May 31, 2017

Copenhagen Suborbitals

Well this is neat. An amateur rocket club club in Denmark is looking to loft an amateur astronaut into space in the next two years. They're launching a proof of concept rocket from Jutland this summer and if their concepts are thus proven they expect to be sending one of themselves into space (but not orbit) in a year or so.



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September 01, 2016

Goshdarnit....


A Space-X rocket exploded today while doing a pressure fire test. Thankfully, it appears that no one was hurt.


India successfully tests its own scramjet engine in flight on board an Advanced Technology Vehicle rocket.


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December 28, 2015

One Giant Leap

One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes is all suited up and ready to go after observing the successful landing of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket. 



'Science Babe' is actually ZZGundam's Elle Vianno as rendered by by Monocoque.

The stage will be reused and that will go a long way towards reducing launch costs moving forward. This is a big step towards the fully reusable multistage rockets that have been dreamed of since Von Braun's time.


Space-X did a lot of similar operations earlier. Jeff Bezos's company which has a much lower performance rocket for suborbital space tourism achieved a similar feat a few weeks ago and several similar landings were done by the DC-X in the early 90s. However, this is the first time this has been successfully done as part of an actual satellite launch. 

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July 20, 2015

46 Years Ago



A quarter of those who walked on the Moon have already passed


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June 28, 2015

Well. Crap.

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May 13, 2015

Abort Test

Space-X successfully tested its launch abort system recently. Instead of a disposable tower the system uses the landing retro rockets to remove the capsule from an exploding rocket and send it down range. 

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February 09, 2015

Handy Dandy Online Schedule

One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes takes time from her twin hobbies of astrography and gunzelling to give us a handy dandy calculator for getting the most out of an interplanetary line-bash. 




The Cosmic Train Schedule has launch windows and trip times for Hohmann transfer orbits between Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter (Sorry Ceres) out to about the year 2326. 

WHY one might have need for this? I'm sure that I have no idea. But it is certainly a neat resource and if one ever stumbles across enough unused Delta V laying about and decides not to listen to one's mom... 


...it will make a useful addition one's blaster and freezer gun. 

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If You Ever See This

Get underground fast!


Multiple Russian ICBM warheads heading towards their targets on the Kura test range.

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January 18, 2015

It Wasn't Deceptions After All

Beagle 2 has been found apparently intact, with no other nearby robots or their botprints in evidence. 




"No!...My THESIS! "

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November 14, 2014

November 14: The Day IT Support Came into Its Own

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October 28, 2014

Now I REALLY Regret not Driving up to Chincoteague Today


Alas, it turned out not to be visible from here after all. 
But a sincere thanks goes out to Pete for the heads up nonetheless.

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July 20, 2014

45 Years Ago


How far have we come as a nation since that triumph 45 years ago?
Well, for one thing, here is big chunk from the sidebar of the YouTube page linked above. 


A dark age does not come about because a society simply can't do something they did before. That can happen because of a setback, changing conditions or hard times. Rather, a dark age is when the members of a society no longer believe that the society's great accomplishments could have possibly been achieved by mortals. 

Dark ages are bad things.

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July 01, 2014

Well, THIS was unexpected



One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes reacts to the astonishing news that wild Chimpanzees have mastered fire.

A few individual apes seem to have originally developed a rudimentary technique of rather poor efficiency, but the group gradually improved it through experimentation and observation over the last few months. They are now able to create and maintain a fire, which they have been using mostly to scare off predators and cook some of their food. Some individuals in particular among the group, seem to have rapidly grown a taste for cooked foodstuffs, especially flying squirrels.  

That's really COOL!
On the other hand....yeah.....we're doomed. 

UPDATE: Doomed I say. 
 
Even Updatier:
In the comments Edward M makes some claims that seem to revolve around the indefensible theory that nicking a story from Ace's sidebar before rushing off to work with none of the regular second source checking is somehow not a blogging best practice. 

As"evidence" for this unsupported and scientifically dubious notion, he calls into question the veracity of other news stories on the site linked above. 

Given the obvious presence of the word NEWS in the url this means that Edward M is arguing against authority...worse, given that out of a focus group of two blogs, the story has been treated credulously by 100% of the sample, HE'S ARGUING AGAINST CONSENSUS which as we all know is a form of denialism (not to be confused with Denaliism,...the worship of Mount McKinley...which this blog does not have an official position on) 

Furthermore, his calling into question the accuracy of other stories is easily debunked by demonstrating the non-impossibility of the news articles. For instance, it is known that Dracula was based on a real person (Vlad Tepes) so it is entirely possible that a descendant of that individual could be a mass murdering cannibal.  Assuming they existed, the Knights of the Round Table have to be buried somewhere, and England would be a logical choice, which would make finding the tomb of one of them in the UK unsurprising. I do not find it in any way unlikely that a single set of quadruplets containing babies of 4 different races would surprise experts. In fact, this story would be quite unbelievable if the experts were NOT astonished. If anyone were to claim that Putin is the third Antichrist...it would as likely as not be a Nostradamus expert. Libertarianism is far more likely to appeal to squirrels, than, say, bees. The story about the Sauropod terrorizing a group of oil field surveyors in Nigeria is in the Paleontology section, where dinosaur stories belong. The site has no cryptozoology section which is an actual indicator of high idiocy.

So there you go. 
I think my rebuttal speaks for itself. 

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March 19, 2014

Dentistry and Rocket Science are Completely Different....

...until suddenly they aren't.


Via


Some people are immediately going to contemplate passing some asinine ordinance to ban this.

The rest of us however....

"Why didn't WE get to do that as kids?"

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February 24, 2014

F-1 in Huntsville!

My first F-1 post!

Two of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes report that Huntsville Alabama is home to the first F-1 test and quals since 1969 and the first F-1 ever since 1973!

Wait....

"Science Babes Moonlighting as Race Queens" is not the actual title of this piece by Tan-Tan.

If Formula One hasn't existed since 1973 what's this guy going on about?

"What?..."

"Oh!..."

The Science Babes are at their other job in Les Mans, which caused my confusion as they're actually talking about...

The Rocketdyne F-1 rocket engine!

The huge engines that powered the first stage of the Saturn 5 rocket which put 12 men on the moon and Skylab into orbit hasn't been built in 44 years. Contrary to popular belief the plans for these beast DO still exist, but they are in obsolete computer formats and of limited use.
You see, the Apollo program was so rushed that a lot of the little 'tweaks' that were found necessary to keep the rocket from failing. This was not fully appreciated until the '80s when NASA and USAF engineers noted that there were holes drilled and pieces added to some of the F-1s in museums...holes and fiddly bits that weren't on the plans. The engines were exploding during tests and the production crew did some trial and error modifications until the "splodies" stopped. Additional tweaks were added at the plant to facilitate production, so the F-1 plans are actually plans for an inefficient kerosene/LOX bomb.

Well, engineers in Huntsville have taken apart and are restoring some of these engines, which were discovered to be in remarkably good shape. This time making a note of Every.Single.Part. And. Hole. The plan is to do a computer model of the engine that is accurate, but they need to ensure that they are building it from a working engine...so.....



That's just a test of the engines gas generator from last year...
This project is the brainchild of Marshall Spaceflight center engineers who felt that they ought to DO something with the dozen or so F-1s lying around the research center. They've been calling in other rocketry companies to observe and consult. In addition they've been bringing in the few surviving Apollo engineers to work on this interesting side project...which has resulted in a tentative design and proposal for the F-1B 



 This is not as silly as it sounds. One of the things about the F-1 that was discovered back in the 60's was that, due to its very conservative design it was actually pretty re-useable and it was felt it could be made completely so with a few tweaks. F-1s were considered for several early space shuttle designs propelling reusable flyback boosters.



 The mighty F-1 may yet again spew pillars of fire for the chariots of explorers.



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November 16, 2013

Mount Aetna Showing Off


The Youtube heading oversells it a bit. But it's still pretty neat.

UPDATE: In the comments Steven points out that the video is from 2000. Aetna (or Etna as seems to be the prefered spelling now) pulled this off last week too, leading to my confusion...I guess Etna  is just habitually awesome.


more...

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July 20, 2013

The Changing Pace of Progress

Progress...
In 1803 the population of the entire planet was a hair over a billion people. World economies were agrarian. Slavery of one form or another was practiced in all but a handful of nations.  Transportation was powered by muscle or wind, though there were a few clumsy steam engines doing the sorts of work waterwheels had done for ages in more congenial locations.



One hundred years later, there were telephones, telegraphs, steamships that could cross the Atlantic with thousands of people in 5 days.  Trains crisscrossed continents and industry had blossomed. Brazilians, Frenchmen and Germans had been flying experimental airships for a decade or more and on a cold December day at Kitty Hawk North Carolina,  a machine that was heavier than air took flight.



Less than 66 years after that (and 44 years ago today) humans set foot on another wold.



And in the 44 years since then?....well....the youtube page that is on is littered with videos claiming that it never really happened. As the 12 who walked on the moon pass beyond the veil the possibility increases that we will once again live in an age where no living person has walked upon the moon. The solar system, a vast storehouse of resources lies untouched save for a few probes, some debris and 6 flags planted there by a people who once could accomplish things.

Perhaps our children will redeem us...we have no right to expect they'll forgive us.


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June 30, 2013

42 Years Ago Today


The crew of Soyuz 11 docked with the very first space station (Salyut 1) and stayed in orbit for 23 days, setting a space endurance record before they were forced to cut short their mission due to an electrical fire on the station.



During the re-entry of the Soyuz 11 capsule , there was a loss of radio contact, but the spacecraft landed quite normally in Kazakhstan.

Tragically, when the recovery team arrived however, they found that a pressure release valve had opened during reentry and exposed the crew to the vacuum of space. They were not wearing pressure suits. Despite the best efforts of the recovery team to revive them, Georgiy Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky, Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev and Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov had died on re-entry.

As terrible as this was, it bears remembering that if the boundaries of the future are allowed to be set by the, the timid, or far worse, those who would presume to forbid others from striving for great things...then our future will be a dark age. The human race is fortunate to have people such as these who will step into the breach and attempt great deeds.

They deserve to be remembered.

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June 02, 2013

The Other Commercial Space Capsule

Boeing's CST has completed wind tunnel testing. It's expected to launch it's first manned flight in 2016.



Interestingly, although big, it's light enough to be launched on an off the shelf Atlas 5

Now there are those who are getting their backs all bowed up and asking questions like "Why do we need ANOTHER one of these?" "Isn't this just a colossal waste that duplicates effort?"

We'll let one of our crack team of science babes politely respond to that.



...
...

'Kaay...

Well, lets try that again with added civility.

With the Dragon (which has successfully flown unmanned), The Dreamchaser and NASA's own CEV, this gives 4 competing manned space systems...which greatly increses the chances that at least one will work, and if multiple versions are successful it provides a good deal of redundancy in the event there is a problem with one system. Given that three of the projects are private enterprises, it means that there is potential for considerable downward pressure on prices via competition.

Additionally, both the CEV and the Boeing design are designed for use as afar afield as Earths moons and slightly beyond (Luna, Cruithne and some Near Earth Objects). The DreamChaser and Dragon designs are strictly near earth orbit taxis though they have the potential to be exceedingly economical to operate.  So we're on the cusp of complementary and redundant capabilities in manned spaceflight.

So...Wo0t! Go for it Boeing!

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April 23, 2013

Space X Grashopper on a Quite Breezy Day






One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings news of reusable launch vehicles from Texas. Space-X has, for some time been testing their launcher recovery system. We mentioned it in passing here.

This particular test is interesting because not only does it have accompaniment by Johhny Cash, it also took place on a very windy day, indicating that this really may be doable. Future launches will take place at White Sands Missile Range and aim for incrementally greater altitudes and speeds. Subsequent test rigs will be retracting their legs and it is planned late this year or early next to have the thing go hypersonic before returning!

HT: NBF

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