About 100 Marines and six aircraft are on their way to Liberia to provide logistical support to the US personnel helping in the international fight against the Ebola outbreak, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Wednesday. The detachment from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response is flying four MV-22 Osprey troop transports and two C-130J Hercules transport and air refueling aircraft from their forward operating base at Moron, Spain, to Monrovia, Kirby said. The Marines will serve as “a bridging force” until an aviation unit from the Army’s 101st Airborne Division can come from the United States, he said. “I don’t see this particular deployment as being long term. It’s to get some air assets into the region.” Kirby said the tilt-rotor Ospreys will be particularly helpful getting people and equipment into more remote areas in a nation with limited transportation infrastructure. US military personnel are establishing up to seven mobile medical facilities that will be used to conduct tests to determine if individuals have Ebola. (Kirby transcript)
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.