Vietjet set to finalise $6.5bn order for 50 Airbus A321neo aircraft

Vietnam-based airline Vietjet Aviation is expected to place an order worth $6.5bn with Airbus for 50 A321neo aircraft.

According to Reuters, the order is set to be finalised today during French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s visit to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi.

Part of an investment drive carried out by Vietjet, the order is expected to help Airbus increase revenues by converting provisional orders secured at this year’s Farnborough Airshow into firm ones.


MIT researchers develop aircraft powered by ion wind

A group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US developed an aircraft powered by an ion wind propulsion system.

The system uses ionic wind, also known as electro-aerodynamic thrust, which generates adequate power to propel the aircraft to fly for longer durations.

First identified in the 1920s, electro-aerodynamic thrust is a force that can be produced when a current is passed between a thin and thick electrode.


SpaceX to launch satellite containing gold canopic jar into space

SpaceX launched the Enoch satellite containing a 24ct gold canopic jar sculpture into space from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, US.

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The jar features a bust of late Robert Henry Lawrence Jr, the first African-American astronaut chosen for any national space programme.

However, Lawrence’s dream of going to space remained unfulfilled when he died in 1967 while training to be a junior pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California.


Jeju Air places $5.9bn order for up to 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

South Korean low-cost carrier Jeju Air placed an order valued at up to $5.9bn for a maximum of 50 737 MAX aircraft with Boeing.

The deal includes 40 firm orders and an option for ten additional planes.

As part of the deal, Boeing Global Services will also provide digital tools to reduce Jeju Air’s operating costs.


Cranfield University forms partnership to support aviation start-ups

The UK’s Cranfield University partnered with banking group Barclays to promote start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the aviation industry.

The partnership will establish an Eagle Lab at the university’s campus to accelerate the development of aviation technology (AvTech) by mentoring SMEs and start-ups.

Scheduled to open next month, the Eagle Lab will be equipped with facilities to support fast prototyping, product development and specialised AvTech equipment.


Researchers develop new anti-icing system for aircraft

A team of researchers from the Queen’s University Belfast in the UK developed a new system to prevent ice from accumulating on aircraft.

When an aircraft flies through cloud in cold weather, layers of ice can build up on the wings, propellers or jet intakes. It can result in increased drag and reduced lift, potentially causing loss of aircraft control.

Accumulation of ice over wing surfaces had previously caused various fatal accidents.


ISRO launches 31 satellites into space on-board PSLV-C43

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched 31 satellites in a mission conducted by the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The mission was carried out by ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C43) rocket.

It marked the 45th flight of PSLV and the 13th mission that saw the use of the PSLV in its Core Alone configuration.


MHI to provide $1.94bn support to Mitsubishi Aircraft

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) unveiled a plan to provide financial support of $1.94bn to its struggling subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft to help the delayed development of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).

The support will be in the form of a capital investment of JPY170bn ($1.5bn) and the cancellation of the JPY50bn ($442m) debt owed by Mitsubishi Aircraft to MHI.

This is expected to help Mitsubishi Aircraft get rid of its capital deficit and provide funds to continue the development of the MRJ.


Iran Air seeks discussions with non-European plane makers

Iran Air is seeking to have negotiations with non-European aircraft manufacturers to upgrade its ageing fleet.

The development is the result of the reimposition of sanctions by the US Government on Iran. In 2015, the US administration under President Barack Obama and five other countries signed a nuclear deal with Iran to lift the sanctions.

However, President Trump’s current administration reimposed the sanctions in order to force Iran to limit its nuclear and missile programmes, as well as withdraw its support for proxy wars in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern regions.


Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft to asteroid belt ends mission

Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft ended its mission after running out of fuel.

According to Nasa, the spacecraft is no longer in a position to keep its antennae pointed towards Earth after exhausting its fuel, preventing it from communicating or turning its solar panels to the Sun to recharge.

Dawn studied the two largest bodies in the asteroid belt, namely Vesta and Ceres.