Apr 242018

Processed Rosetta imagery from 2016. The dots going “down” in the background are stars. The rest… some may be cosmic rays playing hell with the CCD imaging sensor, but note that there certainly seems to be preferential directionality to the streaks, indicating that the spacecraft was flying through a cloud of cometary bits.

 Posted by at 3:49 pm
Apr 202018

What could be funnier than using R. Lee Ermey to redub Darth Vader? Not much.

As this is restricted to lines from “Full Metal Jacket,” it’s not surprising that the funnier ones are first… and that the language is a little colorful at times.



 Posted by at 11:38 pm
Apr 192018



I’m on record with being impressed by the A-10, and I think the USAF should have built a bunch more of them. And so should the US Marine Corps. And the US Army. But they didn’t, so… shrug. There it is. Anyway, impressed as I am, the shots of the A-10 trying to tear up a *motionless* Hummer are a little disappointing. A whole lot of rounds that hit *around* the target, but not *actually* the target.

 Posted by at 1:49 pm
Apr 192018

For the APR Patreon I try to acquire as much interesting aerospace documentation as I can, and these items fall into two categories:

  1. Stuff that I can afford. This stuff winds up in the APR Patreon catalog of potential monthly rewards for patrons.
  2. Stuff I can’t hope to afford.

There’s a lot of the latter category of stuff. Sometimes it’s because the item has a ridiculously high Buy It Now price or starting bid, or because the item will be popular among bidders, or because it’s *really* good/big and thus worth every penny. But unaffordable is unaffordable.

However, there is an option for “stuff I can’t afford:” crowdfunding. I’ve done this a number of times with considerable success, and I’ve just done so again, winning a trio of General Dynamics documents describing a 1965 program to develop a logistics system for extending the Apollo lunar exploration program:

This set of documents was just much too expensive for an individual (well, I’m sure Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk wouldn’t have flinched), but with a group of like-mined funders it came in at $30 per person. So what happens now:

1: I wait for it to show up in the mail.

2: I make a complete set of scans in 300 DPI grayscale (and color, where appropriate) and convert to PDFs

3: I make the scans and PDFs available to funders, generally via Dropbox

4: I find an appropriate archive for the documents, and then donate the originals to them.

5: And that’s it. The files are shared with the funders, but do not appear on future APR Patreon catalogs or as purchasable, downloadable “Diagrams and Documents.” What the funders choose to do with their scans & PDFs is up to them.

APR Patrons get alerted to each of these occasional “crowdfunding opportunities.” So if you’d like to participate, please considered signing up for the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 12:11 pm
Apr 182018

SpaceX has launched the TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) planet-hunter satellite and recovered the first stage booster on a recovery barge out at sea. TESS will be put into an unconventional orbit with a perigee of 108,000 km and an apogee of 375,000 km. if it works, it should find a *lot* of exoplanets, around the order of 20,000 of them.

Note: When I first entered college, there were *nine* known planets. There are currently 3800 or so. There may soon be 24,000 or so.

 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Apr 172018

Holy carp this is funny. Make sure to press the number buttons as instructed.

The YouTube comments are a delight:

100 years ago kids my age were fighting in the god damn world wars and here I am playing star wars music on a frog we have reached our peak as a species

  • Person: Do you play and instrument
  • Me: Hard to explain

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 5 4 3 Jingle Bells

7 777 8 7 7 87 6 5 6 7 777 8 7 7 9 My heart will go (Titanic)

Johan Sebastian Bach Fugue D Minor: 897345956234952349765239786320089758764654564765464356436324324636346436432643576876576756576 49587634957863495786349857634295786345987635632464565673473632452354234344634634583453459834659632536523764857634857562389457238947652378465-237865238467534-05763405634569238745923876928375-69273469872345937246589732465982356756237856237845823764587236549234650983465034650347569234569237845872365487236547823654876235487623547836-2548976253496235496

 Posted by at 2:10 am
Apr 162018

The same YouTuber who put this together also pointed out that “Star Trek” the TV series *must* logically exist in the universe of “The Orville.” Why? Because the crew has been shown watching the sitcom “Seinfeld,” and “Seinfeld” mentioned Star Trek. Also the ships doctors referenced Obi Wan, and if there’s a Star Wars, chances are good there’s a Star Trek.


 Posted by at 8:25 pm
Apr 142018

“The Amazing World of Gumball” explains some complex subjects in ways that are enlightening and, let’s face it, accurate.

The stock market and economy:

The meaning of life turns out to be a whole lot more Lovecraftian than most kids shows would have you believe, on both the small and large scale:


Video games are dangerous. But are they the *most* dangerous?


 Posted by at 5:13 pm
Apr 122018

This music video by Nigel Stanford takes vintage NASA and military footage, does some clever and effective computer tinkerage, and produces something entirely new. And it mostly works really, really well. I think I’d almost like to see this given a full movie treatment. And as this video shows, it need not be all that expensive. Does it make a whole lot of sense? Well… no, not really. But as “2001” showed, a good sci-fi movie doesn’t really need to, so long as it’s compelling.


 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Apr 102018

I’ve never gotten into the Gerry Anderson puppet shows (probably just weren’t shown in my area when I was a kid), but I do know that a lot of people are quite fond of them. And I do *kinda* get it… in the era before computer graphics made filling the screen with spaceships of wildly varying designs easy and cheap, Andersons shows were the only ones that featured a whole bunch of different designs. Other shows like Star trek you had pretty much just the one ship, and that was mostly stock footage used over and over. And it seems to me that the most popular of the Anderson ships would be either the Eagle from “Space: 1999” or the Thunderbird 2 from “Thunderbirds Are Go.” And if you want a bignormous T2, well, crack open your bank account, here it comes.

Thunderbird 2 | 1:144 Scale

This is a model kit, but it’s not one you get all at once.Instead it’s a subscription kit, paid for and shipped a bit at a time. There are two options available, 12 month and 24 month; it’s a little unclear, but I *assume* that with the 12 month option each month you get twice as much stuff as you’d get per month in the 24 month option. And in the end, you get this:

The thing is freakin’ GIGANTIC:

And it’s spendy as heck. For the 12-month option, it’s £79.99 per month, or £959.88 total. .. about $1,400 at current exchange rates.


Seems like a slightly more affordable option would be this 1/350 scale conventional model kit, a steal at forty bucks:


But hey. If’n ya want a gigantic Thunderbird 2, let it never be said I didn’t point one out to you.

 Posted by at 2:52 pm