This month lead to a surprising announcement involving the next era of space exploration. The Constellation program, which proposed taking humans beyond low-Earth-orbit and returning back to the moon, was officially cancelled by President Obama at the beginning of this month. So what’s next for the new decade? No one is for certain what our next destination will be or when we will return to the lunar surface, let alone low-Earth-orbit. Those of you who follow along with all the space news are most likely familiar with Obama’s new proposal. If you are interested in finding out more, I wrote up a post, NASA’s New Future, on my online blog with my thoughts on the subject along with a few website links that give informative outlines and analysis regarding the newly imposed budget. I’ll end here on this subject before I start to rant on about this matter.
This semester is going extremely well thus far. I’ve become more involved with campus clubs and out of class projects. It’s demanding but nonetheless a blast. This past week, ERPL (Experimental Rocket Propulsion Lab), one club that I am a member of, performed a hydro-burst test on a liquid propelled rocket engine. Hydro-burst is a type of test which determines the amount of pressure an object can withstand. Basically, the rocket engine is filled up with water and sealed off to a pump. This pump steadily increases the amount of pressure buildup on the engine and will keep increasing until the pressure is too great. Thus, the end result is a rupture or ‘burst’ in the engine.
I like to conclude with the way I started out my Monday morning today (February 8). I woke up at 3:55AM this morning and headed out to the campus flight line to see another beautiful shuttle launch. An Embry-Riddle Alumnus and five other astronauts hitched a ride on space shuttle Endeavour (STS-130) for a two week mission to the International Space Station. I can’t describe the emotional impact it has on me; it is an overwhelming experience that I wish everyone could watch. You see this brilliant orange glow spread over the Florida horizon and you know there are people on board that are heading to another world beyond our own. It is truly astounding and even though humans have being doing this for more than 50 years, it never gets old. One of my friends recorded the launch and put together an awesome video. I invite you all to watch and get a glimpse of this awesome sight that lit the early morning sky: STS-130 Launch
Until then folks, see you out there!