Friday, February 29, 2008

OC Drought over

From Science Dude:
Federal climatologists today declared an end to Orange County’s long and damaging drought, reclassifying the region as abnormally dry, the lowest level of concern in a comparatively dry year.

Orange County thus becomes the last area of coastal Southern California to be removed from any of the drought categories that climatologists list on the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is updated weekly.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Columbia display

Here at the Flame Trench is the Columbia display that will go on tour.

"The fact that NASA is using, for the very first time, recovered Columbia pieces -- that obviously has real impact when people see it," KSC spokesman Allard Beutel said. "People have had an emotional response."

A cockpit switch panel is displayed behind the glass.

The Columbia crew would have used it to control the fuel drain and purge system on the shuttle's lefthand orbital maneuvering engine, which propelled the spaceship onto its final trajectory.

The Crew Module Side Hatch Pyro-Initiator T-Handle also is displayed. It would have been used to jettison the orbiter's side hatch had the astronauts been able to bail out of the shuttle.

Here is the Florida Today article about the display.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Snow cover biggest since 1966

From National Post here:
AGW fanatics will hate this story. Snow cover is highest since 1966.
Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

Ice melting is also non-existent.
And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The ice is back.

Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

I know that one winter isn't telling us much about the future seasons and AGW. It just proves to me predictions are just that and precipitation is not 100% accurate.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Pentagon is tracking the space debris

From My Way News here:
"We have a fireball, and given that there's no fuel (on the tip of the missile), that would indicate that that's a hydrazine fire," he said.

The video showed the three-stage SM-3 missile launching from the USS Lake Erie at 10:26 p.m. EST Wednesday northwest of Hawaii, and of the missile's small "kill vehicle" - a non-explosive device at the tip - maneuvering into the path of the satellite and colliding spectacularly.

Cartwright said the satellite and the kill vehicle collided at a combined speed of 22,000 mph about 130 miles above Earth's surface, and that the collision was confirmed at a space operations center at 10:50 p.m. EST.

The satellite was described as the size of a school bus and weighing about 5,000 pounds.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Debris from destroyed satellite sighted

From Bob Christy here.
by Rob Ratkowski
From here:
"I'm still having a hard time believing I actually caught the debris, but two others with us also saw a bright dot move fast from what was to be the intercept position," Hawaii-based skywatcher Rob Ratkowski told

He observed a meteor shower of sorts when, apparently, bits of debris from the broken-up satellite burned up as they fell through Earth's atmosphere. Ratkowski, a professional photographer and astronomy enthusiast, took photos of what he saw from Maui, near where the U.S. Navy ship fired the missile that intercepted the satellite.

It's a hit!

A missile launched from a Navy ship successfully struck a dying U.S. spy satellite passing 130 miles over the Pacific on Wednesday, a defense official said. Full details were not immediately available.

It happened just after 10:30 p.m. EST.

Two officials said the missile was launched successfully. One official, who is close to the process, said it hit the target. He said details on the results were not immediately known.

The goal in this first-of-its-kind mission for the Navy was not just to hit the satellite but to obliterate a tank aboard the spacecraft carrying 1,000 pounds of a toxic fuel called hydrazine.

U.S. officials have said the fuel would pose a potential health hazard to humans if it landed in a populated area. Although the odds of that were small even if the Pentagon had chosen not to try to shoot down the satellite, it was determined that it was worth trying to eliminate even that small chance.

Officials said it might take a day or longer to know for sure if the toxic fuel was blown up.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Satellite will be destroyed on re-entry

From Reuters
The Greyhound bus-sized intelligence satellite failed shortly after launch in 2006. Intended to conduct both electronic eavesdropping and photographic intelligence-gathering, the satellite contains a large tank of unused toxic fuel called hydrazine. The fuel would pose a health risk if the tank survived re-entry and landed in a populated area. The satellite has been gradually moving closer to the atmosphere and could come down some time in the next several weeks.

Since the satellite cannot be maneuvered to fall into the ocean, the plan calls for firing a modified Navy SM-3 anti-missile interceptor from an Aegis battle management system equipped warship in the northern Pacific, as the satellite nears the atmosphere.

It will be the first time a missile defense interceptor will be used against a satellite, something that has not been attempted since the 1980s, when the Pentagon tested an anti-satellite missile from a jet fighter.

From WaPo here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Atlantis Launch

Iran's into the mix

Iran plans to launch two more rockets into space
Feb 11 06:46 AM US/Eastern

Iran is to launch two more rockets into space in the next few months, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Monday, after a firing of a rocket earlier this month sparked international concern.

"Two other rockets will be launched so that we can then send a satellite into space," Ahmadinejad said at a rally in Tehran broadcast live on state television.

"We home that Iran's first home-produced satellite will be launched in the summer," he added, reiterating a prediction made by other Iranian officials who said the satellite would be launched in May.

On February 4, Iran fired a rocket into space to mark the opening of its first space centre, triggering swift condemnation from the United States amid continued tensions over the Iranian nuclear drive.

Ahmadinejad hailed the launch of the rocket, named Kavoshgar-1, as a success and for the first time gave some technical details about its launch.