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of the homepage archives.
One of the most
interesting things I remember about what we learned from the Apollo program is that
the moon has a smell. Upon removing their helmets
after the moon walk, Neil Armstrong remarked, 'We were aware of a new scent in the
air of the cabin that clearly came from all the lunar material that had accumulated
on and in our clothes.' Buzz Aldrin described it as 'the smell in the air after
a firecracker has gone off.'
ever wonder what would have transpired if the lunar module (LM) rockets had failed
to fire for a return to the orbiting Command Module (CM)? Read "In the Event of Moon Disaster" that was prepared
for President Nixon to broadcast to the world if the unthinkable happened. Of course
NASA had all potential scenarios covered in their
Abort Planning document, complimented by extensive
scenario training. Some fools wanted to shut off communications with the LM to prevent
a record of Armstrong and Aldrin panicking which, of course, would never have happen
with the two seasoned professional military aviators.
"Drone racing's ultimate vision of quadcopters
weaving nimbly through obstacle courses has attracted far less excitement and investment
than self-driving cars aimed at reshaping ground transportation. But the U.S. military
and defense industry are betting on autonomous drone racing as the next frontier
for developing AI so that it can handle high-speed navigation within tight spaces
without human intervention. The
autonomous drone challenge requires split-second
decision-making with six degrees of freedom instead of a car's mere two degrees
of road freedom. One research team developing the AI necessary for controlling autonomous
racing drones is the Robotics and Perception Group at the University ..."
The title of this
IEEE article is misleading in that NASA did not
"draft" Barbie - only Snoopy (and Charlie Brown, BTW). "Snoopy" was the official
name of the Apollo 10 lunar module (LM) and "Charlie Brown" was the
name of the moon-orbiting command module (CM). There was a Gemini astronaut
GI Joe at the time, too. Actually, it was the
Apollo 10 astronauts who
chose the Peanuts characters as mascots because
of the popularity of the comic strip and Charles Schulz's giving Snoopy the alter
ego of an astronaut (and, of course, a WWI flying ace). Here is the
Kennedy Space Center account of the history of
NASA's adoption of Snoopy. This Saturday, July 20th, marks the 50th anniversary
Apollo 11 moon landing.
A part of Design
News' "Space Week 2019" feature is this "8 Technologies We Owe to the Apollo Space Program."
Not mentioned in the list of NASA innovations are freeze-dried food, space blankets
(those foil-looking things), miniaturized quartz crystal timekeeping, joystick controllers,
and smoke detectors. NASA popularized but did not invent Velcro, Tang, or Teflon.
Says the author, "The innovations of the Apollo program didn't stop at the Moon.
Many technologies were created, or innovated into what they are today, thanks to
the space program."
"One Small Step with Model Aviation," produced by the Academy
of Model Aeronautics (AMA), is a memorial to the launch of Apollo 11 on this
day, July 16, 1969. This short video features of Neil Armstrong's early life as
an avid aeromodeler before and during his time as an aeronautical engineering student
at Purdue University. He is shown here in the dormitory holding a slide rule outfitted
with wings, which was the Purdue Aeromodelers' club logo. It can be seen printed
on their T-shirts. Neil was an AMA member (as I have been since the early 1970s,
AMA#92498). The video includes narration of some of his friends from the era. Here
is my Estes Saturn V rocket model in the Apollo 11
While reading the July 2019 issue of the
AMA's Model Aviation magazine, I did a double take when looking at the
photograph in the "Viewfinder" feature on page 147. There appears to be a
ghostly human apparition in the sun glare behind the father-daughter
flying team. Click on the above thumbnail and see if you know what's going on. The
truth is out there ;-)
"'Everyone is facing the same problem with
weight in creating these types of vehicles,' said Lizhi Shang, a postdoctoral research
assistant who works on the technology with Andrea Vacca, a professor of agricultural
and biological engineering at Purdue. 'Drones require heavy batteries or lots of
electrical components, which leaves little room for the actual payload.' Shang said
many current systems also are expensive, unstable, unreliable and not environmentally
friendly. Shang and the research team at Purdue University came up with a method
fluid power technology for VTOL AAV. The Purdue
team members said their technology is an inexpensive, recyclable hydraulic propulsion ..."
This is not just another vintage Comet Model
Hobbycraft, Inc., F−86D Sabre Jet from 1952. What makes this kit unique is
that it has the signature of well-known (at the time) Comet draftsman Gerald J.
Blumenthal on the box cover. John Zawiski was the designer. The f-86D Saber has
a wingspan of 13-1/4" and a length of 15-1/16". The model was meant to be flown
either as a free flight glider or attached to a tether line where the pilot drags
it around in a circle. A few of these have sold recently on eBay for around $20-$30,
so they can still be found. This particular kit, provided by Mr. Steven Krick,
is going to be offered as a donation to the AMA's National Model Aviation Museum
in Muncie, Indiana, because of the signature ...
"Seating airline passengers in the wings?
Think about it. A
V-shaped plane designed to carry passengers,
cargo, and fuel tanks in its wings is being seeded as a good idea for the future.
Bloomberg said it plain and simple: Planes may receive a drastic facelift. What
drives the appetite to play with new designs: a practical interest in reducing carbon
emissions and improving efficiencies. It is no secret that climate change researchers
recognize the role that airplanes play in emissions. Architectural Digest reported
that the Rhodium Group released a study showing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions surged
in 2018 by 3.4 percent ..."
"Plans have been unveiled for a
3,000mph plane that will fly passengers from
New York to London in just 90 minutes. Aerospace firm Hermeus has won funding to
develop supersonic commercial planes that will fly more than five times the speed
of sound within 10 years. Hermeus has funding to develop a supersonic plane that
will fly passengers from New York to London in just 90 minutes The company was set
up by alumni from Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos-backed aerospace company Blue
Origin - which is planning to fly passengers to the moon. Hermeus says its planes
would travel at speeds of more than 3,000mph with a range of 4,600 miles ..."
"Gone is the haze of cigarette, cigar and
pipe smoke. Gone are the coffee, soda and pizza stains. With only a few exceptions,
Mission Control has been restored to the way it looked 50 years
ago when two men landed on the moon. It gets the stamp of approval from retired
flight director Gene Kranz, a man for whom failure - or even a minor oversight -
is never an option. Seated at the console where he ruled over Apollo 11, Apollo
13 and so many other astronaut missions, Kranz pointed out that a phone was missing
behind him. And he said the air vents used to be black from all the smoke, not sparkly
clean like they are now. Those couple of details aside, Kranz could close, then
open his eyes, and transport himself back to July 20, 1969, and Neil Armstrong and
Buzz Aldrin's momentous moon landing ..."
Landing System Made to Enter Spoofing
"Just what the airplane passenger who is
always skittish does not want to hear: Radio navigation on planes for landing purposes
is not secure; signals can be hacked. In a video demonstration of the attack by
researchers, 'Wireless Attacks on Aircraft Landing Systems,'
spoofing starts automatically as soon the aircraft enters 'the spoofing zone. The
attacker signal is in real-time generated accounting for the maneuvers of the aircraft.'
What does the spoof actually do, to trick the pilot? Dan Goodin in Ars Technica
said the researchers can spoof airport signals in a way that causes a pilot's navigation
instruments to falsely indicate ..."
"Little Bobby" Helicopter Kite kit may well be the only one left in existence.
Many thanks to Mr. Steven Krick for providing the kit to me for documenting.
I will contact the AMA's National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana, to find
out if they want it for their collection of model aviation historical items. A fairly
extensive search on the WWW turned up exactly zero other examples of this kit, or
any mention of it for that matter. Parris-Dunn was primarily a wind-powered electricity
generator company located in Clarinda, Iowa, formed in the 1930s. In the days before
commercial electric power was delivered to rural areas, farms and homes were run
on DC power provided by banks of lead-acid storage batteries, so the generators
were very popular as a means of recharging them. Many early radio sets ...
For a limited time (get it - time?), you can
buy a 50th Anniversary gold
Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional watch for
a mere $9,650. "The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Chronograph has a unique place
in the history of space exploration as the only piece of equipment used in all of
NASA's piloted space missions from Gemini to the current International Space Station
program. When Buzz Aldrin stepped on the lunar surface in 1969, he was wearing a
Speedmaster Professional, the chronograph that has been known as the Moonwatch ever
since. Today, the timepiece is driven by virtually the same hand-wound movement
trusted by NASA's astronauts on the Moon." Less expensive options are available
for about half the cost. Beware of knock-offs being sold. Buy directly from Speedmaster.
This "Jet 50" kit was part of Jetco's Superflite
series. It was designed to be powered by the venerable Jetex 50 rocket motor.
It is one of the models I had as a kid in Mayo, Maryland, back in the late 1960s.
It was a lot like building and flying the Estes Falcon rocket-powered glider. The
big difference was that the "Jet 50" flew at a leisurely pace as the Jetex 50
motor burned for about 20-30 seconds with a gentle "hiss," whereas the Falcon blasted
off with more of a "ssst" sound for about half a second whilst the craft ascended
to a couple hundred feet high. Each had its advantages. The "Jet 50" could
be trimmed to fly in a tight circle in the back yard of our half-acre lot, but the
Falcon required bicycling over to Klinken's Field where there was a big open field
of many acres.
Steven Krick, builder of the previously featured
Dornier Do−335 A−6 plastic scale model, has a thing for the Dornier Do−335 in many
of its variants. This version is the
Dornier Do−335 V−4.
The level of detail is amazing, even including simulated weathering effects. Here
is the text Steve included along with his photos: "This build represents the Do
335 V−4, the grosse Flach, or extended wing, long range reconnaissance version.
The Werk Nr is 230004, and the Stammkennzeichen is CP + UD. The first flight was
on July 9, 1944, and there are no photos of the aircraft in any of my five reference
books. Several authors speculate that the reason for this is the fact that this
aircraft flew very in the later part of 1944, and no photos have survived (most
of the other Do 335's flew in late 1943, early 1944) ..."
"One of the keys to unlocking the future
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is exploring how different
technologies and configurations of aircraft will perform in the urban environment.
To start gathering as much data as possible, NASA engineers are moving forward with
their newest modular unmanned aerial system, the Langley Aerodrome #8. 'The project
is called Advanced Urban Air Mobility Test Beds,' said Dave North, Unmanned Aerial
Systems Section Lead. 'This is a new effort in aeronautics to look at urban flight,
both unmanned flight like package delivery vehicles, all the way up to manned vehicles
that may carry six or eight people at a time ..."
"Known as the
Lilium Jet, the prototype aircraft is powered by 36 electric
jet engines. The main wings house 24 engines, while a smaller wing bank at the front
of the plane is home to the remaining 12. Maximum power output of 2,000 horsepower
is available for take-off and landing, but Lilium claims less than 10 per cent of
this will be required for cruising flight. The air-taxi has no tail, no rudder,
no propellers, no gearbox and just one moving part in each engine. Founded
in Munich in 2015, Lilium has attracted more than $100M in venture capital ..."
Note: I don't see the inverted gull wing
plane mentioned. "Today, the best-known air race event is probably the Red Bull
Air Race World Championship, where small single-engine aircraft fly through a slalom
course featuring sharp turns at high speed against the clock. However, the
Formula One Air Racing series in fact predates
this event, and was first proposed in 1936 with its first event in 1947. The biggest
air race event in the world, the US National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada,
attracts some 150,000 spectators annually. In contrast to the Red Bull championship,
Formula One events are full multi-entrant races, where eight aircraft compete virtually
wingtip to wingtip around a 5.13km oval course at an altitude of about 10m ..."
just appeared on the AMA's National Model Aviation Museum website: "New Addition:
Helicopter Kite Kirt Blattenberger (AMA 92498) and Steven Krick recently donated
two older kits to the museum, including this
Parris-Dunn Little Bobby Helicopter Kite kit." The second kit,
not yet featured on the AMA website, is the
hard to imagine the first
RC Model Helicopter Championship Contest - nearly 40 years ago. This report
from the April 1973 edition of American Aircraft Modeler has man-on-the-scene
Larry Hoffman's account of the events. There were only 22 contestants flying that
day, and all but one flew the Hueycobra made and sold by Kalt, of Tokyo. There were
no heading hold gyros or programmable transmitters with pitch and throttle curves
- just good old-fashion pilot skill and lots of body language. I certainly don't
long for those days - I can barely fly an R/C chopper with all the modern electronic
assistance - but the fortitude of the helicopter pioneers is worthy of note and
India's Chandrayaan 2 Spacecraft
Entered Lunar Orbit
Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Tuesday, executing
one of the trickiest maneuvers on its historic mission to the Moon. After four weeks
in space, the craft completed its Lunar Orbit Insertion as planned, the Indian Space
Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement. The insertion 'was completed successfully
today at 0902 hrs IST (0332 GMT) as planned, using the onboard propulsion system.
The duration of manoeuver was 1738 seconds,' the national space agency said. India
is seeking to become just the fourth nation after Russia, the United States and
China to land a spacecraft on the Moon ..."
"This September, at the National Championship
Air Races in Reno, Nevada, a couple dozen magnificently restored airplanes will
gather once again to be evaluated by judges and admired by fans. Those who attend
will be able to stroll among some pretty special aircraft, hear the owners and restorers
tell their stories, and watch the presentation of trophies by aviation heroes. They'll
also get the chance to vote for their favorite airplanes. By all means, get to Reno
if you can. But if you can't, we invite you to read the stories of these remarkable
airplanes and vote for the one that strikes a chord with you. Whichever one receives
the most votes will win the People's Choice trophy at Reno and be named 'Air &
Airplane of the Year.' The winner ..."
"'We first flew in dreams, but the dream
of flight has become real,' the narrator says. The image on the giant screen is
mesmerizing: Above massive volcanic islands reaching up from the ocean floats a
tiny triangular form. This is the first shot of the hang gliding scene from To Fly!,
the iconic IMAX film made for the opening of the Smithsonian National Air and Space
Museum in 1976. It has been playing for more than 40 years, and for many, it's their
first encounter with
hang gliding. In the scene, pilot Bob Wills hangs
below the wing, shifting his body to exert control over the impossibly simple craft.
He soars between mountain peaks, then climbs, stalls, dives, and swoops high above
the water. When the film was made, hang gliding was emerging ..."
"The Job: Gritter's first job with Aurora
Flight Sciences was
building a small-scale model to prove the concept
of the XV-24 Lightning Strike, winner of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
competition for a super high-performance, short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft. He
also performs aerobatic routines at airshows in full-scale airplanes. How did flying
radio-controlled airplanes prepare you for your job? Being around model airplanes
exposed me to all the technology - the components, the electronics. That was hugely
beneficial in school because the senior capstone ..."
"The vice president
did his best to sound stirring. The podium, the flag, the ringing cadences - all
were meant to convey that this moment in the spring of 2019 was a significant one,
a turning point in the history of space exploration. 'It is the stated policy of
this administration and the United States of America to
return American astronauts to the moon within
the next...five...years.' Hardly had Mike Pence concluded his March 26 speech to
the National Space Council in Huntsville, Alabama, when the doubts and second-guessing
began. Even at NASA headquarters, where Administrator Jim Bridenstine took questions
from his troops at a televised town hall a few days later, the applause was tepid,
and the questions had mostly to do with money and political commitment ..."