April 2010

There is no better way to wake up on a Monday morning than with a shuttle launch in your own backyard. Space shuttle Discovery blasted its way into orbit on a mission to rendezvous with the International Space Station. I rode down with some friends to a dock over the beach in New Smyrna and had a great view of the pre-dawn launch. We were fortunate to be looking up at the moon when we started to see this tremendous glow in the sky. I thought at first it was Venus but then realized the planet was only starting to rise above the horizon. Also, planets do not streak across the sky so rapidly and I figured that the only object that could be glowing brighter than Venus and traveling that fast was the ISS. Sure enough, it was the ISS and some photographer sent in an image on NASA’s website and captured the station transiting the Moon.

Seeing a shuttle launch is one thing, but that morning had it all. The moon was glowing, the sun just peaking over the horizon, Venus gleaming in the distance, and the ISS flying by. This will forever be embedded into my memory!

Remember the design competition I was entering? Well, I uploaded my submission and since registration is now over, I can release to you my entire design project. I am satisfied with my work, but then again, I definitely think there is more I can improve on. But I will not get into details about it. They say ‘you’ are your own worst critic and so we will leave it at that. I call it “Magnificent Desolation” in which I stated in the description:

‘Humans are the most curious species on this planet and space has allowed us to apply that curiosity. It is part of our nature to explore the unknown, to expand our capabilities and technology, and to inspire the next generation to disprove the meaning of the word impossible.’

You might not be able to see the two people in the window the one lunar capsule (Hint: I took pictures of myself pointing and typing on a keyboard and then composited the shots into the scene!) You can visit my online blog to see a larger version of the image.

I will wrap it up here for now. There are only a few more weeks until this year comes to an end and I could not be more pleased with my first year at Embry-Riddle. Until then, see you out there!

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About Stephan

**Career Goals:** To establish a career with NASA **Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I was recommended by a colleague about Embry-Riddle. He mentioned that the institute has the number one aerospace engineering program in the nation.

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