Aerospace News


Welcome to CAP's Aerospace News Room. 

16 September 2013

New Textron AirLand Scorpion Jet Unveiled

Textron AirLand's Scorpion Jet is revealed at the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition.  Their proposal is for the Scorpion Jet to perform certain missions now handled by the F-16 at $25,000/hr for about 1/10 of that cost.   The pitch for this model, optimized for 5-hr. endurance with on-board intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) collectors and weapons, is to handle USAF's low-end missions such as U.S.-based interdiction, quick-reaction natural disaster support and air sovereignty patrols.

To learn more about the Scorpion Jet, use the links below the graphic to research and answer the following questions:

1. Who made the original F-89 Scorpion and what was special about the AIR-2 Genie that it carried?
2. Which American company, based in Wichita KS, could benefit from the project? 
3. Is it made of Aluminum?
4. How many engines?   How much total thrust?  What type of fuel?
5. What top speed is expected for this aircraft?



9 September 2013

Team America Rocketry Challenge 2014 Registration Opens!

Are you up for the challenge of building a rocket that can safely carry two raw eggs to a precise altitude of 825 in a total flight time of 48-50 seconds? Check out the full rules for more details on this year’s challenge.

The 2014 Application Packet is now posted on


7 September 2013

LADEE Reaction Wheels Fixed

"The reaction wheel issue noted soon after launched was resolved a few hours later," said NASA Ames Research Center director Pete Worden. "The LADEE spacecraft is healthy and communicating with mission operators." NASA's Ames center developed and built the LADEE spacecraft, and is overseeing its mission operations.

LADEE will take about 30 days to reach the moon and spend 100 days performing its lunar atmosphere and dust mission. The spacecraft will also test a new laser communications system that NASA has billed as a kind of new "interplanetary Internet."    NASA hopes to eventually replace its traditional radio systems with laser communications, which would mean faster bandwidth using significantly less power and smaller devices as needed to send high-definition and 3-D video.

To review a beautiful Infographic for the LADEE Mission, please look here.

To learn more about the science of reaction wheels, click the video image below.


28 August 2013

America's Largest Rocket Lofts Satellite from Vandenberg AFB

An unmanned United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket lifted off from California's Vandenberg AFB to carry a classified payload designated as NROL-65 into a polar orbit.   United Launch Alliance is a 50-50 partnership between Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company.  Click the image below for the video of the launch.

Photo Credit: Paul Corkery / ULA

The Delta 4-Heavy is presently the tallest US rocket in regular service.  It is a heavy-lift version of the United Launch Alliance's Delta 4 booster.

The Delta 4 Heavy is actually a group of three boosters, each called a Common Booster Core, arranged in a line to give it a three-column look.   A cutaway poster of this amazing launch vehicle is available for your classroom or squadron to include this more detail cutaway of the Common Booster Core.

Spaceflight Now reports that this configuration is capable of launching payloads of up to 24 tons to low-Earth orbit.  It is capable of sending 11-ton payloads toward the geosynchronous orbits used by communications satellites.  The Delta 4-Heavy can also loft 11-ton payloads on trans-lunar injection orbit routes toward the moon and 8.8-ton payloads on Mars-bound trajectories.   

The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) will be launched aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2014 for an unmanned test flight into orbit.

Models of the Delta 4-Heavy have been constructed from designers kits and US citizens interested in Model Rocketry can learn more from the CAP Model Rocketry Program.


26 August 2013

NASA Reports on Orion SLS and Continues Engine Prep at Stennis

NASA's Exploration Systems Division has just recently released the 3rd Quarterly Report on the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System.  Click on the image below to watch a full video report or read the actual NASA Inspector General'sReport on the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (IG-13-022).

In support of the new Space Launch System, fabrication is underway on LOx, LH2 and related piping for testing of theAerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 engine on the A-1 Test Stand at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.  The RS-25was previously known as the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME).   However, a different rocket like ths SLS has new environmental and thrust conditions..” said Mike Kynard, SLS Liquid Engines program manager. “Anytime we make changes to an engine, or to environmental conditions in which it will run, we'll need to put it through a full set of tests. What we typically do in the rocket engine industry is run things twice as long as we plan to use them in flight to ensure the robustness of the design."



“This is a big undertaking,” said Robert Ek, systems engineer for the RS-25 test project at Stennis.  “These are massive lines, weighing hundreds of pounds, and they have to be threaded through a great deal of other stand equipment and structure needed for testing. It’s a real challenge.”

If you would like to learn more about careers in Aerospace or opportunities to work for NASA, please visit the CAP Aerospace STEM Career Center or NASA's Careers for Students.


25 August 2013

NASA Honors Neil Armstrong with 'Tranquility Base' Music Video

Neil Armstrong died one year ago today and NASA remembers the iconic astronaut with a touching music video tribute. Armstrong was a highly talented Naval test pilot and astronaut. He cemented his place in history in July of 1969 when he became the first person to walk on the moon.


23 August 2013

During RED FLAG-Alaska, fighter aircraft dominate the skies

Participating forces identify hostile targets while waging a simulated war – but not all hostiles are fighters.  Eielson Air Force Base’s own Civil Air Patrol 71st Composite Squadron plays a role during RF-A by simulating Antonov An-2 Colts, primarily using a deHavilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver aircraft.  CAP's presence gives fighter pilots the opportunity to train in visually identifying low-flying, special operations forces-carrying aircraft. 



22 August 2013

EAA Founder Paul Poberezny Passes

Paul Poberezny, who founded the Experimental Aircraft Association  and AirVenture one of the world’s largest annual air shows, died Thursday after a battle with cancer.  The aviation legend spent much of his 91-years flying in the air but all those who loved him said he could not have been more down to earth.


Popular Science Profiles Quadrotor Piloted with Google Glass

Blaine Bublitz works some magic to load his Google Glass set with an app that can transmit head-movements into pitch and roll directions sent to a quadcopter drone.A quadcopter is a multicopter rotorcraft that is lifted and propelled by four narrow-chord airfoils or rotors.  Designs for quadcopters appeared as early as the 1920s.   The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is one typically acquired by experimenters and hobbyists.


NASA to Reactivate Successful WISE Telescope

NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, John Grunsfeld, announced that NASA would reactivate the WISE Telescope in September. 

“The WISE mission achieved its mission’s goals and as NEOWISE extended the science even further in its survey of asteroids. NASA is now extending that record of success, which will enhance our ability to find potentially hazardous asteroids, and support the new asteroid initiative."

Lindley Johnson, NASA’s NEOWISE program executive, added, “The data collected by NEOWISE two years ago have proven to be a gold mine for the discovery and characterization of the NEO population.  It is important that we accumulate as much of this type of data as possible while the WISE spacecraft remains a viable asset.”

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is an infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope that  active from December 2009 to February 2011.  In October 2010, NASA extended the original WISE mission with a program called Near-Earth Object WISE (NEOWISE).  This was extended an three additional months because it was very successful.  Its new mission was to look for asteroids and comets close to Earth orbit. NEOWISE discovered many new objects in the Solar System, including 20 comets. before it was put into hibernation on February 1, 2011.


MARS Curiosity Rover Analyzes Samples En-route to Mount Sharp

Jim Erickson, of Pasadena's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said that the rover Curiosity had previously stored samples for when the rover had time to look at them.    The analysis is being worked as Curiosity moves and captures “stunning new views of Mount Sharp” in addition to movies of Phobos and Deimos as they transit the Martian sky.  

JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The laboratory's primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA's Deep Space Network.


21 August 2013

Study Finds UAV Demand Exceeds Number of USAF Pilots

A Brookings Institution study prepared by USAF Colonel Bradley Hoagland found that there is an insufficient number UAV pilots to keep up with the demand.   This is attributed to a “high rate of attrition” and the “intense tempo of operations.”  The reports note that this also led to fewer promotions when compared to conventional pilots. Hoagland highlighted the need to acknowledge the unique skills involved in piloting UAVs.


Colonel Hoagland is a command pilot with over 3,400 hours in the T-37T-38T-1A, and C-130E/H3. He has 298 combat hours in support of Operations Joint Endeavor, Joint Forge, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.  Col Hoagland is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, and holds a master’s degree in engineering and environmental management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.


14 August 2013


Dan Caron Named 2013 Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year


Dan Caron, a technology and engineering teacher at Bedford High School, has been named Civil Air Patrol's Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year. 

This is a national-level award that recognizes a teacher member for outstanding accomplishments in aerospace education and for possessing the attributes expected from our country’s teachers. Caron was nominated by Col. Bill Moran, who is commander of the Hawk Squadron of the CAP, which is based at Laconia Airport. Commenting on choosing to nominate Caron for the award, Moran said, “Dan is energetic and dedicated to youth development especially in aerospace. He’s trustworthy, well organized, and is a wealth of information.  He constantly provides interactive processes for learning and knows how to teach and hold the students’ attention.”


To read more about this inspirational educator, please visit his bio in our Aerospace Profiles in Excellence feature.



29 July 2013


Highly Maneuverable Chinese Satellite Launched


A Chinese Long March-4C rocket launched from northern Taiyuan Space Center carrying three secretive, experimental satellites: SY-7, CX-3 and SJ-7.     The SY-7 wields a robot-manipulator arm developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.    Back in 2007, China conducted an ASAT or Anti-satellite test against one of its own satellites.  The test was successful in that it destroyed the satellite.  However, the resulting 3,000 pieces of space debris in a heavily used part of Earth orbit resulted in some international condemnation.