Archive for the ‘NASA’ Category

China’s reaction when Apollo 13 had an emergency

October 9, 2013

Apollo 13” was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended.

On its way back before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, the U.S. Government informed governments of other countries about the incident, asking them to help rescue American astronauts. Upon the request, the Soviet Union order the whole country to turn off any radio devices that could interfere the communications from the lunar module. At 18:07:41 UTC, April 17, 1970, it splashed down on Pacific Ocean. The crew were picked up by USS Iwo Jima 45 minutes later.

What did the Chinese government do? (more…)

Keith, NASA flies space shuttle with detour path again

September 15, 2012

NASA has decided to fly space shuttle Endeavour with a detour path. I remember that Keith Cowing of NASAWatch questioned NASA with the argument that it is a waste of money. Now, NASA does the same again. I wonder whether Keith will challenge NASA again?

For those who live in California and have a desire to see NASA flies the space shuttle, try to find out whether it will fly over your sky. It will be on September 20, 2012.

MIT’s Aircraft Systems Engineering

May 17, 2012

Everyone knows that MIT has an open course project. One of them is “16.885J / ESD.35J Aircraft Systems Engineering“. I am interested in this one because it was given by top scientists, engineers and managers in the field of space shuttle design, development and operations. Therefore, it offers first hand experiences and information in terms of system engineering of space vehicles.

I personally listened through all the video lectures of this course. One thing I have to say is that it is not a systems engineering course in general. Rather, it is an “Aircraft Systems Engineering” as the title says. So, it is an excellent reference if you are taking a class in an aircraft systems engineering somewhere else, or you are in this field and want to gain more knowledge and second hand experiences, or you want to know the history of space shuttle. I learned a lot from the course. Unfortunately, most of the slides used in classroom are not available on the internet. Sometimes, you would have to guess on speakers. Please note that there are transcripts available and it is particularly useful.

While I was listening this course, I put together a list of lectures.


Is Penny4NASA enough?

March 30, 2012

This is a forward from NASA Watch.

“Tell the United States Congress and President Barack Obama that you want NASA’s annual budget increased to one penny on the taxpayer dollar. Tell them that making NASA 1% of the total budget is worth it for the future of our great nation!”

Petition at

But, if NASA is simply a money transfer hub, is this enough to save NASA?

Industry vs. NASA

September 25, 2011

I was reading R. T. Jones’ “Learning the Hard Way: Recollections of an Aeronautical Engineer” and learned the following:

In early 1930s, a bill was introduced to eliminates NACA. John F. Wictory, secretary of the Committee, kept a close watch on such legislative activities and he quickly contacted all aircraft manufacturers in the U.S., urging them to write their congressmen in support of NACA. The effort succeeded and NACA was saved from extinction.

One question comes to my mind: If a similar bill is introduced to the House of Representatives and someone from NASA writes to all airspace companies and urges them to write their representatives in support of NASA. Will they do it? I bet that they will write but in opposite tones: Shut down NASA and give the money to me and I can do a better job using less money and in shorter time.


Biographical Memories – Robert Thomas Jones (with more photos)

August 4, 2011

Walter G. Vincenti

Robert Thomas Jones
May 28, 1910 – August 11, 1999

THE PLANFORM OF THE wing of every high-speed transport one sees flying overhead embodies R. T. Jones’s idea of sweepback for transonic and supersonic flight. This idea, of which Jones was one of two independent discoverers, was described by the late William Sears, a distinguished aerodynamicist who was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, as “certainly one of the most important discoveries in the history of aerodynamics.” It and other achievements qualify him as among the premier theoretical aerodynamicists of the twentieth century. And this by a remarkable man whose only college degree was an honorary doctorate.


Space Policy Explained

July 27, 2011

If you are confused by the space policy of the US, here is a series of videos that may help:


Xinhua news complains about Chinese being denied to KSC

May 17, 2011

I wrote about an amendment of H.R.1 sometime ago and situation has been developing since then. Now, NASA Banned From Working With China even though the White House wants to extend cooperation between the United States and China on science and technology. The Chinese have kept quiet until now when the Chinese journalists were banned to enter KSC for Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final launch live coverage. State run news agency Xinhua reported this incident (in Chinese). Here is an apparent machine translation of the report. Note that CiPuYi in the translation should be Magnetic Spectrometer and wolff should be Wolf.

President Obama is shown space shuttle TPS components at KSC

May 6, 2011

This NASA TV shows that President Obama visits Kennedy Space Center. Starting at 3 minute 18 second, the video shows that President Obama goes to a table with space shuttle TPS components. It ends this period at 7 minute 10 second.


A Space Shuttle Model in the Bay Area

April 23, 2011

On April 12, NASA announced the New Homes For Shuttle Orbiters After Retirement: