The Skydiving and Aviation Related Photo Thread! (OT)


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 441 - 460 of total 961 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 28, 2012 - 01:52am PT
Some really badass posts here guys! LOVE the foamjet!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Oct 28, 2012 - 04:59am PT
The rockstar line at Chamonix.

Look for the climber in the dihedral a couple seconds after they jump.

"3.. 2.. 1.. See ya!"

Damn, I wish that I was younger and my shoulders didn't pop out of their sockets....

Mountain climber
Oct 29, 2012 - 01:56pm PT
I thought this video was incredible. Especially the film angles and how close to the ground he is flying/falling.

Trad climber
So Cal urban sprawl Hell
Oct 29, 2012 - 02:38pm PT
Another proud moment for this Mom. My daughter flew this Beech 18 from Chicago to Hemet a couple of weeks ago. She plans on using this baby to obtain her multi-engine rating.

Credit: Karen

Yesterday my son -he was totally thrilled to be able to fly at out of a military base - here is his plane, a Great Lakes.

Great Lakes Bi-plane
Great Lakes Bi-plane
Credit: Karen

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Nov 3, 2012 - 02:32am PT
International Space Station at Risk

What's Happening to the Russian Space Industry?

By Meidad Pariente
Posted October 29, 2012 8:48 AM

ILS Proton Launch of Intelsat 23

On the morning of August 6, the Russian space industry woke up to yet another failure in a long list of failures over the last 2 years. 2 months later, on October 16th that failure became a catastrophe with the explosion of the Briz-M upperstage. Are we witness to the end of the dominance of the Russian space industry?

Launches of Russian satellites and various space vehicles have become a routine occurrence, and why not? On the one hand, they have a wide array of launchers, from the small Dnepr and Rokot, to the medium sized Soyuz and Zenith, and on to the giant Proton. To go along with the launchers, they have a wide selection of launch sites, from Plesetsk and Baikonur, located well for polar missions, and the floating launch platform Odyssey, ideally located west of California for communications satellite launches. With such a wide array of capabilities, it's no wonder that 40% of the world's launches are Russian launches.

However, from a lofty 96%, the Russian launch success rate has plummeted to below 90%. That drop doesn't seem like much, but when each failed mission costs 300-400 million dollars, it's highly significant. This article will try to shed light on the reasons for this trend.


The success of "Sputnik" in 1957 astounded the world, and caught the American space industry totally by surprise. No one in the west had any idea how advanced the Soviet space program was. The explanation, both surprising and unexpected, was the openness, and competitive nature of the Soviet space program. While NASA, under the leadership of James Webb, completely controlled and dominated the direction and development of the American space industry, the Russian program was openly competitive, with various engineering groups, both military and civilian vying with one another in creating original and daring concepts, as well as setting the goals for the entire program.

This internal competition brought the Soviet Union to a leading position in space exploration according to every parameter. Among the achievements of the Soviet space program are the first satellite ("Sputnik", 1957), the first data transmission from space (1959), the first pictures from the far side of the moon (1959), the first man in space (1961), the first formation flying of two space vehicles (1962), the first woman in space (1963 - 20 years before an American woman went to space), the first space mission with a crew of more than one (1964 - three cosmonauts), the first space-walk (1965), the first unmanned landing on the moon (1966), the first docking in space of 2 unmanned space vehicles (1967 - accomplished by the Americans only in 2006), the first robotic vehicle in space (1970), the first space station ("Salyut" in 1971), the first successful landing on another planet (Venus in 1975), the first African in space (1980), the first permanent space station ("Mir" in 1986), and lastly, the first crew to spend more than a full year in space (1987).

At the beginning of the 80's, the Soviet space agency was working on the space shuttle "Buran" which was an upgrade of the American space shuttle. While the Americans were planning to use the shuttle mainly as a service and supply vehicle for the international space station (which was mainly made of Soviet modules), the Soviets were planning to use it for a manned mission to Mars. On November 15, 1988, "Buron" made its maiden flight, orbited the earth twice and then successfully landed a few kilometers from its launch site at Baikonur. However, that was Buron's last flight. The breakup of the Soviet bloc, the end of the cold war, and the re-allocation of scarce and dwindling resources to other important issues, brought the Soviet (and now Russian) space program almost to a complete halt.

As a result of this economic crisis, the Russian space program, returned to innovation and the search for creative solutions, mainly in an effort to survive. These efforts resulted in the first commercial advertisement made in space, (an Israeli commercial for Tnuva milk in 1997), the birth of space tourism (space flight of billionaire Dennis Tito in 2001), and even the rental of space facilities (the space station "Mir" was rented out for a period of a year). During this period after the breakup of the Soviet empire, the space program invested most of its energies in survival, resulting in few if any significant achievements in research or development.


In 2005, renewed economic development in Russia caused the Russian government to consider an enlarged budget for the Russian space program. A budget of 900 million American dollars was approved for 2006, with an expected annual growth of 5% to 10% over a period of 10 years. This renewed budget coupled with a burgeoning world interest in space technology, and the Russian government's interest in returning to world prominence, resulted in renewed development of several major programs. Among them were the navigational system "GLONASS", which was planned to provide world-wide coverage by the end of 2012, and more significantly, the commercial launch program.

The prescient conversion of ballistic missiles to be used as satellite launching platforms allowed the Russians to offer launch services at significantly lower prices than the Americans, the French, the Indians or the Chinese. Even the Israeli space industry has made great use of the launch capabilities of the cheap and dependable Russian launch systems, and it would be possible to write an entire paper on this relationship. In fact, all the commercial Israeli launches, except for "Amos 1", were launched by the Russians. "Amos 3" for example, was the first western communications satellite launched directly into a geostationary orbit by the Russian launcher "Zenit", and the maneuverable upper stage "Blok-DM".

During the years 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Russian launch industry was responsible for 40% of satellite launches world-wide. While the American and Chinese launch industries were busy with internal launches, the Russian launch industry specialized in commercial launch services. Russian missiles like the "Soyuz", "Zenit", "Dnepr", and "Proton", along with maneuverable upper stages like "Blok" and "Briz" have been providing launches at a rate of 3-4 per month and at with a success rate of over 96%. In comparison, the French Arianne, during the same period, had a launch about once every 2 months.


At the end of 2010, things changed. The frequency of launches continued, and with the increase in cost of alternative launces, the general outlook was that it would continue to grow. However, a series of failed launches occurred which changed this situation.

It started on December 5, 2010 with the launch of 3 "GLONASS" satellites atop a "Proton" launcher. The launch failed and the 3 satellites fell into the ocean. This failure caught the attention of the president's office in Moscow, particularly in light of the governmental decision several months earlier to remove the military oversight of the space industry, and turn the space agency into an independent body, with commercial aims.

This unwanted attention resulted in a purge of the agency's management team and a partial "changing of the guard". This in turn resulted in great uncertainty among the remaining leaders of the space agency.

The failure of December, 2010, was quickly followed by another failed launch in February, 2011, this time a military satellite "GEO-IK". On August 18, there was a failed orbital insertion of a communications satellite, "Express-AM4" because of a fault in the "Briz-M" upper stage, and only a week later, there was a "Soyuz" launch failure of the supply satellite "Progress M".

The series of failures continued with the failure of "Phobos Grunt", with a Chinese micro-satellite onboard, when its motors failed to operate. Instead of going to Mars, it eventually burned up in the atmosphere as it fell back to Earth. This awful year culminated in another failure of a "Meridian" military satellite launch, on December 23.


The following year, 2012, started off very well, until the failure of August 6th, which developed into a full catastrophe.

After the launch failure, Vladimir Popovkin, the Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency ROSCOSMOS, assured the world that although the stranded Briz-M upper stage was heavily fueled, it is safe and should not endanger other space assets. On August the 16th, ITAR-TASS reported Vladimir Popovkin as saying there was no danger of an explosion of the Briz-M because internal pressures in the propellant tanks had been reduced to zero.
On the evening of October 16th, Space Track suddenly deleted the Briz upper stage from its tracked space debris catalogue, and later on replaced it with a growing number of breakup debris, a clear indication of an explosion.

On Oct 19th, a notice went up on Space Track reporting the breakup of the Briz-M. Russian press agency and newspaper web sites carried a press report on October 22nd quoting Space Forces spokesman Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin saying that Briz-M had broken into twelve fragments and they were being tracked, but the formal debris count from US and European sources stated that there are at least 80 significantly large (more than 10 centimeters diameter) debris particles being closely tracked.

Initial analysis of the "breakup" points to a possible mixture of oxidizer and fuel within the Briz-M, causing the heavily fueled vehicle to explode. The Russian space agency apparently did not take all the necessary safety measures, allowing the oxidizer and fuel within the tank to heat up whenever the Briz swept through its low altitude perigee at a velocity of more than 7 kilometers per second (more than 15,600 mph). Not surprisingly the explosion took place when the Briz was at its closest distance from Earth.


The Debris cloud is at a trajectory that puts a significant number of LEO satellites at risk, and especially the manned International Space Station. According to a source in Space Track, the debris is crossing the ISS orbit at almost right angles in its 50.2 inclination orbit.

Unfortunately, the intersection of the two orbits occurs where the debris is at about the same altitude as the ISS (about 405-425 km altitude). The Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC Space) has reported it "is currently tracking over 500 pieces of debris".

According to, unlike other recent fragmentation events, such as the interception of Fengyun 1C, fragments from this event pass through the orbital altitude of the ISS. The differing rates at which the two orbits precess around the Earth's polar axis mean that the ISS orbital path will periodically move in and out of the debris cloud, and will sometimes spend several days at a time with a large part of its orbit within the cloud.

Depending on the actual number of fragments, this event may eventually be considered to be the most dangerous fragmentation event ever to have occurred in space.

Social climber
So Cal
Nov 3, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Nov 4, 2012 - 12:41am PT
Credit: little Z

Nov 8, 2012 - 08:08am PT

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 9, 2012 - 01:15pm PT

Mountain climber
Nov 9, 2012 - 01:27pm PT
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 9, 2012 - 02:26pm PT
That was real cool, Squishy. Now get that thing up on a cliff, chase some peregrine ass!

Mountain climber
Nov 9, 2012 - 05:04pm PT
I'm worried about those climbers though, wouldn't want to ruin their wilderness experience be taken out to the parking lot..

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Nov 9, 2012 - 11:55pm PT
China's Mystery Space Plane Project

Credit: TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Nov 10, 2012 - 12:05am PT
Warp Field Mechanics 102 How hard is interstellar flight? This talk identifies the colossal challenge of sending a robotic probe (let alone human mission) to our nearest stellar neighbor, and speculates on how, using a loophole in general relativity, we might bring the stars within our grasp. A short review of the Alcubierre warp drive metric is provided to describe how the idea of a space warp might work. The impractical energy requirements discussed in the literature are identified, and a warp bubble topology optimization approach is discussed. The idea of a warp drive in a higher dimensional space-time (manifold) is briefly considered by comparing the null-like geodesics of the Alcubierre metric to the Chung-Freese metric and another energy optimization technique is identified. The energy optimization results are presented and show that the idea of a space warp may have been moved from impractical to plausible. Finally, an overview of the warp field interferometer test bed being implemented in Eagleworks Laboratories at the Johnson Space Center will be detailed. at SEDS SpaceVision 2012 Conference.

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 10, 2012 - 06:52pm PT
Wow, we are up over 500 posts! Way to go, everyone.

I would really appreciate it if that "political" post would be removed from this thread. Take that stuff to the threads for them. Thanks.

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Nov 11, 2012 - 12:10pm PT
Not only are we above 500 posts, but I took another step last Friday (11-2-2012) towards my Commercial Certification! I completed my final Cross Country requirement: A 2 hour or more duration night cross country flight to an airfield greater than 100 nautical miles from point of takeoff. My instructor pilot, as my safety pilot, was on board to make sure I didn't kill myself :D.

The flight was from KCPR (Casper, Wy) to KRAP (Rapid City, SD) over the Black Hills, and back after one stop-and-go landing. We came back over illuminated Mount Rushmore! Total time on the Hobbs Meter was 3.0 hours, engine start to engine shutdown. Great circle distance flown: 326 nautical miles.

Nov 11, 2012 - 01:16pm PT
(I didn't understand a damn thing in Tom's post above.)

Big congrats, BDC! Any gut-checks along the way, or pretty uneventful?


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 11, 2012 - 01:36pm PT
Way to go Broke! 326 miles, let's see now - that would have been 7 minutes
in an SR-71, right? :-)

Why are you bothering with getting a Commercial? You've already your Instrument, right?
Just the challenge? That's cool.

Holy crap! A huge roar overhead! It is a C-17 at 1000' AGL!
Oh, right, Veterans Day. But I can't figure out where he is headed.

C-17 office

'Space heater' in a C-17's garage

Really important place in a C-17. I guess in the Air Force they gotta
be told what it is.

Bottom part of above door -


Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Nov 11, 2012 - 01:58pm PT
Credit: whitemeat

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Nov 11, 2012 - 02:11pm PT
congrats, brokedown -- you pilots are too cool

so how long does it take, typically, to get the garden-variety rec pilot license?
Messages 441 - 460 of total 961 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews