Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Student Rocket Launch event in Colorado

More than 100 students of all ages will put their rockets and payloads on display high above the plains of Pueblo, Colo., during the seventh annual Student Rocket Launch on Saturday.

The launch will feature three high-power sport rockets built by interns at United Launch Alliance (ULA) that will carry science experiments thousands of feet above the ground. The five largest payloads are built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. interns. K-12 students from Colorado, Ohio and Alabama created 13 additional payloads. This year's rocket team includes approximately 65 interns from ULA and 45 interns from Ball.

The event will take place at the Hudson Ranch, located just outside of Pueblo. Attendees are invited to view the rockets up-close on the launch pads beginning at 8:30 a.m. MDT, with the first launch at 10 a.m. The final launch will occur at noon.

The Rockets

"The Future" is the largest rocket launched in Colorado, standing 25-feet tall and weighing 320 pounds. It will soar to approximately 9,000 feet above the ground, carrying 15 payloads. The "Stars 'N' Stripes" is a 20-foot rocket that will carry two payloads, and "Atlas IV," at 10 feet tall, will deploy one payload.

"The Student Rocket Launch provides one of the most in-depth, hands-on educational opportunities for interns in the country," said Matt Smith, ULA's vice president of Engineering and Information Technology.

The Future, Stars 'N' Stripes and Atlas IV are all built and refurbished by ULA summer interns in Centennial, Colo.; Decatur, Ala.; Harlingen, Texas; Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The interns volunteer to work on the rockets outside of their "day jobs," building and testing the rockets with the guidance of ULA employees who participate as mentors.

The Southern Colorado Rocketeers, Colorado Springs-based rocketry club and Northern Colorado Rocketry also will be launching rockets throughout the event. This year, the event also coincides with the 56th Annual National Association of Rocketry Annual Meet.

The payloads

This year's concepts include: a self-correcting rock-climbing car that's "driven" back by "Batman"; R/C controlled para gliders; a self-inflating balloon; a chalk cloud; and smoke grenades, environmental suites, cooling systems and many other sensors and cameras.

"The rocket launch aspect of the 10-week internship demonstrates their understanding of the teamwork needed to become future leaders," said Jeff Osterkamp, Ball's vice president for Engineering.

The Future rocket payloads include a class teddy bear (named "S. Carpenter Bear" after the astronaut from Colorado), an experiment to test post-launch dispersion of bar-coded Alabama cotton bolls, and payloads designed to capture images and data using cameras, Global Positioning System, geographic information system, altimeters, accelerometers and other devices.

Big changes coming to Foursquare app

Five years and over 4,000 check-ins later big changes are coming to Foursquare, a cell phone app that helps subscribers locate friends or family in the local area. Whether you're setting off to Velocity Wings, Giant Food, 7-Eleven, McDonald's or Harris Tetter, the new Foursquare app will tell you if your friends are at the location, known as a “check-in.”

New York-based Foursquare Labs, Inc. announced Wednesday they will be rolling out a brand new version of Foursquare in a couple weeks. This means a few changes are coming.

Starting Thursday, the company is moving all check-ins to their new app Swarm. “Don’t worry; all your past check-ins, all your friends, all your photos, they’re all automatically in Swarm,” the company said in an email to users. Over three quarters of Foursquare users are already on the new app. “For everyone still using Foursquare to check in, you’ll need to download Swarm to keep checking in.”

If you build a totally new app, you need a totally new logo, the company said. “Our logo is changing from the check-in checkmark to something representing the new Foursquare. It's coming soon to a homescreen near you.”

No two people view the world exactly the same, so no two people will have the same experience with the new Foursquare app. Once you teach Foursquare a couple things about you – add tastes, follow experts, or even just walk around for a few days – the app will be 100 percent yours. This is the beginning of the ‘personalized local search’ future the company has been talking about since they started Foursquare.

The town council in Purcellville, Va., recently granted permits to the Purcellville Gateway shopping center allowing it to open two drive-thru restaurants. It remains to be seen who will be the first user to check-in at these locations on the new Foursquare. Will it be you?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Video compares Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and Buk missile capability

This STK animation compares the flight path of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the strike capabilities (range and altitude) of the Buk missile system that is believed to be the weapon that was used to shoot down the aircraft on July 17.