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Economy Class Seating on a Pan-Am 747, Late 1960s

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This Day in History: Chuck Yeager First to Break the Sound Barrier, Oct. 14, 1947

Capt. Charles E. Yeager is in the cockpit of the Bell X-1 supersonic research aircraft. He became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight on October 14, 1947.

Capt. Charles E. Yeager is in the cockpit of the Bell X-1 supersonic research aircraft. He became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight on October 14, 1947.

 “He had remarkable 20/10 eyesight, tremendous physical coordination, and an uncanny ability to stay focused in stressful situations. Those traits coupled with a competitive streak and his understanding of machinery caught the attention of his instructors.”

Elizabeth Howell, for SPACE.com, June 11, 2014: Chuck Yeager was an American test pilot wh51ZgqYqwuAL._SL250_o was the first person to break the sound barrier — the point where a speeding object (such as an airplane) passes the speed of sound.

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Yeager made his history-setting flight on Oct. 14, 1947 in an airplane he dubbed Glamorous Glennis, after his wife. The Bell X-1 rocket plane (which today hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum) passed Mach 1 following a drop from a B-29 airplane.

Chuck Yeager, The Right Stuff.

[Everything Chuck Yeager at Amazon.com]

The monumental “top secret” event was kept classified until 1948, but once it hit the public airwaves, Yeager became a celebrity. He also received a prestigious aviation award called the Collier Trophy, which called his flight the greatest achievement in aviation since the Wright brothers first took flight in 1903.chuck-yeager-portrait

“Yeager continued his flight testing duties for many years after breaking the sound barrier, including testing Lockheed’s XF-104, an aircraft that was capable of going double the speed of sound.”

Yeager had a colorful aviation career long even before breaking the Mach barrier. Born in 1923 in a small town near Hamlin, West Virginia, Yeager grew up working on his father’s pickup trucks, according to Yeager’s website.

His high school graduation in 1941 took place just six months before the United States entered World War II that December. By that point, Yeager was a young member of the Army Air Corps. He was tapped for flight training in July 1942, and quickly distinguished himself among his peers.

“He had remarkable 20/10 eyesight, tremendous physical coordination, and an uncanny ability to stay focused in stressful situations. Those traits coupled with a 513SsJ0RC1L._SL250_competitive streak and his understanding of machinery caught the attention of his instructors,” his website stated.

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Yeager received his pilot wings in 1943 and served in WWII, flying 64 combat missions for 270 hours in Europe. He was shot down on March 5, 1944, over Bordeaux, France, but with the assistance of French resistance movement the Maquis, Yeager made it back to neutral territory a few weeks later.

Capt. Charles E. Yeager and Bell X-1 - Portrait

Breaking the barrier

Following the war, one of Yeager’s assignments as an assistant maintenance officer in the fighter section at the Flight Test Division in Wright Field, Ohio. Yeager’s website describes the location as “the center of Army Air Forces R and D [research and development]“, and said his main assignment was to fly the fighters being developed there. Read the rest of this entry »


NYT: Einstein Theory Triumphs

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Fantastic New York Times headline from the 1919 solar eclipse when the “bending” of light was observed as predicted by general relativity


Lunar Eclipse from 4am ET – Sunrise


X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle : What is the Pentagon’s Secret Space Drone Doing?

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Sharon Weinberger writes: For almost two years, an unmanned space plane bearing a remarkable resemblance to NASA’s space shuttle has circled the Earth, performing a top-secret mission. It’s called the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle — but that’s pretty much all we know for certain.

“Despite the secrecy surrounding its mission, the space plane’s travels are closely watched. The Air Force announces its launches, and satellite watchers monitor its flight and orbit. What is not revealed is what’s inside the cargo bay and what it’s being used for.”

Officially, the only role the Pentagon acknowledges is that the space plane is used to conduct experiments on new technologies. Theories about its mission have ranged from an orbiting space bomber to an anti-satellite weapon.

The truth, however, is likely much more obvious: According to intelligence experts and satellite watchers who have closely monitored its orbit, the X-37B is being used to carry secret satellites and classified sensors into space — a little-known role once played by NASA’s now-retired space shuttles.X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle

For a decade between the 1980s and early 1990s, NASA’s space shuttles were used for classified military missions, which involved ferrying military payloads into space.

“Now, with the X-37B, the Pentagon no longer has to rely on NASA — or humans.”

But the shuttles’ military role rested on an uneasy alliance between NASA and the Pentagon. Even before the 1986 Challenger disaster, which killed all seven crewmembers, the Pentagon had grown frustrated with NASA’s delays.

Now, with the X-37B, the Pentagon no longer has to rely on NASA — or humans.

The X-37B resembles a shuttle, or at least a shrunken-down version of it. Like the space shuttles, the X-37B is boosted into orbit by an external rocket, but lands like an aircraft on a conventional runway. But the X-37B is just shy of 10 feet tall and slightly less than 30 feet long.

Its cargo bay, often compared to the size of a pickup truck bed, is just big enough to carry a small satellite. Once in orbit, the X-37B deploys a foldable solar array, which is believed to power the sensors in its cargo bay.

“It’s just an updated version of the space shuttle type of activities in space,” insisted one senior Air Force official in 2010, the year of the first launch, when rampant speculation about the secret project prompted some to question whether it was possibly a space bomber. Read the rest of this entry »


Indian Spacecraft Orbits Mars

And it was their first attempt — beating the less than 50% success rate of all Mars missions to date.  Read all about it here.


Not a Star Trek Replicator- but a Step in that Direction: 3D printer to International Space Station


The Provocations of Putin: Russian Nuclear Bombers Buzz Alaska, Northern Europe

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Weakness Invites Aggression. Putin’s Only Responding to Passive U.S. Leadership, Happily Accepting the Invitation

Update 5:50 P.M.: This story has been updated to include developing information about the Russian incursion off the coast of Alaska

 reports: Russian strategic nuclear bombers carried out air defense zone incursions near Alaska and across Northern Europe this week in the latest nuclear saber rattling by Moscow.

“They are having a very aggressive nuclear readiness exercise now as a show of force. Whereas the U.S. has been on a path of nuclear zero which they think is ridiculous.”

Six Russian aircraft, including two Bear H nuclear bombers, two MiG-31 fighter jets and two IL-78 refueling tankers were intercepted by F-22 fighters on Wednesday west and north of Alaska in air defense identification zones, said Navy Capt. Jeff A. Davis, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Two other Bears were intercepted by Canadian jets on Thursday.

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Russia, under Putin, is engaged in a large-scale nuclear buildup that includes new missiles, submarines, and a new bomber.

A day later two more Bear bombers were intercepted by Canadian CF-18 jets in the western area of the Canadian air defense identification zone near the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, he said. Read the rest of this entry »


October Spacewalk: Station Crew Set to Welcome SpaceX Dragon, Soyuz Spacecraft

In this photo posted to Twitter by Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman, he and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst (right) pose for a picture with spacesuits in the International Space Station's Quest airlock. Image Credit: NASA View tweet from @Astro_Reid

Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman, he and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst (right) pose for a picture with spacesuits in the International Space Station’s Quest airlock.  Image Credit: NASA View tweet from @Astro_Reid

As they get set for next week’s arrival of the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship and a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new crew members, Expedition 41 Commander Max Suraev and Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst closed out the International Space Station’s workweek Friday with eye exams, cargo management and preparations for a pair of U.S. spacewalks in October.

At the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 41/42 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, right, brushes up on docking skills on a laptop computer simulator Sept. 17 as prelaunch preparations continue for the crew. Image Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

At the Cosmonaut Hotel crew quarters in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 41/42 Soyuz Commander Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, right, brushes up on docking skills on a laptop computer simulator Sept. 17 as prelaunch preparations continue for the crew.  Image Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov

The fourth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission remains on track for a launch from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday at 2:14 a.m. EDT. The SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle is poised to deliver 2.5 tons of station supplies, including around 1,650 pounds of science. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 1 a.m. Saturday.

[UPDATE: See this -- Boeing Isn’t Getting More NASA Money Because It’s Doing a Better Job than SpaceX]

There is a 50% probability of favorable weather for Saturday’s launch. If the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity will be early Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Backlit Launch

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Backlit Launch – Flickr


Dr. Werhner von Braun with Walt Disney in 1954

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Promoting his vision of manned spaceflight, Dr. Werhner von Braun poses with Walt Disney in 1954


Report: China Establishes Space-Ops Military Branch

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 reports: China is moving forward with plans to create a fifth branch of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), one which will be dedicated to space operations, Japanese media reports.

Japanese paper Yomiuri Shimbun reported last month that Chinese-party officials submitted an official order for the PLA to go ahead with the establishment of an Aerospace Force, Zachary Keck of The Diplomat writes.

The space-branch would add to the PLA’s Ground, Air, Naval, and Second Artillery (nuclear and ICBM missiles) branches. It will come with the establishment of its own office run under the Party’s Central Military Commission.

In April, Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping told military officers “to speed up air and space integration and sharpen their offensive and defensive capabilities,” calling for a “new type of combat unit.” Read the rest of this entry »


Study: More Pilots Testing Positive For Drugs

New York Scenic Shots

Tests of pilots killed in plane crashes over more than two decades show an increasing use of both legal and illegal drugs, including some that could impair flying, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

“The tests also revealed increased pilot use of all kinds of drugs, including drugs that could impair a pilot’s functioning as well as drugs used to treat potentially impairing conditions such as seizure disorders and psychiatric illness.”

The study examined toxicology reports for almost 6,700 pilots killed in crashes from 1990 to 2012. Not only did the share of pilots testing positive for a drug increase over that period, but the share of pilots who tested positive for multiple drugs increased as well. Pilots testing positive for at least one drug increased from 9.6 percent to 39 percent, while positive tests for two drugs rose from 2 percent to 20 percent and three drugs from zero to 8.3 percent.

Over the same period, new drugs were coming into use and the U.S. population was aging, creating greater demand for drugs. The toxicology tests “reflect tends in the general population and likely indicate a significant increase in drug use” by pilots as well, the study said. Read the rest of this entry »


FBI: Air Marshal Attacked With Syringe In Nigeria

University Of Iowa Begins Vaccinating Students For Mumps

(AP) — The FBI says a U.S. air marshal was attacked with a syringe at a Nigerian airport.

FBI spokesman Christos Sinos said Tuesday that preliminary tests show the syringe did not contain any deadly pathogens. It’s not known what was in the syringe, but Sinos says the tests are “negative for any bad stuff.”

The air marshal was attacked Sunday at the airport in Lagos, Nigeria, a country dealing with an Ebola outbreak. Read the rest of this entry »


NASA: On Space Station, Earth’s Bee-ooty is in the Eyeball of the HD Beholdin’ Beholder


Meteorite Leaves Big-Ass Crater in Managua, Nicaragua

Nicaragua

Large blast heard just before midnight followed by burning smell.

“We thought it was a bomb because we felt an expansive wave.”

– Jorge Santamaria

A small meteorite landed near the international airport in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, on Saturday night, government officials say.

“All the evidence that we’ve confirmed at the site corresponds exactly with a meteorite and not with any other type of event.”

– Ineter scientist Jose Millan

Residents reported hearing a loud bang and feeling the impact, which left a crater 12m (40ft) wide and 5m deep. Government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said the meteorite seemed to have broken off an asteroid which was passing close to Earth. She said international experts had been called in to investigate further.

No-one was hurt when it hit the wooded area near the international airport and an air force base.

‘Like a bomb’

An adviser to Nicaragua’s Institute of Earth Studies (Ineter), Wilfried Strauch, said he was “convinced it was a meteorite” which caused the impact. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Long Exposure Photo of Falcon 9 Rocket Launch from Cape Canaveral

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Long Exposure Photo of tonight’s Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, carrying AsiaSat 6 to Geostationary Transfer Orbit


[VIDEO] A Robot on a Hoverbike – Why Not?

YouTube


[PHOTO] Exploring Space: Steve Robinson Attached to the Canadarm

Canadarm

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NASA Photograph of Distant Planet? Lab Photo of Microorganism? Or Chinese Dessert?

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See more here…

[THE FONG REPORT: pundit from another planet]


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