athelind: (Default)
Mostly for my own reference:


Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design




While Dr. Akin is an aerospace engineer, most if not all of these Laws apply to systems design in general.

[livejournal.com profile] normanrafferty should take particular note of the following:


14. (Edison's Law) "Better" is the enemy of "good".



Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking, whom I forgot to credit when I first posted this.

.
athelind: (Default)
In the wake of columnist and Nixon speechwriter William Safire's death, here is the speech that he wrote for the President to read in the event that the Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the Moon.

It's surreal to read this today; earlier this morning, I found the lyrics to "The Green Hills of Earth" running through my head:

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.


Strange to think what might have been, and, thankfully, was not.


Does anyone know where to find MP3 or video of a decent filksinger performing "Green Hills of Earth"? The only ones I could find today were, frankly, terrible.
athelind: (Eye of the Sky God)
This is making the rounds of my Friends List; for those who haven't seen it yet, it's my turn to share.







I always said that Unca Carl was a poet.


athelind: (Eye of the Sky God)
From a significant fraction of my f-list, including [livejournal.com profile] the_gneech, [livejournal.com profile] pyat, and [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte:

  • If you like, post this meme and your current wallpaper.
  • Explain in no more than five sentences why you're using that wallpaper!
  • Don't change your wallpaper before doing this! The point is to see what you had on!




This is an image from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site, which I read every evening.

I regret to say that I can't remember just what this image is. I know that it's a false-color image of... something. I do remember that I chose it because a) it's wide enough to extend across two wide-screen monitors (which I am not currently using), and b) because it's orange and purple, and vaguely, sinuously dragon-like in the way that clouds and fractals can be.


(If anyone recognizes this image, or has better search-fu on APOD than Your Obedient Serpent, please let me know and put a link to the appropriate APOD page in the comments!)
athelind: (Default)
I just spoke to my mother on the phone, and she had her own memories of the landing.

"We all sat up and watched every minute of the landing. People asked me later, 'how could you let your children stay up until all hours like that?' And I'd answer, 'how could I not?'"
athelind: (Default)
I've missed too many of these, I fear. For the fortieth anniversary of man's first landing on another celestial body, I started planning more than a week ago. Rather than lean on my usual hymn to the Apollo astronauts, I was going to post footage of Walter Cronkite, and his reaction to the landing. On Thursday, the avuncular delivery of The Most Trusted Man In America was a significant part of my post reflecting back on the launch of Apollo 11. I even uploaded a special icon for the occasion.

And then, on Friday, Mr. Cronkite passed away, making my plans both more appropriate and more poignant.

Back to you, Walter.







athelind: (Default)
It was a Wednesday. I was 5.

This was the fourth time I'd watched one of those impossibly immense Saturn Vs lift off from Cape Kennedy. My mother insisted on watching every televised moment she could of those flights, and I was right there beside her, as much as I could. During 9 and 10, the school was dutifully notified that I was staying home, sick; I suspect that "Moon Flu" was a common strain in 1969.

I remember -- or I think I remember -- Walter Cronkite's deep, reassuring voice; I've heard it so many times since that I can't really be sure if I remember it from the broadcast, or from the LP record that CBS released and I played regularly through the '70s. I do remember, vividly, the NASA animations that played over his descriptions of the various stages of the launch and the space flight, precise and technically detailed cut-outs that would nonetheless seem crude by today's standards.

I remember the official NASA release images my father, a newspaperman, brought home, the flimsy thermal paper just off the facsimile machine, already browning. Somewhere, I may still have a notebook full of them, mostly from Apollo 13's ill-fated flight; they were in my possession as recently as my days at Cal State Monterey Bay.

I remember the excitement, the tension. I knew, even at the age of 5, that I was witnessing the single most important event of the century, the single most important event of human history.

Forty years ago today, three men leapt off the edge of the world into the Black.

I was watching.

athelind: (Default)




Forty years ago, I was bundled in front of the television, the excitement of Christmas almost forgotten as I watched the grainy footage being transmitted from more than two hundred thousand miles away -- the farthest any human being had ever been from our world.

Though only three men were there to see that Earthrise with human eyes, on that Christmas Eve so long ago, all of us, every one, touched the sky.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, raise a toast this e'en to Apollo 8 and her crew, Borman, Lovell and Anders.

To boldly go.


athelind: (Default)
(Alas, this poor post, wonderful as it is, will forever be forgotten, overwhelmed by the events immediately following it.)





The Earth and Moon -- as seen from Mars.



Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet,
Up leaps the race of Earthmen,
Out, far, and onward yet...



athelind: (Default)
20 July 1969

We Came in Peace For All Mankind. )

March 2010

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