Scientist develops new device to make water and oxygen from lunar rocks

Aerospace engineer Thorsten Denk developed and built a machine that can make water and oxygen from the lunar regolith.

Powered by a thermal solar reactor, the device is designed to make enough oxygen and water to support six to eight astronauts.

Denk worked on the device for ten years at Spain’s Plataforma Solar de Almeria (CIEMAT) and completed a six-month trial of the machine this year.

Singapore Airlines to buy 39 Boeing aircraft for $13.8bn

Singapore Airlines (SIA) finalised a $13.8bn order with Boeing to purchase 39 aircraft, comprising 20 777-9s and 19 787-10 Dreamliners.

The deal also includes six options for each aircraft type, which is set to expand the order to 51 aircraft if exercised.

A letter of intent for the newly finalised deal was signed in February, with the aim of modernising SIA’s fleet and grow its network through the next decade.

SpaceX deploys EchoStar 105/SES-11 satellite into orbit

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the EchoStar 105/SES-11 communications satellite was launched into space from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, US.

The reusable rocket deployed the satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) roughly 36 minutes after lift-off.

The rocket’s first stage then made a successful landing back on Earth on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean following separation from its payload.

Lufthansa to acquire units of Air Berlin for €210m

German airline Lufthansa signed a €210m agreement to buy certain business units of Air Berlin, which filed for insolvency in August this year.

As part of the agreement, Lufthansa is expected to acquire Air Berlin’s Niki Luftfahrt and Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter units.

The latest deal is subject to regulatory approval, while the purchase price is subject to adjustments upon closing.

DJI develops new technology to identify and track drone flights

China-based DJI developed a new technology to identify and monitor drone flights.

The new AeroScope technology is designed to use an existing communications link between a drone and its remote controller to transmit various identification information, including a registration or serial number, in addition to basic telemetry details such as location, altitude, speed and direction.

Police, security agencies, aviation authorities and other authorised parties can use an AeroScope receiver to receive drone identification information for monitoring, analysing and taking timely decisions.

Airbus and Bombardier to partner over C Series aircraft programme

Airbus signed an agreement with Bombardier to become a partner on the latter’s C Series aircraft programme.

As part of the deal, Airbus will provide procurement, sales, marketing and customer support services to C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), which manufactures and sells the C Series aircraft.

Bigelow Aerospace and ULA collaborate to place B330 habitat in low-lunar orbit

US-based Bigelow Aerospace entered an agreement with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to jointly launch an outfitted module of the B330 expandable space habitat into a low-lunar orbit.

Under the agreement, a ULA Vulcan rocket is expected to launch the habitat by the end of 2022.

Following the launch, the B330 will function as a standalone commercial lunar station with the ability to operate in a low-Earth orbit (LEO), cislunar space and beyond.

Saudi Arabia’s PIF to invest $1bn in Virgin Group

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) revealed its intention to invest $1bn into various divisions of Virgin Group, including Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit.

A non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between the parties with an option for $480m of future additional investment in space services.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said: “We are now just months away from Virgin Galactic going into space with people on board and Virgin Orbit going into orbit and placing satellites around the Earth.”

Spike Aerospace conducts test flight of SX-1.2 demonstrator aircraft

US-based firm Spike Aerospace tested a subsonic, subscale version of its SX-1.2 demonstrator aircraft during a series of flights at a private airfield in New England, US.

The demonstrator used in the tests is an early unmanned prototype of Spike Aerospace’s S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet, which will be able to carry up to 22 passengers once fully developed.

The latest round of tests comprised seven short flights that were primarily conducted to validate the SX-1.2 demonstrator’s aerodynamic design and flight controls.