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Freitag, 23. Mai 2014 - 14:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA´s MRO unterstützt Suche nach neuem Krater auf dem Roten Planeten

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The new Mars crater spans half the length of a football field in this photo from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s sharpest-sighted camera, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
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Researchers have discovered on the Red Planet the largest fresh meteor-impact crater ever firmly documented with before-and-after images. The images were captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
The crater spans half the length of a football field and first appeared in March 2012. The impact that created it likely was preceded by an explosion in the Martian sky caused by intense friction between an incoming asteroid and the planet's atmosphere. This series of events can be likened to the meteor blast that shattered windows in Chelyabinsk, Russia, last year. The air burst and ground impact darkened an area of the Martian surface about 5 miles (8 kilometers) across.
Since the orbiter began its systematic observation of Mars in 2006, scientist Bruce Cantor has examined MARCI's daily global coverage, looking for evidence of dust storms and other observable weather events in the images. Cantor is this camera's deputy principal investigator at Malin Space Science Systems, the San Diego company that built and operates MARCI and the orbiter's telescopic Context Camera (CTX). Through his careful review of the images, he helps operators of NASA's solar-powered Mars rover, Opportunity, plan for weather events that may diminish the rover's energy. He also posts weekly Mars weather reports.
About two months ago, Cantor noticed an inconspicuous dark dot near the equator in one of the images.
"It wasn't what I was looking for," Cantor said. "I was doing my usual weather monitoring and something caught my eye. It looked usual, with rays emanating from a central spot."
He began examining earlier images, skipping back a month or more at a time. The images revealed that the dark spot was present a year ago, but not five years ago. He homed in further, checking images from about 40 different dates, and pinned down the date the impact event occurred; the spot was not there up through March 27, 2012, and then appeared before the daily imaging on March 28, 2012.
Once the dark spot was verified as new, it was targeted last month by CTX and the orbiter's sharpest-sighted camera, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). Of the approximately 400 fresh crater-causing impacts on Mars that have been documented with before-and-after images, this is the only one discovered using a MARCI image, rather than an image from a higher-resolution camera.
CTX has imaged nearly the entire surface of Mars at least once during the orbiter's seven-plus years of observations. It had photographed the site of this newly-discovered crater in January 2012, prior to the impact. Two craters appear in the April 2014 CTX image that were not present in the earlier one, confirming  the dark spot revealed by MARCI is related to a new impact crater.
HiRISE reveals more than a dozen smaller craters near the two larger ones seen in the CTX image, possibly created by chunks of the exploding asteroid or secondary impacts of material ejected from the main craters during impact. It also reveals many landslides that darkened slopes in the 5-mile surrounding area. A second HiRISE image in May 2014 added three-dimensional information.
"The biggest crater is unusual, quite shallow compared to other fresh craters we have observed," said HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, Tucson.
The largest crater is slightly elongated and spans 159 by 143 feet (48.5 by 43.5 meters).
McEwen estimates  the impact object measured about 10 to 18 feet (3 to 5 meters) long, which is less than a third the estimated length of the asteroid that hit Earth's atmosphere near Chelyabinsk. Because Mars has much less atmosphere than Earth, space rocks of comparable size are more likely to penetrate to the surface of Mars and cause larger craters.
"Studies of fresh impact craters on Mars yield valuable information about impact rates and about subsurface material exposed by the excavations," said Leslie Tamppari, deputy project scientist for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "The combination of HiRISE and CTX has found and examined many of them, and now MARCI's daily coverage has given great precision about when a significant impact occurred."
NASA  is developing concepts for its asteroid initiative to redirect a near-Earth asteroid -- possibly about the size of the rock that hit Mars on March 27 or 28, 2012 -- but much closer to Earth's distance from the sun. The project would involve a solar-powered spacecraft capturing a small asteroid or removing a piece of a larger asteroid, and redirecting it into a stable orbit around Earth's moon.
Astronauts will travel to the asteroid aboard NASA's Orion spacecraft, launched on the agency's Space Launch System rocket, to rendezvous with the captured asteroid. Once there, they would collect samples to return to Earth for study. This experience in human spaceflight beyond low-Earth orbit will help NASA test new systems and capabilities needed to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.
Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates MARCI and CTX. The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, Colorado. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft and collaborates with JPL to operate it.
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This April 6, 2014, image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows numerous landslides in the vicinity of where an impact crater was excavated in March 2012.
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These two images taken one day apart by the MARCI weather camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal when an asteroid impact made the scar seen in the right-hand image. The left image was taken during Martian afternoon on March 27, 2012; the right one on the afternoon of March 28, 2012.
Quelle: NASA

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Freitag, 23. Mai 2014 - 11:28 Uhr

Luftfahrt - Airbus A-350 XWB Lieferungen an Kunden-Airlines.

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The A350 XWB on display at the 2014 ILA Berlin Air Show in Germany, which bears the logo of launch customer Qatar Airways, touches down at Berlin Schönefeld Airport
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The A350 XWB is proving itself in flight evaluations leading to certification this year
Airbus is continuing the “no surprise” flight programme for its A350 XWB, with more than 1,700 hours logged in preparation for certification later this year – clearing the way for deliveries to customer airlines.
The Airbus A350 XWB’s ability to operate on wet runways was demonstrated during successful water ingestion tests conducted at Istres, France
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Airbus’ MSN2 developmental aircraft – the first-ever A350 XWB to visit the United States – prepares for extreme weather testing at the McKinley Climatic Lab in Florida, USA
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A350 XWB first visit in the UK
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The A350 XWB’s 220-inch fuselage cross-section provides for the widest seats of any jetliner in its category
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A350 MSN2 Test Cabin Flight Test – Business Class Night
The A350 XWB cabin design – with its smooth curves, flowing lines, innovative lighting and wide windows – helps create a pleasant and soothing atmosphere for business class travellers
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A350-MSN4-MSN2-001
The number of flying A350 XWB developmental aircraft doubled from two to four on 26 February 2014 with the simultaneous maiden flights of MSN2 and MSN4 in France
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A350 XWB MSN2 in flight – 2
MSN2, Airbus’ first A350 XWB flight test aircraft to feature a full cabin, soars above the clouds on its high-profile maiden flight performed from Toulouse, France
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A350 XWB MSN4 maiden flight – 1
The A350 XWB MSN4 developmental aircraft’s maiden flight – performed 26 February 2014 in France – was piloted by M. Scheuermann
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Singapore Airshow – A350 XWB departure 5
During its headline-making appearance at the Singapore Airshow, Airbus' A350 XWB was visited by airline customers, pilots, industry executives, the media and others, while also participating in the air show’s daily flying display
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A350 XWB MSN2 ROLL OUT PAINTHALL-6
Pictured in MSN2’s signature “Carbon” livery, the A350 XWB wing applies state-of-the-art aerodynamics for overall efficiency and performance
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One of the four A350 XWBs currently involved in the programme took a brief time-out to join opening day ceremonies at this week’s ILA Berlin 2014 Air Show, and then departed for the continuation of its work.  A fifth aircraft is being prepped to join the test and certification effort, with its maiden takeoff planned in the coming weeks.
The A350 XWB is living up to expectations as the developmental aircraft are being put through their paces, according to Wolfgang Absmeier, an Airbus experimental test pilot who has been fully involved in the A350 XWB’s flight test programme. 
“One of the surprises with this ‘carbon airplane’ is that we’ve had no surprises,” Absmeier explained.  As an example, he noted the critical flutter testing – to which every new aircraft is subjected, determining the dynamic aeroelasticity – was performed within one week for the A350 XWB, compared to six weeks for the A380.
With over 70 per cent of the A350 XWB’s weight-efficient airframe composed of advanced materials combining composites (53 per cent) titanium and modern aluminium alloys – the A350 XWB is setting new standards for commercial airliners.
Among the many flight programme milestones achieved to date are the validation of the advanced high-lift devices on the A350 XWB’s highly efficient wings, measurement of the aircraft’s noise footprint in the vicinity of airports, runway water injection trials, icing tests and high-altitude airport operations in Bolivia.
This activity is supported by extensive ground-based and flying testbed resources – ranging from the “iron bird” for systems integration to test rigs for the cabin, fuel circuits and the landing gear.  More than 13,200 cumulative hours have been logged on these “zero test” means.
Quelle: Airbus

Tags: Airbus A-350 XWB 

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Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 - 23:07 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - UFO-Alarm durch RS-12M Topol Raketen-Test

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Regionale Medien an der Wolga und im Ural berichten am Mittwoch über ungewöhnliche Lichter am Himmel in der vergangenen Nacht. Auch in den sozialen Netzwerken gibt es eine Vielzahl von entsprechenden Meldungen.
Zunächst sorgte das Phänomen in den Wolga-Gebieten Astrachan und Wolgograd für Aufsehen. Aufgeregte Menschen machten Fotos und Videos. Die regionale Onlinezeitung Wolga-Media schreibt: „Es war zunächst schwer zu verstehen, warum es sich handelte: Der Himmelskörper mit einem spiralförmigen Schweif ähnelte am meisten einem Ufo.“
Dann kamen ähnliche Meldungen aus Regionen, die östlicher liegen. Im Gebiet Tjumen zitierte die Onlinezeitung Ura.ru aus einem Augenzeugenbericht: „Wir dachten schon, das war’s: entweder ein Krieg oder eine Alien-Invasion.“
Im Ural-Gebiet Tscheljabinsk zitierte die regionale Agentur Dostup eine Bewohnerin mit den Worten: „Leute, ich habe ein Ufo gesehen!! Ich weiß nicht, was das war. Es hing rund anderthalb Minuten. Dann stieß es sich quasi ab und flog weg, es gab eine Art Explosion. Zu sehen war auch eine kleine Kugel, die sich loslöste! Eine Wolke ist zurückgeblieben! Ich bekam sogar Gänsehaut und hatte Angst.“
Eine weitere Frau meldete: „Mein Gott! Was war das?! Ich kam auf den Balkon und war total begeistert. Entweder war das ein Ufo oder eine Rakete vom Kosmodrom Baikonur. Ich hatte sogar den Eindruck, dass ein Engel vom Himmel herabkommt.“
Im Tscheljabinsk kennt man sich gut aus mit spektakulären Himmelserscheinungen. Im Februar 2013 hatte die Region einen Meteoritenhagel erlebt, dessen Bilder weltweit für Aufsehen sorgten. Und im Juni 2013 wurden von Treibstoff-Partikeln einer russischen Trägerrakete leuchtende Nachtwolken verursacht.
Auch diesmal bekam die mysteriöse Lichterscheinung letztendlich eine rein technische Erklärung, als sich das russische Verteidigungsministerium zu Wort meldete. Wie es hieß, handelte es sich um den Teststart einer ballistischen Interkontinental-Rakete des Typs RS-12M Topol am Dienstagabend. Die Rakete sei vom Testgelände Kapustin Jar im Gebiet Astrachan aus gestartet worden. Ihr Gefechtskopf habe ein Übungsziel auf dem Truppenübungsplatz Sary-Schagan in Kasachstan wie geplant getroffen, so die Mitteilung.
Das Testgelände Kapustin Jar liegt nahe der russischen Stadt Snamensk. Im laufenden Jahr sollen die Waffentests dort intensiviert werden, wie Militärsprecher Igor Jegorow mitteilte. Die „Nesawissimaja Gaseta“ zitierte ihn mit den Worten: „Im Jahr 2013 wurden mehr als 30 Militärtechnik- und Waffensysteme auf dem Gelände getestet. Für diese Zwecke wurden rund 330 Raketen und weitere Projektile sowie Luftziele gestartet. Im laufenden Jahr sollen mehr als 80 Waffensysteme dort getestet werden.“
Laut Jegorow kommt Kapustin Jar insbesondere als Testgelände für neue Militärroboter in Betracht. Eine weitere vorrangige Aufgabe sei der Schutz russischer Militäranlagen vor Spionagesystemen und Präzisionswaffen, hieß es.
Quelle: news02elf

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Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 - 21:36 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ESA gibt Airbus Defence and Space System-Design grünes Licht für Bau von Service-Modul des US- Raumschiff Orion MPCV

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Airbus Defence and Space’s system design of European service module for US MPCV spacecraft Orion approved by ESA
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First European supply of critical systems for US Orion space project
The service module of MPCV will provide spacecraft propulsion, power supply and life-support systems
The European Space Agency (ESA) has approved the world’s second largest space company Airbus Defence and Space’s system design of the European Service Module (ESM) for the American human Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Orion, containing the critical propulsion, power supply and components of the life-support systems of the spacecraft. This approval gives the green light for the implementation phase, meaning that the initial hardware can now be built in the form of a structural test model.
This model will initially be used for static tests, which are due to start in the next few months. Dynamic tests e.g. simulating loads during launch will then follow over the course of next year.
This is the first time that Europe is producing critical space components for the American Orion mission. In December 2012, US space agency NASA and the ESA agreed to certify the US’ new Orion MPCV in conjunction with the ESM. This module is based on the design and the experience gained from the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) developed and constructed by Airbus Defence and Space on behalf of ESA and used to carry supplies to the International Space Station.
“The approval of our system design by ESA together with NASA and prime project contractor Lockheed Martin Space Systems is a significant step in the programme. We have demonstrated the project’s maturity and are now able to move from the paper-based stage to producing the actual hardware,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems.
“The fact that NASA has entrusted Europe with system-critical elements is a clear sign of its confidence in the transatlantic partnership and in its European partners’ capabilities. Airbus Defence and Space and its European partners have, with ATV, developed and constructed a technological showcase project, thus paving the way for this cooperation,” said Thomas Reiter, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations.
The intention is to use the Orion MPCV for human missions to the Moon, to asteroids and into deep space. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is developing and constructing the space capsule for four or more astronauts on behalf of NASA. The MPCV-ESM, which is being developed and built by Airbus Defence and Space and based on the ATV, will provide spacecraft propulsion, power supply and life-support systems. An initial Orion mission, or “Exploration Mission 1”, is planned to be an unmanned distant retrograde mission to the lunar Lagrangian points. The aim of this mission is not only to demonstrate the spacecraft’s performance capabilities before it flies with astronauts, but also to achieve qualification for NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket. As part of “Exploration Mission 2”, the Orion MPCV is scheduled to be launched into space in 2021/22 with astronauts on board.
Quelle: AIRBUS GROUP

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Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 - 21:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Forscher analysieren die von einem ungewöhnlichen Stern (SN2013cu) emittierten Elemente, kurz bevor er explodierte

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Researchers analyze the elements emitted from an unusual star just before it exploded
 
When a supernova – the explosion of a distant star – was discovered last year, astrophysicists, with the help of telescopes around the globe, rushed to observe the fireworks. In its dramatic dying flares, this star – a rare type over 10 times the mass of our sun – can tell us something about the life of these fascinating cosmic bodies, as well as helping paint the picture of how all the heavier elements in the universe are formed.
To understand the star that produced the supernova, the researchers identified the mix of elements that was thrown off right before the explosion began. Prof. Avishay Gal-Yam of the Weizmann Institute’s Particle Physics and Astrophysics Department explains that the star can be identified by the proportion of such elements as carbon, oxygen and nitrogen detected in the material ejected into space. These elements are created in the nuclear fusion that powers the stars. In our own sun, hydrogen, the lightest atom, fuses to make helium and stops there; but in the massive, hot stars, fusion continues as helium atoms unite to form heavier elements – up to iron.
Scientists believe that such stars are layered like onions: The heaviest elements, for example iron, are located in the core while the lighter ones make up the outermost layers. At the stars’ outermost edges are stellar winds that blow the material found there out to space. In stars like the one that exploded the wind is so forceful, it can throw off a mass equal to that of our sun every 10,000 years. At some point in the star’s life, the lightweight hydrogen making up its outer layer runs out, and it begins tossing out its helium, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen.
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UGC 9379 galaxy imaged in the Sloan digital sky survey before the supernova explosion (left) and by the Palomar Observatory robotic telescope and by the Palomar Observatory robotic telescope afterward (right)
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Somewhere under the surface is a layer where hydrogen, helium and the heavier elements all meet. This layer must be high enough to hold hydrogen but still hot enough to produce the extreme temperatures needed for nuclear fusion. Scientists are interested in this layer, as it is the place in which nitrogen is formed. As opposed to carbon, with six protons (three fused helium atoms), or oxygen, with eight (four heliums), nitrogen has an odd number of protons – seven. That means it must be the result of fusion between even and odd atoms, for example, three heliums and a hydrogen. So measuring the quantities of nitrogen could reveal what lies underneath the skin of such stars.
While the wind sweeps away the star’s outer layers, its core continues to amass iron until it becomes so heavy it is no longer stable. At that point, the core collapses in a sudden, violent motion, hurling the outer layers off to produce the bright supernova we observe.
Detecting the elements ejected in the stellar wind just before the explosion could only be accomplished within a small window of time – up to a day or so after the terminal blast. This is because intense radiation produced by the explosion shock strips electrons from their atoms. Telescopes equipped with spectrographs aimed at the supernova can pick up the elements’ spectra – light that is emitted when the electrons are reunited with the atoms. But they must make their observations quickly before the rapidly-expanding debris from the explosion sweep up the more tenuous remnants of the wind and erase this last trace of the dying star.
The race to observe the spectra of the supernova’s wind began with the robotic telescopes at the Palomar observatory in California, a part of the iPTF project led by Prof. Shri Kulkarni of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). These are programmed to find transient events – sudden changes in the night sky that could be new supernovae – and alert team members about the sightings. Halfway around the world, Dr. Iair Arcavi, then a doctoral student in Gal-Yam’s group, received the notification. While researchers in the US slept, he assessed the finding, realized its significance, and contacted Dr. Assaf Horesh, then a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech (who has since joined the Weizmann team). Horesh  then conducted spectroscopic observations at the Keck observatory in Hawaii, which is farther west than Palomar and could thus extend the nighttime viewing of the supernova. Acting quickly, he managed to record the emission spectra of the material thrown to the wind a mere 15 hours after the star exploded.
Working backward from the post-blast observations, Gal-Yam, Arcavi, Horesh and their colleagues assessed the recorded spectra and showed that the star that had exploded indeed had a nitrogen-rich wind, similar to those of  the so-called Wolf-Rayet stars we know in our galaxy. The results of their study were published this week in Nature.This is the first time, says Gal-Yam, that this has been done. Now that the team has shown that the combination of efficient global organization and the mobilization of telescopes around the world can work to capture such fleeting events, they hope that further sightings of infant supernova explosions will be possible. Understanding how these stars live and die is important, he says, not just because it gives us a window on the workings of the universe. “All the heavier elements in the universe – those with a mass larger than that of helium – are created in the fusion furnaces of large stars and dispersed through supernova explosions. So many questions – about the origins and the relative abundance of different elements – go back to these processes taking place throughout the cosmos.”
The intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF) — led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)  — started searching the skies for certain types of stars and related phenomena this past February. The iPTF was built on the legacy of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), designed in 2008 to systematically chart the transient sky by using a robotic observing system mounted on the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope on Palomar Mountain near San Diego, California. iPTF is a scientific collaboration of the California Institute of Technology, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, the Oskar Klein Center, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the TANGO Program of the University System of Taiwan, and the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe.
Dr. Avishay Gal Yam’s research is supported by the Helen and Martin Kimmel Award for Innovative Investigation; the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Astrophysics; and the Peter and Patricia Gruber Awards.
Quelle: Weizmann Institute of Science

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Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 - 20:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Rückkehr von SpaceX-CRS-3 Dragon - Update

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17.05-2014

SpaceX Dragon's third operational mission will end May 18 after a month-long stay at the International Space Station. The unmanned spacecraft will return more than 1,600 pounds of science materials from the orbital outpost.

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April launches bring May research returns. While the splashdown of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on May 18 will conclude the company’s third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station, it also serves as a high point for the scientists who have investigations returning to Earth who are eager to complete their analyses.

When the Dragon spacecraft splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, it will carry with it more than 1,600 pounds of scientific supplies. These supplies include samples from biology, biotechnology and physical science investigations, as well as human research.

"While some of this data can be obtained by on orbit analysis, many analysis techniques have not been miniaturized or modified to allow them to be performed on orbit, which means sample return is the only way to obtain this data," said Marybeth Edeen, space station research integration office deputy manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

One of many studies returning examines drug-resistant bacteria to determine gene expression patterns and changes in microgravity. The Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space (AES-1) investigation uses E. coli to better understand the decreased effectiveness of antibiotics during spaceflight. The study is set on the premise derived from previous investigations that suggest bacteria are able to grow in space even in an antibiotic concentration that would normally deter growth.

“We intend to further corroborate these early findings and conduct more in depth genetic assays of the returned samples to get a better understanding of what might be responsible for this outcome,” said AES-1 principal investigator David Klaus, Ph.D., of BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

As bacteria grow more resistant to antibiotics, there are less effective pharmaceutical treatment options for people with bacterial infections. The findings from AES-1 may help improve antibiotic development on Earth. Advancing the efficacy of antibiotics and reducing their resistance to bacteria is a priority for health care professionals.

Another study returning on Dragon is MicroRNA Expression Profiles in Cultured Human Fibroblasts in Space (Micro-7). Micro-7 is the first space investigation to study the effect of microgravity on DNA damage and repair in human fibroblasts, the non-dividing cells that make up most of the human body. Understanding how these cells function in microgravity advances knowledge of changes to organs, tissues and the entire body during spaceflight. Researchers can use data from Micro-7 in future Earth-based studies to examine whether the cell changes observed during spaceflight are seen in disease states of tissues and organs, as well. Ultimately, this may help scientists better understand disease and could lead to development of new drug therapies.

Hardware launched on the Dragon for investigations using the Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) space station facility enabled two experiments. First, the BRIC-18-1 experiment from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, was an attempt by researchers to grow antibiotic-resistant versions of two common bacteria: Bacillus subtilis, found in soil, and Staphylococcus epidermidis, found on the skin. These space-flown bacteria will be compared to ground control samples for evidence of possible mutations induced by spaceflight.

"From this, they may be able to tell whether certain antibiotics will be less effective over time and determine more effective ways to treat infection," said David Flowers, space station ground processing and research project office payload manager at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The second experiment, BRIC-18-2, focuses on the growth and development of seedlings exposed to the stresses of the space environment, such as changes in gravity, radiation, vibration and limited exchange of gases. Seedlings preserved with a chemical fixative are returning to Earth on the Dragon for evaluation. Researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan will observe the seedling results for implications on the general knowledge of stress and to provide solutions for stress management in multicellular organisms, including humans, while living in space. This may also lead to development of plants better suited for space and improvements in sustainable agriculture.

When they return, the Advanced Plant Experiments-02-2 (APEX-02-2) investigation samples will undergo radiation assessment in the lab. The APEX-02-2 study employed a common brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to observe cell adaptation to the unique aspects of the space environment. By identifying specific mechanisms regulated within the regions of genes that respond to growth in microgravity, scientists hope to identify factors associated with how genetic information is transferred.

Yeast is a model organism, often used to interpret the molecular responses of more complicated plant and animal cells. Understanding how environmental changes affect the yeast’s genetic expression could lead to new discovery in more complex cells, including human cells.

Also awaiting space-flown samples from Dragon for analysis of changes in gene expression and protein synthesis, the T-Cell Activation in Aging investigation team seeks to identify a defect in T-cell activation during microgravity exposureOur immune systems protect us from disease, and T-cells are the first cells in the immune system to be mobilized when illness is introduced to the body. T-cells are activated to fight foreign antigens and help the body return to a healthy status. This research can help in understanding and treating a range of auto-immune diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. Identifying the defect in T-cell activation in microgravity may someday help to inhibit the decline of the immune system as a normal part of the aging process.

A myriad of other study samples also are returning to Earth on Dragon, including those of the Cardiovascular Health Consequences of Long-Duration Space Flight (Vascular) and the Astronaut's Energy Requirements for Long-Term Space Flight (Energy) investigations. Vascular assess the impact of long-duration spaceflight on the blood vessels of astronauts, while Energy measures changes in energy balance in crew members following long-term missions. Knowledge gleaned from these studies helps to ensure the health of crew members during long-duration spaceflight and may contribute to treatments for similar health problems on Earth.

With these Dragon-sized research returns to Earth, more scientific discovery may be possible. With discovery comes inspiration for follow-up investigations as well as brand new ideas and approaches to address. With the Dragon’s help, and the help of other resupply vehicles which deliver scientific investigations to the orbital laboratory, these ideas can take flight aboard the space station.

Quelle: NASA

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Update: 18.05-2014

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SpaceX Dragon capsule carrying NASA cargo set for return to Earth

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to depart from the International Space Station around 9 a.m. Sunday, May 18.

After leaving the space station, the capsule will splash down in the Pacific Ocean carrying more than 3,500 pounds of NASA science samples and cargo.

Dragon is set to be detached from the Earth-facing side of the station's Harmony module and unberthed through commands sent by robotic ground controllers at mission control in Houston operating the Canadarm 2 robotic arm. Dragon then will be maneuvered into place for its release, which is scheduled for approximately 9:25 a.m.

Dragon will execute three thruster firings to move away from the station to a safe distance for its deorbit burn at 2:10 p.m. Dragon will splash down around 3:05 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California.

Dragon is the only space station resupply spacecraft designed to return to Earth intact. Among the 3,563 pounds of return cargo are science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities. The spacecraft also will return crew supplies, vehicle hardware and spacewalk equipment.

Dragon was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 18 on the company’s third contracted commercial resupply mission to the station. Dragon arrived to the space station on April 20 with approximately 5,000 pounds of supplies aboard.

Quelle: 13News

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  • SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft with NASA Cargo Set for Return to Earth
    May 16, 2014 - 7:12 PM EDT

    NASA Television will provide live coverage of the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station beginning at 9 a.m. EDT on Sunday, May 18. After leaving the space station, the capsule will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean carrying more than 3,500 pounds of NASA science samples and cargo.

    Dragon is set to be detached from the Earth-facing side of the station's Harmony module and unberthed through commands sent by robotic ground controllers at mission control in Houston operating the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Dragon then will be maneuvered into place for its release scheduled for approximately 9:26 a.m.

    Dragon will execute three thruster firings to move away from the station to a safe distance for its deorbit burn at 2:08 p.m. Dragon will splash down around 3:02 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California. Neither the deorbit burn nor the splashdown will be broadcast on NASA TV.

    Dragon is the only space station resupply spacecraft designed to return to Earth intact. Among the 3,563 pounds of return cargo are science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities. The spacecraft also will return crew supplies, vehicle hardware and spacewalk equipment.

    Dragon was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on April 18 on the company’s third contracted commercial resupply mission to the station. Dragon arrived to the space station on April 20 with approximately 5,000 pounds of supplies aboard.

  • Quelle: NASA
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Update: 21.45 MESZ
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Station Releases Dragon for Splashdown in Pacific
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The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft was in the grips of the Canadarm2 before being released for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

The International Space Station’s robotic arm released the SpaceX Dragon from its grip at 9:26 a.m. EDT Sunday. The commercial cargo craft is returning science and cargo for retrieval after its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Flight controllers operated the 57-foot Canadarm2 from Mission Control grappling the Dragon spacecraft, unberthing it from the Harmony node’s Earth-facing port and finally releasing it. Dragon will perform three departure burns in its separation from the vicinity of the space station.

A final deorbit burn will occur after 2 p.m. sending Dragon back into Earth’s atmosphere. Dragon will then splashdown less than an hour later in the Pacific for retrieval by SpaceX engineers. The precious cargo will be extracted from the space freighter and returned to Johnson Space Center in Houston less than 48 hours later.

Dragon arrived April 20 during the Expedition 39 mission delivering 2.5 tons of crew supplies, cargo and science gear. Some of the 150 science experiments delivered aboard the private space freighter began immediately after being unloaded.

This is the third official cargo delivery mission to the space station for the private company headquartered in California. SpaceX also completed two demonstration missions prior to beginning its Commercial Resupply Services contract for NASA.

Quelle: NASA

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The commercial cargo ship Dragon returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Sunday, bringing back nearly 2 tons of science experiments and old equipment for NASA.

SpaceX's Dragon splashed into the Pacific, just five hours after leaving the orbiting lab.

"Welcome home, Dragon!" the California-based company said via Twitter.

After a one-month visit, the SpaceX cargo ship was set loose Sunday morning. Astronaut Steven Swanson, the station commander, released it using the big robot arm as the craft zoomed more than 260 miles above the South Pacific.

"Very nice to have a vehicle that can take your science, equipment and maybe someday even humans back to Earth," Swanson told Mission Control.

The SpaceX Dragon is the only supply ship capable of returning items to Earth. The others burn up on re-entry. This was the fourth Dragon to bring back space station goods, with 3,500 pounds aboard; it came down off Mexico's Baja California coast.

NASA is paying SpaceX and Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp. to make station deliveries. Orbital is next up, next month. Russia, Europe and Japan also make occasional shipments.

SpaceX also is competing for the right to ferry station astronauts, perhaps as early as 2017.

The Dragon rocketed to the space station on April 18 with a full load and arrived at the orbiting lab two days later.

Following Sunday's splashdown, a ship is to carry the Dragon to a port near Los Angeles, and then it will go to a SpaceX factory in McGregor, Texas. Critical science samples will be hustled off at the port for quick return to NASA.

Quelle: abc-news

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Update: 19.05.2014

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SpaceX Dragon Returns to Earth, Splashes Down in Pacific Ocean

SpaceX's Dragon capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on May 18, 2014 after about one month in space.

Quelle: SpaceX

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Update: 21.05.2014

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Two days after splashdown in the Pacific Ocean with more than 3,500 pounds of cargo from the International Space Station, SpaceX's Dragon supply ship returned to the Port of Long Beach in Southern California on Tuesday. 
The spaceship's arrival in Long Beach marks the start of the handover of cargo and experiments to NASA and a network of researchers. The Dragon spacecraft brought more than 1,600 pounds of scientific research samples and experimental cargo back to Earth, plus a spacesuit in need of repair, and water samples deemed critical for NASA to determine the root cause of a leak that filled a spacewalker's helmet with water last summer. 
The Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean about 300 miles west of Baja California at 3:05 p.m. EDT (1905 GMT; 12:05 p.m. PDT) Sunday, less than six hours after its departure from the space station. 
Time-sensitive cargo, such as biological research samples, will be offloaded from the Dragon spacecraft in California. SpaceX will transport the capsule to its test facility in McGregor, Texas, where the rest of the cargo will be unloaded and transferred to NASA. 
The SpaceX-run mission was the company's third operational resupply run to the space station under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. 
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Quelle: SpaceX

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Update: 22.05.2014

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Water Found Inside Dragon After Splashdown

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Technicians found a significant amount of water inside the latest SpaceX Dragon capsule to land in the Pacific after a mission to the International Space Station, raising concerns the commercial cargo capsule leaked after splashdown.
The quantity of seawater intrusion and the source is unclear, said Dan Hartman, NASA’s deputy ISS program manager. All of the science equipment and other NASA hardware in the Dragon capsule is in good shape, he said during a May 21 briefing.
Recovery of the capsule after it splashed down May 18 took 11 hr., apparently longer than usual, and may have been associated with the problem. This Dragon is an upgraded version, with more carrying capacity and new freezers for samples.
The downmass payload of just more than 3,500 lb.of equipment, including 1,600 lb. of science equipment and perishable specimens, was intact, Hartman said. The research gear and samples were flown from the Los Angeles area to Houston and greeted by ISS officials late May 20, then distributed to principal investigators by early May 21.
Witnesses at the port observed significant water as the cold storage containers brought back from the ISS were removed, and there was a report the capsule’s internal humidity sensors tripped, according to an industry source.
The capsule itself will be transported by truck to SpaceX proving grounds in McGregor, Texas, by late this week for further troubleshooting, Hartman said.
"Across the board, I know of no damage to hardware," Hartman said. "Obviously, SpaceX will be very interested in getting Dragon back to McGregor."
Initially, there was speculation the water source could have been one of several containment bags of water that NASA was returning on Dragon as part of its investigation into the July 16 water leak into the helmet of a U.S. spacesuit worn by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano. Bags containing several gallons of water from the ISS airlock were returned to Earth for analysis to help conclude the investigation that has forced a suspension of all but emergency U.S. spacewalks.
However, the NASA water bags were accounted for, eliminating them as the source of the water found in Dragon, Hartman said.
Aside from a little space inside Russia’s Soyuz crew vehicles, the Dragon is the only way scientists and engineers have to recover scientific samples and hardware for analysis on the ground. A NASA official said the capsule’s scientific samples appear to be intact, but it remained to be seen if there was water damage to the other payloads in the spacecraft.
"The science samples returned to Earth are critical to improving our knowledge of how space affects humans who live and work there for long durations," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, after the landing, which came at 3:05 p.m. EDT May 18, about 350 mi. west of Baja, Calif.
The landing concluded the third SpaceX commercial mission to and from the space station. Going up, it carried almost 5,000 lb. of supplies.
The company had no immediate comment on the anomaly.
Hartman said it was too early to speculate on whether the intrusion would affect future Dragon missions. The company plans to launch the fourth of its round-trip resupply missions to the station in August or early September under the terms of its $1.6 billion, 12-flight agreement with NASA reached in late 2008. The NASA contract extends through 2016.
"It depends on what we find," Hartman said of future mission plans. "I’m sure that whatever they find, they will jump on real quick."
Quelle: AVIATIONWEEK



2380 Views

Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 - 20:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Atlas V / NROL-33 am 22.Mai

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19.05.2014

Atlas V to Launch NROL-33
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Rocket/Payload:  An Atlas V 401 will launch the NROL-33 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). 
Date/Site/Launch Time: Thursday, May 22, from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. 
Launch Notes: NROL-33 will be the 46th Atlas V mission since the vehicle’s inaugural launch in 2002. It will be the sixth of 15 planned missions ULA is slated to launch in 2014, and ULA’s 83rd since the company formed in 2006.
Mission Description: The mission will be launched for the National Reconnaissance Office in support of national defense.
Quelle: ulalaunch
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Update: 21.05.2014
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Atlas V 'go' for Thursday launch


A readiness review this morning gave United Launch Alliance a "go" to proceed with a Thursday attempt to launch a classified intelligence satellite on an Atlas V rocket.
The launch of the National Reconnaissance Office payload is planned between 8:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The mission would be ULA's second from the Cape in six days, following Friday night's launch of a GPS satellite by a Delta IV rocket.
There's an 80 percent chance of favorable weather during the launch period; the precise launch window has not been disclosed. 
The Atlas V — in a "401" configuration with no solid rocket motors — is expected to roll to its pad around 10 am. Tuesday in preparation for the countdown starting early Thursday.
Quelle: Florida Today
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Update: 22.05.2014
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21May2014 22:46:01 EDT
Weather report gives 90% GO
The weather briefing for the night prior to the launch has increased the chances of launching to 90%. With a window of about an hour and only 10% chance of a weather violation it is looking good for an on-time launch tomorrow.
May 22 - Atlas V 401 : NROL-33 Launch site Cape Canaveral AFB, FL
Launch Date May 22
From Launch Pad LC-41
Launch Window : 9:05am EDT (13:05 GMT)
An atlas V rocket will launch a classified NROL payload for the National Reconnaissance Office from Cape Canaveral. The Atlas V rocket will fly in the 401 configuration with a 4m payload fairing no solid rocket boosters and a single centaur upper stage.
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Update: 19.00 MESZ
 
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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches Four Missions in Just Seven Weeks
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., (May 22, 2014) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on May 22 at 9:09 a.m. EDT. Designated NROL-33, the mission is in support of national defense.     
“Congratulations to all of our mission partners on today’s successful launch of the NROL-33 mission!  The ULA team is honored to deliver another critical national security asset to orbit together with the NRO Office of Space Launch and the Air Force,” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “Today’s launch occurred six days after last week’s GPS IIF-6 launch – the second time this year that this team has launched back-to-back missions within a week.  Successfully launching at this tempo is a testament to the team’s focus on mission success, one-launch-at-a-time, and continuous improvement of our launch processes.”
This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) 401 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter-diameter payload fairing. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by a single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10A engine. 
ULA's next launch is the Delta II OCO-2 mission for NASA, scheduled for July 1 from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. 
The EELV program was established by the United States Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.  
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered more than 80 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system. Reliable launch, real-world benefits.
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Frams: ulalaunch-Start-Video: 
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Quelle: ULALAUNCH
 

2424 Views

Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 - 12:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Close Encounters of Air Force RB-47 S-Band-Radar - Teil-5

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Aftermath

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After the RB-47 returned to Forbes AFB in Kansas, several reports were made. Each contained information that was contradictory and seemed to contain errors.
Duncanville’s CIRVIS report
Shortly after the events (at 1445Z), the ground radar station (Duncanville), filed a CIRVIS report. Some comments worth noting are:
B-47, 30,000 feet, Mach 0.87, Forbes 1. AFB, Kansas. B-47 chased UFO over Fort Worth but was unable to overcome UFO.
Airborne radar was being used on B-47 2. to track object Aircraft stated they had good contact however Utah had negative contact with object.1
The first comment seems to be an error. The plane was supposedly at 34,500 feet and the maximum speed was Mach 0.85. Did the radar operators have problems determining the speed and altitude of the aircraft or was the 34,500 feet given by the crew too high?
The second comment also seems to contain errors. The first being that the RB-47 tracked the UFO with their radar. We know that the navigator denied this happened. What it probably was referring to was the tracking of the radar signal by McClure. The second error is that Duncanville denied tracking the UFO. Klass suggested that this was because they had identified the UFO as an aircraft. It seems the CO probably did not want to get involved in any UFO reports. It also may indicate that the type of contact they saw may have not been a solid return and they determined it just was not a good enough confirmation.
Reading the Piwetz report, it is odd that Duncanville had to be told where to look for the UFO on their radar screen:
ADC REQUESTED AIRCRAFT TO GO TO IFF MODE III FOR POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION AND REQUESTED POSITION OF OBJECT. CREW REPORTED POSITION OF OBJECT AS 10NM NORTH WEST OF FT WORTH, TEXAS, AND ADC SITE IMMEDIATELY CONFIRMED PRESENCE OF OBJECT ON THEIR SCOPES.2
This indicates that Duncanville needed to be directed towards the UFO. According to Chase’s testimony, they were tracking the UFO for some time. Did they suddenly
lose it or did they have problems recognizing it? One also wonders why the radar sites at Texarkana, England, and Ellington did not see the UFO when the RB-47 was moving through their area even though they should have seen it. It is too bad that Duncanville did not obtain a very convincing target or file a report that was more informative concerning any targets they did have.
Debriefing3
After landing, the crew was debriefed by the intelligence officer Piwetz. It was his report that added a lot to the RB-47 case file. However, there are portions of his report that appear to be erroneous based on what the air crew would later state to interviewers:
The “up-scope” incident was stated 1. to have occurred near Meridian, MS, when, by all accounts, it occurred near the coast.
The report stated both pilot and copilot saw two UFOs simultaneously, when they only reported one.
It was stated the plane was near 3. Mineral Wells, Texas at 1055Z, when it was not possible for the plane to reach that location.
Piwetz was convinced the UFO was emitting the signals and stated so in his report.
However, this conclusion would be considered somewhat hasty since he seemed to have little data to work with other than notes by McClure and only partial recordings (starting at 1048Z) of the events described.
UFO report4
In September, Major Chase would complete a UFO report. Some of the things he noted were:
There was no moon even though 1. there was a bright waning gibbous moon visible.
The radar operator never obtained 2. any radar contact.
He states that ECM equipment 3. tracked the object and that radar scope pictures were taken but then circled “NO” on “Were photographs taken?” My guess is he was implying
nobody took photographs of the visual UFO. McClure and Hanley denied taking any photographs so he must have been talking about Duncanville, which denied ever tracking the UFO in their report.
He incorrectly listed the upper level 4. winds as coming from a bearing of 260 at 50 knots. He incorrectly noted that the plane 5. made the turn towards the northwest at 1010Z.
Many of these errors could have been caused by simply memory issues and clerical mistakes on the part of Chase. However, it demonstrates that one has to question how accurate the report was when it was written two months later.
Summary report5
A hand-written report is in the Bluebook files. Exactly who wrote it when is hard to determine as it is unclear. At the very end of the report it states:
A study of radar data that was later submitted indicated that the aircraft’s radar signals had the characteristics of ground radar equipment. Further, there was no firm correlation between the ground intercept and the visual sightings. The change of colors: blue, white, red are suggestive of aircraft lights which normally, all air crews would have little trouble recognizing.
It was also strange that objects disappeared or stopped when they had reached the large cities. In joint review with the CAA of the data from the incident, it was definitely established by the CAA that object observed in vicinity of Dallas and Fort Worth was an airliner.6
This was probably why the card for Bluebook concluded it was flight 966, which was a mistake.
Blue Book perplexed
On 30 October, 1957, a memo was sent to Captain Gregory of project Blue Book by AFCIN-4E1
This report is difficult to evaluate because there is such a mass of evidence which tends to all tie in together to indicate the presence of a physical object or UFO....since there are no “firm” correlation between the ground intercept and the sightings from the aircraft, it is impossible to make any determination from the information submitted. On the other hand, it is difficult to conclude that nothing was present, in face of the visual and other data present.7
No conclusions could be drawn in this report but the author seemed convinced that there may have been something present.
Resurrection
The Condon study inadvertently resurrected this case. Lewis Chase was the UFO officer at Malmstrom and he attended a meeting with the Condon representatives and Blue Book. He requested that Major Quintanilla look for the records and it caught the interest of Dr. Roy Craig. Unfortunately, Chase could not recall the date and thought it was in September 1957. The records were not found until Dr. McDonald spent time with the Blue Book files after the Condon Study was completed. It was Dr. McDonald’s work that first elevated this case to the status of “best evidence”.
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Various theories for the UFO lights

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One of the most interesting aspects of the RB-47 is the source of the lights that Major Chase reported seeing. According to Phil Klass, it was just an airliner that produced the light.
The end of the flight 966 myth
Phil Klass did a lot of work trying to locate the actual plane that the RB-47 had seen over Dallas-Fort Worth. He had contacted somebody from American Airlines in 1971 and they had confirmed that 966 was supposed to land in Dallas at 6AM Central time. Klass felt that the landing lights of the plane were the cause of the lights seen by Chase. But the case was not that solid. When asked by Dr. Hynek if the landing lights could have fooled him, Major Chase stated:
Not unless aimed at you. That aircraft would have been in some kind of climb. If the aircraft is landing, no way do his lights seem much brighter than a car on the freeway. 1
Brad Sparks determined that flight 966 could not have been in the area at the time of the RB-47 encounter because it was too far away. It had a near miss with flight 655 near El Paso at 3:30 AM MST. The plane could not make up the distance during that time. Was it late or is there a reasonable explanation?
In 1957, Daylight savings time was a problem. Different states and cities had different rules. It made for great confusion on airline, train, and bus schedules. The encounter had occurred before 1100Z. If Dallas were on Daylight Savings Time (CDT), that would have been 0600. However, it wasn’t. I checked several newspapers from Texas in July 1957 and all listed the times for Sunrise and Sunset as Standard Time (see weather above from Denton Record-Chronicle on July 17, 19573). This means 1100Z was actually 0500 CST. Flight 966 was not scheduled to land until an hour later just as Sparks computed. Klass’ information was correct but he made an error when he thought 1100Z was 6AM in Dallas.
The description of the lights
Dr. McDonald’s interviews with the Copilot McCoid and Chase are interesting.
His notes regarding his phone calls with Chase state:
I asked him if he any impression of angular size of the red light, when it showed a red light moving over ahead of him. He wouldn’t hazard a guess, except he did say it was far larger than any running light on a jet at the known 10-mile distance which radar was indicating. He also said it was not flashing or pulsating like a running light.4
His notes with McCoid mention a description of the light as well:
He brought up, voluntarily, the matter of gas burn-off flames from oil wells. He said that he had frequently seen them and, as soon as the phenomenon began, it went through his mind that he should be very careful to be dead sure that he wasn’t looking at any burn-off flames. He then stated that the intensity of the light, and its elevation angle (strictly below the horizon) ruled such flames as a source, in his mind.…He recalled that the Unknown was, at times, distinctly above their level. Definitely too far above the horizon to confuse it with oil well flames.5
Throughout the interviews, both Chase and McCoid implied the angular size of the light was not that large and usually refrained from estimating an angular size. It was perhaps a bit larger than the landing lights of an aircraft but there seemed to be little angular size to it. As a result, one can assume the only thing the witnesses saw was a bright light.
The description of where in the sky the object was is confusing because McCoid seems to state the light was above and below the horizon. Chase implies it was below the horizon. Perhaps McCoid was confusing memories of the 1010 meteor event with the later events around Dallas-Fort Worth. In his letters with Dr. Hynek, Chase could not recall if the light was above or below the horizon. He told Klass he felt the light was about 5000 feet below him and, at one point, was as low as 15,000 feet.
What this all indicates is the light was probably below 34,500 feet and not above the horizon. So, what was the source of the light?
Potential Sources
I have gone down a path of many possible
scenarios for the light. Here are a few possibilities that I and other skeptics considered and why some were rejected as not plausible:
The moon reflecting off of some1.
thing. This seemed highly unlikely but there was a bright waning moon in the southwestern sky. What ever this light reflected off would have to be airborne and the only thought was clouds or ice crystals. This is very unlikely.
A red spot aurora could have been 2. involved. This seemed to have merit in that there was increased solar activity that year but there was no record of widespread auroras visible on the date in question. Additionally, the bright moon and approaching dawn would have washed out most aurorae.
Astronomical objects were proposed 3. by Klass but the sky was rapidly brightening with sunrise less than an hour away when the plane began its pursuit phase. Even first magnitude stars would start to lose their brilliance by the time the plane was flying over Dallas at time 1050Z. Additionally, the pilot/copilot all agreed the light was below the horizon making any astronomical explanation for the light over Dallas-Fort Worth untenable.
The light of a train heading south4. bound. This was an interesting idea and there are tracks for the southern pacific headed towards New Orleans from Fort Worth. Still, I felt that a train is a stretch unless it had a high beam searchlight that pointed skyward.
The Condon study at one point suggested the light was an optical phenomena involving the city lights of Oklahoma City. They rejected this after further analysis. I mention it here for information purposes only. I never considered this as a plausible explanation.
Gas burn-off flames or a ground fire 6. of some kind. McCoid described the light being similar. There are no records of any fires but it is interesting to note that there was a General Motors plant on the eastern side of Arlington along the RB-47’s flight path. It seems unlikely they would have some sort of gas burn-off flame but there may have had another light source at the plant.
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Another plane taking off or land7. ing. While Dallas had Love Field, Fort Worth had created its own airport and had called it the Greater Southwestern airport. It is no longer in existence but was to the south of what is now DFW international airport. In 1957, it was fairly active. The RB-47 flight path takes it over this area.

Dallas Naval Air station was also 8. along the RB-47 flight path. Dallas NAS was often used as a way point for aircraft making cross country trips Located at Dallas NAS were two reserve squadrons of P2V Neptunes. The P2V had a large searchlight on the starboard wing tip of the aircraft. Seen from a distance, the searchlight would have been unusual. 

The U-2 was mentioned at one point 9. but it seems very unlikely to be the source. The plane would have to have been higher than the RB-47 and possibly reflecting the sun. There were U-2s in southern Texas but they were probably painted black and would not reflect the sun before sunrise when flying at 15,000-30,000 feet .
An RB-69A. This was a CIA modi10.fied P2V Neptune aircraft that would Europe.
The airplane had some unique equipment (including side-looking radar and high intensity lights) and was built at the “skunk works”. In 1957, one of the RB-69As were flown to Eglin AFB in Florida for testing and may have had to make a stop at Dallas NAS. The other aircraft would eventually have been flown to Eglin as well. What are the chances of one of these planes being in the area of Fort Worth in July of 1957? If it was in the area that morning and involved in some way, it would explain the need not to have the aircraft mentioned in any reports. While this is compelling, it seems like the odds of it being involved is low. It is an avenue for future investigation.
At Dallas NAS was the Vought plant 11. where the new F-8 crusaders were being built. The day before, John Glenn had just broken the cross country speed record in one of these F-8s. An F-8 may have been flying about that early in the morning with lighting the pilots were not familiar with.This is a low probability scenario but can not be completely dismissed.
Some unusual ground lighting the 12. pilots were not familiar with. South of Grand Prairie airport (the 1957 airfield and not the one currently using that name) is a water tower. It is possible this had illumination that might have been confusing. Additionally, the city of Fort Worth seemed to have a large quantity of neon lighting downtown similar to one might expect from some place like Las Vegas. 9 (See frame grab below)
An unknown man-made aircraft in 19608the area.
So, what was the light? I really don’t know but there are many possibilities. In my opinion, I think it probably was an aircraft of some kind and the P-2V Neptune with it’s searchlight beam is a good candidate to start with. It also might have been just an aircraft landing at or taking off from Great Southwestern airport or Dallas NAS. We really will never know at this point without the actual records of aircraft activity on the date in question.
It is interesting that the handwritten summary stated the CAA had confirmed the aircraft was an airliner (but not flight 966).
Notes and References
Herb, Gert. “A rebuttal to Philip J. Klass’s analy1.
sis of the RB-47 incident of July 17, 1947.” Center
for UFO Studies (CUFOS) Bulletin. CUFOS. Evanston, Ill. Summer 1977. P. 8.
Phil Klass notes concerning the schedule of 2. flight 966. American Philosophical Society. Philip Klass Collection. Box Series II-6.
“Weather”. 3. Denton Record-Chronicle. Denton, Texas. July 17, 1957. P. 1.
McDonald, James. 4. Interview notes with James McCoid. February 2, 1969.
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RB47 conclusions

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Is the case solved? I would never suggest so unless there was much more evidence as to aerial activities that morning.
As a result, the case is still “unidentified” so UFOlogists can rest easy on that point. Of course, that is what the definition of a UFO is, right? In this case, the visual was apparently flying and nobody can positively identify it.
Skeptics have no problems accepting the fact the case can not be positively identified. However, it is the proponents that seem to have a problem with a case just having the label of “unidentified”. To have such a label is not good enough. They have to draw conclusions that the evidence does not support.
In the conclusion of his article, Sparks states the case is “irrefutable” and the evidence is “unassailable”. I find such statements hyperbole, which have no place in a scientific endeavour. However, in the following conclusion, one has to wonder what data he is looking at:
This mass of strikingly self-consistent data demonstrates the existence of a large metallic rapidly maneuvering airborne source of S-band radar like signals and visible light - a UFO - that played tag with an Air Force intelligence-gathering jet for more than two hours on the night of July 17, 1957, across four states in the southern United States.1
He states this as if this was proven without a doubt. Objective observers would state that he has not come close to proving this conclusion and that he has rejected other possibilities without good reason.
The greatest UFO case ever?
This case is being billed as the best evidence for UFOs being some form of exotic unknown phenomenon based mostly on what Sparks wrote about the case. This overinflated claim seems to have been simply accepted without questioning it. There are several reasons to question this claim:
We do not know if all the signals reported were the same exact frequency and same characteristics. It is assumed that this is the case but there is no proof this is so. They could just as easily have been in the same frequency range but not the same exact frequency as the signal mentioned in the Piwetz report.
For a majority of the signals, there 2. seems to be radars located along those bearings that might have been detected by the RB-47. Only the signals at time 1030, 1042 and 1044 seem to have questionable radar sources. Since we don’t know exactly what the plane’s heading was at that instant, what the exact frequency of the signals were for those bearings, and what the exact conditions were for radio wave propagation, can we really conclude that these radar signals were emitted by some “unknown airborne intelligence”?
Sparks claims the UFO was large and 3. metallic. However, the witnesses all stated the light/UFO sighted was of small angular size. It never was seen as a physical craft of any kind even when the plane was reasonably close. Is a point source of light really something to get that excited about?
Contrary to what Sparks stated, the 4. UFO sighted never appeared to make any exotic maneuvers. There were statements it paced the aircraft but this is not stated in any of the reports from 1957. There are no indications the visually observed UFO flew loops, stopped on a dime, or zigzagged about. It was just a light that was seen, and when the RB-47 got near the UFO, it disappeared. This makes it nothing more than a nocturnal light, which Dr. Hynek considered to be a waste of time: “We can forget about all this lights-in-the-sky stuff, which we can’t do anything about anyway...”2
There are no UFO reports mentioned 5. by anybody but the crew. One would think a UFO that could be seen from dozens of miles away over a major metropolis like Fort Worth-Dallas, might generate some reports even at that hour of the morning. There were four control towers that were manned in the area (Carswell, Greater Southwestern, Dallas NAS and Love field). Add to this list of potential witnesses were the military personnel on duty at Dallas NAS and Carswell AFB, police officers, early morning commuters, civilian pilots, etc. One wonders why there were no other UFO reports. Additionally, one would expect that some technicians at Duncanville, might go out and see if they could see the RB-47 chasing the UFO as it passed nearby. The lack of any confirming reports indicate the UFO was not as obvious to ground based observers as it was to those in the plane.
It appears that Sparks’ characterization of the “data” and what it proves is just not accurate.
In 1997, UFOlogists presented several of their “best cases” to a panel of scientists. Strangely, the RB-47 case was not one of their primary cases (it was mentioned briefly in the paper about the Condon Study). Is it possible that it has received the label of “the best evidence” because it is now the “flavor of the month”? I can recall reading UFO experts say the same thing about other cases before evidence was unearthed showing they were not as compelling as first thought.
We do know the case was examined to some extent by the Condon study with the conclusion they could not explain it. However, they also realized that it did not mean the case involved some supernatural event/intelligence. Writing in his book, UFOs: An insider’s view of the official quest for evidence, Dr. Roy Craig wrote:
Are we left with only the extraordinary conclusion, or do misinterpretation of observations and vagueness of memory open the door to explanation in terms of the ordinary?3
In my opinion, this latter scenario is more plausible. When faced with choosing between the two scenarios of misinterpretation of events by the witnesses and the presence of some “unknown intelligence” emitting radio waves that acted like a ground radar in use at the time, one will tend to conclude that misinterpretation is more likely.
I doubt that most UFOlogists will side with this type of reasoning. This approach was noted in the Condon study:
....others who desire to have a residue of unexplained cases in order to add mystery and importance to the UFO problem incline to set impossibly high standards of certainty in the evidence before they are willing to accept a simple explanation for a report.4
If only these UFOlogists set equally high standards for evidence that an “unknown intelligence” was involved. In my opinion, the evidence in the RB-47 case is inadequate
to draw this kind of a conclusion.
Lipstick on a pig?
Some might suggest that I have simply “put more lipstick on the same pig” (the pig being Klass’ explanation). I disagree.
My original goal was to evaluate the two arguments presented in the case. In my opinion, I have done this and have determined that nobody has positively established a direct link between the radar signals and the nocturnal light. There seems to be other potential sources for the radar signals and the observed light. All the incidents can be potentially explained and Klass’ argument, while containing some flaws and requiring some tweaking, is still an adequate answer to the RB-47 case.
Notes and References
Sparks, Brad. “RB-47 radar/visual case”. 1. The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon From The Beginning, Vol. II: L-Z, 2nd Edition. Jerome Clark editor. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, Inc.; 1998. Page 790
Close encounter still up in the air for UFO ex2.
pert by Michael Tenszen - Toronto Globe and Mail. July 5, 1982
Craig, Roy. 3. UFOs: An Insider’s View of the Official
Quest for Evidence. Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1995. P. 148
Condon, E. U., et al., eds. 4. Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects. New York: Bantam
1968. p 18

Quelle: SUNlite 1/2012


Tags: UFO-Forschung 

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Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 - 11:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Close Encounters of Air Force RB-47 S-Band-Radar - Teil-4

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The RB-47 pursuit is actually two segments. The first eight minutes involves the aircraft’s beeline approach towards Fort Worth and Dallas towards the UFO. This was followed by a 360 degree turn and departure of the plane from the area.
Eight minutes to Dallas
At 1042Z, the RB-47 turned to the northwest to pursue the UFO the saw in the direction of Dallas-Fort Worth. In Chase’s UFO report, he states he took a bearing of 320 degrees true (Note: This is the only time that Sparks accepts the heading written by Chase in his report as being a true heading and not magnetic!). The path to Dallas was made at maximum speed according to Chase. Both reports (Chase and Piwetz) state they accelerated to Mach 0.83 at 1042Z and took up pursuit.
However, after looking at the flight path with Klass, Chase stated:
I don’t think Mach .83 can be write (sic) for an extended period of time – as I went to maximum allowable mach – mach .87-.92 sounds more like it.1
Chase was speaking from memory but we know from the aircraft’s specifications the maximum speed listed for the plane is actually Mach 0.85 and that speeds above that could cause a high speed stall. So, it seems that this value was something of an exaggeration on Chase’s part.
The air crew estimated the UFO/light was 10 nautical miles northwest of Fort Worth. This was apparently confirmed by Duncanville’s radar (although no altitude was given for the object they tracked). In his early discussions and his report in 1957, Chase seemed to agree with this position for the aircraft at time 1050Z. Brad Sparks would use this position as his endpoint for the flight to the northwest.
At time 1050Z, as the plane approached the light, it disappeared, McClure lost the signal he was tracking, Duncanville lost its target, and the navigator supposedly lost his radar contact with the UFO. The UFO had simply vanished from all sensors as if it were never there.
Pilot Chase describes what happened at 1050Z in his interview with Dr. McDonald:
….He stated that, as far as his impressions
as the pilot was concerned, all of the closure motion was due to his own flight speed, as if the Unknown were then stationary.
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While Chase may have felt the light was stationary, one could also conclude that the light may have been moving towards or away from the aircraft at a much slower
speed.
He also described that he did not meet the light “head-on”.
I asked him the way in which he flew over the object. It became clear that he did not pass directly over it, but flew to the right of it. He said it was almost below them, nearly 90 degrees below the horizon when it blinked out .3
Dr. McDonald thought he flew to the right but what Chase told Klass was:
...I understand why you wouldn’t understand me keeping the object off to my right. I turned right to an intercept angle, but even as I closed on it, in its apparent hovering, I kept it right.4
Perhaps McDonald was confused in his notes about what was right and what was left. In either case, Chase seemed to indicate the object was apparently stationary
and he passed with the light off to one side.
One item I noticed when flying the B-47 in Flight Simulator X was that the pilot can not see directly below the aircraft. The cockpit does not allow for a good view unless the pilot banks the plane. Chase told Klass that it disappeared before it became invisible from his point of view. Flying straight and level in Flight Simulator X gave the impression
to me that the pilot could not see objects below him about 3 miles in front of the aircraft (at an altitude of 34,500 feet). I am not sure if this was the case for a real pilot in the aircraft but if it were, that means that at a depression angle of about 70 degrees, things become difficult for the pilot to see from his position in the cockpit. If the UFO were 5000 feet below him at this point, this would mean the closest the UFO was before they overshot it, was less than a mile away. Despite this proximity,
the UFO still was just a bright light and nothing more.
Radar contact???
In addition to the ECM#2 operator receiving radar signals, Sparks states the navigator was close enough for a radar contact:
The first UFO overshoot is evidently the time when the RB-47 navigator, Maj. Thomas Hanley, briefly detected the UFO on his aircraft navigation radar, APS-23, after apparently spending quite some time attempting to do so.5
This part of the incident seems more fiction than fact. His conclusion is based on two bits of information. One was the testimony of McClure, who states that Hanley tracked the UFO with his radar and the other is the comment in the CIRVIS report that states the B-47 tracked the UFO.
However, this seems unlikely because Hanley told McDonald that he never tracked the UFO.
He said that he had search radar on and was looking all around and in every way he could, but never had any radar contact with the object.6
McDonald stated he could not confirm one way or the other by the Copilot, McCoid:
…He could not recall whether the navigator got any radar return on his set.7
Chase’s actual report, written in 1957, states they were unsuccessful on tracking it with the plane’s airborne radar (although he did mention scope photographs were taken, which was denied by Hanley). Chase may have been referring to the ground radar and the CIRVIS report probably reflects the crews reception of the radar signals and not an actual tracking with the navigation radar. All of this seems to indicate there never was any tracking of the UFO with the airplane’s radar.
1050Z is where???
At this point, it is important to discuss the flight path and where the RB-47 may have actually been at time 1050Z. One can not accurately determine where the RB-47 was without the Navigator’s log, but we can make some assumptions and determine the possible position.
We do know the capabilities of the aircraft though from the flight envelope chart and manual. Since the plane could only travel at Mach 0.85 at maximum (about 9.7 miles/min at 34,500 feet), the plane could only displace about 68 miles in the seven minutes after the turn towards 320 degrees (which, according to Sparks took a full minute).
In my computed path (which is an approximation), the 1050Z mark occurs very close (about 2.5 miles SSW) to the Duncanville radar (approx 96-54.5/32-39).
When discussing the flight path with Klass, Chase recognized problems with the speed and distance. He would eventually make the following statement:
We were just barely south of Fort Worth-Dallas, or just abeam, when the object disappeared.1050 was the time the object disappeared.8
If this position is correct, it explains why the radar signal disappeared for McClure. Although Klass felt the signal would disappear farther out, Rod Simons felt that the sensors might be possible to detect the Vertical center beam right up to the antenna. The disappearance may have occurred due to the signal being too weak or the beam of the radar being below the antenna’s depression angle. It is hard to ignore the proximity of the plane to the Duncanville radar site when contemplating why the signal was lost
Round and round we go
After overflying the UFO, Chase began looking for it again. The natural thing to do would be to bank the plane and attempt to make another pass. In this case, he began a turn to port. In his interview with Klass, Chase stated he was told by McClure that he had a bearing on the UFO and he looked in that direction and saw a light. He then maneuvered the aircraft in a big circle in order to intercept the UFO. Exactly when his turn to port began is hard to say but one can reasonably assume that it was between 1050 and 1052Z.
In the Piwetz account, at time 1052Z Chase saw a light/UFO, which forced him into a turn. We are not even sure that this UFO/light was the same one he had overflown.
All we know is that he saw a light that he estimated was at 15,000 feet. This is where he states he made a dive at the UFO. As he closed within 5 NM, the UFO/light simply disappeared. There was no evasive maneuver, no rapid acceleration, and no craft visible. It simply winked out.
At this point, the plane continued to fly in a circle, looking for the UFO again. The exact position of this circle is not that clear. We know it happened around the city of Fort Worth but exactly where is hard to say. The Piwetz report describes the plane being near Mineral Wells at 1055Z, which pilot Chase told Klass was not possible.
It is clear that Piwetz was trying to be accurate but the air crew just did not get some of the details correct or he misinterpreted what they told him.
At 1055Z, it was realized the plane had used a great deal of fuel and needed to return to base. The RB-47 continued flying in a circle and at 1058, they once again saw the UFO at 20,000 feet some 20 NM northwest of Fort Worth. It is not clear if Duncanville had any contact with this UFO because at time 1057, they stated they had no contacts.
The report is quite confusing at this point and Piwetz made some mistakes in interpreting what the crew told him on several occasions. Chase mentioned some of this in his discussion with Klass:
I’m sure the confusion in the intelligence report is misunderstanding of times for the object and times for the aircraft...What a shame we weren’t shown the intelligence report then...9
Klass seems to think the final position of the light may have been an error and the actual position was southwest and not northwest of Fort worth. Chase never mentioned any visual sighting of a UFO after the second one, which he dove upon. Could it be that Piwetz just misinterpreted
what the crew stated and was simply repeating the account concerning the initial approach to Fort Worth-Dallas? It seems plausible this was the case.
RB-47s are not dive bombers
One part of the Chase account seems to be inaccurate. According to him he was flying the RB-47 at high speed and then dove on the UFO by dropping 15,000-20,000 feet in a minute or so. Could the RB-47 accomplish such a maneuver?
It seems highly unlikely that the plane would (or could) be put in a steep dive over a short distance from 34,5000 feet to 15,000-20,000 feet. The B-47 operations manual states:
2-47 The extreme cleanness of this airplane and the fact that it is operating near the buffeting range in level flight limit it to very shallow dive that must be executed with extreme care. As with all high speed operation, abrupt accelerations must be avoided.10
This seems to be within the guidelines outlined in the B-47 operations manual, which describes the descent procedure as follows:
Maintain cruising altitude until about 45 nautical miles from landing point....Descend at the maximum rate but do not exceed Mach 0.82 and/or 304 knots IAS.11
This indicates that the maximum descent angle would be less than 10 degrees. Col. Walter Boyne states on his blog that the plane descended for landing at high speeds using a rate of 6000 feet per minute. All of this indicates the plane descended at an angle of less than 10 degrees. For a plane to descend roughly 15,000 feet in about 10 miles, the angle of attack would have been something like 17 degrees so it appears that Chase’s description of this event may not be quite accurate.
McClure was of the opinion that this dive never happened.
I DON”T REMEMBER NO PART OF THIS DIVING BUSINESS AND I DON”T BELIEVE IT HAPPENED...12
Dr. McDonald’s interview notes with the copilot McCoid also indicated this maneuver probably did not happen as described:
He did not recall overflying the Unknown, nor did he recall the bank or dive near Mineral Wells.13
McClure was in the capsule and probably could only tell if there was a dive if the plane’s angle of attack changed drastically.
This would be the case if it was a sharp dive towards 15,000 feet. So, any change in altitude, must have occurred over a much larger distance than a quick change in altitude as claimed.
This brings us into several possibilities.
We do know the plane eventually reached around 20,000 feet but how did it get there? I think there are some possibilities that might explain the change in altitude without a dive-bombing attack on the UFO as described by Chase.
2000 feet per minute Is it possible that the RB-47 actually began descending after the turn at 1042-43Z? Chase made the following statement to Dr. McDonald regarding the start of the pursuit at time 1042Z:
He had to contact FAA to get a clearance to change his flight path at this point. They cleared all the traffic out of there, and gave him an OK on it.14
However, he stated almost the same exact thing to Dr. Roy Craig regarding the events near Mineral Wells:
So, as I came around, about half way around the turn, we picked him up with lights on again. Only now down at a lower altitude. I told GCI that I estimate him to be at about 14,000 feet. I said I’d like to go down on him and they said, “Roger. We have the traffic in the Fort Worth area cleared out. It’s clear to go down.”15
So, it might be possible that the plane actually began descending at 1042Z towards 15,000 feet. If Chase continued flying at the maximum possible speed, the lower altitude would allow higher air speeds. By my calculations, it would extend the 1050Z point about two miles to the northwest.
In that scenario, it is possible the plane descended to 15,000 feet at a rate of about 2,000 feet per minute. I doubt this scenario is likely and suspect there is a more likely sequence of events. 5000 feet per minute Another possibility is the plane began diving towards 15,000 feet over a three-four minute period starting just before time 1052Z. I think this is a more likely possibility. In that scenario, the plane would have descended at a rate of about 5,000-6,000 feet per minute, which is consistent with what Colonel Boyne wrote about the B-47 landing rate. The angle of attack in that case would have been something like five degrees, which may have not been that noticeable to McClure in the ECM pod. I would incorporate this scenario in my flight path in the circle around Fort Worth:
Some notes about this path are that the plane was flying at Mach 0.85 initially and continued on its 320 bearing for one full minute after that before beginning the turn. Initially, the turn was calculated at 30 deg/min and I increased it to 40 deg/min at time 1056-59 as the plane began to slow down. The planes departure speed was Mach 0.74 (539 mph) on a bearing of 20 degrees.
The Departure
At 1102Z , with the RB-47 running low on fuel, Chase turned the plane towards Forbes AFB near Topeka, Kansas and exited the area. Nobody knows what happened to the UFO and nobody seemed to care at this point. No fighters were sent up to investigate that morning even though there were plenty of sources for such aircraft in the area.
According to the Piwetz report, they were able to observe the radar signal from the UFO all the way up into Oklahoma when they were near Oklahoma City. These radar
signals were at a bearing of 180-190 degrees.
There is one point of contention in this final portion of the report. The report states the plane was abeam of OKC at time 1140Z. The distance from Dallas to Oklahoma City is only about 190 miles. Does this mean the plane was operating at speeds of about 300 mph (260 knots), where the plane’s fuel efficiency was low (see the graph and comment from the B-47 manual on page 7)? In Klass’ original plot, he assumed this must have been an error in the 1102Z comment and that it really was supposed to read 1120Z. That would mean the RB-47 was loitering around looking for the UFO for 20 minutes after descent to 20,000 feet. One can’t be sure and it seems unlikely that the plane would have slowed down to a speed that was not efficient to conserve fuel. It is more likely that this time of 1140Z was in error and it probably was more like 1120Z.
Radar signal analysis
There are several bearings to radar signals given in the Piwetz account that should be discussed at this point.
For the 1042.5 signals, the RB-47 was about halfway into its turn from 260 to 320 giving a true heading of about 280-300 degrees. This gives us a true bearing of these two contacts of 320-340 and 350-010. The true bearing towards Duncanville was about 322 degrees and the bearing towards OKC was about 345 degrees. Like the previous two signal observations at time 1040, the report only notes that the operator recorded two signals at these bearings. They did not have to be the exact same frequency. Considering
the margins for error, this appears to be a possible match.
At time 1044Z, the plane was on a heading of 320 degrees, which makes this signal interesting. The bearing of the signal would be at 10 degrees true, which is too far to the right to have been the OKC or Duncanville radar beams. However, at a true bearing of about 2 degrees is that pesky Bartlesville, OK FPS-10 and 4.5 degrees for the Tulsa WSR-1. Bartlesville was still was about 330 miles away (beyond the normal radar horizon) but Tulsa was closer at 290 miles (approx). Once again, it is important to note there were conditions in the atmosphere that might have extended the distance at which these signal could be detected. Other potential suspects would include unknown S-band ground or an airborne radars.
We do know that McClure was following one radar signal throughout this part of the pursuit because he notes that the signal was lost at time 1050Z. Klass points out that if he were focusing on the center beam of the Duncanville radar and the plane passed close to the radar, this signal would simply “disappear”.
After leaving the area close to the radar, the signal would reappear towards the rear of the aircraft exactly as described at times 1051 and 1052. A turn towards the west would cause the signal to move towards the port side and go “up scope”. The plane continued its turn to port and, based on my computed flight path, the plane was about 24 miles SSW of Fort Worth at time 1057Z. From this position, the Duncanville radar station was at a true azimuth of 60 degrees. With a heading of about 120 degrees, the resultant relative bearing would have been the same 300 degrees in the Piwetz report.
After 1102Z, the plane began its return to Forbes AFB in Kansas. The signal now appeared behind the plane in the direction of the Duncanville radar and disappeared when they approached OKlahoma City (about 190 miles away). At this moment, the plane was at 22,000 feet, which is below the optical line of sight for the lower sidelobe of the Vertical Center beam and probably beyond that sidelobe’s radio horizon. However, they were not below the radar horizon for the radar’s other beams. The coincidence of the detected beams direction being towards Duncanville indicates it is plausible that this was the source of the signal.
Except for the 1044Z signal, there seems to be reasonable explanations for all the other values. It is even possible that the 1044Z signal is explainable. One can reasonably suggest that the radar signals during the pursuit phase really were not very mysterious and the only thing strange about this part of the incident were the lights that vanished when the RB-47 came near them.
Notes and References
Undated letter from Lewis Chase to Phil Klass 1. with comments on 2 October 1971 letter from Phil Klass. American Philosophical Society. Philip Klass Collection. Box Series II-6.
McDonald, James. 2. Interview notes with Lewis Chase. January 30, 1969.
McDonald, James. 3. Interview notes with Lewis Chase. February 1, 1969.
Letter from Lewis Chase to Phil Klass dated 27 4. October 1971. American Philosophical Society.
Philip Klass Collection. Box Series II-6.
Sparks, Brad. “RB-47 radar/visual case”. 5. The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon From The Beginning, Vol. II: L-Z, 2nd Edition. Jerome Clark editor. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, Inc.; 1998. Page 784
McDonald, James. 6. Interview notes with Thomas
Hanley. February 1, 1969.
McDonald, James. 7. Interview notes with James McCoid. February 2, 1969.
Undated letter from Lewis Chase to Phil Klass 8. with comments on 2 October 1971 letter from Phil Klass. American Philosophical Society. Philip Klass Collection. Box Series II-6.
Ibid.9.
USAF. 10. B-47A Flight operating instructions handbook. Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics. 1 July 1950 updated 30 October 1950. P. 42.
Ibid. P. 4311.
Klass, Phil. 12. Interview notes with Frank McClure. 22 September 1971. American Philosophical Society. Philip Klass Collection. Box Series II-6.
McDonald, James. 13. Interview notes with James McCoid. February 2, 1969.
McDonald, James. 14. Interview notes with Lewis Chase. February 1, 1969.
Craig, Roy. 15. UFOs: An Insider’s View of the Official
Quest for Evidence. Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1995. P. 140
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Quelle: SUNlite 1/2012

Tags: UFO-Forschung 

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Donnerstag, 22. Mai 2014 - 09:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ESA´s Space for Earth Space Pavillon auf der ILA

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Entrance of the ‘Space for Earth’ space pavilion at ILA, the Berlin Air and Space Show, on 20 May 2014.
A full-size model of Alphasat, the largest and most sophisticated telecom satellite ever built in Europe, sits in front of the pavilion. The first mission to use the Alphabus platform was launched atop an Ariane 5 in July 2013.
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The ‘Space for Earth’ space pavilion at ILA, the Berlin Air and Space Show, on 20 May 2014.
This year, when ESA and its member states are celebrating 50 years of European Cooperation in Space, the exhibition underlines the importance of building on the past achievements on space science, exploration and applications to shape the future of Europe in this strategic sector.
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Angela Merkel visits the ‘Space for Earth’ space pavilion at ILA
Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, presents to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, the ‘Space for Earth’ space pavilion at ILA, the Berlin Air and Space Show, on 20 May 2014.
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Panel discussion on Future Challenges for Global Space Cooperation at the ‘Space for Earth’ space pavilion at ILA, the Berlin Air and Space Show, on 20 May 2014.
From left to right: Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General, Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of DLR, Evert Dudok, Head of Airbus Defence and Space – Communication, Intelligence and Security and Ulrich Bobinger, moderator.
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Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, and Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, take part in a panel discussion on Future Challenges for Global Space CooperationPanel discussion on Future Challenges for Global Space Cooperation at the ‘Space for Earth’ space pavilion at ILA, the Berlin Air and Space Show, on 20 May 2014.
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The ‘Space for Earth’ space pavilion at ILA, the Berlin Air and Space Show, on 20 May 2014.
Quelle: ESA
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Earth observation programmes and their benefits for the environment, society and Europe’s economy will take centre-stage at next week’s ILA Berlin Air Show.
The Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, Volker Liebig, will open the panel discussion with a presentation on ESA’s activities.
Space-based Earth observation is a priority for Europe – a densely populated, highly industrialised continent.
In response to the need for information to understand and manage our environment, a strong scientific community and high public awareness of environmental protection, resource planning, climate change and disaster management have emerged.
For four decades, European satellites have delivered high-quality data from space, triggering major discoveries and providing concrete evidence of phenomena such as of the evolution of the ozone hole and climate change.
Many aspects of Earth’s physics are still a mystery, making scientific projects crucial to better understanding of our world.
With the launch of the first Sentinel satellite developed for Europe’s Copernicus environment monitoring programme, remote sensing from space has entered a new era.
As an initiative headed by the European Commission in partnership with ESA, Copernicus uses accurate and timely data from satellites and other sources to provide key information services to improve the way the environment is managed, help mitigate the effects of climate change, enable the creation of new applications and services for citizens and businesses, and safeguard everyday lives.
The presentation on Europe’s Earth observation activities is scheduled for 11:00–12:00 CEST (10:00–11:00 GMT) on 22 May, during the Trade Visitor days, inside the conference area of the ILA Space Pavilion.
Representatives from ESA will join colleagues from the DLR German Aerospace Center, Eumetsat, Airbus Defence & Space, the University of Jena, European Commission and the European Maritime Safety Agency to discuss the multiple benefits of satellite Earth observation.
The panel will present scientific results, as well as the expected applications of future Earth observation missions.
Quelle: ESA

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