VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The U.S. Air Force’s first
unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base at
1:16 a.m. PST today.
The X-37B, named Orbital Test Vehicle 1 (OTV-1), conducted on-orbit
experiments for more than 220 days during its maiden voyage. It fired
its orbital maneuver engine in low-earth orbit to perform an
autonomous reentry before landing.
The X-37B is the newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft. Managed
by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (AFRCO), the X-37B program
performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations
development for reusable space vehicle technologies.
“Today’s landing culminates a successful mission based on close
teamwork between the 30th Space Wing, Boeing and the Air Force Rapid
Capabilities Office,” said Lt Col Troy Giese, X-37B program manager
from the AFRCO. “We are very pleased that the program completed all
the on-orbit objectives for the first mission.”
OTV-1’s de-orbit and landing mark the transition from the on-orbit
demonstration phase to a refurbishment phase for the program.
The Air Force is preparing to launch the next X-37B, OTV-2, in Spring
2011 aboard an Atlas V booster.
When my boys were very young, I made a treasure chest from a cheap toolbox, placed an electronic lock in it (AT90S1200) and sent them on a treasure hunt, solving clues and ultimately opening the chest to get their pirate booty, a pair of N64 games. Over the years that chest has been used on many such hunts, created by myself or the boys.
Fast forward over 10 years later and I felt it was time for a new chest, one that would run the treasure hunt itself, playing videos, sound effects, and even hand out paper clues. The typical scenario would start with the chest playing a video clue on the iTouch, which would send the treasure hunters off looking for more clues and eventually get a key. Returning to the chest they would insert the key which would signal the chest that they completed that scenario and it’s time to start the next one, which could be another video, or dispensing a paper clue or map. Once the last scenario was completed the chest would release the big spring loaded trunk latch and the treasure hunters could reap the reward of what ever was inside waiting for them.
This is a pretty amazing project and the documentation is top notch. Thanks for telling me about this Kelly! Once you have seen the chest writeup go have a look at his robots, the man is a master of ingenuity and creativity. I’m proud to say that my robots have had their tin cans kicked by his ‘bots a number of times. Treasure Chest
Yarr… The idea of placing a file server in orbit around Earth sounds cool but the practicality of it verges on the crazy insane. Anyway, a server that is on orbit my be exempt from international law but the ground stations that serve it are not. I suppose you could put a satellite up/down link on someplace like Sealand and worry about feeding data to and from that. It’s still not going to solve the problem of hosting data that countries don’t want being hosted.
This week, Pirate Parties worldwide started brainstorming about a similarly ambitious plan. Instead of founding their own nation, they want to shoot a torrent site into orbit.
What do you get when you take two cheap-o LCD key chain picture frames and add it to an classic kids 3D picture disc viewer? You get something magical… No, not really but you do get a hand held 3D image viewer that you can load up with your favorite stereo pairs. Continue reading “Digital View-Master”
The name says it all. Atomic Annihilation, what a more fitting title for a page dedicated to the art of the atomic age. See the atomic powered bombers, the ‘duck and cover’ posters, downwind fallout projections, the very missiles that were to rain vaporizing death in the event of the balloon going up. This is a wonderful collection of cold war inspired artwork and photography that has played a vital role in shaping the very way we think and speak. Enjoy the trip to the past and hope that it truly is behind us.