Wednesday, February 27, 2008

DIRECT to a desktop background near you ...

The good folks over at DIRECT 2.0, have made available for us space geeks (and DIRECT concept supporters) some of their artwork for our enjoyment as wallpapers. Be sure to check these out and spread the word about this alternative to Ares if you're asked about that fancy new background now replacing that picture of a top model you were using ;-)

Regarding the 3D cockpit thingy I was talking about 10 days or so ago, things are looking good and I should be able to post a screenie of this in a few days hopefully. Since right now I'm experimenting with that in the context of some ground based console, the veil of secrecy shrouding our Orbiter's project won't be lifted ... yet :-P

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Armadillo Aeroscare

Not to remove anything from the accomplishment of the legendary John Carmack's team over at Armadillo Aerospace, but their planned suborbital vehicle (called "six pack") looks like it will be the experience of a lifetime for the extrem thrill-seeker daredevils out there ... Sure, the view will be terrific from the apogee, but only if you are brave enough to open your eyes! Check this out:

Ain't that something (more pictures on the latest update from Mr Carkmack)? 8-)


Monday, February 25, 2008

In the Shadow of the Moon

I finaly managed to watch last night, the recently released DVD of In the Shadow of the Moon, a documentary on the Apollo program which was released in (too few) theatre back in 2007. The film is based on remasterised footages of the missions (some I don't think I have ever seen) with comments from 10 of the 24 Apollo's astronauts, and I founded it quite enjoyable both for the spirit and for the eyes. I was somewhat a bit desapointed that Neil Armstrong declined to be part of it, since he's the iconic figure of the program, but overall I don't think the documentary suffered from not having him on the project.

Thanks to YouTube, here's the trailer:


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

That Space Show

I have done a quick search on this blog, and I couldn't beleive that I haven't managed yet to point at the Ares alternative called Direct 2.0, which I approve off. The Direct 2.0's team have done a excellent job over the years to come-up with documents and even a web presentation (and an Orbiter's addon!) to demonstrate and explain why Direct 2.0 is safer, simpler and sooner than what NASA has been working on. For a quick introduction (and some great contents) check out The Space Show of February 17th since it dedicated to it.

Since I'm no rocket engineer, I can't comment much on their proposal aside from saying that it does appears more sounds and in fact much more logical than Ares I&V. Make you wonder why NASA picked-up what it did ...


Monday, February 18, 2008

The lure of 3D cockpit ...

Saturday morning, I had the great pleasure to notice on the Orbiter's forum that AMSO 1.16 had been released by it's author. In case you don't know AMSO, it's the other Apollo simulator for Orbiter, which unlike NASSP doesn't focus (yet?) on the ultra-realistic simulation of the systems, but provides magnificient graphisms and a great gameplay. One of the pretty neat (and new?) feature of AMSO (among plenty), is a nice looking (but static) Virtual Cockpit. While looking at the Erath from the various vintage points offered by the 5 portholes, it suddently stroke me that maybe we should be using a Virtual Cockpit as well for our projects.

Since the inception of our project, back in January 2006, I have always been rather reticent to doing such a virtual cockpit. The main raison for my opposition was the limited resolution of 3D panels and controls, in comparaison to a 2D equivalent. I haven't changed my mind on this, but seen what could be attained with a virtual cockpit, the idea came to me that maybe we could combine both 2D and 3D panels, in a sort of hybrid cockpit, where mouse input on area located in the virtual cockpit, opens floating panels (aka Window) representing the corresponding instruments/panel in a nice flat 2D rendering ... I'll post more on that once we have implemented that concept a bit further.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Busy day in space ...

Yep, with Columbus been attached to the ISS and a Proton successful launch, today was a busy day for the space geeks! I had the chance to watch a good part of the EVA and to see, live, the latest module added to the station been moved from the Shuttle cargo bay and positioned on its place on the ISS, it was a nice experience.

I was checking-up KSC imagery gallery today, and noticed a couple of picture of the Japanese module Kibo, to be installed in March. The Japanese contribution to the ISS is going to be installed in three separate flights. I was a bit surprise earlier when seeing these pictures, by the small size of it, but it was only one of the segment of it (the ELM). That's gonna make for some more interesting missions to watch. Things won't be the same anymore once the station is fully assembled and that all there is to see, is crew rotation ... :-\


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lots of fun

Last Saturday night, after an afternoon of hard work on our project, I decided to give a try to the CVEL-Titans Orbiter's addon, which offers a very decent sample of the Titan rocket family. Since I have lately grow a certain attraction for the late Titan III and IV, it sounded like a good way of spending some well deserved relaxation time, sending Luna looking probe into LEO :-) There's something about Titan that is appealing, I'm not to sure if it is its modularity, or its cute looks (especially on the late variant of it), but it's a neat vehicle. Since it was used mainly for military payload (except for the Gemini program and some NASA probes), there isn't much available documentation on it. At least not as much as for the Saturn launch vehicle.

Anyhow, I found the following video on YouTube, which have some pretty neat sequences from various Titan launches: