Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No one will hear you blog in space ...

... that is if you are indeed blogging ... Which doesn't seems to be the case of Charles Simonyi as his first and only blog entry (at the time of this blog) from the ISS was made on April 14th (a rather interesting post btw, worth reading). So I have been wondering a bit what's Charles up to ... He seems to have been maintaining a much lower profile than Anousheh Ansari while in orbit. Anyhow, likely with the return of Expedition 14 in 2 days he will update his blog once he's back? I sure hope so, I'd love to read his comments on the flight and reentry.

Speaking of blog update, I'll be away (visiting my folks) for the next two weeks, so it is highly probable that I won't be posting until I return ... Not a big loss some will said ;-)


Thursday, April 12, 2007


Happy cosmonautics day everyone! For once, I actually remembered ... I wonder how that could be? ;-) (insider joke, forgive me). Like every years, there's (wild) parties been thrown to mark the event all around the world. Check the official web site of Yuri's Night to find one near you (there's one in downtown Vancouver, but I'll stay home ... I'm not much of a party goer).

To mark the event, Ivan Safronov have posted two excellent videos (Russian audio track only) on his web site on Gagarin's flight (#1 & #2). A must see for every space enthusiat :-)


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Archives gones wild! #4

Instead of impatiently hitting the reload button of your favorite web browser on the Expedition 14 and 15 galleries, deseperatly waiting for NASA to update them with some images from last week liftoff or yesterday docking ... here's a link that should relieve your thirst of Space imagery, courtesy of the Project Apollo Archive which just got updated (first time since last summer) with 28 newly scanned images of Apollo 9. I haven't browsed trough my Apollo collection for a while, since I have been focusing on Soviet space hardware, but I could swear that I never seen some of these images before! ... then again, I'm not known for my perfect memory .. 9_9


Monday, April 09, 2007

TMA-10 #4

I'm not too sure what I could possibly said about this afternoon docking .... now I'm just waiting for the hi-res pictures taken from the ISS to come down and be posted on the Gallery. If you missed the live coverage, Space-multimedia (again) have a video recording of it, and off the hatch opening (with cheesy exchanges between the crew members and their family!).

If I may, I'll hijack this post for a little update on the [Censured] project for Orbiter. As I reached the Communication section of the document I have been preparing, I'll be focusing on that for a while as our SDK doesn't support that yet .... Perfect excuse for some R&D time :-) Now, the key is that we're about some realism .. for example, we shouldn't expect a radio message sent by a spacecraft to be received by a ground station which is on the opposite side of the Earth. At least for the time period that interest us ...

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TMA-10 #3

Somehow when I woke-up Saturday morning, I was planning on making a day of that Soyuz launch ... but in reality the coverage on NASA TV is pretty slim .... it start one hour or so before the launch and stop few minute after the orbit insertion .... nothing anywhere close to what's provided for a Shuttle launch ... Which isn't really a surprise for a veteran of armchair rocket launches like myself ;-)

The liftoff and ride went smoothly as usual, except for a longer than usual first motion. I'm no specialist, but it appeared to me (and also to other folks from the IRC channel #space) that the rocket took longer than usual to lift from the pad ... As there's no mention of any possible issue on the official sites, maybe it was normal? Who knows .... In any case, if you have missed the launch, a video of it is available from Space-multimedia.

Docking is happening in a couple of hours, I'll be following it (of course).


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

TMA-10 #2

So you may want to make note of it, the launch (of TMA-10) is scheduled for 10:31am PST this coming Saturday (April 7th). As this is getting closer by the minutes, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the Expedition 15 gallery. Usually they post some high-res images of the mating of the rocket as well as its transportation to the launch pad (here's an example from Expedition 14). Of course the launch will be LIVE on NASA TV :-)


Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that with the launch of the Soyuz TMA-10 (Expedition 15 + Charles Simonyi) nearing, there's on Energia web site some pictures (as usual) of the Soyuz preparation (link, link, link and link). It's great that they post some pictures, but I wishs they offered something a bit better than the low res (by modern standard) 640x426 ... I may have complained about that before, no? :-) Yeah I thought so .... Well, with a flight every 6 months it's likely that, with my weak memory, I won't remember what I wrote during the previous TMA launch ;-)


Monday, April 02, 2007

Back to the grinder ...

When Castorp and I started working on our [Censured] project, we decided very early on to be more methodological about it than what we did for the OctoberSky project. This mean that since January all we have done is making meshes, reading a lot of books and documents while writing our own documents. Thanks to Kyra's inputs, we have now a solid collections of facts, data and info on the spacecraft to be available within that Orbiter addon. My main contribution to the project so far (aside from the various R&D works and a bit of research) has been to work on the design of the addon. I know, it doesn't sounds too fun, but in fact it is most of the time (and the perfect occasion to get familiar with terms and concepts used in spacecraft design). Mostly I have been following the layout (and level of details) of the Mercury and Gemini manuals (and familiarization documents) and filling the gaps with what we know and what we think we know. Obviously accurate facts are hard to come by for anything related to the Soviet space program, so we have been taking some liberties. The Electrical Power System (EPS) design is a good example of the artistic freedom we took. With very little data on it, I designed the one we will implement in the addon to be very similar to the one used on the Gemini (and Mercury) spacecraft. It's likely to be historically incorrect, but at least it's technically sound. Now, as you will guess been a computer geek and all, I can't really stand working weeks after weeks on a document, so I came up with the idea of the R&D periods, where I can close OpenOffice and start the Visual Studio for some (most needed) (limited) coding time :-)

Speaking of R&D, I finished last night working on the framework to support the external panels I was talking about few posts ago. The following screenie shows a wrist watch displayed in a window (giving the current time in Moscow):

Anyhow, the coding fun's over for now ... time to start OpenOffice ;-) In case you are wondering, we don't exactly know when we will be starting to actually implement that addon. If I had to guess I'll said not before a couple of months ... maybe by summer?