Time is supposed to be the way the universe keeps everything from happening all at once. My wife and I were in London in 2016, and we made a point to see The Fighting Temeraire by Joseph Mallord William Turner. London has endless museums. So for a time, we were taking it all in with … Continue reading Parallels
Category: Space Shuttle
Of external tanks and Starships
Iconic orange Space Shuttle external tanks and shiny SpaceX Starships are uncannily close in scale. I was fortunate to be on the team in the 1990’s that checked out and prepared the external tanks and then on the team that filled and launched them. I could not have guessed that 23 years into my career … Continue reading Of external tanks and Starships
Reusability – legs and fins or wings and things?
The choice was made, so the outcome was determined, if not known. In engineering as in life. Not everyone accepts this notion quite the same way, or as gospel. Making a choice and then having to live with a determined if unknown future sounds fine in theory. In practice though determined leads to deterministic. As … Continue reading Reusability – legs and fins or wings and things?
The case of the $5,000 socket – it’s about the benefit when the mass is there, versus not
The socket cost $5,000. But we got a good deal for three at $15,000. Now this might sound like just another story about a $300 toilet seat, but it turns out there may be some rhyme or reason behind $300 toilet seats. Or even $10,000 toilet seat covers. If you make a plane and then … Continue reading The case of the $5,000 socket – it’s about the benefit when the mass is there, versus not
The flow managers glossary
It’s a struggle not to write or talk in NASA-speak, a bad habit picked up from years of intensive training. Even with the name I chose for this writing space, plain English must rule. Still, before a next post picking up where I left off, here is an aside on how we laughed at some … Continue reading The flow managers glossary
There is a temptation to check off “sustainable” as a project feature merely because it appears likely to persist. Rather than this semi-circular definition, grappling with what is truly sustainable can move sideways. For one, sustainable space exploration and development can move to a measurable engineering feature - reusability. How much of something is reusable? … Continue reading Reusability, priceless.