Another launch of Starlink satellites and expected crash of Chinese rocket.

Look at the contrast between private-sector space exploration in the United States and government run space exploration in China.

5/9/21 – Amy Thompson at Space.com – SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites in record 10th liftoff (and landing) of reused rocket –  On 5/9/21, SpaceX put another load of 60 satellites into orbit, increasing the constellation of Internet-providing satellites.

Of note is that this is the 10th launch and recovery of this particular Falcon 9 rocket. That is the highest number of reuses yet of any in their fleet.

The goal, announced three years ago, is to fly each booster 10 times before major refurbishment and ultimately get up to 100 flights out of every booster.

Continue reading “Another launch of Starlink satellites and expected crash of Chinese rocket.”

Uncontrolled reentry of Chinese rocket expected tomorrow, 5/8/21

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Frequently in a space launch one of the stages in the rocket is so massive that it will not completely burn up when it reenters the atmosphere. The normal, responsible behavior is to have a controlled burn after the payload is launched which will push the rocket stage into a calculated reentry. This allows the rocket owner to pick the place on the planet the residuals will land, say the middle of an ocean far from routine shipping channels.

The irresponsible strategy is skip the reentry burn which means the massive chunks of unburned metal will land on the earth at some random place, say an occupied area or even a major city.

This information from Space News on 4/30/21: Huge rocket looks set for uncontrolled reentry following Chinese space station launch.

Continue reading “Uncontrolled reentry of Chinese rocket expected tomorrow, 5/8/21”

Project Kuiper – Amazon’s planned constellation to provide internet service across the planet.

Merritt Island, FL, USA – December 26, 2020: Photo of the Blue Origin Complex, Merritt Island, Florida. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock and Felix Mizioznikov.

Amazon is developing its own low Earth orbit satellite system to provide Internet connectivity across the planet. They are calling this Project Kuiper.

4/19/21 – Ars Technica – Amazon’s first Internet satellites will not launch on Blue Origin rockets – Some background to start the discussion.

In addition to Amazon, Jeff Bezos also owns a rocket company developing spaceships. It is called Blue Origin. They are developing New Glenn rocket as a lift vehicle. Article says first flight for New Glenn is not expected until fourth quarter of 2022 with likely slippage to 2023.

Big announcement covered in this article is Amazon announcing they will use the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance for the first nine launches of their satellites.

Continue reading “Project Kuiper – Amazon’s planned constellation to provide internet service across the planet.”

Successful nighttime recovery of four astronauts on SpaceX Dragon space capsule.

Crew-2 Mission by Official SpaceX Photos is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The Dragon capsule Resilience was successfully recovered during a night landing off the coast near Panama City, Florida.

5/2/21 – Space.com – SpaceX Crew Dragon makes 1st nighttime splashdown with US astronaut since Apollo era

This is the first night landing in the American program since Apollo 8.

Video of the recovery can be seen below. Skip forward to the about the 6 hour 34 minute point in the video. Splashdown is about 6:48. Dragon is onboard at about 7:15 mark.

The video:

Continue reading “Successful nighttime recovery of four astronauts on SpaceX Dragon space capsule.”

China launches first component of its space station.

ZHUHAI, CHINA- NOVEMBER 6, 2018: Mockups of the New Generation Launch Vehicles of Long March Family are on diplay during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock. I think the tallest one, fourth from right, is the 5B.

China is building their own space station. On 4/28/21 they successfully launched the first of three main components.

4/28/21 – Space.com – China launches core module of new space station to orbit – The central component of the space station is called Tianhe, for Harmony of the Heavens. This module is 54 feet long. Two more sections, each of them 47 feet long, will be launched. The basic station will be assembled by the end of 2022.

A Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket launched the space station.

A cargo launch will go to the station next month with three astronauts arriving in June.

This is not the first space station China has put in orbit. The first one, Tiangong-1, back in 2011 had visits from two crews of three astronauts each before it reentered the atmosphere and was burned up.

Continue reading “China launches first component of its space station.”

SpaceX uses recycled rocket and recyled capsule for launch to space station.

A previously used Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space capsule lifted four astronauts to the ISS.

4/23/21 – Science Alert – In a Huge First, SpaceX Just Launched Astronauts to the ISS on a Recycled Rocket – In their third flight to the International Space Station, SpaceX used a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule that had both previously been used. This is a big deal in terms of reducing the cost of space travel.

Along with the two previous flights this ends the American reliance on Russian lift vehicles to get crew to the space station.

SpaceX successfully recovered the booster. Again. They sent out a tweet saying this is the 80th recovery of a rocket. Very cool.

With these four astronauts (one from France and one from Japan) on board, there will be 11 people on ISS, which is a record. Another crew will return on the Dragon in a few days.

The crew:

Continue reading “SpaceX uses recycled rocket and recyled capsule for launch to space station.”

Value of oil production by month and recent prices in North Dakota – April 2021.

Market price of oil collapsed last spring. In looking at the data by month, you can see a one month lag in the drop of production. As a result, the value of oil produced in North Dakota dropped substantially last spring and summer.

As the price of North Dakota light sweet dropped in March to $20.33 from $37.21 the prior month, production slid about 210k bopd in April to 1.225 bopd.

The shock decline in April 2020 to $9.16 from $20.33 led to a drop of production in May of 363K bopd, with average output down to 862k bopd.

A further drop in May 2020 to $7.92 from the prior $9.16 led to another month of low production in June at 895k bopd, an increase of a mere 33k bopd.

Average prices recovered the next month and then over the next seven months were in a range between $29 and $33. Production increased to the range of 1.0m bopd to 1.2 bopd since prices recovered.

Prices have accelerated in the last four months.

The driver for this wild roller coaster ride can be seen in the average of monthly prices:

Continue reading “Value of oil production by month and recent prices in North Dakota – April 2021.”

Oil production in North Dakota mostly recovered after slump last spring but now dropping with winter weather.

Graph above shows dramatic drop in production back in May and June 2020, caused by the drastic drop in prices. Record output in November 2019 of 1,519,032 bopd slowly declined then took a sharp drop to below 900,000 bopd in May and June.

Recovery thereafter increase production to just over 1.2M bopd in September, October, and November 2020. Production since then has dropped, with a significant decline in February 2021.

From high of 1,519,032 bopd in November 2019, two low of 862,349 bopd in May 2020, to high of 1,226,549 bopd in November 2020, to drop due to the weather of 1,083,020 bopd in February 2021.

Quite a roller coaster, huh?

For more detail and to drill down deeper, including Bakken/Three Forks only and statewide data, check out:

Continue reading “Oil production in North Dakota mostly recovered after slump last spring but now dropping with winter weather.”

Forecast for oil activity in Bakken.

Notice the massive amount of unused space and the large number of storage tanks. Eventually there will be one or two more rows of wells with perhaps 10 wells in each row. Only four pumpjacks at the moment. This photo hints at the amount of future drilling. Photo by James Ulvog.

What are the prospects for drilling and oil production in the Bakken oil field in North Dakota? Particularly in regards to Williams County, what does the near future hold?

With all the turmoil in the oil industry lately, haven’t had much discussion here on what the future holds.

The Million Dollar Way blog had a great commentary by Bruce Oksol on 4/8/21: Idle Rambling In Response To A Reader’s Question.

The reader asked if there is likely to be any future development around Williams County, or on the other hand, if there is any acreage left to develop.

Continue reading “Forecast for oil activity in Bakken.”

Combat drone launches drone. Spare parts for Minuteman system getting scarce.

The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrates the separation of the ALTIUS-600 small UAS in a test at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground test range, Arizona on March 26, 2021. This test was the first time the weapons bay doors have been opened in flight. (Photo courtesy United States Air Force.)

The U.S. Air Force is working to develop drone fighters. Most recent test flight had the drone launch another drone.

All the original manufacturers for every component of the Minuteman ICBM system are either gone or the assembly lines have long since been shut down. That means USAF is using its own production facility to create the myriad of necessary spare parts.

4/6/21 – New Atlas – Valkyrie combat drone launches another drone during test flight – Imagine a drone fighter that accompanies a cutting-edge manned fighter such as an F-35. The escorting drone could carry a heavy load of bombs to multiply the strike power of a fighter. It could carry an assortment of air-to-air missiles to defend against other planes or air-to-ground missiles to strike radar or other defense assets.

Continue reading “Combat drone launches drone. Spare parts for Minuteman system getting scarce.”

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Easter is the high point of the year for Christians.  On this day our Savior rose from the tomb after having suffered a brutal death at the hands of the Roman government, urged on by the religious leadership.

What’s the big deal?

On Good Friday, the death of Jesus paid in full the penalty for my sins, yours sins, and the sins of every person who ever lived or ever will live.

On Easter Sunday, His glorious resurrection proves his sacrifice was accepted by God the Father.

In rising from death, Jesus proved he had ultimate power over death, hell, and the devil.

By that sacrifice, our sins are forgiven, and we will enter heaven for eternity, not because of what we do or how nice we are, but solely because of His sacrifice on the cross.

A few selections of the wonderful and so comforting hymn Jesus Christ is Risen Today to help you celebrate. Go ahead, crank up the volume. First up is an organ only version:

For a beautiful processional:

King’s College Choir, Cambridge

The lyrics:

Continue reading “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”

Back (reverse) of 2019 currency issued in Venezuelan.

Previous post showed the obverse of the bills issued in June 2019. That post also discussed the hyperinflation that made it necessary to add a couple of zeros to the bills. Unfortunately by the time the largest bill was issued it was only worth less than one US dollar.

Here are the reverses (back) of the bills issued in June 2019:

10,000 Bs. S, equal to 1,000,000,000 Bs. F., yes one billion

Mausoleo del Libertador Simon Bolivar – Mausoleum of liberator Simon Bolivar

20,000 Bs. S, equal to 2,000,000,000 Bs. F.

Continue reading “Back (reverse) of 2019 currency issued in Venezuelan.”

Acme to replace Boeing as prime contractor on Space Launch System.

This blog does not discuss politics. Since I do discuss space exploration, I will cover an announcement from the new Biden administration that Boeing will be replaced as the prime contractor on the Space Launch System.

SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for NASA. It will lift astronauts to space so they may explore the solar system.

(Article cross-posted from Nonprofit Update just because.)

Acme

The new prime contractor is Acme. You may have seen the products on television in the past.

The story has not received much publicity, so I’ll try to draw attention to this major change in federal policy.

Continue reading “Acme to replace Boeing as prime contractor on Space Launch System.”

Back (reverse) of Venezuelan currency issued in 2018.

Previous post illustrated the obverse (front) of the 2018 issue currency of Venezuela.

For your visual enjoyment, here is the reverse of these beautiful bills:

2 Bs. S., equal to 200,000 Bs. F.

(sorry, can’t quite read name of the bird)

5 Bs. S., equal to 500,000 Bs. F.

Sapito Rayado – striped sapitao

Continue reading “Back (reverse) of Venezuelan currency issued in 2018.”

Front (obverse) of 2019 currency issued in Venezuelan.

Ongoing hyperinflation in Venezuela was so severe after the conversion to Bolivar soberano (Bs.S) in August 2018 that far higher denomination currency had to be introduced in June 2019.

To illustrate the concept, the exchange rate at the end of July 2018 was 3,600,000 Bs. F. to $1. That would be equivalent to 36 Bs. S. to $1 using the new currency.

At the end of August 2018 the exchange rate was 90 Bs.S to $1. From 36 to 90 in a month.

At the end of December 2018, the exchange rate was 730 Bs. S to $1.00. That meant that the highest denomination note in circulation, the 500 Bs.S. was worth less than one US dollar. By the way it had been worth it $8.47 at the end of August 2018, just four months earlier.

By the time the new denominations were in circulation at the end of June 2019 the exchange rate was 7,880 Bs. S to $1. 

Oh, that 500 Bs. S. issued back in August 2018? It was worth $0.06 at the end of June 2019.

That one bill dropped from being worth US$8.47 in August 2018 all the way down to US$0.06 in June 2019.

The obverse (front) of the bills issued in June 2019:

10,000 Bs. S, equal to 1,000,000,000 Bs. F., yes one billion

Simon Bolivar

Continue reading “Front (obverse) of 2019 currency issued in Venezuelan.”