Falcon Heavy rocket plans to launch in November Print E-mail

 Space Waves

July 30, 2017

They're getting ready to rumble. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk says Falcon Heavy, the mighty rocket created for bringing very large loads to orbit and beyond, will get its first launch coming up in November. Musk posted an image on Instagram of a concept depiction of the rocket’s launch alongside the target date.FalconHeavy

The 230-foot Falcon Heavy uses the combined power of one Falcon 9 rocket flanked by two additional Falcon 9 boosters to propel up to around 30 tons to geostationary transfer orbit. The rocket's maiden launch will take place from pad 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It's the same pad that saw NASA's storied Saturn V rumble to orbit for the first time 50 years ago on November 9, 1967.

Musk said all three cores would return for individual landings – the two side boosters at and the center core on the company's "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The three rockets bolted together will generate 5.1 million pounds of thrust with 27 Merlin 1D main engines, making the Falcon Heavy the most powerful present-day launcher in the world once it flies. If the flight is successful two more Falcon Heavy flights are on the books in the first half of 2018, both from the Cape. While the inaugural launch will not carry a customer payload, the Falcon Heavy missions next year will deploy satellites for commercial companies and the U.S. military.

Gearing Up for Tour de Turtles Print E-mail

 WFIT (NPR - Melbourne)

July 24, 217

It's become one of our region's most celebrated events.TourDeTurtles

The Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) kicks off its 10th annual Tour de Turtles with a pair of loggerhead turtle releases on Saturday, July 30th at the Barrier Island Sanctuary. Located in the heart of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in southern Melbourne Beach, close to 1,000 spectators are expected to turn up to cheer them on. Outfitted with satellite transmitters, the loggerheads will be tracked over their approximately three-month migration as they leave their respective nesting beaches and "race" to complete the iconic turtle marathon.

With the aid from generous sponsors and partners, the Tour de Turtles will be releasing a record 20 live sea turtles in Costa Rica, Panama, Nevis, and Florida. Representing five different species this year, the ancient mariners will swim with the goal of being crowned the 2017 champion-- earning acclaim as the first turtle to swim the furthest distance.

Each competing turtle is an ambassador that raises awareness about a specific threat to to sea turtle hazards, such as boat strikes, ingestion of plastic debris, light pollution or commercial long-line fisheries. Teams of researchers track the turtles' movement.

Peak Performance Print E-mail

 Florida Today

May 25, 2017

For 35 years it was our perfect wave.FirstPeak 1

An incredible surfing performance enhancer, Sebastian Inlet's First Peak was recognized as one of the best launch ramps around the globe. World champions C. J. Hobgood, Lisa Anderson, and Kelly Slater-- the greatest competitive surfer in the world-- all cut their teeth here.

The original Sebastian Inlet jetty had a concrete wall where swells rolled in and bounced off the structure to create a hollow emerald wedge that could double the wave's height at its peak. It translated into a stunning run of speed. Florida's greatest wave nurtured eight World Tour competitors and dozens of Hall of Fame members. They were able to hone skills that would be needed to excel at the top surfing spots around the world.

Then poof, it was gone. In the early 2000s repairs and rehabilitation to the jetty were made in an attempt to curb beach erosion and keep the busy boat channel from filling in with sand. The new pilings placed up in front of the concrete wall defused the waves' energy. The upshot is that over the last dozen or so years, First Peak hasn't produced a single World Tour surfer, let alone champion. The wave was assumed to be lost forever.

Wavehunter Print E-mail

Florida Today

July 2, 2017

Wheels up! In mid-May Duane De Freese and long-ago college pal Mike Ryan flew across the Pacific headed for Kandui Resort, a surfing mecca in the Mentawai Islands chain in Indonesia.DF Fla01

Lying roughly 75 miles off the west coast of Sumatra, Kandui is located right in the middle of one of the world’s most prolific wave regions— commonly known as “Playgrounds” in the Indian Ocean. It is hidden among the palms on this remote island of stunning beaches, lush vegetation and turquoise lagoons. There are 21 ocean breaks within a 30-minute long dugout canoe ride from the small Karamajet Island, home of Kandui Resort. Epic surf can soar through the spring and summer months.

Welcome to the sixth go-round of the Senior Citizen's Surf Tour.

If the name Duane De Freese sounds familiar, it should. For more than three decades he has been one of the key Florida voices championing the economic and environmental values associated with common-sense ocean and coastal conservation. Currently the executive director of the Indian River Lagoon Council, De Freese regularly faces a multitude of challenges in the monumental clean-up effort of the lagoon.

Derby Shaping Up as Four Horse Race Print E-mail

 Florida Today

May 4, 2017

Truth be told, the run up to this year's Run for the Roses has been a muddled mess.FLT KY2

Inconsistent performances have been an epidemic. Win a nice prep race, run a dreadful one in the next. One highly touted colt refused to train, twice! And then there are injuries that knocked out Not This Time, One Liner, and Mastery. The top rated 3-year old, Mastery uncorked a scintillating prep race in the San Felipe Stakes in March only to be pulled up moments later with a condylar fracture of his left front leg.

In recent years, the Kentucky Derby has been a race largely dominated by horses favored to win, or in racetrack vernacular, “chalk.” The last four years we've seen Orb, California Chrome, American Pharoah and Nyquist all shine on the first Saturday in May-- each a race day heavy favorite. Many pundits think it's a wide open contest. I'm not one of them. I think Derby 143 comes down to four classy, fast colts who have the ability to open up daylight off the far turn in the biggest race of their young careers on May 6.

With a dazzling stakes debut in the Florida Derby in late March, trainer Todd Pletcher's Always Dreaming is getting a lot of attention. The bay colt's winning time of 1:47.47 was the fastest Florida Derby since Alydar’s 1:47 flat in 1978. Though he won the Florida Derby by a decisive five lengths, he did not notch a triple-digit Beyer Figure, earning a 97. Over the past 25 years, no prep race has produced more Kentucky Derby winners than the Florida Derby, including Nyquist in 2016.

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