NOx emissions reduction. With these technologies applied in a future regional multimission configuration, up to 43% CO2 and 70% NOx reductions can be achieved in a typical Search and Rescue mission of 400 nautical miles, as well as 45% less noise during take-off.

Airbus C295 technology demonstrator of Clean Sky 2 makes its maiden flight 02The aircraft now starts a flight campaign with the aim of testing the new semi-morphing wing, the new affordable flight control system, as well as a SatCom antenna embedded within the aircraft’s fuselage (Picture source: Airbus)

The main modifications in the aircraft are a new high-efficiency semi-morphing wing, new dynamic winglets and a flat panel SATCOM antenna integrated within the top of the fuselage. In addition, innovative flight controls for primary control surfaces, including ailerons, flaps and flap tabs with improved aerodynamics, are capable of adjusting in-flight and contribute to a more efficient high lift system.

The new flight control system leverages digital control systems to optimise the aerodynamic shape of the wing in flight, while a new multifunctional flap has been completely redesigned and includes flap tabs in the trailing edge controlled by electro-mechanical actuators.

Airbus C295 technology demonstrator of Clean Sky 2 makes its maiden flight 03Based on the Airbus C295, the Flight Test Bed 2 is an in-flight demonstrator of the European Clean Sky 2 (CS2) and the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Picture source: Airbus)

But the advantages also extend into the manufacturing process, not least with the use of advanced materials and manufacturing ranging from the use of Scalmalloy and additive manufacturing, to a new assembly method for the aero structures of the wing. A one shot assembly approach has been used for the new composite winglet and winglet tab, moving from the conventional ribs approach to a multi-spar integrated torsion box. Finally, jig-less methods have been used for the assembly of flaps and ailerons.

As a result, the C295 FTB2 brings improvements not only to the purely operational aspects of the aircraft, but helps introduce new improvement to the design and manufacturing process.

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Negotiations stalled: Swissport fuellers at YVR vote to strike

VANCOUVER, BC, Feb. 9, 2022 /CNW/ – Aircraft fuellers at Vancouver International Airport have voted in favour of taking strike action against Swissport Canada. Swissport manages the refuelling of almost all passenger and cargo aircraft at YVR.

Public Service Alliance of Canada regional executive vice president Jamey Mills is warning that work disruptions at YVR may be on the horizon. 

“PSAC members at Swissport worked through a period of significant uncertainty during the pandemic and endured a series of layoffs and re-hires.” says Mills “Now the employer wants to undermine the health benefits of our members, while offering them a minimal wage increase – all while inflation has skyrocketed and the Lower Mainland continues to be one of Canada’s most expensive places to live.”

“Our union recognizes that the aviation industry has been hit hard as a result of the pandemic however Swissport can’t try to rebuild their profits on the back of their workers.” said Barry Tchir, Union of Canadian Transportation Employees regional vice president. “Despite the many challenges of being a front-line worker during the pandemic, our members went above and beyond through very uncertain times and deserve a fair deal at the bargaining table.”

“The ball is in Swissport’s court.” said Tchir, “We’re prepared to work with a federal mediator to come a fair agreement, but we’re also prepared to take strike action if a last-minute deal isn’t reached this week.”

There are approximately 50 members of PSAC-UCTE Local 20221 working at Swissport Canada, refueling aircraft and providing associated services at YVR. They have been without a contract since October 2021.

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I like their new interiors.  Finnair's New Business Class Cabin Will Bring Nordic Coziness to the Sky

n Thursday, Helsinki-based airline Finnair unveiled totally revamped premium cabins on its long-haul planes, just as more U.S. travelers are beginning to book longer flights to Europe and points beyond.

The new premium offerings include the launch of a brand new premium economy cabin and a completely refurbished business class product. Both refreshed cabins will celebrate Finnish design, enveloping fliers in the streamlined but cozy atmosphere the country is known for, as well as offering an in-flight menu of Nordic cuisine. “Of course what makes this all very special is the unique design language, which is very much inspired by our Nordic roots," says Tiina Tissari, Finnair's VP of customer experience and products. “So comforting dark tones in business class, including design collaborations with the most famous Finnish design houses.” 


As part of those collaborations, passengers in both business and premium economy can expect custom tableware from Iittala designed by Harri Koskinen, as well as pillows and blankets by Marimekko. The premium cabins will also be outfitted with mood lighting inspired by the aurora borealis, as a “sneak peak to Finland,” Tissari says. 

The plush new cabins will begin rolling out this spring across Finnair's fleet of Airbus A330 and A350 jets, which operate its long-haul routes. And even economy class is set to get a refresh on the long-range planes, with more ergonomic seats and larger 12-inch entertainment screens. Here's what else fliers can expect from the new cabins.

A business class as comfortable as lounging at home

The core of the revamped Finnair business class is the seat: an innovative lie-flat with seat backs that are a fixed contoured shell that enable passengers to comfortable sit at a range of different angles. The goal for the new seat was to “create more of a residential environment, emulating the comfort you would expect at home," David Kondo, who oversaw the cabin design on Finnair's customer experience team, said in a statement.


When in lie-flat mode, the shell of the seat creates a “cocoon like” divider for privacy, according to the airline's description, while the divider between central seats can be lowered for passengers traveling with a companion. A Marimekko pillow and duvet, as well as a mattress pad, will help to convert the seat into a full-fledged bed. "It's more like a piece of lounge furniture where a customer has very high flexibility to enjoy travel in various different positions,” Tissari says. Each seat also has a customizable lamp, a do not disturb light, plenty of personal storage cubbies, power outlets with USB-A/USB-C/PC ports, and wireless charging for mobile devices.

The Iittala tableware will be available in business and premium economy, and includes plates, bowls, cups, tumblers, wine glasses, and cutlery.
© Aleksi Tikkala/FinnairThe Iittala tableware will be available in business and premium economy, and includes plates, bowls, cups, tumblers, wine glasses, and cutlery.

Also getting a refresh? In-flight dining, which in business class will now be a “premium bistro experience,” Tissari says. The new menu will include up to six courses: a small amuse-bouche, two cold starter dishes, a choice of mains with side dishes, a cheese course, and dessert. Each course will have multiple dishes for guests to choose from. “There will be a lot of Nordic inspiration in the dishes, combined with some international twists, especially from Japan,” Tissari says.

Finnair business class fliers will also have access to a new refreshment area toward the front of the plane, where they can find drinks, cocktails, and small snacks in between meals—all served on the same tableware as dinner service. Our recommendation: order a glass of champagne, which will be poured into a special vintage Iittala flute, first used on Finnair's New York routes in 1969.   

The new premium economy seats offer 50 percent more room than coach.
© FinnairThe new premium economy seats offer 50 percent more room than coach.

A secluded premium economy cabin

With the launch of Finnair's premium economy cabin, fliers can expect 50 percent more room than the airline's coach seats. That includes a deep eight-inch recline, 38-inch pitch, full “waterfall" leg rest—all topped with memory foam cushions. Each spot will also be outfitted with six-way headrests, a 13-inch entertainment screen, and power outlets (with PC and USB-A ports). 

Additionally, the brand new class will be set in its own cabin, away from regular economy, with just 26 seats, lending the area a calm and secluded atmosphere. Other perks include a three-course meal—served on the Iittala dishes—as well as a Marimekko neck pillow and woven blanket. 

Premium economy fliers will be given a Marimekko neck pillow and blanket.
© Aleksi Tikkala/FinnairPremium economy fliers will be given a Marimekko neck pillow and blanket.

Launching the new cabins was “very much motivated by the longer term trend of demand for more premium leisure travel, which has been even accelerated during the pandemic,” Tissari says. It will be “a great way to welcome customers back on board who probably haven't been traveling—especially long-haul.”

Overall, the airline is aiming to bring a taste of Nordic culture to the sky. “[We want to] offer our customers a piece of Finland already during their flight,” says Tissari. "We want to show our colors as being truly Nordic and maybe set ourselves apart from the traditional luxury, which tends to be ‘more-is-more.’ We are bringing a kind of simplistic premium-ness to our customers."


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SpaceX just lost 40 satellites to a geomagnetic storm. There could be worse to come.

Increasing solar activity could play havoc with mega-constellations like Starlink in the coming years.


Thu Feb 10, 2022 - MIT Technology Review
By Jonathan O'Callaghan

On February 4, a geomagnetic storm caused by the sun knocked up to 40 new SpaceX Starlink satellites out of orbit. Now experts are worried about whether mega-constellations planned by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and others will be resilient to such events in the future.

SpaceX had launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday, February 3. This was SpaceX’s 38th Starlink launch; in all, the company has launched more than 1,900 of the car-size satellites, and eventually it wants to have up to 42,000 of them in low Earth orbit to deliver the internet to all corners of the globe.

The day after the launch, however, disaster struck. An eruption of plasma from the sun sent charged particles streaming into Earth’s atmosphere, sending the planet’s magnetic field haywire and increasing the density of its atmosphere. That increase in density meant there were more particles to push against satellites in Earth’s orbit. This phenomenon, known as atmospheric drag, can pull them out of their orbital paths.  

As a result of the storm, as many as 40 of the new satellites “will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere,” SpaceX said in a statement, describing it as a “unique situation.” These satellites were vulnerable because they are launched into a low orbit, between 210 and 240 kilometers, where the atmosphere is denser, making the effects of the storm worse. The satellites are meant to use onboard ion thrusters to slowly raise their orbits to 550 kilometers over several weeks. Those already in these higher orbits were less affected because the atmosphere is much thinner at that altitude, so drag is reduced.

SpaceX noted that the satellites were designed to completely burn up in the atmosphere, “meaning no orbital debris is created and no satellite parts hit the ground.” A handful of the satellites have already reentered, and the rest are expected to do so within a week. But the financial cost of the botched launch is estimated to be between $50 million and $100 million.

And the event has raised some important questions about the planned rollout and future of mega-constellations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had warned of the possibility of a geomagnetic storm days before the launch, yet SpaceX decided to go ahead anyway. Experts are not sure why. “It is a bit weird,” says Marco Langbroek, an astronomer at Leiden University. “Maybe they did not expect the effects to be this large.” 

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Virgin Galactic Opening Space Ticket Sales To The Public


Starting tomorrow, you can purchase a ticket to space on Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity for $450,000.


Say what you want about billionaires racing each other into space (although that is a bit of a relative term). Still, the fact that a journey beyond the atmosphere will soon be available to the (well-paying) public is indeed quite remarkable. 'Aerospace and space travel company' Virgin Galactic announced today it would commence ticket sales on Wednesday, February 16th.

This, the Richard Branson founded enterprise said, would provide the general public (also a very relative term) an opportunity to purchase one of the initial spaceflight reservations and 'secure membership in the unique community of Future Astronauts'. Tickets will cost $450,000. Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement on Tuesday,

"At Virgin Galactic, we believe that space is transformational. We plan to have our first 1,000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year, providing an incredibly strong foundation as we begin regular operations and scale our fleet.”

Launching from Spaceport America after training days

The spaceflight itself will last for 90 minutes. Virgin Galactic says it will include a 'signature air launch' and a Mach-3 boost into space. The flight will offer moments of weightlessness as the spaceship turns around to provide customers with views of the earth through all of the 17 windows on VSS Unity.

It will launch from Spaceport America in the Jornada del Muerto desert in New Mexico, following several days of training for the would-be spacefarers. The astronaut-specific training program comes with 'world-class amenities', and customers will be allowed to bring guests - space camp for the rich and famous.

As previously mentioned, the cost of joining Virgin Galactic's 'future astronaut' club is close to half a million dollars. A deposit of $150,000 is required to reserve a spot, and anyone willing to front the money can go to the company's website to begin the application process.

Virgin Galactic says nothing about counterindications for space travel on its website, nor is it mentioned during the initial declaration of interest, but most likely, this is part of a more extensive screening process once the company has made sure you are not just a kid playing around (or a nosy reporter) wasting its time for fun.


New logo to celebrate the launch of commercial operations

Along with the launch of the ticket sales, Virgin Galactic has updated its company logo. The new 'brand identity' features the spaceship VSS Unity. Blair Rich, President and Chief Business Officer, Commercial and Consumer Operations, said the company had developed an effective sales process to support the growth of its commercial business. Furthermore, she added,

"A global, commercial spaceline demands an iconic and timeless brand. It is important that our brand represents our dynamic customer offering, and speaks to our unique experience, style and service.”

How much would you be willing to pay for a one-and-a-half-hour journey into space? Would you like to go? Do you think we will see more companies launching commercial space tours? Leave a comment below and join the new space race conversation.

Link to story and pictures. Virgin Galactic Opening Space Ticket Sales To The Public (simpleflying.com)

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Airbus CEO: The A220 Is Still Gaining Altitude


The manufacturer isn't ready to launch an A220-500 stretch just yet.

Photo: Sylvain Ramadier - Airbus

Airbus' CEO revealed that the A220 program is still gaining altitude, and the goal remains for the program to break even in the middle of the decade. While he acknowledged that the European manufacturer was still eyeing an A220-500 stretch, Guillaume Faury could not add any clarity on when Airbus may officially launch the aircraft.

The Airbus A220 is rapidly growing in popularity, with over 700 orders for the narrowbody jet now sitting on the manufacturer's order books. Airlines and the manufacturer have expressed interest in an A220-500, and while it's almost certainly coming at this point, when is anybody's guess. 

Here is the link to the complete article.  It is quite comprehensive

Airbus CEO: The A220 Is Still Gaining Altitude (simpleflying.com)

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Boeing got the US to slap a huge Tariff on the C Series which effectively killed the plane for Bombardier.  Airbus took it the plane over and rebranded it as the A220 and skirted the tariff by building US destined planes in the US (Alabama). 

Airbus now want to increase production to 14 aircraft a month with 10 of those being in Montreal.  That means 4/month for the Alabama plant but aircraft plants aren't cost effective building only 4 a/c per month.  

Something has to give.  Airbus is either going to have to give up on the US market for the A-220 or the plant in Alabama is going to get the Montreal airframes as well.  

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1 hour ago, Specs said:

Something has to give.  Airbus is either going to have to give up on the US market for the A-220 or the plant in Alabama is going to get the Montreal airframes as well.  

Not sure about that, the capacity built for A220 production in the Alabama plant is only for four aircraft per month. There is an adjacent line producing seven A320 series airframes per month. With full order books for both types, it wouldn't appear Alabama would have the capacity to poach production from Montreal.

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19 hours ago, Specs said:

This is just one royally messed up company.  I hadn't realized how far things had deteriorated until somebody pointed out the following.

FAA needs 'systemic fix' to Boeing 787 Dreamliner production issues | Reuters


BTW - DOWNFALL was just released on Netflix. 

Watched DOWNFALL last night.  Good Documentary on the MAX issue.


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2 hours ago, boestar said:

Watched DOWNFALL last night.  Good Documentary on the MAX issue.



I thought it was a puff piece.  So much left unsaid and they didn't say anything on the FAA's failings. 


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Canada finalizing plans for its version of U.S. Space Force


Thu Feb 24, 2022 - The Logic


“There’s nothing about flying an aircraft or learning operations in the air that provides any special expertise for working in space.”

The Canadian Forces are finalizing plans for a Canadian version of the U.S. Space Force, converting a directorate-general in the Royal Canadian Air Force into a full military unit. “Recognition of the increasingly critical importance of space in all of the military’s operations is driving the slow but steady growth and evolution of the organization,” Maj. Jill Lawrence told The Logic. Converting an administrative and support unit into an operational one “will be an important step forward in protecting Canadian interests in space.” Planning for the change is well along and approvals are underway, she wrote in an email. “The size of the division would initially remain unchanged from our current structure for DG Space, which is approximately 150 civilian and military positions,” she wrote. “However, the vision is to eventually grow the organization to approximately 250 personnel over the next five to six years.”

The U.S. Space Force was a pet cause of former president Donald Trump, and at first even the Pentagon opposed it. Some of the people behind the American version of “The Office” made it the premise of a workplace comedy. But the force became a distinct branch of the U.S. military, akin to the Marine Corps, in 2019, and President Joe Biden has kept it. This week, six of the U.S.’s close allies, including Canada, released a pact promising to follow the American lead. Among several shared “lines of effort” meant to keep outer space safe, they agreed to “professionalize space cadres and training to energize shared, common understanding of the space domain, share best practices and increase our collective expertise.”

Canada’s involvement in military space operations dates to the 1950s, when it formed the North American Air Defense Command with the U.S. to prepare for the possibility of Soviet attack, pointed out Charity Weeden, a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and an air-force veteran. She did a stint at NORAD and as an attaché in Washington, D.C., where she helped lay groundwork for the space-cooperation agreement. Canada launched its first military satellite in 2013, to track orbiting debris, and that’s when the Forces’ interest in space accelerated, she said in an interview. “Where once the United States focused on national-security space alone, perhaps with Canadian contributions through NORAD, it’s now grown to a combined space-operations concept where these seven players have a single vision and are contributing and synchronizing efforts. That is huge,” Weeden said in an interview from Washington, where she now works in the civilian space industry.

One of the allies in the space pact, the United Kingdom, formed a “space command” in April 2021. Housed at a Royal Air Force base and currently commanded by an air force officer, it’s a joint command—made up of elements from the air force, army and navy. Lawrence said the Canadian “Space Division” would remain under the commander of the RCAF. That’s roughly what the French did, though they renamed their air force to the “Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace,” emphasizing the importance of its space component.

Matthew Overton, who spent 39 years in the Canadian army and is a former executive director of the Conference of Defence Associations, said in an interview that it’s past time for Canada to give space operations their due. Space operations do more than support action on land and sea and in the air, he said, and definitely demand a unit that can do, not just think and plan. Interfering with or destroying opposing states’ GPS, surveillance and communications satellites is an obvious military tactic, Overton said—like the U.S., Russia and China have practised shooting out satellites already—and being able to defend Canada’s presence in space is an equally obvious necessity. “It doesn’t have to be what we call the traditional view of fighting, to conduct operations,” he said. In Overton’s view, though, Canada’s military capacity in space shouldn’t be under the air force’s supervision. Mixing space expertise with pilot training and air-base management doesn’t make obvious sense, he said, any more than it’s wise to build an elite cyberwarfare unit by first making recruits go through basic army training. “Electronic warfare or electronic operations were seen as being supportive of the physical realm of operations in land, sea and air. [Cyberwarfare] has pushed that discussion, which was always there, further along towards the idea that it is actually a separate domain of operations like operating on land or operating at sea. And space is exactly the same way. It is not like operating in any of the other domains,” he said. “There’s nothing about flying an aircraft or learning operations in the air that provides any special expertise for working in space.” There will be bureaucratic fights over whether and how to transfer space-oriented assets from the army and navy to the revamped air force unit, not to mention the personnel, he said.

“I just don’t think Canada or the Canadian Forces is big enough, personnel-wise or budget-wise, to have its own separate space force, as the U.S. has,” said Weeden. It also doesn’t procure military goods in the same way; part of the reason for separating the American space force from the air force was to protect its budget from bureaucratic processes Canada doesn’t have, she said. Also, the administrative space unit currently in the RCAF used to answer directly to the vice-chief of the defence staff, she said. “You would pull in from other services; you would have plenty of army, navy, air force officers that would be interested in space,” she said. The trouble was that to get promoted in their own branches, they’d have to leave. “So it was essentially a dead end for one’s career to go into the space element.” Within the air force, she said, the space unit can at least be part of a path to higher command. On the flip side, given the Forces’ shortage of soldiers, sailors and aviators already, even finding 100 more people for the unit could be difficult—especially if they’re all to come from the air force. Nevertheless, it’s a capability Canada needs, she said. “I think it’s good to be able to move with the changes that are happening in space and recognize those changes and those threats and be able to be prepared,” Weeden said. “Whether it’s in operational capability or your own cadre—getting them prepared [and] getting the right level of cadre in place to be able to protect and defend Canada and her allies.”

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Russian invasion of Ukraine and resulting US sanctions threaten future of ISS
by Wendy Whitman Cobb | Professor Strategy and Security Studies - SAASS
Maxwell AFB AL (The Conversation) Feb 25, 2022

illustration only

New U.S. sanctions on Russia will encompass Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, according to a speech U.S. President Joe Biden gave on Feb. 24, 2022.

In response to these sanctions, the head of Roscosmos on the same day posted a tweet saying, among other things, "If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe?"

The International Space Station has often stayed above the fray of geopolitics. That position is under threat.

Built and run by the U.S., Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada, the ISS has shown how countries can cooperate on major projects in space. The station has been continuously occupied for over 20 years and has hosted more than 250 people from 19 countries.

As a space policy expert, the ISS represents, to me, a high point of cooperation in space exploration. But for the current crew of two Russians, four Americans and one German, things may be getting worrisome as tensions rise between the U.S. and Russia.

Several agreements and systems are in place to make sure that the space station can function smoothly while being run by five different space agencies. As of Feb. 24, there were no announcements of unusual actions aboard the station despite the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. But the Russian government has brought the ISS into geopolitics before and is doing so again.

Managing the ISS
What came to be known as the International Space Station was first conceived on NASA drawing boards in the early 1980s. As costs rose past initial estimates, NASA officials invited international partners from the European Space Agency, Canada and Japan to join the project.

When the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the Russian space program found itself in dire straits, suffering from lack of funding and an exodus of engineers and program officials. To take advantage of Russian expertise in space stations and foster post-Cold War cooperation, the NASA administrator at the time, Dan Goldin, convinced the Clinton administration to bring Russia into the program that was rechristened the International Space Station.

By 1998, just prior to the launch of the first modules, Russia, the U.S. and the other international partners of the ISS entered into memorandums of understanding that spelled out how major decisions would be made and what kind of control each nation would have over various parts of the station.

The body that governs the operation of the space station is the Multilateral Coordination Board. This board has representatives from each of the space agencies involved in the ISS and is chaired by the U.S. The board operates by consensus in making decisions on things like a code of conduct for ISS crews.

Even among international partners who want to work together, consensus is not always possible. If this happens, either the chair of the board can make decisions on how to move forward or the issue can be elevated to the NASA administrator and the head of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

Territories in space
While the overall operations of the station are run by the Multilateral Coordination Board, things are more complicated when it comes to the modules themselves.

The International Space Station is made of 16 different segments constructed by different countries, including the U.S., Russia, Japan, Italy and the European Space Agency. Under the ISS agreements, each country maintains control over how its modules are used. This includes the Russian Zarya, which provides electricity and propulsion to the station, and Zvezda, which provides all of the station's life support systems like oxygen production and water recycling.

The result is that ISS modules are treated legally as if they are territorial extensions of their countries of origin. While all crew onboard can theoretically be in and use any of the modules, how they are used must be approved by each country.

International tensions and the ISS
While the ISS has functioned under this structure remarkably well since its launch more than 20 years ago, there have been some disputes.

When Russian forces annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions on Russia. As a result, Russian officials announced that they would no longer launch U.S. astronauts to and from the space station beginning in 2020. Since NASA had retired the space shuttle in 2011, the U.S. was entirely dependent on Russian rockets to get astronauts to and from the ISS, and this threat could have meant the end of the American presence aboard the space station entirely.

While Russia did not follow through on its threat and continued to transport U.S. astronauts, the threat needed to be taken seriously. The situation today is quite different. The U.S. has been relying on private SpaceX rockets to transport astronauts to and from the ISS. This makes potential Russian threats to launch access less meaningful.

But the invasion of Ukraine does seem to have upped the intensity of geopolitical maneuvering involving the ISS.

The new U.S. sanctions are designed to "degrade their aerospace industry, including their space program." The tweet in response from Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, "explained" that Russian modules are key to moving the station when it needs to dodge space junk or adjust its orbit. He went on to say that Russia could either refuse to move the station when needed or even crash it into the U.S., Europe, India or China.

Though dramatic, this is likely an idle threat due to both political consequences and the practical difficulty of getting Russian cosmonauts off the ISS safely. But I am concerned about how the invasion will affect the remaining years of the space station.

In December 2021, the U.S. announced its intention to extend operation of ISS operations from its planned end date of 2024 to 2030. Most ISS partners expressed support for the plan, but Russia will also need to agree to keep the ISS operating beyond 2024. Without Russia's support, the station - and all of its scientific and cooperative achievements - may face an early end.

The ISS has served as a prime example for how nations can cooperate with one another in an endeavor that has been relatively free from politics. Increasing tensions, threats and more aggressive Russian actions - including its recent test of anti-satellite weapons - are straining the realities of international cooperation in space going forward.

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Ukraine says the An-225 Mriya, the world's largest cargo aircraft, was destroyed in fighting with Russia

  • Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Sunday that the only An-225 aircraft had been destroyed.
  • The An-225 Mriya held multiple records, including heaviest aircraft ever built and largest cargo plane in operational service.
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55 minutes ago, Kargokings said:

Arrived from anc this morning.


Reading the TC press release

The Government of Canada is prohibiting the operation of Russian-owned, chartered or operated aircraft in Canadian airspace, including in the airspace above Canada’s territorial waters. This airspace closure is effective immediately and will remain until further notice.-

if that's to be taken literally - no Russian plane will be allowed to operate in Cdn airspace so I think that plane is grounded for the duration.

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Well there ya go.  She's a keeper for now

It looks like Russia just lost a plane, and it wasn't even in the warzone they created for themselves overseas. In the latest setback for the eastern nuclear sabre-rattling superpower, it seems an enormous beast of a Russian airplane is stuck in Toronto for the foreseeable future.


Edited by Specs
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