Archive for the ‘engineering’ Category

Falcon 1, Flight 4 achieves orbit!

Congratulations, SpaceX.  I had a good feeling that success was just around the corner for your team.  Here’s a short highlight video of the flight.  The increased delay from first stage separation to second stage ignition is noticeable in this video.

UPDATE, 10/3/08: SpaceX released this rockin’ music video yesterday that shows more of Flight 4, including a restart of the second stage engine.

jumping out of a perfectly good airplane…

…strapped to another perfectly good airplane.  Here’s the video & article.

personal jet

personal jet

Foust reports: SS2 still on hold

Jeff Foust went to Mojave on Monday for the WK2 rollout.  He posted some great pictures of the featured bird.  I was pleased to see from his pictures how healthy Burt Rutan looks after his heart troubles over the past year.

Most newsworthy was Jeff’s interview with Burt himself, in which Burt said that development of SpaceShipTwo has been on hold since the Scaled accident of July 26, 2007 (hard to believe it’s been a year).  Burt did say that the accident investigation is now complete.  He indicated that the lessons learned will result in significant design changes for SS2.

rhetoric engine

From “The Miner’s Friend; Or, An Engine To Raise Water By Fire, Described.  And Of The Manner Of Fixing It In Mines; With An Account Of The Several Other Uses It Is Applicable Unto; And An Answer To The Objections Made Against It.“, by Thomas Savery, Gent.  The following excerpt is a plea to King William III of England, in 1702:

It is upon this consideration I am encouraged, with a profound respect, to throw this performance of mine, with the author, at your Majesty’s royal feet, most humbly beseeching your Majesty, that, as it had birth in your Majesty’s auspicious reign, you will vouchsafe to perpetuate it to future ages by the sanction of your royal approbation, which is the utmost ambition of, may it please your Majesty, Your Majesty’s most humble, most loyal, and most obedient Subject, Thomas Savery.

Continue reading

get well, Burt!

We certainly wish Burt Rutan well in his recovery from open heart surgery earlier this month.

science & engineering – we need both

At the risk of being branded Mr. Obvious (or Mr. Idealist), here’s my mental model of a relationship between science and engineering:

Science & Engineering

Engineers focus on implementation, and improve techniques based on “low hanging fruit” sometimes learned from scientists. Scientists push the bleeding edge, and sometimes rely on engineers for their infrastructure. Symbiotic, not zero-sum.

more is more

An argument against zero-sum game views of space politics:

“[…] they could be summarized as pro-science, pro-human, and pro-private. There is nothing inconsistent with holding all three positions.”

Agreed, and I’d add pro-engineering to this list.

%d bloggers like this: