SpaceX breaks new ground in reusability Print E-mail

 Space Waves

December 11, 2017

Call it double dipping.SpaceX LIBW3

SpaceX's next cargo flight to the International Space Station (ISS) on Dec. 15 will be a landmark occasion. The Falcon 9 will be a "flight proven" rocket that originally launched last year will blast off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Complex 40, transporting cargo for NASA in a previously flown Dragon capsule. The flight will mark SpaceX's 13th commercial resupply mission to the ISS.

The development of reusable rockets and spacecrafts is at the core of SpaceX's billionaire founder and CEO Elon Musk's space business to explore the heavens. Musk has long touted reusable technology as the key to slash the cost of spaceflight and thereby open the heavens to greater exploration.

Over the past three years SpaceX has successfully brought Falcon 9 first stages back to Earth 19 times during orbital missions, and three of those landed boosters have flown again.

The only currently operational cargo vehicle capable of being re-flown, the Dragon capsule returns to Earth for soft, parachute-aided ocean splashdowns versus all other "uncrewed freighters" that are designed to burn up in our planet's atmosphere after their time at the ISS is done.

 
The Prince of Sea Turtles Print E-mail

Vero Beach Magazine

October 2017

It was nearly 60 years ago, but the memories come flooding back.Archie Carr_01

Chuck Carr was a child when he first travelled with his two brothers to the black sand beaches of Tortuguero on Costa Rica's northeast shore to assist an energetic and charismatic zoology professor. A remote tropical village reachable only by boat or light aircraft, Tortuguero boasted the last big colony of sea turtles in the western hemisphere. Green turtles were so thick, they laid nests on top of nests.

The professor was Chuck's father, Dr. Archie Fairly Carr, Jr.-- a pioneering conservation biologist, an inspiring educator, and gifted nature writer.

"We landed on a grass airstrip and our guide Birdie hustled us into a large dugout canoe where we paddled two miles up the river to Tortuguero," remembered Carr, 71, who had a 30-year career with the worldwide Wildlife Conservation Society of the Bronx Zoo.

"Monkeys chattering, spectacular green and scarlet macaws, huge iguanas dropping out of trees, at 11 years old it was mind blowing. No telephones. No electricity. We were the Robinson Crusoe family. Daddy was there sizing up the village logistically to put a program together to protect these docile creatures from the influx of turtle hunters."

 
8K Solutions developing latest technology in filming NFL, college practices Print E-mail

 Florida Today

October 7, 2017

Talk about a scary job.

Perched on a hydraulic scissor lift 50 feet up in the air, for decades the camera crews of NFL teams filmed daily practices often battling thunderstorms, gusty winds and sheets of sideways rain.8K 01

Mike Dougherty was the Philadelphia Eagles video director for 37 years. On a sweltering late summer morning a bolt of lightning struck Dougherty's all-metal camera and bounced off his head. His hair shot straight up. An assistant coach got Dougherty down to the ground. Luckily, he wasn't seriously hurt.

Fast forward to 2017. Twenty four NFL teams and 18 teams from the college power-five conferences have switched from the traditional manned scissor lifts to the new mobile “mast cams.” The systems boast high-definition cameras atop a 55-foot telescoping mast-- sort of like a periscope on a submarine-- that are controlled remotely from the ground. The video station that looks like the front of a boat includes a comfy bench seat with protective canopy, color monitors and the capability to run for several days on a single charge.

Rated for 55 miles per hour winds, the MastRcam operator sits at a console with a pan zoom tilt control to shoot practices. The cart can easily be moved around the practice fields. Coaches and players can replay practice highlights in one-on-one meetings and film sessions.

 
Dream Chaser: Super Space Plane Print E-mail

 Space Waves

September 5, 2017

Just after dawn on August 30, a Chinook helicopter's two enormous rotor blades began to spin at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. Then the beluga whale-shaped helicopter began to rise off the Mohave desert floor with a 200-foot long tether dangled to the ground.DreamChaser Web

At the opposite end of the rope was a revolutionary spacecraft called the Dream Chaser that slowly was lifted skyward. Suspended high over the Mohave, the "captive carry" test flight was used to test out the telemetry and control systems before a planned drop test towards the end of 2017 to demonstrate its ability to accomplish an auto pilot approach and landing to a runway.

If you were dazzled by NASA's giant space shuttles from 1981 to 2011, the Dream Chaser offers an improved version, albeit smaller one measuring just 30 feet in length. Its maker, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) calls it a "space utility vehicle," marketing it as a crew and cargo transport to low earth orbit. It's a self-launching, self-flying, self-landing small spacecraft (about the length of a Cessna) that can make 15 or more trips to space and land, after each one, on any commercial runway that’s 10,000 feet long—no Cape Canaveral necessary.

The unmanned Dream Chaser can be modified anytime to carry seven astronauts to space. It currently is equipped to only carry cargo to space. That translates to 12,125 pounds of cargo, in a space about the size of a studio apartment.

 
Spiny Lobster Season in High Gear Print E-mail

 Long Island Boating World

September 2017

Being on or under the aqua blue water, the spiny lobster sport season is one of the best parts of living or even visiting Florida.Lobster 1

One of the most celebrated outdoor events of the year, a two-day sport lobster season arrives in late July annually that attracted floods of scuba divers and snorklers in their quest for the tasty sweet lobster. It's projected that as many as 50,000 divers invade the state's reefs during this frenzied 48 hours. Hunters in boats big and small revel in this adrenaline-packed activity.

Closely regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, scores of law enforcement officers with federal and local agencies patrol the waters to ensure that lobsters were caught in legal areas, and were of legal size (the carapace length must be at least three inches that it reaches in about two years).

Eight days later the commercial lobster season launches and recreational harvesting continues throughout the commercial season that runs through March 31.

 
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