The Air & Space Brief: New aviation oversight advances, SpaceX gets FAA ruling, C-17 crew cleared, Space National Guard
Welcome to the Defense One Air and Space newsletter. Here are our top stories this week:
Space Force National Guard: Some military leaders are worried that without a Space National Guard or similar component, administrative delays could hurt readiness and personnel training, Lt. Col. Jeremiah "Hitch" Hitchner, commander of the brand-new 109th Space Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron in Guam, told reporters June 10. Hitchner said the unit is struggling to train new operators because it relies on Space Force availability.
Aviation accidents: As more bases mourn aircrews lost in a new spate of crashes, there’s no one among the Pentagon’s top leaders assigned to help lower-level safety officials prevent the next accident. That high-level oversight was recommended by an independent commission after a similar spike in crashes in 2018. After this most recent string of losses, the Pentagon said it is working to create more oversight on aviation safety DOD-wide.
SpaceX gets FAA Texas ruling: SpaceX will be allowed to launch its Starship/Super Heavy launch vehicle from its Boca Chica, Texas facilities—after it complies with 75 mitigation measures identified by the FAA on Monday to reduce the companies’ environmental impact on the Texas coast, including provisions to better protect sea turtles, reduce traffic closures, and treat soil.
C-17 crew cleared: The Air Force crew that took off from Kabul Airport as panicked crowds fleeing the Taliban swarmed the aircraft were cleared of any fault in the deaths of several Afghans who died during takeoff. Investigators “concluded that the aircrew had acted appropriately … when faced with an unprecedented and rapidly deteriorating security situation,” the Air Force Office of Special Investigations said Monday. “After seeking appropriate care and services to help cope with any trauma from this unprecedented experience, the crew returned to flight status.”
Sign up to get The Air & Space Brief every Tuesday from Tara Copp, Defense One’s Senior Pentagon Reporter. On June 14, 1963, female pilot Jacqueline Marie-Thérèse Suzanne Douet Auriol flew 1,267 miles per hour in a Daussault Mirage III, breaking the previous Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world speed record.
From Defense One
Lack of Space National Guard Could Hurt Training, Recruiting // Lauren C. Williams
Guardsmen in space-related jobs have trouble getting into Space Force schools, leaders say.
Pentagon officials say they're still working on the December 2020 suggestions of a congressional commission.
2023 budget also seeks report on risks to anti-tank and anti-aircraft munition stockpiles after U.S. surge to Ukraine.