She’s cute, for a woman astronaut, a breed who tend to be bland, but I admit it was the spectacular view that really got me to post this. The home planet, our water world: big blue, remembered earth shining, shining in the black.
They’re finally putting more windows in the International Space Station.
It may, sooner than we’d like, be allowed to crash into the atmosphere and burn up, its fragments falling into the oceans. But, in the meantime, watch this flash timeline of how it was built and think about what yet may be done there.
The first launch of SpaceX’s heavy lift vehicle, Falcon 9, may be delayed until fall, but its Falcon 1’s orbiting of a Malaysian sat ten days ago was a plus. Fun to have their Merlin engine test facilities just up the road in McGregor, southwest of Waco.
Might not be if they were rattling our windows, but they don’t do tests very often. Since their founder Elon Musk is the co-founder of PayPal, I hope my use of that service helps SpaceX, too. Falcon 9 was designed from the start to fly a four-man crew and service the International Space Station once the shuttles are retired.
Good luck, guys. It might not be in your plans but I hope you can beat the Indians and Chinese to the moon.
Posted in Science/Engineering, Scribbles, Space, Texana
Tagged Elon Musk, Falcon 1, Falcon 9, International Space Station, McGregor, Merlin engines, PayPal, SpaceX
Robots, alone, no matter how perfectly programmed, will never do:
"The station’s cost and complexity dwarfs any other international technical project in history. But such machines, built by people, are imperfect, and now and then, they will break down. To make the station work, we’ll need capable people on the spot. No robot we can build can cope with the complexity of what we’ve already built, what we’re now attempting in orbit."
The heat shield on Atlantis–the blanket shield not the tiles–seems to have a 4-inch hole in it, but NASA professes not to be worried. First time in a long time they’ve had an all-male crew, but they’ll be coming back with a woman after one of them replaces her on the space station. All this work on the station has an air of anticlimax, since the shuttle will soon retire and the station itself may not last much longer. But these trips aren’t trivial. They will be generally useful for building a base on the moon, which has not much more gravity than low-Earth orbit.
UPDATE Problem or no, they’re going to fix it, anyway.
Here’s why the cosmonauts would rather stay in the black than come home:
"The muscle fabric degrades very much. It’s hard to walk. You have to learn how to walk again, like a small child…It takes several weeks under medical supervision to recover from a long stay in space."
We’re a lot more of this planet than we realize.