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Here's the latest on space, and my opinions on it...
This is the legacy site, with blog entries from November, 2004 through June, 2011.
Updates after June 9, 2011 can be found at

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Some Pictures of a Shuttle in Flight
While these shots of Endeavour and the ISS are getting some well-deserved press, I just came across this picture of Endeavour with Earth in the background and the Dextre Robotic Arm in the foreground. I haven't found any press release about it yet. Seeing the stars is cool, and the cargo bay lit with its own light is pretty neat. The blurred city lights below give the perception of motion, while other minor effects like seeing the stars through the atmosphere are awesome. The camera was held pretty steady for this shot.
8:54 pm est

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The more we Learn...
The more convinced I am that we'll find life out there. The latest: crazy worms.
8:48 am est

Maintaining the Formatting I like
A YouTube video of Endeavour's flight into space, viewed from a solid rocket booster:

8:44 am est

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hitchiker on the last Shuttle Mission
NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center will fly a satellite refueling demonstration along with Atlantis. The experiment is meant to test refueling satellites that weren't designed to be refueled. Granted, that's the market today, but the more important steps will take place when satellites are designed for refueling. Cryogenic propellant transfer will also be important.

Kinda gives an idea of things that could be done with a couple more shuttle flights, but it's not enough to make me think that the program should continue.
8:25 am est

Sunday, May 29, 2011

12 Shuttle Missions that Weren't
A summary from Jim Oberg. I'm glad he didn't overplay the Columbia rescue mission.
7:08 am est

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The end of the Kennedy Space Program
On this anniversary of Kennedy's speech, a friend emailed me a link to an article written by three people whose names frequent readers here should recognize. Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Gene Cernan think that Obama's space plan grounds Kennedy's space legacy. My friend got a little more of a response than he expected, methinks:
Obama definitely grounded the centrally-controlled, unsustainably-expensive space program that took the three authors to the moon. That program gave us amazing successes, but essentially transported a decade from the future into the 1960s. Once it achieved its political goals of beating the Soviets to the moon, it became a rudderless shadow of what it was, subject to the whims of Congresspeople in a couple key districts.

Astonishingly, Obama has also opened the possibility of a sustainable, multi-faceted, exciting program that COULD have thousands of people in orbit by 2020, leading people to go beyond soon after. He's done so by saying (for the first time in his administration) that less government is the answer to this problem. I credit a lack of interest on his part more than any great insight. All that the government has to do to let this scenario happen is split less than 10% of what it would spend on its own pet projects between a few potential providers and get out of the way.
7:57 pm est

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Orion by any Other name...
Big shock! NASA stated that they're going to continue what they were doing before, modified by law as set by Congress. They will build the Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle, and the Senate Space Launch System to fly it in. The SLS will be hugely overpowered to launch a capsule, and it will only be able to fly a couple times with the existing space shuttle main engines, but that's what Congress asked for. Note the graphics in the article include an Orion MPCV switching between two inflatable modules, one of which appears to have a truss between it and some other structure, perhaps for artificial gravity. Of course, I'm looking at the field of dots and seeing what I want to see.

My best hope for this is that NASA's action will calm Congress down, so that they'll stop decrease fiddling with the budget and get on with stuff they're good at, like renaming things and assigning blame. Meanwhile, the new space people, feeding on some of the scraps and monetary round-off errors from the 'big projects' might actually accomplish something.

I'm of two minds. If space efforts were important in the political arena, we'd be seeing much more 'interest' on the part of politicians, and possibly some sort of unsustainable Apollo program. At today's current low level of importance/interest, the amount of money involved is small, but the amount of power wielded by a few members of Congress is great.

Rocket science is hard, but you can learn about it, learn from your mistakes, and accomplish something. Politics not so much.
7:48 pm est

Silent Spirit
With nothing heard since March of last year, NASA's stopped trying to communicate with the Spirit rover.
7:29 pm est

Monday, May 23, 2011

Space Debates and Such
A lot of writing's been going on recently about space, with more coming given the upcoming anniversary of Kennedy's speech challenging the US to land on the moon:
7:48 pm est

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Endeavour...My Shuttle
While others who actually work on the shuttle program have a much better claim to Endeavour, it's the shuttle I've come closest to many times. During its construction, I toured the Rockwell plant and saw one of its engines in final assembly. When it left the Palmdale assembly facility, I got a picture very similar to the one linked. While in preparations for its first launch, I flew around the launch pad as part of an Air Force tour of Cape Canaveral, and in 1993, my parents and I saw it fly on a TDRS deployment mission.

So, I've followed Endeavour's final mission with a bittersweet interest. It is truly time for the shuttles to stop flying, but I hope that the future of space, in whatever form it takes, is allowed to develop.
6:20 pm est

Rogue Planets Spotted
According to NASA. It will take a lot of rogue planets to make up the missing mass that's been explained by dark matter and dark energy. As usual, I'm curious to see where this leads.

Related: JPL's PlanetQuest Website.
6:06 pm est

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Someone's been Watching SpaceX's CCDev Video
Robert Zubrin has a new approach for reaching Mars. It involves a couple Falcon Heavy launches, and two people traveling in a Dragon capsule the whole way there.
7:19 pm est

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Approaching Vesta 6:48 pm est

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reason to have a YouTube Video Always Posted
I like the format of the page better when the YouTube frame makes the center section wider. I'm sure there's another way to set it that way, but the YouTube video will work just fine...
8:15 pm est

SpaceX Announces their CCDev 2 with Flair
7:09 pm est

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