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The TV camera’s Apollo left on the Moon

In Science, space, Videos by Paul ShillitoLeave a Comment

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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Interview with Ex IBM-NASA Kenneth Roberts talking about Saturn V, Skylab, Spacelab and the Shuttle

In people, space, Videos by Paul ShillitoLeave a Comment

In this episode, I talk with Ex IBM and NASA contractor Kenneth Roberts who worked on the Saturn V, Skylab, Spacelab, the space shuttle and also helped train the crews and astronauts to understand and use the custom made flight and operational computer systems. This was a result of the request to talk to people who worked or still do work in the space/aerospace industry and I would like the thank Tennis Smith for setting up the interview and suggesting it in the first place. If you know someone that worked in the space industry and think they would like …

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Secret Soviet Lunar Rovers and Extra Terrestrial Cars

In Aerospace, Extraterrestrial, space, Technology, Travel, Videos by Paul ShillitoLeave a Comment

For the last 50 years or so we have been using wheeled robots and vehicles to explore other worlds from secret Soviet lunar rovers to the first lunar car to the latest Mars Rovers, we owe a lot to our extra-terrestrial wheeled helpers. NASA recently released new concept art for ‘the Mars 2020 rover’. The robotic lab is shown in action in its potential landing sites on Mars: currently, three locations are being considered, and a final decision will be made in 2018 or 2019. If the images look like something you’ve seen before, it’s because the new rover is the …

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Robonauts or Men – Which Will Step Foot on Mars First ?

In Aerospace, computers, robotics, space, Technology, Videos by Paul Shillito1 Comment

Mars will probably be the next giant leap for mankind – but it’s not certain that the feet that step onto it will belong to a man or woman. The development of the robonaut, humanoid robots to go to Mars in our place, is well underway. Some experts say they’re cheaper, safer and more effective than sending humans to the red planet. So will a living, breathing person ever set foot on Mars? It was difficult enough getting to the moon, 239,000 miles, or 385,000 kilometres away from Earth. That’s nothing, compared to the 34 million mile, or 55 million …

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Salyut 7 – The forgotten rescue of a dead space station

In Aerospace, space, Videos by Paul ShillitoLeave a Comment

In 1985 one of the most audacious space rescue missions was launched by the Soviets to recover a space station that had been dead for months due to an unknown fault. A feat that was unparalleled in space exploration and rewrote the books on what was thought possible: and yet, its story has fallen into obscurity and conspiracy theories. In 1979, the Soviet Union was a superpower in search of a space station. ‘Mir’, the state-of-the-art orbital facility in development, was delayed and still six years from launch. But the military space station, ‘Almaz’, had also recently been cancelled, without …

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Did Reagan’s Real Star Wars Bankrupt the Soviet Union ?

In Rockets, space, Videos, Weapons by Paul ShillitoLeave a Comment

In the 1980’s science fact and science fiction looked as if they might become one when the American President Ronald Reagan announced the ‘Strategic Defence Initiative’ or ‘Star Wars’ missile defence system. The program was designed to break the nuclear deadlock between the US and Soviets and move beyond the threat of M.A.D. or Mutual Assured Destruction. But did the nuclear physicist Edward Teller over-sell the idea to Ronald Reagan and only tell him what he wanted to hear? Even as the world reacted to America’s new defence plan, Teller’s theories remained decades away from forming a working weapon. So …

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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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What Happened on the Moon Before Apollo ?

In Rockets, space, Technology, Videos by Paul Shillito2 Comments

The Apollo landings from 1969 to 1972 marked a high point in lunar exploration but Apollo didn’t just rock up on to the moon out of the blue, it took many, many missions by probes and landers over the preceding years to establish if we could send men to the moon and get them back. It’s quite strange to think that even by the late 1950’s, just over 10 years before Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface we knew surprisingly little about the moon other than what we could observe from the earth and the hypotheses we drew from …

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X-15 The Ultimate Flying Machine

In Aerospace, planes, Rockets, space, Technology, Videos by Paul ShillitoLeave a Comment

“It was the ultimate flying machine, No aeroplane can live up to what the X-15 did.” That’s what retired test pilot and astronaut Joe Engle said of the first real space plane and 50 years after its record-breaking flight of 3rd October 1967 when USAF test pilot William J. Knight achieved a top speed of MACH 6.72, 4519 mph or 7273 km/h, It’s still the fastest manned powered aircraft. And if you thought the SR71 blackbird was the fastest jet, then you absolutely correct because the X-15 wasn’t a jet, it was rocket powered single seater aircraft which looked a …

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Will We Ever Find and Understand Extraterrestrial Messages ?

In Extraterrestrial, space, Technology, Videos by Paul ShillitoLeave a Comment

We have been searching for signs of extra-terrestrial life for the last 50+ years, and so far we have found no evidence of anything beyond our planet. But what are we searching for?. We are framed by our own human expectations, our current technology and understanding of the universe and the physics that we believe make it. In other words, we are looking for what we might expect other beings like us, might send and use technology that we know about. The first problem is that if we got a signal or message from ET, could we understand it. Would …