NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft have begun around-the-clock surveillance of Libyan airspace as alliance officials consider the possibility of establishing a flight-exclusion zone over the North African state. While NATO allies Britain and France are drafting a UN proposal to permit a NATO-enforced no-fly zone, US officials see little value in a cordon. “We have actually seen a decrease in . . . overall air activity over Libya,” said US ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder during a teleconference with reporters Monday. He added that Libyan air assets “used to attack the rebel forces and indeed the population” would be “largely unaffected” by allied enforcement. NATO’s E-3 component based at Geilenkirchen, Germany, has been conducting intensified air activity since late February “to fulfill operational requirements,” according to an alliance release. This is presumably tied to monitoring the airspace over Libya. (Daalder 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.