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Space Shuttle Columbia OV-102

Space Shuttle Columbia (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-102) was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. All seven crew members were killed. Following an independent investigation into the cause of the accident, NASA decided to retire the Shuttle orbiter fleet in 2010 in favor of the Constellation program and its manned Orion spacecraft.

Construction began on Columbia in 1975 at Rockwell International's (formerly North American Aviation/North American Rockwell, now Boeing North America) principal assembly facility in Palmdale, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Columbia was named after the Boston-based sloop Columbia captained by Robert Gray, who in the 1790s explored the Pacific Northwest (including going upstream on its namesake river between Washington and Oregon) and which became the first American vessel to circumnavigate the globe. It is also named after the Command Module of Apollo 11, the first manned landing on another celestial body.[2] After construction, the orbiter arrived at Kennedy Space Center on March 25, 1979, to prepare for its first launch. On March 19, 1981, during preparations for a ground test, two workers were asphyxiated while working in Columbia's nitrogen-purged aft engine compartment, resulting in their deaths.[3]

The first flight of Columbia (STS-1) was commanded by John Young, a Gemini and Apollo veteran who was the ninth person to walk on the Moon in 1972, and piloted by Robert Crippen, a rookie astronaut originally selected to fly on the military's Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL) spacecraft, but transferred to NASA after its cancellation, and served as a support crew member for the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz missions.

Columbia was successfully launched on April 12, 1981, the 20th anniversary of the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1), and returned on April 14, 1981, after orbiting the Earth 36 times, landing on the dry lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Columbia then undertook three further research missions to test its technical characteristics and performance. Its first operational mission, with a four-man crew, was STS-5, which launched on November 11, 1982. At this point Columbia was joined by Challenger, which performed the next three shuttle missions, while Columbia underwent modifications for the first Spacelab mission.
Columbia astronauts Thomas K. Mattingly and Pilot Henry Hartsfield salute President Ronald Reagan, standing beside his wife, Nancy, upon landing in 1982.

In 1983, Columbia, under the command of John Young for his sixth spaceflight, undertook its second operational mission (STS-9), in which the Spacelab science laboratory and a six-person crew was carried, including the first non-American astronaut on a space shuttle, Ulf Merbold. After the flight, Columbia spent the next three years at the Rockwell Palmdale facility, undergoing modifications that removed the Orbiter Test Flight hardware and bringing it up to similar specifications as that of its sister Orbiters. At that time the shuttle fleet was expanded to include Discovery and Atlantis.

Columbia returned to space on January 12, 1986, with the launch of STS-61-C. The mission's crew included Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz, as well as the first sitting member of the House of Representatives to venture into space, Bill Nelson.

The next shuttle mission was undertaken by Challenger. It was launched on January 28, 1986, ten days after STS-61-C had landed. The mission ended in disaster 73 seconds after launch. In the aftermath NASA's shuttle timetable was disrupted, and Columbia was not flown again until 1989 (on STS-28), after which it resumed normal service as part of the shuttle fleet.

STS-93, launched on July 23, 1999, was commanded by Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, the first female Commander of a U.S. spacecraft.
[edit] Prototype orbiter
Columbia launching during STS-1. Columbia's distinctive black chines and "USA" painted on the starboard wing are visible. Columbia was the only orbiter launched with a white external tank.

As the second orbiter to be constructed, yet the first to be able to fly into space, Columbia was roughly 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) heavier than subsequent orbiters such as Endeavour, which were of a slightly different design, and had benefited from advances in materials technology.[4] In part this was due to heavier wing and fuselage spars, the weight of early test instrumentation that remained fitted to the avionics suite, and an internal airlock that, originally fitted into the other orbiters, were later removed for an external airlock to facilitate Shuttle/Mir and Shuttle/International Space Station dockings.[5] This retention of an internal airlock allowed NASA to use Columbia for the STS-109 Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, along with the Spacehab double module used on STS-107. Had Columbia not been destroyed, it would have been fitted with the external airlock/docking adapter for mission STS-118, an International Space Station assembly mission, in November 2003.

Despite refinements to the launcher's thermal protection system and other enhancements, Columbia would never weigh as little unloaded as the other orbiters in the fleet. The next-oldest shuttle, Challenger, was also relatively heavy, although 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) lighter than Columbia.

Externally, Columbia was the first orbiter in the fleet that originally had a mostly all-tile thermal protection system (TPS) with nomex Fiberous Reuseable Surface Insulation (FRSI) blankets in some areas on the wings and fuselage. This was later modified to incorporate thicker Advanced Fiberous Reuseable Insulation (AFRSI) blankets on the fuselage and upper wing surfaces as well after their successful use on shuttle Discovery and Atlantis. The work was performed during Columbia's first retrofitting and the post-Challenger stand-down. Also unique to Columbia were the black "chines" on the upper surfaces of the shuttle's forward wing. These black areas were added because the first shuttle's designers did not know how reentry heating would affect the craft's upper wing surfaces. The "chines" allowed Columbia to be easily recognized at a distance, as opposed to the subsequent orbiters.

Until its last refit, Columbia was the only operational orbiter with wing markings consisting of an American flag on the port (left) wing and the letters "USA" on the starboard (right) wing. Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour, and even the Enterprise all, until 1998, bore markings consisting of the letters "USA" afore an American flag on the left wing, and the pre-1998 NASA "worm" logo afore the respective orbiter's name on the right wing. From its last refit to its destruction, Columbia bore markings identical to those of its operational sister orbiters — the NASA "meatball" logo on the left wing and the American flag afore the orbiter's name on the right; only Columbia's distinctive wing "chines" remained.

Another unique external feature, termed the "SILTS" pod, was located on the top of Columbia's tailfin, and was installed after STS-9 to acquire infrared and other thermal data. Though the pod's equipment was removed after initial tests, NASA decided to leave it in place, mainly to save costs, along with the agency's plans to use it for future experiments. The tailfin was later modified to incorporate the drag chute first used on Endeavour in 1992.
Columbia on the launch pad before its first mission.

Columbia was originally fitted with Lockheed Martin-built ejection seats identical to those found on the SR-71 Blackbird. These seats were active for the four orbital test flights, but were deactivated after STS-4 and were removed entirely after STS-9. Columbia was also the only orbiter not delivered with head-up displays for the Commander and Pilot, although these were incorporated after STS-9. Like its sister ships, Columbia was eventually retrofitted (at its last refit) with the new MEDS "glass cockpit" display and lightweight seats.

After the STS-118 mission, Columbia’s career would have started to wind down. The shuttle was planned to service the Hubble Space Telescope two more times, once in 2004, and again in 2005, but no more missions were planned for it again until 2009 when, on STS-144, it would retrieve the Hubble Space Telescope from orbit and bring it back to Earth. Following the Columbia accident, NASA flew the STS-125 mission, using the Atlantis to perform the final service mission (incorporating the planned fourth and fifth servicing missions), and in the process, installed a "Soft Capture Docking Mechanism," based on the docking adapter to be used on the Orion spacecraft, for an eventual atmospheric reentry and breakup, as this would occur after the retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet in 2010.

Columbia was also scheduled to launch the X-38 V-201 Crew Return Vehicle prototype as the next mission after STS-118, until the cancellation of the project in 2002.
[edit] Flights

Space Shuttle Columbia flew 28 flights, spent 300.74 days in space, completed 4,808 orbits, and flew 125,204,911 miles (201,497,772 km) in total, including its final mission.

Columbia was the only shuttle to have been spaceworthy during the Shuttle-Mir and International Space Station programs and yet to have never visited either Mir or ISS. In contrast, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour have all visited both stations at least once, as Columbia was not suited for high-inclination missions. Challenger was destroyed before the Shuttle-Mir Program began, and Enterprise never flew in space.
# Date Designation Launch pad Landing location Notes
1 1981, April 12 STS-1 39-A Edwards Air Force Base First shuttle mission. Launch witnessed by the band Rush; inspired the song "Countdown" on their 1982 album Signals.
2 1981, November 12 STS-2 39-A Edwards Air Force Base First re-use of manned space vehicle
3 1982, March 22 STS-3 39-A White Sands Space Harbor First mission with an unpainted External tank.
Only time that a space shuttle has landed at the White Sands Space Harbor. This launch was dedicated by Ronald Reagan to "the people of Afghanistan".
4 1982, June 27 STS-4 39-A Edwards Air Force Base Last shuttle R&D flight
5 1982, November 11 STS-5 39-A Edwards Air Force Base First four-person crew, first deployment of commercial satellite.
6 1983 November 28 STS-9 39-A Edwards Air Force Base First six-person crew, first Spacelab.
7 1986, January 12 STS-61-C 39-A Edwards Air Force Base Representative Bill Nelson (D-FL) on board/ final successful shuttle flight before Challenger disaster
8 1989, August 8 STS-28 39-B Edwards Air Force Base Launched KH-11 reconnaissance satellite
9 1990, January 9 STS-32 39-A Edwards Air Force Base Retrieved Long Duration Exposure Facility
10 1990, December 2 STS-35 39-B Edwards Air Force Base Carried multiple X-ray & UV telescopes
11 1991, June 5 STS-40 39-B Edwards Air Force Base 5th Spacelab - Life Sciences-1
12 1992, June 25 STS-50 39-A Kennedy Space Center U.S. Microgravity Laboratory 1 (USML-1)
13 1992, October 22 STS-52 39-B Kennedy Space Center Deployed Laser Geodynamic Satellite II
14 1993, April 26 STS-55 39-A Edwards Air Force Base German Spacelab D-2 Microgravity Research
15 1993, October 18 STS-58 39-B Edwards Air Force Base Spacelab Life Sciences
16 1994, March 4 STS-62 39-B Kennedy Space Center United States Microgravity Payload-2 (USMP-2)
17 1994, July 8 STS-65 39-A Kennedy Space Center International Microgravity Laboratory (IML-2)
18 1995, October 20 STS-73 39-B Kennedy Space Center United States Microgravity Laboratory (USML-2)
19 1996, February 22 STS-75 39-B Kennedy Space Center Tethered Satellite System Reflight (TSS-1R)
20 1996, June 20 STS-78 39-B Kennedy Space Center Life and Microgravity Spacelab (LMS)
21 1996, November 19 STS-80 39-B Kennedy Space Center 3rd flight of Wake Shield Facility (WSF)/ longest Shuttle flight as of 2006
22 1997, April 4 STS-83 39-A Kennedy Space Center Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL)- cut short
23 1997, July 1 STS-94 39-A Kennedy Space Center Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL)- reflight
24 1997, November 19 STS-87 39-B Kennedy Space Center United States Microgravity Payload (USMP-4)
25 1998, April 13 STS-90 39-B Kennedy Space Center Neurolab - Spacelab
26 1999, July 23 STS-93 39-B Kennedy Space Center Deployed Chandra X-ray Observatory
27 2002, March 1 STS-109 39-A Kennedy Space Center Hubble Space Telescope service mission (HSM-3B)
28 2003, January 16 STS-107 39-A Did not land (Planned to land at Kennedy Space Center) A multi-disciplinary microgravity and Earth science research mission. Shuttle destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 and all seven astronauts on board died.
[edit] Mission insignias
Mission insignia for Columbia flights





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STS 61-C

STS 28
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STS 32

STS 35

STS 40

STS 50

STS 52

STS 55

STS 58

STS 62







STS 65

STS 73

STS 75

STS 78

STS 80

STS 83

STS 94

STS 87



STS-107 Flight Insignia.svg
STS 90

STS 93

STS 109

STS 107
[edit] Final mission and destruction
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George W Bush Columbia FINAL.ogg
George W. Bush's address on the Columbia's destruction, February 1, 2003.
Main article: Space Shuttle Columbia disaster

Columbia was destroyed at about 0900 EST on February 1, 2003 while re-entering the atmosphere after a 16-day scientific mission. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board determined that a hole was punctured in the leading edge on one of Columbia's wings, made of a carbon-carbon composite. The hole had formed when a piece of insulating foam from the external fuel tank peeled off during the launch 16 days earlier and struck the shuttle's wing. During the intense heat of re-entry, hot gases penetrated the interior of the wing, destroying the support structure and causing the rest of the shuttle to break apart. The nearly 84,000 pieces of collected debris of the vessel are stored in a 16th floor office suite in the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center. The collection was opened to the media once and has since been open only to researchers.[6][7]
[edit] Tribute

The shuttle's final crew was honored in 2003 when the USGS's Board of Geographic Names approved the name Columbia Point for a 13,980-foot (4,260 m) mountain in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains, less than a half-mile from Challenger Point, a peak named after America's other lost shuttle. The Columbia Hills on Mars were also named in honor of the crew, and a host of other memorials were dedicated in various forms.

Fans of the original Star Trek television series were largely responsible for NASA naming the first Space Shuttle Enterprise. In the television series Star Trek: Enterprise both the first and second starships of the human-built NX-Class, registry numbers NX-01 & NX-02 respectively, were named in honor of pre-existing NASA space shuttles. The second vessel's name was first revealed in the season 3 episode "E²" to be Columbia, in honor of the space shuttle Columbia following its destruction on February 1, 2003. Uniforms on NX-02 Columbia bear a crew patch depicting 7 stars, in honor of the astronauts who died in the shuttle accident.
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VentureStar X-33

VentureStar was Lockheed Martin's proposed design for a single-stage-to-orbit reusable launch system. The program's primary goal was to develop a reusable unmanned space plane for launching satellites into orbit at about 1/10 the cost of other systems that would completely replace the space shuttle. While the requirement was for an unmanned launcher, it was expected to optionally carry passengers as cargo. In addition to a modular system, The VentureStar would provide rapid turnaround between launches. It would have also used a new metallic thermal protection system that would be safer and cheaper to maintain than the ceramic one on the Space Shuttle. It was to be a single-stage-to-orbit vehicle that would take off vertically and land like an airplane. The design specifications called for the use of linear aerospike engines, which maintain their efficiency thrust at all altitudes. VentureStar was to be a commercial endeavor and flights would have been leased to NASA as needed.

Failures in the VentureStar's technology demonstrator, the X-33, in particular with the composite LH2 (liquid hydrogen) tank, led to program cancellation on March 1, 2001.
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The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe ("Swallow") was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft.[4] It was produced in World War II and saw action starting in 1944 as a multi-role fighter/bomber/reconnaissance/interceptor warplane for the Luftwaffe. Allied pilots referred to it as the "Blow Job".[5] The Me 262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war due to its late introduction, with 509 claimed Allied kills[6] (although higher claims are sometimes made[Notes 1]) against the loss of about 100 Me 262s.

Design and development
Hans Guido Mutke's Me 262A on display at the Deutsches Museum

The Me 262 was already being developed as Projekt P.1065 before the start of World War II. Plans were first drawn up in April 1939, and the original design was very similar to the plane that eventually entered service. The progression of the original design into service was delayed greatly by technical issues involving the new jet engines. Funding for the jet program was also initially lacking, as many high-ranking officials thought the war could easily be won with conventional aircraft. Among those was Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe, who cut back the engine development program to just 35 engineers in February 1940; Willy Messerschmitt, who desired to maintain mass production of the Bf 109 and the projected Me 209; and Major General Adolf Galland, who supported Messerschmitt through the early development years, until flying the Me 262 himself on 22 April 1943. By that time, problems with engine development had slowed production of the aircraft considerably.[8]

In mid-1943, Adolf Hitler envisioned the Me 262 not as a defensive interceptor, but as an offensive ground-attack/bomber, almost as a very high speed, light payload Schnellbomber ("Fast Bomber"), to penetrate Allied air superiority during the expected invasion of France. His edict resulted in the development of (and concentration on) the Sturmvogel variant. It is debatable to what extent Hitler's interference extended the delay in bringing the Schwalbe into operation.[9][10] Albert Speer, then Minister of Armaments and War Production, claims in his memoirs, that Hitler originally blocked mass production of the Me 262, before agreeing to their production in early 1944. However he rejected arguments that the plane would be more effective as a fighter against Allied bombers which were then destroying large parts of Germany and wanted it as a bomber with which to use for revenge attacks. According to Speer, Hitler had felt that its superior speed compared to other fighters of the era meant that it couldn't be attacked. Based on such reasoning, Hitler had preferred it for high altitude straight flying and hence his initial preference for it to be a long range bomber. [11]

Although it is often stated the Me 262 is a "swept wing" design, the production Me 262 had a leading edge sweep of only 18.5°. This was done primarily to properly position the center of lift relative to the centre of mass and not for the aerodynamic benefit of increasing the critical Mach number of the wing. The sweep was too slight to achieve any significant advantage.[12] This happened after the initial design of the aircraft, when the engines proved to be heavier than originally expected. On 1 March 1940, instead of moving the wing forward on its mount, the outer wing was positioned slightly backwards to the same end. The trailing edge of the middle section of the wing remained unswept.[13]. Based on data from the AVA Göttingen and windtunnel results, the middle section's leading edge was later swept to the same angle as the outer panels.[14]

The first test flights began on 18 April 1941, with the Me 262 V1 example, bearing its Stammkennzeichen radio code letters of PC+UA, but since its intended BMW 003 turbojets were not ready for fitting, a conventional Junkers Jumo 210 engine was mounted in the V1 prototype's nose, driving a propeller, to test the Me 262 V1 airframe. When the BMW 003 engines were finally installed, the Jumo was retained for safety, which proved wise as both 003s failed during the first flight and the pilot had to land using the nose mounted engine alone.[1]
Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe

The V3 third prototype airframe, with the code PC+UC, became a true "jet" when it flew on 18 July 1942 in Leipheim near Günzburg, Germany, piloted by Fritz Wendel. This was almost nine months ahead of the British Gloster Meteor's first flight on 5 March 1943. The conventional gear, forcing a tail-down attitude on the ground, of the Me 262 V3 caused its jet exhaust to deflect off the runway, with the wing's turbulence negating the effects of the elevators in the tail-down attitude, and the first attempt was cut short. On the second attempt, Wendel solved the problem by tapping the aircraft's brakes at takeoff speed, lifting the horizontal tail above and out of the wing's turbulence.[15]

The aircraft was originally designed with a tailwheel undercarriage and the first four prototypes (Me 262 V1-V4) were built with this configuration, but it was discovered on an early test run that the engines and wings "blanked" the stabilizers, giving almost no control on the ground, as well as serious runway surface damage from the hot jet exhaust. Changing to a tricycle undercarriage arrangement, initially a fixed undercarriage on the "V5" fifth prototype, then fully retractable on the sixth (V6, with Stammkennzeichen code VI+AA) and succeeding aircraft, corrected this problem.

The BMW 003 jet engines, which were proving unreliable, were replaced by the newly available Junkers Jumo 004. Test flights continued over the next year, but the engines continued to be unreliable. Airframe modifications were complete by 1942, but hampered by the lack of engines, serial production did not begin until 1944. This delay in engine availability was in part due to the shortage of strategic materials, especially metals and alloys able to handle the extreme temperatures produced by the jet engine. Even when the engines were completed, they had an expected operational lifetime of approximately 50 continuous flight hours; in fact, most 004s lasted just 12 hours, even with adequate maintenance. A pilot familiar with the Me 262 and its engines could expect approximately 20–25 hours of life from the 004s. Changing a 004 engine was intended to require three hours, but this typically took eight to nine due to poorly made parts and inadequate training of ground crews.

Turbojet engines have less thrust at low speed than propellers, and as a result, low-speed acceleration is relatively poor. It was more noticeable for the Me 262 as early jet engines (before the invention of afterburners) responded slowly to throttle changes. The introduction of a primitive autothrottle late in the war only helped slightly. Conversely, the higher power of jet engines at higher speeds meant the Me 262 enjoyed a much higher rate of climb. Used tactically, this gave the jet fighter an even greater speed advantage in climb rate than level flight at top speed.

With one engine out, the Me 262 still flew well, with speeds of 450-500 km/h (280-310 mph), but pilots were warned never to fly slower than 300 km/h (190 mph) on one engine, as the asymmetrical thrust would cause serious problems.

Operationally, the Me 262 had an endurance of 60 to 90 minutes.

[edit] Operational history
Me 262 A-1a

In April 1944, Erprobungskommando 262 was formed at Lechfeld in Bavaria as a test unit (Jäger Erprobungskommando Thierfelder)[3] to introduce the 262 into service and train a core of pilots to fly it. On 26 July 1944, Leutnant Alfred Schreiber with the 262 A-1a W.Nr. 130 017 damaged a Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft of No. 540 Squadron RAF PR Squadron, which was allegedly lost in a crash landing upon landing at an air base in Italy.[16] Other sources state the aircraft was damaged during evasive manoeuvres and escaped.[17] It was the first victory for a turbojet fighter aircraft in aviation history.[18] Major Walter Nowotny was assigned as commander after the death of Werner Thierfelder in July 1944, and the unit redesignated Kommando Nowotny. Essentially a trials and development unit, it holds the distinction of having mounted the world's first jet fighter operations. Trials continued slowly, with initial operational missions against the Allies in August 1944 allegedly downing 19 Allied aircraft for six Me 262s lost, although these claims have never been verified by cross-checking with USAAF records. The RAF Museum holds no intelligence reports of RAF aircraft engaging in combat with Me 262s in August, although there is a report of an unarmed encounter between an Me 262 and a Mosquito.[19] Despite orders to stay grounded, Nowotny chose to fly a mission against an enemy formation. After an engine failure, he was shot down and killed on 8 November 1944 by First Lieutenant Edward "Buddy" Haydon of the 357th Fighter Group, USAAF and Captain Ernest "Feeb" Fiebelkorn of the 20th Fighter Group, USAAF.[citation needed] The Kommando was then withdrawn for further training and a revision of combat tactics to optimise the 262's strengths.
Me 262 A, circa 1944/45

By January 1945, Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7) had been formed as a pure jet fighter unit, although it would be several weeks before it was operational. In the meantime, a bomber unit — I Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 54 (KG 54) — had re-equipped with the Me 262 A-2a fighter-bomber for use in a ground-attack role. However, the unit lost 12 jets in action in two weeks for minimal returns.

Jagdverband 44 (JV 44) was another Me 262 fighter unit formed in February, by Lieutenant General Adolf Galland, who had recently been dismissed as Inspector of Fighters. Galland was able to draw into the unit many of the most experienced and decorated Luftwaffe fighter pilots from other units grounded by lack of fuel.

During March, Me 262 fighter units were able, for the first time, to mount large scale attacks on Allied bomber formations. On 18 March 1945, 37 Me 262s of JG 7 intercepted a force of 1,221 bombers and 632 escorting fighters. They shot down 12 bombers and one fighter for the loss of three Me 262s. Although a 4:1 ratio was exactly what the Luftwaffe would have needed to make an impact on the war, the absolute scale of their success was minor, as it represented only one per cent of the attacking force. In 1943 and early 1944, the USAAF had been able to keep up offensive operations despite loss ratios of 5% and more, and the few available Me 262s could not inflict sufficient losses to hamper their operations.
Side view of a Me 262 night fighter, note the radar antenna on the nose and second seat for a radar operator.

Several two-seat trainer variants of the Me 262, the Me 262 B-1a, had been adapted as night fighters, complete with on-board FuG 218 Neptun radar and Hirschgeweih ("stag's antlers") antenna, as the B-1a/U1 version. Serving with 10 Staffel, Nachtjagdgeschwader 11, near Berlin, these few aircraft (alongside several single-seat examples) accounted for most of the 13 Mosquitoes lost over Berlin in the first three months of 1945. However, actual intercepts were generally or entirely made using Wilde Sau methods, rather than AI radar-controlled interception. As the two-seat trainer was largely unavailable, many pilots had to make their first flight in a jet in a single-seater without an instructor.

Despite its deficiencies, the Me 262 clearly signaled the beginning of the end of piston-engined aircraft as effective fighting machines. Once airborne, it could accelerate to speeds well over 800 km/h (500 mph), over 150 km/h (90 mph) faster than any Allied fighter operational in the European Theater of Operations.

The Me 262's top ace[Notes 2] was probably Hauptmann Franz Schall with 17 kills which included six four-engine bombers and ten P-51 Mustang fighters, although night fighter ace Oberleutnant Kurt Welter claimed 25 Mosquitos and two four-engine bombers shot down by night and two further Mosquitos by day flying the Me 262. Most of Welter's claimed night kills were achieved in standard radar-less aircraft, even though Welter had tested a prototype Me 262 fitted with FuG 218 Neptun radar. Another candidate for top ace on the aircraft was Oberstleutnant Heinrich Bär, who claimed 16 enemy aircraft while flying the Me 262.

[edit] Anti-bomber tactics

The standard approach against bomber formations, which were travelling at cruise speed, called for the Me 262 to approach the bombers from the rear at a higher altitude, diving in below the bomber's flight level to get additional speed before gaining altitude again and, on reaching the bomber's level, opening fire with its four 30 mm cannon at 600 m (656 yd) range.

Allied bomber gunners found that their electric gun turrets had problems tracking the jets. Target acquisition was difficult because the jets closed into firing range quickly and had to remain in firing position only briefly using their standard attack profile.

Eventually, new combat tactics were developed to counter the Allied bombers' defences. Me 262s equipped with R4M rockets would approach from the side of a bomber formation, where their silhouettes were widest, and while still out of range of the 12.7 mm (.50 in) guns, fire a salvo of these explosive rockets. The explosive power of only one or two of these rockets was capable of downing even the famously rugged B-17; a strike on an enemy aircraft meant its total annihilation.[20] Although this tactic was effective, it came too late to have a real effect on the war. This method of attacking bombers became the standard until the invention and mass deployment of guided missiles. Some nicknamed this tactic the "Luftwaffe's Wolf Pack", as the fighters would often make runs in groups of two or three, fire their rockets, then return to base.

On 1 September 1944, USAAF General Carl Spaatz expressed the fear that if greater numbers of German jets appeared, they could inflict losses heavy enough to force cancellation of the Allied daylight bombing offensive.

[edit] Counter-jet tactics

Tactics against the Me 262 developed quickly despite its great speed advantage. Allied escort fighters would fly high above the bombers — diving from this height gave them extra speed, thus reducing the speed difference. The Me 262 was less maneuverable than the Mustang and trained Allied pilots could catch up to a turning Me 262, though the only reliable way of dealing with the jets, as with the even faster Me 163 Komet rocket fighters, was to attack them on the ground and during take off and landing. Luftwaffe airfields that were identified as jet bases were frequently bombed by medium bombers, and Allied fighters patrolled over the fields to attack jets trying to land. The Luftwaffe countered by installing flak alleys along the approach lines in order to protect the Me 262s from the ground and providing top cover with conventional fighters during takeoff and landing. Nevertheless, in March-April 1945, Allied fighter patrol patterns over Me 262 airfields resulted in numerous losses of jets and serious attrition of the force.

Another experimental tactic was installing nitrous oxide injection, much like the Germans' own GM-1 system, into Mustangs. When chasing an Me 262, the pilot could press a button injecting nitrous oxide into the engine, producing a quick burst of speed.

Other Allied fighters that encountered the Me 262 included the British Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Tempest and the Soviet Lavochkin La-7. The first recorded Allied destruction of a Me 262, belonging to the unit known as Kommando Schenk, was on 28 August 1944, claimed as destroyed by 78th FG pilots Major Joseph Myers and Second Lieutenant Manford O. Croy flying P-47 Thunderbolts. Oberfeldwebel Hieronymus "Ronny" Lauer of I KG(J) 51, on a landing pattern crash landed his 262 to get away from the Allied fighters, which then destroyed the Me 262 in strafing attacks.[21][22] The first Me 262 , belonging to 3. Staffel/Kampfgeschwader 51, with unit code letters "9K+BL", was shot down in combat on 5 October 1944 by Spitfire IXs of 401 RCAF. The 262 pilot was H.C. Butmann in WNr 170093 of 3./KG51. The Lavochkin was the only Soviet fighter to shoot down a German jet, with La-7 ace Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub, downing an Me 262 on 15 February 1945 over eastern Germany.

[edit] High speed research
Me 262 interior

Willy Messerschmitt regarded the Me 262 as only an interim type when it went into production.

Swept wings had been proposed as early as 1935 by Adolf Busemann, and Messerschmitt had researched the topic from 1940. In April 1941, he proposed fitting a 35° swept wing (Pfeilflügel II, literally "arrow wing II") to the Me 262,[23] the same wing sweep angle that would later be used on both the American F-86 Sabre and Soviet MiG-15 fighter jets. Though this was not implemented, he continued with the projected HG II and HG III (Hochgeschwindigkeit, "high speed") derivatives in 1944, which were designed with a 35° and 45° wing sweep, respectively.[24]

Interest in high-speed flight, which led him to initiate work on swept wings starting in 1940, is evident from the advanced developments Messerschmitt had on his drawing board in 1944. While the Me 262 HG I actually flight tested in 1944 had only small changes compared to combat aircraft, most notably a low-profile canopy (tried as the Rennkabine (literally "racing cabin") on the Me 262 V9 prototype for a short time) to reduce drag, the HG II and HG III designs were far more radical. The projected HG II combined the low-drag canopy with a 35° wing sweep and a butterfly tail. The HG III had a conventional tail, but a 45° wing sweep and turbines embedded in the wing roots.[25]

Messerschmitt also conducted a series of flight tests with the series production Me 262. In dive tests, it was determined that the Me 262 went out of control in a dive at Mach 0.86, and that higher Mach numbers would lead to a nose-down trim that could not be countered by the pilot. The resulting steepening of the dive would lead to even higher speeds and disintegration of the airframe due to excessive negative g loads.

The HG series of Me 262 derivatives was estimated to be capable of reaching transonic Mach numbers in level flight, with the top speed of the HG III being projected as Mach 0.96 at 6,000 m (19,690 ft) altitude. Despite the necessity to gain experience in high-speed flight for the HG II and III designs, Messerschmitt undertook no attempts to exceed the Mach 0.86 limit for the Me 262.

After the war, the Royal Aircraft Establishment, at that time one of the leading institutions in high-speed research, re-tested the Me 262 to help with British attempts at exceeding Mach 1. The RAE achieved speeds of up to Mach 0.84 and confirmed the results from the Messerschmitt dive tests. Similar tests were run by the Soviets. No attempts were made to exceed the Mach limit established by Messerschmitt.

After Willy Messerschmitt's death, the former Me 262 pilot Hans Guido Mutke claimed to be the first person to exceed Mach 1, on 9 April 1945 in a Me 262 in a "straight-down" 90° dive. This claim is disputed because it is only based on Mutke's memory of the incident, which recalls effects other Me 262 pilots observed below the speed of sound at high indicated airspeed, but with no altitude reading required to determine the actual speed. Furthermore, the pitot tube used to measure airspeed in aircraft can give falsely elevated readings as the pressure builds up inside the tube at high speeds. Finally, the Me 262 wing had only a slight sweep incorporated for trim (center of gravity) reasons and likely would have suffered structural failure due to divergence at high transonic speeds. One airframe (Me 262 HG1 V9, Werknummer 130 004, with Stammkennzeichen of VI+AD) [26]) was prepared with the low-profile Rennkabine racing canopy and may have achieved an unofficial record speed of 975 km/h (606 mph), altitude unspecified.[27]

[edit] Production
Underground manufacture of Me 262s

While Germany was bombed intensively, production of the Me 262 was dispersed into low-profile production facilities, sometimes little more than clearings in the forests of Germany and occupied nations. Through the end of February to the end of March 1945, approximately 60 Me 262s were destroyed in attacks on Obertraubling and 30 at Leipheim[28] (the Neuberg jet plant was bombed on 19 March.)[29] Large, heavily protected underground factories were constructed to take up production of the Me 262, safe from bomb attacks, but the war ended before they could be completed. At B8 Bergkristall-Esche II at St. Georgen/Gusen, Austria, forced labourers of Concentration Camp Gusen II produced fully equipped fuselages for the Me 262 at a monthly rate of 450 units on large assembly lines from early 1945.[30] Wings for the Me 262 were produced in Germany's oldest motorway tunnel at Engelberg to the west of Stuttgart. In the end, slightly over 1,400 Me 262s of all versions were produced. As few as 200 Me 262s made it to combat units due to fuel shortages, pilot shortages, and the lack of airfields that could support the Me 262.[citation needed]

[edit] Postwar history and flyable reproductions
Reproduction of a Messerschmitt Me 262 at the Berlin Air Show 2006

After the end of the war, the Me 262 and other advanced German technologies were quickly swept up by the Americans (as part of the USAAF's Operation Lusty), British, and Soviets. Many Me 262s were found in readily-repairable condition and were confiscated.

During testing, the Me 262 was found to have advantages over the early models of the Gloster Meteor. It was faster, had better cockpit visibility to the sides and rear (mostly due to the canopy frame and the discoloration caused by the plastics used in the Meteor's construction), and was a superior gun platform, as the early Meteors had a tendency to snake at high speed and exhibited "weak" aileron response.[31] The Me 262 did have a shorter combat range than the Meteor.

The USAAF compared the P-80 Shooting Star and Me 262 concluding, "Despite a difference in gross weight of nearly 907 kg (2,000 lb), the Me 262 was superior to the P-80 in acceleration, speed and approximately the same in climb performance. The Me 262 apparently has a higher critical Mach number, from a drag standpoint, than any current Army Air Force fighter."[32] The Army Air Force also tested an example of the Me 262A-1a/U3 (US flight evaluation serial FE-4012), an unarmed photoreconnaissance version, which was fitted with a fighter nose and given an overall smooth finish. It was used for performance comparisons against the P-80. During testing between May and August 1946, the aircraft completed eight flights, lasting four hours and 40 minutes. Testing was discontinued after four engine changes were required during the course of the tests, culminating in two single-engine landings.[33]

These aircraft were extensively studied, aiding development of early U.S. and Soviet jet fighters. The F-86 Sabre, designed by the engineer Edgar Schmued, used the Me 262 airfoil (Messerschmitt Wing A) and a slat design similar to that of the Me 262.[34]

The Czechoslovak aircraft industry continued to produce single-seater (designated Avia S-92) and two-seater (designated Avia CS-92) variants of the Me 262 after World War II. From August 1946, a total of nine single-seater S-92 and three two-seater CS-92 planes were completed and test flown. They were introduced in 1947 and in 1950 they were supplied to the 5th Fighter Squadron. These were kept flying as late as 1957. They were the first jet fighters to serve in the Czechoslovak Air Force. Both versions are on display at the Prague Aero museum in Kbely.

In January 2003, the American Me 262 Project completed flight testing to allow for delivery of near-exact reproductions of several versions of the Me 262 including at least two B-1c two-seater variants, one A-1c single seater and two "convertibles" that could be switched between the A-1c and B-1c configurations. All are powered by General Electric J85 engines and feature additional safety features, such as upgraded brakes and strengthened landing gear. The "c" suffix refers to the new J-85 powerplant and has been informally assigned with the approval of the Messerschmitt Foundation in Germany (the Werk Number of the reproductions picked up where the last wartime produced Me-262 left off - a continuous airframe serial number run with a 50 year production break). Flight testing of the first newly manufactured Me 262 A-1c (single-seat) variant was completed in August 2005. The first of these machines went to a private owner in the southwestern United States, while the second was delivered to the Messerschmitt Foundation at Manching, Germany. This aircraft conducted a private test flight in late April 2006, and made its public debut in May at the ILA 2006. The new Me 262 flew during the public flight demonstrations.[35] Me 262 Werk Number 501241 was delivered to the Collings Foundation as White 1 of JG 7. This aircraft will be offering ride-along flights starting in 2008. [36]

[edit] Variants
Me 262 A-1a/U4, postwar image

Me 262 A-0
Pre-production aircraft fitted with two Jumo 004B turbojet engines, 23 built.
Me 262 A-1a "Schwalbe"
Production version, fighter and fighter/bomber.
Me 262 A-1a/R-1
Equipped with provisions for R4M air-to-air rockets
Me 262 A-1a/U1
Single prototype with a total of six nose mounted guns, two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannons, two 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 103 cannons, and two 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108 cannons.
Me 262 A-1a/U2
Single prototype with FuG 220 Lichtenstein SN-2 90 MHz radar transceiver and Hirschgeweih antenna array, for trials as a night-fighter.
Me 262 A-1a/U3
Reconnaissance version modified in small numbers, with Reihenbilder RB 20/30 cameras mounted in the nose (sometimes one RB 20/20 and one RB 75/30). Some retained one 30 mm (1.18 in) cannon, but most were unarmed.
Me 262 A-1a/U4
Bomber destroyer version, two prototypes with an adapted 50 mm (2 in) MK 214 (or Bordkanone BK 5) anti-tank gun in nose.
Me 262 A-1a/U5
Heavy jet fighter with six 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108s in the nose
Me 262 A-1b
As A-1a but powered with BMW 003 engines. Few were built, two are known to have existed at experimental establishments; maximum speed of 800 km/h (500 mph).
Me 262 A-2a "Sturmvogel"
Definitive bomber version retaining only the two lower 30 mm (1.18 in) MK 108s.
Me 262 A-2a/U1
Single prototype with advanced bombsight.
Me 262 A-2a/U2
Two prototypes with glazed nose for accommodating a bombardier.
Me 262 A-3a
Proposed ground-attack version.
Me 262 A-4a
Reconnaissance version.
Me 262 A-5a
Definitive reconnaissance version used in small numbers at end of the war.
Me 262 B-1a
Two-seat trainer.
Me 262 B-1a/U1
Me 262 B-1a trainers converted into provisional night fighters, FuG 218 Neptun radar[37]
Me 262 B-2
Proposed night fighter version with stretched fuselage.
Me 262 C-1a
Single prototype [made from Me 262A Werknummer 130 186] of rocket-boosted interceptor (Heimatschützer I) with Walter HWK 109-509 rocket in tail, first flown with combined jet/rocket power on 27 February 1945.[38]
Me 262 C-2b
Single prototype [made from Me 262A Werknummer 170 074] of rocket-boosted interceptor (Heimatschützer II) with two BMW 003R "combined" powerplants (BMW 003 jet, with one BMW 718 rocket engine mounted atop the rear of each jet exhaust) for boosted thrust, only flown once with combined jet/rocket power on 26 March 1945. Video of BMW 718 rocket engine test firing on this aircraft
Me 262 C-3a
Never-completed. possible Heimatschützer III prototype of rocket-boosted interceptor with Walter rocket motor in belly pack.[39]
Me 262 D-1
Proposed variant to carry Jagdfaust mortars.
Me 262 E-1
Proposed cannon-armed variant based on A-1a/U4.
Me 262 E-2
Proposed rocket-armed variant carrying up to 48 × R4M rockets.
Me 262 S
Zero-series model for Me 262 A-1a
Me 262 V
Test model for Me 262
Me 262 W
Provisional designation for Me262 with pulse-jet engines

[edit] Postwar variants
Avia S-92, the Czechoslovak-built Me 262A

Avia S-92 [40]
Czech-built Me 262 A-1a (fighter [41]
Avia CS-92
Czech-built Me 262 B-1a (fighter trainer, two seats)

[edit] Reproductions

These reproductions are constructed by Legend Flyers of Everett, Washington.[42] The Jumo-004 engines of the original are replaced by more reliable General Electric J85 engines. The first Me 262 reproduction (a two-seater) took off for the first time in December 2002 and the second one in August 2005. This one was delivered to the Messerschmitt Foundation and was presented at the ILA airshow in 2006.[43]

American privately built, based on A-1a configuration.
American privately built, based on B-1a configuration.
American privately built, convertible between A-1a and B-1a configuration.

[edit] Operators

* Luftwaffe
* Czechoslovak Air Force (Postwar, nine S-92 and three CS-92)

[edit] Survivors
Me 262B-1a/U1 (Red 8)
Me 262 B-1a (White 35)
Me 262A and its Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet engine (Yellow 5)

Me 262A, W.Nr.500071 "White 3", III./JG 7
Deutsches Museum[44], Munich, Germany. This aircraft, flown by Hans Guido Mutke while a pilot of 9. Staffel/JG 7, was confiscated by Swiss authorities on 25 April 1945 after Mutke made an emergency landing in Switzerland due to lack of fuel (80 litres were remaining, 35 litres were usually burnt in one minute).
Me 262 A-1a
Reconstructed from parts of crashed and incomplete Me 262s. Luftwaffenmuseum der Bundeswehr, Germany.
Me 262 A-1a W.Nr.501232 "Yellow 5", 3./KG(J)6
National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, USA.
Me 262 A-1a/U3 W.Nr.500453
Flying Heritage Collection, Arlington, Washington, USA, scheduled to reopen in Everett, Washington in Summer 2008, currently under restoration in England.
Me 262 A-1a W.Nr.500491 "Yellow 7", II./JG 7
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.
Me 262 A-2a W.Nr.112372
RAF Museum Hendon, United Kingdom.
Me 262 A-2a W.Nr.500200 "Black X 9K+XK", II./KG 51
Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Australia.
Me 262 B-1a/U1, W.Nr.110305 "Red 8"
South African National Museum of Military History, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Me 262 B-1a, W.Nr.110639 "White 35"
NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, USA.
Avia S-92
Aviation Museum Kbely, Prague, Czech Republic.
Avia CS-92
Aviation Museum Kbely, Prague, Czech Republic.

[edit] Popular culture

* The American hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult portrayed an Me 262 on the cover of their third album Secret Treaties (1974). The album also contains a song, Me 262, written from the point of view of a Luftwaffe pilot on a bomber interception mission in April 1945. [45]
* Clive Cussler's famous fictional character Dirk Pitt owns an Me 262, which he acquired when he helped excavate a hidden airfield that held a number of the aircraft.[46]
* In the PC flight-simulator Chuck Yeager's Air Combat, a virtual Chuck Yeager voiced by himself, accurately states that Allied pilots used the term Blow Job as a nickname for the Me 262s. [5]

[edit] Specifications (Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a)
Orthographically projected diagram of the Messerschmitt Me 262.

Data from Quest for Performance[12] Original Messerschmitt documents[47]

General characteristics

* Crew: 1
* Length: 10.60 m (34 ft 9 in)
* Wingspan: 12.60 m (41 ft 6 in)
* Height: 3.50 m (11 ft 6 in)
* Wing area: 21.7 m² (234 ft²;)
* Empty weight: 4,404 kg (9,709 lb)
* Loaded weight: 7,130 kg (15,720 lb)
* Max takeoff weight: 6977 kg (15,381 lb)
* Powerplant: 2× Junkers Jumo 004 B-1 turbojets, 8.8 kN (1,980 lbf) each
* Aspect ratio: 7.32


* Maximum speed: 900 km/h (559 mph)
* Range: 1,050 km (652 mi)
* Service ceiling: 11,450 m (37,565 ft)
* Rate of climb: 1,200 m/min (3,900 ft/min)
* Thrust/weight: 0.28


* Guns: 4 × 30 mm MK 108 cannons (A-2a: two cannons)
* Rockets: 24 × 55 mm (2.2 in) R4M rockets
* Bombs: 2 × 250 kg (551 lb) bombs or 2 × 500 kg (1,102 lb) bombs (A-2a only
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for a project idea...
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Hi everyone, it passed time since a last submision.

This is an own design representing the deatheaters followers of Voldemort in Harry Potter series :lol: basing in the argument very possibly Ms Rowling inspired in nazis to state D.E. ideals of blood purity, even the young Tommy looks A LOT LIKE Hitler :XD:
That's shows how her ideas are the awesome good creating stories and groups of characters.

This work shows a fusion of swastika nazi version with Slytheryn's "S" holding the form of the snake, possibly Nagini and of course this one in the green field.

Hope you like it.
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this thing always seemed kind of ridiculous to me...ever notice that since september 11th it's never moved from yellow?

so i read the dhs memo on right wing extremist the other day. i thought it was a little over blown. i think it's a little suspicious that they would want to label brave men and women who swear an oath to uphold and defend the u.s. constitution as possible security threats.

why would they want to do this? could it be that they know that some of their directives are close to being un-constitutional? could it be they also know that these men and women would, if given an un-constitutional order such as seizing firearms from the american people, would not obey and possibly resist therefore becoming a national security threat in the eyes of the dhs?

anyway, i was thinking about this when i made my call to the dhs office. i told them that my neighbor had a ron paul sticker as well as an iraq veteran sticker on his car. i told the guy that i had read the dhs report on right wing extremist and was needing to know what to do. you will not believe what he suggested i do....he told me that if i was concerned i needed to call my local fbi office and make a report! i could not believe it! i swear, sometimes i do not know where i am living!

here's a link [link] to the real dhs advisory system.
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The Hobnobbers, a.k.a. the founders of the noble and royal houses of the Andali Confederation, plotting their break for independence from the European Union with a Spartan Group mercenary commander. An excerpt from the Dark Nova RPG history files, written by Cap'n Sally-

The second war came in 2280 as the Andali Confederation made a big comeback. The whole thing started with an elitist country club debate in 2267, I shit you not. The heads of a dozen wealthy and powerful industrial families were hobnobbing one day, and the discussion turned to a mixture of politics and history. Turns out that each of them could trace their roots to one noble family or another in old Europe, and they began a big ol’ debate about how much better things were during the Renaissance, blah blah blah. One thing leads to another, and the discussion slowly evolved into a plan for restructuring the colonies. Public sentiment towards the European Union hadn’t improved much since the Andali systems were conquered, and even the wealthy wanted a change in leadership at the very least. The hobnobbers were, being wealthy elites, well-versed in classical literature, including the works of Nicolò Machiavelli. Using Machiavelli’s The Prince as a blueprint, the hobnobbers (I love that word) cooked up a three-part plan. The first part was a viral propaganda and public relations campaign to remind the people what the European forces had done, to point out the freedoms experienced by those colonies that had succeeded in their bids for freedom, and fomenting pure, unadulterated hatred for the EU. The second part was to create a mythology of noble houses of ancient European origins, dethroned by the evil fascist and socialist governments that had come to power throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries, who were the true leaders of the people. This mythology centered, of course, on the very same families the hobnobbers came from. The third part was the quiet financing of a sizeable private army by each of the hobnobbers through their corporate and industrial assets.
Contracting non-European mercenary firms to provide security for their industrial facilities, they started recruiting thousands of idealistic Andali youths who had bought into the mythology, and had the merc firms arm and train them for combat. The mercs figured out what was going to go down, but didn’t say jack because, frankly, they realized a free Andali nation would owe them, and be likely to prove a very lucrative client in the future. Ah, war as business, gotta love it. At least it’s honest.
Thirteen years after the initial hobnobbing session, the plan kicked off. Contract mercenary fleets- Spartan Group, Venturi Military Solutions, and many Ahrugan mercenaries with their own ships- combined with tens of thousands of nationalist troops loyal to each of the “noble” houses in a joint operation. In lightning strikes the Andali ground forces took out the command and control centers and government administration buildings on each colony world. Simultaneously, mercenary SpecOps units hit and disabled the primary European garrison with a non-lethal bioweapon slipped into their drinking water that gave the soldiers crippling gastroenteritis. This literal shit storm disorganized the European troops long enough for the Andali soldiers to overrun them. With the colonial garrisons taken down, the Andali commanders immediately set about prepping to defend against the inevitable European counterattack. They pulled the mercenaries back to defend the colony worlds and stations, and burped out a bunch of etheric emulator satellites. Why, you might ask, were they throwing Omninet VR emulators out into space? Ah, grasshopper, you have to understand the European approach to warfare.
Not since the Americans during the last half of the 20th and first part of the 21st Centuries had a nation existed that was more casualty-adverse. Dead soldiers and sailors made for bad press back home, and the casualty-adverse mindset led to an unbelievably unhealthy level of reliance on drones. Ground combat was fought with combat robots, fighter drones launched from control carriers where the pilots were safely tucked away in the bowels of the ship, and so on. The Andali planners knew this, and as the European fleets jumped into the dozens of Andali systems to crush the “upstart rebellion”, they unleashed their secret weapon- netjackers.
As the drones were launched, thousands of netjackers hacked their command sequences or hijacked their pilot feeds, disabling the drones or sending them back against their own carriers. Aboard the dropships and troop transports, combat robots suddenly activated and shot the bat crap out of the vessels from within, destroying them. It was an utter disaster for the EU. Now, for my part, the sight of several drones drunkenly spiraling into their carriers like sauced kamikazes was funny as hell, but European Fleet Command didn’t see it that way. The EU followed up a few days later with real warships and real, meat-body troops. The Andalis were waiting for this, and in a truly Machiavellian move, sent what could only be described as modern-day “fire ships” (if you don’t know what a fire ship is, research the Spanish Armada vs. Sir Francis Drake back in the 16th Century) when they launched shuttles loaded to the gills with radioactive waste and other special ingredients. Thinking the shuttles were nuclear suicide bombs, the EU ships blew the batsnot out of them, creating a massive radioactive debris field. Said debris field just happened to screw up the EU ships’ sensors enough to hide the signature of the barrage of incoming MAC rounds launched from mass drivers on the planets’ surfaces. Normally, MAC rounds traveling that far- between three and ten light seconds distance- would be pinged by gravitic sensors, allowing the ships to fire countermeasures or evade. Not with a big-ass radioactive debris fields and a few gravity lens generators thrown in for flavor.
The European ships were taking significant damage and still hadn’t closed to firing range of the planets and their defense fleets. Making matters worse, the Andalis were using gravity lenses to curve the trajectories of their MAC shots, banking rounds in wide arcs around behind the fleet, confusing the EU fleet commanders as they were shot from behind, but no ships were present.
Three of the fleets bugged out, withdrawing to friendly systems to regroup and recover. The rest followed standard protocol and pulled into tight defensive formations to allow their shields to overlap, creating a shield wall against the incoming rounds. It was quite effective, and the MAC rounds went from devastating withering fire to harassment attacks as the EU ships were able to transfer all of their shield output to the outermost facing side. Unfortunately, it also allowed the Andalis to pinpoint the fleets’ exact locations and short-jump automated freighters right on top of them. Those ships not destroyed by the tidal forces of the jump points were smashed or scattered by the impact of hypervelocity cargo ships, the reactors of most of which went critical upon impact, doing even more damage. Andali Confederation 2, European Union 0.
The Andalis managed to overrun and capture the surviving ships easily, and added them to their growing fleet of warships. The EU were shocked at the losses they had suffered, and withheld further attacks until they could formulate a plan. Taking a cue from the Ahruga, they decided to try an overkill approach, sending six carrier task-forces to each star system. This constituted nearly twenty percent of the entire European fleet at the time. Knowing that they’d lost the element of surprise, and not wanting to be thought of as one-trick ponies, the Andali planners had already come up with phase two of their operations. Standard military operational protocol back then was to jump a scout ship into the Oort cloud of a target system, cloak it, and slowly work its way into the inner system to the target planets over a week’s time. The scout ship would then gather intelligence, report back to the main fleet, and give precise jump coordinates for the ships to pop into close orbit and come out swinging. The Andalis knew this, and set up listening posts on comets in the Oort cloud to detect the jump points of incoming ships (yeah, I know, common-freakin’-sense, but that tactic was new back then.) As soon as the scouts would pop in, the Andalis set up their defenses in such a way as to leave subtle, yet potent weaknesses that could be detected by a sound strategic mind. Sure enough, the scout ships came, scanned, and jumped back out over the next several weeks. As soon as the scouts left, however, the Andalis set up ambushes at the likely jump points.
Soon enough, the European assault began, and the majority of the incoming fleets found themselves in a world of hurt of gravity and fusion mines, killing-field volley fire, and missile barrages from orbital defense platforms that hadn’t been there in the intelligence briefs, as well as planetary defense cannons the rebels weren’t even supposed to have (thanks to Ahruga-Mart, selling big guns to anyone the Europeans don’t like since 2267!) Both sides took heavy losses, but the Europeans were forced to retreat once again. Back home, the war had become incredibly unpopular as Andali-leaked footage of the battles coincided with tens of thousands of next-of-kin notifications. Masters of propaganda, the hobnobbers amped up the people, and solidified their positions as neo-royalty, noble houses ruling a confederation of systems. By the end of 2281, the European Union found itself bogged down in a guerrilla war against what was rapidly becoming a solidified nation. The death-knell to the war came in 2282 when the Australio-Pacifica Coalition and Ahrugan Tribal Confederation officially recognized the Andali Confederation as a sovereign, self-governing state. Having had no decisive victories, and facing a brutal insurgency and possible intervention by the APC and ATC, the European Union signed peace accords and formally recognized the Andali Confederation as well. The EU didn’t go quietly, however, and they still to this day lend material and financial support to various “loyalist” insurgency groups and separatist movements within the AC. Not openly, of course, but everyone knows they are behind it. The bickering between the AC and EU in the TAN council is as heated today as it was back then, so if you ever want to get an insight into the Andali Revolution, pop on CBN and watch the council debates.


Text is copyright Dark Nova Games, image is based on an illustration from Eve Online with heavy modifications by yours truly.
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Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is one of three currently operational orbiters in the Space Shuttle fleet of NASA, the space agency of the United States.[1] (The other two are Discovery and Atlantis.) Endeavour is the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on STS-49 and is scheduled for decommissioning in 2010.[2]


The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in an accident in 1986. Structural spares from the construction of Discovery and Atlantis, two of the three remaining operating shuttles at the time, were used in its assembly. The decision to build Endeavour was favored over refitting Enterprise on cost grounds.

Endeavour was named through a national competition involving students in elementary and secondary schools. Entries included an essay about the name, the story behind it and why it was appropriate for a NASA shuttle, and the project that supported the name. Endeavour was the most popular entry, accounting for almost one-third of the state-level winners.[3] For example, Utah's state level winner, Nolan Butcher, a sixth grade student from Nibley Park Elementary school located in Salt Lake City Utah, selected Endeavour because some definitions of the word mean to be bold and put forth great effort. The national winners were Senatobia Middle School in Senatobia, Mississippi, in the elementary division and Tallulah Falls School in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, in the upper school division. The national winners were selected based on the quality of the project submitted with their entries. They were honored at several ceremonies in Washington, D.C., including a White House ceremony where then-President George H.W. Bush presented awards to each school.[3]

The orbiter is named after HM Bark Endeavour, the ship commanded by 18th century explorer James Cook; the name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15. This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, rather than the American English spelling of "Endeavor." This has caused confusion, most notably when NASA themselves misspelled a sign on the launch pad in 2007.[4]

Endeavour was delivered by Rockwell International in May 1991 and first launched a year later, in May 1992, on STS-49. Rockwell International claimed that it had made no profit on Space Shuttle Endeavour, despite construction costing US$2.2 billion. On its first mission, it captured and redeployed the stranded INTELSAT VI communications satellite.

In 1993, it made the first service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Endeavour was withdrawn from service for eight months in 1997 for a retrofit, including installation of a new airlock. In December 1998, it delivered the Unity Module to the International Space Station.
Endeavour as photographed from the International Space Station as it approached the station during STS-118.

Endeavour completed its latest Orbiter Major Modification period, which began in December 2003, and ended on October 6, 2005. During this time, the Orbiter received major hardware upgrades, including a new, multi-functional, electronic display system, often referred to as glass cockpit, and an advanced GPS receiver, along with safety upgrades recommended by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) for Shuttle return to flight after the disintegration of sister-ship Columbia during re-entry on February 1, 2003.

The STS-118 mission, the first for Endeavour following a lengthy refit, included astronaut Barbara Morgan, formerly assigned to the Educator Astronaut program, but now a full member of the Astronaut Corps, as part of the crew. Morgan was the backup for Christa McAuliffe on the ill-fated STS-51-L mission.

[edit] Upgrades and features
Endeavour mounted on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

As it was constructed later, Endeavour was built with new hardware designed to improve and expand orbiter capabilities. Most of this equipment was later incorporated into the other three orbiters during out-of-service major inspection and modification programs. Endeavour’s upgrades include:

* A 40-foot (12 m) diameter drag chute that is expected to reduce the orbiter's rollout distance by 1,000 to 2,000 feet (300 to 610 m).
* The plumbing and electrical connections needed for Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) modifications to allow up to 28-day missions (although a 28-day mission has never yet been attempted; the current record is 17 days, which was set by Columbia).
* Updated avionics systems that include advanced general purpose computers, improved inertial measurement units and tactical air navigation systems, enhanced master events controllers and multiplexer-demultiplexers, a solid-state star tracker and improved nose wheel steering mechanisms.
* An improved version of the Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) that provide power to operate the Shuttle's hydraulic systems.

Modifications resulting from a 2005-2006 refit of Endeavour include:

* The Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS), which converts 8 kilowatts of DC power from the ISS main voltage of 120VDC to the orbiter bus voltage of 28VDC. This upgrade will allow Endeavour to remain on-orbit while docked at ISS for an additional 3- to 4-day duration. The corresponding power equipment was added to the ISS during the STS-116 station assembly mission, and Endeavour flew with SSPTS capability during STS-118.[5][6][7]

[edit] Planned decommissioning

According to NASA, Endeavour will be decommissioned in 2010, after 18 years of service, along with Discovery and Atlantis. NASA expects to have the Orion spacecraft ready no later than 2014. Endeavour's final flight was originally scheduled to be the last of the Space Shuttle program, on the STS-133 mission to the International Space Station, which will carry the final components in the ISS assembly sequence, the EXPRESS Logistics Carrier ELC5 and ELC1, to orbit. However, in 2008 one more mission (STS-134) was funded, and so Discovery is now slated to be the final Orbiter to fly.

NASA has offered two of the three remaining orbiters for museum donation once they are withdrawn from service. March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California has submitted a proposal to NASA for the display of an orbiter, and has stated a preference to receive Endeavour, due to the local connection of astronaut Tracy Caldwell, who grew up in Beaumont and flew on Endeavour during mission STS-118.[8]

[edit] Flights
# Launch date Designation Launch pad Landing location Notes
1 1992-05-07 STS-49 39-B Edwards Air Force Base First flight of Endeavour: Capture and redeploy Intelsat VI. First three-man EVA, longest US EVA since Apollo 17
2 1992-09-12 STS-47 39-B Kennedy Space Center Spacelab mission J
3 1993-01-13 STS-54 39-B Kennedy Deploy TDRS-F
4 1993-06-21 STS-57 39-B Kennedy Spacelab experiments. Retrieve European Retrievable Carrier
5 1993-12-02 STS-61 39-B Kennedy First Hubble Space Telescope service mission (HSM-1)
6 1994-04-09 STS-59 39-A Edwards Space Radar Laboratory experiments
7 1994-09-30 STS-68 39-A Edwards Space Radar Laboratory experiments
8 1995-03-02 STS-67 39-A Edwards Spacelab Astro-2 experiments
9 1995-09-07 STS-69 39-A Kennedy Wake Shield Facility and other experiments
10 1996-01-11 STS-72 39-B Kennedy Retrieve Japanese Space Flyer Unit
11 1996-05-19 STS-77 39-B Kennedy Spacelab experiments
12 1998-01-22 STS-89 39-A Kennedy Rendezvous with Mir space station and astronaut exchange
13 1998-12-04 STS-88 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission (assembled the Unity Module (Node 1), first American component of the ISS)
14 2000-02-11 STS-99 39-A Kennedy Shuttle Radar Topography Mission experiments
15 2000-11-30 STS-97 39-B Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission (P6 truss segment)
16 2001-04-19 STS-100 39-A Edwards International Space Station assembly mission (Canadarm2 robotic arm and hand)
17 2001-12-05 STS-108 39-B Kennedy International Space Station rendezvous and astronaut exchange (Expedition 3/Expedition 4)
18 2002-06-05 STS-111 39-A Edwards International Space Station rendezvous and astronaut exchange (Expedition 4/Expedition 5)
19 2002-11-23 STS-113 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission and astronaut exchange/final successful shuttle flight before the Columbia disaster (Expedition 5/6 exchange; P1 truss segment assembly)
20 2007-08-08 STS-118 39-A Kennedy Four spacewalks conducted.[9] Installation of the International Space Station S5 Truss, of the Integrated Truss Structure. Carried a SPACEHAB module carrying 5,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. Crew included the Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan. Thermal tiles protecting the underside of the vehicle were damaged during launch. NASA decided not to fix this damage in-flight as it was not believed to be serious enough to result in loss of vehicle or crew. The craft landed a day early due to the possibility that Hurricane Dean would force Mission Control to evacuate.
21 2008-03-11 STS-123 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission which delivered the first element of Japan's Kibo module along with the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator robotic arm, and the Spacelab Pallet-Deployable 1.
22 2008-11-14 STS-126 39-A Edwards[10] International Space Station assembly mission that brought equipment and supplies in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo, and Expedition 18 crew rotation, Sandra Magnus replaced Gregory Chamitoff. Endeavour was the first and last orbiter[clarification needed] to land on the temporary Runway 4 at Edwards AFB, as the refurbished main runway will be operational from STS-119 onwards.[11]
23 2009-07-11** STS-127 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission which will deliver the last two elements of Japan's Kibo Module along with the Spacelab Pallet-Deployable 2, and an Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable.
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Northrop Lockheed B-3 XR

B-3 Long Range Strike Platform

Under current plans, the B-52, along with the younger B-1B Lancer and the new stealthy B-2 Spirit, will be kept around until approximately 2037, by which time the Air Force calculates that attrition will have reduced the fleet below the minimum 170 aircraft. The B-52s may fly to 2045.

Based on current operating procedures, attrition models, and service lives, the total bomber inventory is predicted to fall below the required 170 aircraft fleet by 2037. This date will become the target Initial Operational Capability (IOC) date for a follow-on to the current bomber capability, and an acquisition process can be planned by backing up from this date. Based on current projections for airframe economic service life and forecast mishap rate, initiating a replacement process no later than 2013 will ensure a capability to fill the long-range air power requirement as the current systems are retired. There are, however, additional concerns besides service life and mishap rates that could shift this replacement timeline. Changes in employment concepts, driven by technological advances in munitions and threats, or improvements in industry’s ability to perform cost effective major structural extensions could extend the today’s bomber force well beyond current projections. This may shift the acquisition timeline for a replacement capability further into the future.

The Light Bomber (Manned) concept calls for a medium-sized aircraft that blends the advantages of a tactical fighter with a strategic bomber to develop a medium/long range, high payload capability (inter-theater) affordable bomber. The aircraft will utilize some level of low-observable technology to obtain an effective yet affordable aircraft which can provide for multiple/heavy weapons carriage and launch for missions requiring real time decision making/replanning or autonomous operations. Cost would be controlled by utilizing off-the-shelf systems and affordable stealth technologies (JSF technology). Logistic support would be enhanced by maximizing commonality of support equipment with existing systems.

The Bomber Industrial Capabilities Study was directed by Congress, chartered by the DOD, and conducted by The Analytic Sciences Corporation (TASC). The study concluded that building a new bomber type, a B-3, could easily cost in excess of $35 billion for research and development alone (with unit flyaway costs about the same as a B-2). Technology concepts from the USAF Scientific Advisory Board's (SAB) New World Vistas and technology concepts submitted for the 2025 Study were reviewed and concepts harvested from these efforts included the Future Attack Aircraft. This concept envisions a 500-nm-range manned or unmanned aircraft that would use stealth technology (both RF and IR) to reach a target and employ laser or high-power microwave (HPM) weapons. An unmanned aircraft with a "tunable" HPM weapon could provide either the nonlethal or lethal punch SAF needs in the constabulary mission.

Two concepts under consideration by Air Force Materiel Command included:

* Multi-mission - Manned, multi-role capability, radius > 450+ range (hi-med-hi), Payload??, medium threat, Unit Flyaway Price (UFP) <$75M (BY00) Number of Concepts Scored: 3 (‘96); 1 (‘97); 1 (‘98)
* 10.2 Deep Strike - Manned, 1000NM < radius < 2000NM, 12-24 klbs, high-med-high or hi-lo-hi, med-high threat, $50M < UFP < $250M (BY00)

A 1999 RAND Corporation study articulated a rationale for acquiring a Mach 2 supersonic bomber with the following characteristics

* unrefueled range of 3,250 nmi
* weight of 290,000 to 350,000 pounds each
* payload of 15,000 to 20,000 pounds
* support of 37 to 40 percent of the current USAF tanker fleet and 100 air superiority fighters.

The Mach 2 bomber could attack targets almost anywhere in the world while operating from well-protected, permanent bases on US and UK territory. A total inventory of approximately 80 to 105 of these Mach 2 bombers could deliver enough PGMs (about 560 tons per day) to replicate the USAF Desert Storm effort.
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A design I did for the 2012 Ron Paul movement. I wanted to do something that would grab people's attention when they see it. Not commissioned from Ron Paul or his campaign but from a group of people who want to make people informed of the truth and the availability of other options other than what Fox News tells you about. We got lost in the day to day routines of working, going to school, feeding our families, etc and lose the interest to research and understand what is going on in the country we live in. I appreciate any feedback about the art and understand that there are those who disagree with Dr. Ron Paul's beliefs and that is one of the very freedoms he looks to preserve. So please feel free to criticize my work and give any advice(I am new to this type of art) that might make it better but please keep the political debates to other forums. Thanks for taking the time to look!
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