geosynchronous orbit

More Eyes on GEO: Space Force Adds Two Space Surveillance Satellites

Two satellites set forth to geosynchronous Earth orbit Jan. 21 to join a constellation of four others surveilling the high satellite belt. Collecting data for the National Space Defense Center and “other national users” will “enhance our ability to navigate freely and safely within the GEO belt” while helping to better understand the “ever evolving state of affairs” there, a statement said. 

Top Aces Tests Adversary F-16’s New Aggressor Suite

Adversary services company Top Aces has begun testing an F-16 equipped with a suite of gear aimed at giving fifth-generation Air Force fighters a more realistic sparring partner. By the end of the year, the company expects to have 29 former Israeli F-16s in the U.S., most equipped with the new capabilities, for dogfight and other training. The fighter will have an open mission systems architecture to rapidly add new capabilities.

Radar Sweep

AFWERX’s Agility Prime Completes First USAF-Piloted Flight of an eVTOL Vehicle With Partner Kitty Hawk

Air Force release

The AFWERX Agility Prime program took another step forward in December with the government’s first remotely piloted flight of an electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, aircraft. Capt. Terrence McKenna, an Air Force Reserve pilot with the 370th Flight Test Squadron and the test and experimentation lead for Agility Prime, took part in remote pilot in control, or rPIC, training on the Heaviside aircraft at the Kitty Hawk Corp.’s facility in Palo Alto, Calif., from Dec. 13 to 17, 2021.

It Cost Millions to Recruit, Train New Troops Being Booted for Vaccine Refusal

Military Times

Last fall, following a Pentagon announcement that the COVID-19 vaccine would become mandatory for troops, the services set about implementing policy around it, including deadlines for vaccination and consequences for refusal. That left a period of several weeks when recruits were able to join the military and refuse a COVID-19 vaccine without needing a waiver. The services are now discharging hundreds who have completed or are still in training but are refusing to get vaccinated.

Baltic States Tout US-Approved Weapon Shipments to Ukraine

Defense News

The Baltic states have received approval from Washington to send American-made weaponry to Ukraine to help the country fend off a potential Russian invasion, according to a Jan. 21 joint statement by the defense ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The announcement is the latest effort by select NATO allies to shore up Ukraine’s defenses as Russian troops continue massing along the border between the two nations. Alliance governments fear Moscow is planning an invasion, which Russian officials have denied.

The Latest on Missile Warning & Defense

Air Force Magazine

Recent Russian and Chinese missile launches raised the stakes in space. Find out the latest news on sensing, tracking, and defending against enemy missile strikes.

Air Force’s First Hypersonic Missile Could Still Start Production This Year

Breaking Defense

The Air Force still has enough time to wrap up tests of its first hypersonic missile and begin production by the end of the fiscal year, the service’s program executive for weapons believes. However, hitting that milestone will depend on how quickly the service can figure out the issue that caused a Dec. 15 booster test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon to fail before launch.

Space Force Seeking Both New Weather Sats and Subscription Data Services

Breaking Defense

The Space Force is taking on plans for replacing its dying weather satellites, looking at a two-pronged acquisitions strategy to cover both near- and long-term needs, a senior Space Systems Command official said. SSC is looking at both buying new satellites to replace the few remaining Defense Meteorological Satellite Program ones as well as acquiring weather data and analysis as a service from commercial vendors.

Air Force Medical Student Called to Work as Translator for Afghan Evacuees

DOD release

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences medical school student Air Force 2nd Lt. Kristen Bishop was doing clinical rotations at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Va., when she was asked to change her rotations to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Md., for a special assignment.

Photo Emerges of Crashed British F-35B After It Was Hauled Out of the Mediterranean

The Drive

A photo has appeared online showing the recovered wreckage of the British F-35B stealth jet that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea while taking off from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during its debut operational cruise in November. The fighter had originally been brought to the surface in December, but any kind of imagery of the salvaged jet had not appeared publicly until now.

One More Thing

Company Behind Tom Cruise’s Space Movie Plans Zero-Gravity Studio in Orbit

Word leaked out in 2020 that Tom Cruise was planning to film a movie on board the International Space Station. With multiple delays in releasing or completing Cruise's “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Mission: Impossible” movies, there hasn't been any more news until now. We knew that NASA was involved in the project, because the agency tweeted about it and confirmed the rumors—but we didn't know about Space Entertainment Enterprise, the production company that's going all in on space-based entertainment.