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Teams Ready Up for the AIAA’s Design Build Fly Contest

The rules for The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Design Build Fly (AIAA DBF) contest have been posted on the official website. This contest is a fun way from undergrads to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. My experience in the DBF gave me a new respect for what goes into the design and construction of air and spacecraft; the detail required for our RC airplane was mind blowing. I was able to learn things that I would have learned in later years. Older team members taught me how to use almost every machine in the machine shop and how to use certain materials. This is why the DBF is a great opportunity for engineers and why every student engineer should try to enter. If you know an undergrad, suggest that they join their college’s DBF team or start their own. Even if you don’t know an undergrad, you can still root for your local school or your old school. Trust me, the teams need the encouragement when they hit inevitable snags. Look up your school in the list of teams that participated in the DBF last year. If a team wants to enter, they have until October 31 to register.

This year teams have to build a soldier portable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The craft must fit in a “commercially produced suitcase meeting airline carry-on bag rules”. We have 4 attempts to complete 3 missions: Fly as many laps as possible, carry “Ammo” (A steel bar, the size is up to the team, but the heavier the bar is, the more points) 3 laps and carry “medical supplies” (As many golfs ball as your plane can fit, the more you carry, the more points) 3 laps. We only have one shot at each mission.

You can read the detailed rules here. The Georgia Tech team is the only team with a twitter account, follow them @GATechDBF. My team’s website is here. Other teams who have websites are:

I’m sure there are more, but I couldn’t find any more. I’ll update this post when I do.

Carnival of Space #167: The Space Tweeps Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to the Carnival of Space number 167, here at the warm and cozy home of the Space Tweep Society. We hope to use our uberl33t twitter skills to promote space exploration and to push STEM education. I can tell you from personal experience that every member loves space and all their tweets are highly encouraging, sort of like how a litter of puppies just loves life. Plus, having chats over twitter late at night with other sleep deprived members is hilarious. That’s why I’m proud to share some of the top articles about space in this week’s Carnival of Space.



Quick Version (Now with twitter):

Discovery News: Can Solar Storms Cause Wildfires?: Tweet This

Weirdwarp: Is Human Colonisation of Europa Possible?: Tweet This

Next Big Future: Spacex talks Falcon X Heavy for 125 tons of heavy lift and Falcon XX for 140 tons and Nuclear Thermal interplanetary Rockets : Tweet This

Next Big Future: Army Working on Nanomissiles for Launching 10-23 kilogram Nanosatellites: Tweet This

Next Big FutureWide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is Top Priority Space Telescope Project: Tweet This

IAG Planetary Geomorphology Working Group: Featured images for August 2010: Tweet This

Dr. Schenk’s 3D House of Satellites: Saturn Triple Play – Tethys, Rhea & Iapetus: Tweet This

Music of the Spheres: Space Models!: Tweet This

Brains Matter and Cheap Astronomy: Astronomy for non-human life forms: Tweet This

The Spacewriter’s RamblingsWe’re Losing Our Skies and our Inspiration: Tweet This

AstroblogUnexpected Rainbows (Part 16) The Copenhagen Edition: Tweet This

Dynamics of Cats: Decadal Survey: 2010: Tweet This

We Are All in the Gutter: No Rings Round Rhea: Tweet This

Beyond Apollo: The LUT, the Orbiter, and the Saturn V S-IC stage (1969): Tweet This

Weird Sciences: Short Article: Hawking’s Weirdness Continued: Tweet This

Weird Sciences: Hyperluminal Travel Without Exotic Matter: Tweet This

Rocket Scientist: RS Classic: Manned vs. Unmanned: Tweet This

FlyingJenny: Kick Starter Kennedy Space Center Sunrises- a photo book: Tweet This

We first begin with an update on the never ending war with doomsday theories. Ian O’Neill posts an article on Discovery News which goes over why the sun won’t fry this planet into something crisper than KFC’s new “sandwich”. (Hint: we have seen the worst case already). But let’s move on from worrying and onto imagining about the future. Weirdwarp goes beyond dreaming about moon and Mars bases and instead thinks about Human Colonisation of Europa. While not a money earner, there are people actively planning this mission. As extreme as the environment is, Europa could be a great home away from home.

Speaking of big dreamers, no one beats Next Big Future in that department. Every article posted is about a ground breaking technology. This has be a particularly amazing week, so they have three submissions to the carnival and all are worth your time. First, they report on SpaceX’s crazy ideas for a 125 ton, 140 ton and nuclear powered, interplanetary rockets. (Crazy is a positive word in my book) Then, on the smaller end, they have an article about the Army’s nanomissles for launching nanosatellites. Finally, they offer an article about the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope’s (WFIRST) new (science) rockstar status. A close second is Weird Sciences, who brings two articles about the cool stuff in the future. First, they go over how Hyperluminal Travel might be possible by increasing the local speed of light then they move onto reasons why space habitation isn’t the best option for humanity at the moment.

Speaking about….um…ok I really don’t have a segway for this, but the Planetary Geomorphology Working Group has some cool pictures focusing on Hematite-rich regions on Mars. Who know nature could produce sphere like rocks? No, really, don’t let my awkwardness prevent you from looking at the shiny images. Equally mind blowing as the Planetary Geomorphology Working Group’s pictures, Dr. Schenk’s 3D House of Satellites brings us the Saturn Triple Play – Tethys, Rhea & Iapetus. Gaze in wonder at the craters on Rhea, stare in awe of the impact basin on Odysseus and drool over the Equatorial Mountains of Iapetus.

Now, wipe the drool from your face, you don’t want to get any of it on the extremely detailed Space Models discussed at Music of the Spheres. The work is worth drooling over, but I’m not sure if the paint on these beautiful reproductions will stand up to all your space nerds flooding them. (Aside: Ooo no, they are starting to drool, must save the models…what to do? What to do?!? I know, show them something shiny.) Next up, Astroblog shows us some Unexpected Rainbows at a train station in Kongens Nytorv. Quickly, go take a look at the shiny, I think it might even be a triple rainbow. (Aside: …that was close) 

But we humans aren’t the only life forms who enjoy shiny things in the sky. The fine folks over at Brains Matter and Cheap Astronomy talk about how animals use astronomy for their daily life. After listening to this podcast, I’m convinced wildlife appreciates the sky most than us humans. What pushed me over the edge was The Spacewriter’s article titled We’re Losing Our Skies and our Inspiration. As if the light pollution isn’t bad enough, poor funding is killing any chance of inspiring our kids. Read more over at her blog.

But things might not be that bad. Dynamics of Cats live blogs Devadal’s eTownhall meeting, there is a ton an juicy and exciting content, this post might be a list of all the future astronomy projects. But there is progress today! We Are All in The Gutter reports on a paper which may disprove the rings around Rhea. After reading these two articles, I’m sure we can push through.

Over at Beyond Apollo, David Portree covers how the Launch Umbilical Tower and the Saturn V S-IC stage could have modified to support a version of the space shuttle and a space station. The Rocket Scientist swoops in with an article detailing why forcing a choice between manned spaceflight and unmanned spaceflight is something that can be avoided so we can have more of the cool stuff blogged about at Beyond Apollo.

Finally, I would like to remind the whole space community about FlyingJenny‘s project. She only needs $1005 more to publish her book of sunrises at the Kennedy Space Center.  It epic the we raised about $5,500 dollars for her, but we owe her at least this last bit. She built what is a major hub for the space community and she brought together a raggy bunch of space tweeters into a group who has some of the most mind blowing tweetups ever. The sleepless nights chatting with other space cadets we meet through the Space Tweep Society can not be repaid, let’s atleast do this.

Well, that’s all folks. Do you want to join the amazing collection that is each week’s Carnival of Space, then check out the instructions on how to join us and I hope to see you at the next Carnival of Space.


Images by:

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center




Lights In The Dark

Opal Lei


Flying Jenny

Pens at the Ready

I just watched this video from the Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference. I think if all of us follow this advice, we will have a huge impact.

[video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWhLSORCwW0]

What do you think? Should we start a hand written letter writing campaign?

NASA Torch Bearer Ceremony Proposal

Feel free to be highly critical, if we want to get this idea off the ground, this idea needs to be highly polished.

NASA Torch Bearer Ceremony – A
celebration of the final launch of the Space Shuttle


After 134 fights of the Space Shuttle,
the shuttle program is coming to an end. While every program must
end, there is a general consensus in the space community that the
general public does not understand the vast and international impact
of the Space Transportation System. This ceremony is designed to show
the public the reach of NASA, in terms of economic impact and the
number of people driven to reach higher after they were inspired by
a shuttle mission.

General opinion of the space program
is very low. In the HarrisInteractive Poll
Closing the Budget Deficit: U.S. Adults Strongly Resist Raising Any
Except “Sin Taxes” Or Cutting Major Programs
opinion is highlighted. The poll found that it’s sample of 2,223
adults, when “[g]iven a list of twelve federal government programs
and asked to pick two which should be
cut… space programs top[ped] the list by a wide margin (51%)
”. It is
strange that the public would want to cut a program that has such a
vast impact. Assuming that the problem behind this lack of support is
lack of insight into the impact of the space program, this ceremony
will increase public opinion of the space program by increasing
awareness of the impact. The University of Chicago’s News Office
Americans Want to Spend More on Education, Health
further confirms this lack of support by placing the space program
on a list of 22 federal program that people want to cut.

last shuttle launch is the perfect time to demonstrate the impact of
space activity since the nation is deciding whether or not space is
worth pursuing at this moment. If the full impact of space is brought
to light, then space will remain a national priority in one form or


  1. To have at least 25% of the people
    who has been employed by or inspired by the space program
    participate in running the torch or organizing this event. In
    addition, we will also have space fans speculating/cheering
    at this event so that news cameras will see the huge numbers
    of people who have been effected by the space program

  2. To double viewership of a shuttle
    launch (including TV and Internet)

  3. To reach 500,000 Americans with a
    pro-space message

  4. To raise $1,000,000 for STEM

  5. To increase discussion of the
    space program in local media (at least 50% of towns we run in are expected to talk about this)


In general, the event will be managed
by national organizers to deal with the political and legal issues
with moving across boarders. Then, regional managers will handle
every 1,000 miles and 10 sub-managers to manage the runners in their
100 mile sections.

To complete object one, people who
have been effect by the space program will register on the event’s
website. When they register, people will receive a t-shirt to wear
when the torch travels through their town and a pin to wear as long
as the torch is burning. The costs will be handled by sponsors.
Through the size of this event, we hope objective 2,3 and 5 will be
accomplished. Objective 4 will be completed by consistently
encouraging people to donate to STEM education organisations through
the event.

Overview of ceremony:

At exactly
06:07 UTC on
July 20th, a
stream of RP-1 will be ignited at the same place where Yuri Gagarin
took off. This first flame will represent all human spaceflight. The fire will burn
until 20:17 UTC when a laser, aimed at the retroreflectors on the
moon, reaches Earth. This will allow a fuse to drop into the RP-1
fire, which will ignite the torch.

will carry the torch for a mile each. After carrying the
torch through the countries below, the torch will arrive at Kennedy
Space Center at the time of the launch.

Countries Visited:

The tour will visit the follow
countries, in this order: (This is every country with a space program)

  1. Russia

  2. Japan

  3. South Korea

  4. North Korea

  5. China

  6. Thailand

  7. Vietnam

  8. Malaysia

  9. Singapore

  10. Indonesia

  11. Australia

  12. Sri Lanka

  13. Bangladesh

  14. India

  15. Pakistan

  16. Iran

  17. Kazakhstan

  18. Saudi Arabia

  19. Israel

  20. Egypt

  21. Turkey

  22. Azerbaijan

  23. Bulgaria

  24. Greece

  25. Romania

  26. Ukraine

  27. Hungary

  28. Sweden

  29. Norway

  30. Denmark

  31. Poland

  32. Czech Republic

  33. Netherlands

  34. Germany

  35. Austria

  36. Italy

  37. Switzerland

  38. France

  39. Belgium

  40. UK

  41. Spain

  42. Portugal

  43. Morocco

  44. Algeria

  45. Nigeria

  46. Uruguay

  47. Argentina

  48. Peru

  49. Ecuador

  50. Brazil

  51. Venezuela

  52. Columbia

  53. Mexico

  54. United States (Continental)

  55. Canada

  56. United States (Alaska)

  57. Canada

  58. Unites States (Continental)


agencies will know this event is successful if:

  1. This
    event is covered by the media

  2. $1,000,000 dollars is raised for STEM education

  3. A
    statistically significant increase in public opinion of space


are yet to be determined, but each town require a motorcade or parade permit.
These permits tend to be under $200 each. There is also a chance that
security will be required, in which case, towns will expect
compensation for the costs of a police presence. Costs are expected
to rival those of the Olympic torch relay.


  1. We
    may have trouble having an international event since we will have to
    convince other nations that this celebration is about more then the
    US space program.

  2. Timing
    – Having the torch delivered to the launch pad at the time of the
    final shuttle launch will be a challenge, we would only have a small
    margin of error.

  3. Since
    all members of this event will be volunteers, we will need a large number of people working on this project.

My Crazy Idea for the Last Shuttle Launch

    The shuttle is a igniter. Every member
of the Space Tweep Society knows that personally, I see your
excitement and passion dripping the the brilliant content produced by
this community. Stunning photographs, amazing songs and heart filled
essays all stand as proof of our passion. I can see yet more people,
outside our community, filled with the same spirit. I was amazed to
see the number of views on SpaceVidCast hours before the launch of
STS-132, I was encouraged by the conversations I had at the AIAA’s
DBF contest, students who all seemed to be answering the same call
broadcasted by the shuttle. The shuttle is simply a match that
lights up the passions of people everywhere.

    Let us return the favor.

    Let us give the shuttle a proper
goodbye by igniting it. Let us carry a torch through every site and
every town that produced, designed, tested, maintained or cheered for
the shuttle. Let this torch be carried by every person who the
shuttle has ignited. This torch should be the firing switch for the
last STS mission, we should light a fuse with it that sends our hopes,
dreams and wishes for the space program into the future. With this
last shuttle let every person see what the shuttle has done for us.
Let us ignite whoever the shuttle hasn’t reached with this torch.
Yes, this idea is copied from the Olympics, but the message is
important enough that it must be seen.

    So, that’s my crazy idea. Are you in?

Spacefaring (Paraody of Memory by Sugarcult) #Musicmonday

This is a Parody of Memory by Sugarcult

Sing along with the youtube clip


This may never launch.

We could go extinct
And not become
Sure, we’re doomed to die,
But we can be great
reach the high frontier.

So get back, back, back to the
Where we once imagined
that we all could live in
So move to, to, to the brand new space age.
My heart’s
beating faster
as the launch fills it with flame.

This may
never launch.

We could go extinct
And not become
Losing half a year,
Waiting for funding.
on advocating.

So get back, back, back to the Apollo.
we once imagined
that we all could live in space.
So move to,
to, to the brand new space age.
My heart’s beating faster
the launch fills it with flame.

This may never launch.

Chilling burning hearts.
And not become spacefaring.
our sense of awe
At that old night sky.
Yet, reach the high

So get back, back, back to the Apollo.
Where we
once imagined
that we all could live in space.
So move to, to,
to the brand new space age.
My heart’s beating faster
as the
launch fills it with flame.

This may never launch.

We could go extinct
And not become
Sure, we’re doomed to die,
But we can be great
reach the high frontier.