Monday, 22 June 2015

Paris Airshow 2015 Summary!

So, last week was the 2015 Paris air show, and it was eventful in terms of new aircraft giving displays but perhaps underwhelming in terms of orders, anyway, here's a summary!

Firstly, the bad news: Aeroflot cancelled an order for 22 787-8 but this was most likely politically driven. Bomardier picked up no new orders for their C-series, despite both variants (CS100 and CS300) both displaying for the first time.

And Airbus didn't get any A380 orders, blaming the lack of demand  on introducing the A380 too early to the market. 

Now the good! Garuda Indonesia were a big spender at the show, ordering 30 737-8MAX, 25 787-9, and from Airbus 30 A350-900. Saudi Arabian were the first airline to order the A330R (Regional). Other big orders at the show included:

  • Aercap (leasing company) for 100 737-8MAX
  • Volga-Dnepr orders 20 747-8F, a boost for the 747-8
  • TACA & Avianca orders 62 A320neo
  • Wizzair order a whopping 110 A321neo
I'll leave you with the flying displays of newcomers, the A350-900 and 787-9:

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Philae's awake!

The Philae comet lander, that caused so much excitement last November when it made a bouncy landing on comet 67P, has just woken up after moving closer to the Sun.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

The future of spaceflight

One of the major reasons space flight is so expensive is the single use of the vehicles. The analogy I have heard is like having to build aircraft that can only fly once - and so it is with spacecraft, except spacecraft are even more expensive! The space shuttle was a step towards reusable spacecraft, but the rockets were not reusable and anyway, the space shuttles have been retired. Unless this can be addressed, space flight will remain, in most cases, prohibitively expensive.

So is anyone working on the problem? NASA have tackled a different problem by building Orion, a spacecraft currently in the testing phase that will be capable of taking humans further than the Moon - perhaps Mars or an asteroid. But SpaceX, the innovative space exploration company founded by Elon Musk, has looked into the reusable rocket idea. In fact, they've gone a bit further than looking into it! Below is a real video, in real time of their F9R rocket flight test. It climbs to 1000m and then... well, give it watch...

It honestly though this was fake when I first watched it. It's like thunderbird 1! Of course it's early days but if they get this technology into a rocket that can get into space with a payload, then return to Earth and land itself as in the video above... this is a truly reusable rocket. It will vastly reduced the costs of launches because you only need to pay for the fuel - not a new rocket every time!