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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

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Another Russian Mars Mission (Press Release)?
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!
7:03 pm est

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Another Space Station by end of 2010?
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.
11:01 pm est

Big Hole in the Ground
The Opportunity rover is approaching an exciting science target. has an article (including an update on MRO's antenna deployment), but you can see a raw image of the crater (split into three parts) here, here, and here. It looks like left to right panorama to me, though I haven't done any photo construction on the series.
11:23 am est

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

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.
10:48 am est

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Different Article Title Would have been Better
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?
8:02 pm est

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

(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?
7:44 pm est

On the top o' the list
The Mars Society has I Want to go to Mars at the top of their web site (as of 12 Sept 06...if you're looking after that you may need to page down)
7:10 pm est

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Good April Fool's Joke
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.
6:06 am est

Friday, September 8, 2006

Content to let Others Boldly go
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.”
8:09 pm est

How Many Ways can you Complain About a new Building?
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.
7:52 pm est

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Outta Days Already
Looks like today's delay of Atlantis 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.
8:31 pm est

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Want to help with Asteroid Defense?
...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.
11:20 am est

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Inspiring Others?
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?
2:22 pm est

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