Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Space-X Gets FAA License for Re-Entry Operations!

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial space transportation as well as regular aviation matters, granted SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) the one-year license on November 22, 2010.

In the Space.com article, it was mentioned that the FAA has issued 200+ license for commercial launches, but this is the first approval for a commercial re-entry operation.

This allows SpaceX to now test its Dragon space capsule (that is launched by SpaceX Falcon 9 booster into low-earth orbit). This will officially the the first attempt by a commercial company to recover a spacecraft from orbit.

First attempt to fly the Dragon space capsule and recover it will take place as early as December 7, 2010.

If this demo mission is successful, then SpaceX will begin making regular cargo-delivery missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Their fixed-price contract is quoted as having a value of $1.6 billion. The first missions will be unmanned.

Ref. Space.com "SpaceX Receives FAA License to Return Private Spaceships From Earth Orbit" By Mike Wall. November 23, 2010. (http://www.space.com/news/spacex-faa-license-private-spaceship-reentry-101122.html).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Navy News: Saga of the USN's LCS ship buy & the F-35B Debacle

Discovered this bit of news over on the Information Dissemination blog. Then also back on November 10th, on James Hasik's blog.

The U.S. Navy might be changing its mind and wants to get BOTH types of Littoal Combat Ship (LCS) program. Up until now, the USN was saying it was going to choose one or the other - not both! Politics sticking its nose in to save jobs (and the congressman's phoney bloney job to parapharase that line from Blazing Saddles).

But even more telling is this article posted on Next Navy by Craig Hooper. The F-35B purchase for not only the United States, but for foreign nations who have already sunk big bucks into designing and building flatops to handle the STOVL aircraft design that might in fact be dropped because it canot meet its performace goals. Included with this article is a photoshopped picture of two different carrier designs that are in the works.

Quote: So, if the F-35B does go away, America’s major Pacific allies will be left with, well, a brace of aircraft-less aircraft carriers. And that, on the part of those who spent their treasure to buy F-35B-friendly platforms, is going to sting a bit. Nobody likes to be left holding a few multi-billion dollar platforms that fail to provide the expected operational benefits.

With China looking set to finally field their first aircraft carrier, the demise of the F-35B means that America’s Asian partners will “loose face”–and a substantial security blanket. While it is too early to know just what the ramifications the likely F-35B implosion may have upon Pacific security, at the end of the day, it isn’t good news if regional partners cannot respond in kind to a Chinese carrier task force. End Quote.

But even more telling, Craig Hooper puts forth the notion that China herself might fill the void with their own design! Oh wait! The DEW Line did publish photos of some new Chinese VTOL design. China's aircraft manufacturer AVIC showed off at the 2010 Zhuhai airshow, a stealthy/fan-in-fuselage/compound-pusher/VTOL strike aircraft with internal weapons bays. FlightGlobal photographer Tom Gordon snapped photos of the model on the display stand.

Here is a YouTube video of the Japanese newest helicopter carrier, the Hyuga.

The Koreans have their own carrier in the works known as DOKDO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ROKS_Dokdo_(LPH_6111).jpg).

Bottom line, we have new flatops and the F-35B was promised to be the be all end all for these baby flattops. And it looks like the F-35B will not be around for much longer.

Ref. 1. Information Dissemination blog. "Coach Says 'Go For Two!'" November 18, 2010. (http://www.informationdissemination.net/2010/11/coach-says-go-for-two.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+InformationDissemination+(Information+Dissemination)).
2. James Hasik "Is buying two types of littoral combat ship good for the US Navy?" November 10, 2010.(http://www.jameshasik.com/weblog/2010/11/is-buying-two-types-of-littoral-combat-ship-good-for-the-us-navy.html).
3. Next Navy "In the Pacific, the F-35B debacle is a strategic nightmare" by Craig Hooper. November 17, 2010. (http://nextnavy.com/in-the-pacific-the-f-35b-debacle-is-a-strategic-nightmare/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+NextNavy+(Next+Navy)).
4. Flight Global.com. "China's AVIC unveils stealth Zhuhai surprise" by Stephen Trimble. November 18, 2010. (http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Earth Sheltered House For $5,000 - If You Want to Live Like a Hobbit!

Housing costs out of sight like that mystery missile launch off of the California coastline last night?

Well, yes of course they are out of sight. So when I came across this bit of news, I knew I had to make a posting about it. "Hand-build an Earth Sheltered House For $5,000" (posted back on December 1, 2008). This post is more like a bookmark for me at the moment, but open for anyone to use it as well. The picture with Ms. Susan Kraemer's article looks very much like those Hobbit houses in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (without the round doors!).

But that's not all! How about building a Tiny House out of Shipping Pallets! This last idea is very interesting. I am in need of a new storage building, but due to the economy, I can never some up with enough money to make even a good down payment on a ready built shed.

Ref. Green Building Elements "Hand-build an Earth Sheltered House For $5,000" by Susan Kraemer. Dec. 1, 2008. (http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/12/01/hand-build-an-earth-sheltered-house-for-5000/).
Green Building Elements. "Build Your Own Free Tiny House with Shipping Pallets" by Brian Liloia. Feb. 19, 2009. (http://greenbuildingelements.com/2009/02/19/build-your-own-free-tiny-house-with-shipping-pallets/).
Images come from each of their respective articles on the Green Building Elements website.

The Great Mystery Missile Launch of 2010!

No one knows WHO owns this baby! The USAF, USN, NORAD, don't claim it as one of their own.

Should we be glad of this or worry over it?

Just be glad that the missile didn't travel EASTWARDS toward California and the rest of the United States. It headed out towards the Pacific, maybe to the Pacific Missile Range Facility; if it was ours.

There was video shot by a KCBS tv news helicopter crew of the missile launch and its resulting contrail.

The most likely source of this mystery missile is a test firing of a missile from a US Navy missile submarine. Failing that, maybe a missile went 'haywired' in the tube and it had to be launched to prevent the sub from being destroyed (as likely a theory as anything else).

Another theory could be a foreign power showing off a little muscle as a warning to the USA to stop printing worthless dollar bills to buy ourselves out of a recession.

ET on the other hand uses gravitic drives (supposely), so in this case, I cannot put the blaim on aliens and UFOs from other worlds!

There are some stuff about a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) that Information Dissemination has put out, but they admit that the time stamps are wrong for the time of the missile launch.

UPDATE 1 (November 10, 2010): Well, the experts at Jane's Defence Weekly have spoken on the matter now. See the original article here (http://amerpundit.com/2010/11/10/janes-editor-yeah-that-was-a-missile/).

Ref. "Pentagon Can't Explain "Missile" off California" November 9, 2010. by CBS/AP News. (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/11/09/national/main7037857.shtml?tag=topnews). There is a video attached to the original news article if you want to watch it.
Image off of Drudge Report.

Friday, November 5, 2010

US Army Spy Blimp

So the U.S. Army is getting into the blimp business, at least according to a article posted on Wired.com.

US Army forked over $517 million to Northrop Grumman to develope the experimential airship known officially as Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicles. If successful, the blimp will have a airborne endurance of up to three weeks at a time. And it will carry lots and losts of sensors, to capture still and video images of civilians and our nation's adversaries.

Lifted up into the air by helium and propulsion will be provided by four diesel engines. One US Army official said that in Afghanistan, it would take 12 Reaper drones to duplicated the blimp's functions.

So far, the blimp has passed three tests that judge the feasibility of the airship design. Northrop Grumman stated that it will inflate the first blimp in the spring-summer of 2011. And flight testing to be completed by the end of 2010.

For more information, check out the article. The link is below.

Ref. Wired.com. "Northrop’s Huge Army Spy Blimp Floats On" by Spencer Ackerman. November 4, 2010. (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/11/northrops-huge-army-spy-blimp-floats-on/).
image comes from same article,provided by Northrop Grumman.