Quick Work to Aid Pave Low Crews: An urgent request from Air Force Special Operations Command to get some new armor for its MH-53 Pave Lows sparked fast work by the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. Pave Low aircrews had discovered that the traditional ballistic blankets used on the floor of the helicopters had, over time, become susceptible to small arms fire. The ALC took the AFSOC requirement and, in nine days, had a contract for new armor. Within three months, the first test kit had been installed and, after flight testing, production started. According to Air Force journalist Damian Housman, the entire process from start to installation took only “a spectacular eight months.”
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.