Wednesday, September 30, 2009


So it has been brought to my attention that my last post kinda sucked. Particularly so after considering how eventful that trip was. So here is my apology. In blog form.

I think I've mentioned before when we go over to Kennedy (Space Center) it's so impressive just how big everything is. The scale of everything is so far off what I'm used to that it can be a little disorienting. Recall the rocket we were testing is over 300 feet tall. And It was sitting on a 3-story launch platform. Propped up on about 20 feet of posts. Waiting for a million pound crawler to tote the whole stack away. Now recall that the whole thing I just described... was indoors. Housed in what is called the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building). If you've looked at my pictures you've seen the inside and outside... but have you seen the top? We were lucky enough to ride the elevators to the top of the 500 plus foot building and take some team pictures on the roof. How cool is that? The view was pretty good.

Hovik, Paul, Jeff, and me: on the VAB roof!

And while that and the night launch (previous post) were pretty cool, they don't quite measure up to sending your name up into the outer atmosphere. We had a few hours to spare before the testing started up so our man Paul (who was pretty much responsible for getting to see all the cool things we did on our trips there) took us for a climb up into the vehicle. We started at the bottom of the dummy upper stage and worked our way up the ladders all the way into the crew module (top section before the pointy thing on the end) where we all got to sign our names. Inside the actual rocket that will be launched in a matter of weeks. Yeah. Awesome.

Upper stage: that platform is where we climbed in;
then went up a series of ladders to sign our names in the top module.

So here ya go, Mom.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rockets' Red Glare

I see it's been some time since my last post, but I have a good excuse. Unfortunately for you, you'll have to wait until the next post to read about it. OK, so pretty much everyone who reads this page already knows what it is, but indulge me for a moment, won't you?

Just before I left for my excuse, I headed out for the last in a series of visits to NASA for an experimental rocket program. It was the last in a series of tests, and this one was for the whole solid-fueled enchilada. Over 300 feet of rocket standing straight up on it's tail. For me this was an extreme departure from the small structures I usually get to work on.

I will spare you all the nerdy detail (check it out here), but once again while I was there I got lucky and was able to see another shuttle launch. Only this one was at night, what is planned to be the last night launch in the shuttle program. Check out the video.

STS-128 Launch from Ryan Tuttle on Vimeo.

I don't have much more to say about this, but here are the rest of the pictures. I've been super busy since my excuse so I'm still collecting blog data from it; you'll have to wait a few more days until the first post. Sorry.

Also on the trip: mating manatees, sweet tour of the museum courtesy of Paul B., and long, long nights.