Despite a fresh engine mishap reported during ground testing last week of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine, program officials with Lockheed Martin and the Air Force insisted that the incident would have little impact on plans to accelerate development and testing for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. “Based on where we are now, I don’t see this delaying flight testing,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. C.D. Moore, deputy F-35 program executive officer, when questioned by reporters at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Monday. During a stressful ground testing certification run last Friday, technicians noticed sparks coming out of the jet exhaust pipe, spurring an examination of the engine. Several of the engine fan blades were damaged, but no serious damage was reported on the turbine. Continue
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.