Thursday, November 16, 2017


The Dream Chaser is being developed by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Space Systems as a reusable automated cargo or passenger spaceplane. The cargo variant is meant to resupply the International Space Station with both pressurized and unpressurized cargo. The passenger variant will carry between 2 and 7 people to the ISS (or another space station in LEO). It will launch vertically on top of an Atlas V, Falcon Heavy or Ariane V rocket.

On NOV 11, it made a successful free flight test:

Here's a video simulating the Dream Chaser carrying crew to the ISS:

With its lifting body design it looks an awful lot like the Hermes, the ESA's cancelled project of a light shuttle system (which was meant to be carried to space on top of an Ariane rocket):

The nose seems to be modelled after the nose of the MiG 105.



Last weekend it was hundreds of 'youths', read Moroccan 15-30 year olds, who ran amok in central Brussels after Morocco had been qualified for the World Soccer Championship in the Morocco-Ivory Coast match.

The riots then resulted in torched cars, busted up shops, destroyed traffic infrastructure, and 22 police officers wounded.

Yesterday there were again riots, near the Muntplein, not far from the earlier, ah, 'disturbances'. On these images, you can actually see police withdraw.

Bodes well for the future.


Sunday, November 12, 2017


I actually wanted to write about the appalling violence of our muslim friends in Brussels this weekend (22 police officers wounded, cars torched, windows smashed) and about the dhimmi Mass in Oostnieuwkerke (West Flanders) for Ann-Laure Decadt, the 31-year old mother of two who was murdered in NYC by an Uzbek muslim on 31 October.

Crucial info I learned on both events however, a.) that police was forbidden to intervene because engaging the Moroccans "would only make it worse" and b.) not one of the 1,700 participants for the funeral of Mrs. Decadt dared to use the dreaded JIM acronym ergo she died because of "senseless violence"...

... made me so sick I couldn't go on.

So it's gonna be a topic of an altogether different nature, the Leduc planes with their ramjets.

A ramjet aka athodyd for nerds (athodyd = aero thermodynamic duct), is jet engine that uses the engine's forward motion to compress incoming air, thus elminating the need for an axial compressor. It follows that at takeoff, ramjets do not produce thrust since the plane stands still, so that the plane either has to be carried in the air by a mother plane or else use booster rockets to acquire the minimum speed for the ramjet to start working. Ramjets function best at around Mach 3 (2,300 mph or 3,700 km/h), and can propel planes to speeds of up to Mach 6 (4,600 mph; 7,400 km/h).

So not only is there no compressor, but it follows there's no turbine either, because it's raison d'être is precisely to propel the compressor. In fact, theoretically you can look straight through a ramjet!

The concept is from French inventor André Lorin, who patented the design in 1913 already. Of course, lack of proper materials plus the fact that aerodynamics was a field in its infancy prevented him from building a ramjet.

But 25 years later René Leduc designed such a plane. Building started at the Breguet Aviation factory in 1938, but due to the war, during which the French were able to hide the project from the Germans, it was only completed in 1947. The Leduc 0.10 featured a double-walled fuselage, with the pilot controlling the plane from within the inner shell. The thin wings nevertheless held 1,000 litres of fuel. The carriage could only come out at landing.

Here's the Leduc 010, which had to be carried in the air first:

And this is the Leduc 0.22, which could take off under its own power:

A short video, sorry, but it's entirely in Fwench:

And yes, the Lockheed SR71 Blackbird is the best known example of a plane powered by ramjets.