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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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Friday, May 22, 2009

First Mars Image Done with Crayons
I'd read about this before, but hadn't seen the actual artwork. I think it's pretty cool.
6:24 pm est

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Farewell to an Old Friend
While I think its significance will be overplayed, I've been following Atlantis's mission to Hubble pretty closely. There are roles for people in space, and no mission shows it better than these repair and upgrade flights. I went to an on-site showing of release (when Atlantis let Hubble go) and that's a whole separate story that won't get posted here. I wish they'd been able to show this video however, as it shows the crew crowding around the windows to see it go away, and you can actually hear the shuttle's thrusters firing. You also hear camera shutters clicking, leading to images like this.
8:01 pm est

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

GPS on the Verge of Failing? (Likely not)
There's an article out there saying that the Global Positioning System (GPS) is due to fail in the year 2010. I'm pretty sure that this is a case of the media overblowing things. The system is designed to degrade gracefully, meaning that the first indications would be a decreasing accuracy, and it would take the failure of many satellites to mean a complete loss of navigational data. Of course, when GPS was designed the cold war was going on, and the thought was that satellites would be lost in combat, not contractual delays and budgetary malaise. In the end, the effect is the same.

Update on Friday: The Air Force weighs in, though the article author isn't buying it. In an odd coincidence, it looks like the AF spokesman used to carpool to work with my wife. This is a problem with satellite operations in that most spacecraft are one failure away from ending their mission. When you need 24 of them to keep a constellation going and have 30, with 3 more you could "un-retire", it's not a completely rosy picture, but it's certainly not black either.
9:04 pm est

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Another Augustine Committee
Norm Augustine has been asked to lead a review of human spaceflight plans. Some people see this as a chance to redirect the current direction of NASA, away from the Ares Boosters that are the backbone of current plans to get people into orbit and beyond after the shuttle retires.

This is the second time Norm Augustine has been asked to do something like this, the last time was in 1990. I haven't read the report, but since Bob Park thinks the 1990 report is a good place to start for this new one, I guess I should.
6:04 pm est

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Star Trek: The First Fun Movie in the series?
The Onion investigates.

Note: While this story is funny and clean, the other 'news' segments are less wholesome.
4:51 am est

Friday, May 1, 2009

CueSat Conference/TEMPO Update!
I attended the 6th Annual CubeSat Conference at Cal Poly last week. The whole thing had a very "Home Brew Computer Club" feel to it. Summary of the event here.

I presented an overview of TEMPO. We're definitely not on the hairy edge of what a CubeSat can do, but people were excited to see CubeSats contributing to human spaceflight, even if it's in a small way. Our current direction, going through final approval now, is to drop a CubeSat-like object from a balloon at high altitude. This test can be done very cheaply, and will provide a few seconds of artificial gravity before atmospheric drag becomes a big problem. We'll also get some spectacular pictures and films, such as this group. Be sure to check out the last ascent video, which transitions rapidly to a descent video.
6:02 am est

Administrator Talk and More
Lots of good discussion about NASA's need for an administrator here at Space Politics. It also includes news of a potential review of the current architecture and a re-direct. Of course, that blog allows comments (my software doesn't allow it), so you can chime in...
5:46 am est

Goin' on a Diet (but not for weight issues)
The Orion spacecraft, now being built to carry astronauts to the space station and later on to the moon, was originally meant to carry six astronauts to Earth orbit and four beyond. Now, the design is changing to make it just carry four astronauts to orbit. According to the article, the design change is meant to save development time by only building one interior configuration, not to save weight.
5:41 am est

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Tom and Discovery
Taken During a Tour of KSC on 6 Oct 2010

TEMPOł Update
Click on the picture to go to the Mars Society TEMPOł Page

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