Some Guys Who Didn’t Bitch and Moan About Quarantine: Apollo 11 Astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins & Neil Armstrong, July 1969Posted: October 29, 2014
Within the Mobile Quarantine Facility, Apollo 11 astronauts (left to right) Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong relax following their successful lunar landing mission. They spent two-and-a-half-days in the quarantine trailer en route from the USS Hornet to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. The Hornet docked at Pearl Harbor where the trailer was transferred to a jet aircraft for the flight to Houston.
NASA/USAF Martin Marietta X-24B – Lifting Body Test
Note: The YouTube video that was originally embedded here was removed, try viewing it at NBCNightly News instead, as linked above.
[VIDEO] Panic at the Press Site: Audio Captures Camera Operators Freaking Out During the Antares Rocket ExplosionPosted: October 28, 2014
Collective panic: Any ambitions for being a level-headed war correspondent or courageous A-list camera operator go up in smoke as members of the press are caught on tape going cuckoo bananas while witnessing a failed launch.
Swearing, gasping, pants-wetting, shaky-cam emotional meltdown. NSFW audio. Priceless.
Orbital Sciences Corp. said in a Tweet shortly after the explosion:
There has been a vehicle anomaly. We will update as soon as we are able.
— Orbital Sciences (@OrbitalSciences) October 28, 2014
The cargo rocket was supposed to launch Monday night, but that had to be scrubbed because a boat was too close to the “hazard zone” near the launch site.
This launch was the third of eight International Space Station cargo resupply missions under NASA’s $1.9 billion contract with Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia. Orbital provides the launch vehicle and cargo spacecraft and NASA runs the range operations.
“Radar aircraft detected the boat and hailed it several times, but there was no response. A spotter plane made multiple passes around the boat at low altitudes using commonly understood signals such as wing waving to establish contact. However, the operator did not respond.”
– NASA statement
The Antares rocket was carrying 4,483 pounds of equipment to the station including 1,360 pounds of food.
Orbital Sciences said everyone at the launch site had been accounted for, and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities. Read the rest of this entry »
In this still image from a NASA video, SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon spacecraft leaves the International Space Station to return to Earth on Saturday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Date: September 16, 2014
Elon was 43 years old
Late 1960s, Economy Class Seating on a Pan-Am 747 pic.twitter.com/YmjUUdYCJl
— Old Pics Archive (@oldpicsarchive) October 19, 2014
“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 who was the first person to break the sound barrier — the point where a speeding object (such as an airplane) passes the speed of sound.
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.
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.
“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 competitive streak and his understanding of machinery caught the attention of his instructors,” his website stated.
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.
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 »
Fantastic New York Times headline from the 1919 solar eclipse when the “bending” of light was observed as predicted by general relativity
— NASA (@NASA) October 8, 2014
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.
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 »
And it was their first attempt — beating the less than 50% success rate of all Mars missions to date. Read all about it here.
What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit? pic.twitter.com/HDRWjOcPus
— ISRO’s Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) September 24, 2014
— NASA (@NASA) September 24, 2014
— NASA (@NASA) September 20, 2014
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
Bill Gertz 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.
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 »
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.
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 »
Promoting his vision of manned spaceflight, Dr. Werhner von Braun poses with Walt Disney in 1954
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 »