Category Archives: Uncategorized

STS-93: Dualing computers

In the early days of rocketry, when subsystems reliability was low, hard experience led designers to add redundancy for critical functions where they could.  Redundancy comes at a cost:  increased weight, increased complexity, unintended interactions, complex schemes to manage the … Continue reading

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STS-93: Dodging Golden Bullets

  Calling it Rocket Science is, of course, a misnomer. Science provided the background but today it is definitely Rocket Engineering. Scientists and Engineers mix together like, well, cats and dogs. Friendly détente some days, not so much other days. … Continue reading

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Understanding STS-93: the key is Mixture Ratio

Some time back I started to tell the story of the most interesting shuttle launch:  STS-93.  I think it is time to return to that topic.  To understand what happened, some background is necessary. If this is too engineering-geeky for … Continue reading

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O Columbia

When I first heard that the Houston Grand Opera proposed to produce an opera about the Columbia disaster, I was appalled.   If HGO wanted a spaceflight opera, it would better be the moon landing of Apollo 11; or the … Continue reading

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Manifest Destiny or Pipe Dream?

“I started out as a child” – William H. Cosby, Jr., Ed.D. I have been ruined by the timing of my childhood. Grew up with the space race; 3 years old when Sputnik launched, 7 when Gagarin and Shepard flew … Continue reading

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Risk Tolerance

I am a big fan of the author Bill Bryson. I have enjoyed all his books and recently have been rereading “One Summer: America, 1927”. His sparkling account joyously brings that time to life. Looking back at 1927 from April … Continue reading

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Finding Columbia

A couple of days ago, I had the rare opportunity to visit the Columbia Debris Repository on the 16th floor of the VAB at Kennedy Space Center.  It is a solemn experience to walk among the remaining parts of the space … Continue reading

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