Archive for June, 2010

Coke Mentos Rocket Car

Monday, June 7th, 2010



The guys at are at it again. This time it’s a car powered by Coke Zero and Mentos. The video was seen 2 million time in its first week.

Wired went behind the scenes for this story

Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz are the guys behind the famous video of a Mentos-and-Diet Coke, Bellagio-style fountain, which they estimate has been seen by more than 120 million people. Four years later, they’re back with a rocket car powered by nothing but Mentos and Coke Zero. The video, which debuted this week, shows the duo’s efforts to set a land-speed and distance record for a vehicle powered by nothing but erupting, minty, fizzy soda.

The video was directed by Rob Cohen (director of The Fast and the Furious). Two dimensions not enough? There’s even a 3-D rocket car video you can watch on YouTube, if you have a pair of red-and-cyan 3-D glasses.

Wired sat down with Grobe and Voltz shortly after a recent performance at Maker Faire to find out how they built their 900-pound vehicle. It contains 108 2-liter bottles of Coke Zero, 648 Mentos, an elaborate-looking system of PVC pipes and pistons, and a complicated rig for dropping all those mint candies into all those bottles at the same time. In this exclusive video, the duo explain how they made the magic happen.


WBMSAT Satellite Industry News Bits for 06/04/2010

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Courtesy of Bill McDonald

Indian security agencies tell the Indian Department of Telecom that foreign satellite communication service providers should be asked to set up an earth station in India if they want to offer services there.
[the Hindu Business Line – 06/05/2010]


The Falcon 9 rocket fired up its nine first stage engines and took off on its first test flight from Cape Canaveral at 2:45 p.m. EDT June 4.
[Space Travel – 06/04/2010]

Intelsat CTO Thierry Guillemin describes details of its behind-the-scenes cooperative effort with customers and AMC-11 operator SES to mitigate interference threats posed by Galaxy 15.
[Satellite Today – 06/04/2010]


A Russian Proton M rocket launches a European-made telecommunications satellite, Arabsat-5B (Badr 5), for the ARABSAT satellite communications operator.
[Bernama – 06/04/2010]

HBO Asia signs long-term transponder lease agreement with APT for capacity on Apstar 2R and its replacement satellite, Apstar 7, to be launched in early 2010.
[Satellite Today – 06/04/2010]

Stratos Global Corporation becomes a distributor for SkyWave Mobile Communications products and services for the global SCADA market.
[Machine to Machine – 06/04/1020]

Thales Alenia beats out Lockheed, winning contract worth some $2.1B to build 81 satellites for Iridium’s next generation satellite fleet.
[BBC – 06/03/2010]

RapidEye (who owns and operates its own constellation of five EO satellites) has signed on Panaxx Corporation to be its distributor in Japan.
[SatNews – 06/03/2010]

The Indian Space Research organization (ISRO) replaces the director of its liquid propulsion systems center following a series of launch mishaps.
[Satellite Today – 06/03/2010]

Rockot Launches Japanese SERVIS-2 Satellite from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia.
[Space Travel – 06/03/2010]

SkyWave Introduces Flex Messaging to IsatM2M Satellite Service, allowing up to 7 times more data than traditional IsatM2M messages.
[GIS User – 06/03/2010]

Zodiac Maritime installs Iridium OpenPort(R) across entire fleet of 156 ships.
[MarketWatch – 06/03/1010]

Airmen from the 2nd and 19th Space Operations Squadrons take control of the Air Force’s newest GPS satellite following its launch into orbit May 28 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
[Space Daily – 06/03/2010]

China to launch fourth orbiter into space as a part of indigenous satellite navigation and positioning network known as Beidou, or Compass system.
[Space Daily – 06/02/2020]

Gilat to provide satellite communications equipment for SchoolNet project expansion in Ethiopia.
[MarketWatch – 06/02/2010]

SPOT Launches Outdoor Safety Initiative at Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado.
[MarketWatch – 06/02/2010]

Inmarsat to launch its first global handheld IsatPhone Pro at CommunicAsia 2010 in Singapore.
[SatNews – 06/02/2010]

Stratos’ AmosConnect 8 enhances broadband connectivity at sea
[TMCnet – 06/02/2010]

Due to popular demand, Newtec to repeat FREE webinar: "IP is Forcing its Way into the Contribution, DSNG and Distribution Workflows over Satellite. Are you Ready?"
[SatNews – 06/02/2010]

KVH Industries announces that Fleetwood RV, Inc., has selected KVH’s TracVision SlimLine series along with TracVision R6 ST and R6 TX to be the exclusive satellite TV option offered on its 2011 motor homes.
[SatNews – 06/02/2010]

Orbital selected for Azerspace/Africasat-1a satellite by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
[MarketWatch – 06/01/2010]

Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) is selected to provide a satellite, Anik G1, to Telesat of Canada.
[SatNews – 06/01/2010]

Russian Space Systems corporation and the U.S. Trimble Navigation Group sign an agreement to create a joint satellite navigation venture in Russia
[Space Daily – 06/01/2010]

International Launch Services (ILS) has contract for ILS Proton launch of two commercial satellites, YAMAL 401 and YAMAL 402, for Russian satellite operator, Gazprom Space Systems.
[SatNews – 06/01/2010]

SES Astra enters partnership with Italian public broadcaster RAI to bring more content to its 3-D demo channel.
[Satellite Today – 06/01/2010]

Serbian government indicts former Serbia-Montenegro defense minister over deal to rent Israeli spy satellite from ImageSat.
[Satellite Today – 06/01/2010]

Australia’s NBN Co is weeks away from issuing a request for tenders to satellite network operators hoping to get a slice of the $43 billion national broadband network project.
[The Australian – 06/01/2010]

The Highly Adaptable Satellite (HYLAS) 1 being developed by Astrium for the satellite broadband operator Avanti Communications, successfully completes month-long test designed to expose the satellite to the rigors of space.
[SatNews – 06/01/2010]

BSkyB releases Sky Mobile TV app for the Applie iPad in the United Kingdom.
[Satellite today – 06/01/2010]

CapRock Communications selects Alpheus Communications’ complete suite of terrestrial connectivity services to provide reliable circuit access and supporting services to its clients.
[Business Wire – 05/31/2010]

WBMSAT PS satellite communications systems services

500 Days

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010



More like 520 days. Six guys, locked up in a box for about a year and a half, starting 3 June 2010.

Why? To simulate a manned mission to Mars! Behold, the objectives of Mars 500

  1. Investigation of the influence of conditions, simulating peculiarities of a manned Martian expedition on health and working capacity of the crew;
  2. Organization of the activity of the crew and its interaction with the ground-based control center taking into account peculiarities typical for the Martian flight;
  3. Verification of the principles, methods and means of control and monitoring of the habitat during over-long staying of the crew in conditions of confined pressurized facility;
  4. Simulation of the activity of the crew on the surface of Mars and dynamic operations during the flight;
  5. Verification of the principles, methods and means of control, diagnostics and forecast of the state of health and  working capacity, improvement of means of providing of medical help and prophylaxis;
  6. Improvement of the means of collection, processing and analysis of medical and physiological information;
  7. Creation and approbation of reference-information system, providing activity of the crew, keeping and transfer of electronic information;
  8. Verification of means and methods of telemedicine for distant control over the state of human health;
  9. Approbation of methods and autonomous means of psychological support;
  10. Assessment of modern technologies, systems and means of support of life and activity and protection of humans.

Let’s see if Letterman picks up on this "top 10" list for his show. More on this mission from the ESA




VASIMR: Hammer-down in Space

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010



Very cool technology being developed by Ad Astra Rocket Company: using plasma engines to reach Mars in 39 days. Hammer-down: space truckin at 110,000 MPH.

Excellent piece in on the VASIMR engine…

The company’s main project is the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, or VASIMR, a highly-efficient space engine running on electricity and argon gas instead of conventional solid or liquid propellants.

Franklin Chang-Diaz, the project’s chief architect, says the VASIMR engine is the most flight-ready high-power electric propulsion system anywhere in the world.

"It is transformational technology that we are developing," Chang-Diaz said. "It always has been my view that chemical approach to space transportation really was not going to get us very far."
Chemical rocket engines require spacecraft to carry all of its propellant during its mission. The VASIMR engine burns small amounts of argon gas, one of the most stable elements on the periodic table. But one of the most revolutionary features of the VASIMR design is its reliance on electricity, a renewable resource in space.

"It’s very robust, but in order to get beyond the moon, and move on to Mars and beyond, we really need completely new transportation technology," Chang-Diaz said. "We view the VASIMR as the workhorse for that transportation infrastructure."

Electrically-powered plasma rockets could cut travel times for missions across the solar system. One concept championed by Chang-Diaz involves a 39-day mission to Mars, but it assumes leaps in nuclear energy production in space. 




Yeah, it works alright. Watch this engine test…


Here’s a video clip about the company…


And a simulation of the trip to Mars…