Interesting Items 06/10

Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information.  Enjoy –

In this issue –

1.  Starship
2.  Starliner
3.  Chang’e-6
4.  Trump
5.  Prep
6.  Wolves
7.  Covenant

1.  Starship.  SpaceX launched its Starship stack bright and early Thursday morning on its fourth test flight.  Both reusable stages made powered landings, Booster into the Gulf of Mexico and Ship into the Indian Ocean. Booster’s landing was a precision landing within sight of a boat tied up to a buoy.  Ship landed several kilometers away from its intended target due to burnthrough damage to one or more maneuvering flaps on the vehicle.  The test was called a success with Musk wanting to attempt a powered landing at the launch site and capture while hovering by the mechazilla chopsticks on the launch tower.  That test may take place as soon as two months from now.  Space Affairs video of the flight follows.  Launch takes place 0+39 into the video.  Reentry starts 0+43:00 after launch, 1+13:00 into the video.  Reentry continues until 1+36:00 into the video when you can see something that looks like water spray followed by a visual thump.

The count and liftoff were both uneventful, though Booster lost a single engine on the outer ring.  It flew with the remaining 32 of 33 lit.  Hot staging went well, with no noticeable damage.  The adapter between Booster and Ship was jettisoned from the top of Booster shortly after staging.  All six engines on Ship burned to put it on its ballistic, suborbital flightpath.  Boostback burn took place immediately after staging, aiming Booster for a precision targeted landing.  Demonstrating precision landings is important for recovery, as Booster needs to be within a few feet of its intended spot and hover briefly for midair capture.  SpaceX aimed at a buoy location in the Gulf of Mexico for Booster’s landing.  There was a boat on station that captured video of its landing.  Best sequence starts 7+00 into the following video.

Engine shutdown for Ship took place 8+40 after launch ending up within 1,000 kph of orbital velocity of some 27,500 kph.  Ship coasted until reentry plasma started building on the bottom of the vehicle.  This was a long, leisurely, 20-minute-long reentry.  All of it was broadcast in real time on video with a few signal drops, also a first in spaceflight.  As the heat built and the plasma worked its way on the vehicle, you could start seeing chunks of the heat tiles break off, flying by the view field as fireflies.  More impressive was heat starting to eat its way into at least one (and more likely two or more) of the flaps used to control the vehicle.  Last flight had fuel filter problems with clogged control thrusters and Ship was out of control in roll, burning up during reentry.  This problem was solved, with Ship stable throughout.  SpaceX chose to use stainless steel for Starship because it was relatively cheap, incredibly strong, and could be purchased from multiple vendors.  Carbon fiber used in most modern rockets was simply too expensive and fragile, a lesson learned by NASA / LochMart with the X-33 VentureStar debacle 1996 – 2001.  It was that choice to use stainless steel that allowed Ship to survive reentry even in its damaged condition.  There was a great cheer out of the crowd right before Ship began its landing burn when the visibly damaged flap worked. 

2.  Starliner.  NASA / Boeing began the week in space Weds, June 5 with the first successful manned launch of their Starliner capsule.  The flight has been delayed multiple times over a variety of technical difficulties, some of which showed up in orbit.  The goal of the test flight was to send a crew to ISS for a week and return safely.  The launch went well, though long, as it took 0+13 for the Atlas Centaur to put the capsule into orbit.  Normal launches take somewhere in the 0+8:30 range to orbit.  Once in orbit, a persistent helium problem with capsule thrusters returned, with at least two additional leaks discovered.  Helium is used to pressurize thrusters.  Thrusters died for a bit upon first approach to docking with ISS.  That attempt was waved off.  The second one worked as they solved the thruster problem.  As of this writing, looks like they are on track for a return midweek.

3.  Chang’e-6.  The US is not the only nation doing things in space, as China is well on its way to being a real international competitor not seen since the days of the Soviet Union.  China launched their Chang’e-6 lunar sample return flight May 3.  It went into orbit around the moon and put a lander on the far side of the moon June 1 in the Apollo Basin crater which is part of the larger South Pole – Aitken (SPA) Basin.  All nations are interested in the lunar south pole because it has water ice that would be useful in future manned activities on and around the moon.  The combined stack separated a lander which touched down on the moon.  The lander deployed a rover with a camera and collected samples.  Samples were loaded into an ascent stage which took off and rendezvoused with the orbiter Jun 6.  Samples were transferred to the orbiter and are scheduled for delivery on Jun 24.  You don’t build the complete Apollo lunar stack and operate it unless you intend to land people on the moon.  I would guess China will make their attempt sooner rather than later. 

4.  Trump.  Trump’s conviction continues to rattle around the body politic like the proverbial bull in the political China shop.  Fundraising continued with over $400 million raised by his campaign since the conviction was announced.  Most importantly, it appears the billionaires are starting to swing in his direction.  This was demonstrated by a successful Silicon Valley fundraiser that raised over $12 million.  Somewhere along the line, Trump needs to consider spreading the wealth a bit to drag Republican majorities in both houses of congress across the finish line with him.  Name calling of Trump as a felon also slacked off significantly, likely because it like the lawfare strategy democrats are relying on to beat him is backfiring.  Breakdown of support for Trump is also interesting, with men clanging rather strongly in his direction.  Trump’s visit to a UFC fight in New Jersey was wildly cheered by attendees.  Why?  Because they were mostly men.  Final point:  I spent a while in Louisiana in the 1970s and 1980s.  Governor during the first part of that time was a democrat named Edwin Edwards who modeled his political flamboyance after the pirate Jean Lafitte.  Former Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach also played the same schtick.  Piracy is popular.  Turning Trump into a pirate is feeding energy to the consummate energy monster. 

5.  Prep.  Battlespace prep for November continued last week with Steve Bannon being told to report to federal prison July 1 rather than being released during the time it takes his appeal to make its way through the federal courts.  His jailing and that of Peter Navaro mark significant changes in the way federal judges deal with non-violent perps during their appeals.  Both men refused to cooperate with Nancy Pelosi’s fraudulent Jan 6 Committee subpoenas.  Unlike democrats who regularly ignore congressional subpoenas, they were tried, convicted and sentenced to 4 months in jail.  Navaro should be released from jail pretty soon.  Bannon will be jailed until a few days before the election.  Both have been effectively removed from the board.  Last week, Epoch Times CFO Bill Guan was charged with money laundering $67 million in an international scheme.  Nobody seeing this and reading anything out of the Epoch Times will view this as little more than a Dementia Hitler regime attempt to remove yet another piece from the board for the election.  Epoch Times started as a small anti-China newspaper, that morphed into an effective right wing news source.  Final observation comes out of this morning’s Scott Adams podcast.  Adams noted that the CIA was involved in removal of at least three US Presidents from office, all for the same reason – cutting their budget.  These presidents were JFK, Nixon and Trump.  Depending on your belief as to what happened on the grassy knoll in Dallas on Nove 23, CIA was in complete control of the Warren Commission afterwards.  The WH Plumbers who broke into the DNC office in the Watergate Hotel were mostly CIA.  The CIA never informed Nixon about the op.  Finally, CIA and the greater intel community were in the center of the Steele Dossier, the Meuller investigation, and the Hunter laptop coverup (remember Blinken’s 2020 letter with signatures of 51 intel community alumni?).  If they took out three presidents, how many more did they try to?

6.   Wolves.  Colorado democrat backed destruction of Colorado ranchers via reintroduction of grey wolves back into the state continued with an extended Denver Gazette piece on June 1.  Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) is accused of ignoring the statewide management plan as they reintroduced 10 Oregon grey wolves into the area just S of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Ranchers immediately started losing calves.  As of the article’s publication, wolves have killed 23 cattle, calves, three dogs and three sheep since Dec 2021.  These kills include wolves that migrated from Wyoming (where they were also reintroduced).  These numbers are likely low.  er over the last few years.  Wolves killed at least 800 domesticated animals across 10 states in 2022.  Governments claim that only 0.002% of herds in those states are effected, another number that is likely low.  Greens support reintroduction for a couple reasons, one is restoring nature.  The second, and more salable, is that wolves perform important ecological function by changing the behavior of herbivores.  It is this second reason democrats hang their hats upon and used to sell this foolishness to state voters in the Front Range cities.  Some of the Oregon wolves reintroduced come from packs known to prey on livestock in Oregon.  Now that the youngsters have been taught the family line of work, they seem to take their skills to Colorado pastures.  All of this is roundly and loudly denied by the greens and democrats.  Just to make sure that things continue to go well (/sarc), Colorado plans on introducing another 30 – 50 wolves over the next five years.  And when the food supply is robust, wolves breed like flies.  The Nez Perce Tribe, with its hands perennially out, is cooperating with Colorado to put the next batch on tribal lands.  That’ll go well. 

7.  Covenant.  One of the current mysteries has been law enforcement protection of mass shooter Audrey Hale who killed six people in the Covenant School in Memphis Mar 2023.  She was a trans male, a woman trying to be a man.  The last several school shooters have been somewhere on the trans spectrum, as the medical community fed their mental illness with surgical mutilation and hormones rather than with compassionate care for their mental illness.  Hale wrote a manifesto and left it for her survivors to peruse and marvel at.  FBI, state and local law enforcement colluded to bury the manifesto successfully for 16 solid months.  Last week someone leaked nearly 50 pages of it to the Tennessee Star.  The 28-year woman was wracked with mental illness for a long time, finally discovering it was possible to transition sometime in her early 20s.  Her parents were less than supportive, having traditional views, though being in her 20s, she should have been out of the house.  By the time she hit her 20s, it was too late for hormones and puberty blockers.  All that was left was medical mutilation, something she didn’t seem to want to pursue.  Perhaps the most surprising news about Hale last week was the discovery that she used federal education money, a Pell Grant, to purchase firearms, ammo and get training at a local range.  The guns cost around $1,950.  The other accessories and ammo, another $1,100.  Training here in ANC runs around $300/day depending on what you are wanting to do.  If she got training, it wasn’t much.  While I’m not a big opponent of using education grants for all types of education, I do wonder about teaching the mentally ill deadly skills.  It would appear to be a negative lifestyle choice for everybody concerned.  Remember the Good Old Days when the left was opposed to firearms for the mentally ill?  This event and several others just like it in recent years is a direct fallout of leftist intersectionality, coddling the mentally ill rather than helping them figure out how to deal with their inner demons.  Mental illness continues to be anything but normal, and those transitioning are mentally ill. 

More later –

  • AG

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