Tag Archives: engineering

Why SpaceX is winning the race

An unidentified administrator of the University of Michigan space engineering program has some interesting thoughts on why SpaceX has been so successful. Key quote:

I recently performed an analysis of the very best students in my space engineering programs over the past decade, based on their scholarly, leadership and entrepreneurial performance at Michigan. To my amazement, I found that of my top 10 students, five work at SpaceX. No other company or lab has attracted more than two of these top students.

I also noticed that SpaceX recruited only two of them directly from the university. The others were drawn to the company after some years of experience elsewhere—joining SpaceX despite lower salaries and longer work hours. Why do they leave successful jobs in big companies to join a risky space startup? A former student told me, “This is a place where I am the limiting factor, not my work environment.” At SpaceX, he considers himself to be in an entrepreneurial environment in which great young people collaborate to do amazing things. He never felt like this in his previous job with an aerospace company.


NASA narrows asteroids to visit to three

NASA officials have reviewed the list of Near Earth Objects and found only three that meet all the constraints for a manned mission. Key quote:

Out of the 44 reachable asteroids, 27 were too small, and only 15 have orbits that allow for exploration between 2020 and 2050 — the timeframe NASA wants to pursue for NEO missions. The 180-day mission constraint further cuts the list to three.

It must also be noted that none of these asteroids are reachable without a heavy-lift rocket like the Ares V.


Repair strategy for Wednesday spacewalk

NASA engineers are working out a strategy for the next spacewalk, now tentatively scheduled of Wednesday, to continue repair efforts on the International Space Station. The new plans call for the astronauts to close several valves on the leaking coolant line while ground controllers lower pressure on the line, then drain the excess ammonia from it. This will hopefully allow the astronauts to disconnect the line from the pump without spewing ammonia all over the place, and then proceed with the removal of the failed pump.


ISS tour, part 1

An evening pause: We talk a lot about the International Space Station. Why not take a tour? In this January 2009 video, part 1 of 4, astronaut Mike Finke starts us out at the docking port used by the shuttle and takes us through the Harmony and Kibo modules. Along the way he gives a great view out the port side of the station.

You can see the remaining parts of Mike’s tour by clicking through, or you can wait until I post them over the next week.

1 231 232 233 234