Sonntag, 19. Januar 2014 - 18:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Bristol PhD Student bei Mars Crew 134 Experiment


Bristol PhD student to lead team to experience 'life on Mars'

Ashley Dale, a PhD student at the University of Bristol, will lead a team of seven experts to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah’s high-altitude terrain this Saturday [18 January].

For two weeks Ashley and his team will be part of a simulated experiment to replicate life on Mars.  Their physical and psychological responses to the conditions and food supplies will be studied to help prepare astronauts for future missions to the red planet.

The crew will live together in a small Habitat Module, with limited electricity, food, oxygen and water.

The specialist team will carry out research into a myriad of ground breaking technologies that will eventually be used in real space programmes, including those developed at NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

They will be working on everything from quantifying neurological responses with prototype head-mounted EEGs, to tele-robotic rover field-testing, to development of protocols in tele-surgery studies with a group at the Concordia base in Antarctica, to field-testing of hardware for oxygen and hydrogen extraction from soil.

All outdoor exploration and fieldwork will be conducted wearing a new generation of analogue spacesuits with air supply packs and the researchers will also test ultrasonic spacesuit gloves, which feed information to the user’s fingers to give a sense of texture and temperature, allowing better awareness of the environment around them.

At 25, Ashley is the youngest member of the team. He said: “I began organising this expedition in late 2011. The learning curve and ramp up in my responsibilities was steep, especially when doing an unrelated PhD, but I feel I’ve gained much from this already.

“The coming weeks will be the culmination of over a year of effort. I have pulled together an elite team with an all-encompassing background. I am excited. This will be an intense and productive experience.”

Ashley is joined by two University of Bristol PhD students, Michaela Musilova and Sue Ann Seah who are specialists in astrobiology and spacesuit design engineering, as well as Ewan Reid, crew engineer, Vibha Srivastava, crew scientist and Dr Susan Jewell, crew executive and health and safety officer.

The MDRS has hosted a multitude of researchers, scientists and engineers in the past, but Ashley’s team has two members unique to their mission - Kai Staats, a science documentary film maker and a 2ft tall humanoid robot.

Kai will generate over 100 hours of footage during the expedition. The robot is programmed to recognise voices, can text speech and can move in response to human actions. It is the latest prototype of the NAO robot, and will be used to conduct human-robot interaction studies.



Aldebaran NAO Robot to Join Mars Astronaut Training Crew


Bristol University, U.K. – Wednesday, January 15, 2014 – MarsCrew134 will enter the Mars Society Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) January 18 for a two week, total immersion science mission. Joining the seven person human crew will be one Aldebaran NAO humanoid robot.

MarsCrew134 is the 134th crew to work within the MDRS “analog” (simulation environment) in more than a decade of research at this site. This research facility reproduces conditions similar to that of the planet Mars in that the crew is isolated from other humans, reliant upon limited resources, and is limited by a narrow bandwidth to the outside world, an applied forty minute time delay in all communications.

What’s more, the relatively low, temperatures in the winter, Utah desert help invoke a sense of isolation for the crew who will not leave the habitat (a simulated landing module) without a full spacesuit for the duration of their Mission.

A wide variety of real-world research will be conducted during this mission, the results of which assist both public and private sector organizations in preparation for the first human exploration of the Red planet.

Some of the scientific experiments include extracting moisture from the soil for the production of hydrogen based fuels, searching for particular kinds of microorganisms near the habitat, and use of the Aldebaran NAO robot in a various interaction studies with Crew members, including yoga routines and assisting with a simulated, tele-surgery operation.

“As leader of humanoid robotics, Aldebaran is very proud to see increased awareness of near-future humanoid robots as daily companions. It is exciting to see how NAO will interact with MarsCrew134 in these conditions. We’re looking forward to receiving feedback from the team as to how their fellow NAO crew member affects their Mission.” says Eric Stevenson, VP Sales and Marketing for Aldebaran Robotics USA

NAO is Aldebaran’s successful, fully-programmable and interactive humanoid robot equipped with state-of-the-art motion, vision, tactile and audio capabilities. NAO can walk on different surfaces, track and recognize faces or objects, express and understand emotions, react to touch and communicate by voice.

With more than 4,500 units sold worldwide, NAO is the most widely-used humanoid robot in the fields of education and research. Through its interactive and autonomous capabilities, NAO is widely used in human / robot interactions, in both research and real-world environments.

Dr. Susan Jewell, M.D., Executive Officer and Medical Officer for MarsCrew134 states, “In our relatively short, two week mission, we will use the NAO to lay the foundation for longer-term, human / robot interactions studies. As the fastest trip to Mars will be no less than eight months duration, one-way, something like the NAO will be a valuable companion for the few-in-number, human crews. We hope to consider the NAO as our eighth crew member by the time we return from a simulated Mars.”

Aldebaran’s partner RobotsLAB trained MarsCrew134 for this Mission, paving the way for another important step toward near-future robot companionship. A small step for NAO but a big step for robotics.

“We thoroughly enjoyed training MarsCrew134 to program NAO for use during their upcoming mission,” said Elad Inbar, CEO of RobotsLAB. “Sometimes science fiction gets it right–it’s likely that when humans arrive to Mars, a robot will be there with them. This is therefore an important experiment, whether NAO is used to study the latest in Human Robot Interaction theories, to act as an assistant during surgery, or simply to demonstrate a yoga pose to help the crew relaxed.”

Ewan Reid, Roboticist and Crew Engineer for MarsCrew134 offers “While synthetic human companions in the workplace and education are not yet capable of emotion and human-like interaction, the Aldebaran NAO comes the closest of all consumer products on the market. It’s level of autonomy and interaction is astounding, far from what was available only a few years ago. We look forward to having one on-board.”

Aldebaran Robotics and MarsCrew134 see this initial use of the NAO robot in a Mars analog as the first step toward a near-future series of research projects in which humans and synthetic companions work together for an improve living and working environment in otherwise harsh, off-world conditions.

To follow the NAO its seven human companions on a simulated planet Mars, visit

About Aldebaran Robotics
Founded in 2005 by Bruno Maisonnier and now established in France, the US and China, ALDEBARAN ROBOTICS designs, produces and sells humanoid robots in order to contribute to the betterment of humankind. There are currently over 4,500 NAO robots operating in schools and universities in over 70 countries worldwide for education and research. ALDEBARAN ROBOTICS has a team of 400 people, 40% of whom are engineers and doctors, involved in developing and producing its robots.

Quelle: University of Bristol

Tags: MarsCrew134 


Sonntag, 19. Januar 2014 - 15:45 Uhr

Astronomie - "Super-Erden" verfügen möglicherweise über Ozeane & Kontinente


Finding habitable, Earth-like planets is a Holy Grail of astrobiology. But so far the hunt has been something of a boon and bust.

'Super-Earths'--rocky planets slightly larger than our own--are particularly common outside our Solar System. Some have even been found in the habitable zone--the area around a star where a planet could have liquid water on its surface.

But because of their size, scientists have assumed that super-Earths should be water worlds. Their massive gravity would flatten their topography, letting oceans overflow their basins and inundate the planet.

Now a new study by Nicolas Cowan, at Northwestern University, and Dorian Abbot, at the University of Chicago, suggests this may not be the case.

"We often imagine that the water will end up at the surface--at least that's the standard picture for exoplanets," Cowan said. "But on Earth, the water is partitioned between two reservoirs: the ocean and the mantle. That interior reservoir can be comparable in size, if not bigger, than the surface reservoir."

In their new model, Norman and Abbot took into account the fact that seafloor pressure and gravity are related. “These massive planets have enormous seafloor pressure, and this force pushes water into the mantle,” Cowan said in a statement. “We can put 80 times more water on a super-Earth and still have its surface look like Earth.”

"There's also a simple mechanism for moving the water from the surface to the interior--plate tectonics," Conan said. Most tectonically active planets—regardless of mass—will have both oceans and exposed continents, the authors concluded. Their paper will be published on Jan. 20 in The Astrophysical Journal.

The exposed continents play a crucial role in maintaining a stable climate. Together with the presence of water, they act as a sort of long range geochemical thermostat.

This process is tied to a deep carbon cycle, Cowan explained, which moves carbon through our planet much like a conveyer belt. Here's how it works. Volcanoes release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas which warms the planet. But the hotter the planet, the more rainfall you get. That CO2-loaded rain then chemically reacts with the surface, creating carbonate rocks. That chemical process pulls the CO2 out of the atmosphere, cooling down the planet. And with plate tectonic, the carbonate rocks eventually make it back into the mantle, closing the carbon loop.

"Somehow our Earth has maintained a relatively stable climate, even though our sun gets 10% brighter every billion years," Cowan said. "This weathering thermostat is our best guess for how this happens."

On fully flooded water worlds, this process could not occur--which is why Cowan and Abbot's new model suggests that super-Earths, with potentially exposed land, may be more habitable than previously thought.

However, the study has two major caveats. First, super-Earths may not have plate tectonics; and second, we don't know how much water is stored in our Earth's mantle. "There may be about one ocean worth of water in the mantle, but that's a very rough guess," Cowan said.

“These are the two things we would like to know better to improve our model,” he said. “Our model is a shot from the hip, but it’s an important step in advancing how we think about super-Earths.”

Our Earth may store about one ocean worth of water in its mantle. Image Credit: University of Maryland



Sonntag, 19. Januar 2014 - 12:10 Uhr

Astronomie - Spanische Forscher entdecken Schwarzes Loch welches einen Be-Typ-Stern umkreist


Animation of the system MWC 656. The Be star spins at extremely high speed, ejecting matter through an equatorial disc. Part of this matter falls on to the black hole forming an accretion disc. Animation: Gabriel Pérez - SMM (IAC). On the photo, UB researchers, Marc Ribó and Josep M. Paredes, who have participated in the research.


Spanish scientists have discovered the first binary system ever known to consist of a black hole and a ‘spinning’ star —or more accurately, a Be-type star. Although predicted by theory, none had previously been found. The observations that led to the discovery were performed with the Liverpool and Mercator telescopes at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (Canary Islands, Spain). The discovery is published today in Nature.

Be-type stars are quite common across the Universe. In our Galaxy alone more than 80 of them are known in binary systems together with neutron stars. “Their distinctive property is their strong centrifugal force: they rotate very fast, close to their break-up speed. It is like they were cosmic spinning tops” says Jorge Casares from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and La Laguna University (ULL). Casares is the lead author and an expert in stellar-mass black holes (he presented the first solid proof of their existence back in 1992).

The newly discovered black hole orbits the Be star known as MWC 656, located in the constellation Lacerta (the Lizard) —8,500 light years from Earth. The Be star rotates so fast that its surface speed exceeds 1 million kilometres per hour. “We started studying this star back in 2010, when space telescopes detected transient gamma-ray emission coming from its direction”, explains Marc Ribó, from the Institute for Sciences of the Cosmos of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB/IEEC-UB). “No more gamma-ray emission has subsequently been detected, but we found that the star was part of a binary system”, he adds.

A detailed analysis of its spectrum allowed scientists to infer the characteristics of its companion. “It turned out to be an object with a mass between 3.8 and 6.9 solar masses. An object like that, invisible to telescopes and with such large mass, can only be a black hole, because no neutron star with more than three solar masses can exist”, states Ignasi Ribas, CSIC researcher at the Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC).

The black hole orbits the Be star and is fed by matter ejected from the latter. “The high rotation speed of the Be star causes matter to be ejected into an equatorial disc. This matter is attracted by the black hole and falls on to it, forming another disc —called an accretion disc”. “By studying the emission from the accretion disc we could analyse the motion of the black hole and measure its mass”, comments Ignacio Negueruela, researcher at the University of Alicante (UA).

Scientists believe this object to be a nearby member of a hidden population of Be stars paired with black holes. “We think these systems are much more common than previously thought, but they are difficult to detect because their black holes are fed from gas ejected by Be stars without producing much radiation, in a ‘silent’ way”, Casares highlights. Experts hope to detect other similar binary systems in the Milky Way and other nearby galaxies by using bigger telescopes, such as the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC).

Also participating in the study with Jorge Casares, Ignacio Negueruela, Marc Ribó and Ignasi Ribas are Josep M. Paredes, from the Institute for Scinces of the Cosmos of the University of Barcelona (ICC/IECC-UB), and Artemio Herrero and Sergio Simón, both from IAC and ULL. ICCUB and ICE researchers are also members of the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC).

UB researchers, Marc Ribó and Josep M. Paredes, belong to the Group High Energy Astrophysics (HEAUB); their activity is focused on gamma-rays sources in the Milky Way. They are experts on multi-wavelength observations and theoretical modelling. Their research has been published on prestigious journals, for instance they published an article on Science in 2000 that won Josep M. Paredes, ICREA Academia awardee and leader of the group, the City of Barcelona Award for scientific research. Both researchers are members of the international collaboration MAGIC and the project Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) to build the next generation very high energy gamma-ray instrument. Ribó is the main research of the project at UB.


Black holes, an ongoing challenge

The detection of black holes has been a challenge since their existence was first surmised by John Michell and Pierre Laplace in the 18th century. Given that they are invisible —their enormous gravitational force prevents light from escaping—, telescopes cannot detect them. However, black holes can occasionally trigger high energy radiation from the environment surrounding them and can thus be traced by X-ray satellites. This is the case with active black holes, fed by matter transferred from a nearby star. If violent X-ray emission is detected from a place where nothing but a normal star is seen, a black hole might be hiding there.

Thanks to this method, researchers have discovered 55 potential black holes over the last 50 years. Seventeen of them have what astronomers call a ‘dynamic confirmation’: the feeding star has been localised, allowing for the mass of its invisible companion to be measured. If it is above three solar masses, then it is considered to be a black hole.

The biggest problem is put forth by ‘dormant’ black holes, such as the one found by the Spanish researchers: “Their X-ray emission is almost absent, so it is very unlikely that our attention would be drawn to them”, Casares explains. Researchers believe there are thousands of black hole binary systems across the Milky Way, some of them also with Be-type stellar companions.

Quelle: Universitat de Barcelona


Samstag, 18. Januar 2014 - 23:20 Uhr

Raumfahrt - SpaceX-Dragon-Kapsel-Teste vor Start zur ISS


Die bevorstehende Produkteinführung eines SpaceX Raumfahrzeugs in Form der Dragon-Kapsel und der Träger-Rakete Falcon-9 zu einem Demonstrationsflug zur internationalen Weltraumstation ISS steht kurz bevor, welches ein weiterer Meilenstein zur kommerziellen Raumfahrt darstellt. " Ist fast wie der Weg damals zu Apollo, sagt mein Verstand, " so Mike Horkachuck, NASA' s-Projekthauptleiter für SpaceX. " Wir hatten Mercury, dann Gemini und schließlich hatten wir Apollo. Mit Dragon ist die Richtung ähnlich, noch geht es nicht zum Mond oder anderem Spektakulären, aber wir sind bei den Anfängen unseres Handelns. Dies kann unsere Mercury sein, aus der sich schließlich Space-Crews transportieren und zu langfristigen Passagierflügen führen."

Fotos: SpaceX/NASA








Update: 18.01.2014


NASA Commercial Crew Partner SpaceX Tests Dragon Parachute System


An Erickson Sky Crane helicopter returns the SpaceX Dragon test article to Morro Bay, Cailf., following a drop test to evaluate the spacecraft's parachute deployment system. The test was part of a milestone under its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability agreement with NASA's Commercial Crew Progra
Image Credit: 
NASA/Kim Shiflett

Engineers and safety specialists from NASA and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) gathered in Morro Bay, Calif., in late December to demonstrate how the company's Dragon spacecraft's parachute system would function in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during ascent.

The test was part of an optional milestone under NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative and approved by the agency in August. Through the Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX is one of NASA's commercial partners working to develop a new generation of U.S. spacecraft and rockets capable of transporting humans to and from low-Earth orbit from American soil. NASA intends to use such commercial systems to fly U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The 12,000-pound test craft was lifted 8,000 feet above sea level by an Erickson Sky Crane helicopter and flown over the Pacific Ocean. Following Dragon's release, two drogue parachutes were released from the top of the spacecraft to slow its decent, before the three main parachutes deployed. The craft splashed down and was quickly recovered by the Sky Crane and carried back to shore.

"The parachute test is essential for the commercial crew effort because it helps us better understand how SpaceX's system performs as it safely returns crew," said Jon Cowart, NASA Partner Integration deputy manager working with SpaceX. "Like all of our partners, SpaceX continues to provide innovative solutions based on NASA's lessons learned that could make spaceflight safer."

During a normal spacecraft landing, the parachutes will be aided by the Dragon’s SuperDraco thrusters to provide a soft controlled landing. This redundancy on both the parachutes and thrusters is designed to ensure safe landings for crews.

"SpaceX is working diligently to make the Dragon spacecraft the safest vehicle ever flown," said Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX. "The parachute system is an integral part of Dragon’s ability to provide a safe landing for nominal and abort conditions -- with this successful test we are well-positioned to execute a full end-to-end test of the launch escape system later this year."

The parachute test puts SpaceX a step closer to launch abort system tests. The company currently is manufacturing the spacecraft and rocket to be used for these flight tests.

SpaceX is on track to complete all 15 of its CCiCap milestones in 2014. All of NASA's industry partners, including SpaceX, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.


The SpaceX Dragon test article splashes down following a drop test over the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Morro Bay, Calif.
Image Credit: 
NASA/Kim Shiflett


Quelle: NASA


Tags: SpaceX Tests Dragon 


Samstag, 18. Januar 2014 - 16:47 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ' ... T-9 Minutes and Counting ... ': NASA's First Secret Shuttle Flight


Since the conception of the manned spaceflight engineer programme, the intent was to fly a dedicated officer aboard each classified flight. For Mission 51C, it would be Air Force Major Gary Payton (back left). The other NASA crew members were Loren Shriver (front left) and Ken Mattingly (front right), with Jim Buchli and Ellison Onizuka behind. Photo Credit: NASA


“Miracle” is a term which is often applied to many aspects of the space programme: to Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering flight to the accomplishment of the first manned lunar landing or to the safe return of Apollo 13. But the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery in January 1985 on Mission 51C marked a miracle of another kind. In a sense, it was quite literally miraculous that the orbiter made it into space at all … both metaphorically and literally, as the Challenger accident investigation would later reveal. When astronauts Ken Mattingly, Loren Shriver, Ellison Onizuka, and Jim Buchli were named as the crew of STS-10 in October 1982, they confidently expected to launch aboard Challenger in September of the following year on the first classified mission for the Department of Defense. It would put the shuttle’s advertised ability as a “truck” for the United States’ largest and most sensitive national security sentinels to the ultimate test.

Unfortunately, the mission quickly ran into problems when the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) booster, built by Boeing for the Air Force, failed to properly inject the first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite into geostationary orbit in April 1983. Mattingly’s mission was manifested to use the same type of rocket stage. The flight hung in limbo whilst an investigation board pored over the failure and made recommendations, and Boeing spent a year correcting the problems and recertifying the booster. By November 1983, Mattingly’s flight had been redesignated as Mission 41E and rescheduled for July of the following year, but within a few months it was delayed yet again. When NASA issued an updated manifest in May 1984, it had vanished entirely and Mattingly’s crew were reassigned to 51C, still with Challenger and set for December. “That,” said Loren Shriver, “is when we started to learn that the numerical sequence of the numbers of the missions … didn’t mean a lot.”

For a time, Shriver wondered if he would ever fly, but unlike other missions, payloads were very much interchangeable; they were a DoD crew. “You were kind of linked to it,” he recalled, “as long as there was some thought that it was going to happen, and it never did completely go away. It just went kind of inactive for a while, then came back as 51C.” When he was assigned to the mission, Shriver was not surprised that his crewmates were all active-duty military officers. “I think NASA believed that it didn’t have to do that,” he recalled, “but I think it also believed that things would probably go a lot smoother if they did.”


It became a staple of each Department of Defense mission for a patriotic crew patch, with little indication as to its primary objective. Photo Credit: NASA


Flying a classified mission posed its own problems for Mattingly. Within NASA, he had become familiar with the practice of sharing information, particularly about the shuttle. With a Department of Defense payload, the crew could not publicly discuss the particulars of their flight and the exact details were made available to only a handful of engineers, technicians, and Air Force managers. “I had some apprehension,” Mattingly said, “about could we keep the exchange of information timely and clear in this small community when everybody around us is telling anything they want and we’re keeping these secrets. Security was the challenge of the mission.”

Cipher locks were placed on training materials, “but then you had to give the code to a thousand people, so you could go to work!” They were given a classified meeting room in the astronaut office, a classified safe for their documents … and a classified phone, with an unlisted number. In the entire span of their training time together, the phone rang just once. It was a sales call, asking Mattingly if he wanted to buy a new long-distance service!

The ridiculous levels of secrecy became even more laughable at other times, particularly when the astronauts were obliged to “disguise” the places where they were doing their training. They would file T-38 flight plans to Denver, then file new ones to the San Francisco Bay area, then rent a car to eventually reach their military destination at Sunnyvale in California. They were asked to do their mission training during the daytime and at night, to keep the launch time secret from prying eyes, or anyone who could be bothered to put two and two together, but all this furore never convinced Mattingly than anyone really cared. On one occasion, their office secretary booked motel rooms for them—”secretly,” of course—but the four astronauts, crammed into a decrepit old rental car, with Ellison Onizuka at the wheel, had a surprise when they arrived. Jim Buchli spotted it first.

“Stop here,” he said. “Now, let’s go over this one more time. We made extra stops to make sure that we wouldn’t come here directly … and they can’t trace our flight plan. We didn’t tell our families. We didn’t tell anyone where we were. And we can’t tell anyone who we’re visiting. Look at that.” Four sets of eyes peered over toward their “secret” motel … and beheld an enormous banner, emblazoned with the legend: WELCOME, 51C ASTRONAUTS. “How’s that for security?” chuckled Mattingly.


When the countdown clock began ticking, nine minutes before launch, it must have caught the assembled spectators by surprise. Mission 51C was indeed the quietest human launch ever conducted by NASA, a fact which sat uneasily with Public Affairs staff and public alike. Photo Credit: NASA


When Challenger returned from her previous flight in October 1984, she was scheduled to be relaunched on 8 December for 51C, but inspections revealed that almost 5,000 of the delicate thermal protection tiles had become debonded during re-entry. One tile, located in the vicinity of the left-hand wing chine, had completely separated from the airframe and, although not a catastrophic problem in itself, revealed a far more worrying issue. A vulcaniser material, known as “screed,” used to smooth metal surfaces under tile bonding materials, had softened to such an extent that its “holding” qualities were impaired. Subsequent investigation revealed that repeated injections of a tile waterproofing agent called “sylazane,” coupled with the effects of six high-temperature re-entries, had caused degradation in the bonding material. By the time Challenger flew her next mission, the use of sylazane had been scrapped. In the interim she was reassigned to Mission 51E, scheduled for launch in February 1985, and 51C switched to Discovery with a launch date in late January 1985. Years later, Loren Shriver did not remember any significant mission impact, other than the six-week launch delay, from switching orbiters.

Due to the classified nature of the flight, some Air Force officials did not even want the precise launch date, or even the astronauts’ names, released to the public. Loren Shriver was not alone in his amazement at this excessive insistence on secrecy. “We weren’t going to be able to invite guests for the launch in the beginning,” he told the NASA oral historian. “This is your lifelong dream and ambition. You’re finally an astronaut and you’re going to go fly the Space Shuttle and you can’t invite anybody to come watch …We finally got them talked into letting us invite … 30 people, and then maybe some car-pass guests, who could drive out on the causeway … but trying to decide who, among all of your relatives and your wife’s relatives, are going to be among the 30 who get to come see the launch, well, it’s a career-limiting kind of decision if you make the wrong decision. You have part of the family mad at you for the rest of your life!”

Fortunately, Shriver’s family and most of his wife’s relatives were from Iowa, which was sufficiently distant for many to be unable to make the journey to Florida. Privately, Shriver and his crewmates worried that their inability to discuss the mission openly might compromise their preparedness and the thoroughness of their training. It must have been an unusual sight to behold the 51C stack, sitting on Pad 39A, with only a select number of military and NASA personnel knowing precisely when the launch would take place; in fact, the media had been told to expect liftoff within a three-hour “block” of time, sometime between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. EST on 23 January 1985. Freezing weather conditions kept Discovery on the ground that afternoon, but the situation seemed to have improved marginally by the following day. For the spectators at KSC, the famous countdown clock, which normally ticks away the final minutes and seconds, showed a blank face and all communications between launch controllers and the flight crew were kept quiet. Then, at 2:41 p.m. EST, the blackout suddenly ended with a statement from the launch commentator:

“ … T-9 minutes and counting. The launch events are now being controlled by the ground launch sequencer …

”The remainder of the countdown proceeded normally, and Discovery lifted off at 2:50 p.m. and thundered into the cold blue Florida sky. Ascent was interesting, because communication between the orbiter and Mission Control was kept strictly under wraps, with only the voice of the commentator reading off a string of standard calls pertaining to the performance of the main engines, the fuel cells, the Auxiliary Power Units, and the shuttle’s steadily increasing altitude and velocity. No indication was given as to the precise duration of the mission—one source reported that NASA would reveal this information a mere 16 hours before the scheduled landing—and, with the exception that the classified payload would be deployed later that day, very few other details were released about the flight. Many of the accredited members of the press who were in attendance mocked the “secrecy”; one NBC journalist quipped that “a Russian tourist on a Florida beach, a hundred miles away, could have called the Kremlin with the exact launch time!”


In one of relatively few images ever publicly released from Mission 51C, astronauts Loren Shriver (bottom), Ellison Onizuka (left), and Jim Buchli pose for a photograph in Discovery’s flight deck. Photo Credit: NASA


Today, almost three decades later, 51C remains classified, but rumours have emerged over the years that Discovery’s crew possibly deployed a spacecraft codenamed “Magnum”—a signals intelligence satellite, operated by the National Reconnaissance Office for the CIA—which was boosted into near-geostationary orbit by its IUS. Reports have suggested that the TRW-built Magnum weighed somewhere between 4,800-6,000 pounds (2,200-2,700 kg) and was notable for its physical size, featuring 100 m-wide umbrella-like reflecting dish antennas to collect radio frequency signals from Earth. Aviation Week noted that Discovery entered an orbit of 126 x 322 miles (204 x 519 km), inclined 28.45 degrees to the equator, and executed three engine burns during its first four circuits of the globe. The payload was then deployed during the seventh orbit. Deployment was the responsibility of the entire crew, although this crew was unusual in that it included a unique military expert: Major Gary Eugene Payton of the Air Force, a member of a new cadre of payload specialists, known as manned spaceflight engineers, specifically chosen by the Department of Defense for these classified missions.

From its earliest conception the shuttle was dominated by the ambitions of the Air Force, and an assumption had long been made that the Department of Defense would employ the reusable spacecraft to carry many of its classified payloads. A new launch site was being built at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., for near-polar missions, and efforts also encompassed the design and construction of a dedicated Mission Control, known as the Shuttle Operations and Planning Center (SPOC). However, as the 1970s wore on and military budgets withered under Jimmy Carter’s Democratic administration, the Air Force opted to delay the SPOC in favour of making modifications to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to support its missions. Parallel plans to permanently assign one orbiter (probably Discovery) to military objectives and hire a dedicated Air Force astronaut corps to fly the missions were abandoned, and it was decided to use personnel already detailed to NASA. “The only opportunity for an Air Force program,” wrote space historian Michael Cassutt, “seemed to be in NASA’s new class of payload specialists.” It was Air Force Under-Secretary Hans Mark (later to become Deputy Administrator of NASA under Jim Beggs) who introduced the new manned spaceflight engineer position in January 1979 and assigned responsibility for its development to Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Christian of Los Angeles Space Division. Early guidelines called for candidates to have between three and 10 years’ of active military service, to rank between a first lieutenant and a major, to be able to pass NASA’s required flight physicals, to hold a degree in engineering or science, and to have at least two years’ experience in programme acquisition, test, and launch support, or flight and missile operations. By August, 14 officers had been selected—a dozen from the Air Force and two from the Navy—although two of them declined the invitation and only one was replaced. Consequently, 13 manned spaceflight engineer candidates arrived at Air Force Space Division in El Segundo, Calif., in February 1980, under Christian’s command. Their number included David Vidrine, the naval officer who would later, briefly, be considered for a seat on Mission 41C, as well as Gary Payton and the man who would serve as his 51C backup, Keith Wright.

Their selection was trumpeted by the Air Force as illustrative of the service’s bright future in space, although little interest was shown in NASA’s offer to invite the 13 candidates to Houston for two years of training and evaluation. “At that time,” grumbled one senior officer, “any Air Force guy who went to NASA never came back!” The Air Force’s rejection led the civilian space agency to close ranks, refusing further assistance for the manned spaceflight engineers and insisting that it had neither chosen them, nor was it able to control them.


Commander Ken Mattingly (right) had already announced his retirement from NASA to return to the U.S. Navy by the time Mission 51C took place. By his own admission, only the first shuttle mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base might have encouraged him to stay. A year later, the loss of Challenger sounded the death-knell for shuttle flights from the West Coast. Photo Credit: NASA


“I was naïve enough to believe that the payload side would be treated by NASA the same way the Air Force launch people treated us,” Gary Payton explained later. “In the world I came from, payload requirements would drive the time of day you launched, the time of year; everything. In 1980, NASA was still worried about getting the shuttle to fly, so we were not paid much attention. It was a rude awakening.” Some space agency officials felt that the newcomers should be considered as “engineers,” not “fliers,” and should not participate in any flight-related training until they were formally assigned to a shuttle crew. Frustrations over the excessive secrecy imposed on the Department of Defense missions often boiled over into disputes. Nevertheless, the manned spaceflight engineers proceeded with their duties, working on the development of military payloads, including the Navstar Global Positioning System, the Defense Satellite Communications System, and others, and the group completed training in December 1981. By the late summer of the following, 14 more candidates had been selected, including two women and one black officer, with a broader range of academic credentials, ranging from bioenvironmental research to computer science and weapons engineers to rescue pilots.

In June 1982, several classified payloads were carried into orbit aboard STS-4 and several manned spaceflight engineers were involved in the preparation and execution of this mission. Even so, their relationships with NASA astronauts were poor. Ken Mattingly, who commanded STS-4, described them as “sour.” At around this time, Gary Payton and Keith Wright were announced as payload specialist candidates for the STS-10 mission and a handful of others—Jeff Detroye, Eric Sundberg, Brett Watterson, Frank Casserino, and Daryl Joseph, all from the first MSE group—were assigned to support follow-on flights. Their roles would be to operate military experiments and observe the deployments of classified satellites. In the summer of 1983, Payton was assigned as the prime manned spaceflight engineer on Ken Mattingly’s STS-10 crew.

Some sources have speculated over the years that the inclusion of manned spaceflight engineers was a method of preventing the NASA crew from gaining too much knowledge of the classified payload. For his part, Loren Shriver did not see Payton’s role in this way; he was very much like any other payload specialist, assigned to the crew to complete his own experiments and tasks. “Gary had a specific purpose,” he said, “but I don’t think it was to make sure that we didn’t learn about what the details of the mission were. As a matter of fact, we all got briefed into the mission and we knew exactly what was going on.” Many of their efforts were effectively hamstrung by the failure of the IUS in April 1983, and, although Cassutt has noted that several payloads were “dual-configured” and could be launched by either the shuttle or an expendable Titan booster, it would seem that Magnum was designed specifically for deployment from the orbiter’s payload bay. As a result, it could not be cancelled, only moved to the next available shuttle opportunity. “In any case,” Cassutt wrote, “because of Magnum’s importance, the DoD exercised its launch-on-demand option, pre-empting the next Shuttle-IUS spot on the manifest.” According to the January 1984 manifest, Mission 51C was to have been an IUS flight to deploy the second Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), but by May its slot had been taken by Magnum. The TDRS was moved a couple of months downstream and reassigned to 51E.

If Gary Payton’s role was as an observer of Magnum and the IUS, then responsibility for the actual deployment of the payload fell to Ellison Onizuka—the first Asian-American astronaut, of Japanese-American parentage—and North Dakota-born Jim Buchli. Certainly, the deployment itself went perfectly, for Onizuka would soon be assigned to another IUS deployment flight, Mission 51L, with a TDRS. Onizuka said in a pre-flight interview for 51L that he was “very familiar” and “very comfortable” with the performance of the IUS, strongly suggesting that the earlier problems with the booster had been overcome by the spring of 1985. (Certainly, changes had been implemented in the nozzle design and four successful altitude-chamber firings were performed.)


Discovery touches down at the Kennedy Space Center on 27 January 1985, following the shortest operational flight in the shuttle’s 30-year history. Photo Credit: NASA


To this day, 51C remains the shortest operational flight of the shuttle; when Discovery touched down at KSC at 4:23 pm EST on 27 January, she chalked up a mission of just over three days. It was the final flight for Ken Mattingly, who had already announced his retirement from NASA in July 1984 to return to active duty in the Navy as head of space programmes for the Naval Electronic Systems Command in Virginia. In fact, he took up his new post only two weeks after 51C landed. Years later, Mattingly admitted that only one other mission might have kept him with the civilian space agency. “The only mission that I really thought I could get interested in was the first Vandenberg mission,” he told the NASA oral historian, “and [Bob Crippen] was already doing that, so I decided it was probably best to change assignments.”

It would appear that the Navy originally wanted Mattingly to head up its new Naval Space Command at Dahlgren, Va., but the 51C delays meant that he either had to drop the shuttle flight or lose the assignment. “I wanted to stay and finish the mission,” he said, “because we spent so much time on it and it was a particularly good one for me, because those guys [on the crew] were so good.” In Mattingly’s mind, 51C was really “Loren’s mission,” with Shriver cutting his teeth as a pilot before moving on to command his own shuttle flight. It is interesting that all three NASA members of the crew went on from the closeted world of Department of Defense operations to participate in three of the most dramatic and visible missions of the decade: Buchli would be aboard a joint Spacelab mission with West Germany in October 1985, Shriver would later command the flight to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope … and Onizuka, tragically, would secure his own place in history as a member of Challenger’s final crew.

Quelle: AmericaSpace


Samstag, 18. Januar 2014 - 16:16 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Re-Entry von Chinasat 9 löst Ufo-Alarm über Saudi-Arabien aus


UFO over Arabia? It's just the flash from Chinese space junk

Bright lights in the night sky sparked UFO alerts in Saudi Arabia, but the display turned out to be a well-known space phenomenon: the fiery re-entry of some Chinese space junk.

Multiple videos of Thursday night's lights were posted on YouTube. One sighting was reported by a witness who was near the Prophet's Mosque in the western Saudi city of Medina, according to reports from the Saudi newspaper Al Sada and the Emirates24/7 website.

"I was passing just near the mosque when I saw the object ... I captured a film of it, but I could not trace it as it split into two or three parts," Al Sada quoted Fahd Al Harbi as saying.

"This was a satellite re-entry that was predicted," NBC News space analyst James Oberg said in an email. "The object was a rocket body from the Chinese communications satellite Chinasat 9, launched in 2008. It is amazing how bright the fragments can be, and when they fly horizontally and 'in formation,' they often fool people — especially pilots — into imagining they are lighted windows in aircraft, spacecraft, or even UFOs."

We've seen lots of similar reports relating to space junk — including a SpaceX rocket flaming out over the Indian Ocean last September as well as rocket re-entries observed over China and the Middle East in 2012. The best-known incident was the "space spiral" spotted over Norway in 2009. This posting on the SeeSat-L discussion forum provides some great historical perspective.


Quelle+Frams: YouTube/NBC


Quelle: NBC

Tags: Re-Entry over Saudi Arabia 


Samstag, 18. Januar 2014 - 11:33 Uhr

Astronomie - Großer Planet bildet Ring bei weit entfernten Stern



The dust and gas around the star HD142527 observed by ALMA are shown in red and green, respectively, while near-infrared observations taken by the NAOJ Subaru Telescope are shown in blue. The dust is heavily concentrated in the northern (upper) part of the disk.
Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), NAOJ, Fukagawa et al.


Alien planets may be forming inside a giant gas ring located surprisingly far from its young parent star, scientists say. 

In fact, the planet-forming region is so far from its star — about five times the distance between our own sun and Neptune — that it appears to be the first time researchers have seen such an arrangement for the birth of alien planets. 

Japanese astronomers spotted the giant planet-forming ring while studying new images of the star named HD 142527 taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, in the Chilean desert. They created a video animation of the strange planet nursery to illustrate the discovery. The star is located about 450 light-years away from Earth and is around 2 million years old. [7 Ways to Discover Alien Planets] 

The powerful radio telescopes that make up ALMA offer astronomers a chance to peek at cosmic phenomena that are normally invisible. By detecting light with very short wavelengths, in the millimeter and submillimeter range, ALMA can spot the clouds of gas and dust where new stars are form, as well as the disks of debris around stare where planets are born.

The new ALMA observations of HD 142527 found that the star is surrounded by cosmic dust that could be smashing together to form planets. Especially encouraging is a bright "knot" in on the northern side of this disk — a submillimeter emission that is 30 times stronger than the southern side emission.

"We are very surprised at the brightness of the northern side," Misato Fukagawa, an assistant professor at Osaka University, said in a statement. "I have never seen such a bright knot in such a distant position. This strong submillimeter emission can be interpreted as an indication that large amount of material is accumulated in this position. When a sufficient amount of material is accumulated, planets or comets can be formed here."


This image by the ALMA radio telescope in Chile shows a giant ring of dust and gas where alien planets may be forming around the star HD142527 about 450 ;light-years from Earth.
Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Fukagawa et al


Fukagawa and colleagues believe that if the ring has a ratio of dust to gas (1 to 100) comparable to other solar systems, then giant gas planets several times more massive than Jupiter could be forming in the disk. But if this dense knot in the ring has a higher ratio of dust, it could spawn a "dust trap" that gives rise to Earth-like rocky planets and small bodies like comets.

In any case, the solar system HD "offers a rare opportunity for us to directly observe the critical moment of planet formation and can provide new insights into the origin of wide-orbit planetary bodies," the scientists wrote in their paper posted on the preprint service

The scientists say they hope to get more precise measurements of the amount of gas in the disk to identify what kinds of planets might be forming around the baby star. They also hope ALMA can help them spot even more planet-forming disks around other stars.

"HD 142527 is a peculiar object, as far as our limited knowledge goes," Fukagawa added. "Our final goal is to reveal the major physical process which controls the formation of planets. To achieve this goal, it is important to obtain a comprehensive view of the planet formation through observations of many protoplanetary disks."






Freitag, 17. Januar 2014 - 22:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Vollmond und Castor, Pollux, Jupiter-Dreieck-Effekt


Fotos: c-hjkc






Tags: Vollmond und Castor Pollux Jupiter-Dreieck-Effekt 


Freitag, 17. Januar 2014 - 20:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, wird auf Neil Armstrong umbenannt


Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, left, and Neil A. Armstrong, right


President Barack Obama has signed HR 667, the congressional resolution that redesignates NASA's Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, into law. The resolution also names Dryden's Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Both Hugh Dryden and Neil Armstrong are aerospace pioneers whose contributions are historic to NASA and the nation as a whole. NASA is developing a timeline to implement the name change.

Armstrong, who died in 2012, became the first human to set foot on another world during his historic Apollo 11 moonwalk on July 20, 1969. Armstrong's words "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," spoken as he stepped onto the lunar surface, instantly became a part of history.

Armstrong joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA's predecessor, in 1955. He served as an aeronautical research scientist and then as a pilot at the High-Speed Flight Station (later to become Dryden), before becoming an astronaut in 1962. Armstrong racked up over 2,450 flying hours, serving as a project pilot on several test planes, including the X-15 rocket plane.

Dr. Hugh L. Dryden was one of America's most prominent aeronautical engineers and was serving as NASA's deputy administrator at the time of his death in 1965.

In 1920, Dryden was named to head the National Bureau of Standards' aerodynamics section, where he studied air pressures on everything from fan and propeller blades to buildings. He joined the NACA in 1931, and by 1949 he had become the first person to hold the new position of Director of the NACA.

Dryden helped shape policy that led to development of the high-speed research program and its record-setting X-15 rocket aircraft. Dryden's leadership was evident in establishing vertical- and short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft programs, and he sought solutions to the problem of atmospheric re-entry for piloted spacecraft and ballistic missiles. Dryden was also instrumental in the development of the Unitary Wind Tunnel Plan, which saved millions of dollars by avoiding facility duplication.

On Oct. 1, 1958, the NACA became the nucleus of the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Dryden was appointed its first deputy administrator.


The X-15A-2 with drop tanks and ablative coating is shown parked on the NASA ramp in front of the XB-70. These aircraft represent two different approaches to flight research. The X-15 was a research airplane in the purest sense, whereas the XB-70 was an experimental bomber intended for production but diverted to research when production was canceled by changes in the Department of Defense's offense doctrine.

The X-15A-2 had been modified from its original configuration with a longer fuselage and drop tanks. To protect it against aerodynamic heating, researchers had coated it with an ablative coating covered by a layer of white paint. These changes allowed the X-15A-2 to reach a maximum speed of Mach 6.7, although it could be sustained for only a brief period.

The XB-70, by contrast, was designed for prolonged high-altitude cruise flight at Mach 3. The aircraft's striking shape-with a long forward fuselage, canards, a large delta wing, twin fins, and a box-like engine bay-allowed it to ride its own Mach 3 shockwave, so to speak. A joint NASA-Air Force program used the aircraft to collect data in support of the U.S supersonic transport (SST) program, which never came to fruition because of environmental concerns.

August 4, 1967
NASA Photo

Quelle: NASA


Freitag, 17. Januar 2014 - 12:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - UFO-Absturz bei Roswell 1947 ? Teil-6


The Roswell corner
Do Carey and Schmitt have the evidence
for a spaceship crash?
According to Chris Rutkowski’s blog, he received a call from Grant Cameron,
who told him that Carey and Schmitt had a piece of crashed spaceship debris.
According to Chris, “This could be it!” Hmmm....haven’t we heard this story before? Why would I read it in a blog through a second hand source? Why wasn’t there a press conference to reveal
this magnificent find? Is this another case of Carey and Schmitt exaggerating their case to somebody who is willing to believe them? Are they describing the stuff I mentioned last issue that was part of the SCI-FI dig? Inquiring minds want to know.
After reading the last chapter of the new version of “Witness to Roswell”, I can see where these stories come from. Carey and Schmitt repeat all sorts of stories about potential pieces of debris that don’t pan out. My guess is they were doing
it again with somebody “promising” to produce another fragment of “memory
metal”. Cameron simply swallowed the hook of another empty promise.
After several weeks, I saw no other news about this event. I could find no media reports
or test results published. My guess is this will also end up in the “Whatever happened to...” column soon. Could this be it? I don’t think so Chris.
Anthony Bragalia indicated that I misrepresented
the fireman story in the first issue of SUNlite.
Mr. Bragalia, told me the fireman had been interviewed by Phil Klass and Klass had footnoted it. I corrected him that it was actually Karl Pflock. I guess that all Roswell debunkers look alike. Bragalia made it a point that everyone seemed to know the identity of the man. However, since the name was anonymous
in Bragalia/Randle’s revelations, I could not verify which fireman it was (Pflock interviewed several). According to Bragalia, Pflock only asked this gentleman
about the department responding
to fires outside of town and Pflock was not interested in anything else. I found this odd because it was Pflock’s original intention to add to the body of knowledge about Roswell and he had felt there was validity to the claim of a crashed spaceship. In his Roswell in Perspective,
Pflock even suggested that the UFO crashed because it ran into a project MOGUL balloon flight! Therefore, I find it most interesting that the fireman chose not to tell Pflock his story in 1993 (when that interview happened). This was before
Pflock took on the role of Roswell debunker!
Bragalia’s attitude about my idea the story
could have been generated through contamination, indicated he felt this was extremely unlikely. The tall tales of Frank Kaufmann , Glenn Deninis, Gerald Anderson,
Jim Ragsdale suggests this is not something to be disregarded. If Bragalia, Carey, Schmitt, and Randle want to keep believing that witnesses to Roswell are telling them the truth and are not lies or exaggerations, that is their right. However,
who is to say if the witness is not lying or exaggerating? Frank Kaufmann fooled people for over a decade even though there was plenty of circumstantial evidence
to suggest he was lying! It wasn’t until the absolute physical evidence appeared
that Randle and others had to accept
the fact they had been snookered. Perhaps Bragalia and Randle should heed Kevin Randle’s own words,
Isn’t time for us to stop embracing every tale we are told that appeals to us simply
because it appeals to us? (see link above)
These words have to do with Randle’s discussion about exopolitics back in 2005 but they apply to Roswell as well. The story needs to be verified and not merely accepted because that is what is desired. Using Frankie Rowe to verify the story is just not acceptable since her story had been out in the media for over decade before the fireman started telling
his version. Some photographs or a personal journal from 1947 might do it. Oh yeah, that’s right, nobody in Roswell had a camera to record this incredibly complex operation or the debris that Bill Brazel supposedly had for many years. Additionally, nobody ever kept a private journal, wrote private letters, complained to any politicians, or anything similar that could have recorded these strange events in Roswell that summer.
Life Photographer taken out to the desert to photograph crashed “meteor”
but sees.....nothing!
The photographer told Anthony Bragalia
it was all about Roswell. However,
further investigation revealed that the story was probably something else. See page 6-8 for a discussion about the Life magazine story that was never published.
The UFO Iconclasts web site declared there is no evidence for Roswell!
Actually, they meant there is no physical
evidence. I guess they have not talked to the various Roswell investigators
who suggest they have pieces of the craft or those that have seen vague shapes and words in the Fort Worth photographs. The only evidence that remains are the stories told by various individuals, who, after decades of silence, suddenly remembered that something extraordinary happened in Roswell that summer.
Another organization knows the truth?
Anthony Bragalia once again wrote an article full of speculation that now implicates the RAND organization as having
in depth knowledge about UFOs and the crash at Roswell. Citing various documents
and rumors, he paints a convincing
picture to those just reading what he wrote. I have no intention to spend more time demolishing a lot of what he wrote but there are a few key points he left out of his article:
The Lipp document from the Proj1.
ect Sign report states that any visits from outer space would be “very improbable” and that the actions of the UFOs observed in 1947-48 were inconsistent with craft that would be used for space travel.
The request for the study of UFOs by 2.
RAND written in October 1948, clearly
states that it is believed that these craft are most likely from a foreign nation and not from outer space.
Why would RAND and the USAF 3. bother studying UFO reports if they already knew what they were based on the recovered debris from Roswell?
The USAF was wasting a lot of man power and money on something
that would be worthless in the long run.
The bottom line is what Bragalia proposes is that several major groups knew something
about the UFO crash at Roswell by examining the debris. While all this is going on, Generals high in the chain of command are asking what the Air Force knows about these UFOs that are being reported. Apparently, high-ranking Generals
and Senators were not allowed to know the truth about UFOs.
Missing progress report goes public
While I was finalizing this issue, Anthony
Bragalia sent me a new e-mail claiming he had received the missing
second progress report via FOIA. He suggested I seriously rethink my position on Roswell because the report reveals something truly “astounding” . He also added that I should stop writing about Nitinol in SUNlite because it will just make me look foolish.
Mr. Bragalia’s request resulted in the actual
document being posted on line in the USAF FOIA reading room! Apparently,
the USAF posted it in order to prevent
a flood of further requests for the same document. I am sure the reader is going to be really interested in reading the report. It is very technical and I had a hard time following some of it. My Naval nuclear propulsion training had a “materials”
class that explained some of this but not enough to recall readily. I had to review quite a bit to get up to speed. What I learned from reading it was that Bragalia’s claims, once again, appear to be overinflated.

Life magazine photographer and the Roswell incident

Before I start this article, I want it to be known that Anthony Bragalia implored me not to write about this story unless I contacted Karin Grant through him so she could answer any questions I had. He added that he would “let the nation know” if I did not. I am not sure what he thinks he can accomplish with such threats. I had no desire to contact a 90-year old woman through a secondary person. Therefore, I throw caution to the wind and proceed to write this article under the threat of “the nation knowing”. Before that happens, I want to thank Dave Thomas and Christopher Allan for their assistance. I also give a nod to Bragalia for his reluctant
Anthony Bragalia “stunned” the UFO world again revealing he had another
story, which helps confirm the greatest secret never kept. This new tale involves Life magazine photographer, Allan Grant. Grant and his wife told Bragalia an amazing
story about Allan being involved with the Roswell incident in 1947. The basic story, as described by Bragalia, is:
Grant received a phone call from 1. Life’s editor in New York with orders to head out to New Mexico and cover a “meteor crash”.
He was flown to Albuquerque from 2. Los Angeles, where he met Major Charles Phillips.
Phillips flew Grant to a dirt airstrip 3. somewhere in New Mexico. Supposedly,
it was near Roswell.
He was handed a loaded pistol for 4. self defense. Phillips told Grant that he was ordered to do this.
They went off into the desert in a 5. jeep looking for the meteorite but found nothing.
Bragalia adds that Grant felt it was part of the cover-up. By allowing him to look for a crashed “meteorite” and finding nothing,
the government could say nothing was found. The problem in that line of thinking is that Grant’s story was never published in Life. To make it work the military
would have to force Life to publish the story.
Mr. Bragalia would later state that there were notes by Mrs. or Mr. Grant that supported
the story as well as a photograph with the date of July 1947 on the back. Anybody could write on the back of a photograph at any time and notes made in 1997 are not the same as notes made in 1947. This is not to say the Grant’s “backdated”
the photograph or notes on purpose.
They may have been going through their photos years later and put the date there as they remembered it. The notes could be recollections they put down on paper much later than 1947. Neither item was presented as evidence so it is difficult to tell.
Meanwhile, Bragalia’s search discovered that Major Charles Phillips did exist. According
to Bragalia, in August 1947, Phillips
became the first “official USAF UFO researcher” and he teamed up with Dr. Lincoln La Paz to investigate the “green fireball” phenomenon.
When I read this, I wondered to myself if Grant might be talking about another UFO case. In the first week of February, 1949, the USAF went into an “all out” large scale search for meteorite fragments from a “green fireball”. They searched the area east of Roswell as far as Texas. This is also the time period that Bill Rickett is documented
as being involved with La Paz’s work. Major Phillips was also present.
Christopher Allan suggested this scenario
on the UFO Iconclasts web site comments
section, which touched off a rather hostile barrage by Bragalia. He seemed amazed that Allan would question the integrity of Grant and his wife. The idea that it could anything but Roswell was an impossibility because Grant was adamant
about it.
Not to shy away from Bragalia’s tirade, Allen
then corrected a Bragalia error, where he stated Phillips became the first official USAF UFO investigator in 1947. Allan stated
that Phillips did not become involved in the Green Fireball investigation until late 1948. Major Phillips was actually the liaison officer between the AAF and the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) at Kirtland in the late 1940s. The CAP had been employed by La Paz when he was looking for meteorite
fragments in previous years. It would be no great surprise to have Phillips and
the CAP help out with the Green Fireball investigation in late 1948. There was no documentation presented that Phillips was involved in UFO investigations in August,
1947 and I could not find anything in any of my sources to suggest this. Not surprisingly, Bragalia did not list the exact
source of his claim.
The photograph of Phillips and Grant standing in front of their aircraft is in Bragalia’s original article. Both Phillips (assuming it is Major Phillips) and Grant are wearing some rather heavy weather gear. Unless they were flying very high, it seems unlikely they would need such equipment for July. Also, the side of the plane has writing on it. “...T IN THE..AAF” appears to be the first line. The second line looks like, “D THE.....ORY”. Perhaps the full text was “Grant in the AAF, Read the story”. This implies it was a publicity photograph of some kind. It seems odd that Grant would have been picked up for such a mission in a plane that had a slogan on the side.
Later, some pictures surfaced on the Above Top Secret forum showing Grant with a jeep and the New Mexico desert area he searched. In order to figure out the provenance of these images, I e-mailed Bragalia stating that I assumed he was the poster and asked if these were images from the Roswell search by Grant. He responded rather indignantly, stating
I always assume too much and that he never posted on the Above Top Secret board. In a second e-mail exchange, he stated the images were lifted from Allan
Grant’s web site, which he pointed me towards with the comment about my research being poor. I had somehow missed the link to Allan Grant’s Roswell web site. I moved onward once I assured myself the pictures were authentic.
If you follow the link, you will see Grant with a jeep, wearing a jacket. Once again, we have to wonder about the use of a jacket in July. The landscape photograph provided some critical information. In the distance is a remarkable peak that stood out. I e-mailed Dave Thomas, who lives in New Mexico and inquired about it. He told me it was Shiprock, a volcanic plug located in the four corners area in the northwest area of the state! When he checked with other people on his mailing list, Dave received the same identification.
Didn’t Grant know he was flown to the northwest instead of Roswell which was to the southeast? The identification of the search area had me looking to see if there was a meteorite search in northwest
New Mexico some time around July 1947.
A cursory search of the newspaper archive
revealed that Dr. Lincoln La Paz led a search over several weeks in the Shiprock area for a meteorite in November
1947! If this is the story told by Grant, then it might explain some things. There are a lot of similarities. The location being
the biggest one. The La Cruces Sun-News of November 5th, reported that the CAP was used, which would involve Major Phillips. Some of the newspaper articles also mentioned jeeps with radios installed. The photo of Grant with a jeep shows what appears to be a radio in the back. Because it was November, there would have been a greater need for the jacket we see Grant wearing in the photographs.
Finally, no meteorite was ever found in all the searches conducted. You have to wonder if these are just coincidences
or possibly the solution to the story.
The search was slow to start because the Navajo Indians did not want to help with the search. It become a minor story but was circulated by the news wires nationally.
The human interest aspect with the Indians might have caught the editor’s eye and prompted him to call Grant to get some pictures for LIFE.
Grant photographed the Spruce Goose flight on November 2, 1947, which places
him in the Los Angeles area at that time. The stories on the news wires did not start until November 4th. It seemed likely that he could finish his assignment with the Spruce Goose and then be sent to New Mexico. Because the search was to start on the 7th of November, the editor
would have wanted Grant to get to New Mexico quickly, explaining the urgency
of the trip.
I attempted to see what I could discover by contacting the New Mexico CAP. They did not have records that went that far back. However, the answer was revealed after a more thorough review of all the New Mexico newspapers from the time period. On the following page you will
see the article of interest that appeared in the Albuquerque Journal of November 7, 1947. Under the sub heading “Photographer
goes too”, you will read the following
“Life magazine is sending Photographer Allen Grant who will arrive in Albuquerque
today and will be flown to Shiprock in a CAP plane.” (Albuquerque Journal November
7, 1947 p. 15)
Based on this, we now know that Grant was involved in an actual unsuccessful meteorite hunt near Shiprock, N.M. in November
1947. The events of that weekend are strikingly similar to the story he told and matches the area he states he photographed
in July 1947. As far as I am concerned, the case is closed unless real proof is presented showing the Roswell version is true. It seems that Grant just confused the dates and places. Hmmm...didn’t I read something similar in the 1997 Roswell report that Grant and Bragalia
publicly criticized? Oh...the irony.


Deflating the rest of the Nitinol balloon

When I wrote the article last issue poking a big hole in the Nitinol balloon,
I knew it would draw a response. As expected, I received an e-mail from Anthony
Bragalia about a week after the issue
was posted. I will not reproduce what he wrote but needless to say he was not happy about the article. In order to help set the record straight, I felt it necessary to itemize Bragalia’s major complaints and list my responses with possible corrections.
Anthony Bragalia complains that I accused
him of not understanding the history of shape material alloys and Nitinol
He responded that he has amassed quite a collection of materials on the subject. The reason I stated this was because
his article made all sorts of claims that disagreed with what is known about Titanium alloys and Nitinol. Additionally,
I did not see anything in the articles that indicated any research beyond what was readily available on the internet. Did Bragalia manage to read the documents identified by Bruce Hutchinson on Titanium
Alloys by the RAND corporation/Battelle
institute in the Library of Congress? Did he give us any source (other than his interviews) that was not available on-line? Meanwhile, what he did present was very sketchy and, in several cases, appeared to misrepresent the source material. Neglecting the established history
and documentation to make wild guesses about Roswell demonstrates he seemed to be ignoring what is known in favor of what he wanted to believe. His accusations are directed at the engineers and scientists, who through their own hard work, created Nitinol. Bragalia is implying
they are all frauds but never really provides one solid document, that can be verified, which directly states that Nitinol was developed because of Roswell.
Something borrowed....???
Mr. Bragalia also took offense that I indirectly accused him of taking some, or all, of his material from the SUNRISE
web site. It was my intention to point out that the author of the SUNRISE web site was not mentioned. Either the SUNRISE
author is taking his information from Bragalia or vice-versa. SUNRISE stated they contacted Schmitt and Carey first with information about Nitinol. According
to SUNRISE, six months later, Bragalia contacted him. It is my observation that there was an exchange of information. Based on this, it was my opinion that Bragalia
should have at least mentioned the contributions of the web site (which is in the public domain) for assisting him in his efforts. Giving no recognition to the web site and its author implied that Bragalia either did all the work himself and this author
contributed nothing (as well as took Bragalia’s work for his own) or Bragalia was possibly taking credit for some/all of his work. As I said in the first article, the reader can judge for themselves Bragalia’s curious omission.
In my original article I stated that Bragalia did not list any of these “newly discovered”
official documents other than the progress report. Bragalia then responded that he did list them in the book, “Witness to Roswell”, and also mentioned the Wang report in part 3 of the article series. This is true and I concede that in the series of articles
he finally got around to mentioning the Wang document in part 3.
That being said, there are numerous occasions
where Bragalia could have documented
where he got his information but did not. In part 1 of the series, he talked about the Wang document in vague terms such that the reader had no idea where he got the information. Waiting until the third part of the series to mention this document seemed like an afterthought.
Listing the Wang report when it was first mentioned is important because this was where he claimed that it mentioned the “missing” progress report. The reader could not understand the context under which the report was mentioned. Completely
missing in that revelation was Wang’s actual statement in this document that the phase diagram in the report was very limited and did not cover the Nitinol region. This is the only information that was available at the time regarding what was actually in the progress report and it was completely omitted by Bragalia.
This phase diagram is the linchpin in his whole argument about these “missing”
progress reports. If Wang’s report is accurate,
and there is no reason to suspect it isn’t, then the whole argument of Bragalia’s
collapses like a house of cards.
The Center of attention
Bragalia also seemed very upset that I ignored the all important testimony of Elroy Center. I did this because the testimony
of Center was second hand from an unnamed source to another author. This author’s work was not cited or quoted
(which is no surprise), so we really did not know much about what was really said. I felt it was best to let this kind of testimony
fall on its own shaky foundation. To me, anything second hand is dubious at best. If there is no source listed to be checked, it is twice as dubious.
Since Bragalia felt it was important for me to address Center’s “testimony”, I decided to pull the thread on this loose string and see where it led. It did not take long for me to locate the document by Dr. Irena Scott and William Jones titled “THE OHIO UFO CRASH CONNECTION AND OTHER STORIES”. This article sounds very much like the story recounted by Bragalia. Since Bragalia did not list his source, I had to assume
this is it. The funny thing about this article is that Bragalia’s version does not appear to quite agree with it.
While it is true the article states that Center had some interest in UFOs, the rest seems to have been distorted by Bragalia. According
to this article, Center’s job was to decipher the writing on the parts he was given. Why Center, a chemical engineer, would be asked to decipher something is an interesting question. Wouldn’t that be the job of a cryptographer or linguist (like SG-1’s Dr. Daniel Jackson!)? Anyway, Bragalia
states this information came from “a close professional associate” (on-line article version) or “a close friend” (Witness to Roswell version) of Center’s, who heard it in June of 1960. Strangely, Jones and Scott state the person was actually a high school student at the time. He was dating
Center’s daughter in 1958 when he heard this story (the student graduated from high school in June of 1960, which is where the date confusion appears to be). The person never worked with Center in a professional capacity as best I can tell and he never appears to have been that close to Center himself. Not surprisingly, Center’s daughter and wife do not even recall ever hearing this story (Mr. Bragalia informs me that he has since interviewed some family members and they tell a different
story). If Center was going to tell this classified information to a strange teenage boy, who Center probably had little knowledge about, why wouldn’t he tell his wife, whom he trusted? Again, these are things omitted by Bragalia in his article. Is there a different version of this story floating about? If so, doesn’t that suggest the story is not very accurate? If not, it seems to indicate that Bragalia got his facts wrong about this story. This is why listing sources is important.
Another item Bragalia noticed was that I ignored the connections of Dr. Cross with UFOs. Cross worked with Battelle
institute, which did the study found in Bluebook Special report no. 14. There seems to be evidence that Cross was involved
in this report. However, Bragalia never mentions that this report states there was no physical evidence to examine.
If Cross knew there was evidence to an alien spaceship crash, why wouldn’t he mention it in this prize report about UFOs?
To create a link to Nitinol, Bragalia associates
Cross with Eastwood, who coauthored
the missing progress report. Bragalia states Cross coauthored some unknown paper(s) with Eastwood. One document I found on the internet was a 1948 Battelle report about Aluminum alloys. This indicates that Cross’s association
with one of the authors of the missing progress report is no great link. Being a metallurgist, he probably co-wrote many papers with other scientists at the Battelle institute studying various alloys. Finding a link to Eastwood, Fawn, or Craighead would not be hard. I am surprised that Bragalia did not find more links than just to Eastwood.
Oh yes, in Bragalia’s long-winded linking of Cross to just about everything UFOlogical
he gave a direct quote by Alvin Moore about Cross examining a fragment from a UFO. As common in Bragalia’s article,
there is no footnote or source cited even though his use of parenthesis indicates
a direct quote. Therefore, I pulled on the loose string and stumbled across a note from Todd Zechel who wrote the same thing. However, the words were not Moore’s but Zechel’s. This is another case of where a footnote can place a statement in the proper context. In this case it was a second hand statement and not a primary quote as presented.
Then we have the idea that Cross was feeding the Office of Naval Research (ONR) information on Titanium so they could create Nitinol. The evidence for this claim is an UNCLASSIFIED December 1948 document written by Cross about Titanium Alloys. In December 1948 (and 1949), the ONR held a symposium on Titanium studies. The purpose of these symposia was to collect and share information
about the progress in Titanium research (See inset on the next page). The paper really had nothing to do with Titanium-Nickel and if this is the “smoking
gun” for Cross “feeding” the ONR, then it is very weak.
To summarize, we have no real facts that demonstrates Cross thought UFOs were alien spaceships. No real documents are presented that shows Cross worked on an actual alien spaceship or was purposefully
feeding information to the US Navy so they could create Nitinol. Bragalia’s conclusion
about Cross and his efforts with developing Nitinol is nothing more than some extremely fragile links that crumble under careful examination.
What a tangled web....
One of Bragalia’s errors that stood out for me in the first article was his obvious
omission of Uri Geller’s name from the title of one of his sources. In our exchange,
he told me that he knew skeptics
would respond negatively to Geller’s name, which is why he did this. This is funny because it means he was not only worried about a skeptic’s response but all the article’s readers! It is one thing to make a mistake in listing your source (wrong date, wrong publisher, misspelled title, etc). That can be forgiven as a personal
error. In this case, Bragalia did not list the name of Uri Geller from the title of his source and any mention of his name in his writings.
Fame ,fortune, or....neither?
In my original article, I stated Bragalia was using this effort to elevate his position
as a Roswell researcher. Bragalia responded that he had been providing information to researchers for years and only recently started exposing himself publicly because of his job. He also mentioned he opted out of several appearances
and his photograph appearing in the “Witness to Roswell” book.
As humble as this all sounds, it still does not explain why he went public with this “discovery” with such a limited amount of information as well as the highly speculative
interpretation of the documents in question. His claim directly questions the integrity of the engineers and scientists who studied and developed Titanium alloys
and Nitinol. It was my opinion that he may have been motivated to publish his “findings” for personal reasons and possibly to meet the deadline associated with the re-release of the “Witness to Roswell”
book. If Bragalia states he was not motivated in any way other than to present
the “truth”, then he appears to have had a funny way of doing it.
If Bragalia really felt he was pursing the truth he could have presented it in a different
forum like a scientific or engineering
journal, where he could question the history of Nitinol with some people who know something about the subject. My guess is it would have been rejected for many of the reasons I listed in my critique. One can easily publish anything on the internet
(this newsletter for instance) and it apparently does not require much to get your work published in a Carey/Schmitt book as long as it supports the crashed spaceship scenario.
Interviews and “original” research
Mr. Bragalia eventually went on to denigrate me for never conducting
interviews or “original research”. He made it clear that his occupation was all about conducting interviews with people and that he was very thorough in his Roswell
research. He is correct that I have a limited experience interviewing people about UFOs but I don’t think that makes that much of a difference when it comes to examining what others have written.
As for Bragalia’s claim about no “original research” of my own, it is his opinion and he is entitled to it. However, if you look at everything I have ever written in this newsletter and on my web site, I can’t recall ever taking credit for other’s work/discoveries. If I did, it was unintentional. It is just common courtesy and good writing
to mention other’s contributions/efforts.
I also make it an effort to accurately record what people have written/said and where the information was found. 
Nothing is vague or hard to follow. People can get to the sources via links or looking at the sourced book/article. I have even sent individuals scans of the pages of these books/articles so they can verify what I wrote was accurate!
The objective of my web site and this newsletter is to present an opinion and point of view that is “the other side of the coin”. I want my readers to inquire and ask the difficult questions about these claims and not just blindly accept what I, or others, have written.
The will to disbelieve
Bragalia really did not seem to understand
what my major problem about his article was. It is the responsibility of the author to make sure his evidence is fully displayed to the reader so they can make an informed decision about the validity
of the claim being made. Withholding
critical information that you are aware of is intellectually dishonest.
One of the most ironic things I got from Bragalia in our e-mail exchange was his comment that I had “the will to disbelieve”.
It is my opinion that is basically what skepticism is all about. You suspend belief in something until it can be shown to be true or, at least, very likely. Mr. Bragalia
has yet to demonstrate his claims are true or even likely. The conclusions he has drawn are based on very fragile speculation with no real facts to suggest an alien spaceship was involved. As it stands now, there is absolutely no reason to change the history of Titanium and Titanium-Nickel alloy research.
A last minute update
Just prior to closing this issue out, Mr. Bragalia sent me a rather interesting e-mail stating the infamous “missing “ second
progress report was going to make me change the way I look at Roswell. Thanks to the USAF (as well as Billy Cox) and the power of the internet, I was able to now read this vitally important document
that reveals the true secrets about Nitinol and the Roswell spaceship crash. As I read the document, I kept wondering, “Where’s the beef?” This story is best told in another article, which can be found on the next page.

Nitinol Poker: Where any card is wild

...sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand. – Paul Newman as Luke in “Cool Hand Luke”.
I used to love playing poker when I was in the Navy. It was a friendly gathering in the chief’s quarters, where the dealer got to call the game. One of the games I disliked was called “Follow the queen”. The card after the last queen dealt upward
in seven card stud was considered wild. The wild card shifted as each queen was exposed. A great hand could become
worthless with the appearance of a queen. The game was not played often but when it was, there were many groans from the table. It seems that I am playing this game again with Nitinol because the value of the “cards” keep changing.
In mid-August, Anthony Bragalia e-mailed me announcing that he had received
the “missing” second progress report
via FOIA. He boasted that I needed to rethink my Roswell position because what he discovered in this document was “nothing short of astounding”. My response was that unless the document showed an alien spaceship crashed at Roswell,
I would not be impressed.
Since Bragalia stated the progress report had been sent to him via FOIA, I figured it might now be in the USAF FOIA reading
room. Sure enough, the USAF had posted it there at I was very interested in seeing what Bragalia claimed was “nothing short of astounding” and had “confirmed his findings”.
Bragalia in his original article stated the following about the progress report:
This is because if it does contain “phase diagrams” for the alloying of Nickel and Titanium- it will confirm the work on memory metal. It would strongly suggest
that shape-recovery alloys were precisely what Battelle was attempting
to create for the military in the time period directly after the Roswell crash (my emphasis).1
Now Bragalia also wrote that it would include
how to alloy Titanium to high purity
levels. That would not be surprising but any mention of Roswell or trying to create a Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) because
of Roswell would be.
Meanwhile, I had stated the following about what I thought the report would include:
Bruce Hutchinson found two reports by the Battelle institute concerning Titanium and Titanium based alloys listed in the Library
of Congress on-line catalog....They probably cover the same information as the two “missing” progress reports. Progress
report #1, which according to Bragalia,
is the study of the Roswell UFO metal itself, is probably just an earlier study of Titanium based alloys. Since the contract appears to be about studying Titanium based alloys, there is no reason to suspect it was to create a shape memory alloy (SMA).2
So which version best describes the content
of the second progress report?
The title reads that it is the Second progress
report covering the period September
1 to October 31, 1949 on research and development of Titanium Alloys. I see nothing that describes “Second progress
report in an effort to duplicate alien metals recovered at Roswell” or “Second progress report on how to create a shape memory alloy”. Most important to note is the entire document is not even classified “Confidential”! Instead there is a “limited” stamp, which is an extremely low classification
that requires no significant security
Looking at Eastwood’s cover letter of 11 November 1949, we read a summary of the contents:
A description of the alloy development 1. work done during the bimonthly period
September 1 to October 31, 1949.
The progress made during the same 2. period on the development of refractories
for holding molten titanium.
Further work on the vacuum-fusion 3. technique for determining oxygen in titanium.3
There is no specific mention of shape memory alloys or attempts to develop them! There is a section on Titanium-Nickel but it is not very informative. The phase diagram is just as Wang described. As previously stated, Nitinol requires a much higher concentration of Nickel. Therefore, this phase diagram would be almost worthless for creating Nitinol. The Bureau of Mines phase diagram was far more extensive. Out of the 80 pages in the file, less than one page of written material is devoted to Titanium-Nickel. Three other pages show micrographs, a table, and the infamous “Tentative diagram”
for Ti-Ni. I think the one statement that stood out for me, when reading the report was that “…the data do not justify further investigation of binary titanium-germanium or titanium-nickel alloys.”4 The limited discussion of Titanium-Nickel and this statement indicates there was no great interest in developing this alloy and they apparently had no clue about its SMA potential.
I forwarded the document to others and we tried to look for some connection of importance that would make us rethink our position on Roswell. We could not find anything significant. If Bragalia saw something truly amazing, it was well hidden.
Bragalia reveals his hand
Bragalia quickly published his analysis of the report on the UFO Iconclasts blog. What kind of poker hand did Bragalia
show that was truly astounding?
As typical in his writings, Mr. Bragalia seems to overstate his case by misrepresenting
the content/importance of documents. For instance, he refers to references
of the second progress report as “buried footnotes”. They are listed in the section with all the other footnotes using
the same font and type. If they are “buried”, then ALL of the footnotes are “buried”. The document is rarely referenced
simply because the information is outdated. In 1949, it was the latest data available but by 1958, it was old news. Dr. Wang only referenced it in 1972 because he was talking about Titanium-Nickel history!
Another apparently exaggerated claim by Bragalia is that this report talks about the “first ever efforts” to create “advanced” Titanium alloys. I am not sure how he qualifies “advanced” but these efforts to alloy Titanium were not new. The Titanium
Symposium of 1948 demonstrated others were just as interested in creating “advanced” alloys:
Paper number 2 discussed the work 1. by Air Material Command on Titanium-
Chromium alloys
Paper number 5 by the Bureau of 2. Mines described Titanium alloys with emphasis on Titanium-Nickel.
Paper number 12 by PR Mallory and 3. co. for the US Navy had information on many Titanium alloys.
Paper number 14 by Westinghouse 4. research labs had more data about Titanium alloys
Paper number 15 by the Navy Re5.
search Laboratory described alloying processes/equipment being used
These papers indicated many groups knew that Titanium was unique and they were trying to create new alloys for use in aerospace/aeronautical/maritime applications
and not to create SMAs.
Mr. Bragalia also takes note that it was important for the Titanium to be of high purity levels to create Nitinol and other shape memory alloys (SMAs). The truth was that there was an extensive effort to reach high purity levels in Titanium for all alloys (See paper number 4 from the Titanium
symposium). Low purity Titanium could adversely affect the alloy being created.
Any desire to increase the purity of the Titanium had more to do with creating
the best alloy possible and not specifically
to create an SMA like Nitinol.
Follow the queen
Bragalia’s introduces another wild card by mentioning the alloy Titanium-Zirconium
(paper #12 from the 1948 symposium
also describes this alloy). It is also a SMA and this indicates, according to Bragalia, Battelle was interested in SMAs. What Bragalia omits from his revelation is the comment from the report on page 80 that Zirconium was determined to be “ineffective” as an alloying agent. Like Ti-Ni, it appears that Battelle did not know about its SMA potential
In order to keep the SMA card wild, Bragalia
makes another extravagant claim:
On Page 95 the document reveals a technical
chart showing first-ever research in such areas as “Elongation,” and “Minimum
Bend Radius” of various advanced Titanium alloys. This indicates that they were closely examining elasticity, malleability
and tensile strengths of newly created,
high-purity Titanium alloys, including
Nickel-Titanium, required to make Nitinol.5
The term “elongation” and “minimum bend radius” is nothing new for discussing
metallic properties. Read the Titanium
symposium reports and you will see the same measurements/terms used there. All of these are standard tests and terms used for examining/describing any alloy or metal. They are not tests specifically
to look for SMA characteristics.
The “First” report is still missing?
We are now reminded about the all important first progress report:
No reference whatsoever to what must surely exist- a First Progress Report- is made in this 1949 Battelle Second Progress
Report for Wright. What does the First Progress Report contain? Why is there no reference to it in the literature- or even within the FOIA-obtained Second Progress
Report? Without a title, date or the authors’ names, it is proving very difficult to locate this First Report.6
Apparently, Bragalia ignored the reference
to a previous “bi-monthly” report on page 65. In all likelihood, this is the “missing” first progress report that he claims was a study of the actual alien metallic
debris. The second progress report table of contents states the report starts at page 60 and ends with page 120. This indicates the first 59 pages are, more than likely, the first progress report!
Back to Center
As noted in the previous article, the linking of Dr. Elroy Center to Roswell was tentative through a second hand source. Bragalia now claims that this story is confirmed because Center coauthored a paper in this report titled, Analytical methods for Titanium-based alloys. We
know that Center worked for Battelle and he was a chemist. It is no great surprise that he would have written a document of this nature for a report on Titanium alloys. Stating this paper confirms the second hand story about Center reading characters
on pieces of alien spaceship debris is some very twisted logic. The only thing it is evidence of is that Center was performing in a capacity that fit his job description.
A handful of nothin’
Contrary to the claims made, this report is no great revelation. For those interested
in examining the evidence critically, they will discover this second progress report
is (to quote George Kennedy’s character,
Dragline, from “Cool hand Luke”) “a handful of nothin’” when it comes to Roswell.
Notes and references
Bragalia, Anthony. 1. Roswell debris confirmed
as extraterrestrial: Lab located, Scientists named. 
Printy, Timothy. 2. Memory Metal Madness.
SUNlite 1-2. July-August 2009. p. 8
Eastwood, L. M. “To Wright Patterson 3. Air Force Base.” 11 November 1949. In Second progress report covering the period September 1 to October 31, 1949 on research and development of Titanium Alloys. Battelle Memorial Institute. Columbus, Ohio.
Simmons, O.W., Greenridge, C.T., 4. Craighead, C.M. and others. Second progress report covering the period September 1 to October 31, 1949 on research and development of Titanium
Alloys. Battelle Memorial Institute. Columbus, Ohio. P. 68.
Bragalia, Anthony. 5. Scientist admist
to study of Roswell crash debris!(confirmed by FOIA document).
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2009


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