Failed satellite launch, F35 deal, COMAC conversion - Jan 10 Aero News
Virgin Orbit's UK Satellite Launch Fails
Western Europe's first satellite launch from its own soil ended in disappointment Monday night. Although the launch from onboard a converted Virgin ($SPCE) Boeing ($BA) 747 was successful, an anomaly with the LauncherOne rocket in the second launch phase in space resulted in failure to reach its target orbit.
The 747, called "Cosmic Girl" lifted off from Spaceport Cornwall in the UK just after 22:00 Monday and carried the rocket to its designated drop zone. Upon receiving clearance to launch, the rocket was released 35,000 feet over the southern coast of Ireland at 23:15. Following launch, the rocket experienced what has only been described so far as an "anomaly" while traveling at more than 11,000 mph.
Many associated with the launch remain confident in the program's future, despite the setback, noting that the launch issues were likely not related to the means by which the rocket was deployed.
Canada to purchase Lockheed-Martin F-35 jets in C$19 billion deal
Canada finalized an agreement Monday to purchase 88 new F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin ($LMT), the largest investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 30 years. Lockheed expects to deliver the first set in 2026, and to fully complete deliveries sometime between 2032 and 2034.
Defense Minister Anita Anand told a news conference that the F-35 purchase may contribute more than C$425 million annually to Canada's economy and some 3,300 new jobs related to the fleet's maintenance and upkeep each year.
The purchase is primarily aimed towards replacing its fleet of Boeing ($BA) CF-18 fighters, some of which are over 40 years old. The F-35 purchase is the culmination of a competitive procurement process between SAAB and Boeing.
FAA working with foreign governments to harmonize advanced air mobility certifications
The United States' Federal Aviation Administration is set to partner with South Korea on future Air Mobility aircraft development and operations. Partnerships have also been agreed to with other countries, including Japan, the UK, and Canada in order to streamline international certifications and operations.
China's COMAC launches ARJ21 Freighter Conversion
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, otherwise known as COMAC, has announced that its passenger-to-cargo conversion program for the ARJ21 has officially received approval from relevant authorities this week. COMAC established the program in May 2020, and will enable conversion of regional jets into cargo aircraft that allow for 10 tons of cargo per load.
Charter bookings still 14% higher than pre-pandemic
Aviation data company WingX found that private jet bookings were still 14% higher in 2022 than they were in 2019. December numbers showed some decline in December 2022 vs 2021 numbers, potentially indicating a plateu, but recent surveys indicate that the majority of private business travelers intend to continue flying private at the same or greater levels than in 2022.