Month: May 2020

China’s New Crew Capsule Just Landed, Along With Parts of Their New Rocket

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Article by Matt Williams                             May 15, 2020                             (universetoday.com)

• Two milestones have brought China closer to becoming a full-fledged superpower in space. One was the successful return on May 8th of a next-generation crewed spacecraft that launched into low earth orbit on May 5th and spent 67 hours in space. The other was the launch of China’s new Long March 5B (CZ-5B) heavy-lift rocket carrying a target payload for the first time. The heavy-lift rocket took the new spacecraft into orbit, although the spacecraft was unmanned for this test mission.

• The purpose of the spacecraft mission was to test its deep space capabilities since it will be carrying Chinese astronauts, or “taikonauts”, to the Moon and beyond in the coming years. The spacecraft reached a maximum distance of 4,970 miles from earth. The spacecraft deployed its three parachutes to slow down during its descent back to earth and airbags were deployed to cushion the landing. The previous Shenzhou spacecraft relied on only one parachute and had no airbags. Once it returns to Earth, crews will refurbish the new spacecraft by replacing the ‘foldable’ heat shield and removing any additional scoring from the hull.

• The purpose of the heavy-lift rocket mission was to test its payload ability, as it will be used to bring materiel to build a space station orbiting the Moon. The Chinese wanted to make sure that the heavy-lift rocket could handle a 22 US ton payload because they intend to eventually carry into orbit the components needed to construct the Tiangong-3 Modular Space Station. The uncrewed spacecraft and 22,000 lbs of fuel propellant brought its launch mass to 23.8 US tons.

• The rocket and spacecraft were launched from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center – located on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Upon reaching orbit, the booster and spacecraft separated. The spacecraft brought along a composite materials 3D printing system, a time-triggered Ethernet system, and a range of seeds intended to test the effects of microgravity and radiation from the Van Allen belts on the growth of plants, which is essential to any plan to build space stations and habitats in orbit. On its return, the spacecraft touched down at the Dongfeng landing area in China’s northeastern Jilin province.

• On May 11th, a spent rocket stage of the Long March 5B re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean. The booster landed safely in the ocean off the west coast of Africa. Some pieces of the rocket landed on an African village, however. If it had re-entered earth’s atmosphere fifteen minutes earlier, the debris would have landed on New York City. No injuries were reported.

• This latest mission has sent a clear message to the global astronomical community that China will be expanding its presence in ‘low earth orbit’ in the coming years. In this decade, China will have the capability to send taikonauts to the Moon, followed by the creation of a permanent lunar base in the next decade, and maybe crewed missions to Mars.

 

China’s next-generation crewed spacecraft, which will replace the venerable Shenzou spacecraft in the coming years, recently returned to Earth after spending almost three days in space. The purpose of this mission was to test the deep space capabilities of the spacecraft that will be sending Chinese astronauts (taikonauts) to orbit, to the Moon, and beyond in the coming years.

                  Chinese ‘taikonauts’

In addition, this mission also saw China’s new Long March 5B (CZ-5B) heavy-lift rocket launch a payload to space for the first time. This rocket is the latest installment in the Long March family and will be vital to the creation of the third and largest Chinese space station. These two milestones have brought China a step closer to becoming a full-fledged superpower in space.

The uncrewed spacecraft and Long March 5B launched on their maiden voyage together in the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 5th, from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center – located on Hainan Island in the South China Sea. Once they reached orbit, the booster and spacecraft separated, and the second part of the mission commenced (i.e. the validation of the crewed spacecraft prototype).

Over the course of the next 67 hours, the spacecraft performed seven orbit-raising maneuvers and reached a maximum distance (apogee) of around 8,000 km (4,970 mi) from Earth’s surface. This is similar to what was done during Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) with the Orion spacecraft back in 2014 – though that mission lasted only 4 hours and completed 2 orbits.

By Friday, May 8th, at 01:21 AM EST (10:21 PM, May 7th, PST) the spacecraft completed its deorbit burn, which was followed by the separation of the service and crew modules about twelve minutes later. The new spacecraft deployed its three parachutes to slow down during descent and airbags were deployed from the underside to cushion the landing.

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Former Senator Harry Reid Believes in Aliens, Urges Politicians to Not Be Afraid

Article by Jason Koebler                               May 7, 2020                              (vice.com)

• Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has done more than any other lawmaker to support the search for UFOs. “The sad part about it is no one else has done anything,” Reid told Motherboard. “[S]o saying I’ve done more than anybody else is no big deal. There’s no one doing anything, and that’s too bad.”

• Reid was the architect of two Pentagon programs designed to look for and study UFOs and advanced propulsion technologies – called the ‘Advanced Aerospace Threat and Identification Program’ (“AATIP”) and the ‘Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Applications Program’. Between 2007 and 2012, the DoD programs received $22 million in Congressional “black budget” funding and were run through a partner company, ‘Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies’.

• Since the Pentagon programs became public in 2017 with a New York Times investigation, Reid has given several interviews saying he wants to focus on “science,” not “little green men.” But Reid told Motherboard that he does believe in extraterrestrial life. “The world as we know it today is extremely large,” Reid said. “I think that we as human beings have to be a little short sighted if we think we’re the only species in the entire universe. In the entire universe there is for sure more than one [intelligent species].”

• Reid also said he believes it is impossible to separate studying UFOs from searching for aliens. “We learned with the work that we did that the sightings of aerial phenomenon has not been seen by a couple dozen people, not a couple hundred people. Thousands of people. Thousands of people.

• “We know that unusual things have happened over decades on a regular basis,” said Reid. [W]e know that in the Dakotas, a missile launching facility had been shut down because of something [hovering] over one of them [and] basically shutting off the power to them. We know the accounts off the coast of San Diego where ships have found these unusual things in the water and it shut down the communications on the ships.”

• Reid continued, “I repeat, now for the second or third time, that people should not be afraid. I think that too many of my legislative friends are afraid to go into this because someone will think that they’re some kind of a nutcase. But I went into it, and I don’t think it hurt me politically.”

• Recently the DoD said that the program had nothing to do with UFOs. Reid has said from the earliest days, this was a UFO program and was always designed to be a UFO program. Reid tweeted that the Pentagon’s release of the three Navy UFO/UAP videos “only scratches the surface of research and materials available.”

• Much of the UFO research was carried out by Bigelow on the infamous Skinwalker Ranch, a paranormal hotspot in Utah. Reid said he has never visited Skinwalker Ranch but that he followed the program while he was a Senator. “I …followed it very closely and talked to people that worked [at Skinwalker Ranch], but …because I was a …member of the Senate… I didn’t feel that it was appropriate for the government to [cover the travel cost]. [S]o I thought well, I’ll just listen to others. But you know there are all kinds of interesting reports about …weird stuff going on up there.”

• Reid says that the Pentagon or NSA should be [investigating UFOs] because he wasn’t sure whether a civilian agency such as NASA could do it. But he does believe to this day that studying UFOs is important government work that should continue to be funded. “Even some of my staff told me to stay away from all this. But… it was something I was interested in, …something that government should be involved in. [O]ther countries are doing it.”

 

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has done more than any other lawmaker to support the search for UFOs, which he says doesn’t mean a whole lot.

“The sad part about it is no one else has done anything, so saying I’ve done more than anybody else is no big deal,” Reid told Motherboard on the CYBER podcast. “There’s no one doing anything and that’s too bad.”

Reid was the architect of two Pentagon programs designed to look for and study UFOs, unidentified aerial phenomena, and advanced propulsion technologies. These two programs, called the Advanced Aerospace Threat and Identification Program and the Advanced Aerospace Weapons Systems Applications Program, had $22 million in funding between 2007 and 2012 through a Congressional “black budget,” and were run through a company called Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies, which worked on it along with the Pentagon.

Since the programs became public in 2017 thanks to a New York Times investigation and the man who ran the program, Luis Elizondo, Reid has given a few interviews where he’s said he wants to focus on “science,” not “little green men.” But Reid, in an interview with Motherboard this week, said that he does believe in extraterrestrial life.

“I look at it this way,” Reid said. “The world as we know it today is extremely large. It’s so big I can’t comprehend it. And I think that we as human beings have to be a little short sighted if we think we’re the only species in the entire universe. In the entire universe there is for sure more than one [species].”

Though that statement should not be terribly controversial and reflects a viewpoint held by many scientists, it’s not one that has been taken by many politicians, and certainly not by someone who had as much power as Reid did. Reid also said he believes it is impossible to separate studying UFOs from searching for aliens.

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Navy Laser Creates Plasma ‘UFOs’

Article by David Hambling                          May 11, 2020                        (forbes.com)

• In the 1990s, ‘Laser-Induced Plasma Filaments’ (LIPF) were first developed using intense, short, self-focusing laser pulse to create a glowing filament or channel of plasma, which can be projected a distance of hundreds of meters. This technology underlies the Navy project, which uses LIPFs to create phantom images with infrared emissions to fool heat-seeking missiles.

• The effect is described in a 2018 US Navy patent (see here) “wherein a laser source is mounted on the back of the air vehicle, and wherein the laser source is configured to create a laser-induced plasma, and wherein the laser-induced plasma acts as a decoy for an incoming threat to the air vehicle.” The patent explains that the laser creates a series of mid-air plasma columns, which form a 2D or 3D image by a process of “raster scanning”, similar to how the old-style cathode ray TV sets displayed a picture.

• The LIPF decoy can be created instantly at any desired distance from the aircraft, and can be moved around at will, providing protection for as long as needed. According to the patent: “There can be multiple laser systems mounted on the back of the air vehicle with each laser system generating a ‘ghost image’ such that there would appear to be multiple air vehicles present.”

• “The potential applications of this LIP flare/decoy can be expanded, such as using a helicopter deploying flares to protect a battleship, or using this method to cover and protect a whole battle-group of ships, a military base or an entire city,” according to the patent. The patent’s lead researcher, Alexandru Hening, wrote in the Navy’s IT Magazine that he has been working on laser-induced plasma at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific since 2012.

• In the early 1990s, in response to the American ‘Star Wars’ initiative, the Russians claimed that they could produce glowing ‘plasmoids’ at high altitude using high-power microwave or laser beams to disrupt the flight of ballistic missiles. While nothing came of the project, Russia may have refined the technology over the decades.

• In 2011, a Japanese company demonstrated a rudimentary system that created moving 3D images in mid-air with a series of rapidly-generated plasma dots. (see video below).

• Until now, jet aircraft had to eject ‘decoy flares’ to lure a heat-seeking missile away from targeted craft for only a few seconds. The Laser Induced Plasma Effects ionize an intense laser pulse to produce a burst of glowing plasma. These plasma bursts act as ‘flash-bang’ stun grenades to disrupt a heat-seeking missiles. A rapid series of such pluses can even be modulated to transmit a spoken message. (see video below) Because LIPFs conduct electricity, they have been investigated as a means of triggering lightning to create a ‘lightning gun’.

• Technology will no doubt evolve to allow heat-seeking missiles to distinguish the plasma ghosts from real jets, leading to further refinement of the decoy technology, and so on. Still, this laser-plasma research offers a game-changing method of providing aircraft and even larger targets protection from heat-seeking missiles. It may also provide a clue about the source of some recent UFO sightings by military aircraft.

[Editor’s Note]   These laser-induced plasma filament decoy shield can be expanded to protect a battleship, battle group, military base or entire city, according to its patent. I am reminded of the Tesla Shield patents that Dr Michael Salla wrote about in August 2019: “US Navy Regards Electromagnetic Propulsion & Tesla Shield Patents as Operable”, and “Are US Aircraft Carriers secretly protected by Electromagnetic “Tesla” Shields?”

I reached out to Dr Salla to see what he thought about the LIPF decoy shield. “This is a very interesting defense concept,” said Dr Salla. “Extension of current defense technology to throw off heat seeking missiles. Very different concept to the High Energy Electromagnetic Field Generator I discussed in the aircraft carrier refit article which effectively creates a Tesla shield. Possible that this is one of the new defense technologies used for the classified upgrades happening at naval dockyards. Don’t believe it’s related to the UFO videos released by the Navy.”

 

The U.S. Navy has patented technology to create mid-air images to fool infrared and other sensors. This builds on many years of laser-plasma research and offers a game-changing method of protecting aircraft from heat-seeking missiles. It may also provide a clue about the source of some recent UFO sightings by military aircraft.

The U.S. developed the first Sidewinder heat-seeking missile back in the 1950’s, and the latest AIM-9X version is still in frontline service around the world. This type of sensor works so well because hot jet engines exhausts shine out like beacons in the infrared, making them easy targets. Pilots under attack can eject decoy flares to lure a missile away from the launch aircraft, but these only provide a few seconds protection. More recently laser infrared countermeasures have been fielded which dazzle the infrared seeker.

A sufficiently intense laser pulse can ionize producing a burst of glowing plasma. The Laser Induced Plasma Effects program uses single plasma bursts as flash-bang stun grenades; a rapid series of such pluses can even be modulated to transmit a spoken message (video here). In 2011 Japanese company Burton Inc demonstrated a rudimentary system that created moving 3D images in mid-air with a series of rapidly-generated plasma dots (video here).

A more sophisticated approach uses an intense, ultra-short, self-focusing laser pulse to create a glowing filament or channel of plasma, an effect discovered in the 1990s. Known as laser-induced plasma filaments (LIPF) these can be created at some distance from the laser for tens or hundreds of meters. Because LIPFs conduct electricity, they have been investigated as a means of triggering lightning or creating a lightning gun.

One of the interesting things about LIPFs is that with suitable tuning they can emit light of any wavelength: visible, infrared, ultraviolet or even terahertz waves. This technology underlies the Navy project, which uses LIPFs to create phantom images with infrared emissions to fool heat-seeking missiles.

 

1:34 minutes video ‘Talking lasers and endless flashbangs: Pentagon develops plasma tech’ (‘Military Times’ YouTube)

 

1:53 minute video ‘True 3D Display in the Mid-Air Using Laser Plasma Technology’ (‘Deepak Gupta’ YouTube)

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