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First quarter shows aircraft deliveries are up

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The latest ADS global commercial aircraft data shows Q1 2021 deliveries are up from Q1 2020, but continue to lag behind the levels achieved in the previous decade of strong growth in the international aerospace market.

The month of March saw 224 orders placed, all for single aisle aircraft. The month made up a large majority of all Q1 orders, but cancellations during the quarter meant the overall order backlog remained at 12,844.

Aerospace market figures for the first three months of 2021 show the industry continuing to experience significant effects from the ongoing effects of the pandemic and travel restrictions. Slow orders and deliveries compared to pre-pandemic levels have been driven by comparatively low flight volumes in the UK and around the world.

Severe UK restrictions on travel have seen flight arrivals and departures consistently more than 80% lower than 2019 levels throughout the first months of this year.

Following the report of the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce earlier this month, the UK aviation and aerospace industries are seeking confirmation of a travel restart from 17th May.

ADS chief executive Kevin Craven said: “It is clear the aerospace industry faces a long road to recovery from this unprecedented crisis. Restarting international travel next month will reconnect our economy to our most important international trading partners, and enable our innovative and highly productive aerospace manufacturers to look ahead with greater confidence.

“As we recover from the pandemic, the most important long-term priority for the industry is investing in advanced new aircraft technology to deliver net zero aviation and meet the Government’s ambitions for carbon reduction.

“Our aircraft manufacturers and suppliers are now taking forward hundreds of innovative projects aimed at reducing emissions from aviation. A strong recovery will strengthen their ability to develop this new technology here, bringing the benefits of prosperity to communities in every part of the country.”

www.adsgroup.org.uk

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/first-quarter-shows-aircraft-deliveries-are-up/

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Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne is returning to space in June

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Orbital launch company Virgin Orbit has scheduled its next mission to space.

Virgin Orbit will be returning its LauncherOne rocket to orbit in June to deliver payloads for the U.S. Department of Defense Space Test Program, SatRevolution, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

The manifest includes three CubeSat satellites as part of the DoD’s Rapid Agile Launch Initiative; a CubeSat satellite called BRIK II, Norway’s first military satellite to go to space; and two optical imaging satellites from SatRevolution for Earth observation. DoD awarded the launch to Virgin Orbit’s defense-focused subsidiary VOX Space last April.

LauncherOne will take its payload to a target orbit of around 310 miles above Earth.

This will be the LauncherOne’s first take-off since a demonstration mission in January, during which the LauncherOne carried satellites to low Earth orbit on behalf of NASA. That most recent demonstration was the first time Virgin Orbit proved that its unique hybrid aircraft/orbital rocket system actually works. The first try, which took place in May of last year, ended after the rocket initiated an automatic safety shutdown after detaching from the Boeing 747 that takes it to launch altitude.

The mission will be conducted from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California on a yet-to-be-announced date in June. The rocket will be shipped out to the Mojave site “in the coming days” for prelaunch operations, the company said. Virgin Orbit will offer a public livestream of the mission on its website.

Virgin Orbit is part of a small cohort of private orbital launch companies that have actually sent payloads to space. As opposed to providers like SpaceX, which uses massive rockets similar to legacy designs from agencies like NASA, LauncherOne is essentially a 747 that’s been retrofitted with a rocket. Besides being smaller and able to take off from traditional airplane runways, the 747 saves on costs by being completely reusable.

Virgin Orbit was spun out of Virgin Galactic in 2017, with the latter focusing exclusively on commercial human spaceflight services. In homage to its beginnings as a humble record company, the mission has been christened “Tubular Bells, Part One,” so named after the first track on the first album ever released by Virgin Records.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/06/virgin-orbits-launcherone-is-returning-to-space-in-june/

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Isar Aerospace wins three-way DLR microlauncher competition

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VALLETTA, Malta — German launch startup Isar Aerospace beat out Rocket Factory Augsburg and HyImpulse Technologies to win a DLR endorsement that clears the way for it to secure 11 million euros from the European Space Agency’s Boost! program. 

DLR, Germany’s space agency, announced its microlauncher competition May 15, 2020 as a multi-round funding drive aimed at promoting the development of domestic smallsat launchers. The competition is funded by the German government and managed through the ESA Boost! program, which aims to foster commercial launch capabilities in Europe.

Isar Aerospace, Rocket Factory Augsburg, and HyImpulse, the three launch startups that qualified for the competition, received 500,000 euros in ESA Boost! funding in November. Those initial awards funded specific development goals in preparation for the competition’s two main rounds, each worth 11 million euros in ESA funding.

The first round is now all but decided following DLR’s April 30 announcement that it has chosen Isar Aerospace to receive a DLR letter of support required to submit a formal service proposal to ESA. The agency will review Isar’s proposal and enter into negotiations with the company before signing a launch contract and awarding the 11 million euros in development funding. As the sole submission for the award, this process is largely a formality.

Isar has raised more than $90 million in private funding since 2019, including a $75 million Series B round led by European venture capital fund Lakestar. 

In a statement, Isar Aerospace CEO Daniel Metzler called the announcement a significant milestone for launch services in Europe.

“We are particularly pleased about the paradigm shift this implies: For the first time, a government contract has been awarded to a purely privately financed space launch startup in Europe. The government is no longer funding technological development but is becoming an anchor customer.”

In return for the 11 million euros in funding, Isar Aerospace will be required to launch two 150-kilogram payloads of the German government’s choosing over two flights.

The institutional payloads will be carried to orbit aboard Isar Aerospace Spectrum rockets, a two-stage rocket designed to deliver up to 700 kilograms of payload to sun-synchronous orbit. 

The maiden flight of the Spectrum rocket is currently slated for mid 2022. However, Isar Aerospace spokeswoman Anna-Lena Lämmle told SpaceNews that the launch date would be dependent on whether the launch pad being built by Andøya Space in Norway would be fully operational in time.

There could be more than one winner

While Isar Aerospace prevailed over Rocket Factory Augsburg and HyImpulse Technologies to win DLR’s endorsement for the first 11 million euros, all three companies remain in the running for an additional 11 million euros that will be awarded under Boost! next year.

“In the current round of the microlauncher competition, Isar Aerospace Technologies has come out on top, but HyImpulse Technologies and Rocket Factory Augsburg have also made significant progress,” said Walther Pelzer, the head of DLR. “In this close race, both companies and their promising concepts have another chance to receive funding of 11 million euros in April 2022.”

DLR has not spelled out the criteria for the 2022 award, at least not publicly, but the date roughly coincides with when all three companies currently expect to fly their competing rockets for the first time. In November, when ESA divided 1.5 million euros between the three, at least two of the companies (Isar and RAF) were still shooting for late 2021 maiden launches. 

The DLR microlauncher is funded through 25 million euros Germany pledged to ESA’s Boost! program at the Space19+ ministerial council meeting in Seville in November 2019. In addition to German launch startups, the program has assisted in fostering launch startups in the United Kingdom. Through funding pledged to Boost! by the U.K. government at Space19+, Orbital Launch Express (Orbex) and Skyrora were awarded a combined €10.45 million.

In response to the news that Isar Aerospace had won DLR’s endorsement, Rocket Factory Augsburg spokesman Ibrahim Ata told SpaceNews that the competition was more about prestige and would not have made a material impact on operations.

“It would have been great to win this from a prestige point of view but in terms of operations, it’s not much,” said Ata. “We congratulate the winner and we will enter the next round of the competition. Until then we will continue to extend our technological lead.”

Rocket Factory Augsburg is designing its RFA One rocket to carry 1,300 kilograms to a 300-kilometer polar orbit. Over the last two months, RFA has secured three launch contracts from other parts of its parent company OHB SE and completed an initial ignition test of the rocket engine that will power the RFA One. In February, RFA announced that it was embarking on a 25-million-euro financing round with the aim of setting up serial production of its 3 million euros per launch rocket. 

HyImpulse Technologies, meanwhile, is developing its three-stage SL1 rocket, which is designed to carry payloads of up to 500 kilograms to low Earth orbit. HyImpulse, a spinoff of DLR, announced in March that it entered a strategic partnership with rideshare specialist Exolaunch [PDF] for end-to-end launch services. 

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Source: https://spacenews.com/isar-aerospace-beat-out-competitors-to-win-dlr-microlauncher-competition/

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TT Electronics’ UK facility achieves AS9100D certification

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TT Electronics, a global provider of engineered electronics for performance critical applications, has announced that its Eastleigh UK facility has achieved AS9100D certification for the manufacture of systems for the aerospace industry.

This certification marks TT’s ongoing commitment to provide innovative, safety-critical solutions to the global aerospace supply chain.

AS9100, standardised by the globally recognised International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), is considered the highest international standard for quality assurance across the aviation, space, and defence industries, and has been widely adopted to promote quality, safety, and continuous product and process improvement.

Upgrading the Eastleigh facility to meet AS9100D, the most current version of the standard, was the result of a lengthy audit process in which TT demonstrated a high level of excellence in all areas of the company’s quality management system. The Eastleigh location is the 12th TT location worldwide to meet the rigorous requirements of AS9100 certification, strengthening the company’s position as a leading aerospace manufacturing partner – dedicated to providing custom technology solutions.

“This certification is an important step in our aerospace growth strategy. Our facility in Eastleigh, which is also SC21 accredited, specialises in the design and manufacture of aircraft interior solutions for commercial aircraft,” said TT Electronics EVP, Charlie Peppiatt. “TT has supported technology innovations in this sector for decades, including lightweight, space-saving, and power-efficient cabin signage and mood lighting. While we have always been focused on providing our customers with quality products and services, achieving the AS9100D certification is a well-earned achievement that confirms our steadfast emphasis on quality management.”

TT’s Eastleigh plant has manufactured HMI products for the aircraft interiors market for over 30 years and holds SC21 accreditation, a designation that recognises its commitment to increase the performance of suppliers and ultimately their supply chains within the UK aerospace, security, space, and defence industries.

The company’s control panel and signage solutions are onboard many major airlines globally, including business and first class cabins.

www.ttelectronics.com

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/tt-electronics-uk-facility-achieves-as9100d-certification/

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ADDEV Materials acquires industry textiles specialist TPI

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ADDEV Materials has acquired TPI, expanding its offer in aeronautics.

By acquiring TPI, ADDEV Materials completes its chemical products offering with high- performance textiles for technical cleaning in the aerospace and defence markets.

“The acquisition of TPI is a continuation of ADDEV Materials’ strategic plan for growth in the aeronautics, defence, and space markets. TPI’s know-how and expertise complement and reinforce our position as an international player specializing in customized chemical products specifically adapted to the requirements of these markets”, commented Julien Duvanel, CEO aerospace & defence.

For 40 years, the French manufacturer TPI (Textile Pour l’Industrie), based in Saint-Nom-la- Bretèche (78), has specialised in the aeronautics and defence markets, gaining expertise in the manufacture of a purified cotton textile for cleaning of technical parts.

Due to its composition and design, this fabric, manufactured in France, doesn’t contaminate or pill, and therefore has the advantage of not leaving any residue or fibres during cleaning and wiping operations on high-tech parts. TPI also has experience in trading chemical products, allowing it to offer a wide array of products and services as well as responsiveness to its major clients.

“I am delighted that the future of TPI is now joined with that of ADDEV Materials, which will ensure the sustainability and growth of our activities”, said Jean Marc Vincent, president of TPI.

www.addevmaterials.com

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