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Comment: Congrats from the ISS (Score 5, Interesting) 156

by CompressedAir (#34513280) Attached to: SpaceX's Dragon Module Successfully Re-Enters

The POIC (and probably every other NASA center with a TV) had the launch up on the big screen. Scott Kelly, the USOS crew on the ISS right now, took a break and watched it live on the feed we sent up to him between LOS's.

Scott asked CAPCOM to give the SpaceX team his congratulations on a successful launch. We in the ISS community are doubly excited: not only is it great to see such a flawless launch, but the Dragon/Falcon 9 is key to our future logistics and science return!

Well done, SpaceX.

Comment: Re:B-b-b-but I thought Apple was a marketing compa (Score 0, Troll) 346

by CompressedAir (#32691658) Attached to: A Professional Perspective On Apple's Retina Display

Ok, normally I let this go, but you capitalized freaking MS!

NASA is an acronym. Nasa is nothing. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. N-A-S-A. NASA. Not Nasa.

Sit Peeve, sit! Stay. Good Peeve.

(On an unrelated note, has anyone else noticed NASA is the only space agency that does not have its country (or organization of countries) in its name? ESA, JAXA, RSA, but NASA just expects you to know which nation they are talking about. :+D )

Comment: CSA Avatar (Score 1) 47

by CompressedAir (#32537880) Attached to: Solar-Powered Shrub Car

That's cute. The Canadian Space Agency has a payload similar to this onboard ISS right now. It is called Avatar, and a crew member on the ISS controls a rover here on Earth. I guess the idea is to develop plans for exploring other planets from a spaceship in orbit... something we don't have a lot of experience with.

It would be really cool if they drove Avatar around, say, a public park or a mall, but I think they do it in boring open fields and such. If they tested it in public spaces, they could also study people meeting extraterrestials!

Comment: Re:Cool (Score 2, Interesting) 190

by CompressedAir (#32464162) Attached to: SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket

1. Correct.
2. Just fine. :+D

The CRS flights are just one more piece to the puzzle. In the post Shuttle world, we'll have Soyuz, Progress, ATV, HTV, Orbital, and SpaceX. The SpaceX vehicle gives us back a large downmass capability which is going away when the Shuttle retires. Upmass we got, downmass not so much.

Comment: Re:Cool (Score 1, Informative) 190

by CompressedAir (#32463334) Attached to: SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket

They have several demonstration flights this year, but the first "official" CRS cargo carrying flight will be in 2011 if all goes well. That's been the plan for a while, and I should know, because part of my job is to stuff it with stuff.

(I say "official" because there is talk about carrying a few brave payloads on the demonstration flights, but that isn't part of the contract.)

Comment: Re:1984 (Score 1) 1238

by CompressedAir (#32238736) Attached to: Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History

Of course they'd sputter, it is a silly statement. Take a look at your morality: was it moral just because your ancestors were on the invading side? What justification do you propose for such a naked land grab? Even if you think that the Byzantines had some how more of a "right" to that land than the Turks, that only takes you as far as the Fourth Crusade... when the Crusaders sacked their ally because it was less work!

Hell, that reason doesn't even take you very far through the First Crusade. So really, tell me, how were the Crusades just? No one gained any freedoms, freedom of religion actually became much less, none of the crusader states made any lasting mark on history, an enmity was created that still lives today, and a lot of people died who did not need to. That's pretty much an unjust war if I've ever heard one.

Comment: Re:So... (Score 1) 411

by CompressedAir (#32198802) Attached to: Armstrong, Cernan Testify Against Obama Space Plan

This ^ is an excellent post.

To the grandparent and others of a similar mind: Robots and Humans are part of the same whole. You don't use your teeth to pull out a nail, you use a hammer... you don't create a Mars habitat by chopping down Mars trees with a stone axe, you send robots to build one for you before you arrive.

Each step outwards is accomplished by an increase in the sophistication of the available tools.

To put it another way: If it takes a Manhattan Project to do the job, the job had better win you the war... because if it doesn't, the job was not worth doing for the price. Otherwise, you increment, and increment, until you can do the same thing without needing 5% of the US budget.

Comment: Re:One lone protester (Score 1) 411

by CompressedAir (#32198606) Attached to: Armstrong, Cernan Testify Against Obama Space Plan

I'm certainly not intending any disingenuouslyositude. That gentleman was actually the only person I've seen protesting in Clear Lake, so the protestors I have seen went from zero to one.

The latest I have heard is that they are intending to complete the Orion vehicle design, and so quite a lot of people still have quite a lot to do. I didn't know much Ares work went on in Houston.

I agree with your reading of the Augustine report, but I do not agree that there was anything great about the previous plan, even with $3 billion more to do it properly. I just don't see Mars as a worthwhile destination for anything but pride, and I'd like to think my career had something more to add than that. Near Earth Asteroids, though... you have the Protect the Earth angle, as it only takes one rock to ruin our whole day. You have the science, of studying another environment very different from the Earth or Moon. You have the spiritual change of being not just a species that jumps from planet to planet, but true spacefarers! Space becomes the destination, rather than the journey!

Since I really only get to be a part of one major program over the next 30 years, I'd rather it be NEAs than Mars. It is more exciting, and it might just save the Earth if an impact is in the near future.

Comment: One lone protester (Score 5, Interesting) 411

by CompressedAir (#32196576) Attached to: Armstrong, Cernan Testify Against Obama Space Plan

As I came back from lunch today, I saw a single retiree-looking gentleman standing on the corner of Saturn and NASA Rd. 1 with a sign protesting the Obama plan. That's here at JSC, home of the astronauts.

I dunno, maybe more people will join him once work lets out. As someone who works in this industry, I still remain on the record saying that the current plan is the best one NASA has had since the Shuttle was a dream given form*.

* Not quite the form it should have been, though.

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_

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