Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Inside KSC! for March 24, 2017 - Orbital ATK cargo mission to ISS;Orion umbilical installed

NASA’s Stennis Space Center Conducts RS-25 Engine Test - test 2 of 8 on these upgraded Space Shuttle engines for the Orion Program's SLS rocket

Signing Ceremony and NASA Acting Administrator Statement on the NASA Authorization Act of 2017

President Signs NASA Transition Authorization Act on This Week @NASA – M...

NASA To Build Spaceport Near the Moon-reusable transport spacecraft also planned as agency unveils Deep Space Gateway concept

Yesterday,28 March 2017,NASA posted an article to its website unveiling the most detailed plan yet for the Orion Program.The new projects,which it calls Deep Space Gateway,expand upon the basic concept of using cislunar space,the area in the lunar vicinity,as a testing ground for missions to the Mars system and elsewhere in the solar system.These projects will enable the building and testing of systems needed for the Mission to Mars and other celestial bodies.*
NASA now intends to build a spaceport,essentially a small space station,within the early Orion crewed missions,to serve as a gateway to deep space and the lunar surface as well.It will contain a power bus;a small habitat that would extend crewed mission time;docking capability;airlock;and servicing by logistics modules to enable research.The spaceport,which NASA also calls the gateway,will be propelled by high power electric and chemical propulsion to sustain the station's orbit or transfer it among a family of orbits in cislunar space as needed.The gateway will be made possible by the Space Launch System rocket's cargo capability plus the Orion spacecraft's crewed deep space capability.The project will be developed,serviced and utilised in collaboration with commercial and international partners,NASA pointed out.*
Dr.William Gerstenmaier,NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations,described the Deep Space Gateway thusly:
I envision different partners,both international and commercial,contributing to the gateway and using it in a variety of ways with a system that can move to different orbits to enable a variety of missions.The gateway would move to support robotic or partner missions to the surface of the Moon;or to a higher lunar orbit to support missions departing from the gateway to other destinations in the solar system.*
The agency also intends to build a reusable transport spacecraft powered by electric/chemical propulsion that will depart from the gateway for destinations such as Mars.It will take crews to their destination,then return to the spaceport for servicing and eventual reuse.This transport vehicle will also take advantage of the SLS capability to launch large volumes and mass,as well as advanced exploration technologies now being developed and tested on the ground and in the ISS.*
The first integrated flight of the Orion system,Exploration Mission-1,including the new SLS rocket,Orion spacecraft and ESA Orion Service Module,is currently scheduled for 2018,but would be delayed to 2019,if a NASA study now underway recommends making EM-1 a crewed mission.*
This burst of energy from NASA no doubt reflects the strong commitment of President Donald Trump to the agency and America's continued leadership in aerospace.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

US ARMY launch HIMARS on ISIS VBIED factory-Operation Inherent Resolve.

US Marines Firing the M777 155mm Howitzer

Operation Inherent Resolve:US Marine Corps Artillery Moves into Syria-hefty reinforcements may be staged in Kuwait

About 400 US Marines of the 111th Marine Expeditionary Unit and US Army Rangers of the 75th Ranger Regiment have arrived in Syria,augmenting the 500 US troops already there on a train,advise and assist mission for the Syrian Democratic Forces,a conglomeration of militias led by the YPG Kurds.The Marines are there in a combat role with their light but powerful M777 155 mm Howitzers.This artillery has been assisting the SDF soften up Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant positions in and around Raqqa,the ISIL capital,since at least 9 March 2017.The Rangers have been patrolling around the newly liberated town of Manbij in Northern Syria in their armoured personnel carriers to stabilise the security situation and reassure skittish allies such as Turkey.
Besides the Marines and Rangers,US Army HiMARS rocket artillery is reportedly also in or headed for Syria to participate in the liberation of Raqqa,thus mirroring US on the ground activity in neighbouring Iraq.The extra firepower is part of the Trump administration's plan to accelerate the lasting military defeat of ISIL.Although the deployments are considered temporary,no end date has been set.
Additionally,the Pentagon is contemplating sending at least 1,000 more troops to Kuwait as potential reinforcements for the approximately 1,000 US forces already in Syria.Indeed,the number in Kuwait could go as high as 12,000 US troops being held in reserve for support of the momentous Battle of Raqqa,which could be intitiated within a few weeks' time.*
The M777 is a towed cannon with a range of 32 kilometers/20 miles.It has been used in the Afghan War as well.The HiMARS is already being used against ISIL in Iraq.According to US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian,spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force OIR:
We are going to prepare to liberate the city of Raqqa.This is an important task that has to be accomplished,because liberating that city is going to damage the enemy's prospects.It has a tremendous amount of symbolic importance.It's also a major command and control node for their external operations.
We have what I would describe as a pretty relentless air campaign to destroy enemy capabilities and to kill enemy fighters in that area already.That is something that we are going to continue and intensify with this new capability,COL Dorrian explained.*
On 20 March 2017,coalition military forces conducted 22 strikes consisting of 28 engagements against ISIL in Syria,including:
Near Abu Kamal,three strikes destroyed three wellheads and a pump jack;
Near Raqqa,19 strikes engaged eight ISIL tactical units;destroyed four pieces of oil lubricant equipment;three barges;three fighting positions;three headquarters;two VBIED facilities;two VBIEDs;a VBIED factory;a tunnel;a vehicle;a weapons storage facility;a command and control node;and damaged two supply nodes.*
Strikes are conducted by fighter,attack,bomber,rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft;rocket-propelled artillery;some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets.Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to manoeuvre roles is not classified as a strike,the CJTFOIR says.*
Those who have participated in Syria strikes include Australia;Bahrain;Canada;Denmark;France;Jordan;the Netherlands;Saudi Arabia;Turkey;the UAE;and the UK.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Troops of US Army's 2nd Cav Face Culture Shock:no fast food;this is almost war

Facing an increasingly belligerent Russia and separated from their families in Vilseck,Germany,the Soldiers of US Army Europe's 2nd Cavalry Regiment will face another form of privation when they deploy to Poland shortly:no Burger King or Pizza Hut for the six months of their mission.They are not to expect such fast food amenities as many Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq had at their Forward Operating Bases.Instead,warned Lieutenant General Ben Hodges,commander,USAREUR,expect potatoes three times a day for the next six months:
We are not going to have an American ghetto inside a Polish garrison,LTGEN Hodges said.That defeats the whole purpose of being with our Allies.*
Besides fraying Alliance unity and unit cohesion between frontline combatant and rear echelon US support troops,it is just not conducive to warfighting to provide US Soldiers such luxuries,USAEUR feels.They will have access to WiFi in order to facilitate communication with their families and continuing Army education.Yet there is a security concern surrounding that very amenity,as Russian hackers are expected to eavesdrop on even low level NATO cyber traffic.USAREUR feels we are in a contested environment along NATO's Eastern Flank,so everyone must maintain their best vigilance.*
The 2nd Cav Soldiers will deploy in early April along with British,Romanian,Croatian and Polish forces to augment NATO's deterrent and defensive posture in Poland and the Baltic States.They will march across the Czech Republic and Western Poland to reach their new Eastern Flank post.

2nd Cavalry Mission Summary - headed for Poland on NATO's Eastern flank

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

HMS Raleigh 24/4/09 Pass Out Parade - Recruit graduation in the Royal Navy

Iran IRGC Tondar class missile craft ناوچه موشك انداز تندر ايران

Iran IRGC Seraj-1 fast attack craft قايق تندرو سراج يك ايران

Iran IRGC Navy receives Ashoura & Zolfaqar Speedboats قايق تندرو ذوالفقا...

U.S. Navy fires warning shots against Iranian vessel - 25 August 2016

Iranian Boats Challenge US and Royal Navy Ships in Strait of Hormuz - can Iran really close the strait?

On 4 March 2017,an Iranian fast attack speedboat got within 600 yards of the USNS Invincible,a Special Missions ship of the US Navy-led Military Sealift Command,a US defence official revealed.The Invincible,which is crewed by civil service mariners,is a missile surveillance ship.It has two radomes:a large one on its stern,and a smaller one on its bridge area.These contain dual band radars that can track ballistic missiles.The US had imposed sanctions on Iran when it tested a new ballistic missile in February,so conceivably this most recent harassment incident was in response to that.
In the first phase of the incident,an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy fast attack speedboat got within 600 yards of the Invincible and stopped dead in the water,blocking the Invincible's path,so that it had to steer around the Iranian boat to avoid a collision.Part two of the drama unfolded when another Iranian fast attack craft got within 350 yards of one of three Royal Navy ships escorting the unarmed Invincible,and the British ship,too,had to change course.Both Iranian obstructive actions were considered unsafe and unprofessional.The Iranian vessels ignored repeated attempts to contact them.*
In addition to its ballistic missile test in February,Iran has also recently installed a Russian S-300 missile defence system that can shoot down third and fourth generation fighter aircraft,but not fifth generation such as the F-35 Lightning II.*
Iran has made several threats to close the Strait,through which about 20% of the world's oil supply flows;but can it actually do so?In 2012,US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said that Iran has invested in capability that could,in fact,for a period of time block the Strait of Hormuz,which narrows at one point to only 54 kilometers/32.4 miles across (one estimate said Iran could close or impede the Strait for up to a month).At the same time,however,we've invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens,we can defeat that.*
The US Military Sealift Command exists to support the warfighter across the full spectrum of military operations.MSC provides on-time logistics;strategic sealift;as well as specialised missions anywhere in the world,under any conditions,24/7,365 days a year.With unified resolve,MSC says,we boldly sail the world's oceans to provide essential assured logistics and service support to the warfighter as the nation's premier maritime transport organisation.*
The current commander of MSC is Rear Admiral Dee L. Mewbourne,USN.Commander,MSC Central is Captain Edwin D. Kaiser,USN.Some of the MSC ships have blended civil service/military crews;others,such as Invincible have purely civil service mariner crews.