Air Force personnel have begun an intensive effort to fabricate new wing levers for the T-38 trainer fleet to keep the aircraft flying. After Air Force investigators identified that a T-38 aileron actuator lever, a flight control, was a contributing factor in the fatal crash of a Talon in April at Columbus AFB, Miss., the service made the decision to replace this component. But to manufacture the 1,600 new levers (800 left levers and 800 right levers) quickly enough to avoid having to ground the fleet, the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah—the center responsible for repairing T-38s—asked for help from the Air Force’s other two depots: the Oklahoma City ALC at Tinker AFB, Okla., and Warner Robins ALC at Robins AFB, Ga. Working around the clock, personnel in the three depots have been churning them out. Oklahoma City personnel, for example, are manufacturing the left levers. They built 50 by Aug. 18, and will continue to supply 50 per week until the order is complete. (Tinker report by Brandice Armstrong)
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.