Shutdown

Shutdown: Gif Week

Welcome to Gif Week, an unofficial celebration that is simply the week where I happened upon five military weapon related gifs. Since there happen to be five Shutdowns in the week, what could we do but end with one a day?!

Gif via highpowerrocketry.

Moments in History

Big Bad Blackbirds

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The alternate title for this post should probably be Bill Weaver: The Biggest Badass You Might Not Know. What most of you likely do know is that the SR-71 was a) awesome, and b) developed after/with the single-seat A-12. Mr. Weaver’s tale harkens back to the early days of testing and wringing out the kinks of the SR-71. I don’t want to retell the entire tale, just wet your whistle and send you over to read for yourself, but let me assure you, the whole story is definitely worth reading!

The flight in question, which Weaver calls his “most memorable”, occurred on Jan. 25, 1966, and along with him was Jim Zwayer, who was a Lockheed flight test reconnaissance and navigation systems specialist. Those recon and nav systems were one test focus, and the other bits of beta testing were “procedures designed to reduce trim drag and improve high-Mach cruise performance. The latter involved flying with the center-of-gravity (CG) located further aft than normal, which reduced the Blackbird’s longitudinal stability.” Reducing stability usually doesn’t sound like a good idea, but it can offer performance enhancements in certain flight regimes, much like having a racecar drive “loose” can make a car a faster on a given track.

After in-flight refuelling for the second leg of their flight, and accelerating to Mach 3.18, they initiated a 35 degree banked right turn. It was at this point they experienced a benign sounding “inlet unstart”. That unstart was actually a bit of a big deal. In Weaver’s words, “the right engine inlet’s automatic control system malfunctioned, requiring a switch to manual control. The SR-71′s inlet configuration was automatically adjusted during supersonic flight to decelerate air flow in the duct, slowing it to subsonic speed before reaching the engine’s face. This was accomplished by the inlet’s center-body spike translating aft, and by modulating the inlet’s forward bypass doors. Normally, these actions were scheduled automatically as a function of Mach number, positioning the normal shock wave (where air flow becomes subsonic) inside the inlet to ensure optimum engine performance.

Without proper scheduling, disturbances inside the inlet could result in the shock wave being expelled forward–a phenomenon known as an “inlet unstart.” That causes an instantaneous loss of engine thrust, explosive banging noises and violent yawing of the aircraft–like being in a train wreck. Unstarts were not uncommon at that time in the SR-71′s development, but a properly functioning system would recapture the shock wave and restore normal operation.”

What if the aircraft was in a relatively hard right turn and the right engine unstart did not clear? Here is your teaser: “AS FULL AWARENESS took hold, I realized I was not dead, but had somehow separated from the airplane.” Got you curious to read the rest? Hit the jump and follow the link, plus bonus SR-71 links!!

Continue reading Big Bad Blackbirds

Shutdown

Shutdown: Who Yields First?

My usual rules for right-of-way seen to not apply here, interesting.

Image via transpress nz.

Shutdown

Shutdown: Hydrant Hydra

The multi-headed hydrant was always a popular stop for the loyal dog walkers.

Image via theospark.net.

Shutdown

Shutdown: Do Your Homework!

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If you don’t do your homework, no Mario for you!

Continue reading Shutdown: Do Your Homework!

Shutdown

Shutdown: Easy!

If Asimov says it’s easy, it’s easy, okay?!

Image via the Tumblr Dinosaur’s Pen.

[As a side note, we may not have exciting new content on a daily basis, but we’ll try to give you a place for discussion! As always, off topic conversation is not only tolerated, but […]

Spaceheads

Take a Little Trip

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NASA wants us all to get out and see the worlds! And by way of encouragement, they have created some travel posters to showcase some of those worlds! (No word on how to actually get there, but I am sure PanAm is working something up.)

Continue reading Take a Little Trip

Spaceheads

Digital Monkeys

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Unless you have been living under a rock, or perhaps have a cold empty heart devoid of emotional excitement for space adventures (coincidentally, space is also a cold empty void), you probably noticed NASA very recently conducted a successful test launch and recovery of the new Orion capsule. (Still not to be confused with this other, more atomic Orion.) Once upon a time, such tests would have been conducted using happy, energetic little monkeys, but now we live in a digital, monkey loving world, a world where we could likely take bets on who will receive sentient being legal status first, a computer or a monkey. NASA went the computer route, sending a robo-monkey to shoot video out the Orion window. Most of that was streamed ‘live’, but not the critical phase involving superheated plasma during re-entry. Luckily the digital monkey had a nice steady hand, so hit the jump and check out some plasma!

Continue reading Digital Monkeys

Startup

Startdown: Worse Than a Bad USB

Maybe he is White Hat, using his powers for good.

Image via the Green Box.

Airborne Awesomosity

Betting Man

Last week marked 58 years since a relatively unknown yet undoubtedly impressive stunt was pulled off in New York City (and this week is 56 years since it was pulled off again, but we’ll get to that momentarily). On the late evening of September 30, 1956, the young Thomas Fitzpatrick, whilst enjoying some […]

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