Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A New Day Coming?

Well, I guess one's pretty much going to come thanks to planetary motion and all that, but you'll have to excuse me the metaphor. Anyway, it looks like the House may bring the S. 3729, the Senate's NASA Authorization Act of 2011 to the floor tomorrow. I've been up working on a paper (More of what's been keeping me from writing more here. When this blog comes up against Intro to Flight homework in the fight for my writing time, the academics win) and watching the discussion over what could happen tomorrow--if, finally, the House will vote on the Senate's version of the bill. Whether the votes are there to pass it. It's evoking in me the same feelings I got last year at the first test flight of our AIAA competition plane.

TOM, the plane whose fuselage is under my arm in the image to the left, represented months of long evenings and weekends spent in the wind tunnel working with epoxy and carbon fiber and sanders and drill presses and claps and all that good stuff. Finally, this was the moment of truth. When Chris throttled up the engine, either it would take off and fly, or we would have spent all that time and funding producing something that didn't work. Our only options remaining would have all been poor. Part of me knew it would work, but another part was terrified that the fact that everything seemed to be going well was a sign it wouldn't. (See note on my issues with worrying in the earlier post on this topic) Of course, in the end, TOM flew (even if we did end up landing one wheel short--one of the main gear wheels fell off and we ended up just landing on the carbon fiber skid). I only hope that this vote will turn out that well. Even so, I'm waking up early to voice my support to a few Ohio Reps whose offices were closed already when I called yesterday. There's not much I can do, but I'm doing what I can. This is important.

On a maintenance note, if the bill passes and I finally get some more free time, expect more updates--I've had a couple of things I didn't feel like writing about as long as it looked like we still might be stuck in LEO. Maybe even the fabled return of lunar comsats (I know everyone has been waiting with baited breath). Anyway, sleep beckons and tomorrow's going to be a busy day.

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