Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#2165: Marine Links The Feathered Virgin Murder to Serco's Oakhanger Bypass of HMG's Chain of Command

Plum City - ( United States Marine Field McConnell has linked the alleged murder of co-pilot Michael Asbury after his Virgin SpaceShipTwo spacecraft was destroyed by the premature deployment of "feathers", to Serco's apparent use of an Airbus Oakhanger telemetry facility to bypass Her Majesty's Government ('HMG') chain of command.
"Serco supported the AFSCN communications support squadron in partnering with military and government contractors to supervise an Air Force Satellite Control Network test effort at Oakhanger, United Kingdom. Their innovative test procedures and creative solutions provided a viable implementation plan designed to improve communications capability .. The team's outstanding support and will bring new capabilities and enhanced services to our critical warfighting mission." 
                                  - Maj Gen Dale W. Meyerrose,
                                    Air Force Space Command Director of Communications and Information

McConnell believes that Serco's Gary Butcher and Bob Coulling began developing the former RAF Oakhanger facility as a telemetry bypass of Her Majesty's Government ('HMG') in the 1994-1997 period when Nicholas Soames was UK Minister of Defense and the outsourcer then passed the facility over to Airbus in 2003 in an apparently-treasonous Private Finance Initiative.

McConnell also claims that Serco operatives used the Airbus Oakhanger Telemetry & Command Station and the Air Force Satellite Control Network to impute premature "feathering" commands into SpaceShipTwo with intent to kill both the pilot and co-pilot and then blame their deaths on Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson with a wag-the-dog script about exploding rocket engines.

McConnell invites Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson to a briefing on the world's largest air traffic controller Serco and its alleged use of the Airbus Oakhanger telemetry facility to bypass licenses to kill lawfully issued by Her Majesty's Government, destroy SpaceShipTwo over the Mojave desert and camouflage the feathered Virgin murder of co-pilot Michael Asbury.

McConnell also invites Sir Richard to conduct a private investigation of Gary Butcher, the Serco Telemetry and Command Station Manager at RAF Oakhanger, and the 32-year veteran Serco manager Bob Coulling and all of the tradecraft skills they would need to conceal the feathered Virgin murder, especially Coulling's experience in electronic warfare, tagging, asset recovery and paedophile image analysis for MOD, GCHQ, CESG, Police, Home Office, Serious Organised Crime Agency, Ministry of Justice and Customs and Revenue and Immigration Service.

Prequel 1: #2164: Marine Links Oakhanger Bypass to Serco Air Force Red-Switch Trigger, Virgin Shuttlecock Murder

"Licence To Kill (1989)" Theatrical Trailer

SS2 First Feather Flight

Virgin Galactic Spaceship 2 Explodes In Flight and Crashes Virgin Calls it an "Anomaly" happened

Serco... Would you like to know more?

"SpaceShipTwo 'Feather' Tail System Deployed Prematurely: NTSB
NTSB: Device deployed early in Virgin Galactic crash

SpaceShipTwo's unique tail section, which can "feather" at an angle to help the Virgin Galactic spacecraft make a safe descent, unfurled as it was ascending during the flight that ended in a fatal breakup Friday and without being ordered to do so, federal investigators said Sunday night.

The "feathering" mechanism isn't supposed to be unlocked until the spacecraft reaches 1.4 times the speed of sound, Christopher Hart, the NTSB's acting chairman, said at a news conference. But on the flight that crashed Friday, one of the pilots moved the mechanism's lock-unlock lever into the unlocked position earlier, at just slightly above Mach 1, Hart said.

The feathering procedure is supposed to require two separate steps to engage: First, the pilots must unlock the feather mechanism; then they must move a separate feather handle into position.

SpaceShipTwo's feather mechanism began moving almost immediately — even though neither pilot took that second step, Hart said. That would have increased the plane's atmospheric drag at just the wrong moment.

"Two seconds later, we saw disintegration," Hart said. Almost immediately, telemetry and video data "terminated," he said.

A long-range telescopic photo from May 2011 shows the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane with its wings in the bent, "feathered" position. The orientation of the wings is supposed to help keep the plane in a stable position during its descent through the atmosphere. The term "feathered" is used because the configuration is reminiscent of a badminton shuttlecock with feathers.

Co-pilot Michael Alsbury was killed as a result of the in-flight breakup. The rocket plane's pilot, Pete Siebold, parachuted to the ground, suffered injuries and is now hospitalized. Friends of Alsbury have established a memorial fund.

Hart offered no explanations for why the tail mechanism moved prematurely, but the information disclosed Sunday is likely to shift the focus of the investigation from the plane's hybrid rocket motor to its feathering mechanism.

Hart said the motor and the fuel tanks survived intact, which will help the investigation significantly. Still, Hart said that "there's much more that we don't know" and that "we are a long way from finding the cause." He emphasized that he was only reporting facts that had been gathered to date and not any conclusions as to the accident's cause."

"The Telegraph
By Robert Mendick, Edward Malnick and Rob Crilly in New York
9:29PM GMT 01 Nov 2014 Sir Richard Branson's space tourism company Virgin Galactic has been accused of ignoring a series of warnings that its $500 million rocket was unsafe for flight.

A number of senior aerospace engineers repeatedly voiced fears over the design of Sir Richard's SpaceShipTwo and the safety protocols surrounding its testing.

The Telegraph has seen emails and other documents in the public domain — dating back several years, and as recently as last year — in which the engineers warned of the dangers of Virgin Galactic's rocket engine system.

It also emerged on Saturday that three senior Virgin Galactic executives — the vice-president in charge of propulsion, the vice-president in charge of safety, and the chief aerodynamics engineer — had all quit the company in recent months.

The Virgin Galactic spacecraft, which was scheduled to begin passenger flights early next year, blew up in the sky above the Mojave Desert in California during a test flight on Friday.

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The incident, in which one pilot died and another was seriously injured, puts in jeopardy Sir Richard's dream of space travel for passengers, each paying $250,000 (£156,000).

The dead pilot was named as Michael Alsbury, an experienced American test pilot.

His widow, Michelle Saling, said: "I have lost the love of my life. I am living in hell right now."

His co-pilot Peter Siebold, 43, was undergoing surgery on Saturday night after sustaining serious injuries.

Scaled Composites, the US aerospace company which employed the pilots, said Mr Siebold has been "alert" and talking with his family and doctors.

Wreckage lies near the site where a Virgin Galactic space tourism rocket, SpaceShipTwo, exploded and crashed in Mojave, California

Virgin Galactic, in an attempt at damage limitation, initially dismissed the explosion as an "anomaly". However, aerospace experts insisted that it had been a disaster waiting to happen.

Tom Bower, an investigative journalist and Sir Rihard's biographer, described the crash as "predictable and inevitable". He said: "It's a very crude rocket."

Sir Richard arrived at the crash site on Saturday insisting that "safety has always been our number one priority". He admitted that only if the problems that caused the crash could be overcome would the programme continue.

The Telegraph can disclose that Sir Richard's company, as well as US authorities, were warned about safety issues on numerous occasions, as long ago as 2007 when three engineers died in an explosion during testing of a rocket engine on the ground.

Carolynne Campbell, the lead expert on rocket propulsion at the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), said: "This explosion is not a surprise. None whatsoever, I am sorry to say. It is exactly what I was expecting. It was Russian roulette which test flight blew up."

She had first warned Virgin Galactic about the danger of its nitrous oxide-propelled engines in the aftermath of the 2007 disaster, and has repeated those warnings since.

In a study published in 2010 on her website and sent to Sir Richard's company as well as to the US authorities, she wrote: "We are not confident that ... we yet know enough about N2O [nitrous oxide] to consider it a safe oxidiser for use in passenger flight.

"In the light of what we do know, safety must remain a major concern."

In the study, she questioned Virgin Galactic's claim on its website that its rocket system was "benign" and "stable".

In emails sent by Geoff Daly, a US-based British rocket scientist, to officials at the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) last year, he warned of another disaster if test flights were given the go-ahead.

At the time, Virgin Galactic had planned to begin its first passenger flights in December 2013, although the date of the inaugural flight had been repeatedly postponed.

In the emails, published on a US government website, Mr Daly wrote on July 13 2013: "We respectfully request a response from you on what actions the FAA will be taking with respect to the permit issued and the operations as planned in the Mojave and New Mexico facilities.

"Remember three people have been killed and numerous persons injured by a prior explosion involving N2O in this motor design. We do not need another incident on the ground/flight line or in the air."

In another email — this time to the US Chemical Safety Board and sent on July 17 2013 — Mr Daly wrote: "Sir Richard Branson, his two children, Justin Bieber [the singer] and one other will be the first passengers to fly into space during this coming December 2013, and everyone realises there is a problem, even the engineers ...have said so off the record."

Tomasso Sgobba, executive director of IAASS and the former head of safety at the European Space Agency, said that Virgin Galactic had refused to share information with industry experts outside the company and declined to have its rocket design peer-reviewed.

Representatives of Virgin Galactic had refused to come to IAASS meetings, he said.

"They operated in secrecy, which is difficult to understand," said Mr Sgobba. "They don't use modern techniques in putting safety into the design.

"They use outdated methods like testing and then seeing what happens. There has been no independent oversight.

"There is no peer review. I have been saying for some years now this was an accident waiting to happen."

Mr Bower, who exposed the safety concerns surrounding the project in his biography of Sir Richard published earlier this year, said: "What happened yesterday was very sad for the pilot obviously but it was predictable and inevitable.

"All the engineers in California working on the project I've spoken to said it was very dangerous."

US investigators on Saturday began examining the wreckage to determine what went wrong.

One area of focus will be claims that the test pilots had requested a two-hour delay in take-off due to concerns over the temperature of the nitrous oxide in the fuel tanks.

SpaceShipTwo was being tested ahead of a possible passenger launch in March. It was the first test flight using a different hybrid fuel system.

In May this year, the company and its partner firm Scaled Composites said they would switch from using a rubber-based solid fuel burned in a stream of nitrous oxide, which had caused engine instabilities in earlier test flights, to a plastic-based solid fuel called thermoplastic polyamide also burned in nitrous oxide.

It was claimed the new fuel would be more reliable and more powerful.

In a statement on its website on Friday, the company said: "During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle."

A spokesman for Virgin Galactic said: "The investigation of the accident is now in the hands of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and we are not permitted to make any comment whatsoever until that investigation has run its course."

The NTSB investigation is its first involving a manned spacecraft. It was unclear if there was a "black box" flight recorder.

Sir Richard dismissed claims that Virgin Galactic had ignored safety warnings.

"To be honest I find it slightly irresponsible that people who know nothing about what they are saying can be saying things before the NTSB makes their comments," he said.

He added: "We aren't going to push on blindly. To do so would be an insult to all those affected by this tragedy.

"We are going to learn from what went wrong, discover how we can improve safety and performance and then move forwards together.

"We owe it to our test pilots to find out exactly what went wrong and once we find out what went wrong, if we can overcome it, we'll make absolutely certain that the dream lives on."

Sir Richard later insisted the programme could be "back on track" within four to six months "if it is a clear-cut cause and one that can be fixed"."

"RAF Oakhanger was the home of No 1001 Signal Unit, responsible for supporting satellite communications services for the British Armed Forces worldwide. The unit was made up of four sub-units; Space Operations, Ground Operations, Telemetry and Control and Support with subordinate detachments based at RAF Rudloe ManorRAF Colerne and RAF Defford. Command and Control of the system was conducted from Oakhanger, with a planning unit based at Rudloe Manor, co-located with No1 Signal Unit and Controller Defence Communication Network. The Colerne and Defford detachments provided a ground anchoring capability for the communications spacecraft. The Defford detachment was managed by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, later QinetiQ.

Space Squadron was responsible for flying a constellation of Skynet satellites, up to the fourth iteration of six space vehicles which supported ArmyRoyal Navy and Royal Air Force units. The space vehicles were controlled on a permanent basis from Oakhanger with command and control traffic being passed from one of the three ground stations. Space Squadron also controlled the flight of space vehicles on behalf of NATO, with an earth station at the nearby NATO ground terminal. The constellation comprised geosynchronous satellites, providing Earth coverage and higher power coverage over Northern Europe.

Ground services took responsibility for planning the routing of traffic via the space vehicles, from a number of locations in the United Kingdom to either stationary ground terminals such as GermanyCyprusAscension Island and the Falkland Islands or tactical ground terminals, mounted in ships or vehicles and operated by Tactical Communications Wing, 30 Signal Regiment, 16 Signal Regiment, 264 (SAS) Signal Squadron or the Royal Marines Signal Squadrons.[2]
Current use [edit]

Support to British military satellite communications was outsourced to EADS Astrium subsidiary company Paradigm Secure Communications in 2003 in a Private Finance Initiative arrangement. The station was subsequently decommissioned, closed and handed over to Paradigm at that time. Paradigm Secure Communications is now known as Astrium Services.

The three sites are now designated Telemetry & Command Station Oakhanger, Satellite Ground Station Oakhanger and Satellite Ground Terminal F4 (operated on behalf of NATO). The sites are now used to support the Skynet 5 constellation."

"Gary Butcher
Telemetry and Command Station Manager
Bordon, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Chartered Management Institute
Telemetry and Command Station Manager

August 2013 – Present (1 year 4 months) Oakhanger, Hants
Ensuring continued high quality Satellite Command and Monitoring services through efficient deployment of resources, first line management supervision and adherence to appropriate practices and regulations.
Spacecraft Operations Manager

January 2010 – July 2013 (3 years 7 months) Hawthorn, Wiltshire
Integrated with the customer, responsible for the training, performance and processes of the Spacecraft Operations Team, monitoring and performing Operations on Secure Communications Satellites
Spacecraft Controller

June 2003 – January 2010 (6 years 8 months) Oakhanger/Hawthorn
Various roles within the Spacecraft Operations Team, including Lead Spacecraft Controller responsible for shift, and Day Support roles supporting the SOM in continuation and strategy within the Team on all matters associated with either Space or Ground Segment
Electronics Technician

June 1982 – June 2003 (21 years 1 month) Various

8 Years Ground Radio Installation Teams

7 Years communications technician

6 Years Spacecraft Controller/Trainer"

Yours sincerely,

Field McConnell, United States Naval Academy, 1971; Forensic Economist; 30 year airline and 22 year military pilot; 23,000 hours of safety; Tel: 715 307 8222

David Hawkins Tel: 604 542-0891 Forensic Economist; former leader of oil-well blow-out teams; now sponsors Grand Juries in CSI Crime and Safety Investigation

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