Launch Vehicle Flexibility Increasingly Important

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Proton launching ExoMars. Source: : ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016

International Launch Services (ILS) recently announced that it will introduce a new Proton launch vehicle variant with a larger payload fairing – a clear sign that flexibility is now a key differentiator in the launch vehicle market.[i] Continue reading

Airbus’ Order Drought Continues as Boeing Rolls Out 787-10 Dreamliner

Airbus, Boeing Report February 2017 Commercial Aircraft Orders and Deliveries

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

On February 17, 2017, Boeing rolled out the 787-10, the third member of the 787 Dreamliner family, at Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston. President Donald Trump and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster were present, along with Boeing CEO and Chairman Dennis Muilenburg and thousands of Boeing employees.  Photo: The Boeing Company

Boeing and Airbus delivered 51 and 49 commercial jets in February 2017, respectively, compared to 56 and 46 during the same month last year. In 2016, Boeing delivered 748 jets (762 in 2015), in line with company expectations, while Airbus surpassed its delivery target of 650 jets by handing over 688 jets during 2016 (635 in 2015).

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Higher Defense Budgets Likely to Give Medium/Heavy Military Rotorcraft Market a Lift

by Ray Jaworowski, Senior Aerospace Analyst, Forecast International.

V-280 Concept for Future Vertical Lift (FVL). Source: Bell Helicopter

Forecast International’s Platinum Forecast System 3.1 indicates that a total of 6,175  medium/heavy military rotorcraft will be produced during the 15-year period from 2017 through 2031.  The value of this production is estimated at $158.4 billion (in FY17 dollars).  We define a medium/heavy military rotorcraft as one having a gross weight of at least 6,804 kilograms (15,000 lb). Continue reading

Boeing Confronts Challenges of a New Administration and Cooling Commercial Sales

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

737 MAX 200. Photo Courtesy: The Boeing Company

With the glory days of the recent record-setting boom a memory, both Boeing and Airbus are adapting their operations as they prepare for flatter growth while ramping up production of new models. Continue reading

2017 Off to a Very Slow Start – Boeing Leads January Deliveries and Orders

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

On January 27, 2017, Boeing was awarded a $2.1 billion order for 15 KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft for the U.S. Air Force. The KC-46A is based on the 767-2C platform. Photo: The Boeing Company

Boeing and Airbus delivered 44 and 25 commercial jets in January 2017, respectively, compared to 49 and 22 during the same month last year. January is traditionally a very slow month for both shipments and new orders. Airbus in particular delivers very few aircraft during the first month of the year. In 2016, Boeing delivered 748 jets (762 in 2015), in line with company expectations, while Airbus surpassed its delivery target of 650 jets by handing over 688 jets during 2016 (635 in 2015). Continue reading

Cornyn, Culberson Restart Debate on Future of NASA’s Human Spaceflight Efforts

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Falcon 9 Launch. Source – SpaceX

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and U.S. Representative John Culberson (TX-07) have introduced a bill in Congress to require NASA to develop plans for the future of U.S. human space exploration, with the goal of landing an astronaut on Mars. The plan is called the Mapping a New and Innovative Focus on our Exploration Strategy (MANIFEST) for Human Spaceflight Act. According to a statement released by Senator Cornyn’s office, the plan is based on recommendations of a 2014 National Academies report. Continue reading

Industrial Gas Turbines – Bragging Rights Center on Efficiency

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

Siemens SGT5-8000H gas turbine. Photo – Siemens

Since the turn of the last century, natural gas has been growing in popularity across the board as a fuel for power generation. Power from natural gas has traditionally been a relatively clean way to augment other sources of power, including renewables such as solar and wind. More recently, owing to lower prices and an increasing aversion to energy sources such as coal, methane-based gas has also been growing in appeal for baseload operations. Continue reading

Airbus, Boeing Report December and Full-Year 2016 Aircraft Orders and Deliveries

by J. Kasper Oestergaard, European Correspondent.

Airbus Delivers 111 Jets in Wild Year-End Rally, Logs 321 Net Orders

Airbus delivered 111 jets in just one month in December in an impressive year-end surge, and also logged 321 net orders, including the long-awaited Iran Air order for 98 jets.
Photo Courtesy Airbus SAS

Boeing and Airbus delivered 67 and 111 commercial jets in December 2016, respectively, compared to 53 and 79 during the same month last year. For Airbus, this marks an unprecedented dash to the year-end finish line, having been held back by A320neo and A350 supply chain issues. For the full year of 2016, Boeing delivered 748 jets (762 in 2015), in line with company expectations, while Airbus surpassed its delivery target of 650-670 jets by handing over 688 jets during the year (635 in 2015). In 2015, Boeing delivered 762 aircraft, ahead of Airbus’ 635. In 2014 and 2013, Boeing delivered a total of 723 and 648 jets, respectively, compared to Airbus’ 629 and 626. Continue reading

A350-1000’s Maiden Flight Completes Trent’s Trio of XWB-Powered Platforms

by Carter Palmer, Power Systems Specialist, Forecast International.

The new Airbus A350 XWB, with nearly 50 aircraft currently in service, has just received an addition to the family. After its maiden flight in late November, 2016, the A350-1000 is seeking to make its mark in the aviation world. The flight was a triumph for both Airbus and Rolls-Royce, whose engines exclusively power this particular range of aircraft. The Trent, a well-known name in aviation, is used aboard Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Continue reading

Launch Vehicles: Year in Review 2016

Recent Decline Continued, but Stage Set for Renewed Activity in 2017

Atlas V Launch

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

The year 2016 saw 85 launches into Earth orbit  (this count excludes the Falcon 9 that exploded in September, since the explosion occurred during the pre-launch phase). Launches were carried out by nine countries, utilizing 22 different launch vehicle families, built by 13 different manufacturers or organizations. Continue reading