Sonntag, 25. Februar 2018 - 19:00 Uhr

Planet Erde - Himmelsphänomene Teil-44

Spektakuläre Sonnenuntergänge sowie Wolken sind in unserer Atmosphäre immer wieder zu sehen

und oft sind es nur Minuten welche ein Farbenspiel am Himmel zaubern. 

Nachfolgende Timeline Aufnahmen wurden bei Sonnenaufgang im Januar 2008 über Mannheim aufgenommen:





Fotos: ©-hjkc

Tags: Planet Erde - Himmelsphänomene Teil-44 


Sonntag, 25. Februar 2018 - 07:40 Uhr

Astronomie - “Ultramassive” black holes discovered in far-off galaxies



Thanks to data collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope on galaxies up to 3.5 billion light years away from Earth, an international team of astrophysicists was able to detect what is likely to be the most massive black holes ever discovered in the universe. The team’s calculations showed that these “ultramassive” black holes are growing faster than the stars in their respective galaxies.

In their search for black holes, the two lead authors of the article published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society – Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo, professor in the Department of Physics at Université de Montréal, and Mar Mezcua, postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Space Sciences in Spain – studied 72 galaxies located at the centre of the universe’s brightest and most massive galaxy clusters.

“A black hole is an invisible celestial object whose gravitational pull is so strong that neither matter nor light can escape it – it swallows everything in its path like a bottomless vortex,” explained  Professor Hlavacek-Larrondo, who also holds the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics of Black Holes. “A black hole is most often created when a massive star dies and collapses on itself. The most fascinating thing about black holes is how they distort time around them. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, time flows more slowly in strong gravitational fields, like those of these gargantuan celestial objects.”

The team of astronomers calculated the masses of black holes detected in these galaxy clusters by analyzing their radio wave and X-ray emissions. The results showed that the masses of ultramassive black holes are roughly 10 times greater than those originally projected calculated using a different method which assumes that black holes grow in tandem with their galaxies. Furthermore, almost half of the sample’s black holes are estimated to be at least 10 billion times more massive than our sun. This puts them in a class of extreme heavyweights that certain astronomers call “ultramassive black holes.”

“We have discovered black holes that are far larger and way more massive than anticipated,” Mezcua pointed out. “Are they so big because they had a head start or because certain ideal conditions allowed them to grow more rapidly over billions of years? For the moment, there is no way for us to know.”

“We do know that black holes are extraordinary phenomena,” Hlavacek-Larrondo added, “so it’s no surprise that the most extreme specimens defy the rules that we have established up until now.”

The destructive force of ultramassive black holes

Galaxies are not necessarily safe from these celestial behemoths lurking at their centres. The higher a black hole’s mass, the greater its power. It sucks in all surrounding matter, like stars, then flings some of it back out in energized jets powerful enough to destroy much of its host galaxy. “It would be like a mini, galaxy-sized Big Bang,” said Hlavacek-Larrondo.

“But there’s no need to worry about our own galaxy,” she continued. “Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, is a bit boring. It’s not very active, much like a dormant volcano. It sucks up little matter and probably wouldn’t be able to produce destructive high-energy jets.”

Why study black holes billions of light years away?

Professor Hlavacek-Larrondo focuses her work on black holes in distant galaxy clusters to show that such objects have been significantly impacting their galactic neighbourhoods and the entire universe for billions of years.

“They are the most powerful objects in the universe, and they are anything but quiet," she said. "Galaxies are the building blocks of our universe, and to understand their formation and evolution, we must first understand these black holes."

About this study

M. Mezcua, J. Hlavacek-Larrondo, J. R. Lucey, M. T. Hogan, A. C. Edge and B. R. McNamara, “The most massive black holes on the fundamental plane of black hole accretion”, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, February 11, 2018. doi: 10.1093/mnras/stx2812.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, oversees the Chandra program’s scientific and air operations. In addition to NASA’s telescope, the astronomers used radio data collected by the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array, and the Very Long Baseline Array.

This study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Research Chairs Program, the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (United Kingdom).

Quelle: Université de Montréal

Tags: Astronomie - “Ultramassive” black holes discovered in far-off galaxies 


Samstag, 24. Februar 2018 - 21:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Independent Enquiry Commission announces conclusions concerning the launcher trajectory deviation during Flight VA241



The Independent Enquiry Commission formed after the Ariane 5 launcher’s trajectory deviation during its January 25, 2018 mission issued its conclusions on Thursday, February 22. The anomaly’s cause is perfectly understood and recommendations are clearly identified. Arianespace and ArianeGroup are immediately implementing the Independent Enquiry Commission’s recommended corrective measures. The current Soyuz and Ariane 5 launch campaigns are continuing at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana for the two launches planned in March.

During the Ariane 5 VA241 mission, carried out on January 25, 2018 from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana (South America), telemetry from the launcher was lost 9 minutes and 26 seconds into the flight because of a deviation in the trajectory. Signals from the two satellites were acquired after the nominal mission duration, and the spacecraft were confirmed to be in good health, but in an orbit at an inclination of 20 degrees, rather than the targeted 3 degrees. The apogee and perigee attitudes, however, were very close to the targeted values (249 x 45,234 km.). The analysis of data received during the first minutes of the flight, and the reconstitution of the trajectory, confirmed that the launcher and the flight program operated perfectly. The two satellites are now in the process of reaching their final orbital positions, using their own propulsion systems.

Following the launch anomaly, Arianespace asked the European Space Agency (ESA) on January 26 to set up an Independent Enquiry Commission. Chaired by Toni Tolker-Nielsen, ESA Inspector General, this Commission submitted its conclusions on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Investigations by the Independent Enquiry Commission showed that the trajectory anomaly resulted from an incorrect value in specifications for the implementation of the launcher’s two inertial reference systems. Given the special requirements of this mission, the azimuth required for the alignment of the inertial units was 70 degrees instead of 90 degrees, as is most often the case for missions to geostationary transfer orbit. This gap led to the 20-degree shift to the south in the launcher trajectory from the initial seconds of flight. The cause of the trajectory deviation, therefore, was due to a bad specification of one of the launcher mission parameters that was not detected during the standard quality checks carried out during the Ariane 5 launches’ preparation chain.

The Independent Enquiry Commission’s work has highlighted the need to increase the robustness of the control of certain data used in preparation of the mission. Its recommendations are intended to strengthen the process of developing and verifying the documents required for launcher preparation and to introduce additional consistency checks.

With the cause of the anomaly perfectly understood and corrective measures clearly identified, Arianespace and ArianeGroup immediately implemented the recommendations of the Independent Enquiry Commission. Applied to the current Ariane 5 launch campaign, they should enable the next flight of this heavy-lift launcher in March 2018, following a Soyuz mission.

Stéphane Israël, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, said: “I would like to thank ESA Inspector General Toni Tolker-Nielsen, who chaired the Independent Enquiry Commission, as well as all of its members. The Commission was able to quickly identify the cause of the anomaly and issue recommendations. Arianespace and ArianeGroup already are deploying the measures recommended by the Commission, paving the way for the next launch of Ariane 5, planned for March. Thanks to the establishment of these corrective measures, we will be able to further enhance the outstanding reliability of Ariane 5.”

Quelle: arianespace

Tags: Raumfahrt - Independent Enquiry Commission announces conclusions concerning the launcher trajectory deviation during Flight VA241 


Samstag, 24. Februar 2018 - 17:00 Uhr

Luftfahrt-History - 1944: Kreisflugzeug-Prototyp SACK AS-6

Ufos über Machern: Fliegende Untertassen im Muldental

Vor rund 75 Jahren entwickelte der Macherner Landwirt Arthur Sack ein visionäres, kreisrundes Flugzeug, das auf dem Fliegerhorst in Brandis-Waldpolenz getestet wurde. Geflogen ist es allerdings nie und die Baupläne sind bis heute verschwunden.


Rund wie ein Ufo: Landwirt Arthur Sack aus Machern wird in den 1930er- und 40er-Jahren zum Flugzeugbauer und konstruiert den Kreisflügler Sack AS-6/V1. Privatarchiv Jürgen Sack/Repro: Andreas Döring/Montage




Zwar hat sie nicht die Welt verändert, bemerkenswert war die Erfindung des Macherner Landwirts Arthur Sack (1900–1964) aber allemal. „Schaut, da seht ihr se“, sagt sein Sohn Jürgen, während er durch die vergilbten Seiten des Fotoalbums blättert.











Alte Schwarz-weiß-Bilder, sorgfältig eingeklebt, sind die verflogenen Zeugnisse einer kleinen Luftfahrt-Sensation, die sich während des Zweiten Weltkrieges im Muldental abspielte.


Abgehobene Idee?

Ein Wandbild, das Jürgen Sack an den Schuppen seines Dreiseitgehöfts in Machern angebracht hat, hält die Erinnerung an die Vergangenheit wach. Die Malerei zeigt ein kreisförmiges Propeller-Flugzeug am Himmel schwebend, einen sogenannten Nurflügler, bei dem Rumpf und Tragflächen fast miteinander verschmelzen. Die Sack AS-6! Eine mehr als ungewöhnliche Eigenentwicklung, die reichlich Stoff für Legenden bietet.

„Der Großvater hat immer geschimpft, wenn der Vadder die Scheune blockiert hat.“ Denn dann tüftelte der Hobby-Segelflieger wieder an seiner Erfindung. In bester Trinklaune hatte der einst mit Kumpels gewettet, er könne ein Flugzeug mit kreisrunder Flügelfläche bauen. Eines mit einmalig aerodynamischen Eigenschaften.


„Das wollte ihm keiner glauben“, sagt Jürgen Sack. Aus Jux schießt die Kneipenrunde ein paar labbrige Bierdeckel wie Frisbee-Scheiben durchs Lokal. Später bekommt das neuartige Gefährt den Spitznamen „fliegender Bierdeckel“ verpasst.


Unbekanntes Flugobjekt

Seine anfängliche Schnapsidee beginnt Arthur Sack revolutionär umzusetzen. 1939 gelingt es ihm mit der Sack AS-1 einen kleinen flugfähigen, wenn auch taumelnden, Prototypen zu entwerfen, den er im Juni auf dem Flugplatz in Leipzig-Mockau bei einem Wettbewerb für Flugmodelle vorstellt. Unter den begeisterten Zuschauern ist auch Ernst Udet (†1941), Generalluftzeugmeister und Vertrauter von Hitlers Luftwaffenchef Herrmann Göring.

Udet animiert Sack, dem der Kriegsdienst erspart bleibt, seine Erfindung weiterzuentwickeln und stellt für den Bau anfänglich etwas Material bereit. Vier weitere Modelle, immer größeren Maßstabs, werden auf dem Familien-Hof entworfen, die bis auf 800 Höhenmeter steigen… und sich ab und an in den Bäumen am Feldrain verfangen.


Das futuristisch anmutende Himmelsphänomen bleibt daher nicht unbemerkt und wird schnell zum Dorfgespräch: Es heißt, der Macherner Landwirt experimentiere mit fliegenden Untertassen.


Jungfernflug missglückt

Als der Krieg schon fast verloren ist, wird Anfang 1944 mithilfe der Mitteldeutschen Motorenwerke mit der Sack AS-6/V1 (Versuchsmuster 1) schließlich das sechste und erste bemannte Versuchsflugzeug aus einem selbst konstruierten Holzskelett fertiggestellt: sechseinhalb Meter lang, fünf Meter Flügelspannweite, 900 Kilogramm schwer. Ein 240 PS-starkes Argus-As-10-Triebwerk bringt den Propeller auf Touren. Fahrgestell, Pilotensitz und -kanzel stammen von einer ausgedienten Messerschmitt Bf 109.


Ehemaliger Airport-Tower in Waldpolenz: Auf dem einstigen Wehrmachtsgelände (und späterem sowjetischen Fliegerhorst) wurden in den 1930er- und 40er-Jahren viele Experimentalflugzeuge getestet.

Quelle: Thomas Kube/LVZ-Archiv

Montiert werden die Teile auf dem Militärflugplatz bei Brandis, zu jener Zeit streng geheimes Erprobungsgelände der Wehrmacht. Nach ersten Rollversuchen von Testpiloten im April ’44 wird die Maschine über Monate hinweg mehrmals umgebaut, im Windkanal erprobt und wieder flott gemacht. Dennoch: Sie schlingert weiterhin, die Motorleistung reicht nicht zum Abheben, zweimal bricht sogar das Fahrwerk.


Letztlich scheitern alle fünf Startversuche. Selbst erfahrenen Piloten eines in Waldpolenz stationierten Raketenjäger-Geschwaders gelingen mit dem Flieger lediglich einige Hopser auf der Asphaltpiste.

Hat der Flieger überlebt?

In den Kriegswirren geht anschließend viel verloren. Die Konstruktionszeichnungen habe sein Vater einem Freund mitgegeben, der sie patentieren lassen sollte, so Jürgen Sack. „Der hat sich aber nach Westdeutschland abgesetzt und nicht mehr gemeldet.“

Ungeklärt auch die Frage: Wo ist der Prototyp abgeblieben? Jürgen Sack habe gehört, den hätten die anrückenden US-Amerikaner auf ihrer Suche nach deutscher Waffentechnik im April ’45 auseinandergebaut und mitgenommen. Andere Quellen berichten, das Flugzeug sei bei einem Luftangriff auf den Fliegerhorst im Winter 1944/45 zerstört und dann verschrottet worden.


Gut 73 Jahre nach Kriegsende ist die Aktenlage dünn und die Zeitzeugen werden immer weniger. „Schwer zu sagen, was sich mein Vater erhofft hatte. Wenn der Flieger geflogen wäre, dann hätten sie wohl ein paar Stück in Serie gebaut“, meint Jürgen Sack. Die meisten Flugzeug-Geschichten kennt er durch Anekdoten, die der 62-Jährige früher auf Familienfeiern aufschnappte, wenn das Fotoalbum hervorgekramt wurde. Er ist zwölf Jahre alt, als sein Vater im Jahr 1964 stirbt.

Wie sein Senior ist aber auch Jürgen Sack technikbegeistert – allerdings haben es ihm eher knatternde Schlepper angetan. Hinter den Scheunentoren seines traditionsreichen Bauernhofs hat der gelernte Tischler mehrere aufwendig restaurierte Lanz Bulldogs und andere Traktoren geparkt, mit denen er regelmäßig zu Treffen fährt. Seine historische Trecker-Sammlung ist sein ganzer Oldtimer-Stolz. Sein Vater aber würde bestimmt sagen: Nur Fliegen ist schöner.


Weiterführende Infos: Kroos, Volker (1998): „Kreisflügler Sack AS 6/V1 – der „fliegende Bierdeckel“




Tags: Luftfahrt-History - 1944: Kreisflugzeug-Prototyp SACK AS-6 


Samstag, 24. Februar 2018 - 08:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Was beobachten wir seit 4 Stunden neben dem Mond?



Gegen 23 Uhr erreichte unsere UFO-Meldestelle ein Anruf von Herrn K. welcher gleich fragte: "Was beobachten wir seit 4 Stunden neben dem Mond. Auf Grund der langen Beobachtungszeit war klar es sich höchstwahrscheinlich um ein "astronomischen Stimulus" gehandelt haben wird. Also Astro-Programm hochgefahren und siehe da, Aldebaran in Konjunktion mit dem Halbmond.

Auch hatte er die ESA angerufen und dort ebenfalls erfahren es sich hierbei um Aldebaran gehandelt hat, aber scheinbar wollte er es dann doch auch von CENAP wissen.

Prompt fiel auch CENAP dann ein, in einer astronomischen Info vor  Stunden auch gelesen zu haben, der Mond ihn auch verdeckt hatte:


Halbmond bedeckt Aldebaran am Abend des 23. Februar

Sichtbarkeit der Aldebaran-Bedeckung durch den Mond am 23. Februar 2018. Die Zeiten für Eintritt und Austritt sind in Lokalzeit angegeben: die Linien in Magenta verbinden die Orte, für die der Stern gleichzeitig hinter dem Mond verschwindet. Grün: Austritt des Sterns neben dem Mond.

Der hellste Stern der Ekliptik, Aldebaren im Stier, wird in diesem Monat vom Mond bedeckt. Wie alle sechs ähnlichen Ereignisse im vergangenen Jahr ist auch diese Bedeckung wenig ideal für Mitteleuropa, findet sie ungefähr zwischen 18 und 19 Uhr statt, also um Sonnenuntergang oder in der noch helleren Abenddämmerung. Generell gilt: je weiter östlich, desto dunkler der Himmel und einfacher die Beobachtung der Ein- und Austritts des 0.9 Grössenklasse hellen Sterns am 23. Februar. Der Mond steht bei Eintritt am dunklen Mondrand wie auch beim Austritt am hellen Mondrand ungefähr 55° hoch über Horizont.



Blick auf die aktuelle Sternkarte zum Beobachtungs- und Meldezeitpunkt:


Danach gleich ein Blick in den klaren Himmel und Kamera im Einsatz um diese Konjunktion auch auf Foto zu haben:


Und folgende Aufnahmen mit Zoom:






Fotos: ©-hjkc / CENAP

Tags: UFO-Forschung - Was beobachten wir seit 4 Stunden neben dem Mond? 


Samstag, 24. Februar 2018 - 07:50 Uhr

Mars-Chroniken - Mars Odyssey Observes Martian Moons


Phobos and Deimos, the moons of Mars

Phobos and Deimos, the moons of Mars, are seen in this movie put together from 19 images taken by the Mars Odyssey orbiter's Thermal Emission Imaging System, or THEMIS, camera. The images were taken in visible-wavelength light. THEMIS also recorded thermal-infrared imagery in the same scan.

The apparent motion is due to progression of the camera's pointing during the 17-second span of the February 15, 2018, observation, not from motion of the two moons. This was the second observation of Phobos by Mars Odyssey; the first was on September 29, 2017. Researchers have been using THEMIS to examine Mars since early 2002, but the maneuver turning the orbiter around to point the camera at Phobos was developed only recently.

The distance to Phobos from Odyssey during the observation was about 3,489 miles (5,615 kilometers). The distance to Deimos from Odyssey during the observation was about 12,222 miles (19,670 kilometers).

THEMIS was developed by and is operated by a team based at Arizona State University, Tempe. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Odyssey mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the orbiter and partners in its operation. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena.

Quelle: NASA

Tags: Mars-Chroniken - Mars Odyssey Observes Martian Moons 


Samstag, 24. Februar 2018 - 07:30 Uhr

Astronomie - NASA’s SDO Reveals How Magnetic Cage on the Sun Stopped Solar Eruption


A dramatic magnetic power struggle at the Sun’s surface lies at the heart of solar eruptions, new research using NASA data shows. The work highlights the role of the Sun’s magnetic landscape, or topology, in the development of solar eruptions that can trigger space weather events around Earth.


The scientists, led by Tahar Amari, an astrophysicist at the Center for Theoretical Physics at the École Polytechnique in Palaiseau Cedex, France, considered solar flares, which are intense bursts of radiation and light. Many strong solar flares are followed by a coronal mass ejection, or CME, a massive, bubble-shaped eruption of solar material and magnetic field, but some are not — what differentiates the two situations is not clearly understood.  


Using data from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, the scientists examined an October 2014 Jupiter-sized sunspot group, an area of complex magnetic fields, often the site of solar activity. This was the biggest group in the past two solar cycles and a highly active region. Though conditions seemed ripe for an eruption, the region never produced a major CME on its journey across the Sun. It did, however, emit a powerful X-class flare, the most intense class of flares. What determines, the scientists wondered, whether a flare is associated with a CME?

SDO observations of October 2014 X-class flare
On Oct. 24, 2014, NASA’s SDO observed an X-class solar flare erupt from a Jupiter-sized sunspot group.
Credits: Tahar Amari et al./Center for Theoretical Physics/École Polytechnique/NASA Goddard/Joy Ng

The team of scientists included SDO’s observations of magnetic fields at the Sun’s surface in powerful models that calculate the magnetic field of the Sun’s corona, or upper atmosphere, and examined how it evolved in the time just before the flare. The model reveals a battle between two key magnetic structures: a twisted magnetic rope — known to be associated with the onset of CMEs — and a dense cage of magnetic fields overlying the rope.


The scientists found that this magnetic cage physically prevented a CME from erupting that day. Just hours before the flare, the sunspot’s natural rotation contorted the magnetic rope and it grew increasingly twisted and unstable, like a tightly coiled rubber band. But the rope never erupted from the surface: Their model demonstrates it didn’t have enough energy to break through the cage. It was, however, volatile enough that it lashed through part of the cage, triggering the strong solar flare.


By changing the conditions of the cage in their model, the scientists found that if the cage were weaker that day, a major CME would have erupted on Oct. 24, 2014. The group is interested in further developing their model to study how the conflict between the magnetic cage and rope plays out in other eruptions. Their findings are summarized in a paper published in Nature on Feb. 8, 2018.


“We were able to follow the evolution of an active region, predict how likely it was to erupt, and calculate the maximum amount of energy the eruption can release,” Amari said. “This is a practical method that could become important in space weather forecasting as computational capabilities increase.”

four illustrations depicting cage rope model
In this series of images, the magnetic rope, in blue, grows increasingly twisted and unstable. But it never erupts from the Sun’s surface: The model demonstrates the rope didn’t have enough energy to break through the magnetic cage, in yellow.
Credits: Tahar Amari et al./Center for Theoretical Physics/École Polytechnique/NASA Goddard/Joy Ng

Quelle: NASA

Tags: Astronomie - NASA’s SDO Reveals How Magnetic Cage on the Sun Stopped Solar Eruption 


Samstag, 24. Februar 2018 - 07:20 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Stealth space catapult startup SpinLaunch is raising $30M



What if instead of blasting cargo into space on a rocket, we could fling it into space using a catapult? That’s the big, possibly crazy, possibly genius idea behind SpinLaunch. It was secretly founded in 2014 by Jonathan Yaney, who built solar-powered drone startup Titan Aerospace and sold it to Google. Now TechCrunch has learned from three sources that SpinLaunch is raising a massive $30 million Series A to develop its catapult technology. And we’ve scored an interview with the founder after four years in stealth.

Sources who’ve spoken to the SpinLaunch team tell me the idea is to create a much cheaper and sustainable way to get things like satellites from earth into space without chemical propellant. Using a catapult would sidestep the heavy fuel and expensive booster rockets used by companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin.

SpinLaunch plans to use a centrifuge spinning at an incredible rate. All that momentum is then harnessed to catapult a payload into space at speeds one source said could be around 3,000 miles per hour. With enough momentum, objects could be flung into space on their own. Alternatively, the catapult could provide some of the power needed with cargo being equipped with supplemental rockets necessary to leave earth’s atmosphere.

After some hesitation about emerging from stealth, Yaney agreed to talk to TechCrunch about his secretive startup, and show us the render of SpinLaunch’s future launch site hangar seen above. “Since the dawn of space exploration, rockets have been the only way to access space. Yet in 70 years, the technology has only made small incremental advances,” Yaney tells me. “To truly commercialize and industrialize space, we need 10x tech improvement.”


SpinLaunch founder and CEO Jonathan Yaney

Until recently, few details about SpinLaunch have been available. SpinLaunch’s website is password-protected, and some Sunnyvale, Calif. job listings merely refer to it as a “rapidly growing space launch startup.” But last month, a bill was proposed in the Hawaii state senate to issue $25 million in bonds to assist SpinLaunch with “constructing a portion of its electrical small satellite launch system.” Hawaii hopes to gain construction contracts and jobs, and meet government goals for expanding space accessibility, by helping SpinLaunch.

SEC documents show that Yaney raised $1 million in equity in 2014, the year SpinLaunch was founded, $2.9 million in equity in 2015, $2.2 million in debt in mid-2017 and another $2 million in debt in late 2017. Now Yaney confirms SpinLaunch has raised a total of $10 million to date, and that he’s personally an investor. As for the next $30 million, he says “The current status of our Series A raise is that we are still taking meetings with potential investors and have not yet received an executed offer.”

Yaney has been co-founding startups since 2000, including TriVance and Moretti Designs. But a passion for aeronautics led him to become a 1,000+ hour pilot, and start communications and imaging solar drone startup Titan Aerospace. It sold to Google in 2014 after receiving acquisition interest from Facebook, and Yaney began work on SpinLaunch to huck satellites into orbit.


Yaney explains that reaching orbital velocities typically “requires a rocket to carry massive quantities of propellant, leaving only a small fraction (a few percent) of the overall vehicle’s mass for ‘cargo.’ ” But SpinLaunch replaces rocket boosters with a kinetic launch system using principles “similar to those explored by several ground-based mass accelerators that date back to the 1960s. Modern adaptations include electromagnetic rail and coil guns, electrothermal-chemical guns, light gas guns, ram accelerators and blast wave accelerators.”

NASA has investigated the possibility of catapult-assisted launches that fire off a track instead of a centrifuge, but none have become cost-effective enough to successfully be used to commercially launch things into space.

Yaney’s method is different. He says “SpinLaunch employs a rotational acceleration method, harnessing angular momentum to gradually accelerate the vehicle to hypersonic speeds. This approach employs a dramatically lower cost architecture with much lower power.” SpinLaunch is targeting a per launch price of less than $500,000, while Yaney says “all existing rocket-based companies cost between $5 million and $100 million per launch.”


NASA has researched catapult-based space launchers that fire cargo off a track

Two sources say physicists who’ve looked into the company said a potential challenge could be air resistance on the cargo when the catapult fires. Earth’s atmosphere is so dense that it could be like the cargo was hitting a brick wall upon ejection. Any electronics or other sensitive materials in the cargo might have to be engineered to withstand intense G-forces. This all explains the pointy, aerodynamic launch vehicle shown in the hangar render up top.

Now it’s a question of getting that ship into space. “During the last three years, the core technology has been developed, prototyped, tested and most of the tech risk retired,” Yaney proclaims. “The remaining challenges are in the construction and associated areas that all very large hardware development and construction projects face.” Touching the heavens isn’t cheap, so SpinLaunch is talking to big institutional VC firms that could afford to fund successive rounds.

If SpinLaunch can overcome the technical barriers, it could democratize access to space by lowering launch costs. That could accelerate a new era of zero-gravity innovation, from space travel to mining to what we once thought of as mere science fiction.

Quelle: TC

Tags: Raumfahrt - Stealth space catapult startup SpinLaunch is raising $30M 


Samstag, 24. Februar 2018 - 07:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Commerce Secretary: Let’s Turn the Moon Into a ‘Gas Station for Outer Space’



Gas station on the moon. Photo-Illustration: Konstantin Sergeyev/Daily Intelligencer. Photos: NASA; Ty Wright/Bloomberg

The Trump administration wants to turn the moon into a “gas station for the outer space,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Thursday.

The development would aid with the exploration of deep space, he said. “Rockets would not need as much thrust leaving Earth if they only had to get to the moon,” Ross said. “Then at the moon, you have very low gravity so you don’t need so much thrust to go from the moon to Mars, for example, or another asteroid.”

The idea has its supporters in the scientific community. In 2015, an MIT study found that refueling near the moon would allow for humans to get to Mars much more efficiently than launching from Earth with all of the resources onboard. “The idea of taking a detour into the lunar system … it’s very unintuitive,” MIT astronautics professor Olivier de Weck said at the time. “But from an optimal network and big-picture view, this could be very affordable in the long term, because you don’t have to ship everything from Earth.”

The Trump administration has not shied away from ambitious proposals related to space. Vice-President Mike Pence announced plans last summer to put “American boots on the face of Mars.” But rather than rely on NASA, the White House wants private industry to do the heavy lifting.

On Wednesday, at a meeting of the National Space Council, Pence promoted the work of ambitious start-ups and argued that onerous regulations are holding them back. So the administration’s plan is to cut back on regulations and hire someone to oversee “all commercial space regulatory functions.” The job description may not be all that exciting, but the title is by far the coolest in all of government: space czar.

Quelle: DAILY Intelligencer

Tags: Raumfahrt - Commerce Secretary: Let’s Turn the Moon Into a ‘Gas Station for Outer Space’ 


Freitag, 23. Februar 2018 - 19:00 Uhr

Planet Erde - Himmelsphänomene Teil-43

Spektakuläre Sonnenuntergänge sowie Wolken sind in unserer Atmosphäre immer wieder zu sehen

und oft sind es nur Minuten welche ein Farbenspiel am Himmel zaubern. 

Nachfolgende Timeline Aufnahmen wurden bei Sonnenaufgang im November 2007 über Mannheim aufgenommen:



Wenn bei der Fahrt am frühen Morgen der Sonnenaufgang ein Erlebnis bereitet...



Fotos: ©-hjkc

Tags: Planet Erde - Himmelsphänomene Teil-43 


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