It's been exactly two weeks since my first post which is way more time than I intended. But it doesn't really seems like I've done a lot in-between now and two weeks ago, at least not a lot of interesting stuff. Basically school kinda took over. But now things should be settling down until finals roll around so I thought I'd take a minute to do a post about some (interesting) day to day stuff I've done at school.
Tuesday, I woke up at 2 in the morning while most college people were just about to think about going to sleep. Why? Because I was going to go see a rocket launch, like a big rocket. The design team I'm on at school is doing research into Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) in space. I'll try not to make this too boring but basically SHM is, as its name suggests, monitoring how sound or healthy a structure is by looking at the stresses and strains in the members of the structure (stresses are the forces and loads the members are carrying and strain is the amount of deformation the members take under the stresses they carry). So basically SHM is a way to tell if your building has a crack in it. What we want to know is weather the same methods of SHM used on earth will work in space, or if the space environment would cause some adverse side effects on the equipment. So the team before us designed and built a payload to go fly in a rocket to test some stuff. Then, on tuesday, I woke up at 2 in the morning to go see the rocket launch the payload into space.
Overall it was not the most exciting thing in the world. We got to the launch site about 2 hours early, then the flight was delayed about an hour. The actuall rocket launch was pretty cool, but it was only about a minute. Then it took them about 2 hours to recover it and then another hour or so for us to get our payload out of the rocket. So the day was pretty much spent waiting around. However we did get a chance to take a tour of Spaceport America which made the day a little better. Spaceport America is the new spaceport out side of Las Cruces NM where Virgin Galactic, and other companies in the future, will base their operations for commercial space flight. So those commercials with Richard Branson floating in a space shuttle in space, the space shuttle (or space vehicle) would take off and land at Spaceport America. I think SpaceX also has some kind of launch pad or something at the Spaceport and when Lady Gaga does her concert in space she'll take off from there. Anyways, right now they have one terminal/hanger building, which is pretty cool, and one freaking huge runway. Virgin Galactic was doing something inside the terminal so we couldn't go inside but we were able do drive around on the runway and holy crap the thing was huge. The building was really unique as well. It had basically no right angles (I would not have wanted to be the engineer that had to design that) and then a huge wall of glass looking out on the runway. It's unique because it's not only a terminal for all the passengers paying a quarter of a million dollars (literally, look it up) to go to space, but it also houses the planes and shuttles that take them there. If you search "spaceport america" in google images you'll probably get a good idea (I didn't want to deal with getting an image in here, especially one I don't own). So despite being sleep deprived, hungry and annoyed with all the waiting, I can now say that I've walked on the runway at Spaceport America, which is pretty cool.
I figure I'll take a minute at the end of this post to let you know what my plans are for this blog. I'd like to start sharing some photos with you guys so I think every friday I'm going to find a photo I like and share it with you (I also need to figure out how the album thing works on this website). So I'll try and start that this friday. Maybe I'll call it Photo Phriday. . . or Foto Friday. . . none of those really sound good. Anyways, I also want to get some posts on here about the quadcopter so hopefully I'll have something on monday or tuesday with videos and pictures and lots of math stuff. So yeah, keep checking back here because I'll be posting more often with cool stuff and pictures and videos.
Thanks for reading.