Category Archives: Space Travel

The Martian 3D

I just saw The Martian in 3D on the wide screen.

Excellent. Seriously excellent. The cinematography was superb. So was the acting. Although there was scrupulous attention paid to the scientific and technological aspects, it did not in any way overshadow the human drama. There was humor. There was frustration. There was elation. Aspects of Apollo 13 and Castaway were strong. There were even reminisces of 2001 A Space Odyssey (without the monolith, monkey men, or crazed computer). I would see this again in the theater.

I previously posted that I had listened to the unabridged audio book. The movie was true to the book, somehow condensing 10hr 53min down to 2hr 21min without loosing anything. Yes, yes the book goes into much more detail on the underlying science and isolation of Mark Watney, but you can read the book later.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D


  


  

  

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D

  

  

http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-martian

My God, it’s Full of STARS…

This is absolutely amazing. Everyone should see this. If you like it please, please reblog this on your site too …

Late to the Theater

What if every club in the cinematic multiverse intersected at one, single point?

BEHOLD. The greatest action/sci-fi/crime thriller/horror film mashup in the history of EVER!

Seriously, I could not stop laughing and clapping and grooving. Every time a new face popped up I was like ‘NO WAY BUT YES!’

Made by this genius: ANTONIO MARIA DA SILVA AMDSFILMS

View original post

OCTO X Whiskey Review

OCTO X
08.8/ 2064 PPM
88% ABV

From the website:

Peated to an exospheric 2064 PPM, eight times that of the previous record holder OCTOMORE 06.3/, this extraordinary dram embodies its Islay origins and carries its phenol count like a Falcon soaring into the sky.

TASTING NOTES

Character
Mind blowing in potency with perfect balance. The texture is like molten gold straight out of the furnace, the taste rich with an intense character that can only be found on Islay and the Atlantic beaches of sunny Florida.

Colour
Vibrant yellow, blinding in its brightness. 

Nose
It opens with a roar of ignition, thundering pulsing waves of searing heat driving a scorching hurricane onto the beach and incinerating the wild plants before it. Notes of charred concrete and superheated rebar drift across the nose, followed by an onslaught of smoke as if all of the peat bogs of Scotland were ablaze at once. Ozone and a hint of unburned kerosene dance in perfect harmony with the strong uplifting peatiness of the Islay grown barley. It is literally unlike anything else.

Palate 
Heat. Heat and flame and more heat. Heat infused with smoke and heat and more smoke. The lips and tongue are reminded of the sensation of smoking a pipe – an exhaust pipe. As the heat builds it is accompanied by the spontaneous detonation of road flares and flash bangs. It is a taste like no other, a whiskey on fire, uncut, unfiltered, unthrottled. This is scorchery.

Finish
Long and hard. The ears continue to ring long after lips, tongue, and throat have lost the ability to feel pain. It evokes memories of every rocket that ever exploded on the launch pad or during flight. Join us as we look to the past while rocketing into the future.

Mood
The heat and smoke just keep increasing to the point where it is driving you crazy with joy and you want to call the paramedics and tell them what is happening. Relax and keep it to yourself – no one will believe you. 

• • •

OCTO X is the result of a unique collaboration between Bruichladdich – the makers of OCTOMORE and SpaceX – the worlds preeminent commercial space launch company. After traditional roasting at Bruichladdich’s Port Charlotte distillery, the malt is flown by chartered private jet (flying non-stop zero-G parabolas) to the SpaceX launch facility at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the South Florida East Coast. Here it is lovingly shoveled into the flame trough of the SLC 40 launch pad for a second roasting during the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket. 

After launch, the roasted malt is then returned to Islay for additional roasting, fermentation, and distillation. For five long slow years it rests in octuple-charred barrels of American White Oak breathing in the sea air of Islay and mellowing the fires of its birth. It is then “finished” in the reclaimed fuel tanks of a used Falcon 9 first stage.

The name OCTO X pays homage to the Octomore farm from which its barley was produced, the OCTOWEB engine arrangement of the latest generation on Falcon 9 rocket, and of course SpaceX without who’s cooperation this unique dram would not have been possible.

Sláinte

  

 

 • • •

 

This is of course a work of pure fiction. Parody. Satire. 

As you know I love peated whisky. The smokier the better. The Islay whiskies are the smokiest of all. My whisky cabinet is replete with a variety of Islay whiskies. When I can find it (and afford it) one of my favorites is Bruichladdich OCTOMORE. I am also a big fan of Elon Musk and SpaceX. A quick search of this blog will reveal many posts covering Bruichladdich, OCTOMORE, and SpaceX.

While researching my post on OCTOMORE 06.3/ 258 PPM I ran across a YouTube review of OCTOMORE by someone who clearly did NOT like peated whisky. That got me thinking about writing a review for a fictitious peated whisky that was so clearly over the top that even peat lovers would get a chuckle out of it. OCTO X is this whisky.

This post is a tribute to Bruichladdich and SpaceX, whose forward thinking are propelling us into the 21st century and beyond.

See also  OCTOMORE 06.3/ 258 PPM

SpaceX | CRS-7 Investigation Update

Via email

 
  

CRS-7 Investigation Update

On June 28, 2015, following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight, resulting in loss of mission. This summary represents an initial assessment, but further investigation may reveal more over time.

 
Prior to the mishap, the first stage of the vehicle, including all nine Merlin 1D engines, operated nominally; the first stage actually continued to power through the overpressure event on the second stage for several seconds following the mishap. In addition, the Dragon spacecraft not only survived the second stage event, but also continued to communicate until the vehicle dropped below the horizon and out of range.

 
SpaceX has led the investigation efforts with oversight from the FAA and participation from NASA and the U.S. Air Force. Review of the flight data proved challenging both because of the volume of data —over 3,000 telemetry channels as well as video and physical debris—and because the key events happened very quickly. 

 
From the first indication of an issue to loss of all telemetry was just 0.893 seconds. Over the last few weeks, engineering teams have spent thousands of hours going through the painstaking process of matching up data across rocket systems down to the millisecond to understand that final 0.893 seconds prior to loss of telemetry.

 
At this time, the investigation remains ongoing, as SpaceX and the investigation team continue analyzing significant amounts of data and conducting additional testing that must be completed in order to fully validate these conclusions. However, given the currently available data, we believe we have identified a potential cause.

 
Preliminary analysis suggests the overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank was initiated by a flawed piece of support hardware (a “strut”) inside the second stage. Several hundred struts fly on every Falcon 9 vehicle, with a cumulative flight history of several thousand. The strut that we believe failed was designed and material certified to handle 10,000 lbs of force, but failed at 2,000 lbs, a five-fold difference. Detailed close-out photos of stage construction show no visible flaws or damage of any kind.

 
In the case of the CRS-7 mission, it appears that one of these supporting pieces inside the second stage failed approximately 138 seconds into flight. The pressurization system itself was performing nominally, but with the failure of this strut, the helium system integrity was breached. This caused a high pressure event inside the second stage within less than one second and the stage was no longer able to maintain its structural integrity. 

 
Despite the fact that these struts have been used on all previous Falcon 9 flights and are certified to withstand well beyond the expected loads during flight, SpaceX will no longer use these particular struts for flight applications. In addition, SpaceX will implement additional hardware quality audits throughout the vehicle to further ensure all parts received perform as expected per their certification documentation.
As noted above, these conclusions are preliminary. Our investigation is ongoing until we exonerate all other aspects of the vehicle, but at this time, we expect to return to flight this fall and fly all the customers we intended to fly in 2015 by end of year.  

 
While the CRS-7 loss is regrettable, this review process invariably will, in the end, yield a safer and more reliable launch vehicle for all of our customers, including NASA, the United States Air Force, and commercial purchasers of launch services. Critically, the vehicle will be even safer as we begin to carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station in 2017.

 
This message was sent from SpaceX to xxx It was sent from: emily@spacex.com, SpaceX, 1 Rocket Road, Hawthorne, CA 90250. If you would like to modify or update your subscription, please do so via the “Manage Your Subscription ” link below. For more information on SpaceX, please visit http://www.spacex.com

How We’ll Live on Mars

In the same way we can draw a line from Wernher von Braun straight to Apollo 11, when a spaceship carrying astronauts lands on Mars in 2027, we may well be able to draw a line straight to Elon Musk—because that Mars lander will most likely have the SpaceX logo on it.

Musk is arguably the most visionary entrepreneur of our time. Seven years after he quit a PhD program in applied physics at Stanford University, he sold his share of PayPal and Zip2, companies he cofounded, giving him a reported net worth of $324 million. He rolled his money into Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), a company he founded in 2002, then went on to cofound Tesla Motors, which is poised to revolutionize the automobile world. He is a devout environmentalist and proponent of solar energy—his Teslas can literally be driven on sunlight. In 2013, Musk proposed a unique high-speed transportation system in a vacuum tube called Hyperloop, which he put into the public domain. A Hyperloop tube running between Los Angeles and San Francisco could reduce travel time to thirty minutes.

Musk formed SpaceX just when it seemed as if NASA was slipping into irrelevance. Like von Braun, he is a transplant, in this case from South Africa and Canada. Musk, like von Braun, is a perfectionist who is convinced of his vision and determined to achieve it. And as with von Braun, no one seems to understand how serious Musk is when he says we must get to Mars. Against all advice and all odds, he has managed to do the impossible: find enough capital to finance Space Exploration Technologies and to keep it afloat and moving forward even when its first three rockets blew up. Along the way, he has raised a truly revolutionary question: Who needs NASA to get to Mars?

 
Excerpt From: Petranek, Stephen. “How We’ll Live on Mars.” TED Conferences LLC. iBooks. 

This material may be protected by copyright.

 
Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/5DUPZ.l

Also available from Amazon and all of the usual sources.

  

 
I am currently reading … and listening … to this book (via Audible.com).

Rocket Man

The Summer of Reblogs Series

 

Rocket Man – a short story
Copyright © 2014 by Christian Bergman, All rights reserved.

All people, places, and events are fictional … except when they aren’t.

  

Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it’s cold as hell. – Elton John, Bernie Taupin (1972)

 

Rocket Man, burning out his fuse, out here alone.” I recall the lyrics of the ancient Elton John song that has become the anthem of our profession, as I prepare for our deorbit burn. “Pressurizing the primary fuel loop … now,” I call out to my copilot.

“Roger that. Pressures coming up nicely,” Sam replies. “Prepping the igniters. I have New Masdar on the com. They have us in the flyway.”

“Roger that. Double-check the voltage on main B bus. I don’t like what I’m seeing.”

“It’s on the low-end of nominal, but within tolerance. It should get us home.”

“Okay, bringing reserve batteries online. Request NAV fix.”

“Patching in NAV from New Masdar”

“Got it. Ten minutes to ignition,” I confirm. “Better notify our passengers.”

Continue reading … 

Happy Aniversary

To me …

  

SpaceX Pad Abort Wide Angle

Via Zero-G News

  

Mathew Travis has done an excellent job of covering this. Check out his complete coverage at

http://www.zerognews.com/2015/05/07/spacex-successfully-completes-crew-dragon-pad-abort-test/

If you watched the previous post, ABORT ABORT ABORT, you should have noticed one of the reasons that SpaceX will be most cost effective (cheaper) commercial space carrier. The Crew Dragon capsule contains the SuperDraco thrusters used both for abort and terrestrial landing. Every other manned system to date with the exception of the Space Shuttle used or uses a disposable abort escape tower. Look at the tower used for Orion. What a monster … and it is thrown away with very launch!

Will the 3rd time be the charm?

THE WHY AND HOW OF LANDING ROCKETS (SpaceX)

http://www.spacex.com/news/2015/06/24/why-and-how-landing-rockets

Even given everything we’ve learned, the odds of succeeding on our third attempt to land on a drone ship (a new one named “Of Course I Still Love You”) are uncertain, but tune in here this Sunday as we try to get one step closer toward a fully and rapidly reusable rocket.

Stay tuned …

The Martian | Andy Weir

 

  

OK 

I had my joke

Time to be serious.

This is one fine book. I am listening to it on audio book from Audible.com

  

Eleven hours

Unabridged

I like audio books. Easy on the eyes. Accessible while driving to and from work. Multi-tasking friendly. 

Whether in hardcover, paperback, eBook, iBook, or audio book … READ THIS BOOK. Unless of course you hate science fiction. (Why would anyone hate science fiction?)

The Martian is in the same class as Apollo 13Castaway, and Gravity. It is a satisfying survival/rescue story replete with lots of techie goodness, human compassion, bureaucratic assholery, and will-to-survive. Prior to seeing the movie trailer, I was unaware of this book. The movie, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon is looking better and better.

http://andyweirauthor.com

http://andyweirauthor.com/books/the-martian-hc

  

  

Martian Glaciers

  

Credit: Mars Digital Image Model, NASA/Nanna Karlsson

  

Ice on Mars: Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water

Date:  April 8, 2015

Source:  University of Copenhagen – Niels Bohr Institute

Summary:

Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers.

“We have calculated that the ice in the glaciers is equivalent to over 150 billion cubic meters of ice — that much ice could cover the entire surface of Mars with 1.1 meters of ice. The ice at the mid-latitudes is therefore an important part of Mars’ water reservoir,” explains Nanna Bjørnholt Karlsson.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150408102701.htm



  

http://shop.spacex.com/tshirts/occupy-mars-t-shirt.html

Where have I been?

Maggie asked me where I had been in a comment to the previous post. 

 Hmm … yeah … well …

Work … home … hospital … doctor appointments … road trip … life.

Mrs was briefly hospitalized due to an MS flare up. Followed by endless doctor appointments.

Despite the drop in the price of oil and the associated domestic oil industry cutbacks and drilling curtailment, I still have a job. Many of my friends and associates weren’t so lucky. Still waiting for the other shoe to fall.

Took a road trip to Denver for a wedding that almost didn’t happen due to a lost pet. Long story.

Saw a big wiener …

   

 

Drove through Roswell.

  

Saw the place I lived in during college. My how it has changed (more on that in a later post).

  

Ate breakfast near the Denver Capitol.

 

Drove home through Waco and visited the Texas Ranger Museum then drove out to McGreggor to find the SpaceX test facility.

   

 

The guards politely told us to turn around and leave. The guard shack looked new, but they wouldn’t let me take a picture of it or the big SpaceX sign in front of it. Talk about high security. I’ll have to be satisfied with the YouTube tour.

The security was obviously much higher than when this next video was filmed in 2010.

X Marks the Spot

Via email from


 

X Marks the Spot:  Falcon 9 Attempts Ocean Platform Landing

During our next flight, SpaceX will attempt the precision landing of a Falcon 9 first stage for the first time, on a custom-built ocean platform known as the autonomous spaceport drone ship. While SpaceX has already demonstrated two successful soft water landings, executing a precision landing on an unanchored ocean platform is significantly more challenging.

The odds of success are not great—perhaps 50% at best. However this test represents the first in a series of similar tests that will ultimately deliver a fully reusable Falcon 9 first stage.

Video of previous first stage reentry test with soft water landing

 

Returning anything from space is a challenge, but returning a Falcon 9 first stage for a precision landing presents a number of additional hurdles. At 14 stories tall and traveling upwards of 1300 m/s (nearly 1 mi/s), stabilizing the Falcon 9 first stage for reentry is like trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm.

To help stabilize the stage and to reduce its speed, SpaceX relights the engines for a series of three burns. The first burn—the boostback burn—adjusts the impact point of the vehicle and is followed by the supersonic retro propulsion burn that, along with the drag of the atmosphere, slows the vehicle’s speed from 1300 m/s to about 250 m/s. The final burn is the landing burn, during which the legs deploy and the vehicle’s speed is further reduced to around 2 m/s.

Landing legs deployed just before soft water landing in the Atlantic Ocean

To complicate matters further, the landing site is limited in size and not entirely stationary. The autonomous spaceport drone ship is 300 by 100 feet, with wings that extend its width to 170 feet. While that may sound huge at first, to a Falcon 9 first stage coming from space, it seems very small. The legspan of the Falcon 9 first stage is about 70 feet and while the ship is equipped with powerful thrusters to help it stay in place, it is not actually anchored, so finding the bullseye becomes particularly tricky. During previous attempts, we could only expect a landing accuracy of within 10km. For this attempt, we’re targeting a landing accuracy of within 10 meters.

A key upgrade to enable precision targeting of the Falcon 9 all the way to touchdown is the addition of four hypersonic grid fins placed in an X-wing configuration around the vehicle, stowed on ascent and deployed on reentry to control the stage’s lift vector. Each fin moves independently for roll, pitch and yaw, and combined with the engine gimbaling, will allow for precision landing – first on the autonomous spaceport drone ship, and eventually on land.

Similar steerable fins can also be seen in this test video:

The attempt to recover the first stage will begin after stage separation, once the Dragon spacecraft is safely on its way to orbit. The concept of landing a rocket on an ocean platform has been around for decades but it has never been attempted. Though the probability of success on this test is low, we expect to gather critical data to support future landing testing.

A fully and rapidly reusable rocket—which has never been done before—is the pivotal breakthrough needed to substantially reduce the cost of space access. While most rockets are designed to burn up on reentry, SpaceX is building rockets that not only withstand reentry, but also land safely on Earth to be refueled and fly again. Over the next year, SpaceX has at least a dozen launches planned with a number of additional testing opportunities. Given what we know today, we believe it is quite likely that with one of those flights we will not only be able to land a Falcon 9 first stage, but also re-fly.

http://www.spacex.com

The Near Future of Space Travel

An Essay

This week saw the crash and burn of two commercial space ships; one manned, the other unmanned. Regardless of how commonplace spaceflight seems to have become it is still dangerous business. As Elon Musk quipped when a SpaceX test vehicle self-destructed (as intended) when something went haywire over the McGregor Texas test site, “Rockets are tricky“.

Continue reading The Near Future of Space Travel

100th Merlin 1D Engine

In stark* contrast to both Orbital Sciences and United Launch Alliance, both of which use Russian-made main engines, 100% of SpaceX vehicles, are designed, manufactured, assembled, and tested in the U.S. at SpaceX-owned or leased facilities. SpaceX recently announced completion of it 100th Merlin 1D engine in two years.

Continue reading 100th Merlin 1D Engine

Russian rocket engines suspected in launch blast

http://m.phys.org/news/2014-10-russian-rocket-blast.html

The AJ26 engines—modified and tested in the U.S.—originally were designed for the massive Soviet rockets meant to take cosmonauts to the moon during the late 1960s.

The massive explosion of the Russian Moon rocket dashed the Russian bid for the Moon. Faulty AJ26 engines … the same used on the Antares booster … most likely caused the Russian Moon rocket explosion. [my comment]

In 2012, SpaceX’s billionaire founder and CEO, Elon Musk, called the Antares rocket “a punchline to a joke” because of the Russian engines. SpaceX, by contrast, makes its own rocket parts.

“I mean they start with engines that were literally made in the ’60s and, like, packed away in Siberia somewhere,” Musk said in an interview with Wired magazine.

2001 Theatrical Re-Release

2001: A Space Odyssey … Returns

UK Re-release to theaters in November

New Trailer

 

Original Trailer

Only the big screen can do justice to this film. I hope it comes to the States.

Source: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/10/21/2001-a-space-odyssey-trailer/

See also last year’s post: 2001

Apollo Retroreflectors

IMG_3534.PNG

http://www.xkcd.com/1441

Yet more proof that man really did walk on the moon.

IMG_3535.GIF

Left on the moon by Apollo missions 11, 14, and 15 the three retroreflectors continue to provide an ultra-precise means of determining Earth-Moon distance.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Laser_Ranging_experiment

Retroreflectors provide surveyors a precise way of measuring point-to-point distance by timing the two-way time of a laser pulse. The optical design is such that reflected light is returned in the exact direction from which it was sent with very little scatter.

IMG_3536.JPG

These methods are faster, safer, and infinitely more accurate than measuring distance by stretching a long steel tape (called a chain for historical reasons) as I did in college surveying camp over 30 years ago. Laser range finders and retroreflectors are the mainstay of modern surveying. This technology did not become commercially available until the 1980s, yet NASA used it in 70s to accurately measure Earth-Moon distance.

With the right equipment anyone can measure the precise distance to the Moon and simultaneously confirm that MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH
FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON
JULY 1969 A.D.

IMG_3537.PNG

Lockheed Compact Fusion Reactor

Can this be real?

 

The Skunk Works mind-set and “the pace that people work at here is ridiculously fast,” he says. “We would like to get to a prototype in five generations. If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we’ve already shown we can do that in the lab.”

The early reactors will be designed to generate around 100 MW and fit into transportable units measuring 23 X 43 ft. “That’s the size we are thinking of now. You could put it on a semi-trailer, similar to a small gas turbine, put it on a pad, hook it up and can be running in a few weeks,”

Thomas McGuire, AviationWeek interview (see link below)

Wow …

Links

http://m.aviationweek.com/technology/skunk-works-reveals-compact-fusion-reactor-details

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/lockheed-martins-new-fusion-reactor-design-can-change-h-1646578094

http://www.businessinsider.com/scientists-bash-lockheed-on-nuclear-fusion-2014-10

Elon Musk

is the next Steve Jobs. 

There … I said it.

Where to begin? Have you ever watched  a Steve Jobs product unveiling? Watch Elon Musk as he unveils the model D or Dragon V2. They are both on this blog.

Jobs: changed the industry with his first company; Apple.

Musk: changed the industry with his first company; PayPal.

Jobs: was simultaneously CEO of two companies; Apple and Pixar

Musk: is CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and … Solar City.

Jobs: gave us amazing technology that changed our lives

Musk: electric cars, coast to coast free charging stations, freakin’ rocket ships, man. How amazing is that!

Jobs: “the journey is the reward”

Musk: “Mars”

I could go one, but you get the idea.

Elon Musk is the next Steve Jobs.