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Here's the latest on space, and my opinions on it...
This is the legacy site, with blog entries from November, 2004 through June, 2011.
Updates after June 9, 2011 can be found at

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Think I Heard this one
Apparently, a bolide exploded over the East Coast on Sunday night. Given the time noted in the reports, I think I was in bed and heard it. We live near a substation, so explosions aren't all that rare. Initial speculation was that the object was the returning second stage from the Soyuz launch that took a crew to the ISS. What creeped me out a bit was that the initial reports quoted someone from the Naval Observatory, who claimed they used orbit analysis software to show that it was a rocket body. In the later article, this person called a 'Mulligan' on that analysis.

Of course, this kind of activity just makes me want to build and operate one of these even more. A few all-sky cameras around the area would be able to answer a lot of questions of where this item came from.
10:25 pm est

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Station in Sense-Around
While I'm not a full supporter of the space station, this video is pretty darn cool. Be sure to look for the station in your local night sky, as it'll be brighter with the new solar arrays.
5:49 am est

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Major Solar Storm Effects
Discussed at New Scientist. The effects are not good.
9:23 pm est

Monday, March 23, 2009

Geek Squared
It's one thing to know about an obscure character in the original Star Trek series, but it's quite another to hire a virtual seamstress to make that character's dress for your avatar in Second Life.
4:21 pm est

Eco-Friendly use for GPS
Excellent idea here: Using the Global Positioning System and a terrain map to throttle the cruise control on trucks to save 6% in gas.
4:14 pm est

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Virtually Browse the Air and Space Museum
Here is a web-based collection of images of items that are in the Air and Space Museum. Too much stuff to just glance through!
10:00 pm est

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Geek Archaeology
I'm not sure they have all their facts right, but these videos explain a lot of things going on in the background as I grew up in the rapidly-developing world of computers and games.
5:54 pm est

Friday, March 13, 2009

My (Indirect) Role in the Space Station Debris Scare
Yesterday, the space station crew had to close up shop and retreat to their Soyuz taxi capsule. They kept the hatch open, in case the Soyuz capsule was hit so the crew could retreat into the station. According to NASASpaceflight, the debris in question came from a GPS satellite launch in 1993. I was in the Air Force in 1993, working on GPS satellites in their early orbit. My job was to get them to their final orbit. Of course, if reports are correct, the debris came off the Payload Assist Module (PAM) rocket that put the spacecraft into its transfer orbit, which was before my squadron would make first contact.
4:52 pm est

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Space Station Comedy Hour
NASA's Name the Node effort has taken a rather comic twist. Mock conservative pundit Steven Colbert has asked his audience to write in his name for the node, and it's become the top vote getter (according to comments I've seen on other blogs...the contest website doesn't show the count for write-in votes). The current status can best be described as undetermined. Of course, it's ironic that more people are interested in a mock pundit than in the ISS, or at least they're better connected. I'm not sure there's a good way out of this for NASA PR, but given previous gaffes, my hopes aren't high.
4:53 pm est

Monday, March 9, 2009

Prettier from Space than from a Shovel...
Recent snowfalls on the Eastern Seaboard were imaged by the Terra spacecraft soon after. I like this view better than the view I had trying to get to work that day.
5:15 pm est

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary
Landsat 5, one of the satellites I work with in my day job, turned 25 on March 1st.
7:17 pm est

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Celebrities and Lifesaving Devices
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes the death of famous people to bring attention to something. One sample that comes to mind is the ephedra-caused death of a baseball pitcher which led to the eventual taking of the product off the shelves. It looks like something similar has happened in the recent loss of football players, bringing to light how they could have had a satellite-based locator beacon on their boat and brought rescue to them much quicker. The organization that runs the organization has information here.
6:27 pm est

Ceres and Life
This article proposes an idea that life on Earth actually got its start on the largest asteroid, Ceres. I like some of the thinking in the article and referenced paper, but agree with one of the commenters that it goes a little too far in talking about Ceres still having a liquid ocean.
6:21 pm est

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