Daily Archives: September 1, 2011

Space Construction (5)

                                                                                                                                        
SPACE WATCH (history) · Shuttle and Station · 360° Virtual Tour

View from Shuttle Endeavour, STS-97
NASA – S97-E-5009 (2 December 2000) — International Space Station (ISS), against darkness of space, photographed by STS-97 crew members onboard the approaching Space Shuttle Endeavour.

View from Shuttle Endeavour, STS-97-2
S97-E-5010 (2 December 2000) — International Space Station (ISS), against darkness of space, photographed by STS-97 crew members onboard the approaching Space Shuttle Endeavour.

View from Shuttle Endeavour, STS-97-3
S97-E-5109 (9 December 2000) — This nadir view is one of a series of digital still camera photographs showing the International Space Station (ISS) during a fly-around by the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The 240-foot-long, 38-foot-wide solar array is the newest part and one of the most prominent components of the station. Onboard ISS for about 40 days at the time of this photo were astronaut William M. Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri P. Gidzenko and Sergei K. Krikalev. Onboard the shuttle were STS-97 astronauts — commander Brent W. Jett, Jr., pilot Mike Bloomfield and mission specialists Marc Garneau of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Carlos I. Noriega and Joseph R. Tanner.

View from Shuttle Endeavour, STS-97-4
S97-E-5117 (9 December 2000) — This is one of a series of digital still camera views showing the International Space Station (ISS) during a fly-around by the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The 240-foot-long, 38-foot-wide solar array (top) is the newest part and one of the most prominent components of the station. Onboard ISS were astronaut William M. Shepherd and cosmonauts Yuri P. Gidzenko and Sergei K. Krikalev. The Soyuz spacecraft which had taxied them to the station some 40 days ago is at the bottom of the complex, docked with the Zvezda Service Module. Onboard the shuttle were STS-97 astronauts — commander Brent W. Jett, Jr., pilot Mike Bloomfield and mission specialists Marc Garneau of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Carlos I. Noriega and Joseph R. Tanner.

Obama’s speech — on the next government spending crisis?

By Stephen Stromberg – Attacking America’s relatively small federal gas tax might make for great politics. But it encourages really dismal policy, subverting one of the most rational tax provisions Congress has ever managed to pass.

The original, bipartisan logic of the federal gas tax is that those who use the roads should pay for them. Taxing fuel is one way to approximate that elegant goal in the real world. Part of the reason the policy is only an approximation is that Congress didn’t index the tax for inflation, which means it has been decreasing in real dollars since the last time Congress raised it in 1993, even as the Transportation Trust Fund runs out of money. That, of course, argues for an increase. more> http://is.gd/HkFsXt

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Showdown looms on U.S. overseas profit tax break

By Kevin Drawbaugh – Backed by powerful companies spending millions of dollars, Washington lobbyists are fighting in the marble corridors of Congress for a tax break on $1.5 trillion in profits held overseas to escape the U.S. tax man.

When lawmakers return next month from summer break, powerful high-tech and pharmaceutical companies will step up their push for an overseas profit tax repatriation holiday and pose a test for President Barack Obama. (For a graphic please click on r.reuters.com/fuj43s) more> http://twurl.nl/j0jl2x

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Renewable Energy’s Achilles’ Heel Is Storage

By Charles Murray – So it’s time for renewables to step up in a big way — right?

Given the situation, you might think the answer to that question is a resounding yes. But it isn’t. The primary question — what to do when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow — really hasn’t been answered yet.

Jeff Terry, an assistant professor of physics at Illinois Institute of Technology, isn’t alone in thinking this way. In 2008, we talked to scientists and engineers at the national labs, along with professors at numerous universities. The consensus was that if more than 20 percent of our power came from renewables, we would need storage.

“Having no form of storage is not a problem right now, because only a few percent of our power comes from wind and solar,” George Crabtree, a senior scientist and distinguished fellow at Argonne National Laboratory, told Design News in 2008. “But that won’t work if you intend to get really serious and create 30 percent to 40 percent of your power that way. Every wind and solar source has to have a backup.” more> http://is.gd/AOKOID

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Automation in the air dulls pilot skill

By Joan Lowy – Pilots’ “automation addiction” has eroded their flying skills to the point that they sometimes don’t know how to recover from stalls and other mid-flight problems, say pilots and safety officials.

“If we only look at the pilots—the human factor—then we are ignoring other important factors,” said former US Airways Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, whose precision flying is credited with saving all 155 people aboard an Airbus A320 after it lost power in a collision with Canada geese shortly after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport two years ago. “We have to look at how they work together.”

The ability of pilots to respond to the unexpected loss or malfunction of automated aircraft systems “is the big issue that we can no longer hide from in aviation,” said Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation in Alexandria, Va. “We’ve been very slow to recognize the consequence of it and deal with it.” more> http://is.gd/Gk8CC1

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CONGRESS WATCH Cost Estimate for H.R. 1904, Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2011 Cost estimate for the bill as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources on July 13, 2011 Cost Estimate for S. 1000, … Continue reading