Posts Tagged ‘Space Program’


The latest pictures of the International Space Station complete with new Kibo lab and European Automated Transfer Vehicle (Jules Verne) are posted. These were taken by the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Discovery during STS-124 mission.

Here is the newest picture on my desktop for those who are interested:

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Spectacular shot. Wish I was spending some time there for summer vacation. Only US$25 million left to save {g}.



For those who like to follow along with my current desktop image, I was able to update today to the latest configuration of the International Space Station (my summer place as I like to joke about).

I borrowed this beautiful picture on the NASA multimedia page.

As a side note: Atlantis is not landing today as planned because of bad weather. The plan is to try again tomorrow at Kennedy Space Center, and Edwards Airforce Base in California as a backup. They are doing a orbital burn to slow the shuttle orbiter down a bit to bring the landing in earlier when the weather is expected to be better.

It is interesting to listen to the interaction between the astronauts and Mission Control in Houston. Checklists after checklists with step-by-step processes ensuring a successful flight. The thing I really notice is the number of “thanks” being passed around. I think the “thanks” part is really missing in business interaction these days, and something I have to remember to do more.

So thanks for reading my blog today {bg}.



Tonight I climbed up on the roof of my house with the intention of seeing the space shuttle Atlantis and International Space Station (ISS) fly over southeastern Michigan just before 11:00pm EDT. I missed them last night so I was bummed when I saw the horizon was cloud covered and the kids on the street behind us were blowing off some fireworks in the line of sight, but I was not disappointed!

The orbit took the two satellites from the northwest horizon to the southeast. They were only in the clear sky for a short time, maybe 10 seconds. It was an impressive site and well worth the effort. I probably could have seen the shuttle orbiter and space station from the ground, but the homes behind us are colonials and the orbit was 30 degrees off the horizon. I thought for sure the homes would block my view.

I am not sure which one was leading the other, but they are definitely on the same orbit and one was chasing the other. Atlantis is currently 10 nautical miles lower than ISS. It was definitely cool to see them. If you are interested in finding out when ISS is flying over your geographic location go to and put in your location.


Space shuttle Atlantis is a little over four hours from launch. This is going to be an exciting mission to the international space station where the crew is going to add a couple more trusses and another solar array to “balance out” the space station. Currently the orbiting lab looks unbalanced (although there really is no balance in zero-g) with only one solar array “wing.”

I am looking forward to watching the launch scheduled for 7:38 EDT and a new desktop wallpaper shot of the station after this assembly mission is complete.


I was just reading an article about NASA’s concerns with a year-end software glitch. Apparently the shuttle computers are not designed to make a change from December 31st to January 1st. We are long past the year 2000 problem, so I am wondering why something like this still exists. I know the original computers in the Shuttle were based on 1970′s technology with extremely low amounts of memory, but were recently upgraded. I have to believe this is one of those situations where the software team decided not to make changes under the rule of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The real scary thing about this is the astronauts are not sure what would happen. I know the code that runs the shuttle fleet is probably the most tested and most reviewed code that exists on the planet. You would think the software team would know the ramifications or could easily set up a test to simulate the scenario. Heck, we all did this with Y2K testing.

The good news is NASA is flying again in December with the space shuttle Discovery. It was moved out to the launch pad earlier this month, and should be launched between December 7th and 17th with a 12 day mission to install the P5 Truss and the Spacehab module at the International Space Station. It will also be the first night launch since the Columbia accident. Night launches are always spectacular to watch.


I was very happy to hear NASA is repairing and improving the Hubble Telescope. In 2008 they are sending up a shuttle mission to update the batteries and other components to extend the life of this amazing hardware. Not long ago the bean counters were winning the battle over the explorers, and a decision was made to let Hubble deteriorate in orbit, re-enter the atmosphere, and be destroyed. Safety was a concern since the shuttle will not be able to take safe harbor at the space station if something goes wrong, but NASA has addressed this issue and the mission is on.

Very good news to report on space exploration. This announcement made my day yesterday.