Airbus secures $49.5bn aircraft order from Indigo Partners

Airbus entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with US-based Indigo Partners’ four portfolio airlines for the $49.5bn sale of 430 new A320neo family aircraft.

The order includes 273 A320neos and 157 A321neo planes.

Following final purchase agreements and delivery, the aircraft will be distributed among Indigo Partners four airlines portfolio, including US-based ultra low-cost airlines Frontier Airlines, Chile’s JetSMART, Mexico’s Volaris and Hungary’s Wizz Air.

UK earmarks £50m for space sector in new industrial strategy

The UK Government designated £50m in funding for the space industry under its newly unveiled industrial strategy.

The financing is expected to help develop new satellite launch services and low-gravity spaceflights from UK spaceports.

It will be provided in addition to the £99m investment in the National Satellite Test Facility at Harwell.

Russia loses contact with Earth observation satellite after launch

Russian space agency Roscosmos failed to establish contact with an Earth observation satellite shortly after its launch from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome site.

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket was used to deploy the Meteor-M 2-1 satellite into a solar-synchronous orbit.

The Baumanets-2 Earth observation satellite and 17 other micro satellites were also piggybacked with the Meteor-M 2-1 during the launch.

Rolls-Royce develops Advance3 demonstrator engine

Rolls-Royce completed the development of the Advance3 demonstrator of its next-generation civil aerospace engine.

The demonstrator is expected to undergo trial at Rolls-Royce’s facility in Derby, UK, over the next few days to confirm its operational parameters.

It will also be tested in future to collect data on the performance of the engine across more than 2,800 parameters.

China’s CASC to buy 300 Boeing aircraft for $37bn

China Aviation Suppliers Holding Company (CASC) signed an agreement with Boeing to purchase 300 aircraft for more than $37bn.

The deal includes orders and commitments for single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft and was signed during US President Donald Trump’s visit to China.

After signing the deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister said: “China is a valued customer and key partner, and we’re proud that Boeing airplanes will be a part of its fleet growth for years to come.”

CAE acquires AirAsia’s share in AACE for $100m

Canada-based aviation training provider CAE completed the $100m acquisition of Malaysian airline AirAsia’s interest in Asian Aviation Centre of Excellence (AACE), which comprises earn-out.

The development is a result of a sale and purchase agreement announced in August, as well as the approval of all the necessary conditions and regulatory requirements.

It will enable CAE to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific aviation market.

Thales and UK Space Agency to partner on MicroCarb satellite mission

Thales Alenia Space entered an agreement with UK Space Agency to help the development of the joint UK-French MicroCarb satellite mission.

Under the deal, Thales will work with French space agency CNES to manage and deliver MicroCarb’s assembly integration and test (AIT) programme at National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) in Harwell, UK.

Scheduled to open by 2020, the facility has received £99m in government funding.

India unveils draft civil aviation requirements for drones

The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) revealed the draft regulations on the civil use of remotely piloted aircraft systems or drones across the country.

Under the new draft Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), drones weighing 250g or less are classified as nano-drones.

Drones with a maximum take-off weight of more than 250g and less than or equal to 2kg will fall under the micro category, while drones with a maximum take-off weight between 2kg and 25kg will be considered as mini-drones.

Uber signs contract with Nasa to develop software for its flying taxis

Global taxi service provider Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with Nasa to develop software solutions for its Uber Elevate flying taxi project.

Uber aims to begin testing the project, also referred to as UberAir, in Los Angeles, California, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, US, as well as Dubai, UAE, by 2020.

The company is also expecting to operate its new flying taxi service before the 2028 Olympics to be held in Los Angeles.

UAH engineers to develop ‘digital twin’ to improve CubeSat mission

Engineers from the US-based University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) are set to create a ‘digital twin’ of a CubeSat to ensure its successful functionality during its year-long mission to study equatorial plasma bubbles.

To be developed with a $185,000 grant from Nasa, the project will support the joint Nasa-Brazil Scintillation Prediction Observations Research Task (SPORT) mission.

Data from the mission is expected to help researchers unlock the mystery of plasma bubbles and mitigate their effects on Earth.