DARPA looking for a shuttle replacement

With the shuttle retired and funding for the Orion killed back in 2009, the US is currently without a way to get people into space or a relatively cheap way to get payloads into orbit.

DARPA has apparently decided not to wait for NASA, and has called for commercial companies to propose candidates for their XS-1 space plane.

DARPA’s key technical goals for the XS-1 include flying 10 times in 10 days, flying to Mach 10+ at least once and launching a representative small payload to orbit. The program also seeks to reduce the cost of access to space for 3,000- to 5,000-pound payloads to less than $5 million per flight.

Having this capability will fill a hole in LEO access left by NASA policy and budget constraints.

Nifty gadget for laptop SD slot

A lot of laptops these days have a SD card slot, which is cool.  The form factor isn’t so cool if you want to leave it in the slot long term, since the card sticks out.  Too easy for it catch on something, and come out without you noticing or worse, muck up the slot.

Then I saw this cool gadget on Kickstarter.  The Nifty Mini-Drive.  You put in a Micro-SD card and it fits neatly in the SD slot.  I kicked in some cash to get one of the first run models for my Macbook Air.  Already picked up a 32Gig MicroSD card, so I’m just waiting for the NMD to arrive to get my geek on.  

America is back in the Space Business!

Emphasis on the business.  The private company SpaceX launched their Dragon capsule, which docked with the ISS, delivering needed supplies, left orbit, splashed down successfully and was recovered.

SpaceX did what the US Government can’t do currently and the Russians can’t do reliably. The Dragon also has multiple advantages over the Russian Soyuz, including being to bring down a full ISS crew of seven in a single flight.

The success of the SpaceX Falcon launcher and Dragon capsule should encourage other private companies to look into space exploration, for a profit of course.

A permanent moon base would be a good next start.  As Dr. Pournelle has pointed out, getting to the moon and building a long term base is a simple feat of engineering.  We have had the technology to do so since the 1970s.

First commercial Spaceport under construction in New Mexico

Pretty forward thinking, now that the US Government has gotten out of the manned spaceflight business.

This spaceport isn’t entirely free-market, it is being build by the state government of New Mexico, but its purpose is to service private contractors like Virgin Galactic.

Interesting article

Robin Bloor writes about  Educating the CEO in the ways of IT. Great idea.

She then points out a major problem with implementing that concept:

An executive of an organisation I know that specialises in educating CEOs in a variety of areas, including IT, told us that he had once suggested organising IT brainstorming sessions where the CEOs could bring their CIOs along with them. However, every CEO to whom he suggested this rejected the idea immediately. None of them wished to expose their IT ignorance to their own CIO, especially not among a group of other CEOs and CIOs.

That’s not so bad, at least they are aware of their failings.  First step in correcting them and all that.

When they don’t understand IT and don’t know that they don’t…that is where you run into serious problems.

It’s good to have backups.

I’ve been pushing having reliable backups going back to my days as a service tech on corporate PCs back in the early 80s.  I’ve always been amazed with the number of tech saavy people I’ve met who don’t bother with backups.

I was one of those who’s iPhone was bricked for 12+ hours by Apple’s poor handling of the iPocalypse.  So I went to my backup solution.  I pulled the sim and put it my old Razr.

The image on the phone is one of my pictures.  It’s a Raven sitting on an old Roman wall in front of one of the oldest buildings in the Tower of London.