Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Space Problems and What to Do About It?

I was following a news link about how much money that NASA was getting from the Stimulus Bill when I got sidetracked to the SpaceX website. They have a pretty good animation on that page of their proposed Dragon crew capsule and a flight to the International Space Station (ISS) that you should watch. Just click on the link at the bottom to see it. Originally, I was going to write on an article on Space.com about U.S. Military, intelligence, civil and commercial space leaders coming together to urge President Barack Obama to address the problems that are plaguing the entire U.S. Space program. See that link at the bottom as well.

But getting back to the Stimulus Bill. NASA is going to be getting $400 million for exploration. Now on the SpaceX webpage, they thank Senators Mikulski and Nelson and Representative Mollohan for their support of NASA and the U.S. Commercial space transportation industry.

SpaceX had won the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (aka: COTS) program back in 2006. Recently, SpaceX demonstrated their Falcon 9 launch vehicle. First flight of a Dragon crew capsule will take place in 2009. By the end of 2010, the Dragon will make a demonstration flight and dock with the ISS. Once that is proven, SpaceX will begin operational flights to the space station thanks to being awarded the Cargo Resupply Services contract. SpaceX expects to receive between 1.6 to 3.1 billion dollars for 12 cargo flights.

Remaining hurtles for SpaceX now is to finish desiging the Dragon to NASA human rating requirements such as redundant electronics, extra structural elements for improved safety margins, and systems that can handle acceptable G-loads in all phases of flight and launch abort. On their webpage, SpaceX mentions it has designed several windows and hatches that open both inwards and outwards to ensure astronauts can exit if a pressure relief valve fails. Manned launches of the F9/Dragon combination is expected to take place by mid to late 2011.

Under current plans, the US will pay Russia $47 million per seat on a Soyuz spacecraft, for the period between the Shuttle's retirement in 2010 and the Ares/Orion system going operational by 2016. In contrast, SpaceX's F9/Dragon would run $20 million per seat. The spacecraft is totally manufactured and launched in the United States. In the end, they are projecting saving the U.S. Taxpayer nearly $2 Billion dollars.

Now we come to the plea from 'experts' worried about the United States leadership in space exploration and technology. Over on the National Space Society blog, there is a new space policy brief present by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Dr. Feng Hsu, and Dr. Ken Cox, that people need to read. Heck, I think you may need to print this out to take to work tomorrow and read it on your coffee or lunch break. That link is below as well.

This group, called the Committee for U.S. Space Leadership is worried about the U.S. Space industrial work force problems, and projected gaps in important capabilities. This nonpartisan group is hoping to get increased White House involvement on this matter. They are making broad recommendations, trying to avoid specific organizational and programmatic ones made by previous (space) panels. On a February 19, 2009 interview, Lt. General Michael Hamel, former commander of Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles said, “I think there's widespread recognition that we have serious issues and challenges across the space community. What's been a little bit different about what we've tried to advocate is although we have distinctive space sectors in military, civil, intelligence, commercial, the fact is these are all highly interconnected. Many of the problems we see in one sector are paralleled in others.”

President Obama's agenda while overburdened with economy, national security, education, energy and the environmental issues, also has space issues he wants to support.

The committee made six recommendations and they were lisited on the Space.com article on the matter. They are presented here as well.

  1. Established a White House focal point, such as a National Space Council, to set priorities, provide management oversight and coordinate decisions and actions across the departments and agencies. The council should include senior White House and cabinet-level engagement.

  2. Assess and mitigate potential gaps in defense, intelligence and civil space capabilities. (this is where the SpaceX article I spoke about in the beginning comes in to play I think).

  3. Consider creating a Presidential Space Advisory Board, similar to the president's Intelligence Advisory Board, to provide independent advice and outreach to the space sectors and public.

  4. Revise national space policy to establish a strategic direction and clear priorities, and align space programs to achieve broader national objectives.

  5. Devise a strategy to achieve these space policy goals by the end of 2009.

  6. Assign priority to the nation's space program by linking space activities to the president's broader priorities.

I think that this just points out two separate leads pointing towards a common end point.


Ref. Article “Obama Urged to Tackle U.S. Space Problems” by Turner Brinton, Feb. 23, 2009. (http://www.space.com/news/090223-obama-space-system-plan.html#comments )

SpaceX web Page, ( http://www.spacex.com/cotsd.php )

National Space Society Blog article by Buzz Aldrin, (http://blog.nss.org/?p=360 )

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Facebook Can Lead to UFO Disclosure?

Facebook can lead to UFO disclosure? Well, check this article out and see for yourself. I however, became very interested to the whole concept of Flashmob, or in otherwords, a internet based force multiplier for real world action:

Quote: "But social networking applications are what the military would characterize as a 'force multiplier', magnifying the effect of the ideas Salla, Peckman and others present and turning them into instant memes." and this quote too: "If large numbers of average Americans, fed up with the cost of gas, pollution, environmental damage, the lies, secrecy and denial were to begin to flashmob the local capital building as a result of spontaneously generated citizen advocacy, acknowledging the existence of ET would eventually become a mere formality for the administration."

And for the final quote from that article: "(Clay)Shirky's example of collective action resulting from the insanely easy group forming ability of Web 2.0 is a story of political action in Belarus. In 2006 a flashmob assembled in October Square Minsk for the activity of eating ice cream. This would be innocuous enough were it not for the fact that it is illegal to act in concert in October Square—a political mechanism intended to quell dissent. The flashmob concept was reengineered from quirky ad-hoc street theater into quirky ad-hoc political protest. As Shirky puts it, "Nothing says dictatorship like arresting people for eating ice cream."


Friday, February 20, 2009

Tamil Tigers - They Have Their Own Air Force Now?!

From a BBC News, Colombo article by Roland Buerk posted on Monday, March 26, 2007.  

Its amazing what you can dig up on the internet. Just a link in a article about one subject and take you off in another direction.  I was reading Reuters and saw a article (by Ranga Sirilal. Reuters dated February 20, 2009 about the Tamil Tigers terrorist organization attack Colombo yet again).  With their own aircraft! I must have missed that issue of Solider of Fortune magazine.

Two rebel Tamil Tiger aircraft attacked the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on Friday, bombing a tax building and injuring at least 27 people.  According to the defense spokesman Keheliy Rambukwella, "One plane dropped a bomb on the Inland Revenue building catching on fire."  He went on, "We have shot one down in Katunayake and found the wreckage and the body of the pilot."  Katunayake is the international airport outside Colombo.  The separatists Tamil Tiger rebels have been cornered in a shrinking war zone, but they have a fleet of small planes that they have used to carry out aerial attacks in the past.  

While most of the territory has been taken by the rapid military advance of the Sri Lankan army, none of their small, single-engine planes have been found so far.  

The Sri Lankan civil war is the longest-running war in Asia and has killed a reported 70,000 people since it begn in 1983.  And the rebel group not only operates aircraft, but it has a sea wing as well.  

What is this I asked myself?  A terrorist/rebel organization now operating their own air force?  I had to check this out.  And I did.  That is where I found the article by Roland Buerk (March 26, 2007.  BBC News, Colombo, Sri Lanka).  

The rebels are using single-engine Czech-design Zlin-143 aircraft.  Normally a civilian light general aviation aircraft.  There was a photo showing one of these aircraft with a bomb rack holding four bombs on it with that article as well as a drawing of the Zlin-143s

From 1980s through 2007, the fight has always been on land or out at sea, but now the rebels have added a air capability.  

I have posted this on my other blog as well (http://flash255bunker.blogspot.com).


Ref.  http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE51J4I720090220 

Gliese 581 - Oh How Do I Luv Thee, Let me Count the Ways!

Here are some links to exciting news over on Space.com. Please check them out. And how the solar system Gliese 581 appears in both articles.

1. "Out There: Billions and Billions of Habitable Planets" by Robin Lloyd and posted on February 19, 2009 ( http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/090219-explanets-life.html ). In this article, Lloyd interviews author Alan Boss about his new book "The Crowded Universe" (Basic Books) that will be published this month. Mr. Boss talks about classes of extra-solar planets including "Super-Earths." While none have officially been reconized as such, two candidates have been found. One is thought to be orbiting Gliese 581 and discovered in 2007 by Stephane Udry and colleagues on the Geneva Observatory. Carnegie Institution's Paul Butler in 2004 thinks he found one around Gliese 436. That same year, Barbara McArthur thought to have discovered one around 55 Cancri.

Super-Earths depending on where they orbit in the life zone of their solar systems might be too hot or too cold to support life. But there might be some in the middle of the life zone that could support life (i.e. Gliese 581). To find out more, go to Space.com and read that article.

2. "What Finding Alien Life Could Mean for Earth" is an article by Seth Shostak, also posted on February 19, 2009 at Space.com ( http://www.space.com/searchforlife/0902190-seti-finding-life-impacts.html ). So what would you do if it was announched that we had discovered extressitrial life - as in intelligent life forms? What about just the discovery of microbes on Mars if that happens soon? What about if a signal was picked up from Gliese 581. (NOTE: Theres Gliese 581 again folks! Remember that solar system name from now on).

Gliese 581 is a M-class red dwarf star, spectral type M3V, and is 20.3 light years from Earth. It is located in the constellation of Libra. Mass is estimated to be a third of that of our own Sun. It is also the 87th closest known start system to our solar system. Gliese 581 c is believed by some to be a rocky planet with a radius 1.5 times that of Earth. A direct measurement of the radius cannot be taken because the planet is not a transiting planet. With a minimum mass of roughly five times Earth - or one third that of Neptune - Gliese 581 c orbits just inside of the habitable zone of the parent star. orbit around the sun is 13 days! A very quick year indeed.

"Observations of the star also revealed the possibility of a third planet, Gliese 581 d, with a minimum mass of roughly 7.7 Earths, or half a Uranus, and an orbit of 84 Earth days. It orbits on the outer edge of the habitable zone of its star, which makes it a (more - my words) potential candidate for being able to support life." from Wikipedia on Gliese 581.

3. "Plate Tectonics Could Be Essential for Alien Life" by Lee Pullen, posted on Space.com on February 19, 2009. ( http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/090219-am-plate-tectonics-life.html ). Plate tectonics is the process of continents on the Earth drifting and colliding, scraping together, mountain ranges being formed and earthquakes tearing the land apart to form oceans, etc. It makes for a dynamic and ever-changing world, by Lee Pullen asks if it should be a factor in our search for life elsewhere in the universe? The director of the German Space Research Centre Institute of Planetary Research and chairman of ESA's scientific advisory committee - Tilman Spohn thinks so.

Up till now, it was thought that the best place to look for life would be in the "habitable zones" around other stars. Temperatures where it is suitable for liquid water to remain on the planet and not be boiled away by the star it orbits. Nor too far out for it to be cold enough that it is totally frozen, sorta like Europa.

Plate tectonics help generate a magnetic field by convention of Earth's partially molten core. It is the magnetic field that protects life on Earth by deflecting the solar wind. Not only would an unimpeded solar wind erode our planet's atmosphere, but it also carries highly energetic particles that could damage DNA. Lack of such actions on Venus contributed to its runaway greenhouse effect - and thus, that planet's hot temperatures it has today.

The problem scientists have with understanding such plate tectonics from orbit around our own planet is that it is very hard to sense such a "Biosignature." At least with our current technology.
Ref. link on Wikipedia about Gliese 581 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gliese_581 )

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Giant UFO over Russia

Take a look at what ufocasebook.com has right now.  (http://www.ufocasebook.com/2009/siberiancity.html ).  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) releases graphic of their planed Human Spaceflight capable capsule and launch vehicle.  

Currently planned for a 2015 lift-off with a two-person crew, the capsule is designed to be upgraded to handle three and will be able to dock with other space vehicles and or a space station.  Attached graphic comes from Space News Graphic.

Ref.  (http://www.space.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?pic=090211-sn-india-capsule-02.jpg&cap=This+graphic+depicts+the+India+Space+Research+Organisation's+plans+for+the+nation's+first+crew-carrying+spacecraft.+Credit:+Space+News+Graphic. )

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Former Astronaut Speaks Out on Global Warming

Former Astronaut Speaks Out on Global Warming
(article by the Associated Press, 02/15/2009)

AP article, Santa Fe, NM- Former astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who walked on the moon and once served New Mexico in the U.S. Senate, doesn't believe that humans are causing global warming.

“I don't think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect,” said Schmitt, who is among 70 skeptics scheduled to speak next month at the International Conference on Climate Change in New York.

Schmitt contends that scientists “are being intimidated” if they disagree with the idea that burning fossil fuels has increased carbon dioxide levels, temperatures and sea levels.

“They've seen too many of their colleagues lose grant funding when they haven't gone along with the so-called political consensus that we're in a human-caused global warming.” Schmitt said.

Dan Williams, publisher with the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, which is hosting the climate change conference, said he invited Schmitt after reading about his resignation from The Planetary Society, a nonprofit dedicated to space exploration.

Schmitt resigned after the group blamed global warming on human activity. In his resignation letter, the 74-year-old geologist argued that the “global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making.”

Williams said Heartland is skeptical about the crisis that people are proclaiming in global warming.

“Not that the planet hasn't warmed. We know it has or we'd all still be in the Ice Age,” he said. “But it has not reached a crisis proportion and, even among us skeptics, there's disagreement about how much man has been responsible for that warming.”

Schmitt said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400AD., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise.
Schmitt also said geological evidence indicates changes in sea level have been going on for thousands of years. He said smaller changes are related to cahnges in the elevation of land masses – for example, the Great Lakes are rising because the earth's crust is rebounding from being depressed by glaciers.

Schmitt, who grew up in Silver City and now lives in Albuquerque, has a science degree from the California Institute of Technology. He also studied geology at the University of Oslo in Norway and took a doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1964.

In 1972, he was one of the last men to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 17 mission.
Schmitt said he's heartened that the upcoming conference is made up of scientists who haven't been manipulated by politics.

Of the global warming debate, he said: “It's one of the few times you've seen a sizable portion of scientists who ought to be objective take a political position and it's coloring their objectivity.”

Ref. Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com/

Friday, February 13, 2009

Number 6,000 from Van's Aircraft Flown

Got this little tidbit from AOPA...

Louis Palmenteri of Rhome, Texas, recently piloted the 6,000th airplane from from a kit by Van's Aircraft.

Palmenteri said it took him to three to four years to build his airplane from the kit supplied by the 33-year-old manufacturer.

"We have shipped starts for more than 1,200 aircraft in the last two years," says founder Richard VanGrunsven.  He notes that newer models are designed to require less building time, so "we look forward to seeing the next thousand RVs fly in an even shorter time that the last thousand."  AOPA Online dated 02/12/2009.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Untapped Oil Reserves in the United States in 2008

Thanks to a email from a old flying buddy of mine, I am writing this post for both of my blogs (http://aerospacedreams.blogspot.com/ and http://flash255bunker.blogspot.com/ ).

While the email that was sent to me delt with the Bakken Formation in Montana and North Dakota, I also found a fact sheet dealing with the Permian Basin – a region that I live in. Please use the links provided below and print these out for yourself and your friends. Email your friends with those links or a link to this blog for their own education. The news about the Bakken MUST get out to the general public. It must evade the efforts of the green party (I.e. The Democratic Party and their propaganda machine – the mainstream news media).
Quoting the United States Geological Survey report for the Permian Basin, "The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently assessed the undiscovered oil and gas potential of the Permian Basin Province of West Texas and southeast New Mexico. The assessment was geology based and used the total petroleum system concept. The geologic elements of a total petroleum system are petroleum source rocks (quality, source rock maturation, generation, and migration), reservoir rocks (sequence stratigraphy, petrophysical properties), and traps (trap formation and timing). This study assessed potential for technically recoverable resources in new field discoveries only; field growth (or reserve growth) of conventional oil and gas fields was not included. Using a this methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated a mean of 41 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas and a mean of 1.3 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in the Permian Basin Province."

This is good news if the US had the strength to ignore those voices on the left and not harming the planet, etc, etc. But, the news is even better with what is known as the “Devonian-Mississippian Bakken Formation” This is a area that covers North and South Dakota and parts of Montana. USGS estimates a mean “undiscovered” volume of 3.6 Billion barrels of oil, 1.85 TRILLION cubic feet of associated/dissolved natural gas. And finally, 148 million barrels of natural gas liquids in this region.

And since this is a light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16.00 per Barrel!

This is enough to fully fuel the American economy for Forty-One (41) straight years!

Now this next bit of information should really floor the reader. It was released several years ago (April 20, 2006, Stansberry Report Online). U.S. Oil Discovery – Largest Reserve in the World! Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world is more than 2 Trillion barrels. On August 8, 2005, President Bush mandated its extraction.

They reported this amazing news: We have more oil inside our own borders, than ALL the other proven reserves on the planet. Eight times as much oil as Saudi Arabia. Eighteen times as much oil as Iraq. Twenty-One and Twenty-Two times as much oil as Kuwait and Iran respectively. 500 times as much oil as Yemen. All right here in the United States of America.

And the reason WE are NOT extracting this?! You already know the answer to this question. It is because the environmentalists and others (I.e. The Greens and their lobby groups working on the Democratic party), have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil!

The head researcher of the study, James Bartis, says that we( the USA) got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East – more than TWO TRILLION barrels untapped. The Denver Post quoted him as saying, “That's more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today.”

Think about this, the current cost of a barrel of oil is: $40.41 as of February 8, 2009, but the prices of gas at the gas pump is still climbing again – getting ready to shock it to us again for the second year in a row. Why is this?

My thoughts on this is this. There are those who believe in Peak Oil – that oil is a finite resource. While there is talk (and only talk) of building more refineries – that will not happen. Because if one believes in Peak Oil – and that we have ALREADY crossed that dividing line, there will not be enough oil to process in 20-30 years. Which is also the amount of time it would take in order for a refinery to pay itself off. Here is a link about Peak Oil for you (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_Oil).

I no longer believe in Peak Oil myself. More and more discoveries of oil are being made at far greater depth than what one would expect to find dead dinosaurs and plant matter to be at. Oil, I think, is a geological byproduct. We've been taught about the theory of Continental Drift and how the continents of the earth move relative to one another. This is an old hypothesis put forth by Abraham Ortelius in 1596 and more fully developed by Alfred Wegener in 1912. (Check it out at Wikipedia yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_drift).

Is oil a byproduct of Continental Drift? For myself, as of this date; I think the answer is yes.


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_Oil
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_drift
3. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2007/3115/
4. http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911
5. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2008/1353/
photo from http://www.fotosearch.com/ (1169611) royalty free photograph.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Comet Lulin Coming

Newly discovered comet Lulin is going to be more visible in the nightime skies soon.  Cloest approach will be on February 24th and the nights up to and afterwards.  It will appear more like a dim, fuzzy star according to the article on Space.com.

The comet was discovered by Chi Sheng Lin using a 16-inch telescope at the Lulin Obervatory at Nantou, Taiwn on July 11, 2007.  But 19-year old student Quanzhi Ye at Sun Yat-sen University in Mainland China who reconized the new object to be a comet.  It was part of the Lulin Ky Survey project to explore the various populations of small bodies in our solar  system.  Lulin comet, was formally known to astronomers as Comet C/2007 N3.

According to Brian Marsden of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Comet Lulin is in a parabola orbit.  It has passed through the perihelion point in its orbit around the sun on January 10, 2009, 113 million miles from the sun.  It is now outward bound from the sun, closing on Earth with a minimum of 38 million miles by February 24, 2009.  Comet Lulin also has a low inclination of just 1.6 degrees from the solar ecliptic. 

The comet is located in the constellation Libra and will appear to move on a northwest trajectoy, crossing over into the constellation of Virgo on Feb. 11 and passing 3 degrees north of the 1-st magnitude star Spica in Virgo on February 16.  Space.com reporter Joe Rao, gave a example of how to determine 10-degrees of width by using your clenched fist held out at arms length.  

Comets are visible because solar radiation releases gas and dust from the comet and thus that material is reflected in the sunlight, creating a cloudy head (also known as the coma) and either one or two tails.  Telescope observers might also be able to see a tiny spike which "leads" the comet, ot to put it another way, a real tiny tail oppsoite the main tail.

Ref. article on Space. com by Joe Rao ( http://www.space.com/spacewatch/090206-ns-comet-lulin.html )

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

NASA's Singularity University

NASA announced on February 3, 2009 a new, narrowly focused graduate studies program. Called the Singularity University, or more simply, (SU); it plans to offer nine-week graduate studies program as well as a three day executive officer and management level programs beginning in June. Location will be at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.

According to the NASA statement, the SU curriculum will cover a borad range of interdisciplinary exposure to ten fields of study. Such as future studies and forecasting; networks and computing systems; biotechnology and bioinformatics; nanotechnology; medicine, neuroscience and human enhancements; artificial intelligence, robotics, and cognitive computing; energy and ecological systems; space and physical sciences; policy, law and ethics; and finance and entrepreneurship.

The university was founded on September 20, 2008, by S. Pete Worden, Ames Center Director; Ray Kurzweil, author and futurist Peter Diamandis; space entrepreneur and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation; Robert Richards, who is the co-founder of the International Space University; Michael Simpson, president of the International Space University; and a group of Singularity University associate founders who have contributed time and capital.

Ray Kurzweil stated the purpose of Singularity University in his own words, “With its strong focus on interdisciplinary learning, Singularity University is poised to foster the leaders who will create a uniquely creative and productive future world.”

Here is the link that was posted with the NASA news release ( http://www.singularityu.org and http://singularity-university.org/ ).


Ref. Space.com article by the Space.com staff ( http://www.space.com/news/090203-singularity-university.html ).  also http://singularity-university.org/ 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Iran Launches Its Own Satellite

 Iran announced that it had launched a domestically built satellite into orbit for the first time on Tuesday (February 3, 2009). Called Omid (meaning “Hope”), the satellite demonstrates the long-range ballistic technology that Iran has at its disposal. In other words, if a satellite can be put into orbit, so can a warhead. While Iran publically states it has no intention of doing so, the West doesn't believe them.

Quoting a statement from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from a televised statement, “Dear Iranian nation, your children have placed the first indigenous satellite into orbit.” Iranian state television showed footage of a rocket blasting off and lighting up the night. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also added the following: “With God's help and the desire for justice and peace, the official presence of the Islamic Republic was registered in space.” The television broadcast said that the Omid would return to earth with data after orbiting for one to three months. Omid joins another Iranian satellite in orbit. Called the Sina-1, it was launched by a Russian rocket in 2005.

Political analysts state that by sending the “Omid” into space is a message to the rest of the world that Iran is “very powerful” and you have to deal with them in the correct manner. Officials from six of the world powers (the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, and China) will meet on Wednesday to discuss the nuclear issue with Iran. It will be their first meeting since President Barack Obama took office. President Obama in the past stated that he will pursue direct talks with Tehran – but that also warned the Tehran government to expect more pressure if it(Iran) does not meet the U.N. Security Council demand to halt atomic work the West fears has military aims.

The Reuters article reported that Andrew Brookes of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a think-tank located in London, said the news would prompt concern in Israel and elsewhere in the region. “They will think that this civilian capability will soon be transformed to a military reconnaissance and intelligence gathering capability.

Former head of the Israel Space Agency, Isaac Ben-Israel, told Reuters reporters in Jerusalem: “If they managed to fire a satellite into space it means they can also reach Western Europe.” Speaking with Tal Inbar of the Space Research Center at Israel's think-tank (the Fisher Brothers Institute), said that Iran was only the ninth country in the world capable of both producing a satellite and sending it into space from a domestically made launcher. “We should regard this satellite as the “Iran Sputnik” he stated on Israeli radio. Israel joined the club in 1988 and now Iran has follow suit in 2009 – 21 years later. “The main value is ... propaganda.” he said.

Iran is still under both U.N. And U.S. Sanctions because of suspicions about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Iran keeps stating that it's nuclear plans are for domestic power generating needs. Iranian technology is mostly modifications of other equipment supplied by other nations such as China, North Korea, etc.


Ref. From Reuters.com, an artilce by Fredrik Dahl and Parisa Hafezi (Tehran) (http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5120NN20090203 )

Monday, February 2, 2009

Skydiver Instructor Dies in Mid-Jump

You know you are having a bad day when your instructor who is strapped to your back while the two of you are making a practice jump - has a heart attack and dies.  What do you do?  

Learn how to land of course.  This incident took place in Chester, South Carolina.  Twenty-five year old Daniel Pharr was wondering why his instructor, George Steele; went silent on him all of a sudden after they stepped out of their airplane at 13, 500 feet.  Pharr knew from watching TV programs before joining the Army, that you steered the chute with the toggles and he managed a good landing.  

That was when he discovered that his non-military instructor George Steele; had a heart attack on the way down.  While waiting for medical help to arrive, Pharr tired CPR on Steele - but to no avail. The skydiving lesson was a Christmas gift from his girlfriend.  Daniel Pharr is currently stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia.