The Air & Space Brief: A ‘Top Gun’ Lockheed win; SpaceX awaits FAA Texas ruling; Biden on defense of Taiwan; Newest Milky Way news
Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories this week:
Lockheed comes out on ‘Top’: Wreathed in catapult steam and 1980s guitar riffs, the opening montage of "Top Gun: Maverick" puts the star front and center—not Tom Cruise, Jon Hamm, or Jennifer Connelly, but a jet that, like Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, hasn’t been the new hotness for at least a decade, writes Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber. Read about how the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet stole the show, here.
Defense of Taiwan changes? China has been ramping up aggressive flights against Taiwan for months, including a spike last October where over three days, it sent almost 100 aircraft, some of which breached Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. Last week, President Joe Biden said the U.S. would get involved “militarily” to defend Taiwan; later that day, the Pentagon walked it back.
SpaceX could get a decision from the Federal Aviation Administration as soon as Tuesday on whether its Starship facility in Boca Chica, Texas, meets environmental standards, Reuters reported. The review is necessary for SpaceX to obtain an operator license, and it can’t launch the Starship from Texas without that license. Founder Elon Musk has already suggested that if he cannot get a license for the Texas facility, he will move the entire operation to Florida.
Milky Way news: The European Space Agency will release its latest massive data set June 13 on “new and improved details for almost two billion objects in our Milky Way and [which] revolutionizes our understanding of the galaxy.” The public is welcome to join in on the call, which will be streamed here.
Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On May 28, 1959, NASA launched two monkeys, Able and Baker, into space to test the effects of flight. Both monkeys survived the trip.
From Defense One
Boeing's F/A-18 Outshines Lockheed's Flashy Hypersonic Jet in 'Top Gun: Maverick' // Marcus Weisgerber
But can the Super Hornet's star turn keep the production line open?
Despite Biden's Latest, Pentagon Says Nothing Has Changed On US Defense of Taiwan // Tara Copp and Jacqueline Feldscher
The president suggested that the U.S. is willing to get involved militarily—which could mean troops.
Has Ukraine Broken the Russian Military? // Tara Copp
With thousands of troops dead, Russia seems desperate for new soldiers—allowing enlistees as old as 50, U.S. defense official says.