Saturday, August 3, 2013

SpaceX Glitches - Countering Over-Engineering

Over-engineering? (Portland, OR)
SpaceX is arguably the most successful private/commercial/new space company to date. After being the third country entity to develop the technology and hardware that can bring cargo to the International Space Station and back, it's taking strides towards bringing people to the coveted destination in the sky, working on a version 1.12.0 of the Falcon 9 rocket and also on a reusable rocket, the Grasshopper.

With all the success SpaceX is having, we should not forget the problems and misses of recent launches, for example an shut-down in-flight and problems with thrusters required to get the Dragon to the ISS when in orbit.
From the SpaceX Updates page:
After Dragon achieved orbit, the spacecraft experienced an issue with a propellant valve. One thruster pod is running. We are trying to bring up the remaining three. 
One may look at these issues and be concerned about SpaceX design, manufacturing quality, engineering, redundancy and what not. I am actually encouraged by these glitches.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Past and Future of Spaceflight at the Museum of Flight

Last weekend was a celebration of space at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. A Yuri's Night party and SpaceUp Seattle provided for both a celebration of the beginning of manned spaceflight 52 years ago and some contemplation about the future through part what's being done today, part what could be done.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I've Seen Moon-Walkers, and They're Old

I've seen moon-walkers face to face. I shook hands and exchanged words with Buzz Aldrin, Gene Kranz and watched many others as they got a standing ovation at the Museum of Flight gala in September. The youngest moon walker, Charles Duke, is 77 years old. All of their space-expansion glory dates back to 1969 - 1972. When I saw these amazing people a realization that accompanied my inspiration was that they were old. Not only that, they are also the only ones that did this. Unlike other positive beginnings, this one seems more like a blip on our terrestrial bound existence rather than a the sign of things to come. Am I simply impatient?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Aircraft Water Egress Course, an Anti-Complacency Pill

Getting ready to go underwater. Credit: Guillaume Fortin
Complacency... When one thinks about aircraft crash landing, be it an airplane, a helicopter or maybe a suborbital spacecraft, that's not the word that usually comes to mind. On November 19 I drove up from my home in Issaquah WA to Langley BC in order to learn why it is enemy number one when the craft or pilot fail and how to escape a drowning airplane the right way (i.e. alive).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wings of Heroes Gala - Space Reunion at the Museum of Flight

When I moved to Seattle now almost two years ago with my family to try my luck at Jeff Bezos's bigger of his two companies (not Blue Origin), little did I know that one of the opportunities that to open up would be to share a tent (one fit for tuxedos and evening dresses) and dinner with five decades of space icons flown-in from across the United States and beyond to a museum less than twenty miles from my home. All that and more took place at the the Wings of Heroes Gala on September 22 2012 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.