Thursday, August 27, 2009

Potpourri CI

The Ares Projects were supposed to have the first static (ground) test of the five-segment solid rocket motor. Unfortunately, the computer shut down the countdown 20 seconds before firing due to a problem with the auxiliary power unit in the thrust vector control system. If that sounded like Greek to you, it doesn't really matter. The test was stopped because of a problem, which can happen when it's a test, but of course NASAWatch's Keith Cowing will probably be working overtime tonight, wallowing in the "joy" (for him) of a perceived problem with Ares.

Oh, yes: and the Ares Projects Manager, Steve Cook, is resigning from the agency. Interesting times indeed. One wonders what tomorrow will bring.

Some articles/podcasts from the National Academies Press on communicating about science:

Florida Today has a good summary of the most likely options the Augustine Panel is going to offer to President Obama regarding human spaceflight. It's focused on its impact on Florida's "Space Coast" (Kennedy Space Center), but is still a useful read.

From my NASA PAO feed, an academic scholarship opportunity:


WASHINGTON -- NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate will begin accepting scholarship applications on Sept. 1, 2009, for the 2010 academic year. The application deadline is Jan. 11, 2010.

"These scholarships are a fantastic way to support our brightest students and encourage them to finish their education, expose them to NASA's research programs and inspire them to pursue a career in aeronautics," said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

NASA expects to award 20 undergraduate and five graduate scholarships to students in aeronautics or related fields. Undergraduate students entering their second year of study will receive up to $15,000 per year for two years and the opportunity to receive a $10,000 stipend by interning at a NASA research center during the summer. Graduate students will receive up to $35,000 per annually for up to three years, with an opportunity to receive a $10,000 stipend interning at a NASA research center up to two consecutive summers.

Students who have not committed to a specific academic institution or program still may apply. However, if accepted, they must be admitted by fall 2010 into a suitable aeronautical engineering program or related field of study at an accredited U.S. university. All applicants must be U.S. citizens. Scholarship money may be used for tuition and other school-related expenses.

NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate conducts cutting-edge, fundamental research in traditional and emerging disciplines. The intent is to help transform the nation's air transportation system and to support development of future air and space vehicles. Goals include improving airspace capacity and flexibility; aviation safety and aircraft performance; reducing overall noise, engine emissions and fuel usage.

For details about this scholarship program, including how to apply, visit:

From Lin:

  • Newt Gingrich on why government can't and shouldn't run health care.
  • The Democrats are going to use the death of Senator Ted Kennedy to push through nationalized health care.

Dominick Dunne, an astute and clever writer with a unique niche--crime and punishment among America's upper class--has passed away. A shame. His abiding sense of justice, fueled by his daughter's murder, gave his fiction a fierce quality quite at odds with his restrained, upper-crusty characters. A great writer.

Popular Mechanics has an article about SpaceX.

Want to know the average internet connection speed in your neighborhood? Check this out.

A story from my old home town of Lombard, Illinois: a little "incident" at the fire department. Whups!

From Gwen: a story by CNN that beer prices are likely to go up due to "commodity" prices. Reading between the lines, beer prices are going up because energy (petroleum) prices are going up, and you need petroleum/hydrocarbons to make fuel for tractors and chemicals for fertilizer. This is why we need to pump more oil.

Did you know Cheryl Ladd (of Charlie's Angels fame) had her own web site? Well, jeez, who doesn't?

Oh yeah--and score one more for the Science Cheerleader! Darlene was profiled on her local (Philadelphia) CBS affiliate. Gooooo Dar!

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