Archive for the ‘Space’ Category
Solar Cycle 24 is unusual on several accounts. It came late about a year, with extremely low activity recorded throughout 2009, which made astronomers shift a predicted 2012 peak to 2013. Also a few years ago the northern hemisphere of the sun became significantly more active than the southern, with the latter trying to catch up.
Further muddying the water is the fact that the previous four cycles had double peaks rather than single ones. The sun was quite active in 2011, but then went into a lull, with fewer-than-expected sunspots and solar flares in 2012 and 2013.
The current cycle is likely to have an in-between peak too, some NASA scientists say, with a second spike expected in late 2013 to early 2014. The increased activity would be due to the lagging southern hemisphere as the main driver.
Murdoc is hesitant to put much stock in Little Ice Age predictions. But this is worth keeping an eye on.
Let’s hope it’s up to all sorts of no good.
In the next installment to improve space capability and further develop an affordable, reusable space vehicle, the Air Force conducted its third X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle launch here on December 11, officials said.
The launch comes on the heels of the successful flight of OTV-2, which made an autonomous landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., June 11 after a record 469 days in space.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the strides we’ve made in this program and the success of the X-37B vehicle on the first two flights,” said Mr. Richard McKinney, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space. “However, it is important to keep in mind that this is an experimental vehicle and a third mission is still relatively young for a test program. This is the first re-flight of a vehicle so that is certainly a key objective for us. We have only just begun what is a very systematic checkout of the system.”
It was the second launch of a Dragon capsule to the orbiting lab by the California-based SpaceX company. The first was last spring.
This time was no test flight, however, and the spacecraft carried 1,000 pounds of key science experiments and other precious gear on this truly operational mission. There was also a personal touch: chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream tucked in a freezer for the three station residents.
A new space age is dawning.
A secretive unmanned space plane is now in orbit for 270 days – and plans are to keep it up there a bit longer.
The experimental Air Force craft, known as the Orbital Test Vehicle-2, has been circling the Earth for about nine months. The X-37B orbital test vehicle was due to land in California this week, but the Air Force said Tuesday that the mission will be extended. A landing date has not been set.
It was launched on March 5th. Let’s hope it’s doing all sorts of sneaky stuff.