Executive Overview: IHS Jane's Space Systems & Industry
By Peter Bond
2011 was a tough year for the space industry as cutbacks took their toll and the prospects for 2012 are no better. The main saving grace was the continuation of programmes that had been initiated some years ago, which enabled the commercial satellite and launch services sectors to maintain a high rate of launches. However, in contrast with the United States and Europe, China produced a stellar performance with a record number of domestic launches, marred only by one failure of the Long March series of launch vehicles.
One of the most significant events of 2011 was the termination of the US Shuttle programme after 135 launches spread over 30 years of operation. The final chapter began on 8 July, when Atlantis lifted off from Kennedy Space Center with a crew of four. The mission ended with another night landing at Kennedy Space Center on the morning of 21 July. During its operational life, Atlantis had spent 307 days in space and flown more than 200 million kilometres. Atlantis will retire to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex in Florida.
For several years, NASA has been encouraging industry to develop spacecraft that are capable of delivering cargo to the International Space Station, but progress has been slow. Are private companies ready to fill the void left by the Shuttle's retirement? Much more will be known by the end of 2012, as Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Orbital Sciences prepare their new spacecraft for launch.244 words
- Philippine air chief says Italy will provide attack helicopters
- Boeing poised to begin flight-testing Advanced Super Hornet features
- Boeing unveils Phantom Badger
- Germany axes Euro Hawk
- The Ford-class aircraft carrier, the future US Navy: Enabling the distributed force
- Al-Qusayr battle is critical for Syrian government
- Rheinmetall debuts Oerlikon Revolver Gun Mk 2
- India fails to make progress with AW101 inquiry
- Assailants kill UK soldier in London
- Executive Overview: Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Development & Production