From the outside, it looked as if the Swiss-led Solar Impulse project smoothly soldiered through adversity as its solar-powered plane made a record-setting trip around the world in 2015 and 2016.
But the perspective was different when seen from the inside: The multimillion-dollar campaign nearly came crashing down when teammates debated whether to go ahead with a crucial Pacific crossing, even though the monitoring system for the autopilot wasn’t working right.
“The engineers were crying,” said Bertrand Piccard, the Swiss psychiatrist and adventurer who served as Solar Impulse’s co-founder, chairman and one of its pilots. “They were begging me to stop.”
The turmoil as well as the technology behind the globe-girdling, fuel-free odyssey are on full display in “The Impossible Flight,” a two-hour NOVA documentary premiering on PBS tonight.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket sent a telecommunications satellite into orbit today for Luxembourg’s government and the SES satellite venture, setting the stage for next week’s maiden launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
The GovSat-1 spacecraft is the first component in a NATO satellite constellationthat’s designed to provide secure communications for tactical operations, maritime missions or over areas affected by humanitarian crises. It was built by Orbital ATK, with anti-jamming and encryption systems, and is meant exclusively for governmental and institutional security applications.
The Boeing Co. today reported better-than-expected financial results for the fourth quarter of 2017 and a rosier-than-expected outlook for the year ahead, sending its share prices up 5 percent.
“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of employees throughout our company, Boeing delivered 2017 financial results that included record earnings, record cash flow, and record commercial aircraft deliveries,” Dennis Muilenburg, the company’s CEO, president and chairman, told journalists and analysts in a conference call.
Boeing’s performance was boosted by an upturn in the airline industry’s jet purchases as well as the recently enacted tax-cut bill, and the company projects a continuation of the positive trend in 2018.
Cloudy weather blocked Seattle’s view of the “super blue blood moon” early today — but as a consolation, skywatchers from Vancouver to Siberia shared their images of the total lunar eclipse.
Total lunar eclipses arise when Earth’s shadow falls fully over the moon, and the long-wavelength light that’s refracted by our planet’s atmosphere turns the full moon’s disk a sunset-like shade of red.
The event received an extra burst of hype because it took place during a time when the moon is closer to Earth than usual (qualifying by some definitions as a “supermoon”), and because it was the second full moon in the course of a month (a so-called “blue moon”).
Putting all these features together results in the super-blue-blood label, which NASA readily adopted. “Sounds like an opportunity for vampires,” University of Washington astronomer Julie Lutz joked.
Whatever you call it, the lunar eclipse is totally worth a recap …
Bill Nye the Science Guy is going to the State of the Union Address, but as a guest of President Donald Trump’s choice for NASA administrator. And therein lies the rub.
The NASA nominee is U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., who became notorious as a climate policy opponent during the Obama administration. In 2013, for instance, Bridenstine called on President Barack Obama to apologize for spending so much money on climate research.
Bridenstine backtracked a bit last year during Senate hearings on his NASA nomination. He said he didn’t know whether climate change was being driven primarily by human activities, “but I do know that humans have absolutely contributed to global warming.”
Such statements may have helped smooth relations with Nye, who has spoken up long and loudly for climate science and measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. He explained why he accepted Bridenstine’s invitation to Capitol Hill on Monday in a Facebook posting.
Amazon has been issued a pair of patents for a wristband system that monitors whether warehouse workers are putting their hands in the right places.
The patents, published today, cover bracelets that could emit ultrasonic sound pulses or radio transmissions to let a receiver system get a fix on where the workers’ hands are, in relation to an array of inventory bins.
Amazon doesn’t typically comment on its patents, but if the technology makes economic sense, it could conceivably be picked up for use in the Seattle-based online retailer’s hundreds of fulfillment centers.
Geographically speaking, the Pacific Northwest is one of the best places in America to see tonight’s super-hyped total lunar eclipse. Meteorologically speaking? Not so much.
Seattleites might have to go as far east as Ellensburg to get a clear view of what’s touted as a “super blue blood moon.” And in reality, the moon won’t be bloody, or blue, or even all that super.
Before we go into full sour-grapes mode, let’s acknowledge that if there’s a chance of seeing the full moon fade to red between 4:51 a.m. and 6:07 a.m. PT Jan. 31, it’s definitely worth getting out of bed.
“Set your alarm early and go out and take a look,” NASA’s Gordon Johnson says in the space agency’s preview of the eclipse.
Muilenburg, who also serves as Boeing’s chairman and president, will make his Twitter debut on Jan. 31 with the announcement of the company’s fourth-quarter financial results for 2017 and Boeing’s guidance for business in 2018.
“This new communications approach for our CEO will provide an effective platform for sharing company news and industry insight,” Phil Musser, Boeing senior vice president of communications, said today in a news release. “It also will help us highlight the inspirational, innovative work of our people, and better connect with customers, stakeholders and aerospace enthusiasts — where the conversations are taking place.”