Sunday, October 30, 2011

U.S.Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay - Baltimore

One of the four boats used by the Curtis Bay unit. The unit uses three 25 foot response boats and one 41 foot utility boat to conduct its missions.

Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay, Md., is located along Curtis Creek at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Md. The station is staffed by 42 men and women who maintain the Coast Guard's missions of Homeland Security and search and rescue.The station is also responsible for law enforcement and pollution response missions.

USCG photo by PA3 Ayla Stevens

The station is involved in an average of 200 search and rescue cases and 365 law enforcement boardings each year.

In Station Curtis Bay's area of response is the sight where Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star Spangled Banner".The ship he was on was anchored here during the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The site is marked by a buoy painted like the American flag.

USCG photo by PA3 Ayla Stevens

A Coast Guard Petty Officer stands before the site where Francis Scott Key wrote " The Star Spangled Banner". It has been placed in this location annually since the 1970s. The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James Rankin is responsible for the annual placing of the buoy in the spring and for removing it in the fall.

U.S. Park Service Park Ranger Paul Plamann, a very knowledgeable and gracious gentleman that I've had the pleasure of meeting HERE, tells the story of the Battle of Baltimore before the annual placement of the buoy:

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James Rankin

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Raven

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore." 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Thousand Dollar Sprite...

One of the Sprite nanosatellites (Photo: KickSat)

Pssst, do you wanna buy a satellite? No, really - do you? Well, Zac Manchester would like to sell you one. Not only that, but he claims that the thing could be built and launched into orbit for just a few hundred dollars. For that price, however, you're not going to be getting a big satellite. Manchester's Sprite spacecraft are actually about the size of a couple of postage stamps, but they have tiny versions of all the basic equipment that the big ones have.

One of the Sprite nanosatellites (Photo: Cornell University)

Zac is a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University, and was part of the team that originally designed the Sprites for use as space probes - the idea being that they could travel on solar winds, like cosmic dust, traveling deep into space without the need for fuel. Three of the one-square-inch spacecraft were delivered to the International Space Station this May, to see how they how well they could stand up to the rigors of outer space. They are currently still mounted on the outside of the station, and are due to be brought back to Earth in a couple of years.
Each Sprite incorporates a Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller, a radio transceiver, solar cells, capacitors and antenna. In their current incarnation, they can't do much more than transmit simple bits of data, but Manchester says that future versions could easily include sensors such as thermometers or cameras.

The KickSat satellite will carry hundreds or even thousands of the Sprites into orbit (Image: KickSat)

A small box-like satellite - or CubeSat - would be used to carry the Sprites into low-altitude orbit. It could contain hundreds or even thousands of spring-loaded Sprites, which would shoot out as soon as the CubeSat's lid was opened from ground control via a radio signal.
Once in orbit, the Sprites' transmitted radio signals would be monitored by a network of amateur ground-based tracking stations. The aim would be to demonstrate their communications capabilities, while also observing how long they remained in orbit, and how well they were able to perform in outer space. They should all burn up when they re-enter the earth's atmosphere, within a few days or weeks of their release.
Manchester is now raising funds for the demonstration project via the Kickstarter fund-raising website. Depending on how much money is raised, his team will either have to wait for a spot on one of several free launch programs, or be able to purchase a commercial launch of their own. If they are able to purchase a launch, he is hoping for the Sprites to be in orbit by early 2013.
Yes, but how do you get to call one of them your own? By contributing US$300 via Kickstarter, that's how. Such a donation will allow you to name one of the Sprites, specify the four-character message that it will transmit (such as your initials), and track it on the KickSat website. A donation of $1,000 or more will put an actual physical Sprite in your hands, and provide you with the source code and programming tools to write its custom flight code. Should you wish to set up your own ground station, you will also be instructed on how to receive and interpret its radio signal.
Groups are also encouraged to sponsor fleets of Sprites, each one of which will bear that group's logo on its lilliputian surface.

By Ben Coxworth for Gizmag
Original article HERE.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday's Gone With The Wind

Moon over Baltimore.

A lone Great Blue Heron stands guard over the harbor.

Early morning watch.

Dawn breaks.

Skyscraper in the middle is getting a new sign...

Suspended scaffolding work.

That's it for today.

New Ravens emblem outlined for spray painting.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday's Walk

Bob puts his foot down.

Kayaks at Tide Point, Baltimore.

A stolen glance
eyes locked
in Cupid's dance.

Panamanian cargo ship off-loading sugar at Domino Sugar in Baltimore, MD.

Under Armor HQ.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


A produce stand in Sabillasville, Maryland.

A Blue Heron in Graceham, Maryland.

A farm north of Thurmont.

Cunningham Falls State Park.

Hunting Creek Lake.


Feel Alive!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Photos for Friday.

Sunrise in the harbor.

Panamanian cargo ship off loads sugar at the Domino plant in Baltimore.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday's Charm

Natty Boh
The sun rises behind National Bohemian's neon.

Tide Point
Morning at Tide Point.

Water Taxi
Water taxis starting their routes.

Same building from above but with the sun hitting it.

Welding repairs on the Hull street tower.

My token sepia shot.

The moon hovers above a lightning rod on the tower.