1. Monday, June 29, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back BRENT SHERWOOD from JPL to discuss human spaceflight, Discovery Proposals, t and much more.
2. Tuesday, June 30, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): DR. CLARK LINDSEY now with NewSpace Global is back with us. – This is me! Here is the blurb in the newsletter:
Dr. Clark Lindsey is currently the Managing Editor of the NewSpace Watch daily news and commentary service
at NewSpace Global (NewSpaceGlobal.com), a company that provides information, data, and analysis regarding the NewSpace industry. He has followed entrepreneurial space efforts closely since the 1990s and has witnessed many ups and downs in the long struggle to reduce the costs of space endeavors, especially the high cost of accessing space.
Like most in the NewSpace community, he considers space access cost to be the overwhelmingly most important barrier to space development and believes fully reusable space transports will surmount this high hurdle.
He also blogs occasionally at Space-for-All.com about general space topics ranging from space art to student satellites that involve ways for the general public to participate directly or vicariously in humanity’s great adventure in space. His HobbySpace.com website provides extensive web resources for space related hobbies and participatory activities.
Dr. Lindsey has a PhD in experimental physics from the University of California at Riverside. After post-docs with Iowa State and Fermilab, he worked for several years at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.
3. Friday, July 3, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT):No show today as this is part of the July 4th holiday weekend.
4. Sunday, July 5, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): No show today as part of July 4th holiday weekend.
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
Here’s a story about a neat 3D projection display technology that just might make it to market: This Touchable Midair 3D Laser Display Is Pretty Magical – Singularity HUB –
I’ve often posted about the many projects of JP Aerospace, a hybrid commercial/volunteer organization that carries out high altitude balloon and airship flights with innovative hardware and is even trying to get to orbit (pdf). To make a living they often fly products of various sorts as promotions for companies. For example, they flew phones for Samsung and a laptop for Lenovo. Here is a report about another JPA near space flight with one of their more unusual payloads:
Success! Amazing Footage Of The First Slot Machine In Space Is Released
(San Jacinto, CA) – It was a galactic 20 years in the making but finally on the morning of Sunday, June 14th 2015, just before 10 a.m. – the team at Soboba had lift off! 25 crew members, engineers and volunteers gathered just outside Lovelock, Nevada to cheer on the first slot machine successfully launched into space.
Soboba Casino’s slot, nicknamed “Icarus,” was carried aboard a spacecraft designed by the not for profit and independent space company JP Aerospace. It ascended with the help of a super high-altitude weather balloon. Rising to an elevation of 99,000 feet (just shy of its 100,000 foot goal) aboard “Away 117”, Soboba launched the world’s first slot machine into space! Also accompanying the miniaturized three-wheel, one-armed bandit was a payload of specially produced commemorative Soboba Club cards by Ablecard of Azusa, California which will be distributed to select Soboba players and VIPs. After a five hour journey and over 16 hours of searching at the edge of a Northern Nevada mountain, “Away 117” and Icarus were successfully recovered and the spectacular footage of the “slot in space” was intact.
“This is yet another first for Soboba Casino,” declares Soboba Casino’s General Manager Scott Sirois. “Our partnership with the great people of JP Aerospace was out-of-this-world and we could not be happier with the result. This launch lets our players know that we will go to the stars and back to win them over.”
Icarus is a fully-functioning, albeit much smaller slot machine, and is operated with coins, reels, gears and springs, similar to the devices used when slot machines had their start in the 1900’s. Unlike other slot machines it contained a small, hidden compartment with messages penned by casino employees; this mechanical-celestial voyager is pulling double duty as a time capsule to be opened during Soboba’s 40th anniversary in 2035.
“In June of 2015 Soboba Casino celebrated its twentieth anniversary,” exclaimed Soboba Casino’s Director of Marketing Michael J. Broderick. “The Team at Soboba decided to honor this monumental occasion by accomplishing a monumental feat: to be the first casino in history to launch a slot machine into space, and prove that “Soboba is out of this world”. We successfully did it and with that success we have made a lasting mark on space travel as well as gaming history”.
The entire journey was filmed, and will be produced and edited by Inman Productions of Riverside, CA. From preparation, to lift-off, to the final moments of the slow decent by parachute, every step of the 12-inch tall, 2.5 pound Icarus’ flight was captured on film. “Soboba Casino’s Mission to Space” will debut at the 20th Anniversary party on June 27, 2015 along with the unveiling and display of the slot machine Icarus and a mockup of the space vehicle “Away 117”.
Be the first to see the video of the first slot machine in space click here: First Slot Machine in Space
Celebrating 20 years Soboba Casino features approximately 2,000 of the newest, hottest slot machines, an expansive and modern non-smoking room, 20 classic gaming tables featuring all your favorite card games, and a large outdoor event arena which easily accommodates over 10,000 people. Need to recharge & refresh? Visit the cozy Soboba Café and Coffee Kiicha, or experience AC’s Lounge with full cocktail bar and three giant HD flat screens including the “Sobobatron”, the Inland Empire’s biggest HD video wall.
Soboba Casino is proudly owned and operated by the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians. Come join us for all the fun and then some! Soboba Casino. Where Everybody Goes to Play! For more information visit: soboba.com
This week’s episode of NASA’s Space to Ground report on activities related to the International Space Station:
Scott Nammacher is a prolific astrophotographer who is profiled in this article: White Plains artist keeps eye on universe – Lohud.com.
Check out the wonderful gallery of astronomical images on his website: Starmere
The UK Space Agency is sponsoring a Announcement of Opportunity: Arts and Creative Technology – Publications – GOV.UK.
From the announcement document (pdf):
The upcoming flight of Tim Peake to the International Space Station has boosted interest in human spaceflight in the UK. The current scheme, however, looks beyond this one mission: the Agency is seeking original ideas which give new perspectives on science, technology and exploration in a sociocultural context.
Awards are available from £10k up to a maximum of £50k. The Agency expects to make between 1 and 5 awards.
What we are looking for
Creative work which responds to space science and technology in new and interesting ways. Funding may be matched from other sources or be used to fund one part of a larger project.
Proposals are welcome in these areas:
• Visual arts
• Video games
• Creative technology + immersive media
Some examples of effective work in this field could include: Elizabeth Price’s SUNLIGHT; Superflux’s Mangala For All ; Helen White’s Solar Wind Chime. (NB these are illustrative only of the breadth and diversity of possible approaches.)
- Vattnet Viskar – Settler -Album Reviews/Consequence of Sound
- 10 Best Metal Releases of Summer 2015 – OC Weekly
This video has been out for a month or so but I just saw it. Don’t know if the flying platform will develop into a practical recreational system but it’s quite an impressive technical accomplishment regardless: Video: Watch incredible footage of farthest flight by a hoverboard record set by Canada’s Catalin Alexandru Duru – Guinness World Records
Sci-Tech: 24M develops lower cost Li-Ion battery making + Videos: Elon Musk talks about Tesla and Gigafactory
The MIT spinoff company 24M has unveiled a new approach to lithium battery manufacturing that it says can reduce the cost by a factor of two. The standard li-ion construction process involves coating the active materials onto long strips of an inert tape material that adds bulk and weight to the battery but does not contributed directly to energy storage. The 24M process gets rid of the tape using a new approach developed by Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, who has been involved in previous battery ventures including A123. The energy and power density of the battery is thus increased. The new manufacturing system also eliminates a great many processing steps, so it reduces the manufacturing cost as well.
The company has been working in stealth mode for several years and this week made its public debut: 24M Introduces The Semisolid Lithium-Ion Battery: Company Emerges From Stealth With $50M In Private Capital And A Revolutionary New Technology That Will Slash Today’S Lithium-Ion Battery Costs By 50% – 24M.
Articles about 24M:
- The story of the invention that could revolutionize batteries—and maybe American manufacturing as well – Quartz
- Batteries: New lithium ion startup wants to take on Tesla – Fortune
Tesla Motors‘ Gigafactory under construction in northern Nevada is also intended to lower costs but through sheer economies of scale more than by new manufacturing or battery technology advances. The Tesla batteries are intended both for the company’s cars and for energy storage systems for the home (Powerwall) and utilities and industry.
Li-ion batteries have progressed in a steady but rather slow incremental pace despite periodic claims of big breakthroughs. Nevertheless, I expect Elon and others at Tesla must still have some concern that a new development like that of 24M or Sakti or whomever might make their giant battery factory obsolete before it can pay off the investment in it.
Here are a couple of recent videos in which Elon Musk talks about Tesla and the Gigafactory:
Below is a new video overview of the New Horizons mission, which will fly past the Pluto system on July 14th. A team led by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL) and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is in charge of the NASA funded project. Alan Stern of SwRI is the Principle Investigator.
The ESO (European Southern Observatory)
Giant Galaxy is Still Growing
Messier 87 has swallowed an entire galaxy in the last billion years
New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed that the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 has swallowed an entire medium-sized galaxy over the last billion years. For the first time a team of astronomers has been able to track the motions of 300 glowing planetary nebulae to find clear evidence of this event and also found evidence of excess light coming from the remains of the totally disrupted victim.
Astronomers expect that galaxies grow by swallowing smaller galaxies. But the evidence is usually not easy to see — just as the remains of the water thrown from a glass into a pond will quickly merge with the pond water, the stars in the infalling galaxy merge in with the very similar stars of the bigger galaxy leaving no trace.
But now a team of astronomers led by PhD student Alessia Longobardi at the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany has applied a clever observational trick to clearly show that the nearby giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 merged with a smaller spiral galaxy in the last billion years.
“This result shows directly that large, luminous structures in the Universe are still growing in a substantial way — galaxies are not finished yet!” says Alessia Longobardi. “A large sector of Messier 87’s outer halo now appears twice as bright as it would if the collision had not taken place.”
Messier 87 lies at the centre of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies. It is a vast ball of stars with a total mass more than a million million times that of the Sun, lying about 50 million light-years away.
Rather than try to look at all the stars in Messier 87 — there are literally billions and they are too faint and numerous be studied individually — the team looked at planetary nebulae, the glowing shells around ageing stars . Because these objects shine very brightly in a specific hue of aquamarine green, they can be distinguished from the surrounding stars. Careful observation of the light from the nebulae using a powerful spectrograph can also reveal their motions .
Just as the water from a glass is not visible once thrown into the pond — but may have caused ripples and other disturbances that can be seen if there are particles of mud in the water — the motions of the planetary nebulae, measured using the FLAMES spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope, provide clues to the past merger.
“We are witnessing a single recent accretion event where a medium-sized galaxy fell through the centre of Messier 87, and as a consequence of the enormous gravitational tidal forces, its stars are now scattered over a region that is 100 times larger than the original galaxy!” adds Ortwin Gerhard, head of the dynamics group at the Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany, and a co-author of the new study.
The team also looked very carefully at the light distribution in the outer parts of Messier 87 and found evidence of extra light coming from the stars in the galaxy that had been pulled in and disrupted. These observations have also shown that the disrupted galaxy has added younger, bluer stars to Messier 87, and so it was probably a star-forming spiral galaxy before its merger.
“It is very exciting to be able to identify stars that have been scattered around hundreds of thousands of light-years in the halo of this galaxy — but still to be able to see from their velocities that they belong to a common structure. The green planetary nebulae are the needles in a haystack of golden stars. But these rare needles hold the clues to what happened to the stars,” concludes co-author Magda Arnaboldi (ESO, Garching, Germany).
RR Auction is selling a large set of Apollo related items from the estate of noted space collector Leon Ford. The auction includes some items that were taken to the Moon and returned by astronauts: Space collector’s legacy heads to auction: Leon Ford’s NASA artifacts for sale – collectSPACE.
Among the highlights of Ford’s collection was a pouch that held some of Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin’s personal mementos as they were flown to lunar orbit and back. The Personal Preference Kit (PPK) bag had already attracted bids topping $25,000 when absentee pre-bidding closed on Wednesday.
Other exceptional artifacts include a life support backpack strap worn by Apollo 12 commander Pete Conrad on the moon’s surface, selling for more than $36,000; a U.S. flag from Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden’s spacesuit, with bids already above $20,000; and a drawing depicting NASA’sMercury and Gemini spacecraft autographed by all of the astronauts who flew on the capsules, at $25,000.
Here is an eCatalog of the collection.
And here is a video about the collection:
- U.S. Defense Department to develop UK hoverbike – Reuters
- The US Army Is Developing Hoverbikes – Popular Mechanics
Here is a press release from an event at the Paris Airshow last week:
Lt. Governor Rutherford Announces Maryland, U.K. Companies
Have Teamed Up On New Hoverbike Technology
U.K.-based Malloy Aeronautics opens office in Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 16, 2015) – At the Paris Air Show, Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford joined with SURVICE Engineering Co., a Belcamp, Md.-based defense firm, and U.K.-based Malloy Aeronautics, an aeronautical engineering firm, to announce that the two companies have teamed up on the development of Hoverbike technology for the U.S. Department of Defense. SURVICE and Malloy are working on the Hoverbike as part of an ongoing research and development contract with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The Hoverbike is being developed to operate as a new class of Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV).
As part of this strategic alliance, Malloy Aeronautics has also announced that they have established a U.S. office in Belcamp adjacent to Aberdeen Proving Ground to complete work on the Hoverbike. A model of the Hoverbike is on display at the Paris Air Show, which runs through June 21.
“I am pleased to join with SURVICE Engineering and Malloy Aeronautics to announce their partnership on the Hoverbike, which represents a new frontier in aviation,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “We are also very excited to welcome Malloy and look forward to working with them to grow their operations in Maryland.”
“Establishing an office in Maryland was a clear business decision,” said Chris Malloy, managing director of Malloy Aeronautics. “The proximity to the Army Research Laboratory and U.S. defense decision makers, access to the world-class facilities through the laboratory’s Open Campus initiative, and the co-location with our strategic business partner, SURVICE Engineering, were all factors in favor of Maryland as the best choice for Malloy Aeronautics.”
“Maryland companies do a tremendous amount of research and development (R&D) for the U.S. military,” said Jeff Foulk, SURVICE chief executive officer. “If there is a new military technology being developed, there’s a good chance that some aspect was designed, built or tested in Maryland.”
With about 400 employees, SURVICE is a specialty engineering firm that has been providing R&D support for the U.S. Department of Defense and other industry sectors for more than 30 years. Formed in 2012, Malloy Aeronautics is an entrepreneurial aerospace company that develops, markets, and sells drones and Hoverbike technology to commercial and military markets.
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is the nation’s premier laboratory for land forces and is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.
Find more videos of the Hoverbike project at MalloyHoverbike’s channel – YouTube.
The Dawn spacecraft returns new photos of the dwarf planet Ceres:
The closer we get to Ceres, the more intriguing the distant dwarf planet becomes. New images of Ceres from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft provide more clues about its mysterious bright spots, and also reveal a pyramid-shaped peak towering over a relatively flat landscape.
A cluster of mysterious bright spots on dwarf planet Ceres can be seen in this image, taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft from an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). The image, with a resolution of 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel, was taken on June 9, 2015. Image Credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech /UCLA /MPS /DLR /IDA
“The surface of Ceres has revealed many interesting and unique features. For example, icy moons in the outer solar system have craters with central pits, but on Ceres central pits in large craters are much more common. These and other features will allow us to understand the inner structure of Ceres that we cannot sense directly,” said Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator for the Dawn mission, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Dawn has been studying the dwarf planet in detail from its second mapping orbit, which is 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above Ceres. A new view of its intriguing bright spots, located in a crater about 55 miles (90 kilometers) across, shows even more small spots in the crater than were previously visible.
At least eight spots can be seen next to the largest bright area, which scientists think is approximately 6 miles (9 kilometers) wide. A highly reflective material is responsible for these spots — ice and salt are leading possibilities, but scientists are considering other options, too.
Dawn’s visible and infrared mapping spectrometer allows scientists to identify specific minerals present on Ceres by looking at how light is reflected. Each mineral reflects the range of visible and infrared-light wavelengths in a unique way, and this signature helps scientists determine the components of Ceres. So, as the spacecraft continues to send back more images and data, scientists will learn more about the mystery bright spots.
In addition to the bright spots, the latest images also show a mountain with steep slopes protruding from a relatively smooth area of the dwarf planet’s surface. The structure rises about 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the surface.
Among the fascinating features on dwarf planet Ceres is an intriguing mountain protruding from a relatively smooth area. Scientists estimate that this structure rises about 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the surface. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft took this image from an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). The image, with a resolution of 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel, was taken on June 6, 2015. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Ceres also has numerous craters of varying sizes, many of which have central peaks. There is ample evidence of past activity on the surface, including flows, landslides and collapsed structures. It seems that Ceres shows more remnants of activity than the protoplanet Vesta, which Dawn studied intensively for 14 months in 2011 and 2012.
Dawn is the first mission to visit a dwarf planet, and the first to orbit two distinct targets in our solar system. It arrived at Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, on March 6, 2015.
A variety of craters and other geological features can be found on dwarf planet Ceres. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft took this image of Ceres from an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). The image, with a resolution of 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel, was taken on June 5, 2015. Image credit: NASA/JPL- Caltech/ UCLA /MPS /DLR / IDA
Dawn will remain in its current altitude until June 30, continuing to take images and spectra of Ceres in orbits of about three days each. It then will move into its next orbit at an altitude of 900 miles (1,450 kilometers), arriving in early August.
Dawn’s mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate’s Discovery Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK Inc., in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team.
This image, taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, shows an intriguing mountain on dwarf planet Ceres protruding from a relatively smooth area. Scientists estimate that this structure rises about 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the surface. Dawn captured this image from an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). The image, with a resolution of 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel, was taken on June 14, 2015. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
For a complete list of mission participants, visit: dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission
What are those unusual bright spots on Ceres? Cast your vote: www.jpl.nasa.gov/dawn/world_ceres/
1. Monday, June 22, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): No show today.
2. Tuesday, June 23, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): No show today.
3. Friday, June 26, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT):Check The Space Show website newsletter for details on this program later in the week. Our scheduled guest may need to change his schedule and I won’t know about the Friday show until later this week. As soon as I know, the details will be on the website newsletter, http://www.thespaceshow.com/newsletterfinal.htm.
4. Sunday, June 21, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): OPEN LINES. All STEM and space topics welcome. First time callers are welcome.
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
The latest TMRO.tv life program discussed the potential of commercial space ventures to push back the space frontier: Can commercial space expand the frontier? – TMRO
Is Neil deGrasse Tyson correct in assessing that private space can’t open the space frontier? Only Governments can open new frontiers? In this epicsode we debate the merits of this idea.
The New Horizons spacecraft approaching Pluto sends some color images of Pluto and its moon Charon:
The first color movies from NASA’s New Horizons mission show Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, and the complex orbital dance of the two bodies, known as a double planet.
“It’s exciting to see Pluto and Charon in motion and in color,” says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, Colorado. “Even at this low resolution, we can see that Pluto and Charon have different colors—Pluto is beige-orange, while Charon is grey. Exactly why they are so different is the subject of debate.”
New Horizons will make its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, zipping by about 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above the surface. It’s the first mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, a relic of solar system formation beyond Neptune. Sending a spacecraft on this almost 3-billion mile journey will help us answer basic questions about the surface properties, atmospheres, and moons of the Pluto system.
These near-true color movies were assembled from images made in three colors — blue, red and near-infrared – by the Multicolor Visible Imaging Camera on the instrument known as Ralph, a “Honeymooners” reference that classic TV fans can appreciate. The images were taken on nine different occasions from May 29-June 3.
Although the two movies were prepared from the same images, they display the Pluto-Charon pair from different perspectives. One movie is “Pluto-centric”, meaning that Charon is shown as it moves in relation to Pluto, which is digitally centered in the movie. (The North Pole of Pluto is at the top.) Pluto makes one turn around its axis every 6 days, 9 hours and 17.6 minutes—the same amount of time that Charon rotates in its orbit. Looking closely at the images in this movie, one can detect a regular shift in Pluto’s brightness—due to the brighter and darker terrains on its differing faces.
The second movie is barycentric, meaning that both Pluto and Charon are shown in motion around the binary’s barycenter – the shared center of gravity between the two bodies as they do a planetary jig. Because Pluto is much more massive than Charon, the barycenter (marked by a small “x” in the movie) is much closer to Pluto than to Charon.
As New Horizons closes in its intended target, the best is yet to come. “Color observations are going to get much, much better, eventually resolving the surfaces of Charon and Pluto at scales of just kilometers,” said Cathy Olkin, New Horizons deputy project scientist from SwRI. “This will help us unravel the nature of their surfaces and the way volatiles transport around their surfaces. I can’t wait; it’s just a few weeks away!”
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), headquartered in San Antonio, is the principal investigator and leads the mission. SwRI leads the science team, payload operations, and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. APL designed, built and operates the spacecraft.
Ralph is a joint project between SwRI, Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.
For more information on the New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, schedules, video and images, visit:
Follow the New Horizons mission on social media, and use the hashtag #PlutoFlyby to join the conversation. The mission’s official NASA Twitter account is @NASANewHorizons. Live updates will be available on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/new.horizons1
Here is this week’s NASA report on activities related to the Int. Space Station:
JP Aerospace, “America’s OTHER Space Program“, has been out flying their high altitude airships again, including an Ascender prototype:
Sunday June 14th our 26 foot Ascender airship took to the sky in Northern Nevada. This vehicle is smaller than some of our other vehicles, but it is extremely important. It is a test bed for an entire new internal structure and new internal helium cell interface. It was intended to be a short hop to 1000 feet above the ground. However everything was going so well we let her run and flew to 2585 feet above the ground (6,708 feet above sea level. We had the combination inner cell fill volumes and balance off by about six ounces and we floated tail up about twenty degrees most of the way. It slowed the climb rate a bit but didn’t detract from an excellent flight.
The Ascender is a pretty complex system with four helium inner cells, servo control vents, an out envelope pressurization system, a carbon truss internal structure, full unlink command and tracking system and independent backup gas release systems. The real value of this test flight was learning to deploy this complex of a system in the field. We still have goose bumps on how great the flight went. This is the vehicle that paves the way for the next generation of Ascenders to come.
*Away 117 Reaches 95,874 feet (29222 meters) –
Away 117 was our 180th flight. The flight carried magnetohydrodynamic experiments for the ATO project, a PongSat from Singapore and a slot machine for Soboba Casino.
The flight was a great success. We have a challenging recovery operation. It took four hours of off road driving and a twelve hour hike/climb up and down a mountain but we got it back.