Monday, May 11, 2015

Laser satellites on the way



The recent destruction of the U.S. Air Force's 20-year-old Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 and the resulting cloud of space debris adding to an already dangerous amount of clutter traveling at high speeds in orbit of the planet has brought to light a plan by Japanese researchers to fit a laser to the ISS.

The Extreme Universe Space Observatory (EUSO) telescope, originally designed to detect cosmic rays, could be put to use for a more 'useful' project. The EUSO which is scheduled to be installed on Japan's module on the ISS in 2017, could help the orbiting complex detect dangerous debris. Researchers say that a powerful laser under development could then help shoot down this space garbage.

Toshikazu Ebisuzaki, an astrophysicist and chief scientist at the RIKEN (Rikagaku Kenkyūsho) Computational Astrophysics Laboratory in Wako, Japan, and his team reasoned that the EUSO's wide range of view and powerful optics could also help it detect high-speed debris near the ISS. Then a Coherent Amplification Network (CAN) laser could then blast the debris. The CAN laser consists of many small lasers working together to generate a single powerful beam and is currently under development to drive particles at high speeds in atom smashers. The laser would vaporize a thin film of matter off the surface of debris and the resulting high-speed plasma would act like a rocket plume, nudging the junk downward to eventually burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

A full-scale version of the system would be armed with a 100 kilowatt ultraviolet CAN laser that can fire 10,000 pulses per second, each lasting one-tenth of one-billionth of a second. The researchers say this system could blast debris from a range of about 60 miles (100 kilometers), and the laser would need about 17 lbs. (8 kilograms) of lithium-ion batteries.

A proof-of-concept version of the system is first intended to be deployed, consisting of a miniature version of EUSO and a prototype 10-watt ultraviolet CAN laser firing 100 pulses per second. A RIKEN spokesman noted that the mini-EUSO telescope has been accepted as a project on the ISS and could perhaps go up in 2017 or 2018, but the laser system is still a concept that has not been built.

Simulation of Earth's orbiting space junk - NASA
If the concept and full versions are successful, the researchers suggest developing a satellite devoted solely to blasting space debris. They suggest the satellite should assume an orbit that takes it over both of Earth's poles, allowing it to shoot down debris all over the planet, and be armed with a 500 kilowatt ultraviolet CAN laser that can fire 50,000 pulses per second. They estimate it could blast one piece of debris every five minutes, or 100,000 pieces of space junk each year.

"The biggest obstacle is funding," Ebisuzaki said. "There are some technical challenges, of course, but the main issue is getting funding for development and launch."

It was noted that Major General "Jäger" Brandt, SPEARHEAD Deputy Commander for Security and Surveillance and Brigadier General "Whopper" Creedon, SPEARHEAD Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Information both visited RIKEN recently, fueling online conspiracy rumours that SPEARHEAD had deliberately destroyed DMSP-13 in an effort to fast-track extra funding for the Japanese project. Neither RIKEN or SPEARHEAD have answered questions on the issue.

Sources: Space.com

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Dunford continues to blaze a trail to the top

Long time readers will remember the Marine General "Fighting Joe" Dunford from the past several years of posts. In June 2010 when General Amos was nominated to replace General Conway as Commandant, I expressed the opinion that Dunford, then a 3-star and CG of I MEF, may have been a better choice. He had been elevated from 1 to 3-star rank quickly [never actually holding 2-star grade] and his combat experience in Afghanistan was both exemplary and proved he wasn't just a politician but perhaps he was too young [at 55] to be elevated to the USMC's #1 spot just yet.

Dunford did however assume the Vice Commandant's position and a fourth star that October. Exactly two years later in October 2012 I blogged when he was nominated to command the ISAF which he did in February 2013 replacing General Allen and then last June when the man was nominated for Commandant, a position he assumed last October replacing General Amos.

Now only in his 7th month as Commandant, President Obama has unexpectedly nominated Dunford to replace Army General Martin Dempsey as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when his tour ends in the Autumn. I would have expected Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T. Odinero or Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear, Commander, US Pacific Command to have been tapped for the billet but it looks like they're retiring.

General Dempsey said: I've known General Dunford for almost half of his 39 years of service,... He is a phenomenal, combat-tested leader and a man of integrity, courage and humility." He's known for keeping his cool under pressure, Marine Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis, former CENTCOM commander said he once saw a grenade pass over Dunford's Humvee in Iraq and explode 100 yards away. "He barely glanced up and then went right back to writing his orders."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The rise to power continues...


Expect some action on this list likely before 2016.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

He lived long and prospered. Leonard Nimoy 1931 - 2015

I had a rough draft of Leonard Nimoy's obituary saved here for a while now, but I deleted it on Friday. Instead it was recommended to me that because thousands if not millions of people would be writing and paying tribute to him over the following few days, my own impression of the man would be lost in a sea of lists of his extraordinary accomplishments, artistry and impact on the human race. So instead I took my time until I could say what Leonard Nimoy meant to me.

Amongst other things Leonard Nimoy was a soldier, an actor, director, photographer and poet. To me he represented the face of Star Trek, even before I watched the show or embraced science fiction in general my teens. Leonard Nimoy's characterisation of Dr. Spock [that's not an error that's what I thought he was called] has such an impact it was literally all I knew about Star Trek before the time I began a passive-aggressive bullying campaign against Dave, a school-chum because he liked Star Trek and I often drew pictures of him with "Spock ears".

To negate the bullying Dave asked me to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation it first came on TV and see what I was mocking. So I did. The bullying stopped on Monday morning afterwards. Just over 12 months later I was wearing a Starfleet Uniform in public and people were calling me "Lt. Commander", I shit you not.

I needed a fix like a drug addict. So for about 26 weeks Dave who was now my pusher/supplier had to make me a video tape with three episodes of the Original Series on it so I could properly embrace all of Star Trek. Before long I had acquired enough knowledge to begin forming my own opinion and like all Star Trek fans, the arguments and differences of opinions surfaced, but now all in good fun.


He was never my favourite Character, but due entirely to Leonard Nimoy's performance I certainly was able to identify with Spock more than any other - he was very weird, says a lot of weird shit but once you get to know him and accept him he was a friend. That's also pretty much what I think about Star Trek as a whole and I've discovered it's also actually how more than one person has described ME.

"Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most.... human" - Adm. James T. Kirk, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Hot porn right here, right now [SFW]

That's right, time for something new on the Bunker. PORN!

Well GUN-PORN [is there a better kind?]. Beretta revealed this sexy little piece at the IDEX (International Defence Exhibition and Conference) in Abu Dhabi last week, the Beretta APX - their their first full-size striker pistol.

The gorgeous 7.55-inch-long APX is a striker fired pistol built on a chassis system.  The just over 4.25 inch long barrel is cold-hammer forged with nitriding surface treatment on all the steel parts. Beretta describes the operation as semi-auto, tilting barrel locking system using a non-pre-cocked striker block.

The serialized stainless steel chassis is encased with a fiberglass reinforced polymer frame and this helps to reduce the weight. With an empty magazine loaded, the APX weighs about 26.8 ounces in the 9 mm versions and just over 26.8 ounces in the .40 S&W variant.

To accommodate different hand sizes, there are three sizes of removable backstraps and grips. Each option provides a different palm swell and length of pull for the user. For those wearing heavy gloves, the trigger guard opening is designed to make that possible. APX also features coarse slide serration making cocking with cumbersome gloves easier.

The trigger, designed to be flatter and wider than others in the striker-fired pistol space, has a pull weight of about 6 pounds. The trigger travel is 6 mm, with reset at 3.

The weapon has the standard 1913 Picatinny rail for accessory mounting. Sights will be a standard three-dot combat sight system with a unique mounting system. For one handed slide cycling, there’s a rear sight ninety-degree face. 

Fieldstripping and switching components should be super easy. Triggerless disassembly is one of the advantages of striker-fired pistols and the APX has enhanced safety with the ability to disassemble without pulling the trigger. There is a disconnector pin on the rear right side of the pistol under the breech.

Christmas is just over nine months away folks :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

RIP John Cooper

The death has occurred of John Cooper at 73. He was a British comic book artist from West Yorkshire that was most famous for his work in the '70's and '80's. Chances are if you read any British weekly comic books around that period, you'll likely have seen his work as he drew strips for Valiant, Action, Starlord, Tornado, Battle, Eagle and one of the first Judge Dredd strips for 2000AD.

While he's known for Johnny Red and One-Eyed Jack - what I'll remember him for is the hundreds of pages of Action Force which he drew for ICP's Battle: Action Force in the mid 80's featuring all the G.I.Joe characters from that period, long before anyone in this neck of the woods had ever heard of G.I.Joe.

As he wasn't bound as his American counterparts were by the Comics Code Authority, Cooper had free reign to draw everything from realistic bullet wounds to suicide bombers in a comic book based on a child's toy. - And it was fucking awesome! May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Commie alien star threatens freedom!

...or at least the freedom of Neanderthal man who shambled the planet 70,000 years ago.

A team of international astronomers led by Eric Mamajek at the University of Rochester, New York and supported by SPEARHEAD say that Scholz's star, a red dwarf, travelled through a region at the edge of the Solar System filled with trillions of comets known as the "outer Oort Cloud" and passed within 0.8 light years of the Sun. No other star is known to have approached this close to us - five times closer than our nearest neighbour - Proxima Centauri.

The researchers determined the trajectory of the star by analysing the change in distance from the Sun to the star and the star's motion across the sky. As Scholz's star now lies 20 light years away but it showed very slow motion for a star as close. This indicated that it was either moving away from us or worse - TOWARDS a future close encounter with the Solar System.


Once the panic that this generated among the senior scientific community and world governments which began working on ways to prolong the human race away from the doomed Earth had died down: the velocity measurements of the red dwarf confirmed that it was in fact speeding away from us. However after tracing its movements back in time, the astronomers found its close shave with the Sun occurred some 70,000 years ago.

While it was theorised that a star passing through the Oort Cloud could potentially play gravitational havoc with the orbits of comets there, sending them on trajectories into the inner Solar System. Dr Mamajek believes the effects of Scholz's star on our cosmic neighbourhood were "negligible". 

Director of Scientific Research,  Dr. "Quantum" Pataal cautioned that just because Scholtz's star will unlikely be the object of our doom "it won't be the last time we're threatened by rogue celestial bodies that we may be ultimately powerless to defend ourselves against.

Source: BBC