Wednesday, May 11, 2016

You spun me right round, baby...

Last month I took a little trip to participate in another research study.  It was a whirlwind of a single day near Philadelphia, PA at the NASTAR (National Aerospace Training and Research) facility.  The study is looking at the effectiveness of training for non-astronauts to participate in future commercial sub-orbital space flights.

The real attractant to me for this study was the chance to ride the big centrifuge at NASTAR.  I'd never done this before, and figured it was a worthwhile experience to add to the old life's resume (kind of like all that time in Antarctica).  The closest experience I had before this was riding the Round Up at the county fair as a kid.  I also didn't have to pay to ride the centrifuge, just the travel costs to and fro (which included getting to drive a brand spanking new Chevy Impala rental car, with all of 6 miles on it when I headed out to drive the mean streets of Philly and I-95).

Visualizations were projected on the interior of the centrifuge cabin, which were quite realistic.  The truly gripping sensation was the acceleration, though.  That was awesome.  And, I don't use that word lightly...

“But experience is the best teacher, hunger good sauce, and I really think to be acquainted with misery contributes to the enjoyment of happiness, and to know one’s self greatly facilitates the knowledge of mankind.”
~”Journal of a Trapper” by Osborne Russell

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Hopeful Horde

I just read that over 18,000 applications were submitted for the next astronaut candidate selection process.  That's a mean pile of work for the board to review, for sure.  I have a habit of putting numbers of people in perspective by scaling to my home town.  In this case, that's over 9 home towns.  Sweet!  Finding out that I'm just one of an even bigger, writhing, teeming mass daunts me exactly zero/nada/zilch/nicht more than before.  Chances are slim for anybody, regardless of the number of applications, period.  Why sweat it?  Good luck to everybody, and may some truly excellent new astronaut candidates sift out of this bounteous harvest of resumes.  Ad astra per aspera!

-->"We had some incredible people come in-high school track stars, intercollegiate water polo players, international-quality swimmers.  And a lot of them ended up failing.  At the same time, we had guys who had trouble on the runs, guys who had trouble doing push-ups, guys whose teeth would start chattering just looking at the cold ocean, and yet they made it.  And one of the reasons why they made it is they had this relentless perseverance."
~SEAL Lt. Commander Eric Greitens in ”Manhunt” by Peter L. Bergen