Friday, February 25, 2011

Discovery Away

And so she's off! Discovery launched yesterday, but not without a bit of excitement as Range Safety had some glitches that caused the launch to hold at T-5 minutes. Given such a small launch window, the clock was restarted with basically less than 10 seconds of cushion. WHEW! Talk about a James Bond moment! lol.

What's Discovery doing this time? ISS visit, dropping of droids (R2...and yes, I love the Star Wars linkage here), resupplying some things, basically keeping ISS happy for a little while longer while the shuttles still exist. Ugh...while they still exist. Every time I think about how all this is unfolding, I get so annoyed that we don't have shuttle 2.0 tested and ready to pick up where shuttle 1.0 left off. We upgrade everything these days, but not one of the most successful and amazing accomplishments in the history of mankind? Stupid Congress.

Bright side? Well, Boeing et al have proposed making the three shuttles into commercial spacecraft. After all, Boeing owns them, not NASA. Most people don't know that. They think "Space Shuttle" and they instantly think NASA, which is how it's always been promoted of course, but little thought is given to who actually owns the shuttle, and the hundreds of contracted companies that provide the real support for ensuring that vehicle remains functional, like mine, GeoControls.

Anyway, the launch was nominal, which is always good. A few pieces of this and that flew off and struck the Orbiter, but nothing beyond tolerance limits. Reports and analysis will come soon verifying all that, which is what science and engineering is all about...analyze the data and issue a finding (report). Hooray science! :)

So now we have 2 flights left, my baby (Endeavour) for STS-134 sometime in April and Atlantis (STS-135) who knows when. lol. The delay of Discovery put everything else in a nice state of flux. I've seen launch dates change about 10 times in the past few months, so I give guesses. I'll know what the official launch date will be when NASA makes it public. lol. Well, I'll know several days before that because of the CR mods that make the changes, but eh, that's all behind the scenes mumbo-jumbo. :)

Safe mission Discovery, we look forward to your safe return, and revel in your past accomplishments.

Ad Astra!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Close, But Not Quite (MARS 500)

This is a really cool simulation, but here's my problem with it, on the psychological level...

The people inside know that there are people on the other side of that wall that can run in a save them if a real accident happens. The stress related to that scenario isn't there, but in a space trip, it's DEFINITELY there.

So, why not do this in the Arctic, with a minimum 3 day travel distance between the outpost and any rescue attempt? At least then you mimic the travel time for the Moon. If stuff hits the fan on a Moon base, it'll be three days before any help arrives...assuming you have a standby rocket on the pad for such a scenario that can launch nearly instantly.

Psycho-social stress is one thing...being locked up with your mates for months at a time. But REAL danger stress is something even more pronounced when it comes to space travel, and this experiment completely bypasses that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Jesus Rocket!

Just a simple observation...

Funny how ancient mythology dominates space exploration nomenclature.

You never see the Jesus rocket! lmao.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Planets Packed in Tight

And you think the lines at movie blockbuster releases are packed. When it comes to interstellar planetary packing, it seems Kepler-11 is the winner for stuffing more stuff in a small space than I can into a UHaul truck when moving! lol.

NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Discovers Extraordinary New Planetary System

Although I must admit, I'm getting a bit bored with all these discoveries of things that aren't even remotely close to looking like our solar system. The gas giants are huge, the Earth's are SUPER, and the temperature extremes are, well, extreme.

I do wish the aliens would just show up, smack some sense into the human race, and set us on the right path to living sustainably on this finite Earth. Eh, one can dream.