Category Archives: Space

China says testing EM drive in orbit

Science fiction maven Jerry Pournelle says reports of Chinese orbital success with the fuel-free electromagnetic spacecraft drive rank up there with the importance of Sputnik 1 in its day.

Others have their doubts about anything the ChiComs claim and that, despite tentative NASA ground confirmation of the EM drive’s usefulness, it’s any more than a new cold fusion hoax. Stay tuned.

Via Instapundit.

Mars in 70 days

“The results of NASA’s tests on the ‘impossible’ EM Drive have been leaked, and they reveal that the controversial propulsion system really does work, and is capable of generating impressive thrust in a vacuum, even after error measurements have been accounted for.”

This is propulsion without fuel. Mars in 70 days instead of 18 months. No bulky fuel tanks marring the design of your space vehicle. Moreover, no explosive fuel to worry about. Leaving the problem of shielding from cosmic rays to be resolved, but with considerable new incentive to do so.

Via Instapundit.

Private rockets still flying (and landing)

1475685287-craft

This the landing, the fifth landing from the edge of space of this Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin booster, in a successful test of the crew capsule’s escape system. Watch it all here, scroll down to the video and begin it at 50:51.

Nice to know engineering work continues near Van Horn in West Texas without the mud-slinging and biased journalism of the presidential fandango. Should be said that our little Barry Hussein stimulated these private rocket ventures by forcing NASA to help them out while getting out of the way.

Accident or terrorism?

As anti-Semitism becomes more prevalent and vicious at U.S. colleges and universities it’s easy to see it everywhere even when it isnt there. Thus you have to wonder about the SpaceX explosion yesterday in Florida.

That Falcon 9 that blew up on the pad, supposedly running an engine test of some sort, despite its payload already being in place atop the stack, destroyed an Israeli-made satellite belonging to Facebook. The sat was intended to improve Internet reception via smartphones in rural Africa.

The Times of Israel, whose initial reports carried no hint of terrorism, said the loss of the $200 million sat would be a major blow to the country’s space industries. Facebook merely vowed to soldier on.

UPDATE:  Here’s an early, conspiracy-theory explanation. The Falcon 9 suffered a drone attack. The official investigation is going to take lots of time.

Humans on an alien world

Apollo Sixteen astronaut Charles Duke’s family snapshot, that is, face up on the lunar dust. Is it still there? Who knows. But it was when he put it there in 1972.

“‘This is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth. Landed on the Moon, April 1972,’ the spaceman wrote on the back of the picture.”

He wasn’t the only astronaut to leave mementos on the moon, according to NASA deputy administrator Robert Jacobs. “A lot of astronauts left some sort of personal memento. This one is a moment of humanity and what is important, for Charlie it was his family.”

Duke, a former Air Force test pilot, is 80.

Via NASA.

Got your towel?

I have mine. After all, this is Towel Day all over the galaxy. Not to mention the known universe. Not sure about the 11 extra dimensions. Or whether our reptilian overlords (see Infowars) are going to allow it or quash it. We shall see.

Via Simon Thomas Gentle (a disguise rare readers hereabouts will recognize.)

Movie: Less Martian, more NASA

The Martian is not the best scifi movie I ever saw, but it is reasonably faithful to the book for a change. Only a little tiresome with the manipulated tears. Funny how the tear ducts respond even when the brain is saying oh, come on now.

I rented the flicker via Amazon and watched it on my Kindle Fire tablet for about six bucks. The “Martian,” Matt Damon was exceptionally good. So were the young babes, unknowns to me, at Mission control and on the Hermes spacecraft, which was easily the largest thing Earth ever launched and with Starship Enterprise interiors.

I still think, as I did with the book, that the author was too much of a NASA and government fanboy. Damon being of and being rescued by a private space company would have been much more interesting. There were sequences that demanded some NASA involvement but those could have been finessed.

I did come away with less of a sense of the book’s story of one man’s ingenuity in the face of impossible odds. Damon always seemed to be plugging in available hardware rather than devising unique ways around his problems. More of the focus, certainly more than in the book, was on NASA and its (in this case) babe or black scientists and their ingenuity in working out a rescue. The group, rather than the individual, was a cause for celebration. Typical of a socialist worldview.

The movie, like the book, also annoyed me for its use of CNN as the major television channel that “brings the world together” when Fox has been No. 1 for more than a decade now. But that’s what you would expect from Hollyweird, where conservative commenters like the ones on Fox are verboten. CNN’s liberals obviously preferred. Just like the Hollyweirdos keep making unpopular leftist political message movies, somehow eating their losses.

So how many stars on the Stanleymeter? Four. Do I advise you to rent it? Only if you’ve read the book first, which is much more inspiring if much less tear-jerking.