Blogarchiv

Sonntag, 21. Dezember 2014 - 23:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - THE BIG SUR UFO INCIDENT SAGA

.

Jacob’s conjectures may mystify and amuse many and even seem persuasive to those without an appropriate background. That , plus the fact that the physical evidence is long since gone, is likely why myths continue to surround and degrade the historical sig- nificance of the Big Sur adventure.
Kingston George - Buzzing Bee missile mythology flies again
.
Joel Carpenter and the Big Sure case
In May of 2009, Joel Carpenter had contacted me about the Big Sur case and exchanged with me a few ideas he had about it. Ini- tially, we discussed possible astronomical solutions where an astronomical object may have entered the field of view but quickly determined all were untenable. Over the next few days, he bounced some ideas back and forth with me but gave little indication what he was about to reveal. Then he sent me a document that was very pertinent to investigating the case. While Robert Hastings, Robert Jacobs, and Kingston George had all cited the 13 October 1964 preliminary report in their articles, nobody had been able to produce the final report, which might have more information on the subject. I was shocked when Joel e-mailed me a copy with the request to keep the information confidential. My first question was if he had contacted Kingston George about it. He confirmed that he had done so and George had told him that he thought the document had been destroyed. Not only did this document have selected frames from the “Buzzing Bee” launch, it also mentioned how well the telescope performed for the “Butterfly Net” launch of September 15th, which is supposed to be the launch that was interfered with by the UFO.
By September of 2009, Joel Carpenter had acquired another document that might help resolve the Big Sur UFO case. The e-mail had the interesting title of “CONFIDENTIAL PLEASE Big Sur: Toast”. The document enclosed was a report for Nike-X operations at Kwaja- lein atoll for the month of September 1964. It specifically mentioned how well the radar systems tracked incoming re-entry vehicles from the two Atlas launches in question. Needless to say, I was excited about Joel’s findings and asked him when he planned on publishing his work. His answer was “soon”. I patiently waited and held my tongue hoping that the work would be complete within a reasonable amount of time. Joel would occasionally e-mail me with bits and pieces he had done for his work but it seemed that he was never completely finished. Mr. Carpenter was a pretty thorough individual and it appeared that he was just trying to make sure he had all the bases covered on this one.
Joel Carpenter implied that it was originally a collaborative effort between he and one or more researcher(s) and that he hoped to publish it in the International UFO reporter (IUR). Over the years, that collaboration between he and other researchers seemed to wane and Joel was apparently left trying to complete the work on his own. In May of 2010, he confided to me that he had reserva- tions about publishing a work that could paint Robert Jacobs as a dishonest individual and feared it may result in a lawsuit of some kind. It is too bad that the arrogance of Jacobs was so great that it may have intimidated Carpenter to the point that he never fin- ished his work. In an apparent attempt to get Robert Hastings to change his tune, Joel told me that he had contacted him with the information he had obtained. I was also under the impression that he had shared some of the documents with Hastings. According to Mr. Carpenter, Hastings’response was composed of“abuse and bluster”. If this is true, it appears that Hastings was not interested in the facts but was more interested in continuing to promote the story as told by Jacobs.
It is too bad that Mr. Carpenter did not complete his work and I feel somewhat reluctant in presenting HIS research in MY words. However, if I did not do it, I am not sure if anyone else would. Joel failed to publish because he never completed the work or others influenced him not to be hasty about it. What I hope to present here is much of what he shared with me and add additional infor- mation that I had discovered.
.
Three documents that tell the real story about the Big Sur Atlas missile launches in September 1964. The first is the Preliminary report on the Image Orthicon Photograph from Big Sur by Kingston George. This docu- ment has been mentioned by George, Jacobs, and Hastings in their articles. The other two documents were not seen/mentioned by these authors. Joel Carpenter and his associates acquired these documents, which help clear the air on the case. The Operational Analysis of the Image Orthicon Demonstration Project by Kingston George is a more extensive report than the preliminary report and includes details about the launches including actual frames from the “Buzzing Bee” film. The Nike-X progress report for September 1964 presents information about how well the Atlas “D” missiles and payloads were tracked by the Nike-X radar systems from Kwajalein atoll.
.
THE BIG SUR UFO INCIDENT SAGA
The Big Sur UFO incident has become part of the UFO case book for over three decades. The evolution of the story and the argu- ments against it over the years is something the reader should be aware of before elaborating on other details that affect the case.
All aboard the SS Jacobs
The story was first revealed to the public by Robert Jacobs in the October 12, 1982 National Enquirer. This brief article was reproduced in Flying Saucer Review in Octo- ber of 1983. According to that article, Jacobs states the missile, an Atlas F launched on January 8, 1965, was shot down by a UFO when it was at an altitude of 60 miles:
Suddenly we saw a UFO swim into the picture. It was very distinct and clear, a round object. It flew right up to our missile and emitted a vivid flash of light. Then it altered course and hovered briefly over our missile...and then there came a second vivid flash of light. Then the UFO flew around the missile twice and set off two more flashes from different angles and then it vanished. A few second later, our missile was malfunctioning and tumbling out of control into the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles short of its scheduled target....The film was turned over to the two men in plain clothes from Washington, who I believe were CIA agents. The film hasn’t been heard of since. 1
The next version of the story appeared in the January 1985 issue of Omni Magazine. Eric Mishara managed to contact Florenz Mansmann, Jacob’s superior officer, who con- firmed the story. The date for the event was determined to be September 15, 1964. Mishara also contacted Vandenberg, who responded that the missile launched on that date was not shot down and had hit the target. 2
This story was pursued by T. Scott Crain in the September 1988 MUFON Journal. Like Mishara, he talked to Mansmann, who con- firmed the story told by Jacobs. When Crain discussed the case with Mishara and his source from Vandenberg, Mishara stated it was a Sergeant Lorri Wray from the base Public affairs office. Crain could not contact Wray and Mansmann had issues with this statement about the warhead reaching its target. According to Crain:
Mansmann claims the statements made by the AF spokesman makes no sense. If the Air Force spokesman did review a close-dated launch and saw nothing, it could not have been the launch that perpetuated such quick security action.3
When Crain tried to contact that office, the USAF stated there were no such records of an Atlas F being launched on September 15, 1964. The confusion may have been caused by Jacobs’ claim that it was an Atlas F. The launch on September 15th, was an Atlas D.
Jacob’s second version of the story appeared in the MUFON journal of January 1989. His article took on the title of “Deliberate de- ception”. In that article, there was some revisions performed. The date of the launch was determined to be September 2, 3, or 15, 1964. The missile type was still an Atlas F but Jacobs suggests it might have been a D instead. He added that this test was designed to defeat radar detection. According to Jacobs, the rocket was huge in the filming and the lower third of the rocket filled the field of view. Jacobs also pointed out that at T+400 seconds (well after re-entry vehicle separation from the main booster), the nose cone
was still being tracked. At this point, nobody noticed anything unusual. It was not until the film was reviewed by Mansmann that the UFO event was seen:
Another object flew into the frame from left to right. It approached the warhead package and maneuvered around it. That is, this ... “thing”...flew a relative polar orbit around our warhead package which was itself heading toward the South Pacific at some 18 thousand miles an hour!
As the new object circumnavigated our hardware, it emitted four distinct bright flashes of light at approximately the 4 cardinal compass points of its orbit. These flashes were so intense that each “strike” caused the I.O. tube to “boom” or form a halo around the spot. Following this remarkable aerial display the object departed the frame in the same direction from which it had come. The shape of the object was that of a classic “flying saucer.” In the middle of the top half of the object was a dome. From that dome, or just beneath it, seemed to issue a beam of light or which caused the flashes described.
Subsequently the warhead malfunctioned and tumbled out of suborbit hundreds of miles short of its target. This ... unidentified flying ... “thing” had apparently “shot down” an American dummy atomic warhead!4
Jacobs then went on to hypothesize why the telescope was present for this important event.
(5) Most probably the B.U. Telescope was brought out to California specifically to photograph this event which had been prearranged. That is, we had been setup to record an event which someone in our Government knew was going to happen in advance.
(6) What we photographed that day was the first terrestrial demonstration of what has come to be called S.D.I. or “Star Wars.” The dem- onstration was put on for our benefit for some reason by extraterrestrials. It is this aspect of the event, not merely the recording of another “flying Saucer” which caused such consternation both on the part of Major Mansmann when he told me “it never happened” and on behalf of the government in its two and one half decade coverup of the event and the record we made of it.5
As proof that something out of the ordinary occurred, Jacobs presented a document with the title of “Preliminary report on image orthicon photography from Big Sur”, which was written by Kingston George in October of 1964:
In this document, “King” George gives us a quick sketch of the whole Big Sur project, tells us that “Over the period of 30 days, from 31 August to 30 September, during which the Boston University telescope was ready to film launches, eleven flights were made from Vanden- berg,” that “a final report will be forthcoming in a few weeks with a complete description of the system and the operations over the past several weeks,” that “a documentary film of about 30 minutes length containing several minutes of selected film clips will be assembled” and that one powered flight anomaly was observed (italics mine), and the coverage of the flights has produced enough data to show that Big Sur photography could be an important adjunct to other instrumentation.”
It is not clear whether or not Kingston George was privy to the screenings of the Big Sur film which recorded the UFO. My suspicion is that he was one of those to whom Mansmann has admitted showing the film. His document, however, states clearly that a missile malfunc- tioned during the B.U. test period, now putting the final lie to the Air Force denials.6
This is how the case stood for five years, until Kingston George decided to enter the UFOlogical fray.
The ship springs a leak
In 1993, Kingston George responded with an article for Skeptical Inquirer, which presented a different version of events than what Jacobs described. According to George, the rocket launch that Jacobs was referring to was called “Buzzing Bee” and was filmed on September 22nd. This event involved an Atlas D that was the only launch of all the test flights that showed all the events that Jacobs and Mansmann described because of the time of day it was recorded. George recalls that the B. U. telescope recorded something unique but it was not a UFO. It had been able to record the decoy package deployment that was traveling in the trajectory with the actual test warhead. Most importantly, the film showed that one could tell the difference between the decoys and the actual Re- entry vehicle. Kingston George revealed that this prompted security regulations to be enforced on the film since what it recorded was classified.
Omitting the technical details, what had happened on Buzzing Bee was that two decoys were fired off by small rocket charges on sched- ule, but some of the decoy packing material also tailed along and could be seen optically and also by certain kinds of radar. A little cloud of debris around each decoy warhead clearly gave away the false status, almost as well as coloring the decoys bright red.
This, of course, led to more than a little consternation at SAC Headquarters and in higher military circles. Although correctable by re- design, the alarm in the minds of the strategic analysts was that the Soviets could defeat our ICBM decoys by using a few telescopes on mountain peaks in the USSR and relaying information on which objects were decoys to the Soviet ICBM defense command center. An immediate concern was that, although few understood its significance, a raft of people at Vandenberg AFB had seen the data. Vulner- ability of a major weapons system is normally classified Top Secret. How could this matter be kept from leaking out?...
As might be expected, the military reaction came swiftly. Everyone who was at the telescope site or had seen the film had to be identified. All, including Jacobs and myself, had to be questioned on what they had seen and what they thought it meant. Each was cautioned not to mention what was on the film to anyone and not to discuss it with others -- even fellow workers who had originally seen it at the same time! None of us had more than a guess at the meaning, and the civilian intelligence experts who did the “debriefing” gave no hints.
Weeks later, my clearance level was increased to allow me to see the films again and analyze them. I don’t think Bob Jacobs ever gainedt he required clearance. The people later assigned to operate the equipment and carry the films around were subsequently cleared to the required level. The Top Secret film was marked for downgrading and declassification after 12 years, but its utility was over after a few months. Top Secret storage is too difficult and expensive for keeping items of dubious worth, and the film and related materials were all destroyed long before the 12 years were up.7
As for Jacobs’ claim that the event was all prearranged for the B.U. telescope to be there so it could witness this event of an alien interfering with a dummy warhead, Kingston George found it very unlikely. He recalled that it took a lot of effort to get the scope there in the first place and there seemed to be little cooperation/help to accomplish the task:
My supervisor at the time, Gene Clary, and I would have been thrilled to have had any kind of support from anywhere in the Government! The truth is, getting permission to use the national forest site, arranging air and ground transportation, finding $50,000 to pay the air freight, and attending to myriad other physical and monetary obstacles, took us the better part of nine months.8
On a final note, Kingston George pointed out that there was no UFO and the mission was a success with no loss of a re-entry ve- hicle.
Trying to plug the holes
By 2007, Robert Hastings stepped into the arena as he attempted to promote his book about UFOs and nuclear weapons. He wrote an arti- cle for the International UFO Reporter with the title, “A shot across the bow: Another look at the Big Sur incident”. In that article, Hastings presented letters that Florenz Mansmann and Robert Jacobs wrote about the inci- dent in the 1980s as critical evidence to support Jacobs’ version of events. He also criticized Kingston George for misquoting Jacobs on several small items and then argued that the B. U. Telescope should have been able to resolve the UFO. He also quotes Jacobs as stating:
I recently asked Jacobs to elaborate upon his earlier published comments relating to the number and type of objects visible in the field of view just before and during the shoot-down event. He responded, “We saw the nose cone separate and open up—it looked like an alligator’s open jaws. We saw the experiment, which was metallic chaff, come out. We saw the dummy warhead come out and inject into a different [trajectory]. All of the other components, the chaff and so on, were all still flying along. They don’t lose altitude all that quickly because of momentum. So, there were several ob- jects visible when the UFO came into view.9
Hastings then revealed that there was an Atlas D launched on the 15th
and Jacobs agreed that this was the launch he recalled because of the time of day. Jacobs also denied being present at the telescope on the 22nd because his personal log states he was not there on that date. However, by his own words, he never saw the UFO event until he saw the film with Mansmann in the screening room. He did not have to be present at the telescope on the day the film was shot to have seen the UFO footage.
The fact that the 15th launched mentioned a Low Observable Re-entry Vehicle was what convinced Jacobs that the 15th was the Atlas that he remembers was shot down by the UFO:
Jacobs’s response was emphatic, “No, we were testing the RV itself. It was not a target test.” He then elaborated, “There were several inter- esting aspects of the anti-missile missile tests. This particular one involved a dummy warhead and a bunch of radar-deflecting aluminum chaff. The dummy warhead was targeted to splashdown at Eniwetok Lagoon. . . . As far as I know Kwajalein [played no part in this test] aside from radar tracking. There was no planned Nike launch [involved with it].”21
Given this unequivocal statement, the question remains: Did George select and discuss the same missile test described by both Jacobs and Mansmann? The entries in Jacobs’s original mission log, as well as the now-available data published by Encyclopedia Astronautica, appear to indicate that he did not, thus negating much of the force of George’s critique.10
One thing missing from this article is the presentation of Jacobs’“Original mission log” (sometimes referred to as a personal log). If Jacobs had an “Original mission log” in his possession, why didn’t he know the date of the UFO event and originally thought that it occurred in 1965? Its omission from the evidence presented indicates (assuming it actually exists) that nothing of importance was in this document. Despite being unable to prove that the 15th was the launch in question, Hastings then proceeded to go into a conspiracy rant, where he chose to imply that Kendrick Frazier, Philip Klass, and Kingston George were all part of the cover-up.
The decks are awash
Kingston George would respond with another Skeptical Inquirer article in 2009 with the title of “Buzzing Bee mythology flies again”. In that article, George describes how the B. U. Telescope really had difficulty resolving details at the time of the warhead RV and decoys being released. The tank from the rocket was reflecting light and was a large blob while the RV and decoys were essentially
specks of light. More importantly, Mr. George restated that, in his professional opinion, the lighting conditions for “Butterfly Net”, (the launch of the Atlas D on the 15th of September) were not favorable for tracking after the engines cutoff because the tracking operators would be unable to see the reflection of the rocket body/re-entry vehicle against the daylight sky:
Butterfly Net was launched in the morning, long after sunrise, with a bright sky behind it. The image orthicon would have been adjusted for daylight. The manual trackers were handicapped after engine shutdown, when the vapor trail of engine fuel was depleted some 240 seconds after lift-off. Their inferior spotting scopes would not permit direct viewing for more than a few seconds.11
Unlike “Butterfly Net”, “Buzzing Bee” was launched before sunrise and one could still track the targets because of the contrast be- tween the rocket body reflecting sunlight and the dark sky. If this is correct, then “Buzzing Bee” was the only Atlas launch that could have been tracked after engine cutoff and shown the deployment of the re-entry vehicle as Jacobs and Mansmann described.
Abandon ship?
All of these articles about the Big Sur evidence are available on line if one knows where to look. As I have written previously, there appears to be four potential scenarios surrounding the story as told:
• The events are as Kingston George described and Mansmann/Jacobs confused the events over the years being influenced by their belief in alien visitation.
• Jacobs and Mansmann lied about the event occurring as they described.
• Some other test was being performed on one of the launches in September 1964 that was misinterpreted by Jacobs and Mans- mann as an alien spaceship interfering with the warhead.
• Jacobs and Mansmann are telling the truth concerning what happened that September, have accurately recalled the event, and there is a massive cover-up by the US government (Kingston George and CSI being part of it) to hide the fact that aliens interfered with an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile test.
Since we have no evidence, other than anecdotal claims, that the incident involved an alien spaceship, it appears this is one of the least likely scenarios. Meanwhile, the anecdotal account given by Kingston George required no alien spaceships or conspiracies. His story presents a perfectly reasonable explanation making it a more plausible scenario. Which scenario is the most correct would require more evidence than what has been presented to date.
Notes and References
1. Jacobs, Robert. “How a UFO destroyed an American rocket. Former U.S. Air Force officer’s revelation: The truth is too important to hide any longer. UFO spied on a space missile launch and I filmed it.” Flying Saucer Review. October 1983. P. 24.
2. Mishara, Eric. “UFO Cover-up?”. Omni magazine. January 1985. P. 87
3. Crain, T. Scott. “UFO Filmed Circling Atlas Rocket”. MUFON UFO Journal. No. 245, September 1988. P. 11
4. Jacobs, Bob. “Deliberate Deception: The Big Sur UFO filming”. MUFON UFO Journal, No. 249, January 1989. P. 6.
5. ibid. P. 7
6. ibid. P. 8
7. George. Kingston A. “The Big Sur ‘UFO’: An Identified Flying Object”. Skeptical Inquirer. Winter 1993. P. 187.
8. ibid. P. 186.
9. Hastings, Robert. “A shot across the bow: Another look at the Big Sur incident”. International UFO reporter. P. 10-11
10. ibid. P. 21
11. George. Kingston A. “Buzzing Bee mythology flies again”. Skeptical Inquirer. January/February 2009. P. 45.
.
The Florenz Mansmann factor
One item that is used to verify the claims of Jacobs are the letters of Florenz Mansmann, who was part of the analysis team asso- ciated with the films. Shortly after Jacobs wrote his story, UFO investigators contacted Florenz Mansmann hoping to have him confirm the story. Mansmann did so in several letters that Robert Hastings shared with me several years ago in an effort to convince me, and other skeptics, that Jacobs story was authentic.
Some of the highlights from his January 30, 1983 letter to Lee Graham1 were:
• The Enquirer story was true except the year was 1964 and not 1965.
• The camera system was capable of “nuts and bolts” imaging from a distance of 70 miles.
• He was concerned about information vital to humanity falling into the wrong hands.
• He hypothesized that there might be a super secret scientific study sending up these rockets to communicate with extrater- restrials. He concluded that two way communication will come soon.
• He also suggested that the United States has probably been selected by ET to be contacted because it is interested in bettering mankind and not destroying it.
This was followed by a March 3, 1983 response to Lee Graham answering questions he was asked.2 The key points were:
• He did not know when Lookout Mountain analyzed the film because the film “was rushed east on a special aircraft when we
released it.”
• To his best recollection, it was the last Atlas launch from Vandenberg.
• General Wells was his commanding general.
Mansmann also responded to researcher Peter Bons on March 8, 1983, answering his questions.3 Some of the important items men- tioned were:
• Bob (Jacobs) had opened a “pandora’s box” with his story, which resulted him being bombarded with letters and requests.
• The Enquirer story was true except the year was wrong and it was in 1964.
• The assumption at the time was the object was extraterrestrial based on what was seen on the film.
• Based on his memory, “the shape was classic disc, the center seemed to be a raised bubble, not sure if any ports or slits could be seen but was stationary, or moving slightly-floating-over the entire lower saucer shape which was glowing and “seemed” to be rotating slowly. At the point of beam release-if it was a beam, it, the object, turned like an object required to be in a position to fire from a plat- form....but again this could be my own assumption from being in actual combat.”
• Harvard University’s computer scanning of data for Extraterrestrial signals might shed light on this case. Four years later, on May 6, 1987, Mansmann communicated with Scott T. Crain4. He had told Crain the following:
• Bob Jacobs saw the film twice. Once in the film quality control room and once in the showing, which the CIA attended.
• He saw the film four times. Once in the film quality control. Once in the viewing for the General and one of his staff. Once in the viewing for the chief scientist and his assistant. The last involved Jacobs, the Chief Scientist and his assistant, the three govern- ment men, and Bob Jacobs.
• He ordered Bob Jacobs not to discuss the launch with anyone because of the nature of the launch, the failure of the launch, and that the film “showed an interference with normal launch patterns”.
• The object was saucer shaped but he was not sure if there was a dome.
• He did not know the names of the CIA personnel.
• He released the film to the Chief Scientist.
• He was ordered not to discuss the film.
• The stories told by he and Jacobs were factual.
• The response by Vandenberg that the missile performed normally and hit the target made no sense. If such records did exist, then it could not have been the launch he and Jacobs were describing.
• If the government wants to withhold such information, it may be related to the “Star Wars” program and it should be protect- ed.
Finally, Mansmann wrote to Curt Collier of Paramount Pictures5 on November 15, 1995. In that letter, he mentioned:
• The Image Orthicon instrument was capable of photographing “nuts and bolts” and they had to be 70 miles away “just to be in focus”.
• He confirms that Jacobs’ story is correct.
• He only saw the film three times. The final viewing involved the director of the Chief Scientist and his assistant, Two government agents, Bob Jacobs and himself.
These are the only communications by Mansmann that were sent to me by Robert Hastings back in 2008. They do give some insight into Mansmann’s mind set. He was very concerned about mission security associated with the launch and how information from that launch should not fall into the wrong hands. He also seemed to imply he was satisfied that aliens were visiting us and attempt- ing communications. These factors may have influenced Mansmann in his recollections, which we can examine for accuracy.
There were two launches from Vandenberg on September 15, 1964. One was a Minuteman and the other was an Atlas D. So, Mans- mann was correct on this point. However, according to the Astronautix web site, both missiles reached their target, which implies that the USAF was correct when it stated that there was no malfunction. This indicates that his recollections of this being the rocket launch, where an alien spaceship had interfered with the re-entry vehicle is not correct. In order for the Jacobs/Mansmann story to be correct, somebody (i. e. the US government) would have altered the data for the rocket launch so future historians would assume that it performed correctly..
Mansmann also stated it was the last Atlas D launch. It is hard to understand what he meant by this. It obviously was not the last Atlas D launch from Vandenberg because there were many more launched after September 1964. It was not the last Atlas D launched from Vandenberg for 1964 because, in addition to several missile firings in the latter part of 1964, there were others used to launch spy satellites.6 It was also not the last Atlas D launched as part of the BU telescope program. “Buzzing Bee” was launched on the 22nd and there was also an Atlas/Agena (mistakenly recorded in the IO documentation as a Thor/Agena) launched on the 23rd, which had placed a KH-7 satellite into orbit. While this is a simple mistake, it indicates that Mansmann’s memories are not to be considered perfect.
Another claim by Mansmann was the B.U. telescope had to be 70 miles away to get a rocket “in focus”. Perhaps he meant for tracking purposes. The actual choice of the location had more to do with the angle at which the telescope could view the launches. Like all other telescopes, the B.U. telescope probably could focus on objects much closer than 70 miles. Again, this is a simple mistake by Mansmann regarding details he probably was unfamiliar with.
However, the ability to see “nuts and bolts” from 70 miles away is something that needs to be examined. We don’t have any good imagery from the telescope showing this capability. I have no doubt that the actual rocket could be imaged but I am skeptical of the claim that it could see “nuts and bolts” without seeing films shot from this distance with the telescope.
What is important to note about the Mansmann letters is that the only thing they do is confirm that Mansmann remembered the events that occurred the same way Jacobs did. Of course, all of these letters were written AFTER Jacobs published his story and one has to consider the possibility that he was influenced by what Jacobs described in that original article. These letters, while impor- tant to mention and consider, are not positive proof that the story was accurately recalled.
Notes and references
1. Robert Hastings collection of letters involving Florenz Mansmann mailed to author in October 2008.
2. ibid
3. ibid
4. ibid
5. ibid
6. According to the Vandenberg launch log (http://www.spacearchive.info/vafblog.htm) and astronautix web sites (http://www. astronautix.com/chrono/1964.htm), there were several Atlas D ICBM launches after “Butterfly net”. Buzzing Bee (Sept 22) Brook trout (Dec 1) Opera glass (Dec 4). There were also other launches in late 1964 that involved an Atlas D or F rocket. Four were Atlas/Agena D’s placing KH-7 spy satellites into orbit (Sept 23, Oct 8, Oct 23, and Dec 4) and one was an Atlas F ICBM launch on Dec 22.
.
The Atlas D launch and trajectory
Before examining the documentation, the reader will need to familiarize themselves with some of the events that transpired dur- ing an Atlas D Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch. Many people are familiar with the Atlas because of its use during the Mercury space program. However, prior to Mercury, the Atlas was designed to be an ICBM that would deliver nuclear warheads to targets over 7,000 miles away. It was an interesting design which was often described
as a one and half stage rocket.
The rocket was centered around a large tank where all the liquid fuel was present.1 At the base of the tank was a rocket motor identified as the “sustainer engine”. Surround- ing the base of this stage was a booster assembly with two additional Booster engines. The purpose of this design was to have all the engines firing at launch. Once the boost phase was over, the booster engines were shutdown and booster assembly stage was jettisoned. However, the sustainer engine continued firing. Attached to the sides of the rocket were two Vernier engines used for attitude control. The continued to operate after the sustainer engine was shutdown. The image to the right shows this sequence of events except the end of the Vandenberg launches did not have a live warhead as depicted. 2
The approximate time line of events for a standard Atlas launch was as follows3 :
---
About three to six seconds after VECO, the warhead, decoys (if applicable), and any other payloads would separate from what was left of the rocket body/fuel tank. A few seconds after payload separation, the rocket body would fire a series of rocket motors at the top of the rocket tank called the High Impulse Retrorocket system (HIRS).4 The purpose of these retro-rockets was to separate the rocket body from the reentry vehicle so it could be tracked on radar during the reentry phase.
After that, the rocket body and payload(s) traveled on a ballistic trajectory towards the Kwajalein island region of the Pacific Ocean, where a Nike-Zeus radar system was setup to monitor and track the incoming payloads.
-
The Nike-Zeus system, which evolved into Nike-X, was designed to identify and track Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) war- heads in order to launch missiles to intercept them. The system never was proven to be a successful Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) defense but the Kwajalein Atoll had a fully operating radar system that was one of the most advanced at the time. If any UFOs had interfered with an Atlas missile launch, the Nike-Zeus radars would have been able to detect the effects of such interference.
The system was centered around several radars. The Zeus Acquisition Radar (ZAR) was designed to identify the presence of incom- ing targets. The computers took this information to point various radars at the targets. The Discrimination radar (DR) was designed to identify each target and identify the real warhead from any decoys. The target tracking radars (TTR) were supposed to track indi- vidual targets. Finally, the Missile track radars (MTR) were supposed to control the missiles sent up to intercept the targets.
The ZAR was a very interesting design, which was so complex that it had separate transmitting and receiving antennae. The trans- mitting antenna was actually three different transmitters, 120 degrees apart, which revolved at 3.3 RPM. This meant that any given target would have data on it updated every six seconds. The range of the radar was 600nm.3 The receiving antenna was a luneberg lens made up of small plastic foam blocks, impregnated with metal filaments, and a ground plane. These focused returning radio pulses into feeder horns that were on the perimeter of the hemisphere in arcs that were spaced 120 degrees apart. 4
The ZAR transmitting antenna at Kwajalein was surrounded by a fence which was called a “clutter fence” or “beam forming fence”. This fence was designed to prevent radar illumination of nearby ground targets that could interfere with tracking of airborne tar- gets.
The discrimination radar was specifically designed to cover a target area of 22 nm out to a range of 500 nm.5 The antenna used a Cassegrainsystemthatcouldfocusthebeamoverthedesignedtargetareaatanydistance. Thediscriminationradarwassurround- ed by a clutter fence and was positioned close to the target tracking radars. The target tracking radars were also of the Cassegrain focus type. They were able to track targets at a distance of 580 nm if it had a cross section of 0.1m2.6
The final bit of radar equipment was the MTR but, since missiles were not used to intercept targets launched from Vandenberg dur- ing this time period, I see no reason to go into any detail on this system.
.
The Kwajalein Missile tracking site also had several optical tracking instruments to assist the radar and to evaluate the re-entry ve- hicles as they approached the target area. Several of these were mounted on an EC-121K “warning star” aircraft, which was used in the tracking of the payloads launched from Vandenberg. Others were ground based.
This entire array of radar and optical instruments allowed Kwajalein to monitor any missile launches from Vandenberg AFB that were targeted to land in their area. It seems very unlikely that the Kwajalein radar/optical tracking system would have missed any indica- tions of a deviation from the missile’s flight plan.
.
.
A question of resolution
The recording of the rocket launches with the B. U. telescope was a bit different than sim- ply attaching a motion picture camera to the telescope. Instead, an image orthicon tube, designed for use in low light conditions, was used at the scope’s focus. The signal from this tube was then fed, via Coaxial cable, to a monitor into a van. The operator would observe the monitor and adjust the gain of the tube and monitor as necessary to obtain the best images. A 35mm Mitchell motion picture camera was then used to film the monitor display (see image to right).6
This kind of recording system is similar to the old Kinescope recordings used in television be- fore the days of video tape. Kinescope was considered so poor that the Desilu productions refused to use it in their “I love Lucy” broadcasts. Video recording engineer Frederick Remley would write the following about the Kinescope recordings:
Because of the many variables in the combined electronic/photographic process, the quality of
such recordings often leaves much to be desired. Defects often encountered in photographic re-
cording include relatively poor image resolution; a compressed brightness range often limited by
kinescope display technology to a brightness ratio of about 40:1; nonlinearity of recordings, as exemplified by lack of gradation in both the near-white and near-black portions of the reproduced pictures; and excessive image noise due to film grain and video processing artifacts. The final signal-to-noise ratio is often less than 40 dB, especially in the case of 16 mm film.7
One can see the difference between kinescope recordings and video tape recordings in this You tube video (see still images from the video below). 8 After examining this video, it is apparent that the Kinescope system was inferior and caused some loss in resolution.
.
Despite this known problem, it really was the only system the B.U. team could use because the video tape systems at the time did not have the necessary bandwidth.9
This problem with the quality of the film recordings not duplicating what was seen on the monitor was mentioned in the final report for the Image Orthicon project:
The 500 to 1000 lines on an advanced TV system should not in theory be seriously degraded by copying on such film. However, during the demonstration a loss of detail on the film compared to direct viewing of the monitor was experienced, so handling, processing and exposure techniques need further investigation.10
One of the reasons that there was a loss of quality was because they did not use the full resolution of 875 lines in their filming of the images on the monitor because of technical limitations.
The B. U. telescope system uses a fixed 60-cycle vertical sweep with an interlaced 875 line scanning system, each half-scan taking 1/60 second. The motion picture camera actually photographs only one half-scan on the monitor screen, or about 440 lines, as it has been found that the full double scan decreases the resolution on film due to distortion of the electric field on the target between lines on the first scan.11
To add to this resolution issue, the image orthicon tube introduced its own problems. Using an Image Orthicon tube with a 12-inch telescope in the early 1960s, Dr. J. A. Hynek and Justus R. Dunlap noted that their resultant photographs did not quite compare to conventional astronomical photographs when it came to resolving small details:
As yet, the image orthicon has little to offer in high-resolution celestial photography of star clusters and galaxies. The necessity to enlarge the original optical image by projection causes a drastic intensity loss that is barely compensated by the speed of the image orthicon.12
While Hynek and Dunlap were working with low light conditions, they were not exposed to another problem with the Image Orthi- con tube when bright point sources were being recorded. Bright sources of light tended to overload the system and produce dark haloes around them. This effect was called “blooming”. Kingston George noted that “blooming” did occur in the films obtained by the B. U. telescope and that other effects were observed:
The brightest ones would bloom on the closed-circuit TV monitor to form a blob, with size related to brightness, and also leave a persis- tent trail behind as the telescope panned across it. The tracking operators used hand wheels to constantly make tiny adjustments, and the TV screen resembled a pool of vigorous tadpoles.13
One must remember that the purpose of using the Image Orthicon was for recording the events under low light conditions and not exactly for high quality images that could record minute details. Many of the claims about how the B. U. telescope was capable of recording such details are based on mathematical computations that assume ideal conditions. What has been ignored is that the method of recording these events introduced all sorts of issues that reduced the quality of the film.
Despite the limitations of this recording system, the B. U. telescope did prove that it could record enough during the missile’s flight to be useful. It was capable of identifying the major sequence of events and any deviations from normal operations. It could also track the vehicle, under the right conditions, for long distances.
How large would the rocket appear?
In his letters to various researchers, Florenz Mansmann made the claim that the B. U. telescope could photograph “nuts and bolts’ from a distance of 70 miles. This kind of resolution appears to be exaggerated. According to the Image Orthicon final report,
An Atlas missile at a range of 100 nautical miles subtends an angle of about 28 seconds of arc. At 720 inches focal length the length of the missile is portrayed by about 34 lines on a 440 -line TV system. On a ten inch high monitor screen, the image should be about 3/4” long. 14
100 nautical miles (115 miles) is about the distance Buzzing Bee was from Big Sur when BECO occurred.
.
I recently photographed a rocket launch from the Cape of a Delta 4 rocket from a distance of about 9 miles. Using an 800mm lens (32 inch focal length) and a Pentax K110D (6 MP Digital SLR) I took this photograph of the rocket shortly after liftoff. While it is not a duplicate of what one expect of the Image Orthicon imagery, it does show the kind of scale one might expect from the BU telescope in the early part of the launch. The Delta rocket was 2.5 times the size of the Atlas Missile, which means that the Atlas missile would appear the same size using a telephoto with a focal length of 80-inches. Since the B. U. Telescope was a 720-inch focal length, then thedistancetoachievethesamesizeforanAtlasmissilewouldhavebeenabout80miles. ThisislessthanthedistancefromtheBig Sur location to Vandenberg (over 100 miles). In my opinion, something like this image is the best one might expect in the imagery from the B.U. telescope. While the rocket would have been large enough to see, one can hardly call this “nuts and bolts” imaging as Florenz Mansmann described it.
This observation appears to be confirmed by what the Image Orthicon project final report states:
It was pointed out above that certain lighting conditions must be satisfied to result in photography of the missile body; however, when those conditions are met, an advanced image orthicon system will operate with sufficient resolution, at the distances employed in this test period, to provide useful engineering data. Missile roll, unusual engine deflections, and structural failures should be readily observ- able on the screen with an image an inch or longer in length portrayed by 50 to 100 lines. 15
While it states that certain failures can be observed, all of those listed are large parts of the missile and not small items like “nuts and bolts”.
The implications are that if seeing fine details at 70-100 miles was difficult, seeing them at over 400 miles, when the RV was de- ployed, would have been very unlikely. This is essentially what Kingston George stated in 2009:
With a deep bow to the fabulous sequential-scanning color HDTV systems of today, our primitive IO setup of 1964 would not have pro- duced something with a distinct shape. The film was a collection of energetic blobs in black-and-white that only made sense when the launch exercise was understood in detail. 16
Based on this information, it appears that the claims of seeing fine details on the film, even when using a magnifying glass, are highly exaggerated. If there were a craft orbiting the RV during the launch, it would have appeared not much more than a blob of light on the film. Anybody trying to examine such an image would see what they desired to see.
.
The documented record for Butterfly Net and Buzzing Bee
The official version of events regarding Buzzing Bee and Butterfly net was documented in several classified reports describing how well they were tracked by the B.U. telescope and the radar systems at Kwajalein. Assuming they are an accurate record of what happened, they resolve the question of which versions of events is more accurate.
Butterfly Net - September 15, 1964
According to the final report written by Kingston George in 1964/1965, the launch of Butterfly Net was not well recorded:
Butterfly Net was launched on a day that was slightly more hazy than average; however, the missile was tracked by the B.U. telescope and the 180-inch lens operated by the 1369th Photo Squadron. The smaller image orthicon system and the 360-inch camera photo- graphed a large part of the flight, but the operators lost track before SECO on both instruments. The missile body is barely visible in the films obtained with the 180-inch camera around the time of BECO, demonstrating the “ordinary” focal length photography shows much promise from the Big Sur location. Black and white film was used in this camera, and the booster engine staging sequence is remarkably clear and interesting, comparable in quality to the image orthicon photography of BECO on “Buzzing Bee”.
The B.U. telescope films of “Butterfly Net” are not of as good quality as those of “Buzzing Bee”, partly because the kinescope was slightly too dark for registering dimly illuminated objects on the camera film. Another problem was that the sky was turning bright in the west at the time of launch, 94 minutes after sunrise, and the contrast between sun-reflecting objects and surrounding sky decreases rapidly some 45 minutes after sunrise. The combined effects of slight haze, technical problems, and poor sky contrast precluded the sighting of objects at the end of powered flight. 1
It is hard to reconcile this description of the film with the description by Jacobs, who proclaimed that images of the re-entry vehicle/ warhead deployment were very clear. There is also no mention of any anomaly in the flight trajectory that caused the warhead/RV to go off course and crash into the ocean. This is confirmed by the Nike-X Weapons report of September 1964:
On September 16 at Kwajalein the Nike-X elements gathered data in successful observations of a Low Observable Re-entry Vehicle (LORV) designated LORV-L3. The target complex, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base by an Atlas D rocket, contained the LORV-L3 re-entry vehicle , a graphite test vehicle, and a scientific passenger pod containing instrumentation to monitor the Atlas booster operation.
...The Discrimination Radar, operating under single computer control, in the fine frequency mode , acquired the target complex from ZAR data. The scientific passenger pod and re-entry vehicle were observed at a range of approximately 700 nautical miles . A track was estab- lished on the re-entry vehicle and maintained for 115 seconds, down to an altitude of 21 nautical miles. The graphite test vehicle and an unidentified object was observed late in the mission. Object placement was close to nominal. Starting at about 450 nautical miles, the DR made several designations to TTR4 until the latter established solid lock on at 147 nautical miles.2
The rest of the report describes how the other radar systems were able to track the re-entry vehicle to the designated target area. The airborne aircraft appeared to be capable of tracking the targets with its optical systems as well:
The EC-121K optical/IR instrumented aircraft with its ground designation system, gathered data on the graphite test vehicle and the tank. The re -entry vehicle did not appear to glow.3
The report gives no mention of any unknown vehicle interfering with the re-entry vehicle or any other payload on radar or optically. By all accounts, “Butterfly Net’s” rocket and payload performed as planned and the launch was a big success.
Buzzing Bee - September 22, 1964
At the time of its writing, the final report on the project was classified CONFIDENTIAL and eight frames from this film were in- cluded. We don’t have an exact date when the report was written but it appears to have been written several months after the event and, by that time, the film may have been downgraded to CONFIDENTIAL (as George stated in his original article) once it had been analyzed. According to that report, everything from BECO to RV deployment was filmed with the B. U. Telescope:
All these events were captured on film, and the bright points of light. as the objects appear on film at these ranges, were photographed out to about 650 miles from the Big Sur site. For a short period after BECO, the entire missile is visible on the projected films. Decoy pod cover removal was detected at approximately 160 seconds.
Photographs 11 through 18 are single frame negative reverse enlargements (for extra contrast) of the “Buzzing Bee” film. In photograph 18, the six objects in the lower left that are in a circular arrangement include two decoys and four Styrofoam spacers from the decoy tubes. From discussions with personnel in the 6595th ATW, we understand that these spacers or blocks were supposed to remain fastened to the sustainer stage after decoy deployment, and the B. U. telescope films were taken as evidence that the tethering system failed in some fashion.4
I expect that the quality of the images were better than those reproduced here and in the report, but they do demonstrate the quality of the images that the B.U. telescope was capable of. The upper left object is an azimuth/elevation indication. The T+320 seconds image is very revealing. In that image, one can see the decoys, the booster stage, and the RV. Joel Carpenter felt the bright spot below the rocket body might be HIRS plume but I suspect it may have been a bright spot introduced by the Image Orthicon tube or an effect produced by filming off the monitor. The T+380 second image shows, what appears to be, the RV and decoy war- heads. No UFO appears in these images.
.
Meanwhile, at Kwajalein, the Nike-Zeus radars were capable of tracking the incoming targets:
On September 23, the Kwajalein Nike -X equipment participated in successful observations of an Atlas ICBM mission designated KX-19. This was the most successful mission to date, with all test objectives being achieved.
The target, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, was boosted into the Kwajalein area by an Atlas D rocket. The target complex consisted of a modified series-30 TVX and two radar decoys. Translation of the tank was provided. The flight time of the target was 35 seconds less than anticipated.
The DR operated under single computer control. The fine frequency mode was controlled to start 15 seconds before the target reached 400,000 feet altitude. The ZAR designation on the tank was received at 760 nautical miles, at which time the tank return was observed. Track on the re-entry vehicle was established at a range of 189 nautical miles and an altitude of 480,000 feet. This track was held until splash at 37 nautical miles range.
The DR also made a number of other observations starting with its receipt of tank track designation from the ZAR. A track on a decoy was established at a range of 64 nautical miles and an altitude of 97,000 feet and held until 10 nautical miles and 2300 feet. Another track, on a decoy or fragment, was held for 34 seconds, from 200 nautical miles to 87 nautical miles. Three centroid assignments were made to update coast data on the re-entry vehicle.5
The report mentions the optical instruments doing a reasonably good job of tracking the re-entry vehicle and other targets for sev- eral seconds. The ground base radiometer was able to pick up the target at a distance of 330 nautical miles on one channel.
As with the “Butterfly Net” launch, the payload successfully managed to make it to the target area without interference from an unknown vehicle and the radars did not report any unusual craft following the RV, decoys, or missile.
Notes and references
1. George. Kingston A. Operational Analysis Image Orthicon Demonstration Project. Headquarters 1st Strategic Aerospace Divi- sion, Operations Analysis Staff Study, 1965. P. 25-6.
2. Bell laboratories. Progress report for September 1964: Nike-X weapons system. Bell Laboratories. September 1964. P. 46-7
3. ibid. P. 47
4. George. Kingston A. Operational Analysis Image Orthicon Demonstration Project. Headquarters 1st Strategic Aerospace Divi- sion, Operations Analysis Staff Study, 1965. P. 20-1.
5. Bell laboratories. Progress report for September 1964: Nike-X weapons system. Bell Laboratories. September 1964. P. 47-8.
.
UFO, misidentification, or hoax?
After examining all the documentation available we can now make some observations about the claims made by those who were present and see which individuals were more accurate in describing the actual events.
Butterfly Net and Robert Jacobs’ recollections
The reports indicate that Jacobs’ recollections of this event are inaccurate. Specifically:
1. The LORV was not “shot down” at all and successfully made it to the Kwajalein target area just as the USAF public affairs sergeant told Eric Mishara of Omni, which Jacobs referred to as a lie.
2. There is no mention of a “radar chaff cloud” being used in this launch in either report. If there was a radar chaff cloud deployed, the Nike X report would have mentioned its role in interfering with the tracking of the target from Kwajalein.
3. The B.U. telescope lost the rocket at the end of powered flight, which is before the LORV was released. There was no filming of the missile’s flight when the UFO supposedly interfered with the LORV’s flight.
4. The B.U. telescope had difficulty in resolving details because of haze and the bright sky interfering with the operation of the IO setup.
The only thing Jacobs might be able to pin his hopes on were the mention of the Discriminating Radar tracking an “unidentified object” with the graphite test vehicle in the Nike-X report. When I asked Joel Carpenter about this, he felt it was probably the sci- entific pod, which was used to gather data on the Atlas booster performance. That might be or it may have just been some sort of debris from the rocket that was tracking along with the payload. This was all well after the payload had left the visibility of the BU telescope and can not be considered evidence that Jacobs’ story is accurate. With so many errors in his recollections, it is hard to consider Jacobs’ story credible.
Buzzing Bee and Kingston George’s recollections
On the other hand, Kingston George’s recollections about what was on the Buzzing Bee film were pretty accurate. There seems to be no reason to question his claims that there was some concern for security because of what the film revealed about the decoy deployment. According to Carpenter, he had contacted Kingston George with a copy of the report. George was surprised to see it and remarked that he had thought it, like the film, had been destroyed. The sketch he made over ten years ago, of the re- entry vehicle, the rocket tank, and decoys1, is a close approximation of what is shown in the T+320 seconds image (labeling of T+320 second image done by Joel Carpenter).2
.
What about the “energy beams”
The mention of “energy beams” by Jacobs may have been due to the operation of the HIRS after RV deployment. Joel Carpenter felt that the retro rockets on Buzzing Bee would have created momentary bright flashes on the film and may have been inter- preted as “energy beams” being directed towards the RV. Of course, the flashes of light could easily have been issues associated with the operation of Image Orthicon tube as Kingston George suggested. In either case, there seems to be reason to believe that there is a logical explanation for Mansmann and Jacobs thinking they had seen energy beams being fired from a UFO toward the re-entry vehicle.
Misidentification/confused memory
There are several items that I believe are factors associated with this case that have been ignored in all the previous articles writ- ten about this case:
• The widespread UFO reports made during the Buzzing Bee launch.
• A launch involving a Minuteman missile on September 29th (the last launch filmed as part of the IO project) malfunctioned while the telescope was tracking it. Kingston George describes the event in the final report:
“Painted Warrior” was launched about 190 minute after sunrise, and was tracked by the B. U. system throughout powered flight. The gyrations of the third stage following a malfunction at the end of second stage burn are clearly visible on the films, and the stage was lost to view of the trackers when the flame disappeared, apparently due to propellant exhaustion.3
This was the only malfunction that had occurred in all the flights and is the malfunction mentioned in the preliminary report that Jacobs thought applied to the “Butterfly Net” launch. Despite this malfunction, the payload still appears to have been de- livered to the target according to the Astronautix web site.
• Jacobs emphasized in interviews that the missile he recalled deployed radar chaff. No such payload was used in the “Butterfly Net” test. However, Buzzing Bee did have decoys deployed and their associated debris that might be interpreted as “radar chaff”. This is an indication that Jacobs’memories of the actual film he saw was the flight of“Buzzing Bee”and not“Butterfly Net” as Kingston George hypothesized twenty years ago.
• The main source of the event involving an alien spaceship (AKA UFO) are the memories of two men. There is no documentation to support their claims and it is very possible that the details they describe are from a false memory. Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, in her book, “Eyewitness testimony”, describes how memories can be compromised by many factors:
During the time between an event and a witness’s recollection of that event -- a period often called the “retention interval” -- the bits and pieces of information that were acquired through perception do not passively reside in memory waiting to pulled out like fish from water. Rather, they are subject to numerous influences. External information provided from the outside can intrude into the wit- ness’s memory, as can his own thoughts, and both can cause dramatic changes in his recollections.
People’s memories are fragile things. It is important to realize

Tags: UFO-Forschung 

2440 Views

Sonntag, 21. Dezember 2014 - 21:20 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Projekt Blue Book - Teil-13

.

701 Club: Case 2692 August 27, 1953
Don Berlinner’s description is rather brief:
Aug. 27, 1953; Greenville, Mississippi. 9:45 p.m. Witnesses: USAF pilot, M/Sgt., others, all on the ground. One meandering light was observed for 50 minutes. No further details in file.1
While he states there are no further details in the file, the file actually contains fourteen pages of information including a few maps and sketches of how the object moved over the time period by two of the principle witnesses.
Blue Book’s summary card states the following about the case:
Circular object emitted red, green, and white alternate flashes of light for approx 3-4 seconds, then a steady red flash light diminishing as increasing in distance. Object was traveling from SW to West. Observers stated the object appeared to be rotating. Manner of disap- pearance, obscured by clouds.2
The summary card stated the object was visible for 50 minutes starting around 0315Z (2145 PM CST). Out of the fourteen remaining pages, the most important is the collection of statements by three of the witnesses.
The first came from a Master Sergeant Cooper, who saw the UFO from his home. Master Sergeant Cooper’s observations, which he made out his bedroom window, included a sighting map for his UFO and a sketch of the UFO’s path against the sky. The map indicates the azimuth was roughly 315 degrees. His description included the following comments:
The unidentified object was similar to a large star, but seemed to be rotating and emitting alternate green and red flashes, and moving slowly north and downward on the horizon...I first sighted the object at 2145 hours Central Standard Time on 27 August 1953. Obscured by clouds and it was lost from sight at 2235 hours Central Standard Time.3
Cooper, mystified by what he was seeing, called the Greenville AFB duty officer, who then chose to go to the control tower with Air- man MacDonnell and Arceneaux. There is no statement by MacDonnell but Arceneaux did file a report:
It didn’t appear very large from our view point. Its color was sort of green, red and slight yellow....it moved very slowly from my vantage point. Its movement were but moving westward movement at approximately the same altitude, it just seemed to fade away into the night. It moved about ten (10) to fifteen (15) degrees from southwest to the west....I sighted the object from the control tower at 2230 hours until 2300 hours in the southwest with westward movement. At 2310 hours, I notified Memphis Control, and they stated no aircraft were in the area at 2312 hours. At 2300 hours it disappeared. 4
Captain Lehman’s brief report stated:
The unidentified object emitted red and white flashing light diminishing as if increasing in distance...I first sighted the object at 2230 after receiving a call from M/Sgt T. O. Cooper. We observed the object from 2230 hours until 2300 hours hovering on the horizon...object seemed to move very slowly.5
This is how the file ends. The investigating officer simply put it all together and sent it to Blue Book, who filed it away as unidentified because they did not bother to look much further than that.
Possible solution
There are two different sightings in this case. Blue Book felt they were of the same object but I think they actually involved two different astronomical objects.
The first sighting was by Master Sergeant Cooper. He observed his object from 2145 to 2235. According to his sketch, he was look- ing northwest out his bedroom window. However, there are some issues with his description that indicate this direction was not correct.
In his sketch, the address of his location was blotted out in the Fold 3 site.6 However, the Blue Book archive web site has the unre- dacted copies. They give his address as “353 Thomas Road” in Greenville.7 We can now possibly visit his location using Google Earth. If one uses the ground level view, we can determine that Cooper was on the west side of the road, which means he was looking outside the rear of his house.
The view of the neighborhood from the historical aerials web site was taken from the air in 1967.8 It is not a direct representation of what it looked like in 1953 but it is closer than the google images from the present era.9 There is a noticeable lack of trees in the neighborhood compared to more recent imagery. This may be due to the resolution or time of year but it appears to indicate that Cooper had a relatively unobstructed view of the horizon. The only exception was an electrical power pole he could see from his window that he would use for a reference point in his observations.
It is interesting to point out that behind his home was a south to north dirt road where, today, there are power poles with electrical lines running along the road. These probably existed back in 1953 as well. There is one power pole behind his house that, depend- ing on what end of the house his bedroom window was, lies at an azimuth of 275-300 degrees. He estimated the distance to the pole as being 120 feet, which is pretty close to the distance from the rear of the house to this power pole circled in Yellow in the Google Earth image on the previous page. Assuming this was his reference point, this indicates he was not looking towards the
.
northwest but more towards the west or west-northwest.
The UFO moved behind this pole over the period of fifty minutes outside his window.10 When I first saw this sketch, the amateur astronomer in me saw an apparent diurnal motion of a setting astronomical object.
What astronomical object was visible between 2145 and 2235 in that range of azimuths? The answer to that question was the bright star Arcturus (see Stellarium image for 2235 CST below), which was setting between azimuths 285 and 291 be- tween 2145 and 2235 CST. This is a good solution for this part of the UFO sighting.
The second part of the sighting were the observations by the tower at Greenville AFB to the north. Because Cooper report- ed he was looking northwest, they apparently chose to look south or southwest. There they saw their UFO. Their sketch indicates they were observing at an azimuth between 235 and 245 degrees. According to Airman Arceneaux, it moved about 5-10 degrees between 2230 and 2300.
His sketch can be confusing because North is to the left, I decided to rotate it to give the proper orientation11:
The summary report filed by Greenville AFB’s investigating officer in- correctly stated it was visible until 2330 but both witness statements clearly state it was gone by 2300. Was there an astronomical object in that location? The most likely candidate was the star Antares (see Stel- larium image above).
Twice on the Blue Book record card the star Antares was mentioned. In the conclusions section, the card identified that Antares was low on the horizon at the time of the sighting but then added it was not suf- ficiently bright enough to cause the sighting. I am not sure why the entry states this because Antares is just above magnitude +1 and is a very prominent star (17th on the list of 26 brightest stars). The card also has on the bottom “Antares?” as if it was thought that it might have been the source of the event.
Antares was at an azimuth of 235 and 238 degrees low on the horizon
between 2230 and 2251, when it had set. Does the fact that it set before 2300 mean that Antares was not the source? In my opin- ion, there can be room for latitude on the time of the sighting. It is possible they picked up a nearby star with the 7X50 binoculars they were using an started to track it once Antares had set. They also may have been wrong about the exact time the object disap- peared. Other than the time of setting not coinciding exactly with the end of the sighting, the rest of the sighting sounds a lot like the star Antares scintillating low in the sky. This is a probable solution to this part of the sighting.
Why wasn’t this explained in 1953?
There can be many reasons why this case remain “unexplained”. However, the most likely reason appears to be that this is another case of “we don’t have the time or man power.” This was before the 4602nd AISS became involved in investigating UFO reports and the amount of resources allocated to investigating this case seems to have been minimal.
Solved?
While we can not conclusively prove that these sightings were caused by Arcturus and Antares, there is good reason to suspect that this was the case. I consider this event reclassified as “probably Arcturus and Antares” and taken off the Blue Book “Un- identifieds” list.
Quelle: SUNlite 4/2014

Tags: UFO-Forschung 

2212 Views

Sonntag, 21. Dezember 2014 - 21:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Unzureichende Informationen in NICAP-Dokument als UFO-Beweis -TEIL 12

.

May 20, 1961: Tyndall AFB, Florida
NICAP lists the case as follows in the chronology:
May 20, 1961--Tyndall AFB, Florida. Air Police observed unidentified light diving and climbing. [III]1
Section III has it listed in their table as air police reporting this case and that radar may have been involved.
Radar-visual report, UFO maneuvered over base, dove and climbed. Reported by NICAP in sum- mer 1961.Later analysis by Adviser Webb determined radar reports did not coincide with visual. Reports still unexplained. [Confidential report to NICAP Certified by NICAP Director, Ass’t Director, and Adviser Walter N. Webb].2
The UFO investigator of July-August 1961 provided more information about their source. It came from an AF report about the sightings. Not surprisingly, NICAP left out some details and amplified others they thought made the report appear exotic in nature.
.
Blue Book case 7413
Blue Book reports that the observers had seen the UFO for about an hour and a half starting at 0250 local time (0850Z). The sum- mary states the UFO was about the size of a softball, it moved downward and then upward. It also moved from NE to SE.
The file is composed of the various reports and details but the document cited by NICAP gives a good summary of what was seen. The four witnesses were three airmen and a staff Sergeant, who were part of base security. Their description of what they saw is slightly different:
a. Airman Henson - On the morning of May 20, 1961 at approximately 0250 I saw this orange like light that came out of the woods. It first went up and then it backed down to tree top level and then went back up and stayed up at the same position for approximately ten minutes. Then it started moving toward me and then it would move back to the same position. It did this twice and then disappeared at 0430.
b. (ed: This is probably Airman Elmore but no name was given) At approximately 0300 hours, 20 May 1961 I heard Airman Henson call in to Tyndall via radio from Post #13 that there was a flying object around his post. Upon arrival, I noticed an unidentified object floating around in the air, moving back and forth, sideways up and down. When I left the scene at approximately 0330 hours, the object was still floating in the air. When I returned at 0500 hours, the object was no longer in sight.
c. Sgt. Mallet’s report - I received a radio call from A/3C Henson, the guard at Post #13, Drone Launch site, located approximately 3 miles from Gate #2, Tyndall AFB. Airman Henson stated he could see an unusual light from his post. Airman Henson stated it was unusual to him because the light had moved several times. He further stated the light did not move in the normal course of an aircraft. I then proceeded to a boundary of the base at the east range and parked my AP vehicle to observe the light. I remained at that area until 0500 hours, 20 May 1961.
.
d. Airman Kelly’s report - Intercepted a call from Post #13 about a floating object. Car #3 said he would check. At about 0400 hours I noticed a bright shining object about 30 degrees from horizontal and it did not appear to be moving. On closer observation I noticed that it was moving west slowly. I went to the Drone Launch site to exchange vehicles and continued to see it.3
Post #13 appears to have been at the “Drone Launch site”, which still exists today. This is about two miles beyond the end of the main airstrip on the south side of the road US-98. If one examines the sketch, the witness appears to have been looking at a direction of about 50-70 degrees, which is more ENE than NE.4 Because the airstrip runs from NW to SE, there may have been confusion about where precise north was located. It is also important to note that this sketch apparently was drawn on August 15th, which brings up some concern about how good these statements are.
The main report was filed on May 23rd but there seemed to be a follow-up investigation in August, where the witnesses filled out statements regarding what they saw. What apparently occurred was Master Sergeant Lacour had interviewed the witnesses that morning and evening and had written this report based on his notes from these interviews. On August 14th, Lacour had a phone conversation with Dr. Hynek and Blue Book, which prompted the acquisition of written statements by the witnesses.5
This table of the initial report can assist in evaluating the sighting.6
.
The azimuth and elevation reports are very difficult to determine since MSgt Lacour did not specify which was which. Mallet’s observations indicated he was describing azimuth since elevation can only be as high as 90 degrees so the values given appear to have been azimuth.
No reports were made by the local or state police. There was also no reports from Fannin field, which was the local airport for Pana- ma City. This indicates the event must have been either localized so only these individuals could see it or the object was something that others recognized to be mundane.
Radar contact
There was a mention of radar contact being detected. A jet fighter was scrambled and they had an intermittent radar contact. However, the pilot saw nothing visually. Because the radar contact was slowly moving, a helicopter was sent up but they also saw nothing.7
There seemed to be no reason to suspect that the radar contact was the same object as reported by the witnesses and may have been just a case of anomalous propagation conditions or some sort of false return. To NICAP’s credit, they dismissed this part of the event.
Blue Book’s solution
Blue Book decided what the observers saw was the planet Venus. This explanation has merit when examining the observations by the airmen. Venus rose at azimuth just north of east at 0245 CST on May 20th. This was only five minutes before the witnesses reported the object being visible in between the trees. It was just south of east at the time of sun rise (446CST), which is about the same time the witnesses stated the UFO disappeared. Venus, at magnitude -4.2 would have remained visible in the dawn sky until the sun rose. At that point, Venus would have been lost in the glare of strong twilight/daylight. This table provides azimuth and elevation for Venus on the 20th of May, 1961 from Tyndall AFB:
.
The trees/woods in Florida that line these roads are tall thin pine trees. One can see between the individual trees as long as they are not packed close together. The more distant treeline is only a few degrees above the horizon and are probably what Airman Henson was referring to when he described the object being at tree top level when it first became visible.
The big question is, why didn’t the observers know this was the planet Venus and why didn’t they see Venus before or after? There could be several reasons. The first could be this was the first time the airmen had the early morning shift in several weeks. It was not unheard of to have the security guard teams rotate shifts. Additionally, the weather may have been poor on those days they did stand the morning shift, which would have prevented them from seeing Venus. Another factor to consider is these security guards were airmen, which are the lowest grade and youngest members of the military. The initial observer was Airman third class Henson, who was an E-2 and probably had been in the USAF for about 6 months to a year. He simply saw this unusual light and reported it. After it got onto the radio net, other airmen noticed the light as well. It is up to the senior members of the security team to evaluate what they report. In this case, it was Sergeant Mallet. He chose to go to the east range and observe the object. He noted nothing un- usual in his report other than it would move side to side and up and down. He also noted that it slowly gained altitude and moved from NE to SE during a two hour time period.
Solved?
While we can never positively identify such UFO cases, this one has a good chance of being the planet Venus. There are several factors that indicate the object was probably Venus:
1. The observers never reported seeing the object and Venus.
2. The object faded as the sun rose
3. The Azimuths reported are in the general direction of Venus.
Many of the effects described by the witnesses are often seen in witness reports of astronomical objects. Autokinetic and atmo- spheric effects seem to have played a role in their observations. There is no good reason to dismiss Venus as the cause for these reports and, it appears, that Blue Book got this one right.
Quelle: SUNlite 4/2014

Tags: UFO-Forschung 

1956 Views

Sonntag, 21. Dezember 2014 - 13:40 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Supergenaue Atomuhr für die ISS im Bau

.

Mit ACES (Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space) bauen die Raumfahrt-Ingenieure von Airbus Defence & Space in Friedrichshafen eine "Super-Uhr" für die Europäische Weltraumorganisation (ESA) zusammen.

.

Bei Airbus Defence & Space in Friedrichshafen wird eine supergenaue Atomuhr für die Montage an der internationalen Raumstation gebaut (Foto: Airbus).  
.
 
ACES besteht aus zwei Atomuhren, sowie einer Laser- und einer Mikrowellenverbindungen zur Erde besteht. ACES wird eine Genauigkeit von 1x10-16 aufweisen, was einer Zeitabweichung von nur einer Sekunde alle 300 Mio. Jahre entspricht.
Die ACES-Versuchsanordnung soll Einsteins allgemeine Relativitätstheorie, der zufolge die Zeit unter verschiedenen Gravitationsbedingungen unterschiedlich vergeht, überprüfen. Das macht man - vereinfacht gesagt - in dem die Zeitangaben der Weltraum-Uhren mit denen von Atomuhren auf der Erde verglichen werden; eben unter verschiedenen Schwerkraftbedingungen.
ACES soll 2017 ins All starten und außen am europäischen Columbus-Modul der Internationalen Raumstation angebracht werden.
Quelle: Flugrevue

Tags: Raumfahrt 

2092 Views

Sonntag, 21. Dezember 2014 - 13:25 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Jupiter-Mond Europa im Focus

.

Signs of Europa Plumes Remain Elusive in Search of Cassini Data

.

-- Data from Cassini's 2001 Jupiter flyby show Europa contributes less material to its surrounding environment than previously thought.
-- Unlike Saturn's known-active moon Enceladus, Europa is surrounded by very tenuous hot, excited gas.
A fresh look at data collected by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during its 2001 flyby of Jupiter shows that Europa’s tenuous atmosphere is even thinner than previously thought and also suggests that the thin, hot gas around the moon does not show evidence of plume activity occurring at the time of the flyby. The new research provides a snapshot of Europa's state of activity at that time, and suggests that if there is plume activity, it is likely intermittent.
The Europa results are being presented today at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco and published in the Astrophysical Journal. Europa is considered one of the most exciting destinations in the solar system for future exploration because it shows strong indications of having an ocean beneath its icy crust.
Members of Cassini's ultraviolet imaging spectrograph (UVIS) team analyzed data collected by their instrument during the brief time it observed Europa in 2001, as Cassini sped through the Jupiter system en route to Saturn. The observations show that most of the hot, excited gas, or plasma, around Europa originates not from the moon itself, but from volcanoes on the nearby moon Io. In fact, from their data, the researchers calculated that Europa contributes 40 times less oxygen than previously thought to its surrounding environment.
"Our work shows that researchers have been overestimating the density of Europa's atmosphere by quite a bit," said Don Shemansky, a Cassini UVIS team member with Space Environment Technologies in Pasadena, California, who led the study. The team found that the moon's tenuous atmosphere, which was already thought to be millions of times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere, is actually about 100 times less dense than those previous estimates.
A downward revision in the amount of oxygen Europa pumps into the environment around Jupiter would make it less likely that the moon is regularly venting plumes of water vapor high into orbit, especially at the time the data was acquired.
Scientists would expect that ongoing plume activity at Europa, as Cassini has observed at Saturn's moon Enceladus, would inject large amounts of water vapor into the area around Europa's orbit if the plumes were large enough, but that is not what UVIS observed.
"We found no evidence for water near Europa, even though we have readily detected it as it erupts in the plumes of Enceladus," said Larry Esposito, UVIS team lead at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
"It is certainly still possible that plume activity occurs, but that it is infrequent or the plumes are smaller than we see at Enceladus," said Amanda Hendrix, a  Cassini UVIS team member with the Planetary Science Institute in Pasadena, who co-authored the new study. "If eruptive activity was occurring at the time of Cassini's flyby, it was at a level too low to be detectable by UVIS."
Indications of possible plume activity were reported in 2013 by researchers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, launching a wave of interest in searching for additional signs, including this effort by the UVIS team. Cassini's 2001 Jupiter flyby provided UVIS the opportunity to directly measure the environment near Europa, which is not possible with Hubble.
For more than a decade, Cassini's UVIS has observed the cold, dense doughnut of gas that encloses the orbit of Enceladus. There, the massive amount of gas being breathed into orbit around Saturn by the Enceladus plumes acts like a brake on electrons being dragged through it by Saturn's magnetic field, which rotates with the planet. This braking helps to keep down the temperature of the plasma. Apparently there is no such brake at Europa.
Since UVIS saw a hot plasma, rather than a cold one, around Europa's orbit, it suggests Europa is not outputting large amounts of gas -- including water.
Snapshots provided by missions that visited Jupiter prior to Cassini provided strong indications that Io is the major contributor of material to the environment around Jupiter, and indicated a hot, low density plasma surrounding Europa. The new results confirm that. "Io is the real monster here," Shemansky said.
“Europa is a complex, amazing world, and understanding it is challenging given the limited observations we have,” said Curt Niebur, Outer Planets program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Studies like this make the most of the data we have and help guide the kinds of of science investigations NASA should pursue in the future.”
Scientists are currently using the Hubble Space Telescope to conduct an extensive six-month long survey looking for plume activity, and NASA is also studying various possible Europa missions for future exploration.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter. The UVIS team is based at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where the instrument was designed and built.
.
Repeated Flybys Yield a Pole-to-Pole View of Europa
Date: 1 Feb 1999
This view of Jupiter's moon Europa features several regional-resolution mosaics overlaid on a lower resolution global view for context. The regional views were obtained during several different flybys of the moon by NASA's Galileo mission, and they stretch from high northern to high southern latitudes. Prominent here are the long, arcuate (or arc-shaped) and linear markings called lineae (Latin for strings or threads), which are a signature feature of Europa's surface. Color saturation has been enhanced to bring out the subtle red coloration present along many of the lineae. The color data extends into the infrared, showing bluish ice (indicating larger ice grains) in the polar regions.
The terrain in this view stretches from the side of Europa that always trails in its orbit at left (west), to the side that faces away from Jupiter at right (east). In addition to the lineae, the regional-scale images contain many interesting features, including lenticulae (small spots), chaos terrain, maculae (large spots), and the unusual bright band known as Agenor Linea in the south.
The regional-resolution mosaics enhance the amount of detail visible in a previously released view of the same region on Europa, [see PIA02590]. While the earlier image uses much of the same low-resolution data, its images are projected from a different angle and are processed with greater color saturation.
This view is an orthographic projection centered on 5.53 degrees south latitude, 214.5 degrees west longitude and has a resolution of 1600 feet (500 meters) per pixel. An orthographic view is like the view seen by a distant observer looking through a telescope.
The mosaic was constructed from individual images obtained by the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system on NASA's Galileo spacecraft during six flybys of Europa between 1996 and 1999 (flybys designated G1, E11, E14, E15, E17, and E19).
.
Ruddy "Freckles" on Europa
Reddish spots and shallow pits pepper the enigmatic ridged surface of Europa in this view combining information from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft during two different orbits around Jupiter. 
The spots and pits visible in this region of Europa's northern hemisphere are each about 10 kilometers (6 miles) across. The dark spots are called "lenticulae," the Latin term for freckles. Their similar sizes and spacing suggest that Europa's icy shell may be churning away like a lava lamp, with warmer ice moving upward from the bottom of the ice shell while colder ice near the surface sinks downward. Other evidence has shown that Europa likely has a deep melted ocean under its icy shell. Ruddy ice erupting onto the surface to form the lenticulae may hold clues to the composition of the ocean and to whether it could support life.
The image combines higher-resolution information obtained when Galileo flew near Europa on May 31, 1998, during the spacecraft's 15th orbit of Jupiter, with lower-resolution color information obtained on June 28, 1996, during Galileo's first orbit.
.
Thera and Thrace
Thera and Thrace are two dark, reddish regions of enigmatic terrain that disrupt the older icy ridged plains on Jupiter's moon Europa. North is toward the top of the mosaic obtained by NASA's Galileo spacecraft. The sun illuminates the region from the northeast. 
Thera (left) is about 70 kilometers wide by 85 kilometers high (43 by 53 miles) and appears to lie slightly below the level of the surrounding plains. Some bright icy plates which are observed inside appear to be dislodged from the edges of the chaos region. The curved fractures along its boundaries suggest that collapse may have been involved in Thera's formation. In contrast, Thrace (right) is longer, shows a hummocky texture, and appears to stand at or slightly above the older surrounding bright plains. Thrace abuts the gray band named Libya Linea to the south and appears to darken Libya. One model for the formation of these and other chaos regions on Europa is complete melt-through of Europa's icy shell from an ocean below. Another model is that warm ice welled up from below and caused partial melting and disruption of the surface.
To produce this image, two regional images obtained at a resolution of 220 meters (240 yards) per picture element during Galileo's 17th orbit of Jupiter were colorized with lower resolution (1.4 kilometers or 1526 yards per picture element) images of the region obtained during the 14th orbit. The color image is generated from the violet, green, and near-infrared (968 nanometers) filters of the Galileo Solid State Imaging system and exaggerates the subtle color differences of Europa's surface. The mosaic, centered at about 50 degrees south latitude and 180 degrees longitude, covers an area approximately 525 by 300 kilometers (325 by 186 miles). The images from the 17th orbit were acquired at 2:51 Universal Time on September 26, 1998.
.
New Horizons Spies Europa
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft took this image of Europa hanging above Jupiter's cloud tops with its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) at 11:48 Universal Time on February 28, 2007, six hours after the spacecraft's closest approach to Jupiter. 
The picture was one of a handful of the Jupiter system that New Horizons took primarily for artistic, rather than scientific, value. This particular scene was suggested by space enthusiast Richard Hendricks of Austin, Texas, in response to an Internet request by New Horizons scientists for evocative, artistic imaging opportunities at Jupiter.
The spacecraft was 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from Jupiter and 3 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Europa when the picture was taken. Europa's diameter is 3,120 kilometers (1,939 miles). The image is centered on Europa coordinates 5 degrees south, 6 degrees west. In keeping with its artistic intent - and to provide a more dramatic perspective - the image has been rotated so south is at the top.
.
Conamara Color Closeup
This image shows a close-up view of terrain within the region of Europa's surface named Conamara. This region sports ice rafts that look like those at Earth's poles, where large chunks of ice break away and float freely on the ocean. Much of the region bears the reddish/brownish discoloration seen here - the same as seen along many of Europa's fractures. Scientists believe this material may contain clues about the composition of an ocean beneath the icy surface, if it is proven to exist. 
The data used to produce this color view was originally released by the Galileo mission as PIA01403.
.
Fractured Land
This view from NASA's Galileo spacecraft shows a severely fractured surface on Europa - with dark linear, curved, and wedged-shaped bands. These fractures have broken the crust into plates as large as 20 miles (about 30 kilometers) across. Areas between the plates are filled with dark material that was probably icy slush contaminated with rocky debris. Some individual plates were separated and rotated into new positions. 
This image covers part of the equatorial zone of Europa and was taken on June 27, 1996 from a distance of about 96,300 miles (156,000 kilometers) from Europa by Galileo's Solid-State Imaging subsystem. North is to the right and the sun is almost directly overhead. The area shown is about 310-by-600 miles (510 by 989 kilometers) across, and the smallest visible feature is about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) wide.
.
Ridges, Plains and Mountains
is high resolution mosaic shows ridges, plains and mountains on Europa. The sun illuminates the scene from the left, showing hundreds of ridges that cut across each other, indicating multiple episodes of ridge formation either by volcanic or tectonic activity within the ice. 
The mosaic, centered at 35.4 degrees north latitude and 86.8 degrees west longitude, covers an area of 66 miles by 55 miles (108 kilometers by 90 kilometers). North is to the top of the image. The smallest distinguishable features in the image are about 223 feet (68 meters) across. These images were obtained by Galileo's Solid State Imaging (SSI) system on November 6, 1997, when the spacecraft was approximately 1,983 miles (3,250 kilometers) from Europa.
.
Icy Cliffs at High Resolution
Europa: Water World Infographic
In our solar system there is an ocean twice the size of all Earth's oceans combined. 
Europa
Water World
Is it Inhabited?
Moon of Jupiter
Earth
Diameter: 12,742 km
Average Ocean Depth: ~4 km
Volume: ~1.4 billion km3
Liquid Saltwater Surface Ocean
Earth's surface is 29% land, 71% liquid water
Polar Ice Cap
Regional Liquid Salt Water Ocean
Rocky Sea Floor
Europa
Diameter: 3,120 km
Average Ocean Depth: ~100 km
Volume: ~3 billion km3
Liquid Saltwater Sub-Surface Ocean
Europa's surface is covered in a global water ice crust/ Estimates range from 3 km - 30 km thick
Ice Crust
Global Liquid Saltwater Ocean
Rocky Sea Floor
So Why Does This Matter?
Because Earth's Oceans are teeming with life!
The Oceans are Home to:
50-80% of all life on Earth
At least 224,000 named species
Plants, bacteria, fungi, reptiles, mammals, reefs, algae, fish, mollusks, and many more
Extremophiles, surviving from the freezing temperatures below arctic sea ice to the boiling temperatures near deep sea hydrothermal vents
On Earth, wherever we find water, we find life.
And Europa has twice the water of Earth, so...
Is There Life?
.
Reddish Bands on Europa
Date: 6 Nov 1997
This colorized image of Europa is a product of clear-filter grayscale data from one orbit of NASA's Galileo spacecraft, combined with lower-resolution color data taken on a different orbit. The blue-white terrains indicate relatively pure water ice, whereas the reddish areas contain water ice mixed with hydrated salts, potentially magnesium sulfate or sulfuric acid. The reddish material is associated with the broad band in the center of the image, as well as some of the narrower bands, ridges, and disrupted chaos-type features. It is possible that these surface features may have communicated with a global subsurface ocean layer during or after their formation.
Part of the terrain in this previously unreleased color view is seen in the monochrome image, PIA01125.
The image area measures approximately 101 by 103 miles (163 km by 167 km). The grayscale images were obtained on November 6, 1997, during the Galileo spacecraft's 11th orbit of Jupiter, when the spacecraft was approximately 13,237 miles (21,700 kilometers) from Europa. These images were then combined with lower-resolution color data obtained in 1998, during the spacecraft's 14th orbit of Jupiter, when the spacecraft was 89,000 miles (143,000 km) from Europa.
.
Source Region for Possible Europa Plumes
This reprojection of the official USGS Europa basemap is centered at the estimated source region for potential plumes that might have been detected using the Hubble Space Telescope. The view is centered at -65 degrees latitude, 183 degrees longitude. 
In addition to the plume source region, the image also shows the hemisphere of Europa that might be affected by plume deposits. This map is composed of images from NASA's Galileo and Voyager missions. The black region near the south pole results from gaps in imaging coverage.
.
3-D Cilix Crater on Europa
This view of Cilix impact crater on Europa was created in 2013 using 3-D stereo images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft, combined with advanced image processing techniques. The crater has a diameter of about 11 miles (18 kilometers).
This image, which combines a 3-D Digital Elevation Model, or DEM, with original imagery, shows that the crater rim rises steeply for about 980 feet (300 meters) above a flat crater floor that is interrupted by a central peak which has a height of about 660 feet (200 meters). Such central peaks are common on other bodies in the solar system. Young, well-preserved craters like Cilix are rare on Europa's surface, where ongoing geologic activity is thought to disrupt most surface features over timescales of tens of millions of years.
.
Cracks and ridges on Europa
Date: 2 Feb 1999
This enhanced color image shows cracks and ridges on Europa's surface that reveal a detailed geologic history. Some ridges, such as the prominent one at top right, develop into long, arc-shaped "cycloids" that may be related to changing tidal forces as Europa orbits Jupiter. The wall of this ridge stands perhaps a third of a mile (0.5 kilometer) above the surrounding ridged plains, although the edges are likely not as steep as they appear in this view.
The view was captured by NASA's Galileo spacecraft on February 2, 1999, during its E19 orbit, when the spacecraft was about 2500 miles (4000 km) from the surface of Europa. Resolution in the scene is 295 feet (90 meters) per pixel. North is toward bottom left. Images taken through near-infrared, green and violet filters were combined to create the view.
.
Thick or Thin Ice Shell on Europa?
Scientists are all but certain that Europa has an ocean underneath its icy surface, but they do not know how thick this ice might be. This artist's concept illustrates two possible cut-away views through Europa's ice shell. In both, heat escapes, possibly volcanically, from Europa's rocky mantle and is carried upward by buoyant oceanic currents. If the heat from below is intense and the ice shell is thin enough (left), the ice shell can directly melt, causing what are called "chaos" on Europa, regions of what appear to be broken, rotated and tilted ice blocks. On the other hand, if the ice shell is sufficiently thick (right), the less intense interior heat will be transferred to the warmer ice at the bottom of the shell, and additional heat is generated by tidal squeezing of the warmer ice. This warmer ice will slowly rise, flowing as glaciers do on Earth, and the slow but steady motion may also disrupt the extremely cold, brittle ice at the surface. 
Europa is no larger than Earth's moon, and its internal heating stems from its eccentric orbit about Jupiter, seen in the distance. As tides raised by Jupiter in Europa's ocean rise and fall, they may cause cracking, additional heating and even venting of water vapor into the airless sky above Europa's icy surface.
.
3D View of Double Ridges on Europa
These images reveal the dramatic topography of Europa's icy crust. A double ridge with a deep intervening trough cuts across older background plains and a darker, wedge-shaped band. The numerous cracks and bands of such terrain may indicate where the crust has pulled apart and sometimes allowed dark material from beneath the surface to well up and fill the cracks. 
A computer generated three-dimensional perspective (upper right) shows that bright material, probably pure water ice, prevails at the ridge crests and slopes while most dark material (perhaps ice mixed with silicates or hydrated salts) is confined to lower areas such as valley floors. The northernmost, north-facing slope (right side) has a larger concentration of dark material than south facing slopes.
The model on the lower right has been color coded to accentuate elevations. The red tones indicate that the crests of the ridge system reach elevations of nearly 1000 feet (more than 300 meters) above the surrounding furrowed plains (blue and purple tones). The two ridges are separated by a valley about a mile (1.5 kilometers) wide.
The stereo perspective combines high resolution images obtained from two different viewing angles. Such a three dimensional model is similar to the three dimensional scenes our brains construct when both eyes view something from two angles.
North is to the right, and the sun illuminates the scene from northwest. North is to the right. The images were taken by the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system on NASA's Galileo spacecraft. The regional context (left), centered at about 16 degrees south latitude, 195 degrees west longitude, was imaged on November 6th, 1996 at a range of about 41,000 kilometers (25,500 miles). The higher resolution stereo images were taken on December 16th, 1997, at ranges of 5,800 kilometers(3,600 miles) and 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) leading to a best resolution of 26 meters per picture element.
.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt 

2053 Views

Samstag, 20. Dezember 2014 - 23:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA´s Raumsonde Voyager 1 wurde von neuer Sonnen Tsunami-Welle getroffen

.

8.07.2014

The Space Between: This artist's concept shows the Voyager 1 spacecraft entering the space between stars. Interstellar space is dominated by plasma, ionized gas (illustrated here as brownish haze), that was thrown off by giant stars millions of years ago. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

.

NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has experienced a new "tsunami wave" from the sun as it sails through interstellar space. Such waves are what led scientists to the conclusion, in the fall of 2013, that Voyager had indeed left our sun's bubble, entering a new frontier.
"Normally, interstellar space is like a quiet lake," said Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, the mission's project scientist since 1972. "But when our sun has a burst, it sends a shock wave outward that reaches Voyager about a year later. The wave causes the plasma surrounding the spacecraft to sing."
Data from this newest tsunami wave generated by our sun confirm that Voyager is in interstellar space -- a region between the stars filled with a thin soup of charged particles, also known as plasma. The mission has not left the solar system -- it has yet to reach a final halo of comets surrounding our sun -- but it broke through the wind-blown bubble, or heliosphere, encasing our sun. Voyager is the farthest human-made probe from Earth, and the first to enter the vast sea between stars.
"All is not quiet around Voyager," said Don Gurnett of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, the principal investigator of the plasma wave instrument on Voyager, which collected the definitive evidence that Voyager 1 had left the sun's heliosphere. "We're excited to analyze these new data. So far, we can say that it confirms we are in interstellar space."
Our sun goes through periods of increased activity, where it explosively ejects material from its surface, flinging it outward. These events, called coronal mass ejections, generate shock, or pressure, waves. Three such waves have reached Voyager 1 since it entered interstellar space in 2012. The first was too small to be noticed when it occurred and was only discovered later, but the second was clearly registered by the spacecraft's cosmic ray instrument in March of 2013.
Cosmic rays are energetic charged particles that come from nearby stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The sun's shock waves push these particles around like buoys in a tsunami. Data from the cosmic ray instrument tell researchers that a shock wave from the sun has hit.
Meanwhile, another instrument on Voyager registers the shock waves, too. The plasma wave instrument can detect oscillations of the plasma electrons.
"The tsunami wave rings the plasma like a bell," said Stone. "While the plasma wave instrument lets us measure the frequency of this ringing, the cosmic ray instrument reveals what struck the bell -- the shock wave from the sun."
This ringing of the plasma bell is what led to the key evidence showing Voyager had entered interstellar space. Because denser plasma oscillates faster, the team was able to figure out the density of the plasma. In 2013, thanks to the second tsunami wave, the team acquired evidence that Voyager had been flying for more than a year through plasma that was 40 times denser than measured before -- a telltale indicator of interstellar space.
Why is it denser out there? The sun's winds blow a bubble around it, pushing out against denser matter from other stars.
Now, the team has new readings from a third wave from the sun, first registered in March of this year. These data show that the density of the plasma is similar to what was measured previously, confirming the spacecraft is in interstellar space. Thanks to our sun's rumblings, Voyager has the opportunity to listen to the singing of interstellar space -- an otherwise silent place.
Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched 16 days apart in 1977. Both spacecraft flew by Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 2 also flew by Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 2, launched before Voyager 1, is the longest continuously operated spacecraft and is expected to enter interstellar space in a few years.
JPL, a division of Caltech, built and operates the twin Voyager spacecraft. The Voyagers Interstellar Mission is a part of NASA's Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. NASA's Deep Space Network, managed by JPL, is an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe. The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions. The spacecraft's nuclear batteries were provided by the Department of Energy.
Quelle: NASA
.
Update: 19.12.2014
.
Voyager 1 Detects 'Tsunami' Wave From Sun Still Going Strong Beyond the Heliopause
.
Having long ago completed its epic journey of exploration and discovery through the outer Solar System, NASA’s Voyager 1 is the spacecraft that keeps on going more than 37 years after it was launched, while having already taken on its new role as humanity’s first robotic emissary to the stars. This historic passage into interstellar space, which occurred in August 2012, was marked by a steep increase in the levels of cosmic rays coming from interstellar space as measured by Voyager 1’s onboard instruments, accompanied by a sudden drop in the number of solar wind particles that originated from the Sun. Yet, despite having exited the Sun’s magnetic sphere of influence, the spacecraft can still feel the effects of its activity. Ongoing measurements taken throughout 2014 show that a “tsunami wave,” which was generated by the Sun in February, is still flying through interstellar space, providing scientists with new insights about the physics of the interstellar medium.
As described in a previous AmericaSpace article, the magnetosphere of the Sun, better known as the heliosphere, is a vast magnetic bubble that extends well beyond the planets of the Solar System. This realm is dominated by the outward flow of the solar wind—the steady stream of charged particles that is released by the Sun’s upper atmosphere at speeds that range between 400 and 800 km/second. Traversing interplanetary space along the magnetic field lines of our home star, the solar wind eventually slows down to subsonic speeds at a boundary called the termination shock, which is located between 84 and 94 Astronomical Units away from the Sun, until it is finally stopped altogether at the heliopause (the outer limits of the heliosphere) by the pressure of the stellar winds that stream through the interstellar medium.
.
An artist’s concept showing the outer layers of the Sun’s magnetosphere, or heliosphere, and the nearby interstellar space. Voyager 1 is currently exploring a region of interstellar space that still feels the influence from the charged particle of our home star’s magnetic field. The magnetic field lines (yellow arcs) appear to lie in the same general direction as the magnetic field lines emanating from our Sun. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
.
The intensity of the Sun’s activity varies constantly, during a recurring 11-year period of heightened and decreased activity, also known as the “solar cycle.” Throughout this period, our home star can release a great number of solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections, or CMEs, consisting of electromagnetic radiation and up to several billion tons of plasma in the form of highly energetic protons and electrons, which traverse the entire Solar System before reaching the very edges of the heliosphere several months after their initial explosion from the Sun. While crossing interplanetary space, CMEs plow through the solar wind forming shock waves which produce secondary streams of highly energetic particles that follow along the solar magnetic field lines. After reaching the boundaries of the heliosphere, these CMEs collide with and compress the plasma that is found in the interstellar medium, causing it to oscillate similar to the way the vibrating strings of a guitar create acoustic waves. “The tsunami causes the ionized gas that is out there to resonate – ‘sing’ or vibrate like a bell,” says Dr. Ed Stone, Voyager Project Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif.
It was such magnetic “tsunamis” from the Sun that Voyager recorded with its onboard Plasma Wave System, or PWS, which helped scientists to ascertain when exactly the spacecraft had made its long-awaited jump to interstellar space in the first place. The first two were recorded in October to November 2012 and April to May 2013 respectively, while Voyager 1 was approximately 122 AU away from Earth, producing high-frequency oscillations which corresponded to a plasma density of over 40 times greater than what the spacecraft had ever measured before. Coupled with a sudden drop of the solar wind’s intensity and a steep rise of cosmic ray particles from interstellar space that were also recorded during that time, the Voyager’s science team was able to determine that the spacecraft had indeed made the big jump out of the heliosphere. The final confirmation came in February of this year, when a third tsunami wave washed over Voyager while it collided with dense interstellar plasma, beyond the boundaries of the heliopause. Yet what has been particularly interesting is that this third tsunami wave, which had been blasted from the Sun approximately a year before it first reached Voyager, seems to be going strong still, propagating outward through interstellar space as measured by the spacecraft’s instruments from February to November of this year, during which time Voyager itself has traveled an additional 400 million kilometers, while currently located at a distance of 130 AU from the Sun.
.
Voyager 1 is headed toward an encounter with the star AC +79 3888, also known as Gliese 445 (seen at the center of the image), which is located 17.6 light-years from Earth. In about 40,000 years, the spacecraft will be closer to this star than our own Sun. Image Credit: Caltech/Palomar
.
While these measurements are quite intriguing, it remains uncertain as to why these shock waves can last so long, or how far they can reach into space before dissipating altogether. “The density of the plasma is higher the farther Voyager goes,” says Stone. “Is that because the interstellar medium is denser as Voyager moves away from the heliosphere, or is it from the shock wave itself? We don’t know yet.” Nevertheless, since Voyager 1 is truly into uncharted territory, every single measurement is bound to be a revelation, allowing scientists to directly probe the physical processes that take place in interstellar space for the first time in human history. “This remarkable event raises questions that will stimulate new studies of the nature of shocks in the interstellar medium,” says Leonard Burlaga, astrophysicist emeritus at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who was involved in the analysis of the new Voyager 1 data.
Even though Voyager 1 has already provided us with many revolutionary insights concerning the interstellar medium, its onboard Plasma Spectrometer, which could have taken direct measurements of the plasma environment of interstellar space, had stopped working following the spacecraft’s encounter with Saturn back in 1980. Fortunately, a similar instrument onboard the twin Voyager 2 spacecraft, which is also on an outward trajectory from the Solar System, is still functioning. Voyager 2, which is still located inside the heliosphere at a current distance of 107 AU from Earth, is expected to follow suit and cross the heliopause sometime within the next 4 to 5 years. When that happens, the spacecraft will be able to provide us with much more detailed observations of the environment of interstellar space. “Most people would have thought the interstellar medium would have been smooth and quiet,” said Dr. Donald Gurnett, a physics professor at the University of Iowa and principal investigator of Voyager’s Plasma Wave instrument, during a press conference at the recent American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, earlier this month. “But these shock waves seem to be more common than we thought.”
We cannot be sure for how long exactly the instruments onboard Voyager 1 and 2 will be able to transmit data back to Earth. Nevertheless, both spacecraft are expected to have enough electrical power to do so until at least the mid-2020s, should their instrumentation remain in good condition. What is certain, however, is that as long as these iconic robotic pioneers remain operational, they will keep making history with new results, as they quietly sail the open seas of interstellar space.
Quelle: AS



Tags: Raumfahrt 

2226 Views

Samstag, 20. Dezember 2014 - 16:30 Uhr

Astronomie - Pferdekopfnebel NGC 2023 in Infrarot-Licht

.

The famous Horsehead nebula of visible-light images (inset) looks quite different when viewed in infrared light, as seen in this newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESO

.

Sometimes a horse of a different color hardly seems to be a horse at all, as, for example, in this newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The famous Horsehead nebula makes a ghostly appearance on the far right side of the image, but is almost unrecognizable in this infrared view. In visible-light images, the nebula has a distinctively dark and dusty horse-shaped silhouette, but when viewed in infrared light, dust becomes transparent and the nebula appears as a wispy arc.
The Horsehead is only one small feature in the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, dominated in the center of this view by the brilliant Flame nebula (NGC 2024). The smaller, glowing cavity falling between the Flame nebula and the Horsehead is called NGC 2023. These regions are about 1,200 light-years away.
The two carved-out cavities of the Flame nebula and NGC 2023 were created by the destructive glare of recently formed massive stars within their confines. They can be seen tracing a spine of glowing dust that runs through the image.
The Flame nebula sits adjacent to the star Alnitak, the westernmost star in Orion's belt, seen here as the bright blue dot near the top of the nebula.
In this infrared image from Spitzer, blue represents light emitted at a wavelength of 3.6-microns, and cyan (blue-green) represents 4.5-microns, both of which come mainly from hot stars. Green represents 8-micron light and red represents 24-micron light. Relatively cooler objects, such as the dust of the nebulae, appear green and red. Some regions along the top and bottom of the image extending beyond Spitzer's observations were filled in using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, which covered similar wavelengths across the whole sky.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Astronomie 

1872 Views

Samstag, 20. Dezember 2014 - 16:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Re-Entry-Video von Innerhalb der NASA-Raumschiff Orion-Kapsel

.

New video recorded during NASA’s Orion return through Earth’s atmosphere provides viewers a taste of what the vehicle endured as it returned through Earth’s atmosphere during its Dec. 5 flight test.
Image Credit: NASA:
-
New video recorded during the return of NASA’s Orion through Earth’s atmosphere this month provides a taste of the intense conditions the spacecraft and the astronauts it carries will endure when they return from deep space destinations on the journey to Mars.
Among the first data to be removed from Orion following its uncrewed Dec. 5 flight test was video recorded through windows in Orion’s crew module. Although much of the video was transmitted down to Earth and shown in real time on NASA Television, it was not available in its entirety. Also, the blackout caused by the superheated plasma surrounding the vehicle as it endured the peak temperatures of its descent prevented downlink of any information at that key point. However, the cameras were able to record the view and now the public can have an up-close look at the extreme environment a spacecraft experiences as it travels back through Earth's environment from beyond low-Earth orbit.
The video begins 10 minutes before Orion's 11:29 a.m. EST splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, just as the spacecraft was beginning to experience Earth's atmosphere. Peak heating from the friction caused by the atmosphere rubbing against Orion's heat shield comes less than two minutes later, and the footage shows the plasma created by the interaction change from white to yellow to lavender to magenta as the temperature increases.
As Orion emerges safely on the other side of its trial by fire, the camera continues to record the deployment of the series of parachutes that slowed it to a safe 20 mph for landing and the final splash as Orion touched down on Earth.
Orion was then retrieved by a combined NASA, U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin team and carried back to shore aboard the Navy's USS Anchorage. After returning to shore, it was loaded on to a truck and driven back to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it arrived on Thursday.
Orion traveled 3,600 miles above Earth on its 4.5-hour flight test – farther than any spacecraft built for humans has been in more than 40 years. In coming back from that distance, it also traveled faster and experienced hotter temperatures – 20,000 mph and near 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact. Orion will travel faster and experience even higher temperatures on future missions, when it returns from greater distances, but this altitude allowed engineers to perform a good checkout of Orion's critical systems – in particular its heat shield.
Orion's flight test was a critical step on NASA's journey to Mars. Work already has begun on the next Orion capsule, which will launch for the first time on top of NASA's new Space Launch System rocket and travel to a distant retrograde orbit around the moon.
.
NASA's Orion spacecraft is viewed by members of the media at the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Orion made the 8-day, 2,700 mile overland trip back to Kennedy from Naval Base San Diego in California. Analysis of date obtained during its two-orbit, four-and-a-half hour mission Dec. 5 will provide engineers detailed information on how the spacecraft fared. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program led the recovery, offload and transportation efforts.
Image Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
.
NASA's Orion spacecraft arrived back in Florida on Dec. 18, 2014. The spacecraft flew on its first test on Dec. 5, 2014.
.
Quelle: NASA


Tags: Raumfahrt 

2132 Views

Samstag, 20. Dezember 2014 - 15:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - 13 Starts auf Startliste von ULA für 2015

.

Navigation satellites, communications spacecraft, classified missions, NASA science projects and the Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship destined for the International Space Station are on the United Launch Alliance manifest for the new year.
It is a 13-launch schedule, featuring 9 Atlas 5 rockets, three Delta 4 vehicles and one Delta 2. Ten of the launches will originate for Cape Canaveral in Florida and three from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
This year should see ULA meet and surpass 100 missions since formation in 2006. The tally currently stands at 91. There will also be the 200th Atlas-Centaur launch on the next mission.
Jan. 20 @ Cape Canaveral: The third Mobile User Objective System communications satellite for the U.S. Navy will be launched aboard an all-powerful Atlas 5-551 configuration with five strap-on solid rockets. The mobile cellphone system will be comprised of four geosynchronous satellites and a spare when completed.
Jan. 29 @ Vandenberg: The year’s sole Delta 2 rocket launch will put up NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite, an innovated environmental mission that will map the moisture content on land across the globe.
March 12 @ Cape Canaveral: An Atlas 5 rocket will boost four identical craft into Earth orbit to study magnetic field explosions in space. Together, the quartet is NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, or MMS. The spacecraft will fly in a tetrahedron formation, coming within 6 miles of each other, while looping around Earth to image “magnetic reconnections” or explosions in the magnetic field.
March @ Cape Canaveral: The year’s first Global Positioning System replacement launch for the navigation network will occur using a Delta 4 rocket. The GPS 2F-9 bird will signal the final quarter of the Block 2F fleet to take flight.
April 15 @ Vandenberg: The National Reconnaissance Office will use a Delta 4 rocket to carry out the NROL-45 mission. The NRO is the secretive government agency responsible for flying the country’s spy satellites. This will be the first of two NRO launches from California in 2015.
May @ Cape Canaveral: The next flight of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is planned for the mini Air Force space shuttle, boosted by an Atlas 5 rocket. After three successful missions in orbit and pinpoint landings, the orbiter returns to space for another classified flight.
June @ Cape Canaveral: The launchings of navigation replacement spacecraft now switches to the Atlas 5 rocket with the GPS 2F-10 satellite. The Block 2F series forms the backbone of the GPS constellation for the next 15 years.
July @ Cape Canaveral: A familiar pairing of the Delta 4 rocket with the Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellite for the U.S. Air Force will take flight with WGS 7. The craft form the new military communications system to provide blanket coverage over virtually the entire planet for troops, ships, drones and civilian leaders.
August @ Cape Canaveral: The fourth of the four primary MUOS satellites will be launched for the U.S. Navy aboard an Atlas 5 rocket. The Mobile User Objective System is made up of sophisticated spacecraft that creates a mobile communications network that will span the globe.
August @ Vandenberg: The year’s second of two NRO launches will use an Atlas 5 rocket from the West Coast. The National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-55 mission is another clandestine satellite deployment flight.
September @ Cape Canaveral: The penultimate craft in the Boeing-built Global Positioning System Block 2F navigation satellite series will ride another Atlas 5 into orbit and become the GPS 2F-11 bird. The new GPS satellite launches ensures the constellation remains healthy and robust.
4th quarter @ Cape Canaveral: As a gap filler for the grounded Orbital Sciences Antares rocket, the company has contracted with Atlas 5 to launch a Cygnus commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The ship will carry food, spare parts and experiments to the orbital laboratory complex.
4th quarter @ Cape Canaveral: The Morelos 3 communications satellite, owned by the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation, will launch on an Atlas 5 rocket. The commercial mission will use the rocket’s 421 configuration, with a four-meter payload fairing, two solid rocket boosters, and a single RL10 engine on the Centaur stage. Also known as Mexsat 2, the craft will be positioned in geostationary orbit over the equator at 116.8 degrees west longitude for a 15-year service life.
.
Quelle: SN

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1959 Views

Samstag, 20. Dezember 2014 - 10:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Strela Rakete aus einem unterirdischen Raketensilo am Freitag von Weltraumbahnhof Baikonur in Kasachstan

.

A Strela rocket soars from an underground missile silo Friday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. View more launch photos below the story. Credit: Roscosmos
.
A Strela rocket carrying a Russian-built radar surveillance satellite built for an undisclosed foreign customer sprung out of an underground silo in Kazakhstan and fired into orbit Friday.
The Kondor E spacecraft will look down on Earth, peering through clouds to collect high-resolution imagery around the clock, according to NPO Mashinostroyenia, the satellite’s Moscow-based manufacturer.
The 115-ton Strela launcher — a modified Soviet-era SS-19 ballistic missile — blasted out of an underground launch tube at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0443 GMT Friday (11:43 p.m. EST), the Russian Federal Space Agency said in a press statement.
Roscosmos declared the launch successful in a posting on its website.
“At the appointed time, the spacecraft cleanly separated from the booster stage and (was) transferred to the control of the customer,” Roscosmos said.
Tracking data from the U.S. Air Force’s Space Surveillance Network indicated the Strela rocket placed the Kondor E spacecraft into orbit approximately 300 miles above Earth. The orbit is inclined at an angle of 74.7 degrees to the equator, according to publicly available tracking information.
The launch was delayed one day for technical reasons, according to Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency.
Russian news reports said the satellite was built for a foreign customer, but Russian officials did not specify the end user of the spacecraft.
.
Artist’s concept of a Kondor E satellite in orbit. Credit: NPO Mashinostroyenia
.
Speculation on the satellite’s owner has focused on South Africa.
South Africa’s News 24 website reported Friday that the country’s opposition party — the Democratic Alliance — has pushed the government for answers on a secretive intelligence program named Project Flute.
The Democratic Alliance claims South Africa has a $120 million contract with NPO Mashinostroyenia, maker of the Kondor E satellite and the Strela missile, according to a report by News 24.
The report said South African Defense Secretary Sam Gulube testified in October that a South African military satellite project was on contract and on track to launch, without offering additional details.
The Kondor E satellite carries a synthetic aperture radar payload with a deployable web-like antenna. The radar can gather views of Earth in night and day, according to a fact sheet on the spacecraft posted on NPO Mashinostroyenia’s website.
The spacecraft weighs up to 1,150 kilograms, or 2,535 pounds. NPO Mashinostroyenia says the Kondor E satellite’s radar instrument has a best resolution of between 1 and 2 meters — 3.3 feet to 6.5 feet — in spotlight mode. It can take wider views at lower resolution.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Fotos: Roscosmos
Quelle: SN

Tags: Raumfahrt 

2197 Views


Weitere 10 Nachrichten nachladen...