Airborne-NextGen 04.18.23: Starship!, SkyDrop in NZ, Merlin Autonomous Flights | Aero-News Network
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Airborne-NextGen 04.18.23: Starship!, SkyDrop in NZ, Merlin Autonomous Flights

Also: VFS Enjoys Growth, Airlines V Rockets, MQ-20 UAS, New Bell Prez

The FAA has granted SpaceX final regulatory approval to carry out the first orbital flight test of the company’s Starship super-heavy-lift launch vehicle. 

The inaugural space-flight MAY see the Starship SN24 prototype blasted spaceward atop SpaceX’s Super Heavy Booster-7 later this week after a halted attempt on Monday. The mission will launch from SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. SkyDrop, neé Flirtey, has obtained its Part 102 approval from the New Zealand CAA to launch the firm's first drone hub in Huntly, New Zealand. The new location will allow them to provide “live store to door drone delivery” in the country, operating BVLOS in a revenue-generating manner. The FAA has awarded Merlin a $1-million contract for purpose of demonstrating the capabilities of its Merlin Pilot product under the auspices of onboard safety pilots. Flight-testing of the autonomous flight system will be conducted along three test routes, the entirety of which originate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’s  FAA-designated UAS test site. The flights will be conducted in cooperation with Everts Air Cargo. All this -- and MORE in today's episode of Airborne-NextGen!!!

Airborne-NextGen 04.11.23 is chock full of info in this Weekly News Episode, Tuesday, April 11th, 2023... Presented by Aero-TV veteran videographer and Airborne Hosts Holland Lee, Sophie Hurlock, Brianne Cross, Christopher Odom, and Laura Hutson, and is supported by ANN CEO/Editor-In-Chief Jim Campbell, and Chief Videographer Nathan Cremisino, this episode covers:

  • First Orbital Flight of SpaceX’s Starship Imminent
  • SkyDrop Obtains New Zealand Approval for Drone Delivery Hub  
  • Merlin to Vet Autonomous Flight System  
  • VFS Enjoys Continuing Growth in 2023  
  • Airline Complaints Compel FAA to Delay Space Launches
  • General Atomics Flies MQ-20 UAS via LEO SATCOM Datalink 
  • Lisa Atherton Named Bell Helicopter President & CEO  

Get Comprehensive, Real-Time, 24/7 coverage of the latest aviation and aerospace stories anytime, at And be sure to join us again next week for the next edition of "Airborne-NextGen" here on Aero-TV. Thanks for watching. See you, again, next week!

@2023 Aero-News Network, Inc., ALL Rights Reserved.




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