Monday, April 06, 2009

Space Potpourri

Some interesting things being said in the space industry, mostly because there haven't been a lot of interesting things being done.

Jeff Foust has a good editorial about the challenges facing the Constellation Program. There's also an interesting essay on the aimlessness in the Obama administration's space policy (which I agree with) and the need for yet another "independent" assessment of the DIRECT architecture (which I do not agree with). In fact, if you haven't subscribed to The Space Review yet, you should do so. It is probably the best outlet I've seen for editorials dealing specifically with space advocacy.

Astronaut Mike Massimino is Twittering to give folks a behind-the-scenes look at NASA's astronaut biz. I'll be interested to see how much "truth" they allow him to write. The agency as a whole is very protective of its "brand" (image). They're rather like Disney in that way.

USA Today has a very cool Flash feature depicting the assembly of the International Space Station.

The Space Frontier Foundation in this editorial is offering the following policy suggestions to the Obama administration:

    • Kill the overbudget, behind schedule Ares rocket project;
    • Launch NASA’s new Orion capsule on human-rated expendable launch vehicles;
    • Provide more money to NASA’s COTS programs to support the development of private human space systems;
    • Fund the cheapest medium-lift vehicle launcher possible to facilitate Moon missons.

This isn't space-specific, but a coworker referred me to a site providing multiple links to women and technology called WomenTechWorld.

Someone is offering suggestions for theme music for the Constellation Program.

Former astronaut Lisa Nowak's defense team is trying to make the case that she was autistic. Oh, come on, really?? You don't get to be one of America's best and brightest by being autistic. They wouldn't let her on the Space Shuttle if she had that. I happened to see Ms. Nowak at MSFC during a crew visit the November before her little "incident." She was focused, composed, and engaged, none of which--as far as I'm aware--are habits of typical autistics.

The U.S. space industry is not yet seeing a slowdown, despite the iffy economy. Huzzah! Some good news for a change!

The Orlando Sentinel has fired another broadside at the Constellation Program.


And on the lighter side of things--and not related to space whatsoever--hat tip to my dad for finding this "tutorial" on how to speak car mechanic gibberish. Engineers should watch this so they have some idea of what it's like for an English major during some meetings about rocket science.

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