Mar 292014

A photo taken in August from a ship in the “Inside Passage,” Alaska, same trip that produced this photo. Evening, looking east into an inlet, with a cruise ship emerging.

2013-08-14 pano 17small

You can also download the very much larger version by LOOKING HERE (over at my photo blog), good for printing and such. Permission granted for personal use.

If you like the photo and want to toss a few coins my way… well, here ya go.

Photo Tips

 Posted by at 1:45 pm
Feb 252014

A scan from a bit of United Tech propaganda from the 1960s, a big and surprisingly high-quality large format book describing the UA-1205 solid rocket motor used as a zero-stage booster on the Titan IIIc.

ua-1205 a

 Posted by at 1:03 am
Sep 242013

I’m not much of a comic book guy. Still, I’ve found the Marvel movies entertaining of late, and was looking forward to tonights “Agents of SHIELD” debut. While I can accept normal guys transforming into one-ton unstoppable green ragemonsters, and fusion powerplants embedded in someones chest, and flying cars and flying aircraft carriers, you know what I can’t accept? Truly bad design.

It appears that Our Heroes will get around by hopping a ride on a C-17 Globemaster. This being a comic book-based series, it’s understandable that the producers wanted to jazz up the configuration some. So they added another set of wings to the rear fuselage, and hung another set of turbofans under that, for a total of six. Adding extra lifting area and more engines… not a totally bad idea, though the placement of the extra wings was odd and would seem to present some stability issues. But what was *really* bad was the placement of the second set of engines: almost directly behind the inboard engines. The inboard engines exhaust straight into the inlets of the new engines. This is not just bad, it’s freakin’ *tragic.* It would waste the thrust of the forward inboard engines, would ruin the performance of the aft engines (by feeding them high-velocity, low oxygen, high CO2&water vapor air), and likely present serious structural problems.

Feh. It’s like they didn’t even have an aerospace engineer on staff.

bus4 bus1 bus2 bus3

 Posted by at 10:24 pm
Jan 182013

(I coulda *swore* I posted this years ago, but I went looking for it and couldn’t find it. Either way, behold…)

The Lacroix Samouraï Urban Warfare (SUW) “High Impulse Weapon System” is sort of a shoulder-fired 76mm mortar. Normally that would not only knock you down, it’d rip your shoulder off, but the HIWS uses frictional damping to reduce felt recoil… the barrel and chamber slide aft 600 mm. The same energy is imparted to the shooter, but it’s spread out over time, giving the shooter a chance to absorb the recoil and remain standing.

The finned, unpowered projectile weighs about 3 pounds and can carry 0.65 pounds worth of explosive 300 to 400 meters downrange.

This video was from 2006 or so, and I haven’t heard anything about it since. It was developed a dozen years ago by Lacroix Defense & Security, and FN Herstal tried to market it in the US as the HIWS-76, but I’ve not heard anything since the 2006 demo.

[youtube 9nOkO8Sh2xs]

It should be akin in weapon potential to a similarly-sized recoilless rifle or rocket propelled grenade, but with no risk of back-blast. It would thus be safer to operate, as well as probably being somewhat stealthier (you launch a rocket, everybody with eyes can tell where it came from). You could use the HIWS from within a vehicle or structure (shooting through an open window, of course) without killing everyone in the room.Just the sort of thing for when the Judges are otherwise busy and Block War breaks out…

But the launcher itself is pretty heavy (17 or so pounds), and likely expensive. That would be its big problem… hard to economically compete against anti-tank rockets that are shoulder-fired from disposable fiberglass tubes.

 Posted by at 9:50 pm
Jul 012012

The sale on the four new Bell blueprints has ended.

If you were unaware of the sale, it’s probably because you were not signed up on the Up-Ship emailing list when the sale was announced earlier this week. If you want in on future sales and specials… sign up! Those on the mailing list get early announcements and access to specials and sales that those not on the list don’t.

 Posted by at 11:22 am
Mar 282012

At first…

New ‘life in space’ hope after billions of ‘habitable planets’ found in Milky Way

But then…

A total of nine super-Earths – planets with masses between one and 10 times that of Earth – were found. Two were located within the habitable zones of the stars Gliese 581 and Gliese 667 C.

First off, a “super Earth” is not necessarily a “habitable planet.” In fact… almost certainly *not.* Second, that’s kind of a small sample size…

Still, it’s looking more and more like this might be a crowded galaxy.

 Posted by at 7:21 pm