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What’s Wrong with Earth’s Magnetic Field? – The South Atlantic Anomaly

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  Strange things are happening in space but the cause is right below our feet. The earth’s core is changing and the magnetic poles could possibly flip in the not too distant future. We are just discovering a whole new hidden weather system in the earth molten core that has direct effects on the magnetic field which in turn will have a major effect on our future technological development. But all is not lost, we can work our way out of this but time is of the essence because we don’t know just when things are going to get tricky.

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How do spacecraft navigate in space ?

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How does a space probe like Voyager 2, which was launched in 1977, visit the 4 outer planets and travel over 17 billion kilometres over 40 years with almost next to nothing in the way of fuel. By the time Voyager 2 had reached Neptune, it had swung by Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, travelled 7 billion kilometres and was still within 100km of it’s target and all with mid 1970’s technology. In the movies space craft just seem to fly to where ever they want and get there in no time at all but in our version of reality its …

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Animal Astronauts – The Space Races Unwitting Pioneers

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Everyone remembers Yuri Gagarin the first man in space but before his famous flight, there had been many more living space pioneers who didn’t really have any choice about being strapped into an experimental rocket. Animal Astronauts – The Space Race’s Unwitting Pioneers The tidal wave of propaganda generated by Sputnik 1 had been unpredictable but it had been especially positive for Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He summoned Sergei Korolev, boss of the Soviet space programme, and told him to make sure a second satellite was launched in time to mark the anniversary of the October Revolution of November 7th, 1917, …

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How Did NASA Lose a Mars Space Probe Because of Maths?

In Science, space, Videos by Paul Shillito2 Comments

For all the knowledge of the thousands of scientists and engineers in the space industry, sometimes the old adage “The best-laid plans of mice and men” can equally be applied to their efforts. This was certainly the case on the Mars Climate Orbiter mission of 1999 and this would go down in space history as one of the biggest facepalms to date. If you’re an avid comment reader, you may have seen comments on my videos about why I tend to use both Imperial and metric units, instead of just metric and the simple answer is that many people in …

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Interview with ESA Astronaut Luca Parmitano

In people, Science, space, Videos by Paul ShillitoLeave a Comment

In this episode, I Interview with ESA Astronaut Luca Parmitano whilst he was at Star City, Zvyozdny gorodok Звёздный городо́к in Russia about his work with ESA on the ISS (International Space Station) and various aspects of his views about space and working in it and how and why he became an astronaut amongst other things. If you want to jump to questions & sections of the interview by time stamp below you will need to go to the Youtube page as these dont link to the video about and are there for information only. 00:16 Intro 02:03 What made …

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How Australia Helped Save Apollo 13

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When you mention the words “Apollo” and “NASA” most people will immediately think of America, that big U.. S.. A.. on the side of the Saturn V rockets at take off is an awe inspiring sight and a great piece of national branding but success in Space requires a global effort: the International Space Station is only the latest example of the coordinated ingenuity of nations working together to get things done off the planet. The problem with space craft is that they don’t stay above the launch area, they orbit the earth about 16 times a day and the …

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The TV camera’s Apollo left on the Moon

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This is the Apollo 17 Lunar Module, and the moment when Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt, the last men to stand on the Moon’s surface left to return to earth… but if no one else is there, who’s operating the camera as it pans up and follows the ascent module? The view is actually from a video camera mounted on the Lunar Rover, which remains on the moon to this day. Remotely operated by ground control via the large high gain antenna on the rover itself, the shot was meticulously planned, and timed to account for the 1.2-second delay in …

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Will space junk end our modern way of life ? – The Kessler Syndrome

In Aerospace, Rockets, Science, space, Videos, Weapons by Paul Shillito3 Comments

Space aint what it used to be, mainly because just like here on the earth, we are slowly filling the most important part just above us, with junk. After sixty years of space travel, flight debris, or space junk, has accumulated around the Earth, to the point that it’s becoming dangerous. With the amount of junk in orbit expected to triple within the next fifteen years, experts are beginning to take the problem very seriously indeed. Because if they don’t, a theory known as the Kessler Syndrome suggests that the space around Earth could soon become so clogged up with …

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XB-70 Valkyrie – The Worlds Fastest Bomber

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“That’s not a plane, it’s a 3 plane formation” that’s what General Curtis LeMay said of the plans for the WS-110 supersonic replacement for the B-52 back in 1954. Back in the early 1950s, the B-52 was USAF’s main nuclear delivery platform but with the increasing sophistication of the Soviet defences, a new supersonic nuclear bomber was called for which would stretch the limits of the technology to beyond what was thought possible just a few years before. The plane that would emerge from the WS-110 design process was the XB-70 Valkyrie. It would be one of the biggest in …

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Nuclear powered trains, planes and automobiles

In planes, Science, Technology, Travel, Videos by Paul Shillito1 Comment

To quote L.P Hartleys 1953 book “The GoBetween”, “The past is a different country, they do things differently there”. That’s definitely something that could be applied our attitude to the newly discovered atomic power in the late 1940’s and 50s. Within just a few years after the first atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan, it seemed as though the atom would the cure all our all our energy needs with power “too cheap to meter” as was once quoted. Whilst ships and submarines of the leading navies went nuclear, companies put forward ideas for atomic powered planes, trains and …