Tuesday, August 13, 2013

NASA Social #10!


NASA Social #10! Well, okay, that's actually a bit of a squeaky count.The first five events I either attended for fun or worked with dearly-departed Camilla were called "Tweetups". The switchover to "Social" didn't seem to go over too well, but the gatherings themselves have been no less exciting and informative! 

NASA Langley Research Center

As you read this, I'm already on the airplane. This post, like many I write in advance, was set to auto-schedule right around the time I'll be landing in Norfolk, Virginia to finally visit NASA Langley Research Center!

Over the next few days, we will be touring the Landing & Impact Dynamics Facility, the National Transonic Facility wind tunnel, and the Structures & Materials Lab. Following these highlights of the "LaRC", we will travel to the Norfolk Naval Air Station for the Orion Stationery Recovery Test!

Orion spacecraft

Lockheed-Martin has spearheaded the Orion since it's concept stage as part of the Constellation project. It is now the last remnant of Constellation, and its design, manufacturing, construction, and testing processes employees thousands of workers at 90 companies across 26 states.

Orion started out as a "Crew Exploration Vehicle" (CEV) in 2004; the capsule evolved to be the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), and you can follow development and testing updates on Twitter at @NASA_Orion.

Of course, over the course of the social events this week, you can also follow me a @Pillownaut on Twitter, the Orion recovery ship clan, or the hashtag #NASASocial.

Orion Engineers

I was lucky enough to meet some Orion designers at NASA Kennedy during the last Space Shuttle launch, and also witnessed astronaut testing of the capsule in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF) at NASA Johnson. For a sneak preview, see my Pillownaut Picasa gallery for capsule pictures. Much more will be added here over the next week!