POTD – 11/365

…and you’re complaining about that download time, huh?

So, yeah… New Year’s Day, early in the wee hours of the morning, there was a celebration of another type going on at my job. The photo above explains it all – it’s a certificate marking a historic event of a flyby of a mission by NASA and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.

In short, I’ll explain what happens next, a process that is typical of all space missions that gather images for relay back to earth for science processing. Such images are stored on the spacecraft, just as you would save them to your mobile device, computer, or the cloud, until transmission to earth takes place. The New Horizon spacecraft has SSD (solid state drives – hard drives) that store the images taken of Ultimate Thule as the flyby occurred. In this case, during the flyby, it was known that the spacecraft would “go dark” (meaning that there would be no communications with Earth) as the camera was taking the photos – all could go successfully or there could be any kind of anomaly – either way neither could be known in dark mode. Fortunately, communication back to Earth after the flyby sequence essentially meant the spacecraft saying “Hey, my SSD is full and I’m going to start sending you images back to you!” – which is just what began happening. The interesting thing with the design of this is NASA wanted to study the images as soon as possible BUT in order to do so, low resolution images are the first to be sent because of their size with respect to the distance from Earth the spacecraft is. It will be *two years* from now until any hi-res images will reach Earth. So…the next time you’re crying about how lonnnnnng it’s taking to download your file (raises hands)….think about the Ultima Thule images 😏🙂.



Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 12 – 12 Aug 18

Greetings all…

The weekend is gone that quick…what else is new? It was a good one nonetheless, outside of my broken sleep patterns via trying to see the launch on Saturday morning. It was a success this morning at 3:30 am or so (I didnt wake up for it, but will be checking out the replay when I get to work tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a shot of the Delta IV heavy lofting Parer Soar Probe into space, courtesy a Twitter post:

Question…how many of you are into tracking your quantified self? I’ve been using an app called Gyroscope, the free version. I primarily use it as an add-on to my Apple Watch fitness track data. Gyroscope has some great features and a privacy mode, but as with many apps, I often wonder how the collected data is being used. The quantified self movement was very big some years ago and a friend of mine on Twitter is actually featured on Gyroscopes site as an avid user of the paid app. We had an interesting discussion about what he thinks about all the many types of quantified data he shares. In short, I’m still not certain if I could go to the extent of data sharing that he (or many do), even though we have our “always-on” mobile phones. From my understanding, the whole aspect of tracking one’s quantified data is to make improvements to yourself over time. It’s the data aggregation aspects that still don’t sit 100% well with me, though I admit there is lot to be seen from such data over time. Id be interested in your thoughts.

On the productivity front, I came across another interesting article that I was discussing with DarrenKeith, my brother in podcasting, blogging, and tech. Ironically, I received the latest Fast Company in the mail yesterday. There is a sidebar to an article in there that speaks to the subject of this article – Why productivity isn’t the only thing your smartphone is stealing from you. I think there are points in it we all can relate to. FB and IG are creating ways to cause us to spend less time on our mobile devices and there are a lot of apps that are made to do the same (although that whole approach seems like an oxymoron – spending less time on your phone my checking apps that help….that are on your phone….ok.). Then there is this approach of changing your mobile phone’s colors to grayscale. Supposedly this is less appealing than the colors we adore (there have been studies) and as a result, we’ll want to look at them less.

My solution – just put the phone down.

Have a good week.


Social Media Sabbatical (SMS): Day 11 – 11 Aug 18


It’s been a day…not a bad one, but moreso a long one. The launch I posted about yesterday was aborted close to 4:30am. The cause was a gaseous helium alarm detected from the launch vehicle, with about two minutes left of terminal count – they’ll try again at 3:33 am, Sunday. I went to bed late (12:30am), got up at 2:30am for the prelaunch activities, but never went back to sleep until 6pm for a two hour nap. That said, I feel kinda…out of it. LOL. I think things will balance out tomorrow. I am NOT getting back up in three hours to watch again.

I’m working on a new music project that I plan to drop in September, so this evening was spent doing sourcing some graphics for the artwork, while reestablishing my Flickr account. You can find me there (soon) for my serious photographic submissions:


This broken sleep pattern has me meh. I did NO coding today…back to it tomorrow.


Remember Challenger (STS-51L): 30 Years Today


Greetings all…

Today, marks 30 years go that we lost the Challenger crew of the STS 51L mission to an explosion of The Shuttle, 73 seconds into flight. It was, as many tragic accidents (and not just in spaceflight), a very sad day.

I remember it almost like it was yesterday. I was still in Bridgeport, CT….a fresh college graduate looking to see if I’d land my first career job in that state. While that was not the case, I took a small job while interviewing ine area. That job was working at a cable company working on cable box electronic assemblies.

That morning, we had the TV on at work, anxious to see another successful Shuttle launch. I had always had an interest in space and space exploration. While it was greater at some points in my life than others, nonetheless it still remained (like many young boys, I, too, wanted to be an astronaut at some time).

The liftoff was nominal, ascent was the same way, telemetry was downlinking with no issues as I remember, and it was a gorgeous morning. At a little over a minute in, tragedy ensued, as I watched the Shuttle explode right before my eyes. Even awhile after it happened, I still couldn’t believe what I saw, nor could I believe the sadness that over took me. I’ve never seen a space exploration accident happen before, and have never seen one since, but that day still lives within me.

When I’d heard what the cause of the mishap was, I could immediately understand it, though I no where knew about space vehicles what I currently do today. What I didn’t know, is something that learned of while listening to NPR on the way home from work today. Something that made me want to post this weblog. I have to admit that I was all over again saddened as I drove home listening to this, but in an entirely new and different way. What I listened to was the first time ever released story of Morton Thiokol engineer Bob Ebeling, who up until today, remained an anonymous source for NPR’s 1986 report on the disaster. He told NPR about he and another engineer basically begged NASA not to launch the Challenger mission that day due to temperatures being too cold to launch. He, for 30 years, carried the guilt of feeling he could have done more than just presenting the data to NASA providing they should not have launched. You can read the story and listen to Bob, who is 89 years old today, by clicking here.

I may listen to this excerpt again, but not any time soon. I can only imagine what he has carried inside of mental state for so long after this tragedy.

Another story that elaborates on report the facts of this mission and crew loss (again by NPR can be found here.


The crew of the Challenger mission are as follows:
Commander Dick Scobee; co-pilot Michael Smith; Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian-American in space; Judith Resnik; Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space; Christa McAuliffe; and Gregory Jarvis.

Today there was a special memorial held at Kennedy Space Center. where June Scobee Rogers, the wife of then CDR Dick Scobee, addressed the crowd with words of hope.

The crew is now longer with us, but you are far from being forgotten. Ad Astra.

Thanks for reading.