Hubble's Gotchu!

How have I not seen this before? Jimmy Fallon has a recurring sketch by a guy who loves the Hubble Space Telescope. Bashir Salahuddin, a.k.a. “Milky J”, raps about Hubble’s great images.

And Goddard actually invited the Jimmy Fallon crew to come in and see the information about the James Webb Space Telescope. Sheer awesomeness!

Check out all the details of the visit and previous videos from Jimmy Fallon over at
Geeked on Goddard.

Space School Musical

NASA and KidTribe teamed up for this unforgettably entertaining “hip-hopera” designed to teach kids about the solar system. Described as ‘MTV meets Science’, “Space School Musical” is one small step for man & one giant moonwalk for kid-kind!

So starts the blurb about Space School Musical

This weekend, May 23! That’s pretty crazy…

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch


This clip is raw from Camera E-8 on the launch umbilical tower/mobile launch program of Apollo 11, July 16, 1969. This is an HD transfer from the 16mm original. Even more excellent footage is available on DVDs at

The camera is running at 500 fps, making the total clip of over 8 minutes represent just 30 seconds of actual time. Narration is provided by Mark Gray, Executive Producer for Spacecraft Films.

You should really watch it in HD full screen…

Jet Propulsion Laboratory open house May 15-16

I just noticed on the altadenablog a notice about JPL’s upcoming Open House.

The 2010 JPL Open House will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, 2010, 9am-5pm both days.

This popular event celebrates JPL’s accomplishments with exhibits and demonstrations about the Laboratory’s ongoing research and space exploration. Many of the Lab’s scientists and engineers are on hand to answer questions about how spacecraft are sent to other planets, how scientists utilize space technologies to explore Earth and how researchers are searching for planets beyond the solar system.

The Open House is a fun and educational experience for children too, with special hands-on activities designed for kids. Admission and parking is free.

Awesome video of STS-130

Some folks at JSC put together a rocking video with tons of the ascent imagery from one of the recent Space Shuttle flights. Cool, eh?

There are only four more Space Shuttle flights scheduled before they shut the program down!

NASA OIG: $368 Million Cost to Make Constellation Metric Compliant – NASA Watch

This is unbelievable.

NASA has a standing policy to use metric (SI) units for all projects. Unfortunately, much of American industry, including the DoD, still uses English units. The Constellation program decided to use metric units two years ago, and how they want to switch back to English units, saying that it costs over $300 million to re-tool and re-draw all the hardware they would be re-using or modifying from older programs, like the Space Shuttle.

Think about that…over $300 million. That’s more than many satellites cost for design, build and launch. And people wonder why companies like SpaceX can do launches cheaper…

Just today, I had several conversations about units at work. For the same project, two different groups of modelers were doing analysis. Once it recently became time to merge or combine the models, lo and behold, we discover that one group used metric and one didn’t. Bleh…

The engineer in me just wants the U.S. and the U.K. to just get over it and switch completely to metric. Then I think about baseball and golf and milk and gasoline and everything that would have to change…

NASA – New Coming Attractions Trailer Shows an Exciting Webb Telescope Mission

Perhaps in time with the new Hubble 3D Imax movie coming out, NASA has a beautiful HD video previewing the James Webb Space Telescope.

JWST has been in development for a long time and is due to launch in 2014. They’ve really been pushing the envelope in a lot of areas, including tech development and simulation analysis. It’s all pretty impressive, and this movie is a fun and gorgeous show. Check it out!

Anyone that quotes Sherlock Holmes about space…

Lionel Windsor has a post over at the Sola Panel talking about God, the universe and all that. Kinda fun.

Well, you could point out that weather and tide and climate predictions need detailed solar, lunar and planetary modelling. You could also point out that car engines need modern mechanics, which is all based on the laws of motion formulated by Isaac Newton, who used the orbits of planets to calculate and build his theories. Or you could point to the humble GPS satellite navigator, which relies on Einstein’s theory of relativity and orbiting satellites. Of course, astronomy is useful; after all, it helps us to work out whether it’s raining, and how to drive quickly to the cricket and back without taking a wrong turn!

View From My Office

With all the rain last week, the mountains above Pasadena show a lot of snow on their peaks. The view from my office window overlooks JPL’s new Flight Projects Center.

Snow Above JPL