Posts Tagged ‘Engineering’

The Dangers of manned Spaceflight

Today,  Day of Remembrance (the final Thursday of January) commemorates the lives of astronauts who have perished in pursuit of human presence in space.  While most remember the Challenger (Jan. 28th, 1986) and Columbia (Feb 1st, 2003) disasters, fewer are probably aware of the Apollo 1 fire that killed Gus Grisson, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.  Still fewer are aware of the numerous Cosmonauts and Russian scientists that have perished.   And while Yuri Gagarin is the first man to survive spaceflight, how many Phantom Cosmonauts may have been lost, there existence hidden by the Soviet Union.

Spaceflight is inherently dangerous and will be for the foreseeable future.  Its continued pursuit is necessary for the advancement of mankind and human culture.  Robots can take pictures and collect samples but only a human can poetically describe a orbital or lunar sunrise.  In the future, manned spaceflight may be necessary for  mankind’s survival once the Earth’s resources have been used up or polluted.  IF in 5 Billion years we are still living on Earth, at that point we will have no choice but to leave the solar system in search of a new home as the Sun expands to a Red Giant and it engulfs the Earth.


Coolest Mil-Tech Of The Moment: Autonomous MH-6

What is scarier than a flight of Ah-64 Longbow Apaches and MH-6 Little Birds ready to engage? How about a fleet of unmanned MH-6s commanded by the Apaches!

Boeing photo
The optionally piloted (OPV) MH-6 can be armed worth 0.50 cal guns, rockets, and/or Hellfire missiles, all tied into the operator. The Apache can control the MH-6′s sensors, fire weapons, and have the MH-6 designate targets.
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The New Area 51

Area 51 abandoned? Operations shifted elsewhere? According to Popular Sciencethere are no more “UFO” sightings, guards in Jeeps, and advanced unattendedground sensors. On the other hand we have the very enthusiastic Groom Lake observer Norio Hayakawa who claims it is actually expanding and Wired backs it up with some good research. So no worries, tons of cool shit is still taking place. I figured it was still worth checking out the alleged replacements for the Dreamland Resort.
Michael Army Air Field, UT
Dugway Proving Grounds, UT
Hollman Air Force Base, NM
Green River(Utah) Launch Complex

Green River is shut down, but played a large role in the development of the US missile arsenal. An unlikely successor or even peer to Area 51 considering you can walk right up to it. Michael and the Dugway Proving Grounds are quite interesting peers to Area 51. Michael was selected as one of 3 landing sites for the cancelled X-33. The fields location at the 1,200 square mile Dugway Proving Ground makes it the ideal location for testing operations. The proving grounds also support research for the U.S. defense against chemical and biological weapons. The remote site is perfect for such high risk research and in the past has been used for open air tests of chemical and biological weapons. Holoman Air Force Base is definitely a peer to Area 51, hosting the QF-4 drone squadron and being the nations home base and training location for the F-117 stealth fighter. Both Holloman and Michael are really secret bases, but they represent ideal locations to test lower profile stealth and low-observable unmanned aerial vehicle technologies. Satellite Photos:
Michael Army Airfield: 40°11’48.76″N 112°56’37.90″W - MichaelsAAF.kmz
Holloman Air Force Base: 32°55’36.79″N ?106°15’1.41″W - Holloman AFB.kmz
Green River Launch Complex: 32°55’36.79″N ?106°15’1.41″W

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Commentary from an Aerospace Engineer, Environmentalist, Capitalist, Conspiracy Theorist

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