This week marks anniversaries for three tragedies for NASA and the United States:
- Apollo 1 – January 27, 1967 – a fire in their capsule during a test on the pad kills three Apollo astronauts:
- Challenger STS 51-L – January 28, 1986 – leak in a seal between segments of a solid fuel rocket booster led to the failure of the vehicle during launch and the deaths of the crew members:
- Columbia STS-107 – February 1, 2003 – damage from falling ice, which had built up on the top of the external tank, to a thermal protection panel on the wing led to failure of the wing during re-entry and the deaths of the crew members:
Here is a sampling of articles and commentary about these events (I will be adding more as the week goes by):
- Apollo 1:
NASA’s ScienceCast program reports on the upcoming close fly-by of asteroid 2012-DA14:
On Feb. 15th an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth closer than many man-made satellites. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet.
More at Near-Earth Asteroid 2012 DA14 to make extremely close approach in February 2013 – The Watchers – Aug.22.12.
Andrew Edwards, founder of the Open Source Aerospace Wiki sends this announcement:
Aerospace Technology is Open for All
For the 41st anniversary of the first moon landing, the private space industry is making one huge leap by opening the Open Source Aerospace Project at www.openspace.wikia.com. This new project is an attempt to make the aerospace industry less expensive and open for all. The OSA project is an open wiki and online forum full of technology, science, and ideas in the private space industry so they may be built upon and further developed by industry professionals. This project helps small companies by making research less expensive since technology can be criticized and get input from all industry professionals, and will also push the entire industry forward by making new technologies and ideas open to all.
The Open Source Aerospace Project hopes to partner with other organizations such as eSpace and MIT to help move along the idea and the industry in general, and has already contacted or added input from both. The project hopes to get more than just engineering advice from MIT, since it also hopes to include all aspects of aerospace. The goal of this project is not just to develop and open technology, but air movement, astronomy, theories and anything that can change the industry.
If all goes well, this could be a major move for private spaceflight. From programming a site in a small apartment to launching humans into the heavens above, we see history repeated from the recent computer industry. In years to come it will be the large companies, and the small providers working together with these open ideas that will make this industry work. It is only up to us to see what the next big step is until we reach higher and higher to space.
Using high altitude balloons to promote new products is becoming popular. Here, “Opel ADAM took a funky trip to space. 32 kilometers up to the stratosphere and back to Earth.”
Rocket Science Tutors (RST) aims to help students boost their studies in t Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM):
RST is a 501C-3 non-profit, all-volunteer organization comprised of technical professionals and engineering graduate students dedicated to exciting students about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). RST brings STEM to life with an extensive 24 week, inquiry based, after school program structured on California standards. Since 2005, RST has developed and honed a classroom-proven approach that has the potential to be expanded for use across the country.
RST believes it is imperative to create interest in math, science and engineering before students enter high school. A common complaint by students is “Why study math… I’ll never use it!” since they typically do not see the link between math and science. Because algebra is the gateway to higher-level math, and therefore science and engineering, the student’s failure to grasp algebra effectively limits the pursuit of a technical career. For this reason, RST addresses the challenge at the 8th grade Algebra level.
The backbone of the RST program is the weekly lab requiring students to build an experiment, use math skills to calculate the expected outcome, measure that performance and compare the results. This reinforces the link between math and science and provides the thrill of “hands-on“ engineering. Analysis of student performance data shows strong correlation between attendance at RST sessions and improved test scores. It should be noted that RST volunteers include female technical professionals who provide outstanding role models for female students.
RST works under the direction of the teaching staff to reinforce lesson plans in a weekly after-school session structured to excite students about “aerospace” applications of math being learned in the classroom. Our purpose is to support the teacher by first helping students to learn the classroom material and then to gain an appreciation of this material through discussions, examples and sample problems.