January and February in Rockets

Photo Credit: SpaceX

A quick overview of what’s due to go up/come down in January and February:

Dragon on Falcon 9 (SpaceX): Dragon, made and launched by the private company SpaceX, will demonstrate approach to and docking with the International Space Station per their COTS contract. Currently the target launch date is 7 February, but this may be pushed back by a few days (the launch window each day is pretty small). Upon launch, the unmanned capsule will synchronize orbit with Station, practice maneuvers at a safe distance, and finally approach for docking. Astronauts aboard the station will grab Dragon with the Canadarm2 (eh!), and guide it to the PMA-2 dock on Node 2, between the European and Japanese lab modules (at least, that’s what the SpaceX pictures show). This will be the first time a privately-owned spacecraft has docked with Station.

The Falcon 9 rocket is also made by SpaceX; it is a two-stage rocket with nine LOX/kerosene engines in the first stage,  and one LOX/kerosene engine in the second. Both Dragon and Falcon 9 are currently at Cape Canaveral in preparation for the launch. Continue reading

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On Advice

Here’s my prompt for this week: What advice would I give a graduating class of high school students, and “do you think there’s any point to giving advice to young people or is experience the only source of knowledge that sticks?”

I only have two points of advice on this, mainly because when one is giving advice, one wants it to be short enough so people will read it, and because one doesn’t want to say something completely ridiculous. Reducing words reduces the chances of that happening. The following assumes that the graduating class is going on to university, as I did. So here goes:

  1. Get plugged into a campus fellowship or a local church with a good college group. This is super, super important. When you start college, you will be absolutely bombarded with activities and clubs and other people who want you to join whatever they’re doing, because every organization wants to recruit freshmen. This offers an excellent opportunity to try new things; some of it won’t work out that well (for me, it was field hockey) and some of it will get you hooked (ie. cycling). But your first priority should be finding that fellowship where the members will offer you strong spiritual support in the times of growth, trials, and service that will follow. College is a time of really cementing who you are as an individual; having good friendships and involvement in a Christian community will critically influence your development. It’s really easy to be dragged away from Christ and the church as a first priority; there are classes, friends, parties, sports, other clubs – the list goes on. Get involved in a fellowship and stay there. Continue reading

So Close

Oh, look, I’m posting! … Sorry about that, folks. Life kind of pounced and began throttling me rather violently this past month. BUT I am not letting April go blog-less, so I win.

What’s new in my life, you ask? Not much. I have a few project/papers to go before I’m home free; I’m looking forward to a change of pace over the summer. Over the past month or two I’ve been working my contacts in an effort to land a lab or industry summer position, just praying I’d get something and that I wasn’t too late. And, after all that work and worry, an amazingly sweet project here at school just dropped into my lap, courtesy of my adviser and another prof in the department. Once again, God has this timing thing down to a tee.
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October Sky (Pictures)

I’m alive! Barely, but alive, I promise. And I posted before LesleyT, so I win at life, despite still being traumatized by yesterday’s Orbit Mechanics test.

My life in a sentence: Work work sleep eat work work class class eat work work work work frisbee shower eat work work want to go to bed but just remembered that I had some other work work. Yeah.

Some cool things that managed to happen:

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On My Mind

A bunch of links that I feel an odd compulsion to post:

xkcd – Cuttlefish. Kill the physicists….

Wall Street Journal – The President Comforts a Marine Mom. No. This is not a sappy human interest story. It’s – *gasp* – an op-ed in a respected publication that doesn’t actually bash Bush, and quite worth the read.

Wall Street Journal – A Monument for Obama. Another op-ed with some interesting home truths.

through a glass darkly – PC or Not PC? Something I posted two years ago that still frustrates me.

SPACE.com – 2008: A Momentous Year in Spaceflight. Top ten achievements of this past year, if you want a quick summary.

Merry Christmas!!!!

I have a story to post, but want to proof it first. Stay tuned…

Books, Bubbles, Buses, and Boeing

In the face of complaints that I don’t update often enough, I will admit that I have been slacking off. Remember, that’s what academs do. (It’s okay – we SEs love you guys anyway. We just don’t show it.) So what do I feel inspired to write about today? Ermm…ah, yes.

Books, or the lack thereof. I’m not exactly lacking in books, just a certain genre. I’m not exactly “lacking”, either – there are plenty of bookstores, but I don’t have the funds, nor the suitcase space, to build the kind of library I would like to. Have I ever told you how much I love Half-Price Books? But this weekend … I caved. I snapped. I gave in to the enormous weight of temptation. My flesh was weak, and my spirit – entirely unwilling. I cashed out for “The Bourne Ultimatum” and spent the weekend locked up in my room reading, and I don’t regret it at all. At some point I may feel obliged to write a short review, but all I’ll say now is that it was awesome. I haven’t read any of Ludlum’s books until now, but I’m sure I will in future.

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