SpaceX Reviving the Space Coast Print E-mail

Space Waves

July 1, 2018

The crowds are back.SpaceX LIBW1

The launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center earlier this year was the latest in a series of milestones that has revived interest in the space industry and the hallow grounds that stretch along the Florida coast in Brevard County that has witnessed so many epic flights into outer space.

Traffic near the Kennedy Space Center was bumper to bumper, hotel rooms were sold out and hordes of press descended on the Kennedy Space Center, just like the good old days of the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. That's quite a turn-around from seven years ago after the government shutdown of the shuttle program, which led to massive furloughs in NASA’S workforce and employees leaving the Space Coast.

And it's only getting better.

 
SpaceX Launches Radical Block 5 Print E-mail

Space Waves

May 15, 2018

In 2002 when Elon Musk revealed his idea of making rocket flights comparable to air travel many folks in and outside of the aerospace industry thought he was more than a bit looney.SpaceX Block5

Fast forward. On May 11 SpaceX successfully launched its most modern Falcon 9 rocket delivering the first Bangladeshi telecom satellite into orbit. The first stage booster landed approximately 11 minutes after liftoff on a drone ship floating 340 nautical miles down range of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean. It was the 25th successful landing of a booster rocket by the Hawthorne, Calif. company.

The enhanced version of Falcon 9 is called Block 5. Musk sees a host of new milestones for SpaceX, including launching and landing the same rocket twice in 24 hours – as early as next year.

"We expect [Block 5] to be the mainstay of SpaceX business," Musk said in a teleconference with space reporters a day before the launch. “We still need to demonstrate it. It’s not like we’ve done it. But it can be done.”

 
The Secret World of Seahorses Print E-mail

 Long Island Boating World Magazine

May 2018

There’s no denying that seahorses are mesmerizing little creatures. They sport a head that resembles that of a horse. Have eyes like a chameleon, a pouch like a kangaroo and a prehensile tail like a monkey. Ready for their most unusual trait? A seahorse is the only the male who gets pregnant and gives birth in the animal kingdom.Sea 01

Unique among fish for having bent necks and long-snouted heads, they mirror horses. They swim vertically, bony plates reinforce their entire body and they have no teeth, a rare feature in fish. Seahorses (genus Hippocampus erectus) move their fins very quickly similar to a hummingbird, but are notorious as one of the slowest swimmers on the planet. On the other hand, they are quite maneuverable and able to move up, down, forward and backward.

Those extraordinary looks and surprising social behavior have earned seahorses a mythic stature along the lines of unicorns. The aquatic creatures have been lionized in popular culture starring in cartoons and Disney movies such as The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo. However, their universal appeal has worked against them. About 25 million seahorses are plucked from the wild each year for display or medicinal purposes.

Tiny in size and coming in a rainbow of colors, lined seahorses have been consistently listed as one of the most popular exhibit animals in zoos and public aquaria. Members of the pipefish family, seahorses boast specialized structures in their skin cells which allow them to change color to mimic their surroundings. The thumbnail-size pygmy seahorses are masters of camouflage and survive by attaching to vibrant corals where they become nearly invisible to both predators and researchers.

 
Derby Field Shaping Up as One of the Best Print E-mail

Florida Today

May 2, 2018

Sports fans know all about the "Curse of the Billy Goat." It was placed on the Chicago Cubs when local tavern owner William "Billy Goat" Sianis cursed the Cubs when he was not allowed to bring his pet goat, Murphy, into Wrigley Field to watch a 1945 World Series game. The curse was finally snapped when the team won the 2016 World Series.Derby18 01

But what about the "Curse of Apollo?" It now stands at 136 years-- the oldest curse in American sports. No unraced 2-year old has gone on to win the Kentucky Derby since Apollo in 1882.

Since 1937, sixty one horses have entered the Derby without a race at two. Their record, a collective "0 for 61." Most recently Bodemeister came the closest to ending the famed Apollo streak in the 2012 Derby. The Bob Baffert trainee tried to wire the field, opening a clear lead at the top of the stretch, only to be worn down by I'll Have Another in the final sixteenth of a mile.

This year a pair of budding superstars, Justify and Magnum Moon, head to Kentucky both undefeated looking to sack the so-called Apollo curse in the 144th renewal of the "Run for the Roses" on May 5.

 
Mighty Minis Print E-mail

Vero Beach Magazine

May 2018

Famous for beautiful women, IKEA and the Spotify music service, Sweden is reveling in its latest pop culture star. He goes by Vinnie the Dreamer. Standing just 30 inches tall, the handsome chestnut miniature horse with a blonde mane and tail is starring in a wildly popular series of television ads for the ATG Swedish gaming company that returns profits to the equine industry. Young or old, few can resist the charm of the miniature horse.Minis 06

"He's all the rage in Sweden," says Johnny Dent, who bred the 6-year old "mini" at his Dent Family Miniature Horse Ranch in west Vero Beach. "He narrates the TV spots. I'm told he learned to move his lips on cue when the trainer tapped his rear hoof. Some people actually think he can talk like Mister Ed. When they take him to the racetrack each week, he needs a bodyguard. He's a rock star over there."

The pint-size horses tend to be very willing, sociable, and extremely smart with big-size personalities. Not ponies, they have long slim legs in the same proportions as a regular-sized horse – just smaller. Too little to ride, minis work eagerly when hitched to a cart where they can pull four times their own weight.

Miniature horses are bred for superb conformation and outstanding dispositions. The result is a beautifully proportionate tiny equine that is suitable to a variety of uses: as pets, show animals, and a form of therapy for disabled people and even guides for the blind. In the show ring, minis compete in halter and conformation contests and in performance events from obstacle driving and jumping to chuckwagon racing and equine agility trials. Minis can hit speeds of 25 mph, turn on a dime.

 
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