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Harrier low pass

26 November 2018

Harrier on a NATO naval exercise—NATO image

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Disasters in Space: Tragic Stories From the US–Soviet Space Race

18 November 2018

Disasters in Space: Tragic Stories From the US–Soviet Space Race, Hermann Woydt, 2018, ISBN 978-0-7643-5617-9144 pp.

Disasters in Space: Tragic Stories From the US–Soviet Space Race by
Hermann Woydt

Author Hermann Woydt has given historians a empty niche filling work. He addresses, throughly yet concisely, the human cost of space exploration to date—a question left unanswered until this welcome arrival of Disasters In Space. Most readers will recall a lethally catastrophic event here or there but Woydt’s work gives readers a view from on high as well as close up yielding a deep understanding of space exploration’s human dimension.

Disaster brings forth deep emotion which is often expressed through art and Hermann Woydt is sensitive to this with his understated, though powerful, opening images of NASA’s black granite Space Mirror Memorial and of the soaring Monument to the Conquerers of Space located in Moscow.

Woydt’s description of these historic, and headlining events, is clear and easy to read. His research into the detail of each disaster is refreshing and thorough. This is no cursory or  vicarious book. This book is a work worthy of any library concerned with the specialties of aerospace’s history or exploration’s history in general. Decisions made which ended in unintentional death are explained in the context of the time as well as their resultant corrective measures. There is much to learn and see within this handily sized book. We learn, for example how the unintended simultaneous detonations of only two explosive bolts, not in sequence as intended, caused the deaths of three cosmonauts. Deep knowledge comes from Woydt’s understanding why the decision was made to have three cosmonaut’s in the Soyuz capsule which began the chain of purposeful decisions leading to the loss of three fine souls. Woydt equally tends to the Challenger as well as Columbia disasters with this same deep understanding. The chapter on Spaceplane SpaceShip 2 is incredibly timely as space exploration become increasingly privatized. We learn that, though the crash is chiefly attributed to pilot error, there were design decisions which directly fomented the co-pilot’s crash inducing error.

There is much in between as the near disasters in the Gemini and Apollo programs attest.

Woydt may have a wry sense of humor as there are 13 events, each having its own chapter, in Disasters in Space. Or is it coincidence? Regardless, it shows the author’s talent. This book is as important for the historical descriptions as it is for the painful lessons learned as humankind found its way into space.

Hornet at Mach

18 November 2018

An F/A-18F Super Hornet breaking the sound barrier on a fly past—U.S. Navy/ Mass Comm Spec Seaman Michael A. Colemanberry

The magic of a fast mover just at Mach 1 with the rapid and continuing condensation of water vapor behind the compression of the shock wave where the pressure rapidly drops. At times there are multiples—just aft of the cockpit canopy for example.

An F/A-18F Super Hornet breaking the sound barrier during a fly past—U.S. Navy/ Mass Comm Specialist 3rd Class Spencer Roberts

A Hurry, a Lanc and a Spit

17 November 2018

From the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) in the skies above Lincolnshire is the Hawker Hurricane LF363, lettered GN-F on the port side to represent the aircraft flown by Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC as well as Bar AFC AE LdH. SD-A is lettered on the starboard side to represent Paul Farnes DFM aircraft during the Battle of Britain. The Avro Lancaster PA474 wearing 460 Squadron (RAAF)’s AR-L on her portside and 50 Squadron VN-T on her starboard side (note the Hurricane pilot’s concentration while flying formation with the Lanc) —© Crown Copyright 2014/Cpl Phil Major

From the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) in the skies above Lincolnshire is the Hawker Hurricane LF363, lettered GN-F on the port side to represent the aircraft flown by Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC as well as Bar AFC AE LdH. SD-A is lettered on the starboard side to represent Paul Farnes DFM aircraft during the Battle of Britain. The Avro Lancaster PA474 wearing 460 Squadron (RAAF)’s AR-L on her portside and 50 Squadron VN-T on her starboard side—© Crown Copyright 2014/Cpl Phil Major

From the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) in the skies above Lincolnshire is the Hawker Hurricane LF363, lettered GN-F on the port side to represent the aircraft flown by Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC as well as Bar AFC AE LdH. SD-A is lettered on the starboard side to represent Paul Farnes DFM aircraft during the Battle of Britain. The Avro Lancaster PA474 wearing 460 Squadron (RAAF)’s AR-L on her portside and 50 Squadron VN-T on her starboard side. ‘MK’ has been painted in a desert camouflage to represent Spitfire Mk IX EN 152/QJ-3 of 92 Squadron based in Tunisia during 1943—© Crown Copyright 2014/Cpl Phil Major

From the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) in the skies above Lincolnshire is the Hawker Hurricane LF363, lettered GN-F on the port side to represent the aircraft flown by Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC as well as Bar AFC AE LdH. SD-A is lettered on the starboard side to represent Paul Farnes DFM aircraft during the Battle of Britain. The Avro Lancaster PA474 wearing 460 Squadron (RAAF)’s AR-L on her portside and 50 Squadron VN-T on her starboard side—© Crown Copyright 2014/Cpl Phil Major

 

Veterans Day 2018

11 November 2018

Marines with Marines Barracks Washington perform a 21-gun salute while taps play in honor of the lives lost by fellow Marines and service members—USMC image

The U.S. Marine Corps Ceremonial Guard Company marching on parade—Department of Defense photo/ by EJ Hersom

Airbus Beluga XL

4 November 2018

Missiles—Now and Then

31 October 2018

NOW: A Tomahawk cruise missile launches from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) during a live-fire exercise—U.S. Navy/Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class William Collins III

THEN: Gorgon missile underneath the wing of a Northrop P-61 Black Widow—NASA image