Carnivalia — 1/27 – 2/02/2016

The past week’s selection of (mostly) science-oriented blog carnivals for your reading enjoyment:

Carnival of Space #443

Friday Ark #553

Health Wonk Review – The Tenth Anniversary Edition

History Carnival — Architecture, the Visual Arts, and Literature

Morsels for the Mind – 29/01/2016

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The scientific tourist #372 — Navaho rocket engine

Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, it’s a Navaho rocket engine (strictly speaking, it’s two engines, but they were used in pairs):

Navaho Rocket Engine

As you may recall from a previous post, Navaho was an early (1940s / 1950s) attempt at a two-stage cruise missile, in which a liquid-propellant booster would get a ramjet-powered missile up to its operational speed and elevation.  It wound up being exorbitantly expensive, and was never fielded, but proved to develop many of the technologies of the space age.

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Carnivalia — 1/06 – 1/12/2016

The past week’s selection of (mostly) science-related blog carnivals for your reading pleasure:

Carnival of Space #440

Friday Ark #550

Morsels for the Mind – 08/01/2016

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The scientific tourist #371 — Scarrittia Canquelensis

On display in the “Extreme Mammals” traveling exhibit (seen at the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City), it’s a fossil of Scarrittia Canquelensis:

Scarrittia Canquelensis

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The scientific tourist #370 — SOLRAD / GRAB

For your perusal today, it’s a backup SOLRAD / GRAB satellite, on display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum on the mall in Washington, D.C.:

SOLRAD / GRAB

This may not be the most sophisticated-looking spacecraft, but it has quite  a prominent place in the history of the Cold War.  While being publicized at the time of their launches (in the early 1960s) as scientific craft — SOLRAD was short for Solar Radiation — their prime purpose was as electronic intelligence gatherers, making them the world’s first reconnaissance satellites. Continue reading

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The scientific tourist #369 — A-6E Intruder

On display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center, it’s a Grumman A-6E Intruder:

Grumman A-6E Intruder

The A-6 was a twin-engine subsonic carrier-based attack aircraft — in service in one form or another between 1963 and 1997.  Cutting its proverbial teeth in the Vietnam War, what the A-6 lacked in speed it made up for with range and load capability (still unmatched by its replacements).

Intruders are easy to identify, courtesy of their wide cockpit, which hosted a pilot on the left (as seen facing forward) and bombardier / navigator on the right — this arrangement allowed for all-weather flight.  The aircraft’s bulbous nose and slim tail also resulted in a number of distinctive nicknames for the design, including “Drumstick” and “Iron Tadpole.”

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The scientific tourist #368 — Young Camarasaurus Lentus

On display in Dinosaur National Monument‘s Quarry Exhibit Hall is this outstanding specimen:

Young Camarasaurus Lentus

Quite a few fossils were removed from (what is now) Dinosaur National Monument back in the early 20th century — this is a cast of one particularly historic one.  In particular, this is the most-complete long-necked dinosaur (sauropod) ever found. Continue reading

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Carnival — 10/28 – 11/03/2015

The past week’s (mostly) science-related blog carnivals for your reading pleasure:

Carnival of Space #429

Friday Ark #543

Health Wonk Review: Halloween Edition

History Carnival #151 (early modern history this time)

Math Teachers at Play #91

Morsels for the Mind — 30/10/2015

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The scientific tourist #367 — Agena-B Upper Stage

On display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Washington D.C., it’s an Agena-B:

Agena-B Upper Stage

I told you most of the Agena story ages ago, but let’s talk a bit more about the Agena-B here.

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The scientific tourist #366 — Corona

Some ages ago, I posted a photo showing a diagram of a Corona satellite — the world’s first photo-reconnaissance system.  This time, you get some actual photos.  First, a reconstruction of a Corona satellite (on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.):

Corona film system

From the placard:

The camera system displayed here is a reconstructed KH-4B, which was used in the last five years (1967-1972) of the Corona program. The KH-4B was the most advanced Corona camera system developed, and objects as small as 2 meters on a side could be seen in its photographs.

Each of the two (stereo) cameras exposed a different roll of film. After half of each roll wound onto the two reels in the outer film return capsule, a blade cut the film and the capsule separated from the satellite and returned to Earth. The remaining half of each roll wound onto the two reels in the inner capsule, which also separated from the satellite after the reels were full.

Note that this reconstruction only includes one (shiny, gold-plated) return capsule — the outer one.  The inner one would originally have been roughly where the blue framework is in the center of the above photo, about midway between the cameras and outer capsule.

Meanwhile, over at the NASM’s Udvar-Hazy Center, you can get an up-close look at one of the film return capsules (a.k.a., “buckets”):

Corona Film Return Capsule

This was actually the inner portion of a return capsule — it would originally have been wrapped in a heat shield, with a closure plate and parachute system on its aft (here, top) end.  If you’d like a nearly hands-on encounter with Corona, the NRO now has an online interactive model of the system you can play with.

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