Philosophy Tuesday

Watching the spectacular return of the Crew Dragon capsule over the weekend, reminded me of a few things I love about the space program.

First is the amazing appreciative and acknowledgement culture that exists within NASA.  Back when the ISS was under construction and a friend and I would watch it happening live, we would often joke with each other to say, “they’re thanking each other again.”  And they do thank each other, often and in self-effacing ways, always claiming that the other team or partners “had the hard jobs” and “made our tasks easy.”  It’s really great.  I spoke about it here under the vastly different context of movie credits, but in a way it is the same thing:  Everyone in the program knows, deeply, that they are part of a larger whole and that it takes everyone in that whole putting in maximum effort to pull off a successful mission.  Space is hard™, and things can go awry very quickly (and often have, with visibly disastrous consequences).  And so they value everyone’s contribution and, even more so, celebrate the amazing thing they are accomplishing by working together in a collaborative fashion.  They remove the “but” out of a phrase like “I am but a…”, and instead recognize that their role, and everyone’s role, is vital.  They take no one for granted and they acknowledge it and each other with profuse thank yous.

Second is that within the various space programs a glorious blend of newness and traditions.  For certain, space is the new, with sci-fi rockets and slick technology and exploration to be had and discovery to be made and so much learning.  But the whole thing is also coupled with deep, and fun, traditions, whether they be wholly enclosed within the space program, such as a traditional pre-launch meal (or peeing on the wheel of the transport vehicle), to something with even deeper roots, such as the ringing of the bell at the docking or departing of a ship.  Neither the new nor the old is better than the other, nor is one less or more necessary, both from a technical as well as a human standpoint.  And it is just that – as humans, we can and are often at our greatest when we synthesize the two, bringing forth that which empowers us and others and leaving behind that which does not and causes harm.  We exist in multitudes, and this is one of them.

And lastly is that multitude, that of the international, global, and humanistic endeavour that is slipping the surly bonds of earth, to dance among the stars and the glory of the universe we inhabit on our tiny blue mote of dust.

Wonder Wednesday

An amazing video of the sun that spans a decade!  Every frame encompasses about an hour, capturing our local star and all of its changing glory.

The video description has some links to some really cool moments, including the transits of Venus and Mercury, sunspot clusters, as well as some very prominent flares.  Mesmerizing.

Space X Crew Capsule: Orbit, attained!

Another awesome and exciting launch, the first crewed Dragon 2 mission!  Flawless launch, flawless separation, and she’s flying free, en route to the ISS.  Oh, and stage 1 booster landed successfully as well.  I’m as giddy as all get go.

Best of all?  One of the two astronauts saying, “Let’s light this candle” several minutes before launch.  Classic words.

Wonder Wednesday

While it may be “Launch America,” with the astronauts being Bob & Doug, there’s a definite Canadian angle to this as well… take of eh!

This is exciting as all get out.  I’m keeping the live feed from SpaceX/NASA in the corner of my monitor as I work and I’ve let everyone know I’m unavailable for an hour this afternoon.  Not. Missing. This.

Check out the live feed, on right now!

Wonder Wednesday

An amazing photo of SpaceX’s 20th CRS mission to the International Space Station, with both launch and the historic 50th landing of a booster:

Most amazing is this bit here, where you can see Main Engine Cut-Off, followed by stage separation, followed by Second Stage Engine Light, followed (and this is the super amazing bit) by first stage re-light and the boost back burn for its return back to land just a couple of miles away from where it started:

 

I can’t wait for the first crewed mission (just weeks away now!) and for tests on Starship to begin. Congrats to SpaceX!

Photos by Teslarati

 

Wonder Wednesday

From tranquility laced with danger, crammed into a can yet without the comfort of gravity, with no time left to your own devices, yet yearning, aching, needing to share this amazing new vista with everyone, a beauty beyond compare.

Alexei Leonov was not only the first person to walk in space, but also the first to draw in space, this sketch of a sunrise unlike any other:

Using the simplest of media, modified by the most hack of hacks (elastic bands FTW), with those strong strokes it evokes all the wonder and power of that sight.  Love it.

Read more about it in this article by the Guardian and compliment it with this great video by the Art Assignment.