Sarah Palin's presence in the lower 48 means the Arctic ice cap can finally return.

calendar   Thursday - July 30, 2020

Next Stop Mars

Houston, we have ignition

These launches make me feel like a patriotic little kid again. It’s that thrilling to me.

NASA Launches Mars Rover, No Problems


from the live blog ...

All tanks on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket are fully fueled, conditions are nominal and we are still on track for a 7:50 a.m. EDT (1150 GMT) launch.
The weather in Florida is beautiful and perfect for today’s launch. According to weather officer Jessica Williams, weather is observed and forecast GO for liftoff in just about half an hour.
LAUNCH! Perseverance is on its way to Mars

Go Percy! Go Atlas V! Go Mars 2020! Go Centaur!

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has officially lifted off for Mars from Florida in the United States.

The rover successfully launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The car-sized rover is officially on its way to Jezero Crater on Mars, where it is set to arrive in about seven months on Feb. 18, 2021.
The solid rocket booster helping Atlas V launch the Mars rover Perseverance has separated from the booster as planned.
PLF (Payload Fairing Separation): The Atlas V rocket’s payload fairing, or nose cone, which was made in Switzerland by Ruag Space and helped to protect the Atlas V rocket during launch, has separated from the vehicle as scheduled.
Centaur separation

Atlas V’s Common Core Booster, the first stage of the Atlas 5 rocket separates from Centaur, the upper stage of Atlas V, as scheduled.
ULA’s Atlas V rocket has successfully completed an “escape burn,” or its second and final engine firing, as scheduled. This burn is what pushes the vehicle out and towards the Red Planet, where it is set to arrive Feb. 18, 2021, nearly seven months from now.


another link

Know what I really love about this? The Atlas booster is older than I am. It started out as an ICBM in the 1950s, and was the motivating force underneath the Project Mercury space flights of the early 1960s. It also sent up the Agena equipment packages for some of the Gemini missions, and has launched several hundred satellites since then. Sure, it’s been updated a bunch of times since then, and I think the current one is all-American and no longer using the Russian built R180 middle stage engine.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/30/2020 at 10:38 AM   
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calendar   Thursday - February 25, 2016

Dark Mass Found, Pope Exonerated

Does This FRB Make My Universe Look Fat?

Also: Anisotropic probing done to ionize Bary on intergalactic medium caused “redshift”

Radio telescope catches signal older than the Earth, realizes frequency anomalies are road map to missing “dark matter” that contains most of the mass of the universe.

For nearly a decade, astronomers have been puzzling over a certain type of signal. They’re called fast radio bursts, brief radio pulses that last only a few milliseconds, but give out as much energy as the sun will emit in 10,000 years.

To date, 18 of these vexing signals have been identified. Because they are so transient, all scientists had previously known about them was that they exist, and they’re really powerful.

Now researchers from Australia’s CSIRO and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s Subaru telescope in Hawaii have for the first time calculated the originating location of a radio burst. The most recent of these signals, FRB 150418, was captured on the 18th of April in 2015.
Staggeringly, FRB 150418 came from an elliptical galaxy 6 billion light-years away.

What caused the FRB (or any FRB) is still unknown, but pinpointing the location of this burst indicates that they often occur from massive distances away. And it’s had another unexpected benefit: locating the universe’s missing matter.

The gravity in the universe is far greater than can be accounted for by what we observe. Astronomers believe that most of this is accounted for by dark energy, which makes up 70 percent of the universe, and dark matter, which makes up 25 percent of the universe. The remaining five percent is ordinary matter, and it’s what everything we see is made of.

But all the observed ordinary matter, from all the stars and galaxies and planets and nebulas, only adds up to about half of what should be there if this model of the universe is correct.

Using FRB 150418, the team was able to “locate” this missing matter. As radio waves travel through space, they run into gas and other material, which has an effect on the signal. By looking at delays in various radio frequencies, the team was able to calculate exactly how much material it had passed through on its 6 billion light-year journey.

The delay in the frequencies of the burst, visible as a spike, caused by matter between Earth and its origin.

“The good news is our observations and the model match—we have found the missing matter,” said lead author Evan Keane of the SKA Organisation. “It’s the first time a fast radio burst has been used to conduct a cosmological measurement.”

These signals are dispersed according to a precise physical law and this dispersion is a key observable quantity, which, in tandem with a redshift measurement, can be used for fundamental physical investigations10, 11. Every fast radio burst has a dispersion measurement, but none before now have had a redshift measurement, because of the difficulty in pinpointing their celestial coordinates. Here we report the discovery of a fast radio burst and the identification of a fading radio transient lasting ~6 days after the event, which we use to identify the host galaxy; we measure the galaxy’s redshift to be z = 0.492 ± 0.008. The dispersion measure and redshift, in combination, provide a direct measurement of the cosmic density of ionized baryons in the intergalactic medium of ΩIGM = 4.9 ± 1.3 per cent, in agreement with the expectation from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe

Since “paradigm” is pronounce para-dine, then “ΩIGM” must be “Omega Dyne”, right? Wasn’t that the cover corporation in Buckaroo Banzai for John Big Boo Tay? Or would Omega Dine be the actual name of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe? And if all of this theorizing and matter finding fits on the same intergalactic medium, just think what we’ll be able to pack onto next year’s intergalactic large!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/25/2016 at 11:46 AM   
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calendar   Tuesday - December 22, 2015

estes arer you watching?

SpaceX Lands Falcon 9 Booster, Upright And Ready To Reuse


SpaceX sent a Falcon rocket soaring toward orbit Monday night with 11 small satellites, its first mission since an accident last summer. Then in an even more amazing feat, it landed the 15-story leftover booster back on Earth safely.

It was the first time an unmanned rocket returned to land vertically at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and represented a tremendous success for SpaceX. The company led by billionaire Elon Musk is striving for reusability to drive launch costs down and open up space to more people.

SpaceX employees broke into cheers and chants, some of them jumping up and down, following the smooth touchdown nine minutes after liftoff. Previous landing attempts ended in fiery blasts, but those aimed for an ocean platform.

“The Falcon has landed,” SpaceX TV commentators announced.

The top officer at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, noted that the returning booster “placed the exclamation mark on 2015.”

“This was a first for us at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and I can’t even begin to describe the excitement the team feels right now having been a part of this historic first-stage rocket landing,” Monteith said in a statement.

I think this one hits a solid 9.2 on the Cool-o-Meter, just for the elan of it all, and let’s give them an extra 0.3 for nailing the landing, on target, at night. So call it a 9.5, which is FREAKING OUTSTANDING.

I have no idea how much dead weight the booster recovery system adds, or what kind of performance bight that makes. But it looks like the central engine of it’s 9 engine cluster is reserved for retro-rocket duties (OMG, when is the last time you thought of “retro-rcokets”? 1973?), the body is steered back to earth using folding grid fins (the same kind as on the MOAB) and pop out triangular landing gear provides plenty of drag and comes with some massive shock absorbers.

Here’s a closer look: LINK

And another: LINK

And another: LINK.

SpaceX is not part of NASA at all, so in all likelihood, not a single Muslim was reached out to during this entire project. Hella yeah!

Now, how to build one as a flying kit? Let’s see, the legs are the important part ... if you replaced the pretend shocks from the old Estes Mars Lander with some real ones from those R/C dirt cars ... make it a mid-power model so it’s a good size to begin with ... use some kind of coil spring on the landing leg hinge, like the one on a mousetrap ... a little burn-through tube on the booster engines to release it ... inertial electronics to fire off the remote second stage ... you’d have to time things just so, and find the right engine to use in the center of a 3+1 cluster ... maybe a long burn C6 from SCR for the retro, after 3 D8s to get it up there? How to import BP rocket engines from Australia??  Ach, phooey, just use a small clear plastic parachute with a drogue hole. Leave the legs extended and they’ll probably act as fins. This one isn’t a high flier, it’s an upright lander. And with a fairly normal body design, it’s got to be easier to build than that fat flying mushroom old Vernon E used to sell.

insanely difficult to build
even harder to fly


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/22/2015 at 10:05 AM   
Filed Under: • SpaceTalented Ppl. •  
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calendar   Thursday - July 16, 2015

a run of 6 and some more deep space adventure

We must have had some astral syzygy last night, bringing Pluto and all her moons into alignment* , because we won all 7 points last night.

Conditions were strange once again, and it was another of those nights when your team wins by not losing as much as the other team. We managed to roll just a bit under team average for Games 1 and 3, winning each by more than 30 pins. Game 2 we took by more than 100, which was largely my doing. Don’t ask me where it came from, but I found a good line through the mess and just laid down strike after strike. I opened with one strike, then followed it by another, and another, and another ... 6 in a row. Just when I started thinking maybe I could go all the way I miffed it a bit, throwing an 9 / in the 7th, which gave me a 1 under 149 in the 5th. Then I got back on that pony in the 8th and threw another X. Alas, an 8/ in the 9th killed the 170s game dream, but at least I marked. Double X in the 10th, and then I flubbed it for a 4 left me with a “measly” 253, which might be the high game for this tiny summer league so far. I know it’s good for another foam rubber beer can cover prize at the end of the season, and ordinarily it would be good for another one of those refrigerator magnet things from USBC. Except this isn’t a sanctioned league, and also because USBC has a bad case of rectal-cranial inversion and is trying to self-destruct**.

* [ still not a official planet, geologically active Pluto is nearly a solar system of it’s own, with 5 moons, ranging in size from the larger Charon down to the 27 mile long flying ice covered potato Hydra. If it isn’t a planet, then it’s the Shark Vacuum of the solar system, sucking up all the bigger cracker crumbs and chunks of astral debris way out there at the back end of forever. Charon, Nix, Hydra, Styx and Kerberos are the names of the moons. So now I have to ask, where is the line between moon and asteroid, if 27x20 mile Hydra is a moon, but 975km Ceres is but an asteroid? And to confuse us all even more, there are several asteroids ... that have their own moons ( a dozen or so even have several )! ]

** We heard last summer that USBC had changed its annual membership to a seasonal one. It used to be that you’d sign up in the fall, and be sanctioned for the winter season and the following summer season. You’d pay your $16 dues, and they’d mail you a glossy little bowling magazine every month. And you’d get a pin, or a patch for your various annual achievements (eg 75 pins over game, 250 game, 700 series, Dutch 200, etc). Then dues went up to $20. And the magazine became digital at the official website. And the award categories were thinned out, and the awards themselves became vinyl key rings.  This sucked, but you could still amass your year’s collection on one of the handle straps of your bowling bag, like scalps on a red indian’s belt. Then they degraded the awards even more, making them crappy cardboard faced fridge magnets. This year they’ve gone over to a “lifetime” basis, which means “You threw a 275 game 6 years ago and we gave you a key ring. Suck it up, that’s all the prize you’re getting, you only get one per lifetime.” And now they’re collecting extra dues for folks who play in the summer leagues, even though there is no championship series for the winners of these leagues, as the winter season has. And they don’t even issue you a membership card. And winter mini-seasons aren’t part of the annual either, and each short season requires its own membership. Crivens! Bowlers everywhere are giving the USBC the one fingered salute, and for all I know the organization will collapse within a year or two. Somebody somewhere is sucking millions of dollars out of the kitty, and people are getting fed up. We want our annual gibs. Oh, USBC also stopped sponsoring the 300 rings ages ago. Even before the price of gold went through the roof, they were bleeding cash because so many people can throw perfect games these days. Whatever; the rings I don’t care about. The rest? Double the dues (20 annual + 10 summer + 10 winter mini-league) and give me nothing for it at all? Fuck them. Good and hard.


Hydra, moon of Pluto. More info here


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/16/2015 at 09:01 AM   
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calendar   Thursday - December 04, 2014

Up And Away?

NASA to launch Orion capsule in short minutes.

It’s a test launch.

At T Minus 4 minutes, there was a little hold on the liguid oxygen valve on one of the boosters. Holding, with 1:15 minutes left in today’s launch window. Ready for recycle now ...


Watch it live online here

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – With the imminent debut of its Orion spacecraft, NASA is on a high not felt since the space shuttle days.

Shuttle veterans, in fact, are leading the charge in Thursday morning’s two-orbit, 4½-hour test flight, meant to shake out the capsule before astronauts climb aboard — eventually, perhaps, to visit Mars.

“We haven’t had this feeling in a while, since the end of the shuttle program,” said Mike Sarafin, the lead flight director stationed at Mission Control in Houston. “Launching an American spacecraft from American soil and beginning something new, in this case exploring deep space.”

Orion is set to fly farther than any human-rated spacecraft since the Apollo moon program, aiming for a distance of 3,600 miles, more than 14 times higher than the International Space Station.

That peak altitude will provide the necessary momentum for a 20,000-mph, 4,000-degree entry over the Pacific. Those 11 short minutes to splashdown is what NASA calls the “trial by fire,” arguably the most critical part of the entire test flight. The heat shield at Orion’s base, at 16.5 feet across, is the largest of its kind ever built.

Navy ships were stationed near the recovery zone off the Mexican Baja coast.

... Lovin’ it. The toubleshooting plan for the sticky valve is to pressurize the tanks and then cycle the valves half a dozen times. In other words, pump it up and give things a good shake. Rocket Science talk for “give it a kick and see if that fixes it”. ... 45 minutes remaining in today’s launch window ...

NASA is currently streaming video from their Ikhana drone over the splashdown point in the Pacific, code named POINT McGOO. Woo hoo!!

(wazzat? “Mugu”. Oh. Crivens.) Nevermind. It’s “Point Mugu”, off the coast of California.

Ikhana, NASA’s remotely piloted, unmanned aircraft system, will be used Dec. 4 to capture video of the Orion crew module Exploration Flight Test 1 as the module descends through the atmosphere into the Pacific Ocean.
The aircraft’s camera, mounted on the plane’s underside, will generate a live video feed of the descent. Ikhana was acquired by NASA in November 2006 to support Earth science missions and advanced aeronautical technology development.
While Ikhana loiters at 27,000 feet altitude, the infrared camera will detect the capsule. Once the camera has located and acquired the Orion module, the camera operator will switch to an optical camera that will observe Orion’s descent through parachute deployment and splashdown.

Ikhana is an MQ-9 Predator B drone, one of the big ones. Guess NASA had no real need for machine guns or MRAPS in the big government Big Government Big Stuff Giveaway so they took one of these babies instead.

... clock reset, 11 minutes to go ...

CRAP Today’s launch has been scrubbed. Better safe than sorry, the engineers are going to go and manually check the valves. So I guess that means the tanks have to be drained and so forth. Tune in tomorrow, and we’ll try it again.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/04/2014 at 08:23 AM   
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calendar   Wednesday - November 12, 2014

What a piece of work

What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me—
nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

-- Hamlet

On the one hand, this today


After a 10 year, 4 billion mile flight, the Rosetta/Philae spacecraft probe has caught up with, and safely landed on, comet 67P.

This is a true first in human achievement, and a deservedly proud moment for ESA, the European Space Agency.

The full story, with tons of pictures far better than this, can be found here.

On the other hand, this today


Her millions-strong popularity and inescapable media presence have made her grist for think pieces galore. She is variously seen as a feminist-entrepreneur-pop-culture-icon or a late-stage symptom of our society’s myriad ills: narcissism, opportunism, unbridled ambition, unchecked capitalism. But behind all the hoopla, there is an actual woman—a physical body where the forces of fame and wealth converge. Who isn’t at least a tad curious about the flesh that carries the myth?

Your mythic curiosity is now satisfied, back, side, and full frontal, in explicit oiled up detail. And it’s so much more than her wondrous aboriginal ability to balance a champagne glass (or a small VW, probably) on the flesh shelf that is the top of her magnum derriere.

This is what matters in the real world. Everyone saw Kim naked today. Only a few even bothered to look at the comet probe thing, and before about a week ago when it started getting back in the science news, probably not one in ten million people remembered it from the launch a decade ago. But you all know that Kim and her [mustn’t say it, mustn’t say it, mustn’t say it] husband Kanye West had the intellectual foresight to name their child North. North West. (and if life really imitates art, North will have a son and name him North as well. North, by North West. Then that North can have a son and name him Cary Grant.)


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/12/2014 at 10:38 PM   
Filed Under: • CULTURE IN DECLINESpace •  
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calendar   Friday - October 31, 2014

Aww Crap

Virgin Galactic Space Ship Crashes, 1 Dead


Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, part of a commercial space venture founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, crashed during testing Friday and broke into several pieces. One person was killed and another injured.

“Space is hard and today was a tough day,” said George Whitesides, the CEO of Virgin Galactic.

Two people were aboard SpaceShipTwo and a California Highway Patrol spokesperson said two people were found near the crash in the desert north of California City and east of Mojave. One of the individuals had parachuted out of the aircraft, and another was located near the scene as well, California Highway Patrol said. Their names have not been released.

The WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, which carries the SpaceShipTwo, landed safely. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on their way to the site.

Virgin Galactic, founded by Branson, has engaged in a nearly decade-long endeavor to produce the world’s first commercial space liner, which would make several trips a day carrying scores of paying customers into space for a brief journey.

It announced an agreement in May with the Federal Aviation Administration that helped clear the path to send paying customers on a suborbital flight by setting parameters for how routine missions to space will take place in national airspace.

The explosion scattered debris across a two-mile swath of the desert floor outside Mojave, California, and came after the plane was released from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane. SpaceShipTwo was testing its rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months.

“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement. “The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots.”


Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw an explosion high in the air and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert. The Mojave airport’s director, Stuart Witt, said the craft crashed north of Mojave. He deferred further comment pending a news conference that is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET).

Keith Holloway, a Washington-based spokesman for the National Transportation and Safety Board, said “we are in the process of collecting information.” The FAA said it was also investigating the incident.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/31/2014 at 04:36 PM   
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calendar   Tuesday - October 28, 2014



not today, sorry

Space station support rocket crashes and explodes on launch


(CNN)—An unmanned NASA-contracted rocket exploded in midair early Tuesday evening, producing huge flames and loud booms along the eastern Virginia coast but no injuries or deaths.

Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft had been set to launch at 6:22 p.m. ET from the Wallops Flight Facility along the Atlantic Ocean, carrying roughly 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

It exploded about six seconds after launch.

What was left of the spacecraft and rocket plummeted back to Earth, causing even more flames upon impact.

The rocket and spacecraft—which together cost more than $200 million, according to Frank Culbertson, the general manager of Orbital’s Advanced Programs Group—are gone. And there’s obvious damage beyond that, including to the launchpad, though the night skies made it hard to immediately gauge how much.

One thing officials do know is that rocket science is, in the words of NASA Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier, “a really tough business.”

NASA contracted. Right.

It lights off, goes up about 75 yards, loses thrust and slips back down. Boom. The first stage was said to have broken apart. Be glad it was just a cargo shot.

Rocketry is dangerous. Always was. Always will be.

So what happened?

That’s exactly what officials—both from public agencies like NASA and private companies like Orbital—hope to find out in the coming days and weeks.

“What we know so far is pretty much what everybody saw on the video,” Culbertson said. “The ascent stopped, there was some, let’s say disassembly, of the first stage, and then it fell to Earth. ... We don’t really have any early indications of exactly what might have failed, and we need some time to look at that.”

Orbital will lead the investigation, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, with NASA assisting.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/28/2014 at 10:38 PM   
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calendar   Thursday - October 16, 2014

White Flight

A Knight To Remember

A Bit Of History

October 2, 1967

Somewhere over the Mojave Desert, hundreds of miles north of Las Vegas

The white trail traced a curve upward, upward, vaulting away into the western sky. Blue sky gave way to black. And there was a concussive explosion.

Read the story here.

Pictures that go with the story are here.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/16/2014 at 06:09 PM   
Filed Under: • HeroesHistorySpace •  
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calendar   Monday - September 08, 2014

That’s a Big One

There’s A Moon Out Tonight ...

Harvest Moon tonight, the last of the “supermoons” for this year.

Don’t get hit by a falling piece of green cheese.

oops. crater caused by a small wedge of falling sky cheese, outside Managua Nicaragua today.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/08/2014 at 05:40 PM   
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calendar   Friday - August 08, 2014

Incredible Photo

View of space shuttle Atlantis captured from the International Space Station


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 08/08/2014 at 05:35 PM   
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calendar   Monday - April 29, 2013

To Infinity, And Beyond!

Virgin Galactic Ignites Rocket Engine In Test Flight

Breaks Sound Barrier, Returns Safely To Earth


The spaceplane being developed by UK billionaire Sir Richard Branson has made its first powered flight. The vehicle was dropped from a carrier aircraft high above California’s Mojave Desert and ignited its rocket engine to go supersonic for a few seconds.

Sir Richard’s intention is to use the spaceship to carry fare-paying passengers on short pleasure rides above the Earth’s atmosphere. His company Virgin Galactic has already taken hundreds of deposits. The rocket vehicle is known as SpaceShipTwo (SS2).

Although it has been in the air on more than 20 occasions, this was the first time its hybrid motor had been ignited. It was only a short burn lasting about 16 seconds, but it propelled SS2 beyond the sound barrier to a speed of Mach 1.2. Future outings should see progressively longer burn durations, enabling the plane eventually to reach sufficient velocity to climb more than 100km into the sky.

Monday’s mission began at the Mojave Air and Space Port at just after 07:00 local time (14:00 GMT). Test pilots Mark Stucky and Mike Alsbury were reported to be at the controls of SS2.  It took off slung beneath the WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, which does the job of lifting the rocket plane to its launch altitude - some 45,000ft (14km).

A little under an hour later, SpaceShipTwo was released, dropped a short distance to get clear of WhiteKnightTwo and then lit its engine, which burns a combination of a solid rubber compound and liquid nitrous oxide. After shutting down its motor, the vehicle then glided back to the Mojave runway, touching down just after 08:00 local time.

Sir Richard said in a statement: “For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight. Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end.”

The flight did not involve a trip to space. Virgin Galactic says it’s ramping up to go beyond the atmosphere later this year and begin passenger flights shortly afterward.

SpaceShipTwo is the commercial version of SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 became the first private manned rocket to reach space.

More than 500 aspiring space tourists have paid $200,000 or plunked down deposits for a chance to experience several minutes of weightlessness.

Pretty darn awesome. Gizmodo has kept abreast of all the Twitter tweatings and has some more pictuers

Here’s the video -

Sir Branson’s little test sled looks a tiny bit familiar I think.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/29/2013 at 12:14 PM   
Filed Under: • High Techplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesSpace •  
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calendar   Thursday - December 13, 2012


Another Unexpected Killer Asteroid Just Misses Earth


A newfound asteroid gave Earth a close shave early today, zipping between our planet and the moon just two days after astronomers first spotted it.

The near-Earth asteroid 2012 XE54, which was discovered Sunday (Dec. 9), came within 140,000 miles (230,000 kilometers) of our planet at about 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT) Tuesday (Dec. 11), researchers said. For comparison, the moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 240,000 miles or so (386,000 km).

Astronomers estimate that 2012 XE54 is about 120 feet (36 meters) wide — big enough to cause substantial damage if it slams into Earth someday. An object of similar size flattened 800 square miles (2,000 square km) of forest when it exploded above Siberia’s Podkamennaya Tunguska River in 1908.

2012 XE54 will be coming back to Earth’s neighborhood before too much longer. The asteroid completes one lap around the sun every 2.72 years.

I’m willing to cut the Mayans a couple years plus or minus for their calendar. When you’re that busy cutting people’s hearts out, what time do you have left to build precision computers out of granite?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/13/2012 at 02:23 PM   
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calendar   Wednesday - December 12, 2012


North Korea Launches Rocket, Puts Something Into Orbit

West Caught Completely Off Guard By Surprise Launch

North Korea successfully fired a long-range rocket on Wednesday, defying international warnings as the regime of Kim Jong Un took a giant step forward in its quest to develop the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead.

The United States, South Korea and Japan quickly condemned the morning launch, which came as something of a surprise after Pyongyang had indicated technical problems might delay it. That it succeeded after several failed attempts was an even greater surprise.

The regime’s stated purpose for firing its long-range Unha-3 rocket was to put a peaceful satellite into orbit, but the United Nations, as well as the U.S. and its allies see it as cover for a test of technology for missiles.

About two hours after the launch, North Korea’s state media proclaimed it a success, prompting customers in the coffee shop at Pyongyang’s Koryo Hotel to break into applause during a special television broadcast. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, later confirmed that North Korea did appear to have put an object into space.

Wednesday’s launch is likely to bring fresh sanctions on the North, and the White House called it a “highly provocative act that threatens regional security.”

NORAD said the rocket traveled south with the first stage falling into the Yellow Sea and a second stage falling into the Philippine Sea hundreds of miles farther south. “Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit,” NORAD said in a statement.

A launch had seemed unlikely to take place so soon after North Korea announced Monday that it was extending the launch window into late December, citing technical issues in an engine.

Previous launch attempts by the North in 1998, 2006, 2009 and April this year failed to achieve their stated goal of putting a satellite into orbit and provoked international condemnation.

Pyongyang had said this rocket launch would be “true to the behests” of Kim Jong Il, the late North Korean leader and father of Kim Jong Un, head of the ruling regime.

Kim Jong Il died on December 17 last year, so the first anniversary of his death falls within the launch window that North Korea has announced.

Experts had also speculated that Pyongyang wanted this launch to happen before the end of 2012, the year that marks the centenary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea and grandfather of Kim Jong Un.

This year is the centennial of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of Kim Jong Un. According to North Korean propaganda, 2012 is meant to put the North on a path toward a “strong, prosperous and great nation.”

The launch also follows South Korea’s recent cancellation, because of technical problems, of an attempt to launch its first satellite from its own territory. Two previous attempts in 2009 and 2010 failed.

This is all my fault. It’s 2:30am here now; I had to get up to pee but then I didn’t go back to sleep. Instead I came downstairs, made a chai latte and flipped on the PC to see what was on the news. Serves me right. This wouldn’t have happened until after 9am if I’d gone right back to sleep!

So anyway, the Norks finally got one up. I wonder if this surprise launch is in reaction/a provocation to the “secret” Air Force launch yesterday of their new zillion mph spy plane/interceptor whatsis. Coincidence? Perhaps, perhaps not. Or maybe the Kims want to get their little HEMP threat running ASAP. No, not that kind of hemp, OCM. The other kind; the small nukes set off in low orbit kind that fries all the electronics here in the west in half a heartbeat.

After all, we’ve got ... 10 days left ... until the end of the world.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/12/2012 at 02:40 AM   
Filed Under: • North-KoreaSpace •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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