Sunday, March 4, 2012

Supersonic Research Fleet Grows at Kennedy

The final pieces of a unique squadron of supersonic fighters arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, Jan. 19, where they will be reassembled and put to work with a private company aiming to use them for research and microgravity training.

The new planes were part of a group of five F-104 fighters bought by Starfighters Inc. from the Italian Air Force. The company already had four of the aircraft, but that wasn't enough for the company to pursue a number of different opportunities.

With nine aircraft at his disposal, Starfighters owner Rick Svetkoff said there will always be aircraft available to fly missions for a variety of customers. As importantly, the company will have what it needs to fly two aircraft on a single mission, with one serving as a chase plane to photograph experiments.

"Now we're in a position where we can really start operations," Svetkoff said. "Before, we couldn't do a lot of things we wanted to do."

Starfighters operates out of a hangar at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy under an agreement with Kennedy. Svetkoff's main goal is to fly research and development missions, ranging from experiments flown for universities to evaluating rocket and spacecraft components in high-stress environments including high-acceleration and microgravity.

Space Florida and Embry-Riddle University already have partnerships with the company.

Because the aircraft can soar to some 70,000 feet and speed past Mach 2, it can be used to launch small satellites into space. The 19-foot-long, 900-pound rocket, about the size of a Sparrow missile, has already been tested in a series of taxi runs hanging from an F-104's wings.

Test flights carrying the rocket but not launching it will be conducted in the next month and the first launch is in works to take place in the summer.

The rocket is meant to take small experiments into space but not into orbit. Instead, the rocket will parachute back to Earth and be recovered from the ocean for reuse. Svetkoff expects to launch about 100 suborbital missions a year from the Starfighters.

In less than a year, though, Svetkoff said he expects to start launching nanosatellites into orbit using a similar approach. After all, an F-104 can match a rocket's launch performance in some areas.

The F-104 Starfighter is a decades-old, supersonic fighter design that was put into service during the Cold War to intercept Soviet aircraft. Known as "the missile with a man in it" because of its high speed and stubby wings, the fighter was developed by Lockheed Martin's Kelly Johnson, the aerospace icon who also developed the SR-71 and U-2 aircraft.

Able to reach a top speed of Mach 2.4 and fly to about 70,000 feet, the F-104 found a second career with NASA in the 1960s. It helped train astronauts for microgravity and to keep their skills up in the demanding world of high-speed flight.

"Anything an F-16 or an F-18 can do, we can do with this aircraft, performance-wise," Svetkoff said.

The Starfighters fleet includes a mix of single-seat versions and two-seaters, each playing specific roles for the company.

Research and development flights are expected to add another 100 missions to the Starfighters' log each year, Svetkoff said.

The experimentation is not expected to end with machinery and experiments, though. As private companies develop their own spacecraft to launch humans into space in partnerships with NASA, some of those companies are already talking about using the Starfighters to train for microgravity and other situations, just as NASA's astronauts did in past decades.

For the moment though, the attention is on getting the new aircraft cleaned and assembled. The engines and other components will be taken apart and cleaned, and then put back together. New avionics packages including digital displays will be added to the new aircraft, too. It will take about three months to complete the first one, but the squadron should be ready in six months.

"This shows a serious commitment," Svetkoff said.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Get Your Site Analysis Report from Search Engine Genie

The one best start that you can give yourself on knowing how to make your website get the attention it deserves is by knowing how much Search Engine Friendly it is? You know that your website is good enough to win business when customers visit but, you are left clue less about the reasons for which your site getting only a few visitors. There might be many reasons for this and the right way to know what your site lacks is to contact a Search Engine Optimization company and ask them a Comprehensive site analysis.

At SEG, we offer a Comprehensive site analysis for our clients in which we elucidate what the site lacks and what can be done as a remedy for the same. Our experts are the right persons who can answer all of your questions and reservations regarding your website’s performance. The report that we generate is easy to understand and tell you how to optimize your website. This detailed report will be helpful in guiding you to opt for the right suggestion to perk up your website performance.

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This is the first step of our detailed analysis about your website. Here we collect all possible ranking reports of your website like Alexa Traffic report, Google Page Rank report, Site-Load Speed Measurement, Search Engine Rankings as well as Search Volumes on Keywords.

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Tags, Meta title, site map, content quality, html navigation, description, structure of the URL and similar on-page factors are carefully inspected for slowdowns. As a part of off- page factor analysis, age of the domain, inbound links, indexed pages and dmoz listing are investigated.

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This is one important step in providing a complete site analysis that will help you to work for a better search engine ranking. This investigation will help you to know the SEO strategies that your competitors follow for their success. You can also know more about the strength and weak spots of your website as well as your competitors.

The use of knowing about your website in detail is to know where it falls back and what can be done to give a lift to its setback. While you know that expert help is necessary in this, it is wise to hold on to an experienced Search Engine Marketing and optimization firm like Search Engine Genie for further assistance. With the amount of care they show in analyzing about your website’s state, you should know about their genuine efforts in ranking your website high within the time frame they agree upon. It is time hire searchenginegenie and beat your competitors. Log on to to find more about their services and how they are equipped to handle the ranking factors of search engines.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Add Salt? Astronauts' Bones Say Please Don't

Osteoporosis is a harsh disease that reduces the quality of life for millions and costs Europe around €25 billion ($31 billion) each year. It typically affects the elderly, so the rise in life expectancy in developed countries means the problems inflicted by osteoporosis are increasing.

Fortunately, research done in space may change the game. Astronauts on the International Space Station experience accelerated osteoporosis because of weightlessness, but it is carefully controlled, and they can regain their lost bone mass once they are back on Earth.

Studying what happens during long spaceflights offers a good insight into the process of osteoporosis -- losing calcium and changing bone structure -- and helps to develop methods to combat it.

It has been known since the 1990s that the human body holds on to sodium, without the corresponding water retention, during long stays in space. But the textbooks said this was not possible. "Sodium retention in space" became an important subject to study.

Salt intake was investigated in a series of studies, in ground-based simulations and in space, and it was found that not only is sodium retained (probably in the skin), but it also affects the acid balance of the body and bone metabolism. So, high salt intake increases acidity in the body, which can accelerate bone loss.

The European Space Agency's, or ESA’s, recent SOdium LOad in microgravity, or SOLO, study zoomed in on this question. Nine crew members, including ESA's Frank De Winne and Paolo Nespoli during their long-duration flights in 2010 and 2011, followed low -- and high-salt diets. The expected results may show that additional negative effects can be avoided either by reducing sodium intake or by using a simple alkalizing agent like bicarbonate to counter the acid imbalance.

This space research directly benefits everybody on Earth who is prone to osteoporosis.

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