Tuesday, July 26, 2005

along for the ride

I was anxious, like many, about the launch of NASA's Space Shuttle. Not having a good television feed (yes, I still use rabbit ears), I was a little disappointed that I was going to miss out on live reports of the Return to Flight mission STS-114. Well, I'll continue to keep tabs on the web site, I thought. Hopefully reports will be posted regularly.

I couldn't believe my eyes! There was a streaming media live feed! And somehow I had missed this during my previous visits, particularly as I monitored the fuel tank sensor problem. Anyway, cool, I can get NASA TV straight to my home. I love the internet. It's too bad that I didn't realise all of this 53 seconds sooner. By the time I got my media player running, they had already successfully launched. Still, I was practically there from the onset. And there they go...

This was very exciting. Somehow I felt the same deep exhileration from over 30 years ago, when they reached the moon. I was on the edge of my seat for hours. I avoided phone calls, didn't play any music, did dishes with the computer speakers turned up loud. Sometimes I just stared in awe at the images. I felt like I was right there.

Thank goodness there were sleep periods for the astronauts otherwise I would not have gotten any work done...


I forget what day it was. But I laughed my ass off when I heard this; and was chilled at the same time. A mission specialist came on the radio and told ground control about all the stuff he had been working on. Seems they had been having some trouble with their computers, laptops, and the network. But he had swapped some network cards around and rebooted a bunch of times and got things going. I could relate totally to this--computer troubleshooting.

At one point, he reported that a computer had gone into "The Blue Screen of Death." Very funny. To hear a skilled astronaut use such a geeky, casual, computer support phrase. And then I immediately wondered how many "viewers" listening in glossed over that assuming it was some NASA space flight mumbo jumbo technospeak.

But then I got creeped out. Oh great, I thought, the Space Shuttle's using Windows! That's just great... Couldn't they use an industrial operating system?!

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