April's top stories: UAE's satellite development, school-built aircraft takes flight

As the Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology launched the DubaiSat-3, a project that will see the first satellite completed in the UAE, the first light aircraft built by a UK school made its maiden voyage. Aerospace-technology.com wraps up key headlines from April 2013.


Aircraft

Mandala Airlines to buy 18 Airbus A320 aircraft

A320

Indonesia's low-cost carrier Mandala Airlines has announced plans to purchase 18 Airbus single-aisle A320 aircraft, worth $1.6bn, by 2014.

Mandala operates domestic routes and partners with minority shareholder Singapore's Tiger Airways for international flights.

The carrier, which currently owns seven A320s, will use an existing Tiger option to acquire the Airbus medium-haul jetliners.

The latest deal is a turnaround for Mandala, which repositioned itself as a budget airline after a year-long grounding in 2011 due to debt problems.

Boeing to develop Phantom Phoenix small satellite prototypes

Boeing

Boeing is developing a new line of small satellite prototypes, which can perform missions ranging from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to planetary science.

Featuring common architecture, flight software and simplified payload integration options, the 'Phantom Phoenix' satellites can quickly be manufactured and configured for specific missions.

Boeing Phantom Works president Darryl Davis said the company's customers need greater mission flexibility from smaller satellites that can be built more affordably and delivered more efficiently without sacrificing quality.

"Building upon the success Boeing has had with expanding our 702 satellite family, we've rapidly developed a line of satellites to address the market between large geosynchronous spacecraft and nanosatellites," Davis said.

Honeywell Aerospace and Boeing to develop in-flight wireless connectivity tech

Honeywell

Also in April, US-based Honeywell Aerospace and Boeing entered into a technical services agreement to research and develop new wireless technology for Boeing airliners, including the 787, 777, 737NG and 747-8.

Under the agreement, Boeing and Honeywell will jointly research, test and develop the hardware, software and potential services that will use GX Ka-band satellites, powered by Inmarsat's GX Aviation constellation.

Both parties will also begin the necessary activities in supporting the installation of GX Ka-band equipment aboard new aircraft in 2015.

First UK school-built light aircraft makes maiden flight

G-YTLY

Also this month, Yateley School in Hampshire successfully completed the first flight of a two-seat aeroplane, making it the first school in the UK to build and fly a light aircraft.

The project is a part of Boeing and Royal Aeronautical Society (RaeS) 'Schools Build a Plane Challenge', which seeks to motivate young people in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

G-YTLY, a RANS Coyote 2, was constructed from a kit by students, guided by teachers and local volunteers from the RAeS and LAA along with support from Boeing.

The team also included students from Court Moor School in Fleet and Kings College in Guildford.

Daimler makes exit from Airbus parent company EADS

Daimler

German car manufacturer Daimler has sold its remaining 7.5% stake in European Aeronautic Defence & Space (EADS), the parent company of Airbus, for €2.2bn.

The news comes more than a decade after Daimler helped found the France-based company.

The stake was sold at €37 per share, the top end of the range due to strong demand from institutional investors.

Daimler's board of management for finance and controlling and financial services member Bodo Uebber said: "The proceeds from this sale are contributing positively to our free cash-flow this year and, in addition to the earnings from our ongoing businesses, will also support our policy of stable dividends."

EIAST launches first satellite project to be completed in UAE

DubaiSat-3

The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) has launched the DubaiSat-3, a project that will see the first satellite completed in the UAE.

A team of 45 experts and engineers from the UAE will lead the development of DubaiSat-3 project and its ground systems, while South Korean company Satrec Initiative will assume a consultative role.

The first two years of development of DubaiSat-3 will take place in South Korea, and in the final year and a half, the project will be transferred to EIAST's satellite manufacturing facilities in Dubai.

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