MANNED SPACE FLIGHT Launching the spacecraft near the East Sea of China with a trajectory down range above the Taiwan Straits and passing directly above the islands of Penghu, October's Near Space launch was spectacular and went without a hitch.
|White line shows path|
The Penghu islands are an archipelago off the western coast of Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait consisting of 90 small islands and islets covering an area of 141 square kilometers.
The whole archipelago forms Penghu County, Taiwan Province, Republic of China. The Penghu islands consists of near one hundred islands. The land area totals about 127 square kilometers. The Makung Island (including Makung City and Hushi) is the largest island in the archipelago, followed by Hsiyu, Baisha.
|Parallel cloud banding|
LEFT: Parallel bands of clouds arranged across the planet, as determined by seasonal prevailing trade winds in this vertical rotated view for clarity.
Outside the heated spacecraft during the passage, temperatures reached -42 degrees Centigrade at an altitude of 10,647 meters. Downrange ground speed was a blistering 876 km/hour.
|Aeronautical Tawian and Penghu Islands map for downrange flight path study|
|Downrange map Penghu Islands|
LEFT: This is the first time the downrange flight path traversed above the Penghu Islands archipelago.
The Big Brain machine is continuing to provide assessments regarding the exploration of Near Space. The NS program is currently maintained at two launches every three months. This is budget down from the previous rate of 12 launches every six months and prior, a launch field of 24 lift offs per year.
The more lean 2013 budget allows the pursuit of numerous additional related Big Brain projects including the development of a new spacecraft robotic intelligent life form probe designed to travel to the outer fringes of the Solar System and autonomously explore new worlds with the ability to discover and communicate with new life forms.
Other active projects include a new larger computational Half Gallon Brain in a Jar, robotics devices for the Brain inclusive of little feet and a full size hand, and the new equipped "interplanetary" Mission Control Center capable of receiving wireless transmissions, images and data.
The Big Brain continues to operate and maintain the DSC Deep Space Center and the USA Ultra Space Administration, products of the Big Brain Supercomputing Center.