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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: How To Enter Private Space Industry As an Engineer?

EccentricAnomaly Re:Aerospace Engineering Graduate Student (283 comments)

Mod parent up... although, as a Purdue alum, I can warn you that the Michigan student tend to be a bunch of arrogant fucks who talk too much shit about how great their football team is... But the Michigan alums that I work with tend to know what they are doing, and the small sat programs there are really cool... and SpaceX is full of a lot of Michigan people too.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Enter Private Space Industry As an Engineer?

EccentricAnomaly Re:do as well as you can in core engineering progr (283 comments)

Mechanical, aeronautical, electrical or computing. A good name school helps, but a 4.0 degree from a less stellar school is good too.

You learn much, much more from a top tier school. GPA is for schmucks. I'd rather have someone with a low GPA from a good school where they learned the theory behind stuff than a 4.0 from some middling school where they only know how to do cookbook problems. Space is full of hard problems, and if you want to make a difference in aerospace you need to seek out a school that will expose you to hard problems.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Enter Private Space Industry As an Engineer?

EccentricAnomaly MIT and CalTech aren't good for space (283 comments)

Don't go to Caltech for aerospace unless you just want to learn airplanes. I work at JPL and have a lot of interaction with CalTech students who complain about the lack of space stuff in the aero department... they don't even have an orbit mechanics class. MIT is ok if you want to do systems engineering, but generally their aero department doesn't do much space stuff either (last I heard, their orbit class was taught by a grad student who took it upon himself to have some sort of orbit class).

If you want to do SpaceX, I'd write them an email and ask for their advise, ask where they recruit from. They will probably want chemical prop and systems engineering people.

From what I've seen the best schools if you want to do space are Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, Colorado, UT Austin, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Michigan, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Carnegie Mellon and Stanford have awesome robotics programs. Michigan and Caly Poly SLO have excellent cube sat programs. Michigan, Stanford, and UCLA have excellent electric propulsion. Georgia Tech and Michigan have excellent systems engineering. Purdue, UT Austin, and Colorado have excellent orbit mechanics. And Purdue has probably the best chemical propulsion program. Georgia Tech has a really amazing senior design class (best out of the 5 that I've advised as an industry person).

If you don't want to go to far, I'd recommend Michigan, Purdue, or CMU. But try to email SpaceX and see what they advise (but be aware that the person who responds will be biased towards their alma mater)

more than 2 years ago
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Why Mars Is Not the Best Place To Look For Life

EccentricAnomaly Re:Europa (298 comments)

The ice used to be part of the ocean... sample the surface ice and you same the ocean

about 2 years ago
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Is the OMB Trying To End Planetary Exploration?

EccentricAnomaly Re:PR (236 comments)

I had a quick look around, it seems that the European JIME mission is still on, Japan and Russia are interested in joining to provide magnetospheric study and a Europa lander, respectively. So it's not a total loss. I'd still rather see the US research community contributing though, saying that as a European myself. There's some serious expertise there.

Those missions were initially sold as being cooperative with the NASA Europa mission. Without the NASA mission it's going to be much harder to sell those missions to their respective national governments.

more than 2 years ago
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Is the OMB Trying To End Planetary Exploration?

EccentricAnomaly Re: I had no idea they'd shit-canned Europa (236 comments)

It's worse, it looks like they want to shut down Cassini early: http://futureplanets.blogspot.com/2011/10/updates.html

The plan was to have Cassini end its mission by flying between the planet and the rings to do essentially the Juno mission at Saturn. NASA's already paid for Cassini, it's a waste to shut it down early... Juno was $1B, and Cassini could do the same thing at Saturn for pennies on that dollar.

more than 2 years ago
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Is the OMB Trying To End Planetary Exploration?

EccentricAnomaly Re:Acronym (236 comments)

It would have been nice if the summary had stated what OMB stands for somewhere (Office of Management and Budget). I was trying to figure out if it was some wacky new term for Obama or his administration.

This has been modded "funny", but seriously, no-one outside the US is going to know this.

You could google, or maybe read the article

more than 2 years ago
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Is the OMB Trying To End Planetary Exploration?

EccentricAnomaly Re:Blaming the wrong people (236 comments)

It's not the administration's fault, it's Congress. NASA HQ and the administration didn't even want to build SLS -- they wanted to bolster the commercial launch market instead -- and were forced to do it by the Congressional committee.

If there's someone Lou Friedman should be complaining about, it's Senators Nelson and Shelby and their fixation on providing pork to large aerospace contractors in return for bribes, I mean campaign donations.

I would have hoped that someone in his position would be better informed, frankly.

Congress shares the blame, but OMB is part of the White House, and they are the ones trying to scrap the Mars program to pay for the big rocket. NASA is unable to get the cost of the rocket down, so the White House had three choices: 1) ask Congress to send more money to pay for their rocket or remove the mandate, 2) tell NASA to change its ways and built the rocket more cheaply, or 3) through the robotic missions under the bus. #1 probably would have worked because it's asking the powerful Senators who designed the rocket to send more money to their home states, but it would require Obama sticking his neck out for NASA, and what President is going to do that in an election year? #2 makes the most fiscal sense, but would have made enemies in the Senate and Congress (they don't care if NASA goes anywhere, they just want the money spent in their home states). So they chose #3.

more than 2 years ago
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Is the OMB Trying To End Planetary Exploration?

EccentricAnomaly Re:PR (236 comments)

NASA uses a lot of tax money and, with a population whose general impression of resemasearch is that it just giving money to boring nerds in labcoats (ignoring the economy generated by products of past research), they must do regular "America #1, Yihaaaa!" performances in order to keep the population from objecting too much against NASA funding.

I want to do Apollo Again! Apollo was very exciting. Everyone was excited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4J9uvhJQM0
(youtube video about how exciting Apollo was)

more than 2 years ago
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Why IT Won't Like Mac OS X Lion Server

EccentricAnomaly Re:As a Mac admin, I agree. (341 comments)

I always hated OS X Server because I was brought up on the old UNIX boxes and I liked to do everything on the command line... but the #@$@#$ GUIs in OS X Server would clobber all of my config files (and they were not well documented either). I'm very glad to see OS X server go back to the command line and be more like Linux.

more than 3 years ago
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When Should I Buy an Android Tablet?

EccentricAnomaly Re:Here's what I'd do (396 comments)

If I were you, I'd put the year-end bonus in a 6-mo CD, and get the tablet when the CD's term is up

Waiting 6 months might well be sensible. But the average CD yield is 0.63% (APR). So... $1000 in a 6 month CD will net him under $3.50.

Put the money into Apple or Google stock and buy a tablet when the profits are enough to cover it. That's how I paid for my first iPhone (and then some).

Check out this link on how much money could be made by buying Apple stock instead of Apple products: http://www.kyleconroy.com/apple-stock.php

more than 3 years ago
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New Molecule Could Lead To Better Rocket Fuel

EccentricAnomaly Re:Hydrochloric acid? (121 comments)

LH2/LOX engines will perform better than this new compound no matter what. The only way to get better performance than LH2/LOX (for a chemical rocket) is to change the oxidizer.... maybe liquid ozone... or Fluorine. Fluorine is the best oxidizer you can get. Problem is that it tends to oxidize its container and then oxidize you.... nasty, nasty stuff.

more than 3 years ago
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New Molecule Could Lead To Better Rocket Fuel

EccentricAnomaly Shuttle SRBs are neither cheap nor reliable (121 comments)

Most modern solid-fuel rockets use pretty much the same fuel as the shuttle SRBs. It's cheap, stable and reliable but it does produce a lot of goop and the ISP could be better. If this stuff is stable it might make an excellent replacement for ammonium perchlorate oxidizer.

Shuttle SRBs are more expensive and less reliable than equivalent liquid boosters. This is the main reason why SpaceX is only using liquid engines in the Falcon-9. ULA uses solid boosters for extra thrust on the Atlas V, but these solids are cheaper and more reliable than Shuttle SRBs. In addition, based on recent conference papers, I think they want to get away from solids in their next generation of rockets.

So why is NASA planning on using boosters based on the lower performing, more expensive, and less reliable Shuttle SRBs in their new Heavy lift rocket? This is because the Utah Congressional delegation is lobbying heavily for the company that makes the SRBs. The Utah senators inserted text into the continuing resolution that NASA is currently operating under that they claim prevents NASA from even doing trade studies to consider any alternatives to using the Shuttle SRBs.

Solids might have made sense in the 60s, but with current technology they are no longer needed except in a few specialized applications for robotic planetary exploration spacecraft.

more than 3 years ago
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Senators Want Big Rocket Instead of New Tech, Commercial Transportation

EccentricAnomaly Re:In Other Words... (342 comments)

Obviously NASA was supposed to be a technical organization, but now its just a MBA stepping stone.

There still is some good technical stuff... check this out: http://www.whitepapers.org/docs/show/2067

Human missions to asteroids without heavy lift... costs less per year than shuttle did.

Interesting, but it will never work... it wouldn't cost enough to pay for the lobbyists

more than 4 years ago
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What is your least favorite industry to deal with?

EccentricAnomaly Re:Choices, choices... (548 comments)

THANKs! I didn't know that USAA did banking :-) We have them for insurance and they're amazing.

more than 5 years ago
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What is your least favorite industry to deal with?

EccentricAnomaly Re:Banks, for one simple reason... (548 comments)

Also, I would strongly suggest you don't make purchases, transfers, or write checks on deposited money until after the check clears.

HTH.

When I had WAMU they once took a week to clear a Cashiers Check from another bank. They would routinely take 3 days to clear a WIRE transfer.

We also once had to send a canceled check into a company to prove a bill was paid... and WAMU let that company re-cash the canceled check, and it was very difficult to get our money back.

more than 5 years ago
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The Best First Language For a Young Programmer

EccentricAnomaly Teaching something marketable.... (634 comments)

If you want to teach someone something marketable for first language and there are plenty of .Net jobs out there, C# is much better choice.

Heh. If you want to teach them something that will make them rich, set them up with Objective-C and an iPhone :-)

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Using Fuel Depots Instead of Giant Rockets

EccentricAnomaly EccentricAnomaly writes  |  more than 2 years ago

EccentricAnomaly (451326) writes "The New York Times has a story about a leaked NASA study that showed it would cost $80 BIllion less and get astronauts to an asteroid sooner if NASA used fuel depots instead of developing a new rocket. According to the article, NASA's response to the leaked study is to start developing fuel depots in addition to continuing its new rocket program. Because, after all, who doesn't need more cool stuff."
Link to Original Source
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Mars is not the best place to look for life

EccentricAnomaly EccentricAnomaly writes  |  more than 2 years ago

EccentricAnomaly (451326) writes "A story over at Science News quotes Alan Stern (former head of NASA Science missions) as saying: "The three strongest candidates [for extraterrestrial life] are all in the outer solar system" He's referring to Europa, Titan, and Enceladus. So why is NASA spending $2.5B on the next Mars Rover and planning to spend over $6B more on a Mars sample return when it can't find the money for much cheaper missions to Europa or Enceladus?"
Link to Original Source
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Is OMB wiping out planetary exploration?

EccentricAnomaly EccentricAnomaly writes  |  more than 2 years ago

EccentricAnomaly (451326) writes "Lou Friedman (former head of the Planetary Society) has written a provocative article over at Space Policy Review where he accuses the Obama administration of working on plans to gut the robotic Mars program in order to pay for NASA's exciting new rocket. This is after NASA's already killed the Europa mission that was to have been the next outer planet mission after Cassini."
Link to Original Source
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Zubrin Takes On the "Hydrogen Hoax"

EccentricAnomaly EccentricAnomaly writes  |  more than 6 years ago

EccentricAnomaly (451326) writes "Robert Zubrin (of Mars Direct fame) has written a new article attacking the "Hydrogen Hoax." Using basic chemistry, energy balance, and the experience of a rocketeer who's worked with Hydrogen he debunks the Hydrogen economy on points ranging from energy efficiency to economics to greenhouse gases to automobile safety. He proposes using ethanol/methanol as fuel instead. (And although this proposal can be debated — particularly the wisdom of using food as fuel — his points about the infeasibility of Hydrogen as auto fuel still stand.)"
Link to Original Source
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EccentricAnomaly EccentricAnomaly writes  |  more than 7 years ago

EccentricAnomaly (451326) writes "Steve Jobs has posted a response on the Apple homepage to the Greenpeace Green My Apple campaign in which he basically makes a case for the Greenepeace campaign being a heaping pile of FUD. On one hand, you could say that Greenpeace shouldn't expect a company that has spent years battling Microsoft to just roll over. On the other, it looks like Apple is agreeing to do most of what Greenpeace has been been demanding."

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