The California Space Authority organized this conference to enable new space professions to network with space professionals and industry leaders. New space professionals are defined as those who have entered the space workforce within the last seven years.
Vandenburg AFB, California
Mojave Air & Spaceport
Mojave is home to Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan’s company that made SpaceShipOne and the White Knight carrier aircraft, the winners of the $10 million dollar Ansari X Prize. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactica has licensed Burt’s technology to enter into the space tourism business.
Olive Harvest Day 2007, California Institute of Technology
Professors and students alike picked the olives and other edibles on campus. The Harvest Day attendees consumed spiced olive oil and marmalade made from campus-grown olives and oranges on home-made bread. The snail problem on campus was solved by putting snails on the edibles list. I ate an escargot on the edibles tour.
The next generation of NASA space vehicles look like they were designed by ATK, Space Systems, NASA’s rocket booster vendor. It’s back to the moon with Apollo-type system and ATK’s solid-rocket boosters. According to ATK’s ads the knowledge gained by the Apollo program enhanced by the solid-rocket boosters and the new RS-68 rocket engines will give the required systems. The Ares I will deliver 58,000 pounds to orbit (usually the crew and the crew exploration vehicle) and the Ares V will deliver about 300,000 pounds to orbit. Two engineers working at NASA JSC in Houston told me that they thought the next generation was a step backwards. I‘ve always thought that the Edwards AFB approach of using manned-aircraft landing at an airport was the way to go. Now, come on – a capsule landing on land with a cushion for a shock absorber or the old water landings?
The International Space Station is near completion – a goal in itself, occupied by the two or three astronauts required to keep it going isn’t accomplishing much. It was put in an orbit that will allow the Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles to resupply the station and rotate th flight crews. Little science is being done, the goal being to complete the space station and fulfill international obligations. NASA and powerful politicians want to keep its earmarks operatiing and the political sensitive jobs going. Does anybody out there think that Viet Nam killed the Apollo program? We can’t go to Mars on a wing and a prayer like we went to the moon but NASA is not providing the infrastructure to make it possible in the short term.
Evacuation of lunar regolith (dirt) is the first step in exploiting lunar resources. The Challenge is to build an autonomous robot within the challenge restraints.
Palm Springs International Airport
Garrett Lisi: An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything
The periodic table systemized the elements for chemistry leaving a hole for the later discovery of helium. The table of nuclides organized the isotopes in a similar fashion and we’ve had the Standard Model for particles for thirty years. The Standard Model unites three of the four fundamental forces, the electromagnetic force, the strong force and the weak force failing to account for gravity, the fourth fundamental force. Einstein famously failed to find the Holy Grail of a Unified Field Theory which would unite gravity with the three other fundamental forces. String theory includes gravity but was weak in producing predicting tests for its concepts. Lisi’s new theory uses the mathematical E8 pattern which leaves about 20 holes for new particles which may be observed when the new Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland comes on line.(The LHC came on line in September 2008.) Leut’, please get the collider operational; Garrett can’t spend the rest of his life surfing and snow boarding around the world.
I was an aerospace engineer until I was involuntarily retired from aerospace when I was about 50 and found myself unemployed as a network admin when half a million East Indian H1Bs entered the network admin and programming fields competing simply on salary where there allegedly weren’t any qualified Americans. The lead man at the last real job that I had told me when he was canning me that he could get two Indians for what he was paying me. I had traveled from California at my own expense for this contract job in Raleigh, North Carolina and would have to pay my own way home. I can still get a job greeting customers at Wal-Mart. Neither of my sons has gone into engineering and I wouldn't encourage them to. What jobs are least likely to be outsourced? Don't put engineering, software development or network administration on your list. Don’t expect me to help you get more youngsters into engineering.
Texas Piper Cub
I asked some retired Air Force people in San Angelo, a place where the army sent me for two months to learn how to use a radio, what the big propeller blades on a flatbed were.
“You say they were only 40 feet long? Then they must have been for a Texas Piper Cub.”
I’m heading for Palm Springs, Phoenix, Globe, Superior, Miami, Salt Water Canyon, Pie City, Socorro and the Festival of the (Sandhill) Cranes.
Dennis Carlyle Kenney is the author of Star of Fire, an alternate history of the exploration of Mars, which can be freely downloaded at StarOfFire.com. Comments welcomed. The Word version of the paperback has the latest revisions.