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The Titan II was an Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and space launcher developed by the Glenn L. Martin Company from the earlier Titan I missile. Titan II was originally used as an ICBM. It was later used as a medium-lift space launch vehicle to carry payloads for the Air Force, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These payloads include the USAF Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), the NOAA weather satellites, and NASA's Gemini manned space capsules. The modified Titan II SLVs were launched from Vandenberg AFB, California up until 2003. The Titan II ICBM was the successor to the Titan I, and carried a payload twice as heavy. It also used storable propellants, which reduced the time to launch and permitted it to be launched from its silo. Titan II carried the largest single warhead of any American ICBM. The missile consists of a two-stage, rocket engine powered vehicle and a Re-entry vehicle (RV). Provisions are included for in-flight separation of Stage II from Stage I, and separation of the RV from Stage II. Stage I and Stage II vehicles each contain propellant and pressurization, rocket engine, hydraulic and electrical systems, and explosive components. In addition, Stage II contains the flight control system and missile guidance set. The Titan II also used storable propellants, Aerozine 50 and dinitrogen tetroxide. The Titan I, whose liquid oxygen oxidizer must be loaded immediately before launching, had to be raised from its silo and fueled before launch. The use of storable propellants enabled the Titan II to be launched within 60 seconds directly from within its silo. Their hypergolic nature made them dangerous to handle; a leak could lead to explosions, and the fuel was highly toxic. It is a common misconception that the Titan IIs were decommissioned because of a weapons reduction treaty, but in fact were simply aging victims of a weapons modernization program. Because of the volatility of the liquid fuel, and the problem with aging seals, the Titan II missiles had been scheduled to be retired beginning in 1971. After two accidents, deactivation of the Titan II ICBM system finally began in July 1982. The last Titan II missile, located at Silo 373-8 near Judsonia, Arkansas, was deactivated on May 5, 1987. The deactivated missiles are now in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. A single Titan II complex escaped destruction after decommissioning and and is open to the public as the Titan Missile Museum at Sahuarita, Arizona. The missile resting in the silo is a real Titan II, but was a training missile and never contained fuel, oxidizer or a warhead. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War. Considered one of the best and most important fighter aircraft in the Korean War, the F-86 is also rated highly in comparison with fighters of other eras. Although it was developed in the late 1940s and was outdated by the end of the 1950s, the Sabre proved versatile and adaptable, and continued as a front-line fighter in numerous air forces until the last active operational examples were retired by the Bolivian Air Force in 1994. Its success led to an extended production run of more than 7,800 aircraft between 1949 and 1956, in the United States, Japan and Italy. Variants were built in Canada and Australia. The Canadair Sabre added another 1,815 airframes, and the significantly redesigned CAC Sabre (sometimes known as the Avon Sabre or CAC CA-27), had a production run of 112. It was by far the most-produced Western jet fighter, with total production of all variants at 9,860 units. The F-86A set its first official world speed record of 670 miles per hour (1,080 km/h) in September 1948. Several people involved with the development of the F-86, including the chief aerodynamicist for the project and one of its other test pilots, claimed that North American test pilot George Welch had unofficially broken the sound barrier in a dive with the XP-86 while on a test flight on 1 October 1947. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier on 14 October 1947 in the rocket-propelled Bell X-1 during level flight, making it the first true supersonic aircraft. Five years later, on 18 May 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier, flying a "one-off" Canadian-built F-86 Sabre Mk 3, alongside Chuck Yeager. The F-86 entered service with the United States Air Force in 1949, joining the 1st Fighter Wing's 94th Fighter Squadron "Hat-in-the-Ring" and became the primary air-to-air jet fighter used by the Americans in the Korean War. While earlier straight-winged jets such as the F-80 and F-84 initially achieved air victories, when the swept wing Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was introduced in November 1950, it immediately outperformed all UN-based aircraft. In response, three squadrons of F-86s were rushed to the Far East in December. Early variants of the F-86 could not outturn, but they could outdive the MiG-15, and the MiG-15 was superior to the early F-86 models in ceiling, acceleration, rate of climb, and zoom. With the introduction of the F-86F in 1953, the two aircraft were more closely matched, with many combat-experienced pilots claiming a marginal superiority for the F-86F. MiGs flown from bases in Manchuria by Red Chinese, North Korean, and Soviet VVS pilots were pitted against two squadrons of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing forward-based at K-14, Kimpo, Korea. By the end of hostilities, F-86 pilots were credited with shooting down 792 MiGs for a loss of only 78 Sabres, a victory ratio of 10:1. More recent research by Dorr, Lake and Thompson has claimed the actual ratio is closer to 2:1. The Soviets claimed to have downed over 600 Sabres, together with the Chinese claims, although these are thought by some to be an overcount as they cannot be reconciled with the the 78 Sabres recorded as lost by the US. A recent RAND report made reference to "recent scholarship" of F-86 v MiG-15 combat over Korea and concluded that the actual kill:loss ratio for the F-86 was 1.8:1 overall, and likely closer 1.3:1 against MiGs flown by Soviet pilots. Of the 41 American pilots who earned the designation of ace during the Korean war, all but one flew the F-86 Sabre, the exception being a Navy Vought F4U Corsair night fighter pilot. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Toilet paper is a soft paper product (tissue paper) used to maintain personal hygiene after human defecation or urination. However, it can also be used for other purposes such as blowing one's nose when one has a cold or absorbing common spills around the house, although paper towels are more used for this particular purpose. It differs in composition somewhat from facial tissue: most modern toilet paper in the developed world is designed to decompose in septic tanks, whereas some other bathroom and facial tissues are not. Most septic tank manufacturers advise against using paper products that are non-septic tank safe. Different names, euphemisms and slang terms are used for toilet paper in countries around the world, including "loo roll/paper," "toilet roll," "dunny roll/paper," "bathroom/toilet tissue," "4 inch" "TP," or just "tissue." Toilet paper can be one-, two- or three-ply, or even thicker, meaning that it is either a single sheet or two, three sheets placed back-to-back to make it thicker, softer, stronger and more absorbent. Color, scents, and embossing may also be added, but fragrances sometimes cause problems for consumers who are allergic to perfumes. The biggest difference between toilet papers is the distinction between virgin paper products, which are formed directly from chipped wood, and those made from recycled paper. Most toilet paper, however, whether virgin or recycled, is wrapped around cardboard cylinders. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



Thomas Vincent Savini is an American actor, stunt man, director, award-winning special effects and makeup artist. He is known for his work on the Living Dead films directed by George A. Romero, as well as Creepshow, The Burning, The Prowler, and Maniac. Though officially retired from special effects, he has continued to direct, produce and star in several movies. Savini has been known to refer movie make-up effects projects to graduates of his school. Savini is primarily known for his groundbreaking work in the field of special makeup effects. He got his breakthrough working with Pittsburgh filmmaker George A. Romero, providing a convincing wrist slashing effect in the opening scenes of Martin (1977). The following year, working with an expanded budget on Dawn of the Dead, Savini created his signature palate of severed limbs and bite-marks. Some say the gore effects in Dawn have been widely imitated but never bettered for sheer visceral impact, the only exception being Savini's own work in the subsequent Day of the Dead (1985). Savini has also worked on films by Dario Argento (Trauma, Two Evil Eyes) and Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). His signature realism livens otherwise plodding genre films such as Maniac (1980), which incidentally contains the infamous "shotgun" scene. Perhaps Savini's most noteworthy special effects occurred in the zombie epic Day of the Dead. Savini has noted that most of the characters he has played are bikers. He played a relatively straight, innocuous character in Martin (1977), but played a menacing biker called 'Blades' in Dawn of the Dead (1978), a role he reprised with a brief cameo appearance in the 2005 continuation of the series, Land of the Dead. He also had a cameo as a sheriff in the 2004 remake of Dawn. Savini did have a much more prominent role as biker/Renaissance fair participant Morgan in George Romero's Knightriders (1981), and had a small role as a biker in The Boy Who Loved Trolls in (1984). In 1985, he had a small part in Twisted Sister's video for their song Be Chrool to Your Scuel. He also played the whip-wielding, vampire-fighting biker 'Sex Machine' in the 1996 Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez film From Dusk Till Dawn. (This character was a riff on the "Blades" character Savini created for Dawn of the Dead replete with the same costume.) Savini runs the Special Effects Make-Up and Digital Film Programs at the Douglas Education Center in Monessen, Pennsylvania and is the author of several books on special effects including Grande Illusions I and II (1983, 1994) which detail the production and mechanical workings of many of his famous film effects. He is also associated with other books in the horror genre including Book of the Dead and Horror 101 for which he wrote the foreword. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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