A New York Times opinion piece (free registration required) on the Republican platform critiques the document and then notes this at the end:
passage nicely summarizes the Republican approach to government, at the dawn of its long exile from power — bold and feckless,
all at once. In a section on “Technology and Innovation,” the platform’s authors look to the heavens. They write, “As a symbol
of that commitment, we share the vision of returning Americans to the Moon as a step toward a mission to Mars.”
A symbol of a vision of a step — one small step indeed. But a party can dream, can’t it?
I've not heard whether
the Democratic Party platform contains a mention of Mars.
I did my first video update on Wednesday. Here is the channel, and there are archives. Next one will be on Wednesday night at 8:30 pm ET. You can watch by simply going
to the website, but if you want to participate in the chat room (it's how I get questions to answer), you'll need to register.
As you might guess, my time for blogging has decreased since I've taken on TEMPO3. Right now I'm in the throws
of getting things started: forming teams and getting the project off on the right foot. I have some other commitments around
the house as well which are more involved, so we'll see what happens.
Want the ability to make 'almost' anything? You want a Fab Lab. Space connection: this is a precursor to something long-term space travelers would want rather than carrying a whole slew
of spare parts.
I'm heading to The Mars Society Conference in Boulder, where I'll be giving two talks. One is my entry for the Mars Project Challenge, a microsatellite demonstrator of artificial gravity. The other is a "Bored Billionaire's Guide to Space," which started
as a panel discussion but has morphed into something else that I haven't been briefed on yet. Given that TMS has a new executive director, I expect the flavor to be quite different this year.
Rand Simberg has a link that will get you to the video of the 2nd stage re-contact and of course, he can do comments at his blog. I like the sound
in the video, as I think it comes from on board. The way it fades away gives you an idea of what the craft is going through.
SpaceX has announced (no permalink, check the archives if the August 6th update doesn't come up) their findings as to what caused the loss of
their latest mission. Looks like the new first stage engine had a longer shut-down time to it than the old engine, and it
caused a re-contact with stage 2 again. The pressure level in the engine that caused this problem was only 10 psi (unmeasurable
during a sea-level test at ambient pressure of 14.7 psi), but that was enough. They're talking about flying again quickly,
which I think is a good thing.
Hats off to this guy, who called it. Hopefully, Elon will bring some video to the Mars Society conference next week!
Saw my first planetarium show in a portable planetarium today. I was quite impressed. The show I saw was done by John Meader, who runs Northern Stars. He travels around Maine (but will go further under certain circumstances) with his show for school
kids, and he has 28 shows available. His shows are original, and use the standard equipment coming with the planetarium,
though he's added a lot of his own effects.
There's also a contest for anyone who wants to win their own portable planetarium, including the digital projector and software. (places right
pinky finger in teeth) Hmmm....
According to Spaceflightnow, SpaceX is saying there was a stage separation problem. In their last launch, the first stage impacted the second stage
nozzle as it separated. This drove some changes to the separation system, and would be the first place I'd look for trouble.
No word on whether the 'jitter' in roll was a factor, though Justin Ray at SFN noticed it as well. Here's the video that
came out last night:
Update: In a message to employees posted on the web, Elon focuses on the positive (excellent performance of the Merlin 1C), lists future activities, mentions
a significant investment that SpaceX accepted, and says that he'll never give up. Good to hear.
Looks like the video feed was delayed again. The video broadcast has dropped off, and there was an announcement of an anomaly
with the vehicle. This would be with the first stage, as opposed to the 2nd stage that caused the problem last time. I'm
sure there's more to come.
It sounds like their countdown procedure is a combination of those of the big aerospace companies' (Lockheed Martin, Boeing)
procedure. I was involved in early attempts to standardize the procedures, and it was amazing to see how worked up some people
got about things!
Having watched other launches, it floors me how late the LOX tank valves close on the Falcon. Of course, on the second stage,
it would probably be better to leave the tank venting until after launch to keep some sort of consistency in the pressurization.
A couple times through the night, SpaceX's Quicktime client quit (we're in the midst of one right now). It's funny to see
a broadcast error message. The first time I saw it, I tried to acknowledge the message, thinking the error was on my machine.
SpaceX is in the midst of trying to launch its Falcon 1 booster. Good luck!
(This one is confirmed) SpaceX tested its Falcon 9 booster with all 9 engines in place.
Rumors (link problems at first posting, though it should be valid...will be updated) are heavy that some sort of big announcement
is on the way from NASA about a Phoenix discovery. Supposedly, the White House had to be briefed first. My prediction: The hype will grow so fast that they'll
need to hold a press conference on Monday to calm the speculation and it won't be that big a deal. In this type of prediction,
I actually hope I'm wrong.
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