Monday, February 28, 2011
Musical Space Station Review
7:31 pm est
No matter what I say about NASA, astronauts, or what needs to change in our approach to space efforts, this
would be really cool to do.
Note: 17 minutes of Five for Fighting
songs. According to some of the comments, this is difficult to take for some
Saturday, February 26, 2011
5:33 am est
Amateur high-altitude balloons have been around for a few years as an exciting way for a group of students (or adults) to
get pictures from the edge of space. Usually, the timing of the balloon launch deals mostly with people's availability (on
the weekends) and weather conditions at the launch site and in the upper atmosphere. A group of people deliberately launched
a balloon to see Discovery's launch
. The launch included two Android phones and got video...can't wait to see it.
The Stuff of Science Fiction and Fact Alike...
5:25 am est
Thursday, February 24, 2011
8:43 pm est
I missed Discovery's last liftoff
The biggest topic of conversation in the next day or so will probably be the object circled in red in this image
from about 4:40 in this video
Monday, February 21, 2011
7:02 pm est
Could a large enough solar storm create a global Katrina
through wide-scale failure of electronics and the electrical grid? Hope not...
When Congress isn't Giving you the Action you want, go to the UN!
8:34 am est
The United Nations just discussed space issues, and came up with a list
of methods where space can help us here on Earth. None of them mention sending people into space, and none of them mention
resources from space. In my opinion, the second oversight is the bigger of the two.
6:54 am est
6:48 am est
While I understand its importance to space as it's currently done (something 'cool' that major governments choose to do),
the congressional budget process literally makes me ache, so I try not to follow it too closely. There have been a couple
of recent developments, though, probably foreshadowing things to come.
One problem with being reliant on one organization
for all your funding is that you're reliant on one organization for all your funding. In the case of Congress, one staffer
who thinks that space is a waste of funds can slip an amendment into a bill and shut everything down. Yes, a single funding
source and centralized control has the potential to do amazing things rather quickly (Apollo), but it is not the answer to
Saturday, February 19, 2011
The view from (very near) the Sun
5:38 pm est
is approaching its orbital rendezvous with Mercury. Over the course of a couple days last year, it took a mosaic of pictures
showing most of the planets in the solar system. It makes an excellent counter to Voyager's pale blue dot picture
Cross-Atlantic Amateur Balloon?
6:03 am est
Ever since TEMPO's balloon flight
, I've been on the email list for the group Stratofox
. They're an amateur (ONLY
because they don't get paid...I'm really thinking we need a new term for "incredibly skilled
people who choose to do work for fun instead of pay"). They just pointed me towards a group who plans to send the first amateur balloon
across the Atlantic. Launch date may be as soon as next week. The project has a wiki, and I noticed that in the tech data
for their satellite receiver, the diagram shows the signal reaching a satellite that looks suspiciously like Pioneer 10 or 11
. Now that's an impressive link!
5:46 am est
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
That's not as big as I Expected...
8:15 pm est
The crater made by the Deep Impact
impactor didn't leave as big a hole as I expected. Stardust's
cameras show us what it looks like
Update: There may be some issues with the resolution and lighting of the image preventing a good view of the crater.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Still Thinking Big at NASA
8:33 pm est
Here's an article
, including a 28-slide Powerpoint presentation, about a huge structure for in-space (non-atmospheric) transfers. While this
guy is definitely thinking outside the normal box by having an inflatable centrifuge ring, something tells me this won't be
the way we move into the solar system.
Will Nautilus X ever become reality? It does constitute good, outside the box thinking. Much depends
on money and leadership, both of which is lacking currently.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Checking in on an old Constellation
9:31 pm est
In my early days as a brash young lieutenant, I was in the Air Force working on several satellites. The one I worked on then
that most people recognize nowadays is the GPS Constellation
, where I assisted with early orbit checkout for 13 of the original 24 operational satellites. I talked with some folks today
who work policy issues for that constellation, and they have a 'scorecard' of satellites. Turns out that 5 of the 13 satellites
I worked on between 1992 and 1995 are still flying, providing navigation data to the world. Back then, I bought one of the
early handheld units
so I could show people what I did at work. The unit had the first attempt I'm aware of trying to make a number keypad type
letters, and they had a ways to go in the approach.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Now we're not Talking About Commerce
9:15 pm est
I have very little commentary on this
, except to say I doubt it will work.
Lunar Reservations Being Made
9:13 pm est
9:08 pm est
I plan to try and get to this
. It's dealing with some important stuff:
Workshop will address these questions: Do we have adequate NEO
targets for a robust, resilient, forward-looking but affordable human spaceflight program beyond LEO over the next two decades?
What do we know in the context of human exploration of a NEO, and what information is lacking? Which missing information is
critical, and which is “nice to have”? On what timescale is that information necessary? What level of effort and resources
are necessary to resolve outstanding issues on that timescale? What is the community consensus on the costs and benefits of
resolving those issues?
Sunday, February 6, 2011
The Sun, Brought to you in its Entirety...
2:01 pm est
and the two STEREO
spacecraft. This is a very big deal, and you can see the sun's rendering here
, while it looks like they'll keep some sort of status on the main page
. Let's hope we don't lose this capability.
While the sun can be quiet at times, it remains unpredictable. Some of the biggest flares
(search for December 2006) happen during the sun's quiet times. If people are going to be away from the Earth, with less
shielding than Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere supply, we're going to need to tell them when it's time to get into the
bunker. A 360° view of our home star is the way to do that.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Predictions and Such
1:30 pm est
, about Mark Kelly not commanding his final shuttle mission due to his wife's injury, has not come true. He will command STS-134
. As the story developed, and I heard that Gabrielle Giffords was moving to a rehabilitation hospital in Houston, I thought
that might be the way things go. On a technicality, I did say 'barring some amazing recovery.'
What a gut-wrenching decision. Between your (most likely) last trip into space and mostly watching, but helping somewhat
in your wife's recovery from a traumatic injury. All I have to say is I hope I never have to make a call like that.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Kepler Brings Home More Bacon
5:38 pm est