Atlantis blasts off

The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off this evening with seven astronauts,  on the first space shuttle flight of 2007.
It’s good to see them flying again after the tough headlines that NASA has endured the past few months.

The space agency hopes to fly at least 12 construction missions besides this one to the space station, and also plans to send a crew to repair the Hubble Space Telescope before the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010.

Atlantis’ crew is led by commander Rick Sturckow. The other members are pilot Lee Archambault and mission specialists Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, Danny Olivas, James Reilly and Clayton Anderson. It is the first all-male crew at launch since 2002.

Photo and story from AP

White House Lawyers Up

In response to Democrat scandal-mongering, the White House has announced that they will be expanding their legal staff.

Good move.

Fred Fielding is strengthening the staff to deal with an avalanche of requests the White House is getting from lawmakers investigating the flap over the firings of U.S. attorneys, missing e-mails, prewar intelligence and other matters.

Democrats, who are ramping up their legal staffs on Capitol Hill too, have threatened to issue subpoenas if the White House doesn’t produce certain information.

“While we believe some requests are legitimate, we believe others are unfortunate fishing expeditions,” White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said of the requests.

She said the new lawyers bring with them an array of experience – from the Supreme Court to Capitol Hill, the private sector to the military. “Our goal is to simply have the right people in place to adequately address issues that come our way,” she said.


How cool is this?

Gizmag is reporting that a Silicon Valley startup, Personal Flight Systems, has been awarded a patent for “a safe, silent personal flight device using electromagnetic ion propulsion as its primary thrust generator and drawing its power wirelessly from earthbound inductive green power broadcast stations.”

Ionic Air Propulsion The basic principle behind ion propulsion is to positively charge a fluid and then electromagnetically propel it to create thrust. It’s a very efficient technique that NASA have been using to propel long-distance, unmanned space vehicles. While the amount of thrust it produces is quite small, it can be sustained over a long-term trip to provide a very effective cumulative acceleration that eventually far outweighs the much more powerful but fuel-hungry chemical rockets used for take-offs.

Simple ion-propulsion craft, such as those shown in these videos, can be easily built and are thus often a popular science fair project for students.

The PFS patent adds a few key elements to this well-established technology; most importantly a new design for the capacitative thrust plates that emit and receive the electrical charges, and a system that pre-conditions the air between and around the plates to maximize thrust. The company also plan to remove the heavy power pack from the vehicle and “broadcast” pulses of DC power to the vehicle from ground stations based on theories from Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor and physicist responsible for the AC power system in the early 20th century.




Trackposted to The Virtuous Republic, Blog @, Perri Nelson’s Website, A Blog For All, DeMediacratic Nation, Adam’s Blog, Maggie’s Notebook, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, The Bullwinkle Blog, Colloquium, Conservative Cat, Jo’s Cafe, Pursuing Holiness, Pet’s Garden Blog, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Rightlinx, The Magical Rose Garden, Faultline USA, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, stikNstein… has no mercy, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate’s Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, and High Desert Wanderer, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Other good reading, Free Thoughts on the future of Europe, David Drake on Dems cannabalize their own, Not ready for my burqua on 500 years of women in art, Sunflower Desert reports that it’s snowing in Wyoming


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