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GordonD last won the day on September 7 2012

GordonD had the most liked content!

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About GordonD

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    All-round great guy
  • Birthday 23/03/58

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  • Location
    Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Interests
    Real spacecraft, also the late-war Luftwaffe stuff

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  1. Sputnik 1

    Today is the sixtieth anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1, the world's very first artificial satellite. The announcement came as a major shock, particularly in the USA, who were preparing their own satellite. When details were released, many in the West doubted the accuracy - Sputnik weighed 83.6kg (184lb) and some believed that the decimal point had been misplaced, as it was many times bigger than the Vanguard satellite that America was building, which tipped the scales at only 1.47kg (3.2lb). But the numbers were correct, and even though Sputnik carried no scientific instruments - just a transmitter whose 'beep-beep' signals could be picked up easily - it kick-started the Space Race. Sputnik ceased broadcasting on 26 October when its batteries ran down, but it remained in orbit, visible through telescopes, until 4 January the following year. By then it had been joined in orbit by its successor, Sputnik 2 - but that's another story.
  2. Short Jokes II The Sequel

    Shamelessly stolen from another group... Researchers for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority found over 200 dead crows near greater Boston recently, and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu. A Bird Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and, to everyone's relief, confirmed the problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu. The cause of death appeared to be vehicular impacts. However, during the detailed analysis it was noted that varying colours of paints appeared on the bird's beaks and claws. By analyzing these paint residues it was determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, while only 2% were killed by an impact with a car. MTA then hired an Ornithological Behaviourist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills. The Ornithological Behaviourist very quickly concluded the cause: when crows eat road kill, they always have a look-out crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger. They discovered that while all the lookout crows could shout "Cah", not a single one could shout "Truck."
  3. Short Jokes II The Sequel

    Get rid of the traffic wardens and let's just have squads of these guys patrolling the streets in search of illegally-parked cars!
  4. Stanislav Petrov RIP

    Stanislav Petrov died in May though his death has only just been made public. You may never have heard of him, but you have every reason to be grateful to him. In 1983 Petrov was on duty in a Soviet early warning centre when his systems reported a massive incoming nuclear attack by the USA. Petrov felt that an attack on such a huge scale made no military sense and decided it must be an error, so instead of declaring an attack he reported a system malfunction . Had he passed the information up the chain as per his orders, it's almost certain that Moscow would have retaliated on a similar scale. It turned out, of course, that Petrov was right - investigation showed that Soviet satellites had mistakenly identified sunlight reflecting on clouds as the engines of intercontinental ballistic missiles. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41314948
  5. Farewell, Cassini - and we thank you

    I'd actually forgotten I started this topic - I was going to do a new one (with the same title! ) but didn't get round to it. Footage here of Mission Control at the moment Cassini went silent, followed by a press announcement.
  6. Short Jokes II The Sequel

    Man goes into Boot's and asks the assistant for some deodorant. The assistant asks, "The ball type?" "No," he says, "it's for under my arms." "Mummy, Mummy, I don't want to go to Ireland for my holidays!" "Shut up and keep swimming!" "I don't want to go to school - the kids all hate me and even the teachers laugh at me behind my back!" "But you have to go - you're the headmaster!"
  7. Now we are six

    Old news now (because I forgot to post this yesterday) but the ISS crew is back up to the optimal six. Soyuz MS-06 was launched in the late evening (UK time) on Tuesday 12 September and docked with the space station a few hours later. The new arrivals are Joseph Acaba and Mark Vande Hei from the USA and Aleksandr Misurkin of Russia. Vande Hei is on his first flight, while Misurkin and Acaba have both done one previous stint on the ISS (and Acaba has a Shuttle mission as well). The existing team of Nespoli, Bresnik and Ryazansky are due to return to Earth in mid-December, which will mark the beginning of Expedition 54.
  8. Jack Fischer and Fyodor Yurchikhin landed safely in Soyuz MS-04 shortly after midnight BST, having been in orbit since April. With them was Peggy Whitson, who has been aboard the ISS since last November. She now holds all the US spaceflight records except one (longest single flight, still down to Scott Kelly). Whitson's total time in space is 665 days 22 hours 44 minutes, and this particular mission lasted 289 days 5 hours 2 minutes. Whitson's total time still leaves her only eighth overall: the record holder is Gennadi Padalka, with 878 days 11 hours 31 minutes.
  9. "Your on-line shopping has arrived..."

    So it was free.
  10. A book I'd like to see filmed is 'A Fall of Moondust' by Arthur C. Clarke. Wouldn't need to be that expensive - much of the 'action' takes place aboard a tourist bus which has become buried beneath the dust on the Moon (you can see where the title comes from!!) so it wouldn't need huge sets.
  11. 1/144 Saturn V Options

    If you like Voyage (great book) then you might find this interesting. Might give you a few ideas!
  12. The latest cargo flight to the ISS has arrived safely. SpaceX Dragon CRS-12 was berthed yesterday (16 August) by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli. Here's a timelapse video of the launch, first stage recovery, capture by the manipulator arm and berthing to the ISS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2od5IRQW8D4
  13. BBMF Grounded

    This article from the BBC News site implies that the Griffon-engined Spitfires aren't grounded but are unavailable "for other reasons". Whatever the problem is, nobody can blame them for taking no chances. These planes are irreplaceable.
  14. 1/144 Saturn V Options

    The engines on the 1/144th Revell-Monogram S-II second stage are a disgrace. If you look closely at this picture you'll see that the nozzles don't extend up beyond the heat shield. This won't show if you're displaying the rocket as a stacked unit. Also the Service Module has the same problem as the original Airfix release - it's much too narrow, so looks totally wrong. For the 40th anniversary Airfix retooled their Service Module and SLA so theirs is now accurate... apart from the Command Module, though that doesn't show under the LES shroud.
  15. Today in (and back from) space...

    I remember reading an SF story (though I have no idea who wrote it) about an alien species which collects space artifacts and puts them on display in their museum. Among the exhibits are the backpacks and other stuff that Armstrong and Aldrin left behind at Tranquillity Base. The story is told in a series of memos between various departments of the alien government. As the story progresses it becomes clear that Mankind is preparing to return to the Moon and due to a Star Trek-style Prime Directive there must be no evidence that the aliens have been there, so the order goes out to create exact duplicates of the backpacks to leave on the Moon in place of the originals. However the story ends with one memo saying that Mankind has revisited Tranquillity Base and all hell has broken out. It seems that there's been a breakdown in communication and the group which created the duplicates didn't realise that although Apollo 11 had a crew of three, only two of them went down to the lunar surface...