Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

RIP, Michael Collins…

Wed ,28/04/2021

second of the three to pass – RIP, you will be remembered.

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has died at age 90



Wed ,17/06/2020

what we need right now…


RIP, Mr. Young.

Mon ,08/01/2018

a true American hero – RIP.

From the Seattle TimesNASA: Legendary astronaut, moonwalker John Young has died

“….NASA called Young one of its pioneers – the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times. He was the ninth man to walk on the moon.”

“…His NASA career lasted 42 years, longer than any other astronaut’s, and he was revered among his peers for his dogged dedication to keeping crews safe — and his outspokenness in challenging the space agency’s status quo.

Chastened by the 1967 Apollo launch pad fire that killed three astronauts, Young spoke up after the 1986 shuttle Challenger launch accident. His hard scrutiny continued well past shuttle Columbia’s disintegration during re-entry in 2003.

“Whenever and wherever I found a potential safety issue, I always did my utmost to make some noise about it, by memo or whatever means might best bring attention to it,” Young wrote in his 2012 memoir, “Forever Young.”

He said he wrote a “mountain of memos” between the two shuttle accidents to “hit people over the head.” Such practice bordered on heresy at NASA.”



Wed ,09/08/2017

At 40, Voyager spacecrafts still zooming toward galactic achievement


Shuttle Trainer….very cool and interesting.

Mon ,27/03/2017

So for a bday thing, a friend and I went to the Museum of Flight yesterday and specifically to check out the Space Shuttle Trainer they have. When NASA’s Shuttle program ended, there was of course a mad dash by all the museums everywhere to ‘get’ a Shuttle. Boeing’s Museum of Flight naturally wanted one too, but ended up getting something arguably better – the full-on Space Shuttle Trainer mockup that was actually used in Johnson Space Center for hands-on training by the Shuttle crews.

It’s important to note – this is not a flight simulator – rather, this was meant to simulate and train on nearly everything else (equipment, evac, procedures, operations, etc.) – the thing is huge and has a fully-accurate, replica cockpit and crew module underneath, built to full scale.

So regular visitors can go in the main cargo bay and in the tail section, but only special tours (yes, costs extra) can go in the pilot section and the crew module. Naturally we did that!

What follows are pics from the tour. I’ll post all the ‘plane photos’ tomorrow from the other parts of the museum we went to, but the Shuttle tour was our first priority yesterday. Definitely very cool and the tour guide was well-informed. The main take-away for me is simply how impressive a technical achievement this thing is – in one of the movies you can watch (sadly about the Challenger and later Columbia disasters) they note at one point that at re-entry to the atmosphere, the heat outside is hotter than the surface of the sun – boggles the mind. In many ways the Shuttle is a tougher and more impressive achievement than even Apollo was, despite the program not ending up near as ‘affordable’ as they predicted nor as long-lived in the end.

here’s to you, NASA!


Click on a gallery pic, then click it again to get the high-res version….

Sleeping Giants – Book Review

Sun ,27/11/2016

Just finished reading this book – Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. This is a sci-fi story told in an somewhat unusual way, via ‘interviews’ – most often with an unnamed lead interviewer we never meet. I won’t spoil the main storyline (plenty of other places online can do that for you) but to say the following:

– The main story ‘device’ of the interviews works very well, IMHO. It makes you think harder about the motivations behind and the mentality of the main characters, especially as the ‘unnamed interviewer’ most often heard from is usually not sympathetic.

– I like the focus being first and foremost on the characters and not the main overarching plotline. While that may get further development in a future book (looks like a sequel is coming out possibly next spring?) and it will be interesting if the ‘interview device’ is maintained there too – this book ticks right along and definitely holds your attention all the way through, with at least two major plot twists I never saw coming.

– Finally – while there may be some story elements here that are inspired by past classic sci-fi (or even anime/kaiju), I still think the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and this is a great read – DEFINITELY recommended!


Other perspectives (and spoilers – you are warned!)
NPR – The Sleeping Giant – The Sleeping Giant

Love it!

Sat ,20/02/2016

go NASA! But then again, I was a believer from DAY ONE. 🙂

Posters: NASA really really wants you to believe in the future of space travel



Sun ,10/01/2016

An alternate take on SkyNet’s rise to awareness?

It took a lot of booster rockets, but luckily Amazon had recently built thousands of them to bring Amazon Prime same-day delivery to the Moon colony.



Fri ,11/09/2015

From the Seattle PI:
NASA releases new ‘head-scratcher’ images of Pluto



I played Computer Space!

Mon ,27/04/2015

Thanks to Ed Fries, I got to play a real Computer Space tonight! Ed bought a Time2000 backbox from me (backbox for a vintage Atari pinball that I had around, it had been intended for a wall decoration for a gameroom that is likely to never get built out in that way, so decided to sell the BB. Ed bought my Atari Space Riders pinball some time ago). So I took the BB out to his house tonight, and in the arcade he recently built near his house in a separate building – lo and behold, a 1971 Computer Space resides.

Here’s the story of his Computer Space. And here’s some history links on the game itself: Dot Eaters (video) Space making a cameo in the early 70s dystopian Soylent Green

I got to play one of these a few years ago at California Extreme, along with another extremely early Atari game – Space Race – but i honestly don’t remember the gameplay. It was very cool to *attempt* to play this – the controls look at first glance similar to the much later Asteroids (button to thrust, button to fire, two buttons to rotate the ship left and right) but the layout is effectively a mirror image of Asteroids, so hard to figure it out without practice.

One of the things I really like about this game – besides its age and heritage from the dawn of videogames – is simply that it represents a dream. When you look at that wild fiberglass cabinet, you know someone was thinking of science fiction when they designed it. They were thinking of inspiration and imagination, dreams of spaceships and exploration that wasn’t far removed from the Apollo 11 landing only a few years before – dreams that we still have in other forms, but to me, not quite the same, perhaps even a bit more cynical these days.

But when Computer Space came out, it was still at the dawn of solid state hitting both US industry far more broadly as well as the nascent consumer market not long after. For two kids at the local Sunshine Pizza Exchange in Oregon (and the far bigger, always extremely fun arcade down at Seaside, OR) the question was always “Can I have a quarter?” and “can I have another?”….

Thanks, Ed.