The Space Race

I have to thank my friend and relation Chris Benson for putting this unique package of videos together. I just quote from what he sent me:

“I just watched a 2005 BBC documentary on the Space Race. I thought it was superb – I thought I knew all of that stuff, but I didn’t – such as a Soviet probe at the same time as the Apollo 11 moon landing. Even the bits I did know were incomplete, like the simultaneity of Alan Shepherd’s and Yuri Gagarin’s training.

Here they are in four one-hour episodes on YouTube:

Space Race: Episode 1: Race for Rockets (1944-1949)

Space Race: Episode 2: Race for Satellites (1953-1958)

Space Race: Episode 3: Race for Survival (1959-1961)

Space Race: Episode 4: Race for the Moon (1964-1969)

The series was made in cooperation with an American and a Russian television company. But if you are asking “What about Blue Streak?” or “What about Woomera?”, then you need this 2004 BBC documentary:

The British Space Race Part 1

The British Space Race Part 2

So many thanks indeed to Chris. Keep up the good work!

Radar Wars

Radar Wars

Radar Wars

Not my usual sort of post, but this just had to be shared.

Believe me, this could well be true. I could recount some similar, real situations – but then they’d have to shoot me!

Attribution: I always like to acknowledge, reference and attribute things which I put into posts, if possible. On researching this I couldn’t track down the original source but I did find this: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/techno/radar.asp. It’s well worth a read as there are a lot of solid technical facts therein.

Oh Deer – The MX Missile, a Flying Coffin and the Twin Towers

Manhattan Skyline With World Trade Centre

Manhattan Skyline With World Trade Centre

The anniversary of the atrocity committed against the USA has triggered memories of a day some 30 years ago which culminated in a picture-perfect flight into NYC’s La Guardia airport, the approach being down the Hudson River with a sharp turn to port across Manhattan onto the final approach. A stunning afternoon view of Manhattan and the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.

However, the story starts the day before. I was marketing & sales director of a company that I’ll call F-Corp (if there’s a real company called F-Corp, I apologise.It’s not you!). I’d been in the States visiting customers and I flew into the town of Binghamton in upstate New York at about 9:00pm one evening. It was early spring, very cold and with recent snow on the ground.

Why Binghamton? Well, F-Corp had developed a completely new technology for very high-performance, small, light weight microwave filters. These devices had major advantages in airborne and space applications where light weight and stability in extremes of temperature and pressure were essential. They met the US military’s MIL STD 5400E environmental specifications. [Read more…]