Elon Musk launches Tesla – Falcon Heavy test flight

Elon Musk launched his Tesla, but this was a launch was different, it was the launch of his own Cherry Red Roadster in to space.

Some people in NASA criticised the plan of NASA to use corporate suppliers to design and launch rockets needed for them to replace the space shuttle — enabling manned missions to the international space station (strange because I think previous rocket engines were built commercially?).

The Falcon Heavy maiden flight was intended to accomplish several objectives:

  • survive launch
  • separate the side booster cores
  • return the two side boosters to Cape Canaveral
  • separate the core and the upper stage to light engines for orbit insertion
  • land the central first stage booster core on an autonomous drone ship
  • relight the upper stage to orbit in the van Allen belts for several hours
  • relight the upper stage again to put the payload into its heliocentric orbit

 

It was reported that after a successful launch, the two booster rockets successfully (simultaneously) landed back at the Cape Canaveral launch site. The core engine impacted 100 meters from the drone ship at 500 kilometres per hour, after 2 of 3 engines failed to reignite.The final upper stage transfer burn to solar orbit produced an orbit that will be beyond the orbit of Mars at its furthest point from the sun.

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TC Graham Prize for innovation

The Association for Iron & Steel Technology AIST has announced they will be awarding a $20,000 prize for innovative applications of steel.

http://www.asminternational.org/news/industry/-/journal_content/56/10192/21470854/NEWS

1M Prize for Engineering

Presumably to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee, and to also celebrate engineering, a 1M pound prize has been announced to be given biannually for achievements in engineering.

Lord Browne, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize Foundation, said, ‘Too often the engineers behind the most brilliant innovations remain hidden – The Queen Elizabeth Prize aims to change that. It will celebrate, on an international scale, the very best engineering in the world’.
Candidates from around the world are able to win the prize, which is funded by 11 British and Indian companies, including BP. Organisers hope that the £1m award will come to rival the level of prestige enjoyed by the Nobel Prize.

http://www.iom3.org/news/prime-minister-launches-1m-queen-elizabeth-prize-engineering

This is interesting, but I think to rival the Nobel prize a fund would need to be established where the funding for the prize is completely independent from the sponsoring companies. I also think it is worth pointing out that although the Nobel Prize is given in Physics, Chemistry, Peace, Literature and Physiology or Medicine, it is worth reminding people that is was established by an Engineer.

— update —

The first Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering of 1 Million Pounds was awarded to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreessen for their pioneering work developing the the internet.

Read about the first QEEP at the BBC

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Launch

The Boeing Dreamliner was launched for the first test flight yesterday.

The Boeing 787 is around the same size as 767-300. However the 787 is planned to be 20% more fuel-efficient than the 767. The efficiency comes equally from improvements in the engines, aerodynamics and reduced weight by use of composite materials, and the use of improved systems.

20% improvement in efficiency should translate into a 15% saving in operational efficiency.

Each plane can interchangeably use either the General Electric GEnx or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, due to the design of a common interface. The Rolls-Royce engine was used for the test-flight.

Windows Vista Sounds, The Same Just Quieter

You have to make a new release of your product, you need to convince people you have changed it, but actually changing things is going to make them unusable. The solution? If you are developing a computer operating system for a captive audience? You need to add more eye-candy to keep the hardware manufacturers and retailers happy, then spend 18 months tweaking the sound themes.

Is it really true they spent 18 months to develop the windows start-up sound?