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Merry Christmas and best wishes for the year 2011



  • to the digital firework









  • move mouse inside applet near a candle-flame
    to accelerate movement
    - but don't wait too long !

  • drag with mouse to draw lametta
    - avoiding the flames

  • ( click here for the MS-Windows(TM) based application ; 81 kBytes .zip file ; version 1.23 with editor for rotated objects and german menu texts)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour has landed successfully
  • a small damage in the heat protection cover has not been critical

  • NASA plans to send a lander to the polar region of Mars
  • internal link: some comments on possible future usage of CO2 that can be found in frozen form at the Mars polar region
    external link: N.A.S.A.


    recent Space Shuttle missions:

  • 'Atlantis' has returned from ISS
  • First night launch after 4 years for Space Shuttle 'Discovery'
  • 2 former missions with Space Shuttle 'Discovery'
  • mission 'STS 121' :
  • Nasa would have cancelled future space shuttle missions if that mission had failed
  • The german 'cosmonaut' Thomas Reiter (a former fighter pilot) filled a russian place within the ISS space station where STS 121 had docked
  • mission 'STS 120' :
  • 7 astronauts were onboard
  • mission was scheduled for 12 days
  • successful docking with ISS space station
  • the external structure of the shuttle has been checked for damages by robot camera in orbit
    (a minor damage of 3 heat shield plates was found ; a repair kit was available onboard)
  • all upcoming shuttle starts were cancelled
  • the first start attempt had been stopped due to inoperable fuel tank sensor
    internal link: ESA/NASA comparison



  • several newer Mars approaches after the successful pathfinder mission years ago


    (move mouse to rotate ; drag to zoom)

    Mars at nearest position to Earth

  • distance: 58.000.000 km
  • last vicinity of this kind : 60.000 years ago
  • several surface-analysis and drilling probes have been sent to Mars by different international space-research organizations

    internal links (partly a Java[TM] enabled browser is required):
  • simplified planetary with Mars and Earth
  • general remarks about elliptic trajectories


  • Space Shuttle 'Columbia' broke apart over Texas

  • 7 crew members ; 1 former airforce pilot from Israel (Ilan Ramon)
  • small damage of shuttle body (part of fuel-tank hit the right wing of the shuttle) reported at start time 16 days before landing
    The incident had been declared to be not mission-critical by NASA.
  • pilot and copilot both had been experienced U.S. Navy military pilots but they were relatively new in the shuttle cockpit
  • due to insufficient heat-shield protection in the mentioned wing-section the accident happened at an airspeed of more than Mach 10
    before landing of the shuttle in Florida.

    note: the ceramic heat shield components do currently not use a multi-layer technology
    that is used e.g. for security glass to stop an external influence or impact near the surface.


    At the speed during the accident there was no chance of using the rescue capsule , which had mainly been designed for the start sequence.

    note: alternatively the complete cockpit segment could resp. should be realized as heat-protected section that can survive
    the loss of the classical shuttle body-structure around it (similar to high-speed fighter aircraft rescue cockpits with integrated
    parachute system for the whole crew - like the U.S. 'X' series) , e.g. when the necessary re-entry angle of the shuttle body hasn't been reached.
    Due to the airbreak effect of the surrounding shuttle-parts the cockpit section displayed below might even have a relatively low speed
    of about Mach 3 (positively tested for ejecting high-speed fighter aircraft rescue cockpits) when it finally is isolated from the other shuttle parts
    or when it has to be separated by control rockets triggered by the pilots.
    With a thicker heat-protection it might even be able to stand faster airspeeds in this finally isolated state.

    (P. = parachute that opens from within the cabin when suitable speed or necessary minimum height is reached)
    disadvantage of this solution: higher weight of the modernized shuttle due to the larger or additional rescue-parachute,
    heatshield- and pressure-enforced bottom, back and side-walls of the shuttle cockpit-section


  • German's 2002 federal elections were too close to call
  • Good view at Mars surface through Hubble space-telescope (when Mars had a near position to Earth)

    Possible cockpit improvements

    (after the recent Swissair accident due to smoke in cockpit near the Canadian east-coast)

    simplified drawing of a cockpit control unit :


    1 = parallel/serial connection to an external notebook computer
    as temporary replacement system for displays, switches and
    internal computation normally done inside the cockpit control unit
    2 = central smoke sensing and fire extinguishing unit

    water on Mars ?


  • possible lander situations :

    (cable with integrated low-gain antenna)

    (click on arrows inside applet or use number keys
    to go through image list)
    maximum unfold sequence
    of the deployed sensor :


    (1 = drilling unit ;
    2 = ground-contact and water sensors)


    "EgyptAir" flight 990 crashed due to co-pilot suicide

  • 217 passengers and crew members died
  • plane parts,personal belongings and one dead body have been found in the sea
    65 miles south of Nantucket (Massachusetts) by the U.S. coast guard
  • the plane fell down at a rate of about 1000 km/h and disappeared from radar
    about 50 minutes after the start in New York
  • flight data recorder ("black box") and voice recorder have been read out
  • analysis result : obviously the co-pilot (being alone in the cockpit at time of descend) committed suicide by forcing the plane to crash
  • the pilot returned to the cockpit and tried to pull the machine up alone
  • possible measurements:
    regulations that force the third (spare) pilot to immediately take the seat of the one who
    has to leave his place temporarily
    note: long distance flights always have to be performed with at least 3 pilots - "EgyptAir" used even more
  • external links : CNN | FBI | Boeing


    ARCHIVE :
    .
  • Thunderstorm in Salt Lake City (UTAH)
  • total eclipse of the sun
  • 1999
  • 'ICE' railway accidents | Earthquake in Turkey
  • meteor passes earth (updated APRIL-03-2000)
  • "MIR" to be crash-landed in the sea
  • 2000
  • highspeed impact at Formula 1 race in Silverstone
  • avalanche accidents in Austria
  • JFK jr.'s body buried in the sea
  • golf-player Payne Stewart died in plane crash
  • 2003
  • Last commercial flight of the Concorde
    (and flashback: Air France Concorde crash near Paris)


  • (this page has been updated on December-24-2010)