Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Another Russian Mars Mission (Press Release)?
7:03 pm est
Apparently, Russia would like to launch a mission in 2009
to return a sample of Mars' moon Phobos. I'd like a million dollars. I'll give the Russians a slightly better chance of
doing what they'd like to do compared to my odds of getting what I'd like. The bottom line: if you're at the point in a
mission where you're issuing "hope to" press releases three years before launch, you've got a lot of work a head of you.
I think it's a great mission, and would love to see it done, but even if it does happen, going from wish phase to launch in
three years would not inspire a lot of confidence given today's mission preparation timeline. Someday, we'll wonder why it
took so long, but not today.
Added bonus: they plan to do some sort of assembly in orbit!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Another Space Station by end of 2010?
11:01 pm est
According to Transterrestrial Musings
, Robert Bigelow has announced that he'll have a space hotel in orbit by 2010. Plans for access to the station are in the
work, but Bigelow's focus is creating the destination. Rand covers other sources that scooped him, but he's the one who got
the link from Instapundit.
Big Hole in the Ground
11:23 am est
rover is approaching an exciting science target. Space.com
has an article (including an update on MRO's antenna deployment), but you can see a raw image of the crater (split into three
, and here
. It looks like left to right panorama to me, though I haven't done any photo construction on the series.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
10:48 am est
I have NASA TV on while I eat lunch at my desk. Atlantis
will not be coming home tomorrow. They cited weather problems
and an object
spotted through cargo bay cameras.
They just showed video of the object. Ought to be interesting to hear the analysis.
Monday, September 18, 2006
A Different Article Title Would have been Better
8:02 pm est
Anyone familiar with NOAA's history of dropping satellites
probably winced as they opened this article:
NOAA Drops GOES-R Sensors
The article deals with deciding not to place sensors on the satellite instead of letting gravity have its way with them.
I wonder whether it was meant as a play on words, or was just an unfortunate choice?
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
7:44 pm est
(Note: After this post moves below the headline, the image in question can be found here
I've stated before that I'm not one to get too excited about cartoon drawings of spacecraft early in development, but something
struck me in the picture of Orion
on the left. Take a look at the conical crew capsule, and note how many attitude
control jet holes there are. I was ready to dismiss this as a cartoon artifact, especially given the fact that they aren't
symentrical (the other side of the cone has no jets visible), but then I saw the service module (pictured on the right) with
a similar theme in the over-done jets. Note that Dragon
's cartoon (center picture) has four sets of four jets. This
particular image doesn't show it, but others do show jets around the bottom of the craft.
Again, these are just cartoons, but is it possible that the call for redundancy has gotten so ridiculous that this number
of jets is called for in a requirement? Apollo Spacecraft
got away with having a thruster setup similar to Dragon
, and met mission needs just fine, even with some failures.
Their redunancy took place in the piping feeding the thrusters, so that no single failure could cause a loss of all thrusters.
Have we passed the point where we're capable of taking the risks required to go to the moon?
On the top o' the list
7:10 pm est
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Good April Fool's Joke
6:06 am est
Anyone out there with a homeowner's association that's a little over-the-top? I guess in many ways, people think they all
are. Anyway, I'm going to fill out an application (dated April 1st) saying that I'd like to move this
into my backyard. I think the impact to local parking due to the swinging door will be minimal, and can be further cut through
the installation of lights and other such warning equipment. I saw the print add in Aerospace America
, which got the whole thing started.
My wife had a lot of success with an April Fools day joke proposing a zero-g
flight for an outing with her local MOMS Club
chapter. Quite a few peole read it (including the $3750 pricetag and caravaning to Florida) and either figured it was legit
or called for confirmation.
Friday, September 8, 2006
Content to let Others Boldly go
8:09 pm est
In the midst of marking Star Trek's 40th anniversary
, I found this article
very funny. Turns out William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on the original series, was offered a seat on the first flight
of Virgin Galactic
. He turned them down. His reasoning was pretty funny, in my opinion:
“I’m interested in man’s march into the
unknown but to vomit in space is not my idea of a good time. Neither is a fiery crash with the vomit hovering over me.”
How Many Ways can you Complain About a new Building?
7:52 pm est
For anyone who's curious, this
is where I work. My office was moved to the new facility several months ago, and supposedly the other people are moving
in soon. We'll see, as we've had several false alarms on that.
Overall, I like the new building. I've never designed a building, and I'd like to think that I'd do some things different
if I were to design one, but it is a new building, and it beats our old one hands down.
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Outta Days Already
8:31 pm est
Looks like today's delay
is pushing things to Friday
. That's the last advertised day before needing to try for the next window in October. Hopefully, without the two Wed/Thu
attempts, they can negotiate another launch attempt on Saturday. It's all about the orbital mechanics
, oh, and probably some discussions with the Russians.
Sunday, September 3, 2006
Want to help with Asteroid Defense?
11:20 am est
...and potentially win $50K? Check out The Apophis Mission Design Competition
from The Planetary Society. The goal is to nail down Apophis' orbit before it makes its close approach to Earth. Big possibilities
are in the wings, as well.
This could be a very cool step towards a change in how space missions are done, like architectural competitions.
Saturday, September 2, 2006
2:22 pm est
I got an email this week from Bruce Irving, who attended The Mars Society conference this year. He's working with The MarsDrive Consortium
on an Orbiter
simulation of their Mars for Less
design reference mission. We talked at the conference, and he attended Marilyn's and my talk. It turns out he took our
idea and made his own book
for older readers. He has sample pages from it here
. You may need to page down as he keeps adding images to the top. Search for "Imagine." As I'm in the midst of trying to
find a big publisher for such a book, I wish him luck. Note: He links to I Want to go to Mars
, so we've got kind
of a mutual admiration thing going on, but isn't that something the internet is meant to foster?