Friday, October 20, 2017

Bigelow, United Launch Alliance Plan Lunar Orbiting Space Station in 2022


Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance said Oct. 17 that they are cooperating on the development of a habitat orbiting the moon that they hope to build in a public-private partnership with NASA.

The companies said they are working together on a concept for a “lunar depot” using an expandable module provided by Bigelow and launched by a next-generation ULA rocket that could support both NASA and commercial uses as soon as 2022.

Under the concept, a ULA Vulcan 562 rocket would launch the Bigelow B330 module into low Earth orbit. The module would remain in Earth orbit for up to a year to undergo tests and be visited by crews.

ULA would then launch two more Vulcan rockets, each placing an Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) upper stage in orbit. One of the ACES would refuel the other, which would then dock with the B330 and send the module into a low lunar orbit.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Russian Experimental Nuclear Warheads Were Deployed in Parallel

It appears that we have an answer to the question of what kind of "experimental warheads" were tested in the September 12 Yars launch. And a confirmation of a guess made on Twitter by @artjomh shortly after the test. The image above is from that post - it's from a textbook they use at the Bauman University. According to The Diplomat's Ankit Panda, Russia tested "an independent post-boost vehicle (IPBV) configuration for a three-warhead version [of the Yars ICBM]." The Bauman textbook calls it "an RV with independent (parallel) deployment." As can be seen from the image, each RV is sitting on top of its own mini-bus, which is different from a more common configuration, when one bus deploys RVs one after another.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pondering the Precambrian #6

Proterozoic:

NeoProterozoic:

There is evidence of a potential blacksmoker vent from the NeoProterozoic.

Ocean subduction evidence has been found in China.

Comb Jellies appear to have be the oldest divergent, yet still living, branch of animals.

Ediacaran:

An Ediacaran protist fossil seems to show how those organisms' reproduction in action.

Evidence of the opening of the Iapetus Sea in Russia during the Ediacaran has been uncovered.

The submerged Batavian Knoll is a microcontinent with evidence of the assembly of Gondwana.

Biostratigraphical evidence is coming together for the Ediacaran from China.

The nuclei and nucleoli in the embryos found in Ediacaran China's Weng'an Biota.

Understanding the Ediacaran paleoecologies.

Should the extinction of Cloudina lucianoi mark the Ediacaran/Cambrian boundary?

Could Ediacaran rangeomorphs actually burrow?

Cryogenian:

It appears the Sturtian Snowball Earth episode began circa 717 million years ago.

Tonian:

The Tonian/Cryogenian boundary has been proposed for specific spots in Scotland.

A vase shaped microfossil has been found in the Tonian deposits around the world.

There appears to have been a mass extinction during the Tonian prior to the Snowball Earth episodes.

Mesoproterozoic:

There is evidence Archean granites were reworked and uranium deposited during the Calymmian in the Olympic Dam Breccia in Australia.

Eukaryote fossils were found in Calymmian deposits in China.

Are some fossils that are normally thought to be NeoProterozoic (Tonian/Cryogenian) found in the MesoProterozoic deposits of Russia?

At the dawn of the Mesoproterozoic, at the Statherian/Calymmian boundary, Australia made contact with northwestern Laurentia and began a long slide along its margin.

Paleoproterozoic:

Evidence of an island arc from the Paleoproterozoic came from West Africa.

There may have been two island arcs in Finland during the PaleoProterozoic.

How the Francevillian formation formed in the Rhyacian.

The microfossils of the Francevillian Biota get examined.

Evidence from India for proto continents in the Rhyacian.

Archean:

Findings from the NeoArchean from the North American Craton support local evidence of plate tectonics.

Did the development of carbonate platforms in the NeoArchean pave the way for the Great Oxygenation Event?

Is there evidence of biogenic atmospheric oxygen during the MesoArchean?

The emergence of the continents may have happened over multiple differentiation events.

Evidence of life was found in EoArchean sediments from Labrador, Canada.

Hadean:

Caution should be taken when examining Hadean zircons.

Did life form in warm little pools?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Commercial Crew Launches Schedule Slip

The next generation of American spacecraft and rockets that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station are nearing the final stages of development and evaluation. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program will return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil, providing reliable and cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that meet our safety and mission requirements.


[...]

Targeted Test Flight Dates:

Boeing Orbital Flight Test: August 2018
Boeing Crew Flight Test: November 2018

SpaceX Demonstration Mission 1: April 2018
SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 (crewed): August 2018

Editor’s Note: Note the careful wording of this latest press release: “most recent publicly releasable dates.” So, how far are the latest slips? Here is where they were in July.

Previous Targeted Test Flight & Milestone Dates (July 20, 2017):

Boeing Orbital Flight Test: June 2018
Boeing Crew Flight Test: August 2018
Boeing Operational Readiness Review: September 2018
Certification Review: October 2018

SpaceX Demonstration Mission 1: February 2018
SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 (crewed): June 2018
SpaceX Operational Readiness Review: August 2018
Certification Review: September 2018


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Russia's Central Bank Will Block Websites Using Cryptocurrencies

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday crypto-currencies were risky and used for crime, as Russia’s central bank said it would block websites selling bitcoin and its rivals - a change of tone from a month-old promise to legalize the market.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

China's Land Based Carrier Mockup is Changing

A recently published image of modifications made to China’s land-based aircraft carrier development facility at Wuhan reflects the ongoing work supporting the development of the country’s third aircraft carrier, commonly known as the Type 002.

Published in Chinese online forums in early September, the image shows that the height of the island's forward upper superstructure on the carrier mock-up has been increased to facilitate faring in the array panels of the phased array radar.