landing operation

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Combined Resolve II by 7th Army Training Command
Via Flickr:
U.S. Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division advance on simulated enemy targets in M1A2 Abrams tanks during exercise Combined Resolve II at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, May 26, 2014. Combined Resolve II is a multinational decisive action training environment exercise occurring at the Joint Multinational Training Command’s Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr Training Areas that involves more than 4,000 participants from 15 partner nations. The intent of the exercise is to train and prepare a U.S. led multinational brigade to interoperate with multiple partner nations and execute unified land operations against a complex threat while improving the combat readiness of all participants. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. John Cress Jr)

Celebrating 17 Years of NASA’s ‘Little Earth Satellite That Could’

The satellite was little— the size of a small refrigerator; it was only supposed to last one year and constructed and operated on a shoestring budget — yet it persisted.

After 17 years of operation, more than 1,500 research papers generated and 180,000 images captured, one of NASA’s pathfinder Earth satellites for testing new satellite technologies and concepts comes to an end on March 30, 2017. The Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite will be powered off on that date but will not enter Earth’s atmosphere until 2056. 

“The Earth Observing-1 satellite is like The Little Engine That Could,” said Betsy Middleton, project scientist for the satellite at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

To celebrate the mission, we’re highlighting some of EO-1’s notable contributions to scientific research, spaceflight advancements and society. 

Scientists Learn More About Earth in Fine Detail

This animation shifts between an image showing flooding that occurred at the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers on January 12, 2016, captured by ALI and the rivers at normal levels on February 14, 2015 taken by the Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory  

EO-1 carried the Advanced Land Imager that improved observations of forest cover, crops, coastal waters and small particles in the air known as aerosols. These improvements allowed researchers to identify smaller features on a local scale such as floods and landslides, which were especially useful for disaster support. 

On the night of Sept. 6, 2014, EO-1’s Hyperion observed the ongoing eruption at Holuhraun, Iceland as shown in the above image. Partially covered by clouds, this scene shows the extent of the lava flows that had been erupting.

EO-1’s other key instrument Hyperion provided an even greater level of detail in measuring the chemical constituents of Earth’s surface— akin to going from a black and white television of the 1940s to the high-definition color televisions of today. Hyperion’s level of sophistication doesn’t just show that plants are present, but can actually differentiate between corn, sorghum and many other species and ecosystems. Scientists and forest managers used these data, for instance, to explore remote terrain or to take stock of smoke and other chemical constituents during volcanic eruptions, and how they change through time.  

Crowdsourced Satellite Images of Disasters   

EO-1 was one of the first satellites to capture the scene after the World Trade Center attacks (pictured above) and the flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. EO-1 also observed the toxic sludge in western Hungary in October 2010 and a large methane leak in southern California in October 2015. All of these scenes, which EO-1 provided quick, high-quality satellite imagery of the event, were covered in major news outlets. All of these scenes were also captured because of user requests. EO-1 had the capability of being user-driven, meaning the public could submit a request to the team for where they wanted the satellite to gather data along its fixed orbits. 

This image shows toxic sludge (red-orange streak) running west from an aluminum oxide plant in western Hungary after a wall broke allowing the sludge to spill from the factory on October 4, 2010. This image was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager on October 9, 2010. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory

 Artificial Intelligence Enables More Efficient Satellite Collaboration

This image of volcanic activity on Antarctica’s Mount Erebus on May 7, 2004 was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager after sensing thermal emissions from the volcano. The satellite gave itself new orders to take another image several hours later. Credit: Earth Observatory

EO-1 was among the first satellites to be programmed with a form of artificial intelligence software, allowing the satellite to make decisions based on the data it collects. For instance, if a scientist commanded EO-1 to take a picture of an erupting volcano, the software could decide to automatically take a follow-up image the next time it passed overhead. The Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment software was developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and was uploaded to EO-1 three years after it launched. 

This image of Nassau Bahamas was taken by EO-1’s Advanced Land Imager on Oct 8, 2016, shortly after Hurricane Matthew hit. European, Japanese, Canadian, and Italian Space Agency members of the international coalition Committee on Earth Observation Satellites used their respective satellites to take images over the Caribbean islands and the U.S. Southeast coastline during Hurricane Matthew. Images were used to make flood maps in response to requests from disaster management agencies in Haiti, Dominican Republic, St. Martin, Bahamas, and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The artificial intelligence software also allows a group of satellites and ground sensors to communicate and coordinate with one another with no manual prompting. Called a “sensor web”, if a satellite viewed an interesting scene, it could alert other satellites on the network to collect data during their passes over the same area. Together, they more quickly observe and downlink data from the scene than waiting for human orders. NASA’s SensorWeb software reduces the wait time for data from weeks to days or hours, which is especially helpful for emergency responders. 

Laying the Foundation for ‘Formation Flying’

This animation shows the Rodeo-Chediski fire on July 7, 2002, that were taken one minute apart by Landsat 7 (burned areas in red) and EO-1 (burned areas in purple). This precision formation flying allowed EO-1 to directly compare the data and performance from its land imager and the Landsat 7 ETM+. EO-1’s most important technology goal was to test ALI for future Landsat satellites, which was accomplished on Landsat 8. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

EO-1 was a pioneer in precision “formation flying” that kept it orbiting Earth exactly one minute behind the Landsat 7 satellite, already in orbit. Before EO-1, no satellite had flown that close to another satellite in the same orbit. EO-1 used formation flying to do a side-by-side comparison of its onboard ALI with Landsat 7’s operational imager to compare the products from the two imagers. Today, many satellites that measure different characteristics of Earth, including the five satellites in NASA’s A Train, are positioned within seconds to minutes of one another to make observations on the surface near-simultaneously.

For more information on EO-1’s major accomplishments, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/celebrating-17-years-of-nasa-s-little-earth-satellite-that-could

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Cinema Variety’s Top Favorite Films of 2016

Well cinephiles and friends alike, my annual list of favorite films has finally arrived. I had to take these first few weeks in the new year to re-watch some of this years gems to order my list accurately. Through careful deliberation, I present to you my favorite films of 2016. Make sure to check out my top pick lists from previous years provided below! 

Top Picks of 2015 List
Top Picks of 2014 List
Top Picks of 2013 List

Honorable Mentions:
The Wailing
Elle
Goat
The Sea of Trees
The Witch
Green Room
Lemonade
The Odyssey
Black Mirror: San Junipero

** THIS LIST IS IN ORDER **


#18 - The Childhood of a Leader
Directed by Brady Corbet

Brady Corbet’s directorial debut is a chilling fictional tale about the rise of fascism in the early 20th century. The result is a character study focusing on the origins of evil. Corbet is clearly inspired by the aesthetics of Michael Haneke, Ingmar Bergman and even a little bit of Andrei Tarkovsky. Long tracking shots and an overpowering orchestral score brings the audience on this artistic journey. The conclusion of the film left me shocked, watch out for it.



#17 - Operation Avalanche
Directed by Matt Johnson

Operation Avalanche is a true hidden gem for anyone who delights in films centered around conspiracy theories. The theory of the moon landing being a staged production might be one of the most ridiculous hoaxes out of them all - and there are groups of people who truly believe it. However, this film is made in a way that actually makes it seem like a very possible reality. The movie is cleverly filmed in a POV mockumentary format with a classic 60s filter. The film shifts in tone from a comedy of sorts and ends in paranoia. I found it to be one of the most underrated films of the year.



#16 - Swiss Army Man
Directed by The Daniels

It’s an impressive feat when a film featuring constant flatulence and directional erections can also end up being a heartfelt and existential story of friendship. There are very few comedies on this list, or on any of my other annual lists for that matter. Swiss Army Man succeeded on making me laugh multiple times. I praise it simply for its originality and the fact that the filmmakers tackled on such ridiculous themes in a way that they didn’t become immature or worthy of an eye roll. Another shoutout to the energetic score and colorful production design.



#15 - La La Land
Directed by Damien Chazelle

The musical genre is most definitely one of my least favorite ones. Other than a few exceptions (Across the Universe, The Wall, Dancer in the Dark), I have found most musicals to be unbearably cheesy. The cheese is still there in La La Land, but it is effective because that is the intended tone. It truly is a throwback to the golden age of Hollywood filled with allusions from earlier infamous musicals such as Singing in The Rain. I anticipated this film from the start both because Damien Chazelle blew me away with Whiplash and because Ryan Gosling is my favorite actor working today. Shot on a film, in a dazzling Technicolor format, it also features some of the most awe inspiring cinematography out of all the movies released this year. I believe La La Land is the film that we needed to end 2016 with - a film filled with magic and hope for a better future.



#14 - Manchester by the Sea
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan

Man did this movie crush me. It squeezed everything out of me and left me a hollow shell. I went home and sat on my couch and just cried after leaving the theatre. Don’t let this lead you astray from watching it, it’s just such a realistic heart-wrenching drama that I couldn’t help but be affected by it the entire day after seeing it. It might not be a masterpiece as such critics claim it to be, but it is a moving insight on the loss of loved ones and the emotional wreckage that can come out of it. There is no overly-done melodrama or redemption in the denouement. Instead, it focuses on little moments that end up forming a much greater whole by the end. Casey Affleck’s restrained performance was something I empathize with as he held a tragic rage behind his eyes.



#13 - Jackie
Directed by Pablo Lorrain

This was a film that grew on me days after seeing it. I was absorbed by it while I watched it in a small art-house theatre, but it was afterward where it really began to resonate with me. The JFK assassination is a momumental tragedy in history that has always greatly interested me. I remember being haunted by the video footage when it was shown to me in a college history class. While the script may be lacking in areas, the performance by Natalie Portman is the saving grace of this production. Portman has transcended her star status in this role by flawlessly emulating the former First Lady. Jackie is a film that plays like a fragmented memory - it jumps in time throughout. The production design transported me to the 1960s and Mica Levi’s score really is the standout aspect of the film.



#12 - The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Directed by Oz Perkins

I believe The Blackcoat’s Daughter is the year’s most underrated and ignored horror film. The very few critic reviews I found online all have positive things to say, while most audience reviews are the opposite. This is the feature film debut of director Oz Perkins. He has created a richly nuanced horror film that never reaches any outrageous or flashy climax, which is a breath of fresh air compared to the usual tripe that comes out of Hollywood year after year. Perkin’s directs the film with a restrained control that would make his horror-icon of a father, Anthony Perkins, proud. There is a thick haze of dread that doesn’t ease up until the film’s bleak finale. The films minimal use of dialogue works perfectly in unison with the nonstop rumbling score. The entire aesthetic of The Blackcoat’s Daughter is what made it work so well for me. Loads of unnecessary dialogue and jump scares are replaced with well executed tracking shots and genuinely upsetting violence. The end product is a deliciously evil exercise In dread.



#11 - The Eyes of My Mother
Directed by Nicolas Pesce

The Eyes of My Mother is the type of art-house horror film I feel like I’ve been waiting all year for. Everything about it speaks to me as a horror fan. The story seems as if it was ripped out of one of my worst nightmares; Or better yet, if you could visualize the musings of a demented asylum patient - the result would be The Eyes of My Mother. This film would never have been as effective if it wasn’t for the lush, gorgeous black and white photography. Camera shots are shrowded in shadows which adds to the aforementioned nightmare effect. Thank god this film has such a short runtime (it’s only a little over 70 minutes). I wasn’t sure how much more I could take of this grueling tale. The last 20 minutes of the film takes a plunge into the heart of darkness - which to many viewers could be considered completely morally reprehensible. Well, a desensitized horror junkie such as myself was pleased by the filmmaker’s decision to conclude this story as depraved as possible. I decided to celebrate Christmas this year in the holiday spirit by showing this movie to my brother. By the end of it, he just turned to me and asked: “Why do you do this to me?”.



#10 - The Light Between Oceans
Directed by Derek Cianfrance

Derek Cianfrance is one of my very favorite directors working today. His first two films (Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines) both have found a place in my top 15 favorite films of all time. Needless to say I’ve been tirelessly anticipating his latest feature. It didn’t have the same impact on me as his previous features; however, it still ended up being an impressive and heartbreaking picture. Adam Arkapaw works wonders as the DOP. His camerawork captures the coast of Australia beautifully. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander work perfectly off of each other (yet another instance of Fassbender completely investing himself in a role). Keep an ear out for the perfectly utilized “Funeral Canticle” track that has never failed to give me goosebumps since the first time I heard it in The Tree of Life.



#9 - Cemetery of Splendour
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Describing this film is a challenge in itself - let alone reviewing it. This is the second film I’ve seen by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and they both are masterpieces in my eyes. Cemetery of Splendour, much like the soldiers affected by a sleeping epidemic in the film, lead me down the rabbit hole into a deep trance state. I love films which feel like I dreamt them after they’re over, and that’s exactly what this movie achieved. The long takes, minimal use of a score, and gorgeous natural scenery worked together to create a relaxing and mind expanding experience.



#8 - Moonlight
Directed by Barry Jenkins

I might not think that Moonlight is the very best film of the year, but it might just be the most important. It’s not everyday where you hear about masterful films that deal with homosexuality in the African American community. Jenkins tackles this subject perfectly by not making this aspect of the character’s persona the focal point of the film. It’s just as much a coming of age story about masculinity than it is a story about a guy struggling with his sexual identity. I related to this film on a very personal level because I know what it’s like being harassed by peers in school on the basis of being gay. Moonlight follows the central character Little from his adolescence in grade school all the way until manhood. Although three different actors are playing the same character, I was utterly convinced it was the same person for they all adopted the same mannerisms and personality traits. Moonlight makes a grand statement about finding out who you truly are. It sends the message that it’s possible to find acceptance by people other than your immediate family.



#7 - Midnight Special
Directed by Jeff Nichols

Jeff Nichols is being praised this year on the award circuit for his touching film Loving, but it’s this film that stayed with me after watching. Never has there been a film made about supernatural abilities that has hit me on such a deep level. Midnight Special deals with a plethora of themes other than a child with superhuman abilities. These include the responsibilities of fatherhood and the special bond between parents and their child. It opens ambiguously and the intelligent plot slowly unfolds in such a way that questions are answered little by little until the absolutely soul-touching finale. Even though she has limited screen time, Kirsten Dunst added to this films perfection. The sheer humanity displayed through her performance as a mother who will do anything to keep her child out of harms way is an admirable thing. Midnight Special is a sci-fi film for the ages.



#6 - Embrace of the Serpent
Directed by Ciro Guerra

The fevered madness of the jungle is alive in this flick. Embrace of the Serpent addresses the duality of man. His ability to create yet also his sure-fire knack to destroy goodness. His willingness to help others yet also falling victim to his own egoic desires. In this film, the Westernized man leads to the downfall of an ancient Amazonian civilization. Serpent focuses on two different white men, separated by decades in time, who traverse into the depths of the jungle guided by the last living member of a tribe. Both of these men are looking for a hallucinogenic plant - one to cure his terminal illness, the other for purposes of being able to dream. The end product is a head-trip into psychedelia where plant medicine is the supreme deity.



#5 - Arrival
Directed by Denis Villenueve

Villenueve knocked it out of the park again this year with his latest film. Is there anything this man cannot do? The French-Canadian filmmaker strayed away from the dark and somber tone of his previous works and created something life affirming. Arrival is an example of smart science-fiction that has been coming out of the film industry recently (something along the likes of Interstellar). Humanity is put to the test in this movie as they try to figure out the intentions of the alien visitors. But it’s a story about love and loss above all. Arrival is edited perfectly by manipulating the viewer’s sense of time. Once I reached the ending and pieced it all together, I was a wet-faced audience member in that dead silent theatre as the other attendees sat dazed.



#4 - The Neon Demon
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Is it a dazzling grand statement on the depraved narcissism of the professional modeling industry? Or is it just more pretentious artistic masturbation which has become expected of Refn? My thoughts are with the former. Refn’s auteur style that he has developed upon since the release of his magnum opus Drive has been particularly polarizing among critics and audiences alike - almost as polarizing as Terrence Malick. I believe people dislike The Neon Demon for some of the same reasons why the general masses reacted so negatively to Spring Breakers: it tries too hard to be artsy, it’s just a boring music video, the dialogue is unrealistic. At the same time I feel as if these audiences didn’t grasp onto the fact that these films which shed light on the hedonistic lifestyle of deranged young women are purely satirical. They’re supposed to be absurd. The irony is is that this absurdism is actually reflective on the types of females that move to LA for the pursuit of fame and recognition. It certainly is the best looking Refn film to date, with even banal or commonplace locations drenched in neon hues. And Cliff Martinez has outdone himself with the synth-heavy score which guides us along this fairytale of horrors. How far would you go to get to the top? In Refn’s surreal vision of Los Angeles there is no such thing as going too far to reach fame, even if it means bloodshed. As one character says in the film: “Beauty isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” It would be nice to write off this statement as pure subjectivity, but what else has the media taught us but this ideal?



#3 - Nocturnal Animals
Directed by Tom Ford

Do you ever really know the person you love? This is the thought running through my mind while watching Tom Ford’s romance story disguised as a crime-revenge. Ford has created a highly innovating form of storytelling with Nocturnal Animals. A violent story of revenge is presented to symbolize the betrayal that Amy Adam’s commits against Gyllenhaal’s character. What made this film so enjoyable was the aspect that it was like two different films in one, yet both stories suitably complement one another. The frustratingly ambiguous ending was delightful as the audience searches for the intentions of Gyllenhaal’s character. The whole thing was a stylish story of betrayal.



#2 - Knight of Cups
Directed by Terrence Malick

My cinematic idol returned in 2016 with many ambitious projects: two different documentaries about the birth and death of the universe with Voyage of Time, a festival premiere date set for his forthcoming Song to Song, and the stream of consciousness visual poem which is Knight of Cups. I believe there is such thing as a Malick gene. His films either strike people with such awe and wonder that they come out of his films feeling enlightened or they are the cinematic equivalent of taking an Ambien for others. I have total faith that this film will be considered a classic masterpiece in decades to come. Sometimes it just takes time for a film to receive that cult status. Unfortunately, a formula which critics took such a liking to with The Tree of Life quickly became redundant and meandering in the public’s eye with his two follow-up works. Just like with all great art, it takes repeated viewings to really appreciate the philosophical mastery of this film. I’ve seen it over five times now and each time I walk away with something new -  a blossoming appreciation that such abstract and soulful cinema can be financed. If you have any idea about Malick’s life then you understand that Knight of Cups is the last film in his autobiographical trilogy. I see it as a sort-of spiritual sequel to The Tree of Life. A sense of disassociation is felt through the floating camerawork which follows Christian Bale on an odyssey of temptation in Los Angeles. Malick abandons small-town rural settings and older time periods for a tale set in the present day luxury land of LA. I must admit that when the credits started to scroll I couldn’t help but ask myself: “that’s it?” The abrupt finale left me feeling a little hollow. It left me with nothing. But I soon realized that this was Malick’s intention. This was the loneliness and isolation he felt as a big-shot Hollywood director even though he was surrounded with admirers. So to save himself, he leaves that lifestyle and finds his redemption through the glories of divine Mother Nature. I am so happy that there is a director who I feel so connected to, someone who expresses his eloquent ideology through some of the most beautiful movies ever in the annals of cinematic history. Knight of Cups is a fervent reverie on love, loss and life. A haunting meditation of redeeming oneself after a swift fall from grace.



#1 - American Honey
Directed by Andrea Arnold

A film so filled with life that I couldn’t help but feel exhilarated after it ended, American Honey is an epic road trip story for the millenial era. Its plot is open and free flowing much akin to the characters who traverse across the midwest in a van selling magazines to folks from all different social and economic backgrounds. American Honey exposes the dark underbelly of American households, especially for low-income ones. Youths search through trash cans in order to find a fitting meal. A drunken stepfather takes advantage of his stepdaughter. A junkie mother falls unconscious on the couch unable to take care of her young children. I might be making American Honey sound like a film filled with sorrow and hopeless situations. However Andrea Arnold takes the subject matter and actually gives it a twinge of hope. The chemistry between all the characters, most particularly between Sasha Lane and Shia Labeouf, makes it practically impossible to look away at could very well be a trainwreck waiting to happen. As soon as you think some awful event is going to happen to end the roadie’s journey of freedom - it doesn’t. American Honey sometimes feels more like a documentary than a feature film. The dialogue comes off as mostly improvisational and the plot is minimal at best. Arnold has taken cues from Larry Clark’s style of filmmaking when he released his controversial HIV drama Kids in 1995. Considering that film is in my top 10 favorite films of all time, it’s clear as to why American Honey was my favorite work released this year. With its unique aspect ratio, colorful and eccentric characters, and one hell of an eclectic soundtrack, American Honey breathed new life into me. By the end I felt almost as purified as Sasha Lane does as she takes a dip into a lake, descending to the bottom only to emerge from the surface a newly realized person.

You cannot wipe out the native people of this land and expect the land to operate as normal. The native people have a connection with mother nature and its deeper than flesh.
—  Meggan Roxanne
Space Missions Come Together in Colorado

Our leadership hit the road to visit our commercial partners Lockheed Martin, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Ball Aerospace in Colorado. They were able to check the status of flight hardware, mission operations and even test virtual reality simulations that help these companies build spacecraft parts.

Let’s take a look at all the cool technology they got to see…

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building our Orion crew vehicle, the only spacecraft designed to take humans into deep space farther than they’ve ever gone before.

Acting NASA Deputy Administrator Lesa Roe and Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot are seen inside the CHIL…the Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton, Colo. Lockheed Martin’s CHIL enables collaboration between spacecraft design and manufacturing teams before physically producing hardware.

Cool shades! The ability to visualize engineering designs in virtual reality offers tremendous savings in time and money compared to using physical prototypes. Technicians can practice how to assemble and install components, the shop floor can validate tooling and work platform designs, and engineers can visualize performance characteristics like thermal, stress and aerodynamics, just like they are looking at the real thing.

This heat shield, which was used as a test article for the Mars Curiosity Rover, will now be used as the flight heat shield for the Mars 2020 rover mission.

Fun fact: Lockheed Martin has built every Mars heat shield and aeroshell for us since the Viking missions in 1976.

Here you can see Lockheed Martin’s Mission Support Area. Engineers in this room support six of our robotic planetary spacecraft: Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, Juno, OSIRIS-REx and Spitzer, which recently revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star, TRAPPIST-1. They work with NASA centers and the mission science teams to develop and send commands and monitor the health of the spacecraft.

See all the pictures from the Lockheed Martin visit HERE

Sierra Nevada Corporation

Next, Lightfoot and Roe went to Sierra Nevada Corporation in Louisville, Colo. to get an update about its Dream Chaser vehicle. This spacecraft will take cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of our commercial cargo program.

Here, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Vice President of Space Exploration Systems Steve Lindsey (who is also a former test pilot and astronaut!) speaks with Lightfoot and Roe about the Dream Chaser Space System simulator.

Lightfoot climbed inside the Dream Chaser simulator where he “flew” the crew version of the spacecraft to a safe landing. This mock-up facility enables approach-and-landing simulations as well as other real-life situations. 

See all the images from the Sierra Nevada visit HERE.

Ball Aerospace

Lightfoot and Roe went over to Ball Aerospace to tour its facility. Ball is another one of our commercial aerospace partners and helps builds instruments that are on NASA spacecraft throughout the universe, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the New Horizons mission to Pluto. Ball designed and built the advanced optical technology and lightweight mirror system that will enable the James Webb Space Telescope to look 13.5 billion years back in time. 

Looking into the clean room at Ball Aerospace’s facility in Boulder, Colo., the team can see the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suite. These sensors are used on spacecraft to track ozone measurements.

Here, the group stands in front of a thermal vacuum chamber used to test satellite optics. The Operation Land Imager-2 is being built for Landsat 9, a collaboration between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey that will continue the Landsat Program’s 40-year data record monitoring the Earth’s landscapes from space.

See all the pictures from the Ball Aerospace visit HERE

We recently marked a decade since a new era began in commercial spaceflight development for low-Earth orbit transportation. We inked agreements in 2006 to develop rockets and spacecraft capable of carrying cargo such as experiments and supplies to and from the International Space Station. Learn more about commercial space HERE.

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Airworthy P-38 Lightnings, 2017

A short guide to the survivors, and how to quickly identify them.

Unnamed, 44-53254, Aircraft Guaranty Title Corp. Trustee

Unpainted fuselage, olive drab inner cowlings, red-and-white painted rudders, Red Bull nose art.  This aircraft was formerly owned by the CAF and flown as White Lightning until it was sold after a forced landing.  She is operated out of Salzburg, Austria, by the Red Bull company.

Glacier Girl, 41-7630, Lewis Air Legends

Olive drab fuselage and wings, pre-war national insignia, yellow identification markings.  This aircraft was crashed in Greenland in 1942 on the way to England, and eventually recovered after over a decade of hunting for the “Lost Squadron.”  She is based out of San Antonio, Texas.

White 33, 42-12652, WestPac Restorations

Dark green fuselage, blue propeller spinners, “33″ numbers on vertical fins and nose, white shark-tooth markings on engine nacelles.  This aircraft served in New Guinea and Australia with the 475th and 8th Fighter Groups before crashing in 1944 and being written off.  She is currently based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

23 Skidoo, 44-23314, Planes of Fame

Olive drab fuselage, yellow detailing on propeller spinners, vertical fins, and tail booms, “162″ aircraft number on fins and nose.  This aircraft entered civilian hands shortly after the end of WWII and has been flown by the Planes of Fame since 1988 in various colors.  She is based out of Chino, California.

44-26981, Allied Fighters

Unpainted fuselage, invasion stripes under the outer wing panels and tail booms, red propeller spinners, aircraft number 981 on the nose.  This aircraft entered civilian hands in 1946, and has changed hands dozens of times since.  She is based out of Sun Valley, Idaho.

Relampago, 44-27053, War Eagles Air Museum

Glossy black fuselage, silver propeller blades.  This aircraft was used as an aerial surveyor after the end of WWII, before being purchased by the museum in 1994.  She is based out of Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

Tangerine, 44-27083, Erickson Aircraft Collection

Olive drab upper fuselage, light grey lower fuselage, yellow detailing on propeller spinners and vertical fins, extensive nose art on both sides of the nose.  This aircraft was sold into civilian hands in 1946 and restored to airworthiness in 1996.  She is based out of Madras, Oregon.

44-27183, Yanks Air Museum

Unpainted except for national insignia, original F-5 camera nose fitted instead of a fighter nose.  This aircraft is airworthy although not flown by the museum.  She is based out of Chino, California.

Scat III, 44-27231, Fagen Fighters WWII Museum

Dark green fuselage, “W” code on inside of vertical fins, “SCAT III” nose art, red rudders.  This aircraft flew as a racer post-war, before being restored in 1999.  She is based out of Granite Falls, Minnesota.

Thoughts of Midnite, 44-53095, Comanche Fighters LCC

Olive drab fuselage, red band on propeller spinners, red band on tail booms, aircraft number “120″ on fins and nose, nose art of port side.  This aircraft served with the Honduran Air Force postwar, before being returned to the US in 1960; she flew formerly as Putt Putt Maru.  She is based out of Houston, Texas.

P-38 airframes are exceedingly rare today, although there are several under restoration for either display or airworthiness.  Hopefully more of these rare fighters will return to the air again soon.

5

The Normandy Landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armoured divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30.

When the seaborne units began to land about 06:30 on June 6, the British and Canadians on Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches overcame light opposition. So did the Americans at Utah. The U.S. 1st Division at Omaha Beach, however, confronted the best of the German coast divisions, the 352nd, and was roughly handled by machine gunners as the troops waded ashore. During the morning, the landing at Omaha threatened to fail. Only dedicated local leadership eventually got the troops inland—though at a cost of more than 2,000 casualties.

Concorde’s drooping nose, developed by Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge Airport,[139] enabled the aircraft to switch between being streamlined to reduce drag and achieve optimum aerodynamic efficiency, and not obstructing the pilot’s view during taxi, take-off, and landing operations

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Jaguar XE SV Project 8, 2017. Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) has revealed the most powerful and extreme performance Jaguar road car ever. The first road-legal Jaguar with a 600PS 5.0-litre supercharged V8 providing a top speed of 200mph and 0-60mph in 3.3sec . To be built in a limited-run of 300 examples worldwide. 

Operation Avalanche is a fake documentary about the faked Apollo Moon landing    

Avalanche’s crowning achievement is the way in which it lovingly pays homage to visual effects — and Stanley Kubrick himself. At a certain point the team become convinced that the only way to pull off their illusion will be to use the same front-projection techniques Kubrick is using to shoot 2001: A Space Odyssey, so they travel to Shepperton Studios to visit the set of the film. It’s executed with a seamless blend of archival footage and Forrest Gump-style visual effects, putting us on the actual set of 2001 as Kubrick decides how to shoot the famous Moon monolith sequence, with Johnson’s character later hitting the auteur up for his autograph.

The sequence is simply delightful, and it’s Operation Avalanche at its very best: clever, funny, and so in love with movies themselves that it nearly forces you to smile. 

— BRYAN BISHOP for THE VERGE

Homebrew Character: Dedan

Dedan is the first boss in OFF by Mortis Ghost, and the one I personally find most visually interesting. A Large Boy with eyes in his mouth and time-themed abilities, despite OFF not having much in the way of mechanics for time shenanigans. He’s loud and abrasive and used to being in power, so Dedan is a good fit for a boss monster at the end of an intrigue mission. Maybe in your setting, he runs a less-than-ethical company, but has protection from the ruler of the land he operates in. Or perhaps he’s a tyrannical lord, serving under an uncaring monarch. However you fit him to your campaign, he’s a decent mid-level boss.

Dedan
Large aberration, lawful evil.

AC: 16 (natural and leather armor)
HP: 250 (10d20+60)
Speed: 40 ft.

STR 20 (+5)  DEX 14 (+2)  CON 16 (+3)  INT 15 (+2)  WIS 12 (+1)  CHA 14 (+2)

Saving Throws: STR +9 CHA +6
Skills: Acrobatics +6, Deception +6, Insight +6, Intimidation +6
Senses: passive perception 11
Languages: Common
Challenge: 10 (5,900 XP)

Actions:

Multiattack: Dedan makes 2 Minute Hand attacks.
Minute Hand: +9 to hit, 10 ft., one target, 2d6+5 bludgeoning damage.
Sweep Hand (Recharge 4-6): Each creature within 5 ft. of Dedan makes a DC
  17 Dex save as he spins in place and tries to sweep them. On a failure, they
  take 1d6+5 bludgeoning damage and are pushed back 10 ft. On a success,
  they take no damage and are pushed back 5 ft.
Hour Hand (Recharge 5-6): +9 to hit, 10 ft., one target, 2d8+5 bludgeoning
  damage. The target makes a DC 17 Con save. On a failure, Dedan casts
  sleep as a 3rd-level spell on them. On a success, Dedan casts sleep as a
  1st-level spell. The spell only affects the target.
Laugh (3/day): Dedan summons a spectre to fight alongside him. The spectre
  appears within 15 ft. of him.

Art by @coloursofaparadox.

Anguish // Bucky Barnes

Summary: AU where Reader is an FBI Agent and best friends with Detective Nat Romanoff. Everything changes when Bucky and the reader meet each other. Soon Nat has to decide what’s more important…her happiness or her best friend.

Characters: agent!reader x detective!bucky, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, Steve Rogers x nurse!Sharon, Wanda x Vision, Pietro Maximoff (mentioned), Nick Fury (mentioned), and Peggy Carter (mentioned)

Words: 2692

Disclaimer: I do not own Marvel or the characters involved. This is also an AU in which the Avengers are actually detectives.

Warnings: Swearing, talk of death, injuries, infertility by car accident, PTSD (mentioned), and ANGST with just a hint of fluff.

Author: Caitsy

A/N: to hold you over till Sunday, April 23rd when I will be finished packing for home! Requests will be OPEN ON SUNDAY

Snapchat to see what’s coming next: caitsyandash

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Originally posted by xalisiamarvelous

Normally it should be one the happiest days to watch your best friend get married but for Natasha it was the exact opposite. You had been best friends since you were roommates during your police academy days having bonded as the daughters of former officers. When you went to different cities for jobs you had kept in contact and celebrated when Nat made detective and you worked your ass up into the FBI. She was so happy when you took your two weeks off following a botched operation landing you with a bullet to the shoulder.

During those two weeks you had met one of Nat’s co-workers and friend Bucky Barnes at a game night. It was held at Steve Rogers house in Brooklyn, he was a recently transferred detective from Bucky’s childhood, and Steve’s wife Sharon. Sharon was an ER nurse going back to school to become a Doctor. Nat had straight away invited you over not expecting to have you bond so well with everyone.

“I’m Y/N Y/L/N-“

“Agent Y/L/M, dumbs.” Nat laughed poking you in the side. You giggled.

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