The Air & Space Brief: China, U.S. moon base claims, Hypersonic plane gets $60M, Floating robot gas stations
Hello and welcome to Defense One’s Air Force and Space Force newsletter. Here are our top stories of the week:
Moon base race: There’s a not-so-quiet race back to the moon underway, but the two largest factions, with China and Russia on one side, and the United States and its partners on the other, are not recognizing each others’ proposed rules on what’s allowed once they get there, I reported on Sunday.
Hypersonic jet contract: The Air Force entered a $60 million strategic financing arrangement with Georgia-based Hermeus to develop a hypersonic airliner that would benefit the military, Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber reports. The deal is believed to be one of the largest such agreements brokered by AFWERX, the Air Force office that works to get commercial tech into the military.
Refueling by drone: The Defense Department will test a floating, autonomous military gas station on floating barges that could land and refuel military aircraft, Brandi Vincent reports. Huntington Ingalls, Bell Flight and FOSS Maritime are working on the Defense Innovation Unit project, which will include developing “a remotely commanded deck barge to land helicopters and host a scaled fueling station for aircraft, surface vessels, and shore replenishment.”
Starliner delays: Boeing’s Starliner unmanned test flight was scrubbed last Tuesday after several of the valves in the rocket’s propulsion system closed during its countdown to launch, SpaceNews reported. So far there’s no answer on what caused the closure, or when a new launch might be scheduled.
Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Monday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On Aug. 8, 1958, the Army Secretary endorsed a plan to use Wernher von Braun’s Redstone ballistic missile to send a manned mission into space.
From Defense One
If China and the US Claim the Same Moon-Base Site, Who Wins? // Tara Copp: Relatively few craters are attractive, and there’s no consensus about avoiding conflict over them.
US Air Force, Venture Firms Make $60 Million Bet on Hypersonic Aircraft Startup // Marcus Weisgerber: The deal calls for Georgia-based Hermeus to accelerate development of reusable test aircraft..
Floating Robot Gas Station To Get Pentagon Trial // Brandi Vincent: The aim is a kit to convert barges into self-propelled, expeditionary replenishment platforms for rotary wing aircraft, surface vessels, and shore stations.