ALASA’s Payloads Revealed: Smallsat Imaging Constellation

DARPA_logoWe now know what DARPA had in mind for payloads when it launched its Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, which is aimed at being able to quickly launch 100 pound satellites into orbit for $1 million apiece.

Darpa’s goal is to show that a constellation of 24 satellites, each weighing less than 100 lb., can be launched into low Earth orbit (LEO) at a fraction of the cost of acquiring additional unmanned aircraft to provide the same imagery.


Raytheon’s Profits Up 14 Percent

raytheonlogoRaytheon 1Q earnings rise
Associated Press

Raytheon Co.’s quarterly profit rose 14 percent on stronger sales of missiles, radars and defense electronics, spurring the nation’s fifth-largest defense contractor to raise its 2009 earnings forecast.


Raytheon Reports Solid Q4 Numbers

Raytheon Press Release

Raytheon Company announced fourth quarter 2008 adjusted income from continuing operations of $466 million or $1.13 per diluted share, compared to $420 million or $0.96 per diluted share in the fourth quarter 2007(1).


More Q1 Numbers: Raytheon’s Profits Up, Grumman’s Down

Buoyed by increased defense sales, Raytheon reported first-quarter profits of $400 million, or 93 cents per share. The world’s fifth largest defense contractor’s 15-percent growth exceeded Wall Street expectations, and company officials re-iterated earlier guidance double-digit profit growth this year.

Associated Press Story
Raytheon Press Release

Northrop Grumman reported that first-quarter earnings fell 32 percent after “the company was forced to take a charge due to rising costs and delays with an amphibious assault ship program it is building for the U.S. Navy,” the Associated Press reported.

Northrop Grumman does extensive aerospace work. Last year, it purchase Scaled Composites, the Mojave, Calif.-based company that is building the SpaceShipTwo suborbital tourism vehicle.

UA shoots for the moon

The Arizona Daily Wildcat has published an editorial praising the university’s participation in the Google Lunar X Prize. The paper believes the combination of UA’s imaging experience, Raytheon’s missile technology, and Carnegie Mellon robotics expertise makes this a very strong entry in the competition to land a rover on the lunar surface.

“Private exploration is lighter, leaner and smarter than lumbering government projects, and we’re glad the UA is playing an important role in the future of space exploration. Google may be paying for the prize, and the UA may be a formidable competitor, but it’s humans everywhere who will reap its rewards,” the editors write.

UA Joins Raytheon, Carnegie Mellon in Google Lunar X Prize Bid

UA News has a story about the University of Arizona’s partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and Raytheon Missile Systems to form Team Astrobotic – one of 10 competitors in the Google Lunar X Prize competition.

The UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and its Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering are the major elements of the university’s participation. “This is the dream team,” Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Director Michael J. Drake said.

LPL will provide its expertise in designing, building and operating imaging camera systems. It will add a clean room and a high bay to its Phoenix Science Operations Center, where the lunar lander will be assembled.

The Arizona Daily Star also has a story.