Operation AI

It was seventy years ago today . . .

Nation pauses to remember Pearl Harbor

Survivors of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gathered Wednesday to remember the 2,400 people who lost their lives exactly 70 years ago.

“Just as every day and unlike any other day, we stop and stand fast in memory of our heroes of Pearl Harbor and the Second World War,” Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander for Navy region Hawaii, told the gathering.

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus took note of the devastating legacy of the two-hour attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago.

“The history of December 7, 1941, is indelibly imprinted on the memory of every American who was alive that day. But it bears repeating on every anniversary, so that every subsequent generation will know what happened here today and never forget,” Mabus said.

See also:
Nation marks 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor Day: Survivors remember attack, pay respects on 70th anniversary
Nation marks 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
Survivors, veterans mark somber Pearl Harbor remembrance
Pearl Harbor survivor remembers day of infamy
Senator Inouye Recalls Pearl Harbor Attack’s ‘Black Puffs of Explosion’
Pearl Harbor survivors group says it will disband
Veteran Of Pearl Harbor Dies On Anniversary Of Attack
Pearl Harbor survivors return to ships after death
Pearl Harbor survivors who lived until their 90s have their ashes interred in their ships
Overview of The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
Attack at Pearl Harbor, 1941
Attack on Pearl Harbor

Never forget.

/and more importantly, never let it happen again

Hardly A Fair Trade

Seriously, how could we be sure whether or not we killed the exact Taliban responsible for last Saturday’s deadly attack? If we knew who and where these barbaric cretins were, we probably wouldn’t have lost the Chinook in the first place.

U.S. kills Taliban insurgents who downed SEALs’ helicopter

The retribution wasn’t long in coming.

An American airstrike killed the Taliban insurgents whose attack caused a helicopter crash that killed 22 Navy SEALs and eight other U.S. service members, military officials in Kabul and Washington said Wednesday.

However, Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters at the Pentagon that the main Taliban leader in the area remained at large. He did not identify that insurgent commander, the hunt for whom set in motion the events that led to the crash of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Saturday.

. . .

Special operations forces tracked down a group of “less than 10” insurgents and called in an airstrike from an F-16 fighter jet, Allen said. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul said the strike took place early Tuesday in the Chak district of Wardak province, close to the area where the Chinook helicopter was shot down.

See also:
U.S. Says It Killed Taliban Who Hit Copter
U.S. forces kill Taliban fighters who downed helicopter
Copter attackers found, killed in strike
US-Led Forces Kill Taliban Militants Behind Helicopter Attack
Strike kills insurgents who downed helicopter in Afghanistan, top commander says
Taliban helicopter shooter killed by United States
Military killed Taliban who downed US helicopter

There’s so many questions yet to be answered regarding this incident, including which CH-47 variant was shot down, why were so many SEALs crammed onto a single helicopter, and why was SEAL Team Six being used on what’s variously, so far been described as a rescue mission, a reinforcement, or an independent, follow on raid?

/this “we got the Taliban that killed our SEALs” makes for a heartwarming tale of revenge but, given how many times this story has already changed, I remain skeptically waiting for the real truth to unfold, if it ever does come out

And Then There Were None

Welcome home Atlantis, a safe ending to the thirty year space shuttle program that saw the tragic loss of 40% of the fleet.

Ghostly Landing of Atlantis Closes America’s Space Shuttle Era Forever

Barely discernable in the pre-dawn twilight and appearing as an eerie, ghost like figure, Space Shuttle Atlantis and her four person crew swiftly glided to a triumphant landing at the Kennedy Space Center that closed out NASA’s three decade long Space Shuttle Era – in the wink of an eye it was all over.

Atlantis touched down almost invisibly on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 5:57 a.m. EDT and rolled to a stop moments later to conclude the history making 13 day flight to the International Space Station and back. During the STS-135 mission Atlantis orbited the Earth 200 times and journeyed 5,284,862 miles.

The all veteran crew of space flyers comprised of Shuttle Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim.

. . .

“Mission complete, Houston,” radioed Commander Ferguson. “After serving the world for over 30 years, the space shuttle has earned its place in history. It’s come to a final stop.”

See also:
‘Mission complete, Houston’
Atlantis’ triumphant swan song ends NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program
Space shuttle Atlantis in final dawn touchdown to end 30 year programme
Space shuttle era ends with touchdown of Atlantis
Crowd Welcomes Home, Thanks Final Shuttle Crew
Atlantis makes perfect final landing
Final Space Shuttle Crew Leaves Plaque on Atlantis
Shuttle photographers capture last landing of Atlantis
Space shuttle Atlantis’s final flight in pictures
A bittersweet end to the space shuttle program
After shuttle lands, Mission Control to go quiet
Lights go dim at Mission Control
Space Shuttle’s End Prompts Doubts About NASA’s Future
Grounding an exciting, perilous 30-year adventure

Yes, it’s sad that America’s manned space program is effectively grounded for the time being and that thousands of jobs will be lost. However, the space shuttle was arguably America’s most dangerous manned space vehicle, costing 14 lives over three decades.

/the shuttles are old, costly to fly and maintain and, in my opinion, it’s well past time for their retirement, they belong in museums, not in space, we need to move on to newer, safer, and more efficient space travel technology

Great Prophet 6

Every day Obama plays another round of golf we get weaker and every day Iran is allowed to continue to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology they get stronger.

Iran test fires 14 missiles capable of reaching Israeli, US targets

Iran fired 14 missiles and unveiled underground ballistic missile silos today, kicking off a series of war games over the next 10 days. Some of the missiles, launched today, have a range of more than 1,200 miles – enough to reach Israel and American installations in the region, Iranian PressTV reports.

Longer-range missiles are not likely to be built because all of Iran’s desired targets are already in reach with its current missiles, said Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division.

“We possess the technology to build missiles with longer ranges but we do not need missiles with a range of more than 2,000 kilometers and we do not intend to produce them,” Mr. Hajizadeh said from the sidelines of the drills, which are known as Great Prophet 6. “Iran’s missiles have a range of up to 2,000 kilometers and have been designed for US and the Zionist regime [Israel]’s bases in the region.”

See also:
Israel within range of Iran’s missiles: general
Iran to Conduct Missile Drills Today
Iran test-fires missiles, shows secret silos
Iran testfires 14 missiles “successfully” in drills
Iran unveils missile silos as military exercises open
In ‘Great Prophet VI’ Maneuvers, Iran Fires 14 Ballistic Missiles; IRGC Dep. Cmdr: Iran Won’t Initiate Attack – But Response Will Be ‘Purely Aggressive’
Iran launches missiles carrying message of “peace and friendship”
Guard chief: Iran can build longer-range missiles
Photos: Iran Test Fires 14 Missiles
IRGC Drills Display Iran’s Major Progress in Missile Technology

Ten years ago we could have crushed the Iranian threat without too much trouble. Now, I’m not so sure. We may have passed a tipping point where it’s now impossible to stop Iran’s nuclear program or the cost of stopping it is prohibitive and unacceptable. It’s bad enough that Iran has been allowed to pursue their atomic weapons program pretty much unimpeded, but now it appears that they have the missile technology to reliably deliver nuclear warheads anywhere in the region. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

/I wouldn’t be surprised if, sometime in the not so distant future, we witness an Iranian detonation test of an atomic device

Russian Rocket Roulette

Less than two months after losing three satellites in the ocean, Russia’s apparently lost yet another one.

Russian satellite feared stranded by rocket mishap

Russia is struggling to contact a military research satellite believed stranded in a low orbit by a rocket failure, according to Russian media reports.

The spacecraft lifted off on a Rockot launch vehicle at 1400 GMT (9 a.m. EST) Tuesday from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome about 500 miles north of Moscow.

The two-stage Rockot, a converted ballistic missile, flew north from Plesetsk toward space. A Breeze KM upper stage was supposed to fire twice to propel Russia’s GEO-IK 2 satellite to an orbital altitude of 1,000 kilometers, or more than 600 miles, about 90 minutes after blastoff.

But U.S. military tracking data indicate the rocket is still in an elliptical transfer orbit with a peak altitude of about 650 miles and a low point of 200 miles. Such an orbit might indicate the hydrazine-fueled Breeze KM engine did not ignite for a second time as planned.

Russia’s Novosti news agency quoted Oleg Ostapenko, commander of Russian space troops, as saying the satellite was placed in a bad orbit. Russian controllers are attempting to establish control of the craft, which did not radio back to Earth following launch.

See also:
Russia loses new military satellite
Russians Lose Spy Satellite Hours After Launch
Russian Dual Purpose Geodesic Satellite Lost
Russia loses control of new military satellite
Russia Reportedly Loses Military Satellite
Russia loses contact with newly launched satellite: report
Military Sources: Russia Lost Satellite
Russia loses new satellite in space: Interfax
Anyone Seen a Russian Military Satellite?

And this comes shortly after India lost a satellite last Christmas, when a Russian designed rocket exploded shortly after launch.

/is it just me, or does there seem to be an inordinate number of problems with Russian rocket quality lately?

Not So Astute

It’s a bad end to a bad week for the British military.

A beached wail from the world’s top submarine

THE British Royal Navy faces a possible multimillion-dollar repair bill for damage to the world’s most advanced submarine, with stealth technology so sophisticated it can lie undetected for weeks off an enemy coast.

The sub, which is so new that it is not yet fully operational, has sonar with a range of 3000 nautical miles and carries more firepower than a squadron of 16 Tornado bombers.

But on Friday the £1.2billion ($1.9billion) HMS Astute nuclear submarine spent the day stuck on a shingle bank near the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland in view of a curious public after it ran aground during a routine crew transfer. It was towed free by a tug that night but the incident is another blow for the Royal Navy, which suffered considerably last week with budget cuts to its aircraft carriers, warships, Harrier jump jets and the prospect of 5000 redundancies.

The navy insisted that there was no likelihood of a nuclear leak or any other environmental issue and no one was injured in the incident.

But the ship’s Commander, Andy Coles, will face questions and a possible court martial over why the ship ran aground.

See also:
Royal Navy chiefs left red-faced after brand new £1.2bn nuclear submarine is left high and dry off the coast of Scotland
Experts assess grounded submarine
Navy’s nuclear super-stealth submarine stuck off Skye for ten hours
High-tech sub runs aground in Scotland
HMS Astute – the navy’s £1.2billion nuclear vessel – runs aground
Sub shows too much to be stealthy
Navy not quite so astute after stranding
Red faces for Navy as stealth submarine left high and dry
Nuclear submarine HMS Astute is finally freed after running aground off Skye
Barrow submarine HMS Astute rescued
Grounded Nuclear Submarine Is Towed Free
Nuclear submarine freed after running aground off Isle of Skye
Grounded nuclear sub HMS Astute docked for tests
FACTBOX-Britain’s Astute class submarines
HMS Astute (S119)

Well, at least they got her back underway with no apparent damage and no loss of life.

/I’m guessing Commander Coles won’t be in command much longer

32nd Time’s A Charm?

So far, so good, Atlantis is less than twelve days, reentry, and a touchdown away from a well deserved retirement after two and a half decades of service.

Shuttle Atlantis streaks into orbit on final planned flight

The shuttle Atlantis blasted off on its 32nd and final planned mission Friday, closing out 25 years of service with a 12-day flight to deliver a Russian docking module and critical spare parts to the International Space Station.

With its three hydrogen-fueled main engines roaring at full thrust, the shuttle’s twin solid-fuel boosters ignited on time at 2:20 p.m. EDT, instantly pushing the fully fueled 4.5-million-pound spacecraft away from pad 39A.

Accelerating through 100 mph–straight up–in just eight seconds, Atlantis wheeled about its long axis and lined up on a trajectory paralleling the East Coast. Liftoff was timed for roughly the moment Earth’s rotation carried the launch pad into the plane of the space station’s orbit, the first step in a two-day rendezvous procedure.

Atlantis quickly arced away to the northeast, putting on a spectacular afternoon sky show for area residents and tourists who gathered along Florida’s “Space Coast” to witness the shuttle’s final planned flight.

Commander Kenneth Ham, pilot Dominic Antonelli, and flight engineer Michael Good monitored the shuttle’s computer-controlled ascent, joined by Stephen Bowen, a former submariner, Piers Sellers, and Garrett Reisman, who spent three months aboard the space station in 2008.

“We’re going to take her on her 32nd flight and if you don’t mind, we’ll take her out of the barn and make a few more laps around the planet,” Ham radioed launch director Mike Leinbach a few minutes before takeoff.

The shuttle’s ascent appeared normal with no obvious impacts from external tank foam insulation. Video from a camera mounted on the side of the tank showed a few bits of insulation separating and falling away, but by that point the shuttle was out of the dense lower atmosphere where debris impacts pose a more significant threat.

See also:
Space shuttle Atlantis soars on final voyage
Space Shuttle Atlantis Blasts Off on Final Mission
Shuttle Atlantis Lifts Off for Final Planned Flight
Shuttle Atlantis launches on its last mission
Space shuttle Atlantis soars on final voyage
Space Shuttle Atlantis: A View from the Launch
View of Atlantis launch from over 22,000 miles up
No rookies allowed on Atlantis’ last flight‎
Space Shuttle Atlantis: 25 years of service
STS-132 Begins On-Orbit Operations
STS-132 Mission Information
STS-132
Atlantis
Atlantis (OV-104)
Space Shuttle Atlantis

Godspeed Atlantis, perform your last mission flawlessly and bring your crew home safely.

/and then there will be only two shuttle flights remaining before the United States manned spaceflight program is grounded indefinitely on Obama’s orders