(Phys.org) —NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday, April 16, to begin its final preparations for launch currently scheduled no earlier than May 28. IRIS will improve our understanding of how heat and energy move through the deepest levels of the sun’s atmosphere, thereby increasing our ability to forecast space weather. Following final checkouts, the IRIS spacecraft will be placed inside an Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket. Deployment of the Pegasus from the L-1011 carrier aircraft is targeted for 7:27 p.m. PDT at an altitude of 39,000 feet at a location over the Pacific Ocean about 100 miles northwest of Vandenberg AFB off the central coast of California south of Big Sur.
Building and launching the Landsat Data Continuity Mission required teams of people across the United States. It is appropriate, then, that the satellite’s early images include these views of the places that most contributed to its success: Greenbelt, Md.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. The images are considered engineering data—data that is helping scientists and engineers ensure that the satellite and its instruments are operating as designed.
By Neal Colgrass As tensions escalate with North Korea, the US has opted to delay a missile test at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, CNN reports. The long-planned test of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was unrelated to North Korea, but delaying it is “prudent and wise” in light of North… …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home
WASHINGTON — Amid mounting tensions with North Korea, the Pentagon has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test that had been planned for next week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, a senior defense official told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The official said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to put off the long-planned Minuteman 3 test until sometime next month because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the Korean crisis. Hagel made the decision Friday, the official said.
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post
A senior U.S. defense official says the Pentagon has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test for next week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California amid mounting tensions with North Korea.
The official says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delayed the long-planned Minuteman 3 test because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the current Korean crisis.
The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
North Korea‘s military has warned that it was authorized to attack the U.S. using “smaller, lighter and diversified” nuclear weapons.
South Korean officials say the North moved at least one missile with “considerable range” to its east coast, suggesting a launch could be imminent U.S. and South Korean military exercises have been ongoing, with warships and bombers in the region.
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News
By John Kemp
LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) – Bipartisan bills introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate aim to avert the imminent shutdown of the Federal Helium Reserve, which provides a third of all the gas consumed worldwide, and develop a proper market to avoid a long-term crunch in supplies of one of the world’s most critical raw materials.
Helium is best known for filling party balloons and making people talk with a squeaky voice.
But its properties as the second-lightest element, chemically unreactive, and with a boiling point just 4 degrees above absolute zero, give it an essential role in a range of cutting-edge scientific applications.
The biggest uses are to cool the superconducting magnets used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners; help manufacture semiconductors and fibre optic cables; and, purge and pressurise the liquid hydrogen/oxygen propulsion systems used on space rockets, including the giant Delta IV launch vehicles that put spy satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Prices for refined helium sold to end-users have quadrupled from $40 per thousand cubic feet in 2000 to $160 in 2012, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which warned the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives last month of “urgent issues facing the Bureau of Land Management‘s storage and sale of helium reserves.”
Availability has fluctuated wildly in the last seven years. Problems at helium refineries in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as start up delays with new refining facilities in Qatar in 2006, led to shortages and rationing.
Reliable and affordable supplies are essential. But more than 40 percent of the helium used in the United States, and roughly a third of the gas consumed worldwide, is sourced from a stockpile in northern Texas left over from the Cold War.
As a result, helium is one of the last commodities where the government still drives prices. The price charged by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which runs the Federal Helium Reserve, effectively sets …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post
Authorities have found about $4 million worth of marijuana and a panga boat at a beach in Santa Barbara County.
The boat was spotted early Sunday at Arroyo Quemado Beach. Partially hidden in bushes were 50 plastic-wrapped bales of pot with a combined weight estimated at 2,000 pounds.
The boat was apparently abandoned and had at least 20 fuel containers on board. Panga boats are often used for smuggling people or drugs into the United States from Mexico.
Earlier this month, marijuana worth at least $1 million was discovered near a boat abandoned on the Vandenberg Air Force Base coastline.