Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nuclear Power Spaceship to Fly to Mars - Russia Hopes!

Russia wants to build a new nuclear-powered spaceship for prospective manned space missions to the planet Mars and other more distant planets. So states Anatoly Perminov - Russian space chief stated on October 29th.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has backed the project and is urging the government to find the money needed to back the project.

These remarks were posted on the Russian space agency website. Perminov said that the nuclear spaceship preliminary design work could be done by 2012. It would take an additional 9-10 years to build the spacecraft and cost 17 billion rubles, which equal to about $600 million US dollars. The nuclear reactor that will be on this ship would be in the Megawatt power range. And the engines to be powered by this reactor would be a electric rocket engine. So says Igor Lisov who is a Moscow-base expert on the Russian space program.

"The project is aimed at implementing large-scale space exploration programs, including a manned mission to Mars, interplanetary travel, the creation and operation of planetary outposts." So stated Anatoly Perminov on the website.

The AP/Yahoo news article then went into the odd comparsion of Russian still using the 40-year old Soyuz design that are still used to send crews up to the International Space Station(ISS). Despite the older technology, Russia will take on a greater role in space exploration in the coming decade. Since NASA is planning on retiring the shuttle soon - and this will cause NASA to rely on the Russians and their Soyuz to travel up to the ISS until the Orion capsule is operational.

Ref. Yahoo new (October 29, 2009) by Vladimir Isachenkov of AP. "Russia hopes nuclear ship will fly humans to Mars"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Asteroid blast reveals holes in Earth's defences - space - 26 October 2009 - New Scientist

Asteroid blast reveals holes in Earth's defences - space - 26 October 2009 - New Scientist

Ares-1X Test Launch Success!

From Launch Pad 39B at Cape Canaveral, FL, NASA finally launched its unmanned prototype of the Ares-1X booster rocket. Lift-off took place at 11:30am EDT. Foul weather earlier in the week prevented earlier launch attempts.

The flight peaked at an altitude of 28 miles and then dropped into the Atlantic Ocean - parachutes softening its landing.

The test vehicle here was basically a 4-element solid rocket booster off of the shuttle with a dummy fith element added plus the dummy Orion capsule/and second stage. The dummy second stage was designed to impact the ocean and sink. This vehicle is pretty tall at 327 feet while sitting on the launch pad.

Ref. October 28, 2009. By Clara Moskowitz.(
Ares-1X Test Launch. image by Roger Guillemette of

Monday, October 26, 2009

Buzz Asks Prez Obama for Space Leadership

Found this article on the Huffington Post today. It was orginally posted there on October 21st.

The Special committee lead by Chairman Norm Augustine (aka the Augustine Panel), put forward several options to President Obama recently.

This article by Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon and the biggest space promotor around is asking President to go along with Option 5 that the Augustine Panel put forth.

Bottom line of course is "No bucks, then No Buck Rogers!"

One can read the article on Huffington Post to read about options one thru four. Option Five known as the "Flexible Path" seems to get everyone who supports manned space exploration a tiggly senstion down their leg to modify a famous quote of Chris Matthews(ie reguarding his support for then candiate Barrack H. Obama).

Basically - Option Five uses as much shuttle hardware and ground support equipment as possible. And the mission makeup is very different than just returning to the moon. Such as visits to the Lagrane points, near-Earth objects, lunar fly-bys, and possible rendezvous with Mars's moons. There are still plans for a lunar landing by 2020.

Please use the url below to read the full article on the Huffington Post. Image is of President Obama at NASA's White House star party to view the LCROSS impact. Wife Michelle Obama is nearby.

REf. Huffington Post, Oct 21, 2009 (

Thursday, October 22, 2009

USS Independence - The Tri-Hull Monster of the Gulf!

The 418-foot long USS Independence is one of two prototype ships for the Littoral Combat Ship contract. This one was built by the General Dynamics consortium. And it went out on a little cruise into the Gulf of Mexico this week.

Most striking feature of this ship is it's tri-hull configuration. But both ships (Independence and the Freedom built by Lockheed Martin) both have water thruster propulsion. And with this latest test, the Independence reached 52 mph! Impressive for a ship of this size. That's 45 knots for you Navy types out there! And it was doing so in 6 to 8 foot swells and against a headwind of 30 knots. And the USS Independence did this for a sustain rate of speed for four hours. Normal cruising speed for normal warships is suppose to be in the 30-35 knot range.

Both ship designs use very powerful diesel engines plus gas turbines for that extra boost of speed. (I have to wonder if the skippers of these ships will start calling this "Warp Speed" when they have the throttle pushed to the wall?). Both the Independence and its competitor - the USS Freedom, have shallow drafts that let them get in closer to shore than regular naval vessels.

Main mission selling point by both companies right now seems to be pointing out how these ships can go up against the pirate threat. Whether its Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics that ultimately wins the contract - the U.S. Navy will have 55 of these speedy ships. Expected costs per vessel is in the $220 million dollar range.

This class of ship has multiple mission modules that can support anti-submarine, mine sweeping, or traditional surface warfare. Both designs have helicopter flight decks on the stern to operate helicopters.

From this blogger's personal opinion, I hope that the Navy goes with the USS Independence. I wonder if John Paul Jones is looking down from Heaven and saying, "That is a fast ship going in harm's way!"

Ref. news, October 22, 2009. AP news article by David Sharp (
Reaganite Republican article "The Navy's New Pirate Vaporizer" (

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Bamboo Saucer (1968) movie

The Russians and the Americans team up against the Red Chinese and recover a downed flying saucer during the Cold War.

This was a film from 1968 that I remembered quite fondly. Its one hour and forty so-mod minutes long. It stars actor Dan Duryea (in his last role) playing pilot Hank Peters. He is one of four members of a American expeditionay force in search of a missing UFO in China. The adventure takes on political significance when he is forced to join up with a similar Soviet team. Lois Nettelton is the beautiful blonde Russian scientist who was taking a shower under the falls when Dan Duryea spots her. Then he meets up with the "other" members of her team.

In the process of escaping from the Chinese troops, the American/Soviet teams use the recovered UFO to fly away and end up travelling all the way out to Saturn and back.

The movie was directed by Frank Telford and produced by Jerry Fairbanks.

Most critics agree that the acting is bad and the special effects were low rate. This is too bad, it could have been a much better. I would love to see the script given a rewrite, updated it for the modern era and try again. For more details about both vessels, check out my link to my other blog(Flash255bunker) listed below in the reference section.

Ref ( The Bamboo Saucer Synopsis. (
I am The Work "I loved flying saucers when I was a kid." (

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Paul Mantz's Last Flight of the Phoenix

Veteran Flying Stunt Man Paul Mantz (August 2, 1903 - July 8, 1965) died in the third landing of the cobble together star of the original movie "The Flight of the Phoenix." This is the video on YouTube of the news port about his death. There are some additional pictures from different viewing angles that I had not seen before as a young child.

This is the information that Bomberguy posted with the video. Some of the information busts this bloggers' impression of the original Phoenix:

The plane, originally a C-82, was designed by Otto Timm (Charles Lindbergh's first flight instructor, and whom regularly worked with Mantz and Tallman), and was built by Tallmantz Aviation. With a wingspan of 45 feet, and a length of 42 feet, the "Phoenix" was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 nine-cylinder radial engine, taken from a North American T-6 as were the wheels and several other parts. The wings were from a Beech C-45, and the wing, tail, and undercarriage wire bracing was made out of clothesline, and was intentionally made to look flimsy, although it was actually quite sturdy. The fuselage and empennage were all hand-built from scratch, using plywood over a wooden frame. The cockpit was shallow and makeshift. The pilot would sit down, while another person stood behind him, strapped to a stringer. It was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration as tail number N93082.

The site of the filming was Buttercup Valley, a remote desert spot nearly twenty miles from Yuma in Arizona. Early on the morning of July 8th, 1965, the production team placed cameras at each end of the valley. Mantz, a pilot with over 25,000 hours of flight experience, and his co-pilot, 64 year-old Bobby Rose, were to fly the "Phoenix" and try to get it down on the ground near the first camera position, and then pull up by the time they reached the second position. Mantz' first pass was a little long in landing, and he overshot the first camera. The high temperatures were taking their toll on the improvised plane, and it was not easily controlled.

While not perfect, this first pass was good enough for the movie. But the director asked for another pass, probably as "insurance".

On the second pass of one of the final shots of the film, one of the landings skids of the improvised aircraft caught a hard patch of ground, and started to lose control. Mantz kicked the engine's throttle to full, and broke free of the dirt, but the plane was already stressed to breaking point. At over 90 MPH, the plane snapped apart and, momentarily, the two crewmembers flipped forward and hung out of the cockpit. As the break apart continued, the wings turned under the plane's main body, and toppled on top of the two men, throwing Rose clear of the crash, but pinning Mantz.

The cameras were still rolling, capturing the entire sordid event on celluloid.

People rushed towards the crash site, in an effort to see what could be done. Both crew members were expedited to the hospital in Yuma.

Mantz was killed instantly, and the crash broke the pelvis and left shoulder of Bobby Rose. Unfortunately, Mantz might have survived the mishap, as the cockpit portion of the aircraft was unharmed, but instead of a crash helmet like he would normally wear in an open cockpit, he was requested to wear a soft-brim hat that actor James Stewart also wore in the film.

The Federal Aviation Administration determined that Mantz misjudged his altitude, and in the inadvertent touchdown, the airframe failed due to overload stresses. The investigators also stated the Mantz' alcohol consumption prior to the flight contributed to the accident by impairing his "efficiency and judgment".

Below is the actual link to the webpage its one.

Ref. YouTube, by Bomberguy (

Thursday, October 8, 2009

B-17G Liberty Belle Star of Film

My love for the Boeing B-17 knows no boundaries. Plus the fact that I got to fly on the Liberty Belle and one can now understand why I post this short video about her flying "Down Under" to take part in filming a new World War Two film.

Plus I got to fly on her back in 2007 and she was the leading post on this blog. Any news about her that I come across will be posted.

UPDATE: Here is the link to my original posting about this B-17 (

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Socorro UFO - The (New) Hoax Theory. And the Flame War it Generated.

Posted below is the link to Kevin D. Randle's blog "A Different Perspective." Recently, the famous April 1964 UFO case of Police Officer Lonnie Zamora, in Socorro, New Mexico; heated up with a posting by Tony Bragalia on his blog ( that the entire incident was a hoax.

This began about on or about October 1st, 2009. And the UFO websites have taken on a new life as folks who think it is a hoax claim that Bragalia is right. And the other side (of which I am a part of) say basically - prove it was a hoax. Otherwise, the case still stands on its own two feet as a valid UFO landing incident.

I have posted a few comments on Kevin's website related to this story. Please drop by there and read his fine article on the subject. The image is of a oil painting posted on Chris Lambright website dated Feb. 1996. It shows the craft just starting to lift-off. For more detail information, please visit his website (link below in the Ref section).

Ref. A Different Perspective by Kevin D. Randle, Oct 1, 2009. "Lonnie Zamora, Socorro UFO, and New Theories" (
Image from the website of Chris Lambright. Feb 1996. (