Thursday, August 27, 2009

more info

For more information on the canceled Ares static test go to:

Delayed, again

We left Logan about 11:30, (my husband & I, his parents, & his sister), and arrived at ATK about 20 minutes before the test was scheduled to begin. Everyone had already left the visitor's center, so the police officer there told us to go until we could see the big building with a giant American flag painted on the side and the rocket laying on its side. Well, that took us to the general public observation area, & so Mom Lind asked one of the officers there if he knew where the astronaut Don Lind was supposed to go, and that we were supposed to meet Holly Lamb, the ATK outreach coordinator. The officer called on his radio, found out where we were supposed to be, got someone to cover his post, and then gave us an escort back a ways, to an unmarked road and up the hill to the VIP viewing area. When we got out of the car, the officer said to Dad Lind that he didn't give us the escort just because he was an astronaut, but because when the officer had been on his mission in Houston, he had heard Dad Lind speak.

We got to the VIP viewing area just in time for the singing of the National Anthem, and then a hold at T-9 minutes. It was just a short hold, though, and the countdown continued. During this time, we were trying to find a good spot to see from, especially for Mom Lind, who's about a head shorter than just about everyone. A lady standing in front of me noticed we didn't have passes about the same time my husband noticed her pass said "Holly Lamb." So we found who we had been looking for. They primed the motors, and the countdown got to T-20 seconds, and they called another hold. My reaction was "of course," and my husband's reaction was "anyone who was watching the clock already knew that." Holly found some chairs in the shade (it appeared to be the announcer's booth) for Mom & Dad Lind.

And then the test was canceled. One of the things that needed to be tested was gimbaling the engines. Gimbaling is how a rocket steers itself. Well, at T-20 seconds, one of the motors wouldn't gimbal. When they figure out what went wrong, ATK will announce a new test date. Watch NASA_Ares to find out more.

Monday, August 24, 2009


So my plan had been to post tomorrow about the ATK Ares test firing, but it got postponed 'til Thursday, due to the Shuttle launch on Tuesday. Hopefully the Shuttle launch won't be delayed. Doesn't look good right now, though. According to the official NASA Twitter, there is a 60% chance of weather prohibiting the launch. You can watch the launch on NASA TV.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Giant Star Party

The Giant Star Party at the American West Heritage Center last week was a big success. Over 100 people came to the StarLab presentations, and a lot more were there for the various other activities. In my presentations, I pointed out where Neptune was (among other things) and suggested that the audience go ask the people with telescopes to find Neptune for them. I don't actually know if any of them did. The Glow-in-the-Dark tea party had leftovers, so I took some fruit and miniature muffins home. The muffins had little stylized icing meteors on them, which looked cool, and they were very yummy. A number of people took the flyers I had available, telling a little about the plans I have for Cache StarHouse, and the problems the Jr Engineering program is facing with budget cuts. Hopefully, someone will know someone who has access to some funding and can help us out.

Some of the schools here in Cache Valley are starting this week. If I knew the equipment was still going to be around, I would already be calling principals to schedule the planetarium. Hopefully, some funding will come through before the end of this month.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

OK, found the Moonbots webpage: So far, it just has the same article as on Space Fellowship, which I already posted, but you can sign up to be notified of when the contest begins.

X-Prize for Families

The newest contest from the X-Prize foundation is for teams of parents and children working together, and using LEGOS!

The article, "“MOONBOTS” Challenges Parent-Child Teams To Conduct GLXP Missions With Lego" can be found at:

This sounds like a lot of fun. I wish I had an elementary-school-aged child so we could participate in this. It's basically design, build, and program a robot using the LEGO Mindstorm kits to be able to do some of the same tasks required of the Google Lunar X-Prize.

Have fun, learn something, & play with LEGOs! What more could you want?

More information will be posted once the Moonbots website is up. Appearently, there's an hour to go, but you can also follow the Moonbots on Twitter: