Photo of the week

Capt. Roy Poor III opens the canopy of an F-16C Fighting Falcon Nov. 24, 2014, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Poor landed there to refuel before making his way back to Toledo Air National Guard Base, Ohio. Poor is a 180th Fighter Wing F-16 pilot. Image credit: Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel/US Air Force

Capt. Roy Poor III opens the canopy of an F-16C Fighting Falcon Nov. 24, 2014, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Poor landed there to refuel before making his way back to Toledo Air National Guard Base, Ohio. Poor is a 180th Fighter Wing F-16 pilot.
Image credit: Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel/US Air Force

Animation of Colgan Air Flight 3407 mishap

With the winter weather here, it’s worthwhile for pilots to review the subject of icing. This animation of the Colgan Air tragedy is a good reminder of the concerns of icing and loss of control.

NASA Innnovative Advanced Concepts program

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program is supporting some of the most interesting and creative ideas in space exploration.

Examples:

Titan Aerial Daughtercraft

A small (< 10 kg) rotorcraft that can deploy from a balloon or lander to acquire close-up, high resolution imagery and mapping data of the surface, land at multiple locations to acquire microscopic imagery and samples of solid and liquid material, return the samples to the mothership for analysis, and recharge from an RTG on the mothership to enable multiple sorties.

Titan Submarine: Exploring the Depths of Kraken

A submersible autonomous vehicle to explore Titan’s largest northern sea, Kraken Mare. This craft will autonomously carry out detailed scientific investigations under the surface of Kraken Mare, providing unprecedented knowledge of an extraterrestrial sea and expanding NASA’s existing capabilities in planetary exploration to include in situ nautical operations.

SpaceShipTwo Probe Focuses On Human Factors, Test Procedures

The investigation continues into the SpaceShipTwo mishap that killed copilot Mark Alsbury and injuried pilot Pete Siebold.

The NTSB determined that shortly after the ignition of its rocket motor, the vehicle’s movable twin tail-booms unexpectedly deployed into an upward-canted “feathering” position, over-stressing the airframe and causing it to break apart. Although the tail-booms on SS2 are designed to move upward as part of the reentry system, the feathering device is normally activated outside of the sensible atmosphere before the vehicle begins its descent.

Outstanding video of a restored Consolidated PBY Catalina

Rosetta’s Philae probe conducts first soft landing on a comet

In what must be the most important aerospace event of 2014, the ESA Rosetta probe has released the Philae probe, which then soft landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12. This was the first time that a probe has ever soft landed on a comet nucleus, and is an extraordinary achievement in space exploration. Rosetta was launched in 2004 on an Ariane 5 and took a decade to fly to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Detailed preview of the landing sequence.

This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was acquired by the Philae lander of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission during Philae’s descent toward the comet on Nov. 12, 2014. Philae’s ROLIS (ROsetta Lander Imaging System) took the image at 14:38:41 UTC (6:38:41 a.m., PST) at a distance of approximately two miles (three kilometers) from the surface. The landing site is imaged with a resolution of about 10 feet (three meters) per pixel. Image credit: Copyright: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/DLR

Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground. The image is a two-image mosaic. Image credit: Copyright ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

MIT and space

Professor Dava Newman of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics has been nominated to be the deputy administrator of NASA. MIT has more alumni who have become NASA astronauts than any educational institution except for the military academies.

NASA press conference previews Orion EFT-1 mission

As the Orion spacecraft is moved to the launch pad to be mated with its Delta 4 Heavy launch vehicle, it’s worth listening to last week’s press conference which provides a great deal of information about the upcoming EFT-1 mission.

2014 Cirrus SR20

I want one. Badly.

 

Chang’E 5 lunar mission is successful

China’s Chang’E 5 lunar mission has successfully returned to Earth, a significant milestone in China’s lunar program.

Moon and Earth, as viewed from the Chang’E 5 spacecraft. Source: Xinhua