Feb 082018

Not the Heavy launched a few days ago, but the previous Falcon 9, launched a week ago and soft-landed in the water.

Air Force Strike Takes Out SpaceX’s Floating GovSat Booster

The booster tested high retrothrust landing. Like a lot of SpaceX’s successful tests, they didn’t expect the booster to survive virtually intact, so they didn’t have a plan in place to recover the thing. Officially that made it a hazard to navigation; boosters like this have carbon over-wrapped high pressure helium tanks and other splodey bits. Unofficially, I wonder if the real reason was a desire to keep the booster from falling into nefarious hands… not so much the likes of United Launch Alliance, but more like Bond villains or the Chinese government (but I repeat myself).

Exactly how the Chinese or SPECTRE would go about snagging a floatign rocket booster is anyone guess. The rational approach would be to pre-position a modified cargo vessel equipped with cranes and such… hardly likely to go un-noticed. Less likely would be to modify a submarine to rise up underneath it, latch on, poke some holes in it, sink and be on its way. Less likely still would be a giant dirigible or seaplane.

These are of course all silly. But then, the CIA paying Howard Hughes to scoop a Soviet ballistic missile sub off the ocean floor was a silly notion as well.

But to the specific topic at hand, I wonder if the strike operation was carried out with laser guided bombs or with gunfire. I suspect the former… a B-1 or B-52 laying waste seems like the sort of excessive drama the situation calls for.

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Feb 082018

This is advanced headline.

Woman found holding her eyeballs outside Upstate church, deputies say

Seems she yanked ’em out herself and stood outside the church screaming. Article leaves unclear what the woman was saying, but boy howdy it’d be interesting if it was something like “Libera tutemet ex inferis.” Or anything that starts off with Iä! Iä!

I might be going out on a limb here, but I’d hazard a guess that some combination of mental illness and drug use just maybe might have been involved.

 Posted by at 10:49 am
Feb 082018

A while back President Giant Middle Finger went to France and saw their Bastille Day parade and thought “I want that.” So he told the US military to start planning for just that… a parade in the nations capitol to celebrate the US military. Me, I’m not a  big one for parades, so my response was essentially “Meh, whatever.”But there are other people who have had an entirely different response. A response that could, maybe, mean that the parade is actually pure political genius. From the twitter/facebook accounts of a “social justice activist:”

I’ll be laying in front of the tanks if Trump brings out a Military parade. Will you?Un-Screwing Of America USA Nightly

Posted by Arn Menconi on Tuesday, February 6, 2018

If the result of the parade is that a bunch of far leftists use the opportunity to show themselves to be as anti-military, anti-American, anti-*fun* as we all know them to be, and to do soon live TV in front of the whole world… I suspect Trump will be tickled pink.

Trump’s Parade Is Political Genius

At the same time, the president is overtly tying his administration to the most popular institution in our nation—perhaps the only popular institution left—the United States military. More to the point, he’s daring Democrats, and their allies in the media, to stand apart and oppose it. By doing so, Democratic leaders appear either as killjoys complaining about excessive costs (as if frugality were a Democratic Party hallmark) or as diminishing the achievements of the military or the need to publicly extol them. All in all, it’s a pretty clever trap.

I would love to see a military parade that actually does something new… such as showcasing brand new and surprising military hardware. While the M-1 Abrams is awesome, how even-more-awesome would it be if there was a review of the all-new, never before seen *replacement* for the M-1, which is damn near as old as I am? If there were a fleet of heavy trucks each packing fully functional laser weapons capable of bringing down everything from mortar shells to combat aircraft to MIRVs? Even bigger trucks towing the trailer/launchers for dual purpose ICBMs/quick response tacsat launchers? Autonomous combat tanks? Power armor? Hummer replacers? AH-64 Apache replacers?

Granted, ain’t none of that gonna happen. Almost certainly, none of those things actually exist (which is not just a tragedy, it’s a friggen scandal). But if the parade comes together and the only real reveal is that the lefties reveal themselves – for like the millionth time – to be hateful screeching harpies bent on sucking the joy out of all aspects of American life, it will have been worth every last dime.



 Posted by at 10:33 am
Feb 072018

Let me know when those who are fighting against the cis white supremacist patriarchal system of engineering can come up with something like this:

Watching those two boosters plummet from the sky and dual land like that? That’s some sci-fi sh!t, right there.

EDIT: And then there’s this one, shot from the ULA Delta IV launch pad at SLC-37. I believe you can see the Apollo 1 launch table in the foreground, which I’ve been to and highly recommend in much the same way I recommend the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in D.C. This video has some subtle sounds that are interesting and important, so crank up the volume to 11.



 Posted by at 9:45 am
Feb 062018

Here’s a shorter video, cropped for your booster-landing pleasure:

And because why not, here’s some recent test flight footage of the Bell V-280 Valor tilt-rotor, complete with some curious blurring of the nacelles for some mysterious reason:

And lest y’all think I’m unfairly focusing too much attention on American achievements today… here’s a map of Europe.

 Posted by at 5:07 pm
Feb 062018

SpaceX is currently livestreaming a series of videos being beamed back from the roadster, heading off into space. It’s already a good distance from Earth, with the result being some damn fine images. I do wonder how long this will last. It’s already far further away than I would have thought possible with a  meager GoPro transmitter that they usually use on space launches. Is it battery powered? Does it have solar panels? it would be really interesting to check back in on the roadster every few months to see what the rigors of spaceflight do the the paint and bodywork. Eventually you’d probably see the windshield get pitted, maybe even blown out in meteoroid impacts; the paint trashed by UV and thermal cycling, plastic, fiberglass, rubber, carbon fiber bits turning to mush and fluff.



 Posted by at 3:39 pm
Feb 062018

The Falcon 9 Heavy flight went off seemingly without a hitch (as I write this it’s not yet clear if the core booster landed right on the barge EDIT: Whoopsie, the core smacked into the water near the barge at a stately 300 miles per hour due to a failure to ignite two of the three braking rockets). But the two boosters landing simultaneously, side by side… that is hands down no BS the coolest, awesomest, most hopeful thing I’ve ever seen. I’m beyond jealous of the people who work at SpaceX.

How awesome is this? It’s all the awesome. Give it up, Star Wars. There’s no awesome left for you.

Now would be the time for trump to get on live TV and say, in effect, “USA! USA! USA! This is what free men in a free market can do. It’s hyuuuge. It’s beyootiful. And I’m’a gonna take all the moneys the US current sends overseas and instead will pay SpaceX to launch a Trump Casino And Resort to Velles Marinaris.”

 Posted by at 2:07 pm
Feb 062018

Just a few hours from the launch window for the first test launch of the Falcon 9 Heavy, the highest payload capacity launcher since Energia. All goes well, at 1:30 3:15 3:45 PM eastern (11:30 AM 1:15 1:45 PM Mountain), the F9H will lift off from the same pad that launched Apollo 11. Giggity! The live stream of the launch will be carried in the YouTube window below.


 Posted by at 9:23 am
Feb 042018

This is what happens when the Democrat party machine in Chicago is so dominant that the Republican party doesn’t even bother to try: a whackjob Holocaust denier is able to be the only guy running for a Congressional seat as a Republican. Odd, that, given that he seems to be a big government guy terribly interested in anti-semitism and racial issues, stereotypically leftist positions.

Holocaust denier poised to claim GOP nomination in Illinois race for Congress

 Posted by at 9:16 pm
Feb 042018

John D. Clark’s “Ignition!” is  basically *the* book to read if you want a readable history of modern rocket propellants. The problem has been that it has been *long* out of print and the only ways you could read it were:

  1. Interlibrary loan of a tattered copy
  2. Online purchase of a *minimum* of a $200 copy
  3. Crappy free downloadable PDF.

Fortunately, Rutgers University is going to re-release printed (and electronic) versions in May. And it’s available on Amazon for pre-order, which is awesome because if you buy it through a link in this blog post, I’ll get a small fraction of a pittance and thus “Ignition!” will help feed some cats. It’ll be available in paperback, hardback and Kindle. I’m’a get me the paperback.


 Posted by at 8:37 pm