Scott Carpenter (1925-2013)

carpenter_scott

Another astronaut has gone away, Mr. Scott Carpenter last lift-off happened yesterday. Carpenter was the second american astronaut in orbit with the mission Aurora 7 in 1962.

It’s easy now to think about men in space, we have decades of successful missions in our collective memory. This is the time for private ventures in space like SpaceX or Virgin Galactic, with a good telescope we can see the ISS station every day.

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The last flight of SE-BDY

Douglas_DC-6

53 years ago a plane like this one, A Douglas DC-6 marked SE-BDY, crashed near Ndola (then in Northern Rhodesia, today is in Zambia) leaving just a survivor. It was the last journey of Dag Hammarskjöld and many others, a tombstone over every choice for a peaceful solution in Rhodesia.

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Be careful with Syria

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All right, we’re on the eve of a bombing campaign against Syria. Everybody knows it and all of us already got the commemorative T-shirt (My brother bombed Syria and all I’ve got it’s this lousy T-shirt?). What we have to remember is that they’re waiting for an opportunity to strike back.

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What if Iran find a way to stop UAV?

Last november, in 2012, Iran captured an advanced american UAV (RQ-170 “Sentinel“) on its territory; that was quite embarrassing for USAF, the unmanned aircraft was captured intact ant the potential for a technological leak was a real threat. Many hypothesis were considered about how Iranians could get their hands on an intact drone and no official statement has been done from USAF about it.

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Iran and modern day propaganda

In the continue effort to show its muscles to the West, Iran recently present the Qaher-313, no less than a stealth fighter. What happens next is a bright demonstration of the differences between a modern propaganda campaign and Iran’s efforts.

A number of photo has been released by the Iranian government, images like this:

Qaher-313-AP

It is clear that the Qaher-313 is nothing but a model, not even in the 1:1 scale. If you look at the pilot, it’s quite evident that he’s too big for the cockpit. You don’t have to be an aeronautical engineer to understand that.

A front view of this aircraft shows the promises of an interisting machine. But even in full scale, it will be a small fighter, useful at best for defensive purposes.  An airplane like this one should be highly manouvrable, with a small payload given size and structure. As a single engine aircraft will not reach high speed or top level flight ceiling.

qaher-313

So, what could be the purpose of such a public stunt? Two-bit propaganda? An attempt to gain any quota in the aircraft markets? In terms of internal political issues it’s a strong move from the conventional armed forces in the face of Guardians of Revolution, a show of knowledge useful to undermine their opponents in the internal power struggles. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will step down from his position soon and the Qaher-313 could be a point for some group.

Even if Iran can develop the Qaher-313 in the next few years this plane is not enough to boost the air defense capacity of the country. A little fighter, no matter how stealth can it be or how good could be its VTOL characteristics, is not able to face a massive attack from air superiority aircrafts. The Qaher-313 could be useful for small time attacks in a conventional war but it will pose a great danger if it could be used against civilian ships in the Persian Gulf.