I don’t understand why people are (still) mad about Inquisition’s treatment of the Wardens. It was made pretty clear long before Inquisition was released that they are not innocent martyrs and can be quite ruthless if it means ending the Blight. Inquisition showed just that, yet somehow people think it’s “bad writing” or whatever

  • baby:a...a...
  • mom:ah?
  • baby:Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate,
  • And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
  • Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore.
  • Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
  • And in the doubtful war, before he won
  • The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town;
  • His banish'd gods restor'd to rites divine,
  • And settled sure succession in his line,
  • From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
  • And the long glories of majestic Rome.

    The Mojave Desert is home to Joshua trees, blistering sun, sandstorms and many bizarre-looking airplanes. The HL-10 qualifies as one of these strange desert birds that we love so much. She was the first Heavyweight Lifting Body to break the speed of sound and would go on to literally and figuratively change the shape of aerospace.

    She was delivered from Northrop to NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (now Armstrong) in January 1966 to join NASA’s fleet of Heavyweight Lifting Bodies, an idea fathered by R. Dale Reed in 1962. Reed realized that wings are not ideal for spaceflight because they are heavy, vulnerable and cumbersome at hypersonic reentry speeds. His idea was to create a reentry vehicle that had no wings, but could create enough lift from the fuselage alone to land on a conventional runway at relatively safe speeds. He imagined these vehicles as small personal spacecraft. This idea was embedded in the HL-10 name, standing for “Horizontal Landing”.

    The HL-10, along with other Heavyweight Lifting Bodies, had to be initially taken aloft to 45,000 feet by a B-52 mothership, then dropped into the wild blue yonder. The first drop was performed on December 22, 1966, piloted by Bruce Peterson. On this first flight, the HL-10 had no engine installed, so she simply glided back to a landing on Rogers Dry Lake adjacent to Dryden. The tenth flight, on September 24, 1968, included an XLR-11 rocket engine as part of the kit, but it wasn’t fired until the twelfth flight which took place on October 23, 1968. On this mission, the engine malfunctioned and Jerauld R. Gentry was forced to land on Rosamond Dry Lake, just west of Rogers.

    Finally, on May 9, 1969, flight number seventeen, John A. Manke became the first man to break the sound barrier in a Lifting Body. Flight thirty-four, February 18, 1970, went down in the history books as the fastest lifting body flight when Peter C. Hoag punched through Mach 1.861. Nine days later, Bill Dana took the thirty-fifth flight to an altitude of 90,300 feet, the highest flight of the lifting body fleet.

    She finally took her thirty-seventh and final flight on July 17, 1970, with Hoag at the controls. By this time, she handled like an F-104 Starfighter, better than the rest of the NASA Lifting Bodies. Dale Reed pushed for plans to launch an HL-10 on a Saturn V rocket and allow it to reenter, first unmanned, then with a brave astronaut aboard. He even spoke with Wernher von Braun who was happy to set two Saturn V vehicles aside for these flights. This plan was never realized.

    To prepare the HL-10 for spaceflight would have, of course, meant preparing the vehicle for the intense heating of reentry. Many major design modifications would have been required. One interesting problem was the windscreen; it is a curved bowl at the nose of the vehicle. During reentry, this area would have become the hottest surface, heating to approximately 3,000 °F. No transparent material could have withstood this heating, so the windscreen would have required relocation. This wasn’t all bad, though, because the curved windscreen created a fisheye effect, which made landings difficult, let alone the fact that they were touching down at a speed of 200 mph on a uniform dry lakebed surface which makes it hard to judge altitude. Overcoming these challenges speaks volumes about the engineers and pilots who work in this field.

    The HL-10 stands as a trophy of accomplishment in front of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Today, lifting body designs are being considered for travel to Low Earth Orbit, all thanks to the fleet that flew from Dryden.


“I’m A Self-Starter!”: Reasons Job Hunting Sucks

New video!

I’ve been looking for a job recently and it’s garbage. Come share my pain.

Reblog if you consider yourself a real self-starter with a keen eye for optimal business practices! (or even if you don’t because really no-one is that thing)


    The NF-15B ACTIVE is the most maneuverable of any F-15 variant, but she didn’t start out that way. This airframe, originally designated the TF-15B (USAF serial number 71-0290), looked much like a typical F-15. She took her first flight on July 7, 1973, as the first two-seat F-15 in history and the sixth F-15 to roll off the assembly line.

    On September 7, 1988, she would have her “second first flight” following major modifications as the STOL/MTD (Short Takeoff and Landing/Maneuver Technology Demonstrator). Modified F-18 stabilators were put in place forward of the wing as canards. Thrust vectoring in the pitch axis was also implemented, allowing takeoff rotation at only 39 knots and drastically shorter landing distances.

    In 1991, the STOL/MTD test program ended, and the USAF loaned the airframe to NASA, who modified it into the NF-15B ACTIVE (Advanced Control Technology for Integrated Vehicles). The pitch thrust vectoring was traded for nozzles that could be vectored in pitch and yaw. This allowed for incredible maneuverability. The bird could perform yawing maneuvers while flying at 30 degrees angle of attack.

    Although never implemented, there were plans to further modify this airframe by removing the vertical tail planes, allowing thrust vectoring to be wholly responsible for yawing maneuvers. This would have been called the F-15 MANX, named after the naturally tailless cat.

    After decades of serving NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (now NASA Armstrong) as a successful experimental testbed for many different test programs, the NF-15 ACTIVE took its final flight in January 2009. On this last flight, she was the oldest still flying F-15. In July of 2015, she was put on static display at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The Flight of the Falcon by Vesa Lehtimäki
Via Flickr :
In this NASA photograph taken in Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, Jan 1969, you see the HL-10 research plane on the left, it is a lifting body concept used in a study for a reusable manned spacecraft. Eventually, at the end of this line of studies, there was the Space Shuttle. The recent events with Star Wars VII (the X-wing revelation) and the 45th anniversary of the Moon landing prompted me to do something different from my usual photostream. Celebrating both Star Wars and the Human Spaceflight, I added a little twist to this photo. Originally I only added this to my Facebook page as a simple gesture of personal enthusiasm over the two worlds. There was an error in my original edit, however, and since FB does not allow replacing uploaded images, I uploaded a re-edited version of the original here. The error was that the shadow of the overshooting Millennium Falcon was too much to the left and it looked as if the Falcon had no shadow at all. I hope this one works better. Original NASA image here.

More about star wars here.


Introducing Circle Video: G+ Meets YouTube

New video!

I’m super excited to be one of the prototypes for Google+’s next big integration with YouTube. I think this is gonna be a huge step for online video. Share the news if you’re excited!!


     F-104N 812, originally called 012, served NASA from 1963 to 1987, retiring after 4,442 flights. After that, she was stored at Edwards Air Force Base and used for spare parts for NASA’s growing fleet of eleven F-104 aircraft. After retirement, 812 went on display in the Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB. In 1997, she was moved to the Lockheed Palmdale plant, and converted to look more like an XF-104, with her inlet cones, top fairings, and paint removed. In 2005, she was painted to resemble her original 1963 markings, but still lacking inlet cones and top fairings. She rests on display in front of the Lockheed Skunk Works at Palmdale, California.

     812 is one of three F-104N aircraft in total; 811, 812, and 813, manufactured by Lockheed specifically for NASA flight research. These three aircraft met different fates. 813 was lost in a tragic accident on June 8, 1966, while flying in close formation with an XB-70 for a photo shoot. The F-104 collided with the XB-70, causing the loss of pilots Joe Walker and Carl Cross. Pilot Al White ejected from the XB-70, but was seriously injured. 811 was flown by a NASA Dryden test pilot who would eventually become the first man to set foot on the Moon. After that, the Dryden facility has been renamed, “NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center”. 811 is now on display at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.