Category Archives: Uncategorized

Space Thanksgiving

Today is the day in America that we set aside to count our blessings and give thanks for all the good that is in our lives.  So I will set aside my curmudgeonly ways and ignore the future and all … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Unfamiliar Terms

During the summer of 2009, we were working on the history book about the Space Shuttle, ‘Wings in Orbit’. We had hired three summer interns, college students, to help with the book. Their primary assignments were to build the appendices, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Significant Conversations

Just about exactly 10 years ago I was serving as the  Deputy Program Manager for the Space Shuttle Program.  Columbia had been lost a year and a half earlier and we were all trying our best to return the Space … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

STS-93: We don’t need any more of those

It was about a quarter past midnight on July 23, 1999 when the Ralph Roe, the Shuttle Launch Director, told Eileen’s crew that they were go for launch and wished them good luck. The launch, which had been scrubbed late … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 50 Comments

Practicing for Disaster

Even though we sometimes hated them, the training teams that prepared mission control and the astronauts for every flight are real heroes.  Without their efforts, all of us flight controllers would have believed we knew everything there was to know … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 26 Comments

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

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments