Inside the Box

or, What I’m Doing for Summer Vacation. Contrary to popular opinion, my summer employment is not Classified, Top Secret, Need to Know (right now, I have mental pictures of these words stamped in red ink) or anything else that prohibitive and therefore enthralling. There are parts that involve export-restricted and proprietary stuff, though, so for those I’m not going to write anything that isn’t published or publicly available.

Here’s the scoop. There are several companies that are taking on the challenge of commercial spaceflight; among them are Virgin Galactic/Scaled Composites of Ansari X-Prize fame, SpaceX, and Armadillo Aerospace. Also included is Blue Origin, owned and funded by the founder of In addition to having headquarters near Seattle and a launch site in West Texas, I’ve heard that they also have in their lobby a model of Jules Verne’s projectile-vehicle from his novel From the Earth to the Moon, as well as a door from the set of Battlestar Galactica. Cool. Continue reading


Coffee and Whiteboard Markers

Hmmm. I’m not sure about the new header; I tried to change the theme colors to not-green but that wasn’t really an option.

So. This has been a good week. For example: Yesterday I left work early (I had overtime from other days) and went to a kind of welcome-back-Expedition-16 thing at JSC. And I shook hands with Peggy Whitson. Yeah. And on Tuesday I went to a Bible study small group that was pretty awesome, and today I made a coffeecake, just because I needed the complete excess of sugar and because I could. I haven’t had a decent oven for almost a year.

Continue reading