October 12, 2010 |
Commercial space tourism got a boost when Virgin Galactic's rocket plane successfully completed its first manned test flight at the Mojave Air and Space Port. The aircraft, dubbed SpaceShipTwo, was dropped from a carrier plane at 45,000 feet and glided without power for more than 10 minutes before landing on the desert runway Sunday. The carrier plane, which resembles a flying catamaran because of its two fuselages, and the six-passenger rocket ship are in the midst of a test-flight program that will continue until Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company that owns the planes, believes it can begin commercial operations.
October 5, 2010 |
Fall just keeps getting better and better. Granted, I should spend more time attending art walks and viola recitals, maybe take up the oboe. I made myself a little promise the other morning that I'd really give all that a try. Till then, I attended several sporting events last weekend, coached in one of them (AYSO soccer) and played in yet a fourth ? a jangly-nerved touch-football league for the criminally insane. I'm not proud of my sports addiction. But acknowledgment is the first step toward recovery.
October 15, 2008 |
It's fair to say that Dan Long has seen more of the universe than anyone but God. Month after month, year after year, Long has sat in a windowless room atop a windy mountain peak, watching the heavens scroll by on 12 monitors connected to the Apache Point Observatory's 98-inch telescope. He saw stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies banded together like giant herds of animals on an unending savanna roll by. Less frequently, exotic denizens of deep space would pop up -- blinding quasars and supernovae, flaring up as brightly on the bank of TV screens as entire galaxies.
March 26, 2008 |
With a wheeze and a clank, with a whir and a click and a screech of some sprockets and pulleys and belts, with a great belch of blue smoke and a blinding flash of light, the rocket ship takes off. That's how it generally happens in science-fiction movies, anyway. Your basic, garden-variety rocket ship is a noisy showoff that leaves no doubt about its intention to trample the laws of space and time into mealy mush. But there's an easier way. Flying faster than the speed of light is simple.
June 27, 2004 |
An ebullient Michael W. Melvill wriggled out of his rocket ship at Mojave last week after a brief and violent roller coaster ride to the edge of space. Emotions overflowed. At a press conference later, the 63-year-old test pilot reflected -- unexpectedly, irrelevantly and beautifully -- about his wife, Sally, and how they married when he was 20 and she was 17.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 19, 2004 |
Lisa Stewart grew up playing at least once a week on the huge rocket ship jungle gym that once graced Laguna Beach's Bluebird Park. "It was very exciting because the higher up you got, the better view you had of the canyon," recalls Stewart, now 44. "They had a wheel at the top that you could turn and pretend you were captain." Stewart wants her 21-month-old son, Caden, to have the same experience.