Monthly Archives: March 2018

Another successful launch for China today

China successfully completed its tenth launch for 2018 today, placing three Landsat-type Earth observation satellites into orbit with its Long March 4C rocket.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

10 China
6 SpaceX
4 Russia
3 Japan
3 ULA

There have now been 29 launches in the year’s first three months, suggesting a pace that will give us about 120 launches total for the year, the most launches since the 1980s. Then, the Soviet Union was putting up a lot of rockets it could not afford and were not really practical. Now, we have some real competition and profits being made putting up satellites that fill a need. The numbers should only get higher in the coming years.

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A detailed look at Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launcher (NGL)

Link here. Based on the solid rocket technology developed for the shuttle and then for Ares, they hope to make the first launch in 2021, and actually do two flights that year to get certified by the Air Force so that they can bid on military launch contracts.

Development money for this rocket has come mostly from the Air Force, not from private funds raised by Orbital ATK. It also seems to me that it has taken far longer to get it built than it should if they really wanted to get a rocket up and running to compete for business. Moreover, they expect the Air Force to certify them after only two launches, while it took SpaceX a lawsuit and far more launches to get the same certification.

Thus, all told there is a bit of crony capitalism involved here. NGL might turn out to be a good deal, in the long run, but forgive me if I reserve my opinion.

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Tiangong-1 reentry update

Aerospace Corporation has now narrowed the reentry window for China’s out-of-control Tiangong-1 station to 18 hours, centered at 12:15 pm (Eastern) on April 1st.

In my previous update I had misread their prediction, cutting the window in half by mistake. This new window means the spacecraft is predicted to come down anytime between 3:15 am (Eastern) and 9:15 pm (Eastern) on April 1st.

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NOAA bureaucracy shuts down SpaceX telecast because stupid

Government marches on! The NOAA bureaucracy forced SpaceX to shut down its launch telecast this morning because agency bureaucrats had decided that views of Earth in the background were the equivalent of a satellite remote sensing system that the agency is required to regulate.

It was definitely an issue with NOAA, the rocket company said. Apparently NOAA recently asserted that cameras on the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which SpaceX uses for engineering purposes, qualify as a remote sensing system, which are subject to NOAA’s regulation. A provisional license obtained by SpaceX for Friday’s launch of the Iridium-5 mission required it to end views once the second stage reached orbit.

This raises some questions about the real purpose behind NOAA’s action, as the regulation specifically exempts “small, hand-held cameras.” SpaceX intends to obtain a full license for such camera views, and as of now there is apparently no restriction in place for SpaceX’s next launch of a NASA cargo ship from Florida, happening as early as Monday.

One theory put forth is that some bureaucrats at NOAA might not have liked the good press that SpaceX got when it broadcast views of the Tesla in space, launched by the Falcon Heavy, and wanted to exert their petty power. This might not be true. What is true is that this interference by NOAA in SpaceX operations is beyond stupid.

But then, why should be expect anything different from our present federal government?

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Trump Justice Dept decides to defend IRS harassment of conservatives

Still working for the Democratic Party: In a new twist, the Trump Justice Department has decided to backtrack from a settlement with one conservative group, True the Vote, that had been harassed aggressively not only by the IRS but by the FBI, Justice, OSHA, ATF, and numerous other agencies that during the Obama administration suddenly instituted 23 audits against them.

By the beginning of 2018, the DOJ appeared ready to strike a deal. The IRS agreed to a laundry list of wrongdoing, legal protection from further abuse, and they would allow True the Vote to petition for attorney fees for the years this mess was tied up in courts. Engelbrecht and True the Vote agreed and signed the decree. Now, though, the happy headlines have faded and the DOJ has reversed the course and filed a response to the court opposing the True the Vote petition. DOJ denies admitting to anything, stated the consent decree shows that conservative groups had, in fact, lost in court and that in their view the IRS had won. The settlements meant nothing, and not one dime of attorney fees would be awarded.

DOJ now claims that the IRS was right to fight True the Vote. Engelbrecht notes, “The Trump administration is defending the IRS targeting American citizens.” It’s like the Obama DOJ is back in the saddle. True the Vote’s battle continues.

The short embedded video from True the Vote below the fold summarizes the situation, and illustrates that the Trump administration appears no different than the Obama administration. No house cleaning has taken place, and it appears that no house cleaning is planned. The abuse of citizens by these agencies continues.
» Read more

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ESA successfully completes first parachute test for 2020 ExoMars mission

Early in March the European Space Agency successfully completed the first of a series of parachute tests for its 2020 ExoMars rover mission.

The focus of the latest test, conducted in sub-zero conditions in Kiruna, Sweden earlier this month, was the 35 m-diameter second main parachute. The test demonstrated the deployment and inflation of the parachute with its 112 lines connected to a drop test vehicle, via the deployment of a smaller 4.8 m-wide pilot chute.

This test only tested the parachutes deployment system. They still need to do this test at high altitudes to duplicate Mars’ conditions using high-altitude balloons.

When ExoMars reaches Mars, the parachute will act to slow the spacecraft down during descent. For the actual landing, they will be using systems designed and built by the Russians.

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FCC approves SpaceX 4K+ satellite constellation with strict new requirements

Capitalism in space: The FCC today approved SpaceX proposed gigantic 4,425 Starlink satellite constellation, designed to provide internet access worldwide, while also imposing a deadline for its launch and requiring the company to provide detailed de-orbit plans.

SpaceX will have to launch at least half of its constellation of Ku- and Ka-band satellites within six years of today, per the agency’s recently revised rules, or its authorization freezes at the number of satellites in operation at that date. The FCC in September relaxed its deadline, giving operators nine years to launch their full constellation, but even those rules are stricter than what SpaceX would refer. The launch-provider-turned-satellite operator asked the FCC for an okay to launch 1,600 satellites in six years — just over a third of its full constellation.

SpaceX said the FCC’s deadline was “impractical” and that it could start broadband service without the full constellation. The FCC said no, but gave SpaceX permission to re-submit a waiver request in the future. SpaceX said in October it plans to start service with 800 to 900 satellites.

SpaceX’s constellation is the largest of all the applicants, generating concern about its potential to enshroud the Earth in a cloud of space debris. Fleet operators OneWeb, Spire, SES and Space Norway all expressed concern about how SpaceX will protect the space environment when operating so many satellites. But weighing more heavily with the FCC was NASA, which said a constellation as large as SpaceX’s likely needs to meet more stringent standards than what NASA recommends for de-orbit reliability. NASA’s reliability standard is that at least 90 percent of satellites can deorbit properly after their mission is complete.

The FCC did say that SpaceX will have the right in the future to request a waiver on the launch deadline.

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Blue Origin changes engines for New Glenn second stage

Capitalism in space: In order to maintain its goal of launch its orbital New Glenn rocket by 2020, Blue Origin has changed the engine it will use in the rocket’s second stage from a version of its main BE-4 engine to new version of their already developed BE-3 engine, used in their reusable New Shepard suborbital spacecraft.

A Blue Origin executive told SpaceNews the company is shelving development of a vacuum-optimized version of BE-4 and will instead use vacuum-optimized versions of flight-proven BE-3 engines for New Glenn’s second stage and optional third stage. “We’ve already flown BE-3s, and we were already in the development program for BE-3U as the third stage for New Glenn,” said Clay Mowry, Blue Origin’s vice president of sales, marketing and customer experience. “It made a lot of sense for us to switch to an architecture where we get there faster for first flight.”

The BE-3U is the upper stage variant of the liquid hydrogen-fueled BE-3 engine that has powered Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard spacecraft on seven suborbital test flights since its 2015 debut. Mowry said switching to the BE-3U for New Glenn’s second stage will allow Blue Origin to conduct the rocket’s first launch in the fourth quarter of 2020. He declined to say how much time the engine change saves compared to the original configuration.

This quiet change, which the company made with no fanfare, carries with it some significant information as well as important ramifications. First, the BE-3 engine is less powerful than the planned BE-4, which is why they will use two BE-3 engines in the second stage instead of one BE-4, while also extending the length of the stage to accommodate more fuel. Though they claim the change will increase the rocket’s range, I suspect however that even with these changes New Glenn’s overall orbital payload capacity will be reduced.

Second, the change indicates that development of the BE-4 engine is proceeding slower than expected, threatening their 2020 launch goal. They have had one test failure that set them back, and the change suggests to me that they are having issues with making the engine restartable.

Third, if they have problems making the BE-4 engines restartable, this means their plans to reuse the first stage of New Glenn will be impacted. While those first stage engines do not need to restart on any single flight, reusing them requires this capability.

Fourth, problems with the BE-4 might cause ULA to reject it and choose Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR-1 engine for its new Vulcan rocket. Up to now ULA has indicated it prefers the BE-4. These issues might change that.

Fifth, this change, combined with the continuing lack of New Shepard test flights, suggests that the company is increasingly considering abandoning this suborbital spacecraft.

I am doing a lot of speculating here, and could be very wrong on many if not all of these suppositions. We shall have to wait and see.

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World View launches first balloon flight since explosion, raises $26.5 million

Capitalism in space: World View today launched its first Stratollite balloon flight since one exploded on December 19 as it was being prepared for launch.

The flight was commissioned by the NASA Flight Opportunities program office for two principal customers, the NASA Ames Research Center and Space Environment Technologies, both of which are studying radiation detection and its energy levels at different altitudes. The balloon vehicle is expected to gather data and stay aloft for less than 24 hours, depending on winds and landing conditions, a World View spokesman said.

More important, the company announced that it had raised $26.5 million in investment capital. All told, it is estimated that the company has raised $48.5 million in three rounds of fund-raising.

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SpaceX successfully launches ten Iridium satellites into orbit

Capitalism in space: SpaceX this morning successfully placed ten Iridium satellites into orbit using its Falcon 9 rocket.

They did maneuver and landing tests with the first stage, which was making its second flight, but did not try to recover it. They did attempt to catch one half of the rocket’s fairing with their fast-moving ship and its giant net. No word yet on whether that attempt worked. Fairing recovery failed. See comments below.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

9 China
6 SpaceX
4 Russia
3 Japan
3 ULA
2 Europe
2 India

The U.S. and China remain tied at nine for the lead in the national rankings.

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The massive data Facebook and Google collect on their users

Link here. The article is frightening, and illustrates once again why I have nothing to do with Facebook, and as little to do with Google as I can. (I wish someone would come up with a competitor to youtube. There’s money to be made there!)

What was especially disturbing was this tidbit about Google that the author discovered:

This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my résumé, my monthly budget, and all the code, files and websites I’ve ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails. [emphasis in original]

In other words, if you use Google to store any documents, no matter how private, they keep those documents even if you decide to delete them. Or to put it another way, Google steals them. Worse, the author also found that Google was keeping every email he’d ever sent or been sent to him, “including the ones [he] deleted or were categorised as spam.” [emphasis mine]

These corporations have compiled databases that can be misused very easily, and I expect someone in their company to do so, repeatedly. Worse, their users seem oblivious to the personal vulnerability that these databases create, and continue to nonchalantly use both Google and Facebook without thought.

I recognize that both companies provide services and need to make money by doing so. I just think they have overstepped the bounds of morality in how they compile and use the information they obtain.

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Sessions names US attorney to investigate FISA abuses

Attorney General Jeff Sessions today informed Congress that he has tasked United States Attorney John W. Huber, based in Utah, to investigate the possible misuse of the FISA court by the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and the FBI during and after the presidential campaign.

From Sessions’ letter to Congress:

Mr. Huber is conducting his work from outside the Washington, DC. area and in cooperation with the Inspector General. …I am confident that Mr. Huber’s review will include a full, complete, and objective evaluation of these matters in a manner that is consistent with the law and the facts.

I receive regular updates from Mr. Huber and upon the conclusion of his review, will receive his recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.

Huber is an Obama appointee, but appears to have avoided participating in partisan games. This will make it harder for Democrats to blast him should he recommend a special prosecutor is necessary. Meanwhile, some Republicans are complaining about Sessions’ decision to hold off appointing a special prosecutor, but I think this decision is smart. Huber will be under Sessions’ supervision and command. A special counsel would be uncontrollable (witness Mueller and every past special prosecutor). Considering the corrupt culture that now permeates Washington, keeping some control over this investigation to me seems wise.

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China successfully launches two GPS satellites

China’s Long March 3B rocket today successfully launched two GPS satellites.

The launch occurred much earlier today, but China kept quiet about it until much later, when they knew the satellites had finally reached their correct orbits.

This was the third successfully launch today. The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

9 China
5 SpaceX
4 Russia
3 Japan
3 ULA
2 Europe
2 India

These standings will change even more in the next few days. China has another launch scheduled for the weekend, and SpaceX has one tomorrow and another on Monday.

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Russia launches test smallsat on Soyuz rocket

Russia today successfully launched a test smallsat on a Soyuz rocket.

No information has been released about the test payload, but the link above speculates it is a new lightweight remote sensing design.

This is the second of three launches scheduled for today. China is next, and soon.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings, for the moment:

8 China
5 SpaceX
4 Russia
3 Japan
3 ULA
2 Europe
2 India

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Further launch delays for Russia’s next ISS module & space telescope

The race to be last! Russia today announced that the launch of both its next ISS module as well as a new space telescope will be delayed until 2019.

The ISS module, Nauka, is years behind schedule, and is presently being cleaned of contamination in its fuel system that was found several years ago.

“Repairs of the MLM Nauka are taking longer than expected, and the deadlines are yet unclear. This means it will not be brought to Baikonur any time soon, and the launch will be postponed until 2019,” the source said.

It was reported earlier that the mission would be delayed for six months. “The delivery of the MLM Nauka to the Baikonur cosmodrome has been moved from September to late 2018. Hence, the module’s launch to the ISS has been provisionally delayed for another six months,” the source said. The launch was scheduled for September 2018 with the possible alternative date in March 2019.

The article also notes delays for Spekr-RG high-energy space telescope until 2019. The article might also describe delays for another satellite, though the writing is unclear.

Nauka was first built in the 1990s as a backup for ISS’s first module. In the early 2000s Russia decided to reconfigure it and fly it to ISS, with its launch scheduled for 2007. This means its launch is now going to be twelve years behind schedule.

It sure does appear that Russia’s Roscosmos is competing with NASA to see which government agency can delay its missions the longest. In fact, for fun, let’s put together the standings!

  • Nauka: 12 years behind schedule (originally scheduled for 2007, now 2019)
  • James Webb Space Telescope: 9 years behind schedule (originally scheduled for 2011, now 2020)
  • SLS/Orion: 8 years behind schedule (originally scheduled for 2015, now 2023)

Stay tuned. This race to the bottom is far from over. NASA could still win, especially because it has more than one project in the running.

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India’s GSLV rocket successfully launches military communications satellite

India today successfully launched a military communications satellite using the Mark II version of its large GSLV rocket, the rocket’s fourth successful launch in a row.

Using a combination of liquid and solid-fuelled stages, the GSLV was designed to place communications satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbits. To this end, GSLV has increased performance over the smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), from which it is derived.

GSLV’s first stage consists of a solid-fuelled core, with four radially-mounted liquid-fuelled strap-ons. The strap-ons are part of the first stage, and do not separate from the core. GSLV’s second stage, which is closely related to PSLV’s second stage, burns hypergolic liquid propellants, while the rocket’s third stage uses cryogenic fuel.

…The Mark II, which has a stretched third stage with an Indian engine, first flew in April 2010 but its new engine failed to ignite. The first successful Mk.II launch took place in January 2014. India also has a GSLV Mk.III. However, this is a completely new rocket that reached orbit for the first time last year. Excluding the Mk.III, Thursday’s launch was GSLV’s twelfth flight. In its previous eleven launches, GSLV has recorded six successes, four failures and one partial failure….GSLV’s current run of four consecutive successful launches is the longest that the rocket has achieved.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

8 China
5 SpaceX
3 Japan
3 ULA
3 Russia
2 Europe
2 India

Both Russia and China have scheduled launches for today, with SpaceX having a launch scheduled for tomorrow, so expect these standings to be updated a lot in the next 24 hours.

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Tiangong-1 re-entry window narrowed further

New calculations have narrowed the reentry window for Tiangong-1 to sixteen thirty-six hours, centered at 6:30 am (Eastern) on April 1.

This means reentry could come anytime during the 11 or so orbits from 10:30 pm (Eastern) on Saturday March 31 to 4:30 pm (Eastern) on Sunday April 1.

This post was incorrect, as the estimate was really 32 hours centered on 6:30 am (Eastern on April 1st, not 16. See my more recent post with an update.

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March 27, 2018 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

Embedded below the fold in two parts. The first part of this podcast is definitely worth listening to. I go after NASA for both SLS and Webb, which seem to be projects in a competition to see who can last the longest without accomplishing anything. Both are now creeping towards project length’s exceeding two decades, and neither is close to flying.
» Read more

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Justice Dept inspector general to review FISA abuses

Progress? Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz announced today that he has initiated a full review of the suspected FISA abuses that took place at both the FBI and the Justice Department that allowed the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign during the election, and were subsequently used to initiate the Mueller special counsel investigation.

The Office of the Inspector General released a statement Wednesday outlining the start of the review. “The OIG will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” the statement obtained by Fox News read. “As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source.”

The OIG statement added that Horowitz also would “review the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications.” The statement continued, “If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.”

It must be noted that Horowitz was appointed by Obama. It must also be noted that this review leaves many of the highest officials of both the FBI and Justice very exposed, considered what we know now about how they misused the FISA courts.

The bottom line remains: until someone from the Democratic Party, the Obama administration, or their allies in the administrative state actually get charged with a crime, they will be getting off scot-free, and will continue to pose a threat to the American democratic process and future elections.

One positive sign today: Justice Dept. charges Minnesota FBI agent for leaking secret document to news outlet This story suggests that Sessions might be serious about tracking down those in his department that are leaking classified information to the press.

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Hubble finds galaxy with no evidence of dark matter

The uncertainty of science: Using the Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have discovered a nearby galaxy that apparently has little or no evidence of dark matter.

The unique galaxy, called NGC 1052-DF2, contains at most 1/400th the amount of dark matter that astronomers had expected. The galaxy is as large as our Milky Way, but it had escaped attention because it contains only 1/200th the number of stars. Given the object’s large size and faint appearance, astronomers classify NGC 1052-DF2 as an ultra-diffuse galaxy. A 2015 survey of the Coma galaxy cluster showed these large, faint objects to be surprisingly common.

But none of the ultra-diffuse galaxies discovered so far have been found to be lacking in dark matter. So even among this unusual class of galaxy, NGC 1052-DF2 is an oddball.

Van Dokkum and his team spotted the galaxy with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, a custom-built telescope in New Mexico they designed to find these ghostly galaxies. They then used the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii to measure the motions of 10 giant groupings of stars called globular clusters in the galaxy. Keck revealed that the globular clusters were moving at relatively low speeds, less than 23,000 miles per hour. Stars and clusters in the outskirts of galaxies containing dark matter move at least three times faster. From those measurements, the team calculated the galaxy’s mass. “If there is any dark matter at all, it’s very little,” van Dokkum explained. “The stars in the galaxy can account for all the mass, and there doesn’t seem to be any room for dark matter.”

The galaxy is unusual in many other ways.

The Hubble images also revealed the galaxy’s unusual appearance. “I spent an hour just staring at the Hubble image,” van Dokkum recalled. “It’s so rare, particularly these days after so many years of Hubble, that you get an image of something and you say, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’ This thing is astonishing: a gigantic blob that you can look through. It’s so sparse that you see all of the galaxies behind it. It is literally a see-through galaxy.”

The ghostly galaxy doesn’t have a noticeable central region, or even spiral arms and a disk, typical features of a spiral galaxy. But it doesn’t look like an elliptical galaxy, either. The galaxy also shows no evidence that it houses a central black hole. Based on the colors of its globular clusters, the galaxy is about 10 billion years old. Even the globular clusters are oddballs: they are twice as large as typical stellar groupings seen in other galaxies.

The bottom line here is that we have only circumstantial evidence that dark matter exists, based solely on the fact that in all other measured galaxies, the outer stars rotate much faster than they should. That rotation speed however does not guarantee the existence of dark matter, only that something is causing the fast rotation. And the lack thereof in this galaxy puts a big crimp in the theory that dark matter exists, since the theories that posit its existence almost require it to be present in every galaxy.

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The James Webb Telescope: a signpost for identifying fake news sources

The news yesterday that NASA will once again have to delay the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope due to a variety of technical issues and management errors not only exemplified the fundamental failure of the federal government, it also illustrated the routine failures of today’s mainstream press.

First, Webb’s new delay epitomizes the systemic incompetence of Washington. Despite being 13 years behind schedule and costing eight times more than originally planned, NASA and its contractors still couldn’t get things right.

Most of the problems have occurred with the spacecraft half of the project, which was built by Northrop Grumman in California and is undergoing testing there. During the teleconference, NASA officials, including acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot, expanded upon technical problems first reported publicly by the agency’s inspector general last month.

These include leaky valves within the spacecraft’s propulsion system and difficulties encountered during deployment tests of the sun shield. Not only did the thin, five-layer sun shield snag during the deployment, but technicians also found seven tears up to 10cm long within the material. NASA and Northrop Grumman have identified fixes for these problems, but their repair has added months of delays to the project, and engineers cannot be sure that more issues will not crop up during further testing.

Such failures, in NASA and in all big federal projects in recent years, are hardly news. Only the willfully blind or those who support wasting tax dollars to distribute pork will deny they exist.

The failures of the federal government however is not the focus of this essay. Instead, the announcement yesterday and the coverage of it by the press provides us a perfect and very obvious signpost for differentiating between the fake news sources that are generally unreliable or too often allow their biases to influence their reporting, and those sources that do a good job.

That signpost is one simple fact: Webb is not a replacement or successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, despite NASA making this false claim for decades. Hubble is an optical telescope. Webb will view the universe in the infrared. These are too entirely different things.

Yet, too many news sources today repeated NASA’s false claim, illustrating how little they know about both telescopes and their design, while revealing their complete inability to do some basic journalistic research. Instead they merely rewrite old press releases, and thus prove clearly by their bad reporting why so many people have so little respect for the modern press.

The worst examples made this false claim right in the headline:
» Read more

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Tiangong-1 reentry window narrowed to 24 hours centered on April 1st

Tiangong-1 landing possibilities

The reentry window for Tiangong-1 has now been narrowed to 24 hours, centered on April 1st. It is still too soon, however, to determine where it will land. The map on the right shows the likeliest regions in yellow, the next likeliest in green, and areas with no chance of impact in blue.

The focus so far has been on where the surviving pieces of Tiangong-1 might land. The summary at the link notes that it also will provide an interesting fireworks display.

It may be possible to see Tiangong-1 reentering depending on your location, the time of day, and visibility during reentry which will not be known until a few days prior to the event…. Visibly incandescent objects from this reentry will likely last tens of seconds (up to a minute or more) in contrast with the vast majority of natural meteors which last mere seconds.

…Depending on the time of day and cloud visibility, the reentry may appear as multiple bright streaks moving across the sky in the same direction. Due to the relatively large size of the object, it is expected that there will be many pieces reentering together, some of which may survive reentry and land on the Earth’s surface.

The spacecraft does carry toxic hydrazine fuel, so if by some miracle a piece falls near you don’t touch it.

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First commercial crew flights still set for 2018 with chance of delay

NASA’s manager of the commercial crew program provided an update to the agency’s advisory board on Monday, noting that both SpaceX and Boeing are making good progress to their scheduled first flights late this year.

The bottom line however is that there is a good chance the flights will slip into 2019, though based on the update it appears to me that the flights will not slip that much beyond that.

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Evergreen State College suspends new dorm construction due to drop in enrollment

You reap what you sow: Evergreen State College has suspended construction of a new dorm because enrollment at the radical leftist college has plunged.

Evergreen State College is still paying the price for allowing far-left students to run rampant on campus last spring. Friday the Olympian reported that the school had decided to put off plans for a $42 million replacement dormitory out of concern that declining enrollment could make it difficult to handle the new debt. In fact, it wasn’t just Bridges who recommended putting this off, it was the bonding company that would raise the money.

And why have they made this decision?

Last fall Evergreen’s enrollment dropped by about 200 students or 5 percent. That drop was partly responsible for a $2.1 million budget deficit which necessitated a hiring freeze at the school. At the time, the school was rather optimistically predicting the downturn for the following year would be smaller. However, last month President Bridges predicted enrollment for 2018 could drop by as many as 700 students or 18.5 percent.

The attendance drop will continue as long as the college’s administration continues to deny the existence of the school’s racist and leftist politically correct culture.

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Webb telescope delayed again to 2020

NASA has announced that it is once again delaying the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, from 2019 to 2020.

The observatory was supposed to fly this year. But last fall, NASA bumped the launch to 2019. NASA announced the latest delay on Tuesday. “We have one shot to get this right before going into space,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator of science. He said some mistakes were made while preparing the telescope, and NASA underestimated the scale of the job. [emphasis mine]

None of this is a surprise. Webb is more pork than science. It was originally budgeted at $1 billion, with a planned launch in 2011. It will now cost more than $9 billion, and be delayed almost a decade. Since the project began in the early 2000s, by the time it launches it will have been in development for almost two decades, which is almost a lifetime career for some people.

And note, the article includes the lie that Webb is “a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.” It is not. Hubble is an optical telescope. Webb will only look in the infrared. These are very different things.

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