We wrote the Navy: ‘We think it is inadvisable to land the airplane.’ They came back with one paragraph that said ‘We agree.'” The 10 worst US aircraft. [more inside]
Today marks 25 years since Buran, the enigmatic Soviet Space Shuttle clone, made her single unpiloted 2-orbit flight before an inglorious retirement like her known siblings.
How NASA brought the monstrous F-1 "moon rocket" engine back to life - "The story of young engineers who resurrected an engine nearly twice their age." [more inside]
Surrey Satellite Technology's STRaND 1 demonstrates a new generation of satellites built around smartphones. Tossed into orbit on an Indian PSLV, the toaster-sized microsatellite is based on an Android-powered Nexus One that will control the satellite, run apps, take snapshots, and phone home. While the U.K. leads the smartphone space race, NASA is testing its own PhoneSat series of nanosatellite prototypes. The University of Surrey explains how it works in this video.
Carl Sagan wrote, “We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.” But how will humans or our machine representatives fly to the stars? [more inside]
AIRBOYD.tv has three Youtube channels: The eponymous AIRBOYD features 2000+ videos for "aviation and aerospace enthusiasts. Then there's the Nuclear Vault: Vintage Military, War and News Videos, with 1200+ full-length documentaries, news reels and other assorted footage, including 200 episodes of "The Big Picture (Army Signal Corps)" and a variety of Atomic and Nuclear energy films. Last but not least is US Auto Industry, an archive of over 450 vintage automobile films, including commercials from Buick, Pontiac, Chevy and Ford. [more inside]
Fresh on the heels of Lockheed Martin's delivery of the first production F-35 to the USAF, you might be wondering how much it actually costs. It depends on who you ask. Blackfive takes a crack at it, prompting a rather snippy response from Bill Sweetman over at Ares. Throw in additional commentary and a rebuttal, and head down the rabbit hole into the wonderful world of defense acquisition.
Weightless Cats and other fun experiments. An excerpt from from coverage of research at the Aerospace Medical Division Hq 657Oth Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories including scenes of F-104 seat ejection; drop tests from C-130 and ejection from F-106; effects of weightlessness on cats and pigeons in a C-131; test subjects in water tank, on centrifuge, in heat chamber and on complex coordinator. Also, scenes of vertical deceleration tower, incline impact test facility, vertical accelerator, equilibrium chair and vibration platform. More videos can be found at Airboyd.tv: Accident Animations, Aviation Films, Military Flight Training Films, and Space Shuttle Vidoes.
Point Niner - "Satisfying an unnatural infatuation with airplanes and rockets." A regularly updated blog with nice bits of aviation goodness.
The highest recorded skydive was performed in 1960 by Joe Kittinger from 102,800 feet. That record may not stand any longer. After twenty years of planning and attempts, almost twenty million dollars, and a two hour ascent on May 26th, Michel Fournier, wearing only space suit and parachute, will step out of the gondola of a 650 foot helium balloon at 130,000 feet.... The Great Leap. [more inside]
The end of Concorde was one of the few times in modern history that technology has been forced to regress. But it won't take long to fix.
The world's largest passenger plane. The new Airbus "superjumbo" has a 262-foot wingspan, a tail as tall as a seven-story building and it cost $13 billion to develop. In a three-class cabin layout, the A380 will carry 555 passengers -- 33% more than the plane it is designed to displace, Boeing's veteran 747, Sir Norman Foster's favorite piece of modern architecture. The A380 has 49% more floor space. How the plane's extra space is used will be left up to airlines. Low-cost carriers could operate the A380 with a single economy-class configuration accommodating as many as 800 passengers. Virgin company chief Richard Branson said his airline, which has ordered six A380s, will offer private double beds for first-class passengers and casinos. Airbus trailed Boeing Co. until 2003, when it delivered more planes than its U.S. rival for the first time -- a feat it matched last year. Boeing will unveil next year the much smaller, new 7E7 -- with 200 to 250 seats.
The MIT microturbine rotor has to turn two million rpm--more than 20,000 revolutions per second. Here's some current efforts. Micro Electric Machines (MEMS)pdf, the future of Aerospace Power Projection? Further interesting reading. pdf A couple of articles are a year-year and a half old, but still current in the analysis of "tiny technology". I find the concept of dime-size turbines to be fantastic!
Move over X-Prize - in order to win the next big space prize($50 million) one will have to build a spacecraft capable of taking a crew of no fewer than five people to an altitude of 400 kilometers and complete two orbits of the Earth at that altitude. Then they have to repeat that accomplishment within 60 days.
An airplane hall of fame. Talk about rekindling childhood passions. I got a real kick out of reading this.
What is Dick Rutan up to now? The reigning master of innovation in aerospace is up to something, as shown in the linked photo. But what is it? Rutan is also helping to bring us rocket powered airplanes and, of course, flew Voyager around the world not so long ago.
From the secret world of the "black budget" comes the story of a man who wants to know the truth about the army's research into anti-gravity technology and zero-point energy ("There's enough energy in your coffee cup to evaporate the world's oceans many times over." ). Is he a lunatic? A "Ufologist"? Nope, he's an award-winning defense and aerospace reporter for Jane's Defence Weekly, the highly respected magazine on international military and policy issues. In fact, he says, the loonies may be right! He thinks there probably are saucerlike flying objects, but they're not alien, they're made in the USA (who got the technology from the Nazi's - who else?). He even goes so far as to suggest that the CIA has a program to discredit people who see UFO's. I like my stories rich, and this one is very rich. (via Atlantic Unbound)