March 20, 2023

1st Martian Flight Test On Track

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen here in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken April 5, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

Morning Coffee is a robust blend of links to news around the internet concerning the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Morning Coffee logoeconomic community. The opinions expressed here do not reflect opinions of the Leader’s owners or staff.

NASA is one giant step closer to testing the first aircraft’s attempt at flight on another planet, with the small helicopter, Ingenuity. The small rotocraft successfully deployed from NASA’s Perseverance rover and survived its first night of the frigid Martian temperatures and within a few days will conduct flight tests in the thin atmosphere of Mars, its only mission, the helicopter carries no science instruments. Within 30 Martian days, or sols (a Martian day is 24.6 hours), on the surface, Ingenuity will complete its testing, and Perseverance’s scientific exploration of Jezero Crater will kick into high gear.

Special Operation veterans Patrick Moltrup and Jason Lilley have teamed up to create a YouTube channel, which has quickly grown to more than 80,000 subscribers, reports Marine Corps Times, giving civilians a taste of special ops.

Lockheed names Bridget Lauderdale VP and new general manager of the F-35 program, reports Defense News. She currently leads the F-16 and F-22 programs as head of Lockheed’s integrated fighter group.

The Department of Defense secretly consolidated prisoners at Guantánamo Bay last weekend to close a failing facility, reports The New York Times. The move was conceived during the Trump administration to save on costs and reduce the troop presence at the base in Cuba.

No stimulus check for veterans last week, reports c/net. Although the IRS has made millions of payments, until this week, 30 million or so people who receive federal benefits were waiting on agencies to send updated files to the IRS. The IRS said it is reviewing information for Veterans Affairs benefit recipients and expects to determine a payment date soon for veterans who don’t normally file taxes.

Gayle Smith was named coordinator for the US global COVID-19 response, reports The Hill. The Biden administration seeks to lead the worldwide effort to beat back the pandemic. Smith served as administrator of the Agency for International Development during the Obama administration, and joins the State Department in her role as coordinator for global COVID-19 response and health security.

The Navy is still struggling to modernize its aging cruiser fleet as tight budgets threaten legacy platforms, reports USNI. A plan to keep the Navy’s guided-missile cruiser fleet operating through the end of the 2030s is struggling as the ships show there’s a very real cost in time and money to keep old platforms around for the sake of having a larger fleet.

The inert, Navy target mine, which shut down a Florida beach on Easter, is only the latest military device to wash ashore this spring, according to Military Times. Target drones and flares are among the military hardware showing up on Florida beaches.



The US and Iran hold indirect talks in bid to save nuclear deal. ABC News reports this could be the first step toward reviving the 2015 deal that constrains Tehran’s nuclear facilities in exchange for sanctions relief. The meetings, hosted by the European Union, will work toward two separate agreements — on how the US and Iran can both return to compliance with the deal’s terms.

RADM Trent DeMoss, in charge of naval aviation maintenance depots, was removed from command by Naval Air Systems Command head VADM Dean Peters, reports USNI News, pending an investigation into harassment complaints in the wake of a Navy inspector general investigation.

Valkyrie drone launches an even smaller drone from inside its payload bay, reports Defense News, releasing a small, tube-launched autonomous drone during flight testing at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

Active-duty suicide numbers level off after summer spike, but reserves soar, reports Military Times. Active-duty suicides jumped about 8% overall last year ― to a 377 total, compared to a 7% jump the previous year, for a 348 total. The reserves held steady in the first nine months of the year, then exploded with a 128%  spike in the fall and winter, from 25 deaths in late 2019 to 57 in late 2020. Most of that spike was concentrated in the National Guard, which went from 14 suicides to 39 during the same period; 23 of those deaths were in the Army National Guard.

US Army embarks on competitive prototyping journey for an Arctic vehicle, reports Defense News. The service awarded contracts to develop a prototype for the all-terrain vehicle to two vendors: A team of American firm Oshkosh Defense and the land systems division of Singapore’s ST Engineering; and a team of two BAE System units, Land and Armaments, as well as BAE Hagglunds.

Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controllers are training Syrians to help call in helicopter airstrikes, reports Air Force Times, which could irritate nation-states opposed to the US presence in Syria. The training was published on a Pentagon website, appears to be the first case of non-state actors receiving close air support training from JTACs.

North Korea will not take part in the Tokyo Olympics over COVID-19 fears, reports BBC. The decision puts an end to South Korea’s hopes of using the games to engage with the North amid stalled cross-border talks. In 2018, both sides entered a joint team at the Winter Olympics which led to a series of historic summits.

US policy toward Egypt is sparking conflict between congressional Democrats and Biden, reports The Washington Post. Biden’s talk of a fresh start clashed with the State Department’s approval in February of a $197 million sale of missiles and related equipment to Egypt. The decision — and timing — raised concerns among some Democratic lawmakers who have oversight responsibilities for weapons transfers. The Biden administration formally notified Congress of the potential missile sale Feb. 16, just as news emerged that the Egyptian government had arrested the cousins of an Egyptian American dissident, Mohamed Soltan, in a move seen by human rights activists as an intimidation tactic designed to silence Soltan’s criticisms of Sissi.


Native Technology Solutions LLC, Lorton, Virginia (W91278-21-D-0001); Knight Architects Inc., Atlanta, Georgia (W91278-21-D-0002); Raymond Pond Enterprise Solutions JV LLC, Conyers, Georgia (W91278-21-D-0003); Schmidt-Prime Group LLC, Pensacola, Florida (W91278-21-D-0004); Pond-Tetra Tech JV LP, Peachtree Corners, Georgia (W91278-21-D-0011); Bullock Tice Associates Inc., Pensacola, Florida (W91278-21-D-0005); Cems-Rs&H JV, Summerville, South Carolina (W91278-21-D-0006); G.M. Hill Engineering Inc., Jacksonville, Florida (W91278-21-D-0007); Ilsi-Arcadis Small Business Joint Venture LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana (W91278-21-D-0008); Leo A. Daly Co., Atlanta, Georgia (W91278-21-D-0009); Merrick & Co., Greenwood Village, Colorado (W91278-21-D-0010); Prime Ae/Stanley JV LLC, Baltimore, Maryland (W91278-21-D-0012); Aecom Technical Services Inc., Los Angeles, California (W91278-21-D-0013); Arcadis-Exp Federal JV, Highlands Ranch, Colorado (W91278-21-D-0014); Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. Inc., Kansas City, Missouri (W91278-21-D-0015); and Jacobs Government Services Co., Englewood, Colorado (W91278-21-D-0016), will compete for each order of a $249,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for architect and engineering services. Bids were solicited via the internet with 75 received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 5, 2026. US Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

Symmetry Energy Solutions LLC, Houston, Texas (SPE604-21-D-7516, $18,762,985); Enspire Energy LLC, Chesapeake, Virginia (SPE604-21-D-7511, $13,631,543): and Fireside Natural Gas LLC, Marietta, Georgia (SPE604-21-D-7512, $9,220,467), have each been awarded a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, requirements contract under solicitation SPE604-21-R-0400 for pipeline quality direct supply natural gas. These were competitive acquisitions with 13 offers received. They are two-year contracts with a possible six-month carryover. Locations of performance are Virginia, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana and Tennessee, with a May 31, 2023, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force and federal civilian agencies. No money is obligated at time of award, using customers are solely responsible to fund this contract. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

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