Learning From Failure

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I have a fascination with watching launch failures. When The Professor sent me a link to this video on Universe Today I watched all 32 minutes. It’s fascinating in that “watching a train wreck” way that us humans are so enamored with, but also in a professional way. You see, I […]


Watching A Space Shuttle Launch

STS-127 Launch

One of my most treasured memories is having the opportunity to witness two space shuttle launches. The photo above is one I took with my old point and shoot camera of STS-127. Even from approximately 5 miles away, the sound of the launch was incredible. You can no longer see a space shuttle launch. However, thanks to the wonder that is the innerwebs, you can see one virtually. Hit the jump, crank up the speakers, and pretend you’re in Florida.

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Rocket Frog

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time ‘til touch down brings me round again to find I’m not the man they think I am at home Oh no, no, no, I’m a rocket frog Rocket frog, burning out his fuse up here alone

Ed. This photo is real. You […]


We Aren’t Always Perfect

Yesterday I mentioned Little Joe had 8 launches, and 6 of those were successful. You are good with the maths, you realize that means 2 were not. Well, in the early days of rocketry, all the way into the 1950s, launching rockets was almost a crap shoot. We were learning, and that means we were making lots of mistakes. That was the reason for Little Joe and for all the testing that went on — and goes on today — for each rocket program. The more you test the more weak links you find and eventually you should have a robust rocket system. This is why today’s rockets, many of which were designed decades ago, are regarded as reliable. This is why new rocket programs, like the Falcon 9 from SpaceX, are exciting.

Engineers, despite what the movies say, invite failure. Failure is a learning experience. Figuring out why something failed and fixing it is one of the few ways to make something better. Failure is an option.

Hit the jump for some spectacular early rocket failures.
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The Greatest Photo of the Week…Or the Year

Photos of aurorae are cool. Photos of rockets are cool. Photos of lasers are cool. This photo has all three! All that you need are some zombies and bacon and this would be legendary.
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Moments in History, Spaceheads


That’s how long it took John Glenn to make 3 orbits of our blue marble aboard Friendship 7 on January 20, 1962. If you’re not good with the maths, that was 50 years ago today. Technically known as Mercury-Atlas 6, this spaceflight was the first time NASA attempted to put a man in orbit. Oh, and they were successful at it, too. Hit the jump for the first installment of NASA TV’s celebration of this milestone in US spaceflight. Do it. You have nothing better to do for the next 25 minutes, do you?
Continue reading 04:55:23