September 2010

Robert Truax

Robert Truax

Rocket Scientist and champion of civilian space endeavors has died at the age of 93. Robert was one of the great rocket scientist of the 20th century. He is originator of the idea of long range missiles on submarines and it is even believed that the Polaris program stemmed from his work. However he will probably best be remembered for his steam Rocket Skycycle that Evel Knievel used in his attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon. Champion of civilian aerospace his Volkrocket project was precursor to many of the X-Prize contenders.

NY Times article on Robert Truax’s death

Build Eric Truax’s paper model of the Skycycle


Evel Knevel’s SkyCycle      Page 1Page 2

It looks like SpaceX is targeting Nov. 8th for the first launch of the Dragon Spacecraft. This will be 5 months after the inaugural launch of the Falcon 9 vehicle. The flight is labeled “COTS-1”. Currently the COTS contract has three test flights that are to prove that the Dragon spacecraft can deliver to the ISS and return items to earth.

Dragon Spacecraft

SpaceX website

Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov

On September 26th 1983 a Soviet scientist saved the world from nuclear war. It’s really a quite extraordinary story.

“On September 26th, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov was the officer on duty when the warning system reported a US missile launch.  Petrov kept calm, suspecting a computer error.

Then the system reported another US missile launch.

And another, and another, and another.

…The policy of the Soviet Union called for launch on warning.  The Soviet Union’s land radar could not detect missiles over the horizon, and waiting for positive identification would limit the response time to minutes.” – from Less Wrong’s blog

The story goes that Petrov preferred not to destroy the world that day. He was the right man at the right time.

I have provided links below to sites that have a great coverage of the whole story.

LessWrong – 9/26 is Petrov Day

Gimundo –Stanislav Petrov: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing Nothing

A excerpt from the documentary The Red Button and the man who saved the world

After a 6 month stay aboard ISS and a delay due to a hatch sensor, the Expedition 24 crew lands safely at  1:23 am in Kazakhstan.

Last stages of Soyuz descent

Last stages of Soyuz descent

The crew:

Expedition 24 Commander Alexander Skvortsov

Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson

Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko

More at NASA

Looking for some great reading in the field of Aeronautics. These free E-Books from NASA will get you started.

“NASA’s Contributions to Aeronautics, Volume 1” NEW!
Edited by Richard P. Hallion

“NASA’s Contributions to Aeronautics, Volume 2” NEW!
Edited by Richard P. Hallion

“Modeling Flight”
by Joseph R. Chambers

“Apollo of Aeronautics: NASA’s Aircraft Energy Efficiency Program, 1973-1987”
by Mark D. Bowles

“Ikhana: Unmanned Aircraft System, Western States Fire Missions”
by Peter W. Merlin

“X-15: Extending the Frontiers of Flight”
by Dennis R. Jenkins

Click here to access the download page.

All books available in various E-Book formats and PDFs

“Now, as any one of the scientists, CEOs and teachers here will tell you, this kind of innovation isn’t born in the boardroom or on the factory floor.  It doesn’t begin in a basement workshop or a research laboratory.  That’s where the payoff happens.  But it starts long before.  It starts in a classroom.  It starts when a child learns that every star in the night sky is another sun; when a young girl swells with accomplishment after solving a tough math problem; when a boy builds a model rocket and watches it soar; when an eager student peers through a microscope and discovers a whole new world.  It’s in these moments that a young person may discover a talent or a passion that might lead to a career.  It’s in these moments every day that our nation — our promise as a nation is realized.  And it is in these moments that we see why a quality science and math education matters, why it is absolutely critical to us.”

read in it’s entirety

from Virgin Galactic

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