NASA flew a modified U-2 spy plane into thunderstorms to study super-energetic gamma-rays

Apr 15, 2020
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A very hard plane to taxi on the ground. The aircraft is the only one to have a bicycle landing gear. There are two little wheels that are on poles that fit into holes in the wings. These small wheels keep the wings from scraping on the ground during takeoff. Once the aircraft has left the ground, these two small wheels fall off the aircraft, and skittle down the runway, and are recovered by ground crews. They are about 4 feet long. When the aircraft comes in to land, there are bicycle wheels, but none of these wing tip wheels, so the pilot has to continue to fly the aircraft after it lands, even while the aircraft is going only 20MPH. A ground crew member stands next to the runway, and carefully waits for the approach of the aircraft. At this point the aircraft is going only 10-15MPH. When the aircraft nears the crew member, the guy starts to run, and catches the wing tip of the aircraft keeping the aircraft level, and not allowing the other wing tip to catch the ground. When the aircraft stops, the small wheels on the poles are brought in and re-inserted into the holes in the wings, and the aircraft is ready to taxi like a normal aircraft. This ballet is done for the U2 with every takeoff and landing.
 
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Researchers flew NASA's ER-2 aircraft as close to thunderclouds as safely possible and captured 'the most detailed' data of gamma-rays and thunderclouds ever recorded through airborne analysis.

NASA flew a modified U-2 spy plane into thunderstorms to study super-energetic gamma-rays : Read more
I use to work at Ames Research Center NASA, and I had an office that overlooked the runway. I watched that U2 tale off every day at 11:00 AM like clock work. The landing is a very interesting ballet as told above.
 
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I'm no expert on the atmosphere, I find it interesting how things are presented. It's easy to understand how moisture can be ionized with atmospheric acceleration. And then on top of that, the huge voltage potentials....now have super acceleration effects on this charge. And in this flux of charge accelerations, some portion is bound to be accelerated backwards.

This can charge electrons to the energy level and mass level of a proton. Science does not recolonize this and calls these particles anti-protons. And at the same time....protons can be de-accelerated and relaxed to the energy level and mass level of an electron. They call these positrons.

A gamma will be emitted when the electron returns to it's normal state. And a gamma is emitted when the proton is relaxed. If these inverted particles can find a mirror particle with the same state........they are able to physically touch each other.......and will un-wrap each other.

Mass Disintegration.
 
The hard x-ray and the gamma are impossible for us to detect electrically, like light and radio.

But hopefully, some of these new quantum condensate detectors, might allow us to do so. If we can build faster switches. We desperately need much faster switches. In order for much smaller duration events and measurements.

With such detectors and switches, plus a slowing down media or structure, we might one day sample light, like we do with radio.
 
"I thought 99% of atmosphere was at 62 miles......and called the space-air boundary." - Classical Motion

62 mile altitude = 327,360 feet, pressure = 0.0000001 Atm

One percent of atmosphere occurs at 94,000 feet, 18 miles

Karman Line is at 62 miles/100 km. This is where inertia dominates lift. The airplane is going so fast that the lift from the air rushing by is less than the altitude the craft gains because the Earth is falling away from it.
 
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"In summary, the mass of Earth's atmosphere is distributed approximately as follows:[41]
  • 50% is below 5.6 km (18,000 ft).
  • 90% is below 16 km (52,000 ft).
  • 99.99997% is below 100 km (62 mi; 330,000 ft), the Kármán line. By international convention, this marks the beginning of space where human travelers are considered astronauts."

This is what I read. This is one of multiple sources. Your choice I guess, whether you reference pressure or height.
 
Thanks for that, Homer10! Brings back memories. I worked with U2s at three different locations, some 40 years ago, and I NEVER saw ground crew run to chase the plane and insert the wing wheels!

What I saw quite often was a skilful pilot, playing with the stick in a very light headwind, at full stop, keeping the wingtips off the ground.

In a dead-air landing, the pilot could bring the craft to a full stop before letting one wing or the other drop onto its rubber skid. Combined with ground-effect, the stall speed was so low that the pilot could keep the tips up to perhaps 5-6 mph (a fast walk), then jam on the brake to come to an abrupt stop before a wingtip could drop and yaw the plane.

I'm glad these amazing aircraft are still useful!
 
Dec 21, 2019
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A very hard plane to taxi on the ground. The aircraft is the only one to have a bicycle landing gear. There are two little wheels that are on poles that fit into holes in the wings. These small wheels keep the wings from scraping on the ground during takeoff. Once the aircraft has left the ground, these two small wheels fall off the aircraft, and skittle down the runway, and are recovered by ground crews. They are about 4 feet long. When the aircraft comes in to land, there are bicycle wheels, but none of these wing tip wheels, so the pilot has to continue to fly the aircraft after it lands, even while the aircraft is going only 20MPH. A ground crew member stands next to the runway, and carefully waits for the approach of the aircraft. At this point the aircraft is going only 10-15MPH. When the aircraft nears the crew member, the guy starts to run, and catches the wing tip of the aircraft keeping the aircraft level, and not allowing the other wing tip to catch the ground. When the aircraft stops, the small wheels on the poles are brought in and re-inserted into the holes in the wings, and the aircraft is ready to taxi like a normal aircraft. This ballet is done for the U2 with every takeoff and landing.
It may have been a bit ungainly on the ground, but it sure loves to fly! I was a Navy pilot in the late '80s, based at NAS Moffett Field, which shared its runways with NASA Ames Research Center. The ER-2 would start its takeoff roll as described above, but it didn't have to get up a lot of speed before lifting off and dropping its wingtip gear. At that point the pilot would pull way back on the stick and the plane would climb out at what looked like 45 degrees or better, and be well over a mile high by the time it reached the end of the runway. It (along with some of the STOL aircraft designs NASA was testing in the late '80s) always provided an impressive show for us P-3 Orion pilots waiting to take off next.
 
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Right, but didn't it also say that it could reach the boundary where 99% of the atmosphere is below.........that's 62 miles isn't it?
You're thinking of the Karman Line (the altitude where space "officially" begins.) "99% of the atmosphere" is well below that level, but any definition of where space begins that is based on atmospheric conditions is a bit of a rationalization anyway. The line is at about 62 miles because that's 100 kilometers, not because of some particular aspect of the environment at that point (and it's based on kilometers instead of miles because aviation records are administered by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in France.)

For decades, the U.S. Air Force defined "space" as anything above 50 miles high: like the 62-mile level, there was essentially no remaining effectiveness in the wing surfaces since there was so little air, but more to the point, it was a nice round number (and one we were about to reach.) Ten X-15 pilots qualified as astronauts under the 50-mile definition, Robert White being the first, in July 1962. A year later, Joe Walker became the only pilot to fly the X-15 past the Karman line, to altitudes of 106.1 kilometers (in July 1963) and 108 kilometers (in August.)
 
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Dec 21, 2019
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"I thought 99% of atmosphere was at 62 miles......and called the space-air boundary." - Classical Motion

62 mile altitude = 327,360 feet, pressure = 0.0000001 Atm

One percent of atmosphere occurs at 94,000 feet, 18 miles

Karman Line is at 62 miles/100 km. This is where inertia dominates lift. The airplane is going so fast that the lift from the air rushing by is less than the altitude the craft gains because the Earth is falling away from it.
Discussions of lift versus thrust or inertia are descriptive, but not really definitive of the Karman line; the same arguments hold true at the 50-mile line that the US Air Force used for decades. The Karman Line is 100 kilometers because 100 is a nice round number.
 
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The Wiki article says the line is where lift equals inertia. Lift can vary with conditions, and with wing design improvements. The 100 km line is based on 50's technology, X-15. Could be higher today with more advanced airplanes.
Read the rest of the Wiki article (or some better source.) Karman was trying to determine the theoretical maximum height an aircraft could reach, based on atmospheric characteristics (and understandings of aerodynamics at the time) but the actual 100-kilometer line that has been agreed to (to the extent there is any agreement) is pretty arbitrary.

In any case, it's a moot point: exceedlingly few aircraft can fly anywhere near as high as the Karman Line, and no spacecraft can operate anywhere near that low. Flying through it (in either direction) is about as physically significant as reaching the halfway point in a car trip.
 
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