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  • Writer's pictureMatt Russell

NASA v ESA with David Baker

Podcast 96

The pursuit of the good and evil are now linked in astronomy as in almost all science. … The fate of human civilization will depend on whether the rockets of the future carry the astronomer’s telescope or a hydrogen bomb.

Bernard Lovell

Space Legend of the week.

Happy Birthday!!! Where ever you are in the Universe.

Sir Alfred Charles Bernard Lovell OBE FRS (31 August 1913 – 6 August 2012) was an English physicist and radio astronomer. He was the first Director of Jodrell Bank Observatory, from 1945 to 1980. Lovell was knighted in 1961 for his important contributions to the development of radio astronomy

  • Lovell studied physics at the University of Bristol obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in 1934

  • PhD in 1936 on the electrical conductivity of thin film

  • The church organ was one of the main loves of his life

  • He worked in the cosmic ray research team at the University of Manchester

  • The outbreak of the Second World War he worked for the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) developing radar systems to be installed in aircraft

  • He attempted to continue his studies of cosmic rays with an ex-military radar detector unit, but suffered much background interference from the electric trams on Manchester's Oxford Road

  • So he established the Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Goostrey in Cheshire. It was an outpost of the university's botany department,

  • Photograph taken by Bernard Lovell on his first day at Jodrell Bank in December 1945.

  • he was able to show that radar echoes could be obtained from daytime meteor showers as they With university funding, he constructed the then-largest steerable radio telescope in the world, which now bears his name: the Lovell Telescope. Over 50 years later, it remains a productive radio telescope, now operated mostly as part of the MERLIN and European VLBI Network interferometric arrays of radio telescopes. (rememeber Sidereal time and the accurate measurment that lead to Earth Rotation Angle?)

  • In 2009, Lovell spoke of a claimed assassination attempt in Deep-Space Communication Centre (Eupatoria) during the Cold War where the Soviets allegedly tried to kill him with a lethal radiation dose. At the time, Lovell was head of the Jodrell Bank space telescope that was also being used as part of an early warning system for Soviet nuclear attacks. Lovell wrote a full account of the incident, to be published only after his death

  • his wife had come to meet him in Moscow shortly after his return from Crimea, "she scarcely recognised me as the person she had seen in England a week earlier".

  • "In the midst of happiness which surrounded me, it was as though all life had suddenly turned to dust and ashes."

  • in Crimea, he had "been left alone in a room for no obvious reason".

  • "The intelligence agents thought that by some means (probably radiation), the Soviets tried to remove from my brain all memories of my trip to Yevpatoria." "failed because they failed to realise that I had written all the details of the visit in my diary"

  • He wrote that the Soviet authorities "would be very glad if you would stay in Russia and we will build a telescope for you".

  • His account details that he replied: "Thank you Mr President, but I am an Englishman and wish to return to England".

  • As a result, he wrote that he was "relieved" when he and his wife "boarded the aircraft [home] and even more thankful when I saw the lights of London".

  • In 1958, Lovell was invited by the BBC to deliver the annual Reith Lectures

  • In 1959, he was invited to deliver the MacMillan Memorial Lecture to the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. He chose the subject 'Radio Astronomy and the Structure of the Universe

Spaceword fo the week!

Block: space craft numbering system, as in Falcon 9 Block 5

The term "Block" comes from the US Air Force, as in data block.

  • Boeing B-17F was the first boeing aircraft to carry the new USAAF “block” number system, introduced in 1941.

  • There was an enormous expansion of aircraft production so the minor changes which were applied to successive variants, a number was applied as a suffix to the main aircraft variant letter without changing the model number.

  • eg The B-17F indicated the 17th bomber type with “F” being the fifth proposed type variant.

  • Block numbers were multiples of five, beginning with 5.

  • Initially they incremented in numerical order -1, -2, -3 but this was changed increments of five

  • The gaps in the block numbers could be used for post-delivery modifications, for example a F-100D-85-NH could be modified in the field to F-100D-86-NH

  • B-17F- 05 indicates the initial “block” variation of the B-17F type

  • B-17F-10 would be the next minor variation and so on.

  • a 2-letter manufacturer's code was added to designations to easily identify the manufacturer and the production plant, For example, F-15E-50-MC, the "MC" being the code for the McDonnell Douglas plant at St. Louis, Missouri.

  • Now when it came to spacecraft and rockets "Block" refers to a change to successive variants within the same design configuration:

  • Apollo Bock I was capable of Earth orbit flights but no docking capability, while Apollo Block II was capable of the full Moon mission.

FALCON 9 Block versions

Block 1 = v1.0

Block 2= V1.1 = 60% heavier and 60% more thrust, New octaweb

Block 3 = Full Thrust; cryogenics give booster 17% more thrust, landed and reflew

Block 4 = Block 4 lots of incremental stuff

Block 5 = Block 5 uprated thrust and improved legs version


The first “AsCan” to quits before spaceflight for the first time in 50 years!!!

  • Robb Kulin, 35, is leaving the program just over a year after he was chosen to join NASA's 22nd group of spaceflight trainees.

  • His departure reduces the 2017 class, nicknamed "The Turtles," to 11 members.

  • He worked as a commercial fisherman in Chignik, Alaska, and was previously an ice driller in Antarctica on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Taylor Glacier.

  • At the time of his selection as astronaut candidate in June 2017, Kulin was senior manager for flight reliability at SpaceX, leading the Launch Chief Engineering group in Hawthorne, California, where he had worked since 2011

  • "Hopefully, I will one day fly on a vehicle that has components that I got to design," said Kulin June 2017 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "[But] I'll ride on whatever spacecraft I can go."

  • Chemist John Llewellyn, a member of NASA's sixth group of trainees and second scientist-astronaut group chosen in 1967, withdrew from the program after realizing he was not cut out for flying jets.

No reason given.

  • Is it Low salary? $65k-$100k?

  • the only person in 50 years to leave at this point. Surely lots of very important personal things came up for candidates over that period. There must have been a crazy amount of sacrifice made over the years by astronauts and their families.

  • Government job with govenrment bullshit?

  • Think about it.. you spend 10 years in NASA. You have multiple degrees and have passed all the physical and technical tests. You go out and do the demos and put on a smile for the cameras. Then, when you finally fly, you spend a couple days in space, then you're done.

  • Off to fly the BFR?

Astronauts at the International Space Station are working to repair a small leak that was discovered at the orbiting laboratory Wednesday night (Aug. 29). While the leak caused a slight drop in cabin pressure, it did not pose an immediate danger to the astronauts currently living aboard the station

  • leak is in the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, Rogozin told the Russian news agency that the crewmembers found a microfracture that may have been created by a micrometeoroid impact.

"The leak has been isolated to a hole about two millimeters in diameter in the orbital compartment, or upper section, of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft," NASA officials said in a subsequent statement about the status of the repair work. "The rate of the leak was slowed this morning through the temporary application of Kapton tape at the leak site. Flight controllers are working with the crew to develop a more comprehensive long-term repair."

  • The sunshield of the James Webb Space Telescope is also made of aluminized Kapton

  • Kapton is a polyimide film developed by DuPont in the late 1960s[1] that remains stable across a wide range of temperature

The Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft launched to the space station in June with Expedition 56/57 crewmembers Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst. It is scheduled to return to Earth in December with the same three-person crew on board. "The ship will be saved with the use of the repair kit," Rogozin told Sputnik News.




Which space agency spends the most money?

ESA about $6billion from 22 member states 503 million people $12 a head

NASA about $21billion 326 million people. $64 a head

2. Which has the most Active satelittes?

3. Astronauts currently in Space

3 x NASA

1 x ESA

4. Launch Vehicles

ESA x 2

NASA x 0

5. Interplanetary missions and probes

NASA x 15

ESA x 2

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