Sunday, July 28, 2019

France is Creating a Space Command

The US isn't the only country that wants to create a dedicated space force within its military. French President Emmanuel Macron has greenlit plans to create a space command within his country's air force next September. The division would bolster defense of France's satellites, he said. Officials had yet to determine the scale of the investment.

This is just the start, Macron added. Eventually, France would rename the military branch as the Space and Air Force. It would be an essential part of the country's military strategy, then, not just a companion to the usual air, land and sea units.


France also wants space based laser weapons on satellites.  The dam has broken.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Robopocalypse Report #118


Automating the design of the universal controller for a drones is underway.

The FAA will delay its drone tracking requirement again.

Drones can take spectacular photos and did during the solar eclipse.

A drone swarm spray painted a crowd sourced mural.

Flybotix has a ducted fan, dual prop drone that lasts longer than most quads.

Fraunhofer has started drone strike testing for aircraft.

Google has introduced an air traffic control app for drones.

Ion propulsion for drones?!

MIT is testing drones that can switch between gliding and powered flight.

NASA has been test flying sensors to improve drone safety.

Throwflame has made a flamethrower for ...drones.  sigh.

UPS wants to go full scale with drone deliveries.

Self Driving Cars:

Are self driving cars the answer for older adults?

Hackers could easily paralyze a city by compromising connected self driving cars.

Damler and Bosche are getting closer to self driving valet service.

EasyMile's self driving shuttle bus will begin trialing in Australia.

Ford and Volkswagen are expanding their collaboration on self driving cars.  Hopefully, VW won't fake the data on this like they did for vehicle emissions.

Gatik wants to fill the niche between the warehouse and the store with its self driving vans.

GM will not deliver its first self driving cars by year's end like they had planned.

The Las Vegas self driving shuttle crash was due to the fact the manual controller was not present when crash happened to intervene.

Luminar is offering a $500 LIDAR.

The Navya self driving shuttle was in an accident not its fault, but what does that portend?

Tesla is adjusting its pricing.  Musk has stated fully self driving Teslas will be significantly more expensive.

Waymo will test its autonomous cars on its employees first in California.

Waymo is developing a new training method for its bots driving its cars.

3d Printing:

A supersonic nozzle greatly improves 3d printing on the nanoscale.

China is applying machine learning to 3d printing.

Astronauts could 3d print replacement bones and tissues in the future.

Microreactors can be 3d printed.

NASA wants to 3d print spacecraft in orbit.

Sandia National Labs has developed a 3d printed tamper indicating material.


Can robots solve America's recycling crisis?

Amazon is reportedly working on a mobile home robot.

Amazon's warehouse labor issues may not be solvable by robots.

Chinese researchers are working biomimetic underwater vehicles.

Georgia Tech has developed robots that move using vibrations.

IBM is testing a 'robotic tongue' for chemical detection.

IHMC's Atlas bot does an impressive job of climbing through debris.

Jellyfish bots!

This jellyfish robot can use water flow to manipulate objects, not just swim.

Kanazawa University has developed a new gripper tech for robots.

MIT's tiny walking motor could be something new for robots.

MIT has developed a system where complex robots can be assembled from a few, standard parts.

NASA's JPL built the rocket climbing Lemur robot.

Refraction AI is a food delivery robot company.

Robots as a service.

The second coming of robot pets.

Robots are roaming the Antarctic and providing data on climate change.

A new software bot develops novel parts for robotics.

Say hi to Spacebok!

Toyota unveiled the support robots for the 2020 Olympics.

And the ant inspired Tribots.

This UUV has been designed to explore and map the shafts of abandoned mines.

The trials of Vegebot and why its tough to build agribots.


The four largest challenges in simulating the brain.

Mentally controlling a robotic arm may not require implants into the brain.

Musk's Neuralink wants to put sensors in the human brain next year.

An artificial larynx might allow the mute to speak.

What are the ethics of the brain computer interfaces?

The University of Utah has produced a robotic, prosthetic hand that allows a person to feel object picked up.

Software Bots:

Will machine learning build up a huge intellectual debt?

Software bots in high stakes decisions need to be fully audit-able.

A more human approach to AI.

Alibaba claims a far greater understanding by its bots of languages than accomplished ever before.

Amazon's Alexa keeps the transcripts of EVERYTHING it hears unless purposefully deleted.

An Amazon AI engineer was tired of his cat bringing home animals as presents, so he created a software bot enabled catdoor to not let the cat in until it disposed of its 'present.'

California has a new law requiring bots ID themselves online.  Will it actually make any difference?

Deep-CEE is a software bot designed to help astronomers.

Google DeepMind's AI will play public Starcraft matches.

The controversial FaceApp goes viral again (and its software bot driven).

Facebook and CMU's AI apparently won at poker against 5 pro players at once.

Facebook is opening one of its software bots to the public for use.

In Hong Kong, software bots were used to accurately count crowds.

IBM open sourced its cancer drug software bot.

Microsoft is pumping $1 billion into its generalized "AI."

MIT has a new bot that can detect and create deep fake images.

Researchers easily trick software bot derived antivirus programs into think malware is really safe.

A software bot designed a flu vaccine and it will be trialing in the US.

Using software bots to predict extreme weather.

Software bots help wind turbines not disrupt each other.

Software bots are learning to detect deep fakes.

Software bots can now solve a rubiks cube in 1.2 seconds.

Software bots have brought the robopocalypse for umpires.

Software bots can simulate quantum systems without heavy computing power.

Software bots are being developed to attempt to decipher lost languages.

Software bots trained on scientific papers are making discoveries scientists missed.

Software bots could improve clinical trials.

Software bots can be used to analyze animal behavior based on their trajectories.

Software bots designed to monitor volcanoes.

Software bots are being used to design metamaterials for invisibility cloaks.

Software bots are being designed to recognize kidney injuries from burns.

Software bots can be designed to diagnose breast cancer much faster.

Software bots can be used to detect discrimination.

Software bots can help understand enzyme function.

Software bots are supercharging map creation around the world.

Software bots are improving clinical trial recruitment.

Using software bots to figure out where, when and how tear gas is used against civilians.

Software bots are becoming involved with neuroscience.

Software bots might be able to spot autism very early.

Software bots are being used in protein folding research.

Making deep fake revenge porn is now illegal in Virginia.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Orbit for NASA's Gateway Station

The NASA-led Gateway deep-space station is still years away from the launch of its first component, but NASA and ESA's Operations Centre (ESOC) are zeroing in on the orbit it will travel in cis-lunar space. Called a Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO), it promises both cheaper missions to the Moon and beyond, as well as regular timetables for visiting astronauts.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Lockheed's on its 5th Iteration of its Fusion Reactor Prototype

Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works is building a new, more capable test reactor as it continues to move ahead with its ambitious Compact Fusion Reactor program, or CFR. Despite slower than expected progress, the company remains confident the project can produce practical results, which would completely transform how power gets generated for both military and civilian purposes.

Aviation Week was first to report the updates on the CFR program, including that Lockheed Martin is in the process of constructing its newest experimental reactor, known as the T5, on July 19, 2019. The company's legendary California-based Skunk Works advanced projects office is in charge of the effort and had already built four different test reactor designs, as well as a number of subvariants, since the program first became public knowledge in 2014. The War Zone has been following news of this potentially revolutionary program very closely in recent years.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Russia may be Testing its Nudol ASAT Weapon

Russia appears to be testing its Nudol ASAT system from Plesetsk. It issued a NOTAM warning that closed several areas on 14 June 2019. The closed areas look very much like those that were closed in April 2018 and in December 2018.

It was also closed on June 30th, 2019.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Terminator Times #60

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones):

A man was photographed flying a drone in the Western Military Range.  This could end up getting everyone who comes out there expelled for safety reasons.

The USAF is buying DJI drones.

The USAF is continuing Global Hawk flights in the Persian Gulf after the shoot down.

The USAF cancelled the brand new Gray Wolf missile program in favor of networking its current munitions into a swarm.

The USAF has relocated its Reapers stationed in Poland to Romania temporarily.

The US Army's purchase of the bird sized Black Hornet UAV gets discussed.

The last RQ-21 Blackjack has been delivered to the USMC.

A US Navy Poseidon was nearby the MQ-4C shot down by Iran.

US Navy test pilot school is adding UAV training.

Congress wants the US Navy to prove they can fight off a swarm attack.

The US Navy has redeployed the MQ-8B FireScout to Asia.

The US Navy has declared IOC for the MQ-8C FireScout.

The US Navy/USMC used a USMC antidrone vehicle to down an Iranian drone they claim came within 1000 yards.  Iran has claimed the drone was not shot down.

Britain unveiled its LANCA loyal wingman program as three contractors are competing for the contract.

France's Flottille 36F will become the parent squadron for UAVs.

Germany has finished evaluating the Mikado quadcopter.

Iran says the American drone they shotdown was in their air space and was stoking the tensions.

Iran has inducted the Mohajer-6 drone into operational status.

Iraqi militias were attacked by an armed drone.

In Libya, a drone strike killed seven fighters of the LNA.

Portugal has received its first RQ-11b Raven UAV.

Russia has unveiled the latest version of the Korsar UAV.

Russia has stated the US drone that was shot down was inside Iranian airspace.

The Russians also claim a Global Hawk has been seen on the western borders of Russia.

Saudi Arabia has been under attack by drones from the Yemeni Houthi rebels.  The Saudis intercepted one drone.  However, the drones keep striking the Abha and Jizan airports.  At the Abha airport 21 were injured and 1 killed in a strike.  Another strike took place and another drone was intercepted.  Another attack on the Abha airport wounded 9.  Another aimed at the Jizan was shot down.  Houthi drones again attacked the Jizan airport.  Yet again, the Saudis claim to have intercepted some of the drones.  The Houthis show off their drone and missile arsenal.  The Yemeni Houthis attacked Jizan again.  The Saudis claim to have downed 3 drones and the Houthis also claim to have attacked King Khalid afb.  The Houthis stated they attacked the Abha airport and Tihama power plant.  The Saudis claimed to have intercepted the attack on the Abha airport.

More on Ukraine's Spectator-M UAV upgrade.

Fixview is working on a stabilized turret for the Virgia UAV.

General Atomics won a contract to support the MQ-1C Gray Eagle.

Kalashnikov has unveiled a new suicide drone.

Northop has sold its first optionally manned Firebirds and debuted the aircraft in Europe.

To be viable in the long run, Piaggio needs to carve out a sustainable niche.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Ogres and Bolos):

The US Army will test robotic combat vehicles in 2020.

The US Navy is running a competition for robotics companies to detect a sniper.

The Russian airborne forces are testing the A-800 Mars UGV.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Ro-boats):

The US Navy sent Congress a report on its USV (and UUV) programs.

The US Navy released its RFP for the MUSV program.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (Robo Subs):

China is working on biomimic UUVs.

3d Printing:

The US Army can now 3d print body armor.


Russia wants to show off their robotics improvements for warfare.

Friday, July 19, 2019

US Military Wants Orbital Platform

The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit wants options for an unmanned orbital outpost to support space experiments and operations — a logistics hub that might even grow, DIU’s solicitation suggests, to a larger manned space station.

DIU, which is charged with tapping non-traditional commercial companies for innovative technologies to meet Pentagon needs, issued a solicitation last week that gives interested vendors until July 9 to propose a “solution… for a self-contained and free flying orbital outpost.” The platform is to support “space assembly, microgravity experimentation, logistics and storage, manufacturing, training, test and evaluation, hosting payloads, and other functions.”

While the near-term requirements are obviously aimed at prototyping an autonomous, robotic mini-space station to house experimentation, the “future desired capabilities” listed in the solicitation are much farther reaching. They include the capability to dock with unmanned and manned spacecraft and, even more surprisingly, “human rating.”

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Researchers Appear to Have Cured HIV in a Mice With the Help of CRISPR

In a major collaborative effort, researchers at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) have for the first time eliminated replication-competent HIV-1 DNA - the virus responsible for AIDS - from the genomes of living animals. The study, reported online July 2 in the journal Nature Communications, marks a critical step toward the development of a possible cure for human HIV infection.

"Our study shows that treatment to suppress HIV replication and gene editing therapy, when given sequentially, can eliminate HIV from cells and organs of infected animals," said Kamel Khalili, PhD, Laura H. Carnell Professor and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience, Director of the Center for Neurovirology, and Director of the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University (LKSOM). Dr. Khalili and Howard Gendelman, MD, Margaret R. Larson Professor of Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases at UNMC, were senior investigators on the new study.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Russian Avangard Hypersonic Weapon may Have Carbon Fiber Supply Problems

Russia's plans to build a hypersonic weapon system that can travel at more than 20 times the speed of sound, and also evade US missile defenses, has predictably rattled the world. Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted that the Avangard weapons system would be ready by 2019. But some obstacles lie ahead that could impact production, CNBC reported. Specifically, the Kremlin needs to find another source of carbon fiber material to build the Avanguard hypersonic glide vehicles.

Russia's current supply of carbon fiber material is unable to withstand the extreme temperatures of hypersonic flight. According to a US intelligence report reviewed by CNBC, Russia is hunting for an alternative source of carbon fiber, but so far has had no luck. "It's expected that they will make no more than 60 of these hypersonic weapons because it's just proving to be too expensive to develop," an anonymous official told CNBC.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Paleolithic Papers #30

Genus Homo:

Just how many ghost lineages are hiding in the human genome?

Demographics modeling and the genetic introgression of hominins.

Modern Humans (H sapiens):

The Apidima 1 fossil from Greece is of H. sapiens, but dates from 210 kya.  This is far, far older than previously thought for modern humans to be outside of Africa.  Apidima 2 is a Neandertal and younger.

While exploring part of the genome associated with the sense of smell, scientists found genes from Neandertals and an unknown human relative.

The routes of modern humans into Australia get revisited.

What was being eaten at the Manot Cave, Israel roughly 40 kya.

What made humans the 'fat primate?'

Has evidence of murder from the Paleolithic been found?

The genetic components of height in prehistoric Europe are explored.

The genetic and archaeological evidence for the peopling of the Americas.

Using genetic introgression evidence to infer when modern humans dispersed into the rest of the world.

Neandertals (H. neanderthalensis):

Evidence from Italy shows Neandertals circa 170k years ago during the Pleistocene butchering already dead carcasses of elephants.

The migration history of Neandertals get revealed via DNA studies.  Neandertals in Europe were pretty stable as a genetic population for at least 80k years.  They migrated east into Siberia and seem to have been very distantly related to the Neandertals that lived there previously.

Neandertals used resin to glue stone tools to shafts and whatnot.

Neandertals repeatedly used the 'Ein Qashish site as a rarely found open air settlement between 54,000 years ago to as far back as 71,000 years ago.

The Geißenklösterle Cave layers are radiometrically dated.

H. erectus:

There are reports of a find in Indonesia of 1.8 mya Homo erectus fossils.

Rising Star Hominin (H. naledi):

The femoral neck and shaft structure gets examined.

H. naledi's teeth are more like australopithecines and early Homo species rather than later members of the genus Homo.

Genus Australopithecus:

A stratigraphic investigation of the site where Little Foot was discovered was undertaken.

Little Foot has longer than average australopithecine arm bones.


The season changes to savannahs and how it might have impacted hominin diets.

The promise of how protein analysis could change paleoanthropology.

The Sahara Desert dates back, intermittently, to the Pliocene.

The Olduvai Basin gets seismically imaged.

How stone tool techniques could have been acquired.

The hominin ilium is pretty unique.

How many different hominins did our ancestors actually meet?

Friday, July 12, 2019

NASA Seeks Information for Commercial Resupply of new Gateway Station

In the latest step in sending astronauts to the lunar surface within five years, NASA issued a draft solicitation June 14 to industry seeking comments for a future opportunity for American companies to deliver cargo and other supplies to the Gateway in lunar orbit.

The first logistics service to the orbital outpost is expected to deliver science, cargo and other supplies in support of the agency’s new Artemis lunar exploration program, which includes sending the first woman and the next man to the surface of the Moon by 2024.

Last fall, NASA asked American companies for ideas on how to best supply the Gateway, which will be located in an orbit around the Moon about 250,000 miles from Earth. The Gateway will be a command and service module for missions to the lunar surface and eventually, exploration farther into the solar system. Following up on that initial request for information, today NASA published a draft solicitation for industry comments on its logistics approach, which are due July 10, 2019.

“We’re asking industry to provide a spacecraft to deliver cargo and other supplies to the Gateway. It will dock to the orbital outpost, but will be responsible for generating its own power,” said Marshall Smith, director, human lunar exploration programs at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We’re using the Moon as a proving ground for Mars to develop the technologies and systems we need for exploration farther into the solar system, so we look forward to seeing how industry responds to our upcoming solicitation, and potentially awarding multiple contracts for this lunar service.”

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Third CRISPR Baby may Have Been Born

The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, held in Hong Kong last November, was meant to debate the pros and cons of genetically engineering humans. Instead, the proceedings were turned upside down by the revelation that He Jiankui, a Chinese biophysicist, had already done it.

He’d gone ahead and edited the DNA of twin girls with the powerful gene modification tool called CRISPR.

Then the Chinese scientist sprang a further surprise on the shocked gene-editing experts. A second Chinese woman, he said, was pregnant with yet another CRISPR baby. An early pregnancy test had confirmed it.

That third CRISPR baby is now due to be born at any moment—if he or she hasn’t come crying into the world already.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

The Chinese Aircraft Carrier Liaoning Sailed Near Guam

Media reports from Taiwan says China’s aircraft carrier Liaoning approach Guam during its current cruise and may head to the Spratly Islands.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Stealth Saga #49

Sixth Generation Fighters:

The Franco-German FCAS effort might go down in flames over industrial fighting.  Others are more optimistic about it.  Some very optimistic.  Some are not very optimistic at all, calling the FCAS anfdTFX potentially fantasies.  A mockup will be unveiled at the Paris airshow and may have been already.   Here's more info. Spain has officially joined the FCAS effort.

MBDA has unveiled concepts for weapons for the FCAS.

The USAF has effectively cancelled the NGAD/PCA fighter.


Turkey has unveiled its mockup of the TFX fighter.  It looks like a cross between the F-22 and the F-35.


Prime Minister Abe supports replacing the F-2 fighter with an locally made next generation fighter.


First flight will supposedly be in July or August.


Mildly selective examples there.  :D

The Russians are supposedly developing a new antiship missile for the Su-57.

The Russians are displaying the Su-57 on models of their perpetually planned aircraft carrier, the Schtorm class.

The contract for 76 Su-57s has been reported signed by TASS.  The aircraft will be supposedly delivered through 2028.


Again, very selective.

Has the FC-31/J-31 been redesigned further?


The KC-46A Pegasus tanker refueling a B-2 for the first time.

Inside the cockpit footage and commentary of a B-2 in flight.


F-22s have deployed to Qatar for the first time.

The USAF has admitted the F-22 will not reach the 80% combat readiness on time.


The F-35 will take over half the fighter market over the next decade.

Lockheed and the Pentagon have reached a handshake deal over the next three LRIPs of $34 billion  for 478 F-35s.  The F-35A's price will fall below $80M each and is an 8.8% reduction in price for the A model.  Unfortunately, the deal negotiated has Turkish jets included, but it might not be a big deal.

Immediately after the announcement, Defense News released what it claimed was a whole lot of damning reports on the F-35.  Some of which are ancient news, but the news media picked it up.  Others of which are of concern.  Some are calling it a cluster bomb of problems.  The timing is wildly interesting though.  It was JUST after the handshake and the current acting SecDef is a Boeing ex employee who has been advocating for for buying a competing, less advanced, less capable fighter for a higher price (over $90M fly away and more for spinning up the whole thing)...from Boeing.  Foxtrot Alpha continues the 'problems of the F-35' series.

Here's the Pentagon's plan to cut Turkey from the F-35 program.  The 'unwinding' of Turkey's participation has begun.  Turkish pilots are no longer training on the F-35 in the US.  Turkey is angry with the letter from the SecDef.  Ousting Turkey will cut F-35 sales to Europe by 20%.  The US and Turkey are in close communication about the whole thing.  The US has stated Turkey WILL lose the F-35 if they buy the S-400 SAM from Russia.  Turkey says they will go ahead with the S-400 purchase and the other partners in the F-35 program condemn the US actions.  Turkey will take delivery of the S-400 missiles within days.  Oh, Erdogan, what have you done?

HASC wants an independent cost estimate of the F-35.

Watch the cockpit video of an F-35A performing a demo over Miami.  The demo team seems to be changing minds about the F-35.

Another video shows how the F-35 pilot can 'see' through the fuselage of the F-35.

On the way to Italy, four USAF F-35As had to divert to Burlington International Airport.

The 34th Fighter Squadron is relocating to Mountain Home AFB temporarily.

A Luke AFB F-35 might have "accidentally" drawn the first F-35A sky penis.

The USAF is still trying to figure out what paint scheme the 65th AGRS F-35As will use.

USAF F-35As did their first deployment to Germany.

Old technology makes hotpitting the F-35 easier.

The USMC has received its first F-35C meant to fly off the Navy's carriers.

See some beautiful shots of the formation flying of the USMC F-35C with an F/A-18.

A little more on the US Navy deactivation of the Grim Reapers.

A lot of press has come out about the USS Ford and her sisters being unable to fly the F-35C from her decks.  Congress has been unhappy about it.  Turns out NONE of the USN's carriers - Nimitz or Ford classes - can accommodate the F-35C without significant upgrades that have not yet been done.

Rumors have it the US Navy will field an F-35C demo team in the 2020 airshow season.

Auto GCAS testing will be completed on the F-35C this month.

Australia's F-35s are expected to have IOC in December 2020.

British F-35s have gone into combat for the first time in Syria.

British, American and Israeli F-35s exercised together.

British, American and Italian F-35s exercised together.

Canada has tweaked the rules for competitors for its fighter acquisition that will allow the F-35 to compete.

Was an Iranian general fired for hiding Israeli F-35s having penetrated Iranian airspace multiple times with impunity?  Or is this more rumor nonsense?

According to Iran, Israeli F-35Is were rehearsing strikes against Iran.

Israeli F-35s exercised with other Israeli aircraft for the first time.

The second Italian F-35B being flown in VSTOL testing.

Italian F-35s participated in JS15, the largest exercise in Italy.

Italian and American F-35s were integrated using MADL during the Astral Knight exercise.

Italy's Valore Tricore 2019 has the F-35 front and center.

Japan will be buying at least 105 F-35s: 63 A models and 42 B models.

The JS Izumo will visit Vietnam for the second time.  BAe thinks they are in a good position to do the upgrades to make the JS Izumo into the F-35B carrier.

Japan has officially ended the search for the downed F-35A.  The pilot's remains have apparently been found.  Japan thinks the probable cause for the crash was pilot disorientation.  The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated the pilot may have ignored his instruments.

Japan will lift the F-35A grounding soon.

F-35s from the Netherlands did a crazy long mission.

Norwegian group crew are working on USAF F-35s at Orland.

Poland has sent a formal letter to start the chain of events to allow them to buy 32 F-35As.  Trump showed off the fighter to the president of Poland.

Did Russia jam GPS to try to prevent Israel from bombing Iran with its F-35s?

The Swiss are evaluating the F-35.

Cubic will provide the video datalink for the F-35.

Lockheed thinks demand from the Middle East could boost total F-35 production numbers to 4600.

Lockheed thinks it will sell 500 F-35As to Europe.

Lockheed is exploring the development of drop tanks for the F-35.

Lockheed is juggling upgrades with fixes on the F-35.

Lockhheed claims to be working hard to reduce the F-35 costs all around.

Lockheed and the DOD are looking at expanding the F-35 upgrade plan.

Friday, July 05, 2019

China's Space Ambitions may be Facing Delays

China’s major space missions including a lunar sample return, Mars orbiter and rover and a modular space station could be facing delays due to an apparent issue affecting rockets required for launches.

The Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket is China’s most powerful launch vehicle and was designed to launch large spacecraft to geosynchronous orbits and planetary bodies. It was being prepared for a third flight in July, Yang Baohua, vice president of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), China’s main space contractor and developer of the Long March 5, announced in a Jan. 29 news conference in Beijing.

The mission would come two years after the failure of the second launch. However that schedule appears to have slipped as the launch vehicle has yet to be delivered to the launch site, with knock-on effects possible for China’s major space plans.