Engineers, please write blog or diary

An engineer stands next to a 3 percent-scale Saturn V model in the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center in 1966. Thomas Ivanco prepares a model of Ares I-X for testing in the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center.
1966 2006-2008

As the date of July 20 is approaching, celebration of the 40th anniversary of Landing on the Moon is getting more and more attentions. Let us read two related stories about NASA. The first one is “From Generation to Generation: Filling the Knowledge Gaps“:

In 2006, when the staff of the Aeroelasticity Branch at NASA抯 Langley Research Center learned that it would test ground wind loads for the Ares I-X launch test vehicle, they went in search of history.The branch had performed similar tests in the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel (TDT) in Hampton, Virginia, for the Saturn V that was used to carry Apollo aloft but had conducted few such tests since.

What they found was discouraging. “A lot of the reports summarized the results of the tests, but there wasn’t a lot of detail about steps that were taken from model concept through fabrication and testing, and how things were done or even why, in some instances,” said Keller, who – with Ivanco – oversaw TDT testing and preparation of the 4 percent- scale Ares I-X ground wind loads model during fall of 2008.

The same lack of documented knowledge hampered interpretation of the Ares I-X test data for Systems Engineering and Integration, which ordered the tests. The staff struggled to understand what to do with the data from the tests for his report in March. The real difficulty was in translating the model data to a full-scale vehicle.

The second story is “NASA Solicitation: Request for Information Regarding The Weekly Notes of Dr. Wernher Von Braun“:

NASA has a full collection of Dr. Wernher von Braun’s “Weekly Notes,” written during the 1960s and 1970s. Dr. Von Braun was the first director of the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and is considered a key figure in the development of the Saturn V rocket and NASA’s Apollo program. These notes were used to track programmatic and institutional issues at MSFC, and are considered by many historians to be a valuable source of historical data.NASA is issuing a request for information (RFI) to seek comments from the public, academia, and industry to address aspects or concepts on how NASA should proceed to analyze and catalog these notes into an electronic, searchable database or other medium. NASA is looking for concepts to provide an innovative resource for researchers in academia and industry.

Both stories are about current engineers needing knowledge from past engineers in the 1960s. In the first story, the current engineers have difficulties to get the technical details of the past engineering work because the past engineers didn’t write them done. In the second story, the past engineer Dr. Wernher von Braun did write notes, but the current engineers have difficulties to digitalize then.

What we can learn from these two stories is that the current engineers should have digital notes in a regular basis. In Web 2.0 terms, we mean blogs. So, I would suggest that current engineers write down their technical details of their engineering work regularly in their blogs which maybe open to public or close to public.

Related posts: NASA Announces Request For Information On Von Braun Collection


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One Response to “Engineers, please write blog or diary”

  1. Every Scientist&Engineer@universe Should Have A Facebook Page « Paviavio           Says:

    […] which I agree. In fact, I think what he is thinking is similar to what I have said: “Engineers, please write blog or diary“. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Houston, We Have a ProblemA Different Take […]

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