XB-70 Valkyrie - The Worlds Fastest Bomber

XB-70 Valkyrie – The Worlds Fastest Bomber

Admin planes, Science, Technology 0 Comments

“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 …

Nuclear powered Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Nuclear powered trains, planes and automobiles

Admin planes, Science, Technology, Travel 1 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 …

Nasa's Million Dollar Space Pen vs The Soviet Pencils

Nasa’s Million Dollar Space Pen vs The Soviet Pencils

Admin Science, space 0 Comments

The story of the NASA’s million $ space pen and the soviet pencils has become one of the enduring tales  from the space race which still floats around the internet today and goes a bit like this. During the 1960’s as NASA was sending the first men in the space, they realise that pens don’t work in zero gravity, so they spent years and millions of tax payer dollars to develop one that did. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union, the cosmonauts simply used pencils. The moral of the story to many is that NASA was a wasteful government organisation that would …

How did the Apollo flight computers get men to the moon and back

How did the Apollo flight computers get men to the moon and back ?

Admin computers, Science, space 2 Comments

There is much speculation by some, as to how the flight computer aboard the Apollo missions managed to get men to the moon when it had just a tiny fraction of the computing power of something like a modern smartphone. But this is quite misleading as there was not one solitary computer controlling the Apollo craft, there were 4 computers and no fancy touch screens, GUI’s or other things in a typical computer of today to waste resources on. The first of the 4 computers was the Saturn Launch Vehicle Digital Computer or LVDC, this got the rocket from the …

What if Apollo had crashed on the Moon ?

What if Apollo had crashed on the Moon ?

Admin accidents, Science, space 2 Comments

For all of the celebrations surrounding the first manned lunar landing of Apollo 11 in 1969, what is forgotten today is just how close they and the other Apollo missions flew to the edge of disaster. Apollo 11 came within seconds of aborting the landing because they had over shot the landing area and were running low on fuel. This was only one of several issues with the Apollo missions that arose that could have led to the loss of the mission and crew, though as it turned out only Apollo 13 came close to this happening. This excludes the …