What can you write about when it's your thirty-seventh birthday? It's one of those birthdays that is not the one when men buy a sports car (that's in three years, I think), not one that lets you start drinking (that's eighteen in Israel, by the way), nor it is one that is an impressive as my father's upcoming birthday - ninety years young.
However, last Friday was my first birthday of many things, as this past year was a year of beginnings. First came my renewed interest in space. I decided to poke my head outside of the lane I was in - software engineering - after a visit to Florida last fall. That visit, which was primarily intended as a starting point for a wonderful Disney Cruise with my wife, kids and parents, included an eye opening visit to Kennedy Space Center, which started a cascade of events.
In the following months I started forming connections with people interested in space, one of which is Brian Shiro - a geophysicist and astronaut candidate living in Hawaii. I also started writing this blog, describing my space-aspirations and perspective, sometimes drawing fire and disagreement, hopefully other times providing a bit of inspiration and making a difference for the people who read it.
Folsom Field, Boulder CO - waiting for the professional racers
As an Israeli, Memorial Day in the United States is a strange, almost surreal day. Whereas in Israel this day is all about remembering the fallen troops and terrorism casualties, here remembrance is interwoven with sales and festivals. One of the biggest Memorial-Day events nation-wide is the Bolder Boulder, the second largest 10K road race in the U.S., consisting of more than 50,000 runners, joggers, walkers and wheel-chairs.
Astronauts4Hire has occupied a lot of my time in the past few months since inception. With a lot to do and few people to do it, I am happy we are growing, and even more excited about the caliber and quality of the new people who joined us recently.
In the wake of the mess I like to call the ADHD space policy, SpaceX is a name at the forefront of companies who are shaping a new chapter in human spaceflight, at least to near-Earth orbit, and some day will enable 500 people to go to space not in 50 years but in a year or less.
Optimism aside, as we're talking space access here, there are many steps between now and achieving this goal. Today SpaceX made a big step towards proving the viability of commercially designed and built rockets and platforms. At 2:45pm Falcon 9 made its inaugural flight into orbit. From its first stage with nine Merlin engines through separation, second stage and telemetry, the launch went without a hitch except for being delayed when a safety system aborted the launch 2 seconds before the initial launch, demonstrating the ability to recycle very quickly after an abort.
The founder of Space Tweep Society, Jen Scheer (Twitter: @flyingjenny), a space-shuttle technician by day and space tweep 24x7, together with Tiffany Titus (@astrogerly) contributed to the excitement of the STS-132 Atlantis launch a few weeks ago by having a post launch party to celebrate the Space Tweep Society first birthday, or as they named it, Space Tweep Society 1st Anniversary Twelebration.
Space Tweep Society (STS... is this a coincidence?) is a portal for people who tweet about space (i.e. space tweeps) and bloggers, or anything in between. 140 characters not enough? The commitment to maintaining a blog too much? You can register and express yourself on the STS web site, which connects the public, space enthusiasts and people (like Jen and Tiffany themselves) who work in the space industry.