Friday, May 20, 2011

Spaceship 2 Feathers

Well, check one more milestone off Virgin Galactic’s list. Honestly, the video says more than I ever could, so with that...watch the video. :)

http://www.space.com/11715-virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-passes-entry-system-test.html

Two Updates

Two updates regarding my past appearances:

1. The video from my lecture at the University of Illinois is now available for viewing: 10/16/10: Guest Speaker at the University of Illinois Reflections | Projections Conference

2. Last night (5/20/11 at 10am Bejing time) I was honored to be a panelist on a live radio discussion regarding the end of the space shuttle program and the role of commercial space. That is now available online: 05/20/11: China Radio Intl Panelist: Space Shuttle Ending & Commercial Space (Hour 1)

I just realized the large gap between these events. I need to get more on the ball with trying to get myself out there to talk about space, science, engineering and technology to the masses!

Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yes, my eyes watered a bit. Thanks for asking.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html

Well, there she goes. Or there she went. My baby. Well, many of us claim a little "ownership" of Endeavour, those of us who work with her daily in some capacity or another. Not many people can lay claim to that in their lives. I'm humbled and fortunate to be among the few who can stamp part of my career as an Engineer for the Space Shuttle Program. So yes, my eyes watered a bit.

As we all know, the Space Shuttle Program is going away, and for this blog entry I'm not going into all the nonsense that has led to this point. The fact remains that Discovery is done, Endeavour is en route to being done and Atlantis has one more mission...and that will be it. End. Fin. Kaput. So yes, my eyes watered a bit.

I have a personal connection to this flight as well, because I happen to know the pilot, Greg Johnson, because we're on the same bowling league together. A launch is always "nail biting" for me, with x-million pounds of thrust pushing a brave and highly skilled crew into space, knowing the dangers and risks involved (as we all know and accept), but in this case there was a personal connection. To that end, I couldn't help but think of the families involved and how they must feel watching their loved ones climb the ladder to space, especially Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, given all she's been though, and her husband, Commander of the mission Mark Kelly. So yes, my eyes watered a bit.

In the end, the launch was smooth as silk. Now we focus on a smooth mission, getting the AMS fired up for some great scientific work, and getting important logistics up to the ISS in a way no other spacecraft can right now. I cannot be more proud of OV-105, her performance, and all the amazingly talented men and women who comprise the OV-105 and STS-134 teams. So yes, my eyes watered a bit.

Ad Astra.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Weary of "Super Earths"

http://www.zeitnews.org/space-science/astronomers-unveil-portrait-of-super-exotic-super-earth.html

I'm growing just a tad weary of the label "Super Earth" for planets that are absolutely NOTHING like Earth. Come on astronomers, enough with the false hype nonsense and just talk about the findings without the "attention getting" pseudonyms that are, in all fairness, complete bunk.

Super-exotic super-Earth = NOTHING LIKE EARTH AT ALL.

With that said, this is a pretty whacked out planet. 18 hours to fly around the star? Sheesh.