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MIRCE Science Events

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Category: General

1 May 2019: B737 MAX MCAS Met Boeing's Certification Criteria

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg insists that the grounded aircraft was designed and certified to the company's standards, safety analysis criteria and certification criteria. The aircraft's manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) operation during the October 29, 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 accident and March 10, 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents is a focus of both investigations. In each case, a single source of faulty angle-of-attack (AOA) data activated the flight-control law, which provides nose-down inputs in certain flight profiles. In both accidents, the pilots needed the aircraft to climb, but MCAS, triggered by AOA data that said the aircraft's nose was too high, pushed the nose down by moving the horizontal stabilizer. Neither crew was able to override MCAS and maintain altitude, and both aircraft eventually dove to impact, killing all 346 people onboard of both flights. Boeing's safety analysis determined an MCAS failure would be recognised as runaway stabilizer, and the applicable checklist, which includes a step for de-powering the automatic stabilizer trim motor, would be followed. But neither the Lion Air nor Ethiopian crews followed the checklist step-by-step. The Ethiopian crew followed some of the steps, including de-powering automatic trim, but then re-activated it. MCAS's inclusion in the MAX flight control logic was not communicated to pilots until after the Lion Air accident. Boeing assumed the system would stay in the background, and its failure would be quickly recognized as a runaway stabilizer, leading pilots to de-activate the system. However, the two accident sequences suggest this assumption was wrong.

30 April 2019: International Space Station Electrical Issue Delays SpaceX Launch

The planned May 1 launch of a SpaceX cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed due to troubleshoot a problem with the station’s electrical system. The problem poses no immediate concerns to the station or its six-member crew, involves a main bus switching unit (MBSU), which distributes electrical power to two of the station’s eight channels. Electrical power generated by the station’s solar arrays is fed to all station systems through these power channels. One of these units has failed in a manner that cannot be recovered, so it effectively loses one-quarter of the power to space station. It is possible to move loads around and keep payloads operating, but to lose redundancy. Among the systems now lacking backup power are the station’s robot arm and mobile base, which is needed to capture SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship and berth it to docking port. Launch has been tentatively rescheduled for May 3, pending a successful robotic change-out of the failed MBSU, on the May 2. In the past the ISS had two failures of this particular box, one of which was repaired on orbit. This one looks like it’s probably not repairable on orbit as it is lifetime issue.

29 April 2019: Boeing Cost of 737 Max Groundings 1 billion in the First Quarter

The grounding of the 737 Max and Boeing’s subsequent reduction in 737 production from 52 to 42 aircraft per month cost them about $1 billion in the first quarter. Much of that additional cost was due to Boeing’s decision to maintain headcount on the production line and not reduce its orders from certain suppliers. This means that it has the costs of 52 aircraft per month but not the income; Boeing delivered 50 fewer 737s in the first quarter than in the same period in 2018. Storing momentum on the 737 line is seen as crucial to a later recovery. Boeing is unwilling to adjust its 2019 guidance until there is more certainty about when the Max returns to service, but a key part of that recovery will be how quickly it can get aircraft out the door and how quickly customers can accept them. The length of the grounding itself is also crucial and Boeing is trying to synchronise its recertification efforts with different regulatory authorities to ensure as smooth a return to service as possible.

25 April 2019: U.S. Marine Corps Deploying F-35 with 44% Incompatible Spare Parts

The U.S. government watchdog agency report reveals that roughly 44% of spare parts for
the Marine Corps deployed F-35s aboard the Wasp (LHD-1) and Essex (LHD-2) were incompatible relative to total parts in the packages. Examples of incompatible parts include pilot harnesses, masks, breathing hoses, batteries, electrical equipment, antennas, multiple types of valves and panel assemblies. The operator had to alter their plans and deploy older aircraft with less advanced capabilities that matched the parts package instead of the jets that best met their operational requirement. Also, Air Force and Marine Corps officials also said ”the quantity of parts within their parts packages were not fully reflective of the actual demands for certain parts, based on updated information about the reliability of certain parts and how frequently they needed to be replaced.” For example, Marine Corps officials said they were able to identify more than one dozen different parts in one of the afloat spare packages before deployment. The service was provided insufficient quantities because the F-35 joint program office did not account for actual fleet demand in its modelling for the afloat spare package. The F-35 program does not have a process in place for changing out the parts within the afloat and deployment spares packages that are put on contract years before a deployment. Such a process is needed to ensure that the packages reflect the actual configuration of the deploying aircraft or updated demand projections for parts.

23 April 2019: The development of robots for service and repair of U.S. spacecraft more than 22,000 miles above the Earth.

More than 400 U.S. military, government and commercial satellites are circling the globe in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), a celestial path about 22,000 miles above the ground. These high-altitude satellites are ideal for telecommunications, meteorology and certain military applications, but when they break down, it’s nearly impossible to fix something far out in the cosmos. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) believes space-based robots offer the best step forward for inspecting and repairing high-altitude satellites, especially with the number of satellites set to skyrocket due to a budding Space Force and federal agencies and industry ramping up operations in outer space. Thus, DARPA is planning to partner with teams to build both robots that can maintain and upgrade satellites, as well as the spacecraft to move the bots through space. Once deployed, the tech would periodically check in on different satellites and service them as needed.
Because today’s high-altitude satellites are so difficult to repair, they’re often built with numerous backup systems to take over when something malfunctions, which adds weight, cost and complexity. Thus, if robots could perform repairs, satellites would likely become both cheaper and more reliable in the near future.

15 April 2019: Rolls-Royce Reveals Blade Problems in Newest Engine

Durability problems have been affecting a series of Trent 1000 engines for many years. Its newest iteration, the Trent 1000 TEN, was supposed to mark a clean break with mistakes of the past. However, that is no the case, as Rolls-Royce has just announced an accelerated inspection program for high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades on the TEN. It follows an earlier communication to airlines that their HPT blades would not last as long as advertised. This blade deterioration is a known issue to RR but it is occurring faster than they expected in some engines. Rolls-Royce is now testing an enhanced blade that should resolve the issues, although that will not be available to airlines until early 2020. The Trent 1000 TEN engine has been in service since November 2017, and there are currently more than 180 of the engine type in service. According to RR the tests of TEN engines operating at high flight frequencies revealed that “a small number of these engines have needed to have their HPT blades replaced earlier than scheduled”. As part of the accelerated inspection program, an airworthiness directive will be issued by EASA in addition to a Rolls-Royce service bulletin. RR stated that he new inspection regime will not affect its ongoing maintenance programs for the Trent 1000 Package B or Package C engines.

12 April 2019: Rocket breakup provides rare chance to test debris behaviour

The discarded ‘upper stage’ of Atlas V Centaur, nearly cylindrical object, 12.5 metres in length and three metres in diameter, with a mass of more than two tonnes, launched in September 2009 has recently crumbled to pieces, leaving a trail of debris in its wake. Fragmentation events like this one, either break ups or collisions, are the primary source of debris objects in space in the range of a few millimetres to tens of centimetres in size. Travelling at high speeds, these bits of technological trash pose a threat to crucial space infrastructure, such as satellites providing weather and navigation services, and even astronauts on the ISS. The Deimos Sky Survey in Spain captured the stream of newly-made debris objects as they rush across the sky. The remnant piece is clearly visible as the largest and brightest point at the centre of about 40-60 smaller pieces, many larger than 30 cm in size. Given the international code 2009-047B, this rocket remnant had been flying in an eccentric orbit around the Earth  flung as far as 34 700 km from Earth at the most distant point in its orbit and just 6675 km at the closest. For an as-yet-unknown reason, the rocket body fragmented some time between 23 to 25 March.

9 April 2019: Boeing Experiencing Foreign Object Debris Problems with KC-46A

The U.S. Air Force acquisition service put a hold on KC-46 acceptance in late February after a Foreign Object Debris (FOD) were found in unsealed areas of the tanker. This hold has been lifted on 11 March when they approved Boeing’s corrective action plan. However, the service halted delivery of the KC-46A Pegasus a second time on March 23 after additional FOD was discovered on the brand-new tankers at Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility.  Consequently, both Boeing and the Defence Contract Management Agency opened up every sealed area on every aircraft and approved that corrective action plan before the acceptances are resumed. The Boeing company has implemented additional training, more rigorous cleaning practices and FOD awareness days to stress the urgency of the problem.

26 March 2019 Contained Failure of Southwest B737 MAX 8 Leap Engine

About 10 min. after takeoff, the Southwest Flight 8701, that has being ferried B737 MAX 8, to storage from Orlando International Airport to Victorville, Calif., the no. 2 engine experienced a contained failure. The two-person crew returned to Orlando and landed safely. Within hours of the failure, the company analysed the engine's operating history, not just hours and cycles, but detailed performance data, and compared it against data from each of the other 1,560 Leaps engines in service. The engine-maker has targeted a specific subset of Leap-1A engines that power Airbus A320neos and -1B engines found on 737 MAXs based on operational data and recommended that operators inspect the affected powerplants. The issue: carbon build up, or deposits of evaporated fuel and other material, on fuel nozzles that lead to uneven temperature flow regions within the combustion chamber exit plane and hot spots within the high-pressure turbine (HPT). These hot spots can cause premature wear. In the case of the Southwest engine, the wear led to a turbine blade failure. Metallic fragments were found in the tailpipe. CFM is working to understand not only why the Southwest engine failed, but also what is behind the carbon build-up on the fuel nozzles, of which each Leap-1B has 18. Manufacturer continually monitors the fleet and has a method to detect carbon build-up, enabling CFM and their customers to proactively manage the issue. In the case of the engine on Flight 8701, the evidence shown that CFM monitoring analytics and maintenance process needed to be adjusted for our Leap engines. This adjustment has been made and the fleet was assessed within hours, with follow-on actions completed within days. Southwest inspected 12 engines, which has been identified within their fleet and handed that information over to CFM for review.

21 March 2019: Grounded B737 MAX Stretches U.S. Airlines To Cover Routes

Regulators around the world banned 737 MAX operations in the days following the Mar. 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 near Addis Ababa. Southwest Airlines is the carrier facing the largest challenge, as it has the most MAXs, 34, of any U.S., operator, and also the highest percentage of fleet exposure, at 4.5% of its 750-aircraft fleet. The Dallas-based carrier is back-filling around 200 daily departures that its MAX flew prior to FAA’s Mar. 13 order banning the model’s operation indefinitely. The airline, which is adding MAXs for growth and to replace older 737-700s, has been cancelling about 150 flights per day and shuffling the remainder of its fleet to operate the rest. It is modifying its schedule daily, and attempting to give customers at least five days’ notice when flights are cancelled. American Airlines operated 85 departures per day with its 24 MAX 8s. “Our operations centre is working to reroute aircraft throughout the system to cover as much of our schedule as we can. United Airlines operated about 40 daily departures with its 12 MAX 9s. “Through a combination of spare aircraft and rebooking customers, we do not anticipate a significant operational impact.” Public concern over the MAX groundings is affecting carriers that don’t operate the type. “We’ve received many inquiries about the 737-MAX 8 and 737-MAX 9 aircraft,” a note on the Alaska Airlines Fleet web page says. “Alaska Airlines does not currently have these aircraft in our fleet.”

13 March 2019: Citing New Data And Physical Evidence USA Grounds B737MAXs

Three days of groundings by regulators across the world, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), relying on refined satellite tracking data and new physical evidence that more closely links two crashes of Boeing 737 MAX 8s, grounded Boeing's newest narrowbody, with immediate effect. The move ends three days of cascading groundings after the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302) accident, and leaves the world's MAX fleet grounded. The FAA is the safety authority for emergency airworthiness directives and orders found some similarities between the ET302 and [October 2018 Lion Air Flight TJ610] accidents that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause for the two incidents that needs to be better understood and addressed. In a statement, Boeing said it has full confidence in the MAX, but concurred with the FAA decision.

10 March 2019: Ethiopian B737 Max Crashed After Takeoff

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-8 Max that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa operating as flight ET302 to Nairobi, departed Bole International Airport at 08.38 a.m. local time with 149 passengers and eight crew members onboard. Radar contact was lost at 08.44 a.m. In mean time the crew issued a distress call and requested a return to Addis Ababa shortly before contact was lost. Flightradar24 data indicates the aircraft operated what appears to be a routine climb and acceleration for the first minute of its flight. The aircraft then levelled off at around 8,150 ft. before descending slightly reaching a speed of close to 400 knots. Flightradar24 reports significant variation in vertical speed, although that data may be unreliable. The aircraft, ET-AVJ, arrived in Addis Ababa from Johannesburg at about 05:30am March 10 after completing a routine scheduled flight, its third five-hour segment between the two cities within 24 hours. According to the airline the aircraft's records show no "technical remarks" following the last Johannesburg-Addis Ababa leg, and nothing was noted during its roughly three hours on the ground before its final departure. The brand new acquired aircraft had its first “rigorous” maintenance check on Feb. 4.  Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebre Mariam said "From the records that we have, it was a clean airplane "The routine maintenance checks didn't reveal any problems. I confirmed that it was a clean airplane." Flight ET302's captain,  had “more than” 8,000 flight hours, and became a 737 captain in November 2017.  He joined Ethiopian in July 2010.  First officer 200 fight hours, the airline said. The aircraft involved was the airline's fourth 737-8 and was handed over on Nov. 15, 2018. The aircraft has been in service since Nov. 17, when it made its first revenue flight to Dubai. Flight ET302 was its first planned March 10 departure. The accident is the second of a 737-8 in just over four months. The first 737-8 accident took place on Oct. 29, 2018 near Jakarta, Indonesia. The aircraft, registered PK-LQP, had been delivered to Lion Air two months before the crash. All 189 people on board were killed when the aircraft impacted with the sea around 13 minutes after take-off. The Lion Air aircraft had a history of unreliable speed data input over the previous days but was retained in scheduled service after it had been cleared for operations by the airline’s maintenance division. The investigation is ongoing. One of the aspects being looked at is the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) Boeing introduced on the MAX.

8 March 2019: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Departs ISS and returns to Earth

The spacecraft launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida March 2, docking with the station 27 hours later after a problem-free approach. The station’s crew spent several days monitoring the spacecraft while docked to the station before closing hatches between the station and spacecraft March 7. Fifty years after humans landed on the moon for the first time, America has driven a golden spike on the trail to new space exploration feats, NASA astronaut Anne McClain said from the ISS “It won’t be long before our astronaut colleagues are aboard Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner vehicles, and we can’t wait.” SpaceX’s Crew Dragon departed from the International Space Station early March 8, splashing down to mark the end of a successful test flight for the commercial crew program. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, flying a mission designated Demo-1, undocked from the station’s Harmony module at 2:32 a.m. Eastern. It quickly moved away from the station as in preparation for its return to Earth. The spacecraft fired its thrusters at 7:53 a.m. Eastern for a 15-minute re-entry burn, which went as planned, with the spacecraft first deploying two drogue parachutes followed by its four main ones. The spacecraft splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean at 8:45 a.m. Eastern within sight of SpaceX recovery ships.

6 March 2019: Grounded Aircraft Costing Southwest Airlines Millions Weekly

Southwest Airlines is loosing millions of dollars each week caused by schedule interruptions due to unavailable aircraft.  CEO Gary Kelly said at a J.P. Morgan investors conference, “ The damage to the company runs in the millions of dollars weekly in lost revenue due to cancelled flights and millions of dollars weekly in terms of additional costs caused by delays and cancellations." The schedule interruptions started at te beginning of February when Southwest's daily out-of-service aircraft count jumped from its normal range of 15-20 to more than 60. The airline management blames on deliberate efforts by its mechanics to disrupt the carrier. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association-represented mechanics say un-airworthy aircraft are the problem. The two sides are locked in contentious contract talks. The unavailable aircraft are forcing Southwest to cancel hundreds and delay thousands of flights each week. It operates about 4,000 departures on its peak days. It has said its schedule can absorb about 35 downed aircraft in a day before cancellations and delays kick in.

5 March 2019: Donecle Drones For Aircraft Inspections

Toulouse-based company’s interest in drones for aircraft inspections and tests began several years ago, but getting the technology and all the surrounding procedures exactly right has taken time. Donecle drones are designed to primarily be used for general visual inspections of aircraft exteriors, typically conducted inside maintenance hangars during routine A to C checks or overnight inspections. They wish to expand this scope to unscheduled maintenance tasks such as post-lightning and hail damage inspections done outside hangars on the ramp. Donecle sees three main advantages to his approach, namely 1. The speed, a drone inspection of a typical narrow-body takes under an hour, compared with five to six hours for a manual inspection. Also, a drone can cover multiple applications, like paint inspections and regulatory marking checks, with a single set of images instead of multiple job cards and inspectors as with manual methods. 2. Drones can access aircraft upper surfaces for visual checks easily, without docks, cherry-pickers and other equipment to inspect fuselage crowns or tail planes. Drones reduce inspector workload by automating image analysis, and inspectors can automatically detect, annotate and reposition damages and missing on inspection reports. 3. Drone inspections yield a complete snapshot of the aircraft at a specific moment in time, upload snapshot and data to the cloud and thus enable operators, lessor and MROs to archive results from one inspection to another.
As drones must be stable enough to yield precise images, Donecle developed laser positioning with onboard sensors ‘seeing’ the environment and positioning the drone relative to the aircraft with accuracy down to centimetres. This in turn yields several benefits: full drone automation with no separate pilot; highly repeatable inspections; and precisely positioned images. Regarding safety, Donecle builds in hardware redundancy, software fail-safes and obstacle detection. In summary Donecle offers an integrated package combining drone, automated navigation, image analysis and aggregated data on a secure cloud platform.

3 March 2019: SpaceX Capsule with Dummy Aboard Reaches ISS For Test Run

SpaceX, designed, built, owned and operated new vehicle, Dragon 2, with financial backing, technical expertise and oversight provided by NASA. It was launched without crew for a six-day orbital flight test at 2:49 a.m. EST on March 2 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. It approach the orbiting International Space Station (ISS)  nearly 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean and, flying autonomously, linked up on its own, without the help of the robotic arm normally used to guide spacecraft into position. The first in a series of next-generation spacecraft docked to the ISS is a key milestone in NASA’s eight-year quest to restore U.S. human transportation services to low Earth orbit

2 March 2019: 50th Anniversary of the first flight of Concorde

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Anglo-French Concorde, the world’s first and, so far only, supersonic civil airliner to see prolonged service.
Sunday, March 2, 1969 was an emotional day for thousands of people who had contributed to the most ambitious technological project in Europe's aviation history. The flight had had to be postponed the previous day because of heavy mist. As soon as the Sun came out loudspeakers informed the waiting crowd that Concorde's crew were aboard and pre-flight checks in progress. One by one, the four Olympus engines came to life. Fire tenders and rescue vehicles moved into position. Special trucks, fitted with raucous klaxons, raced up and down the runway, scaring away great flocks of birds. The engines rumbled on and then came a crescendo of sound, and, brakes released. The white aircraft on its tall undercarriage started to move along the runway, slowly at first but gathering speed and the nose lifted followed by the rest of the slender fuselage. She climbed into the blue sky, followed by her attendant Mirage.. She dwindled to a white spot and then was gone. After a while, she came into view and for the first time, the world has seen her characteristic "sea-bird" swoop in to land. A puff of smoke confirmed that the main bogies were in contact with the runway, the nose-wheel came down, reverse thrust was engaged and the tail parachute broke from its housing to balloon out behind the aircraft. Concorde 001 taxied to a halt in front of the airport building and passenger stairs were run into position. It was a short flight, only 40 minutes, but it gave Andre Turcat and his crew a foretaste of what flying a Concorde would be like. The rest is very rich and globally memorable history that finished with very last flight to Filton, Bristol, England in November 2006.

1 March 2019: Rolls-Royce Resolving Trent 1000 Issues

Currently 31 Boeing 787 aircraft are on the ground at airports around the world, as rolls-Royce is undertaking an extensive retrofit program for both the Trent 1000 Package C and B engines for the 787-8 and -9 and the Trent 1000TEN powering the 787-10. The issues have forced airlines to readjust their timetables or bring in additional capacity to maintain their flight schedules. The Trent 1000 situation was very unusual in having multiple issues in one engine. The episode looks set to cost the company at least £1.5 billion between 2017 and 2022, with £431 million spent in 2018 and £450 million envisaged during 2019. RR is hopeful that the number of Trent 1000-powered Boeing 787s could drop to single figures by the end of 2019.

27 February 2019: Lost Missions of F-35 due to Bad Data in Logistics System

The Lockheed Martin-made Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) was “designed to bring efficiency to maintenance and flight operations, but it does not yet perform as intended,” according to the director of operational test and evaluation. In effect, these problems cause the military to ground aircraft that are erroneously described as not mission capable, slow down a squadron’s ability to start flying after being deployed, and create a bigger workload for maintainers. The main deficiencies fall under three categories: 1. A a high number of workarounds needed to use the ALIS system to do mission planning, repairs and supply chain management for the F-35. Functions that should be automatic often require manual input by the maintainer, 2. the data provided by ALIS is often incomplete or flat-out incorrect. The reasons for this are varied —contractors do not rely on the system for their own use, and thus do not always input information correctly or in a standardized way. Even the system’s own manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, did not start using ALIS on the F-35′s production floor to track new aircraft until March 2018 and 3. A poor user experience regarding fixings of a more complicated datasets, such as the technical information that follows a complex piece of machinery like the F-35’s ejection seat, eats up a lot of time. But more importantly, these problems result in missed sorties, with the Air Force naming this problem one of its top five drivers of non-mission capable rates.

22 February 2019: Deviations from Standard Operation Procedure Caused Damage to Embraer Business Jet

A chartered, Belgium-registered, Embraer EMB-500 departed from Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport (EBKT), Belgium, at 0738 hr. on an IFR flight plan to Berlin-Schonefeld Airport (EDDB) with three people on board: the pilot in command (PIC), the co-pilot and one passenger. The aircraft was severely damaged when it stalled during the flare phase of a final approach to Runway 07L at EDDB, impacted the ground and came to a stop at the right edge of the runway. The two pilots and the passenger were uninjured, but the accident brought attention EMB-500’s deice system and pilot training. The causes of the accident, according to German air safety investigators, were , “The crew conducted the approach under known icing conditions and did not activate the wing and horizontal stabilizer deice system, which was contrary to the Standard Operating Procedures . The aircraft entered an abnormal flight attitude during the flare phase and crashed die to ice accretion on wings and horizontal stabilizer and infringement of the required approach speed.” A major contributing factor was the crew’s “insufficient knowledge of the connection between the ice protection system and the stall warning protection system (SWPS).” The pilots stated later that the left wing had suddenly dropped and touched the runway during the flare as the aircraft crossed the threshold. Subsequently, the airplane rolled right, the right main landing gear hit hard and collapsed, and the aircraft slid along the runway toward the right runway edge where it came to a stop 447 meters from the threshold beyond the right runway edge marking but still on the asphalt area. There was no fire. The occupants evacuated safely without injury, but the aircraft was substantially damaged.

20 February 2019: Robot to Test Cockpit Controls by Lufthansa Technik

Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has developed a robotic procedure for more consistent, reliable testing of cockpit controls. According to LHT, the fully-automated procedure named RoCCET (Robot Controlled Cockpit Electronics Testing). It is expected that it could greatly reduce the time it takes employees to manually check cockpit switches and LEDs. The robot features integrated sensors to measure the forces that occur when switches are activated, and it is equipped with several industrial cameras to look for damage and measure brightness from various angles. RoCCET can be used to test for a variety of conditions, such as worn out instrument switches or LED lights that may be too dark for flight operations. According to LHT, human perception of these factors can differ, so robotic testing can make the procedure more consistent and reliable. When completed, the fully automated procedure will allow LHT to ease the burden on maintainers in the workshops and reduce the testing effort by one to two hours per component. At the same time, the new procedure provides concrete measurement data in accordance with uniform standards. Currently, LTH has physical threshold values for the brightness of LEDs, but in the future a robot will determine exactly when an LED has to be replaced. RoCCET is currently in the integration phase and will initially be used for cockpit controls on Boeing 787 and Airbus A320 and A350 aircraft..

18 February 2019: New Ear Cup For US Air Force Pilot Helmets To Help Counter Hypoxia

As part of an expanding effort to prevent hypoxia and other related dangers in military aircraft cockpits a device invented in 2016 to help protect fire-fighters from asphyxia is about to be planted in the ear cups of helmets worn by some U.S. Air Force pilots . A real-time picture of a pilot’s physiological status is the last piece of missing data needed to develop a comprehensive solution to the rash of hypoxia-like symptoms that has plagued multiple combat and trainer aircraft fleets for nearly a decade. The Air Force and Navy have instrumented all of the other aircraft components that pressurize the cockpit and supply breathing gas to pilots, including the engine, onboard oxygen gas-generating system and environmental control system. The data gleaned from those instruments already have led to critical improvements, such as straightening a 90-deg. pipe in Navy T-6 cockpits that choked the oxygen supply during certain manoeuvres with the engine at idle speed. However, Air Force and Navy officials hope to move beyond simple mechanical fixes. They envision a future life-support system that processes data extracted from sensors monitoring both the aircraft’s systems and the human’s physiology to make subtle adjustments, ensuring the pilot always remains alert even if a particular mechanical component is not working properly. The ultimate goal is to have an almost autonomous life-support system.  Such an autonomous system would use software decision-making algorithms informed by scores of sensors monitoring the machines and humans, including some woven into the pilot’s garments. These kinds of sensors would be talking to the jet and either warning the pilot in real time or increasing their oxygen supply. 

31 January 2019: Original F-35Bs May Only Be Able To Fly Around A Quarter Of Their Expected Service Life

The Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) reported the new details about the life expectancy of early block F-35Bs, which may be as low as 2,100 flight hours, after acquiring the most recent annual review of the program. This office publicly releases reports every year on how various significant military programs are proceeding in testing, often compiling data together with information from previous years.  A new Pentagon report is warning that the U.S. Marine Corps' oldest F-35B Joint Strike Fighters may remain airworthy for just over a quarter of the aircraft's expected lifespan due to serious structural problems. This could force the service to begin grounding jets, or retiring them permanently, as early as 2026. It also remains unclear whether subsequent improvements to the aircraft's design on later models have significantly increased the durability of later production aircraft. The appalling low durability of early F-35Bs is also something that DOT&E reports have highlighted in the past, but this is the first time there has been any concrete information on how bad the problem actually is. All three F-35 models are supposed to have a life expectancy of 8,000 flight hours. This can only reignite concerns about the F-35B's basic design going back more than a decade now. In 2004, Lockheed Martin tasked a group of engineers, known as STOVL (Short Take Off/Vertical Landing) Weight Attack Team, or SWAT, with shaving pounds off the B model. This variant is still heavier than the F-35A due to the added weight of the lift fan, articulating exhaust, and other features necessary for its short- and vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. Those same features also reduce the size of its internal weapons bays compared to its cousins and give it a lower G rating compared to the A model. Lockheed Martin's SWAT cut 2,700 pounds off the F-35B. The changes they made also resulted in 1,300 pounds of weight savings on both the F-35A and C models as part of the herculean effort that effectively saved the Joint Strike Fighter program. Since then, critics had questioned exactly what had to get sacrificed to meet those goals as reports of cracking and other component failures have emerged with the B variant in particular.

31 January 2018: Parts Providers Step Up 777 Teardowns

The Boeing 777 maintenance market will be worth north of $110 billion over the next 10 years, with about a quarter of that spend earmarked for components, according to Aviation Week data. Accordingly, several parts suppliers are stepping up efforts to source 777 material, buying aircraft from carriers that are upgrading their fleets. For example GA Telesis has bought four 777s from Cathay Pacific for disassembly in the US and UK. The first disassembly has already begun and the aftermarket company has committed to take a further five 777s in 2020. It is forecasted that a quarter of 777 of the components salvaged over the next 10 years will be bound for Asia.  At the same time, the Middle East carriers will operate the largest number of 777s by 2027, when it will be home to roughly 800 of the nearly 2,000 777s in service by that year, according to Aviation Week data. However, across all regions engine maintenance will be the most important part of the 777 aftermarket, generating more than a third of overall demand. GE, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney all have engines flying on the 777.

30 January 2019: Shutdown of USA Government Offices Could Mean Lost Accident Evidence Says NTSB 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that the month-long government shutdown prevented from investigating 97 accidents, including 15 aviation accidents that resulted in 21 deaths. Following a temporary opening of the government employees returned to work and are developing plans to address the work halted by the shutdown. During the partial shutdown, 397 agency staff, including 367 employees, were furloughed. Six investigators were recalled and worked without pay to support investigations of three international aviation accidents. Weeks after accidents took place; investigators may not be able to physically visit the crash sites. Consequently, it is possible that perishable evidence may have been lost, which potentially could prevent determination of probable causes.  The furlough also stopped work on 1,815 ongoing general aviation and limited aviation safety investigations, 33 ongoing rail, pipeline and hazardous materials investigations, 44 ongoing marine investigations and 21 ongoing highway investigations.

29 January 2019: Avianca Moves Toward Drone Inspections

Colombia’s Avianca is planning to use Donecle drone and cameras to do some aircraft maintenance inspections. At present, the drone approach has not been approved for by any airframe OEM or regulatory authority for inspections. However, airlines are reviewing the state of art and waiting for the approval of different authorities and aircraft manufacturers. Avianca chose the drone approach in order to save time in inspections and improve inspection quality by being more precise about the location and evaluation of damages. It is expected that inspection by drones should also reduce maintenance costs and facilitate the execution of inspection task cards. Avianca is, like other airlines, undergoing a digital transformation and adopting new technologies. At this moment, he is working with Airbus and Donecle and testing their equipment. Donecle drones are 100% autonomous and require only a single operator, with no pilot. The company estimates that Donecle drones can reduce inspection time from eight hours to 30 minutes. Currently, these are the safest drones on the market with strong protections to prevent damage to aircraft. Laser technology positions the drone precisely, both inside maintenance hangars and outdoors, without any GPS. The Donecle drones are untethered and connected via wireless. Avianca’s next steps, along with getting those OEM and regulatory approvals, are completing the integration of the entire system as a line map, including the structural repair manual for mechanics, the 3D scanner and the drone.

28 January 2019: The Science Behind Calm Emergency Evacuation, Saf-Tglo Blu

A lot of research and science lie behind those luminescent strips passengers now see in many aircraft, aisles, but would only use in an emergency. British company STG Aerospace launched the first blue-glowing photo-luminescent floor-path marking system, saf-Tglo blu. The design was based on human-perception analysis, as in low-level light conditions, our eyes use the more sensitive rod cones in order to see. Rod cones have peak sensitivity in the blue-green region of the visible spectrum. While traditional green-glowing photo-luminescent products fall comfortably within the low-light vision]range, saf-Tglo blu has greater intensity within this responsive region. Thus, it provides a more calming, professional and aesthetically pleasing safety solution. Calming passengres is exactly the quality airlines want in the only circumstance floor markings are used, that is in emergency evacuations. The blue version of saf-Tglo has now been approved by FAA and EASA for the majority of Boeing, Airbus and Embraer aircraft, and has been retrofitted by several major airlines.  Source; www.stgaerospace.com

3 January 2019: China lifts mysterious veil by landing probe on far side of the moon

A Chinese space probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon.  The Chang’e-4 lunar probe, launched in December, made the “soft landing” at 0226 GMT and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of that side of the moon.  As the  moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, the far side  (“dark side”) is never visible  from the earth.  Russian spacecraft have seen the far side, but none has landed on it. This landing opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration, the agency said in a statement on its website, which included a wide-angle colour picture of a crater from the moon’s surface. The probe, which has a lander and a rover, touched down at a targeted area close to the moon’s south pole in the Von Karman Crater, after entering the moon’s orbit in mid-December.  The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain, landform and mineral makeup, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side. The control center in Beijing will decide when to let the rover separate from the lander.

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  • 13 December 2018: Virgin Galactic Unity Blazes Trail To Space
  • 4 December 2018: Qantas A380 Turn-back Highlights Catering Track Damage Ramifications
  • 3 December 2018: Finnish Agency Issues Recommendations for Aircraft Evacuations
  • 29 November 2018: A380 Inflight Shutdown to Chemical Residue
  • 15 November 2018: NTSB Eyes Fan Blades Inlet In Southwest 737 Engine Failure Investigation
  • 12 November 2018: Pilots Unaware of 737 Max’s Automatic Stall Prevention System
  • 12 November 2018: USAF Spreads Blame for Fatal WC130H Crash
  • 7 November 2018: Leonardo Calls For AW169 and AW189 Tail Rotor Inspections
  • 29 October 2018: After 3 Weeks Troubleshooting Hubble Overcomes Gyro Issue
  • 29 October 2018: Boeing 737 MAX-8  with 189 People Crashes off Indonesia
  • 15 October 2018: According to Russian official: ISS Crew has enough Supplies for at least Six Months
  • 11 October 2018: Fuel Tube Defect Grounds F-35 Fleet
  • 11 October 2018: Rocket Failure Forces Emergency Landing for Russian and American Astronauts
  • 28 September 2018: New Digital Platform for Safer Aircraft Fuelling and Prevenstion of Misfuelling
  • 26 September 2018: Delta Airways Investigates Cause of IT Issue that Prompted Ground Stop
  • 24th September 2018: Dust Storms on Titan Spotted for the First Time
  • 22 September 2018: Japanese Rovers Touch Down on Asteroid Ryugu
  • 20 September 2018: Rolls-Royce Unveils Details Of Trent 1000 Fixes And Testing
  • 19 September 2018: ExoMars highlights radiation risk for Mars astronauts
  • 14 September 2018: SpaceX Signs Passenger for Flight Around the Moon
  • 12 September 2018: British Airways To Lease Air Belgium A340s while 787 Trent Engines Are Inspected
  • 11 September 2018:  Diversion of Iberia A350 Flight
  • 7 September 2018: A320neo Engine Vibration Issue Hits Lufthansa Operations
  • 5 September 2018: Engine Failure on Delta Air Lines 757-200
  • 1 September 2018: NASA’s Rides to Space Station with Russian will end in April 2019
  • 31 August 2018: Boeing 777 Production-line Wiring Inspections after In-flight Diversion
  • 29 August 2018: Leak Discovered at International Space Station
  • 31 July 2018: Lufthansa Technik Develops Waterless Engine Wash Product
  • 4 July 2018: The Toxic Side of the Moon
  • 30 June 2018: Second Failure of Japanese Rocket Start-up
  • 28 June 2018: Fatigue Crack Led To BA Boeing 777 Engine Fire (2015)
  • 27 June 2018: Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrived at asteroid Asteroid 162173 Ryugu
  • 27 June 2018: Sterilising an Antenna for Mars
  • 28 May 2018: Serge Dassault Dies Aged 93
  • 21 May 2018: Boeing Showed No Initiative To Fix F/A-18 Hypoxia Concluded NASA
  • 18 May 2018: In Cuba Over 100 Died in B737 Crash Shortly After Takeoff
  • 16 May 2018: SpaceX Eyeing 300 Missions for Next Five Years
  • 15 May 2018: New Method for Carbon Fibber Health Monitoring
  • 12 May 2018: Lesson From Cold Weather Operations
  • 5 May 2018: Airbus 319 Safely Landed After Windscreen Burst
  • 6 May 2018 Inspection on CFM56 Probe Targets Blade Fatigue Cracks and Damage Pattern
  • 2 May 2018: Boeing 737-700 Safely Landed After Window Cracks In-flight.
  • 27 April 2018: No Fleet-Wide Issues Found as CFM56 Inspections Progressing
  • 23 April 2018: Emergency Airworthiness Directive for CFM56-7B Inspections
  • 19 April 2018: Delta Airlines Reduction in Cancelled Flights
  • 17th April 2018: Rolls-Royce Powered Boeing 787 Operators Brace for Disruption
  • 17 April 2018:  Boeing 737-700 Engine Exploded on Southwest 1380 Flight
  • 10 April 2018: Airbus Develop Drone for Inspecting Aircraft in Hangars
  • 9 April 2018: Potencial Link between Long Term Heart Health and Galactic Cosmic Radiation
  • 25 March 2018: Plastic Sandwich Bag Caused Retirement of Williams F1 Car in Melbourne
  • 12 March 2018: At least 49 Dead in Nepal after Plane Crashes on Landing
  • 9 March 2018: 10,00th Boeing 737 Produced
  • 5 March 2018: Second ex Singapore Airlines A380 Stored
  • 18 February 2018: First Commercial Astronaut Training Program
  • 16 February 2018: Space Radiation on Earth
  • 7 February 2018: MRJ Flight Testing Retires Main Risks
  • 6 February 2018:  Successful SpaceX Falcon Debut Test Flight
  • 6 February 2018: NewsBoeing 777X Engine Flight Test Facing Delay
  • 29 January 2018: Putting Everyday Computer Parts to Space Radiation Test
  • 23 January 2018: Google Lunar X Prize to End Without Winner
  • 18 January 2018: USAFBoeing 777X Engine Flight Test Facing Delay
  • 29 January 2018: Putting Everyday Computer Parts to Cpace Radiation Test
  • 23 January 2018: Google Lunar X Prize to End Without Winner
  • 18 January 2018: USAF’s Attempt To Solve Hypoxia Headache’s Attempt To Solve Hypoxia Headache
  • 11 January 2018: John Young (1930-2018)
  • 7 January 2018: Delayed SpaceX Falcon Sends Payload into Orbit

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  • 30 November 2017: Mobile App For Light Maintenance
  • 29 November 2017: USAF Grounds T-6 Trainers After Hypoxia-Like Events
  • 20 November 2017: SpaceX Classified Zuma Launch Delayed Until At Least December
  • 13 November 2017: First Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Now In Storage
  • 31 October 2017: Broken F-35 Parts Take Six Months To Fix, Government Accountability Office Finds
  • 18 September 2017: Golf Ball Sized Hailstones force EasyJet Flight into Emergency Landing
  • 15th August 2017: Tracking a solar eruption through the Solar System
  • 18 June 2017: Malfunction of a Chinese Satellite
  • 18 June 2017:  SpaceX Postponed the Launch of a Bulgarian Communications Satellite
  • 1 June 2017: United Faces Penalty for operating an airworthy B787
  • 29 May 2017: British Airways’ IT Meltdown
  • 29 May 2017: Irkut MC-21 Makes First Flight
  • 8 March 2017: Elevator Malfunctions In MD-83’s Rejected Takeoff
  • 22 February 2017: GPS Sensors Data For Forecasting Dangerous Solar Storms
  • 19 February 2017: SpaceX Launches Tenth ISS Resupply Mission
  • 26 January 2017: Simplified Technical English – “Revolutionary” Issue 7
  • 24 January 2017: Lights-Out Error Instigated Southwest Accident at the Nashville International Airport
  • 16 January 2017: Turkish Boeing 747-400 freighter crashed into a village near Manas airport in Kyrgyzstan
  • 14 January 2017: SpaceX Returns To Flight by Deploying Iridium Satellites
  • 9th January 2017: SpaceX delays Launch due to Bad Weather

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  • 25 December 2016: Hard Landing of Wings Air ATR 72-600 in Indonesia
  • 24 November 2016: The Birth of Airbus 350-1000
  • 2 November 2016: Weather scrubs SpaceShipTwo glide flight test
  • 2 November 2016: Uncertain American CF6 Failure Cause
  • 1 November 2014: USAF KC-10 Tanker Loses Refueling Boom In Flight
  • 17 October 2016: Two Chinese Two Astronauts Launched to  New Mini-Station
  • 4 October 2016: Failed Airbus A320 Actuator Incident Debated By Safety Agencies
  • 4 October 2016: Human Error Behind Air Asia X Diversion
  • 1 October 2016: Difficulties With Fume Investigations of  Ryanair's Boeing 737
  • 30 September 2016: Rosseta's Journey Ends by Controlled Descent to Comet
  • 13 September 2016: metal Fatigue Caused the Uncontained Left Engine Failure
  • 6 September 2016: Confusion Over Power Setting Key Factor In Emirates Crash
  • 5 September 2016 Philae Found!
  • 1 September 2016: SpaceX Pad Explosio
  • 1 September 2016: ANA To Replace Turbine Blades On RR Trent 1000 Engines on 787s
  • 30 August 2016: Joe Sutter, “Father of the B747” Died at 95
  • 28 August 2016:  6 Boeing 787 Grounded for Rolls Royce Engines Inspections
  • 27 August 2016: Power plant’s inlet cowl detached in midair of Boeing 737-700
  • 16 August 2016: Tug Caused Southwest Nose Gear Snap At BWI
  • 8 August 2016: Passengers stranded after Delta flights grounded worldwide
  • 3 August 2016: Emirates B777 at Dubai landed with Gear Retracted
  • 7 July 2016: Oil System Flaw Caused PW1524G Engine Uncontained Failure
  • 10 June 2016: No ‘Common Thread’ In F-18 Weapons Mishaps
  • 18 May 2016: Disappearance of the Airbus A320 over Mediterranean Sea
  • 15 May 2016: Smoke event involving Airbus A380
  • 17 April 2016: Smoke and fumes event involving Boeing 787, N36962
  • 7 April 2016: Unseen Blast Injuries to the Brain Trauma
  • 19 March 2016: FlyDubai Flight FZ981 Crash Landing Killing 62 People on the Board
  • 1 March 2016: Airbus Fixes for A320neo False Alarms & PW1100G
  • 28 February 2016: SpaceX aborts SES-9 Launch
  • 22 February 2016:  Prohibition of Transport of Lithium-ion Batteries on Passenger Aircraft
  • 29 January 2016: Two Incidents by South Korean Low-Cost-Carriers
  • 17 January 2016: Boeing tanker KC-46 passes first midair refueling test
  • 17 January 2016: Falcon 9 Launches Jason-3 Satellite, but Fails the Landing Attempt
  • 12 January 2016: Philae lander fails to respond to last-ditch efforts to wake it up
  • 4 January 2016: Andre Turcat, Captain On Concorde’s First Flight Dies, at 94

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  • 31 December 2015: Rat on Plane Forces Air India Flight to Return to Mumbai
  • 14 December 2015: A member of Air India's ground crew "sucked" into an Aircraft Engine
  • 9 December 2015: HondaJet given final FAA approval
  • 2 December 2015: Boeing Completed 5 year Fatigue Tests on 787 Airframe
  • 1st December 2015: AirAsia Flight QZ850 Crash Partly due to Faulty Equipment
  • 30 November 2015: Boeing Ends C-17 Production in California
  • 7 November 2015: Airbus A321 In-flight Break-Up in Egypt
  • 1st October 2015: Airbus Replaces First A320neo Test-Aircraft Engine
  • 8 September 2015:  British Airways Boeing 777 Fire Incident in Las Vegas
  • 19 August 2015: Investigators found cause of Ethiopian B787 Fire
  • 16 August 2015: Indonesia’s Trigana Air, ATR 42 Crashed
  • 12 August 2015: American Airlines Repaired Hail-damaged B787
  • 30 July 2015: Dubai Airport Planning Camera-based Debris Detection
  • 29 July 2015: Hail Damaged Boeing 787 returns back to China
  • 22 July 2015: Soyuz Spacecraft with Crew Arrived to ISS
  • 8 July 2015: United Airlines experienced Nation-wide Grounding
  • 5 July 2015: Russian Resupply Spacecraft Docks at ISS
  • 30 June 2015: Man Commits Suicide in Japan Bullet Train
  • 28 June 2015: Space X Falcon 9 exploded after the Launch
  • 15 June 2015: Heavy Fumes in Cabin Force Passengers Out on Wing
  • 11 June 2015: Three ISS Astronauts Safely Landed
  • 1 June 2015: Airbus A310 Prototype Retires After 33 Years
  • 29 May 2015: A400M Crashed by Incorrectly Installed Engine Software
  • 29 May 2015: Falsified Records for Used CFM56 Engine Blades
  • 28 May 2015: Physical Remodelling of International Space Station
  • 25 May 2015: Double Engine Failure of Airbus A330
  • 12 May 2015: 4 hour delays due Transportation Security Administration agents having gone home
  • 10 May 2015: Alonso brake issues caused by visor tear-off
  • 10 May 2015: MA60 Wing Detaches in Runway Excursion
  • 9 May 2015: Airbus A400M Crashes During Test Flight in Spain
  • 30 April 2015: Bird Strike During Flight-test of Airbus A320neo
  • 29 April 2015: Failure of Russian Space Station Resupply Mission
  • 16 April 2015: Throttle Valve Checks after Flawed Falcon 9 Recovery Attempt
  • 6 April 2015: First Great Western train driver takes wrong train & goes wrong way
  • 29 March 2015: Air Canada A320 skidded upon Landing at Halifax
  • 27 March 2015:  American and Russian Astronauts Reach ISS for One Year Stay
  • 24 March 2015: Germanwings A320 Reached Ugly State in French Alps
  • 24 March 2015:  Near Loss of U.K. A330 due to Positioning of Captain’s Personal Camera
  • 23 March 2015:Engineering Judgment Key in 757 Forced Landing In Antarctica
  • 19 March 2015: Lufthansa Technik’s Robot-based Inspection of Engine Components
  • 18 March 2015: 50 Years of Spacewalks
  • 12 March 2015 British Airways Flight Turned Around Because of 'Smelly Poo'
  • 8 March 2015: Troublesome Landing at Bangalore Airport, India
  • 5 March 2015: Crash of Delta 1086 at LaGuardia  Airport, New York, USA
  • 4 March 2015: Turkish Airline jet skidded in Nepal
  • 4 March 2015: ESA experts assess risk from exploded USAF weather satellite
  • 3 March 2015: Alonso to Miss Australian GP on medical advice
  • 2 March 2015: USAF Weather Satellite Explodes After Thermal Spike
  • 1 March 2015: ISS Docking Port Antenna Installations Completed
  • 19 February 2015: NASA delays space station spacewalk because of suit issue
  • 26 January 2015: Airlines Cancelled 1,900 U.S. Flights as Storm Hits Northeast
  • 16 January 2015: Beagle-2 lander found on Mars
  • 15 January 2015: Falls Alarm Caused Evacuation of Astronauts in ISS
  • 14 January: Astronauts Forced to Abandon Part of ISS
  • 12 January: SpaceX Dragon Resupply Capsule Grappled by ISS Astronauts
  • 5 January: Technical problem scrubbed a launch of SpaceX to ISS
  • 1 January 2015 - Space Station Celebrates New Year 16 Times

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  • 28 December 2014 – AirAsia Airbus A320 crashes in the Java Sea
  • 22 December 2014 - First Delivery of Airbus A350
  • 8 December 2014: Light Jet Crashed near the airport in Washington D.C. Area
  • 5 December 2014: NASA's Orion Spaceship Completed First Test Flight
  • 12 November 2014: Human made Craft landed on Comet
  • 31 October 2014: Virgin Galactiic's Accident
  • 29 October 2014:  Orbital Sciences Antares rocket blew up 10 seconds after liftoff
  • 23 October 2014: SpaceX Dragon capsule's return delayed due to heavy seas
  • 22 October 2014:  218 minutes of Functionability Actions on the International Space Station
  • 18 October 2014: Mitsubishi launches the first Regional Jet
  • 17 October 2014: Spaceplain X-37B landed after a record-setting 675 days in orbit
  • 16 October 2014: Solar Power Channel Repair of the International Space Station
  • 6 August 2014: Europe’s Rosetta Mission First to Rendezvous with Comet
  • 25 July 2014:  MD-83 Wreckage Found in Mali
  • 17 July 2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Shot Down
  • 14 July 2014: