Random aerospace news roundup—Feb 18th, 2010

  • Angelina Jolie visited Jacmel, Haiti, and Canadian Forces personnel stationed at the aerodrome there.  Sanctimonious celebrities are annoying, but at least Ms. Jolie has a way of backing her philanthropic exhortations with meaningful finances and action, and for that at least, I give her grudging respect.
  • Dr. William A Edelstein, Ph.D, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Radiology at Johns Hopkins University, notes that the kinetic energy of hydrogen atoms hitting a spacecraft crew at near-light speeds would kill them.  Although there only two hydrogen atoms per cubic centimetre of interstellar space, the effect of travelling at near-light speeds on the crew would administer a dose of more than 10,000 sieverts within a second (7 sieverts is fatal).  The radiation would also affect spacecraft structural and electronic integrity.  With various spacefaring theologies (Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.) seemingly under threat, nerd credulity bristles in the comments section.
  • ODD: (Via Ghost of a flea) President Obama instructs NASA to act as a tool of international diplomacy and work with predominantly Muslim countries.  Indonesia is singled out as an example.  I wonder what Indonesia can bring to the table in terms of manned or unmanned space exploration?
  • Air Power Australia takes a very detailed look at the new Russian T-50 / Sukhoi PAK-FA, with alarming conclusions:

The available evidence demonstrates at this time that a mature production PAK-FA design has the potential to compete with the F-22A Raptor in VLO performance from key aspects, and will outperform the F-22A Raptor aerodynamically and kinematically. Therefore, from a technological strategy perspective,  the PAK-FA renders all legacy US fighter aircraft, and the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, strategically irrelevant and non-viable after the PAK-FA achieves IOC in 2015.

Detailed strategic analysis indicates that the only viable strategic survival strategy now remaining for the United States is to terminate the Joint Strike Fighter program immediately,  redirect freed funding to further develop the F-22 Raptor, and employ variants of the F-22 aircraft as the primary fighter aircraft for all United States and Allied TACAIR needs.

If the United States does not fundamentally change its planning for the future of tactical air power, the advantage held for decades will be soon lost and American air power will become an artefact of history.

— Kopp, Dr Carlo, SMAIAA, MIEEE, PEng, and Peter Goon, BE (Mech), FTE (USNTPS).  “Assessing the Sukhoi PAK-FA.”  Air Power Australia, 15 February 2010.

Category: Current Affairs
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