Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'space'

The Tongasat Affair, Cont’d

November 29th, 2012 · 1 Comment

We last wrote about Tonga’s unusual space enterprise, Tongasat, back in December 2010, when we focused on the alleged religious motivations of Princess Pilolevu Tuita, the firm’s majority shareholder. After a long quiet spell, the controversial company is now back in the news, as a pawn in a political tug-of-war between a Tongan opposition leader […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

One of a Kind

November 21st, 2012 · 1 Comment

I send you off into the Thanksgiving break with a special treat: an entire site dedicated to the 1981 spaceflight of Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa, the only Mongolian to have soared into the heavens (albeit with Soviet help). The mission made Gürragchaa a national hero, a status that he later parlayed into a political career. What is […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Good Luck, Mr. Atayev

July 10th, 2012 · 1 Comment

Turkmenistan’s National Space Agency has a new chairman, who will be expected to oversee the monumental task of launching the country’s first satellite. I’m still not entirely clear on why Turkmen dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov is making this such a huge priority, for the official explanation is gobbledygook: the satellite, the nation’s state news agency tells […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Rabbit in the Moon

February 28th, 2011 · Comments Off on Rabbit in the Moon

Just one of those days, alas. Back tomorrow with a post on mercury mining in Kyrgyzstan; ’til then, bone up on the history of China’s space shuttle, one of my favorite pieces of aeronautic vaporware.

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

The Money Pit

February 24th, 2011 · 4 Comments

Back in 1985 or thereabouts, I made the worst business decision of my life: I traded all of my Star Wars action figures to a classmate, in exchange for a Fisher-Price Space Shuttle that made “beep beep” noises when a rubber buttons was depressed. To my credit, I realized within a matter of days that […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Pilolevu in the Sky with Diamonds

December 13th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Somewhat lighter-than-usual posting these next three days, as I hack through yet another killer Wired deadline—the last major work task of an exhausting 2010. I was tempted to just toss up a few YouTubes between now and Thursday morning, but that wouldn’t be very sporting. So I will instead offer some quick hits about topics […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Astronaut

February 1st, 2010 · 2 Comments

About a decade ago, we had the privilege of spending some time out on Greenland’s ice sheet, in the company of the Air National Guard unit responsible for keeping polar scientists stocked with food and medicine. Much of that trip is a blur, due to the fact that we lost innumerable brain cells due to […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·······

“There’s a Female Up There Circling Mother Earth”

January 22nd, 2010 · Comments Off on “There’s a Female Up There Circling Mother Earth”

Not much time for Bad Movie Friday this week, as we’re scrambling on the Secret Major Project™. So this vintage anti-Soviet propaganda film about the travails of Laika will have to suffice. It gets really amazing around the 42-second mark, when one of Laika’s American peers dons granny glasses in order to peep the space-race […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

“How in the Future Will Man Take It?”

January 21st, 2010 · Comments Off on “How in the Future Will Man Take It?”

A dastardly confluence of events has prevented us from Microkhaning to our full potential today. Back as soon as circumstances allow. In the meantime, take a break from the Game of Life by learning more about Ham the Chimp, one of the great unsung heroes of the American space program. Okay, perhaps “unsung” is a […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:······

“Beam the Bomb”

November 11th, 2009 · 3 Comments

After posting a vintage pro-SDI ad on Monday, we got to wondering about this “Coalition for SDI” that sponsored the spot. Who could be so bold as to create the risible “Peace Shield” euphemism? We connected the dots back to Daniel O. Graham, who claimed to be the coiner of the term “Strategic Defense Initiative.” […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

Unwinged Pegasus

September 22nd, 2009 · Comments Off on Unwinged Pegasus

Via the invariably spectacular Ptak Science Books blog, a quick peek back at the brief heyday of airborne horses: “Sep 1850 English Aeronaut Gale on horseback suffocated Bordeaux”. Is this the first man-on-horseback-in-flight death? And death by suffocation? (?) I’m not so sure that the ascent records for 1850 would’ve made allowance for running out […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Sub-Orbital Ham

June 19th, 2009 · 1 Comment

While delving into the current doings in the Powerboat Superleague, we came across this tidbit from the Peoria Journal Star. Apparently the league won’t let you race unless you undergo “capsule training” every two years. This process entails being sealed up in a boat cockpit which is then flipped upside down in a pool. If […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:······

Frankenstein in Space, with Kinski

June 10th, 2009 · 5 Comments

We know we’re still a few days away from the week’s finale, and thus from the joys of Bad Movie Friday, but we couldn’t resist posting the trailer above. We’re in the midst of watching Werner Herzog’s My Best Fiend, a documentary about his rather insane working relationship with Klaus Kinski. From what we’ve gathered […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

“We Will Touch the Sky…”

March 11th, 2009 · Comments Off on “We Will Touch the Sky…”

Whenever there’s a budget crunch, space programs are usually the first to suffer. After all, their benefits (aside from bolstering national pride) are far from immediate, and rocket scientists usually make for poor lobbyists. So as Depression v2.0 kicks into ever higher gear, it seems certain that space exploration will suffer. But not in Ecuador! […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

Intergalactic Dowsing Rod

March 10th, 2009 · Comments Off on Intergalactic Dowsing Rod

On April 16, the European Space Agency will launch the most powerful infrared telescope ever cobbled together by mankind: Herschel. (Yeah, I’m kinda underwhelmed by the name, too.) Taking off from the ESA’s spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, Herschel will scan the cosmos in search of water, on the assumption that H20=potential planets inhabited by […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

Space Carnage

February 11th, 2009 · Comments Off on Space Carnage

Violent yuckiness in the skies above Siberia. This sort of collision will become slightly more common as older satellites go “rogue” due to neglect. You can bet that companies such as Sirius and EchoStar are double-checking their disaster plans tonight. This may be history’s only satellite-on-satellite mashup, but there have been other accidents in orbit. […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·