Archive | August, 2016

SpaceX successfully launches satellite

22 Aug

On Aug 15, 2016 the skies above Florida were lit up as the privately owned Hawthorn, California-based company SpaceX successfully carried off a pre-dawn launch of a Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket blasted-off at 1:26 am ET (5:26 am UTC) to carry off its two-fold mission of deploying the JCSAT-16 communication satellite and land the first stage of the rocket on a drone barge.

When the engines of the rocket rocket roared to life there was a large roar from the launch center. Within a few seconds the rocket accelerated and cleared the launch towers on its way to space.After a couple of minutes the rocket broke into space where the first and second stage separated.

The control center then took over control of the first stage to attempt bringing it back in for a landing on the drone barge “of course I still love you”. As the control center brought the first stage in for a handing everyone watching held their breath in anticipation. For those of us watching the live feed it was extra suspenseful as the feed froze just as the first stage approached the drone barge. Soon there was a cheer and the feed resumed showing that the first stage did indeed land. This was the 4th time that SpaceX has made such a landing since the first one took place in December of 2015. They also made 2 landings on solid ground earlier this year to bring the total to 6 landings overall.

After the separation, and landing of the first stage, the second stage of the Falcon 9 traveled on to finish the primary part of the mission and deploy the JCSAT-16 satellite into orbit 36,000 miles above the Earth. Once in a geostationary transfer orbit the satellite will become part of an array of satellites that provide a vast array of types of communications to Russia, the Middle East, Asia, North America, and other areas.

Review: The Vilcabamba Prophecy

15 Aug

The Vilcabamba Prophecy by Robert Rapoza is a thrill packed action/adventure/fantasy that will keep the reader riveted from beginning to end. The thrill-ride starts in the first few pages right after we meet Dr. Nick Randall when he becomes missing on an archeology expedition in Peru. His daughter, Dr. Samantha Randall, is soon called in to locate him snd she finds herself in the same type of danger as her missing father. Now, both doctors and their expedition parties find themselves running form their pursuers. Over the next few chapters they find themselves involved in kidnappings and gun battles as they try to find each other and the ancient city of Vilcabamba. Even when you think they are out of danger do not blink because it is not over.

The main characters in the book are well developed and very believable. There is Dr. Nick Randall, the adventurous archeologist and academic with some controversial theories; his daughter Dr. Samantha Randall; Frances Dumond, the head of the alliance; Colonel Ackers, leader of the mercenary forces; and several others. The interaction of all of the characters mesh together very well throughout the book.

The dialog between the characters has been well thought out and fits in very well with the characters and situations they find themselves in at the time. One of the best examples of this is when father and daughter are reunited and Samantha says, “I thought you were dead, Is it really you?”.

Some of the things the author does well in the book are maintaining the suspense and use of details. Mr. Rapoza keeps the suspense going in two ways. First, he use ciff-hangers at the end of chapters but does not make us wait too long before finding out what happens next. The second way is that just when we think the main characters are in the clear he puts them in danger once again. With the description he gives us plenty of detail to picture the characters, structures, and action without falling into the trap of going too far in detail.

I would recommend this book to any that loves the Indiana Jones series, Allan Quartermain movies, or shows like Ancient Aliens and Expedition Unknown. I think has elements of all of these that blended along with elements drawn from the authors own imagination that will keep the focus of all readers. I give it 4 out of 4 stars.