SpaceX Flight 2

Pretty big day today for space flight

SpaceX just completed the launch of their Dragon capsule into orbit this morning on a re-supply mission.  SpaceX is the first private company with the ability to achieve orbit (arguably, at least not driven by DoD budget)

The capsule still has to dock with the ISS and return to earth, so the mission is far from over, and the hardest parts of the whole endeavor: making space access easier, consistent, and profitable are still to come.


Death Star Economics

This is a great read.

The first article I stumbled upon is just a general political case against the Death Star and it’s uses as a governing tool:
This linked to another paper written by a Systems Engineer within the Air Force that goes into a little more depth about the impracticality of Ultra expensive Defense projects. He likens it to a certain current over budget DoD project that he doesn’t name. 
Spoiler: It’s the 1 trillion dollar F-35 JSF

It’s official I’m officially really joining the Real Ass World

Yup, you have heard me right. Yes way, Hell has frozen over, Pigs are in orbit, It has happened in a Million years, I now officially have a job.

Alright so this has been in the works for some time now, and I’ve pretty much told everybody by now except for maybe my blog which was feeling a little left out (I’ve been seeing other blogs). I was in Greenville, SC for an on site interview last January, but a little over a week ago I got all the papers signed and payroll stuff taken care of. I will be moving to Greenville, SC and starting the job May 16th.
These coming weeks will be the criss cross tour of America for me. This Tuesday we leave Tucson for good and head to Silver City, NM for the SRAM Tour of the Gila. After 5 days of the toughest stage racing in America, it’s clear across the country for another week long race series SpeedWeek (which I hear is like Superweek, but faster and with more crashes, if that’s at all possible). SpeedWeek is pretty central to the Greenville area, and since most of the crits are twilight or night time crits, I’ll be able to do some apartment hunting during the days. Little do they know it yet but I’ll also be recruiting the people I’m staying with there to help me move in, haha. After SpeedWeek is over on Sunday, it’s back to Indiana to drop off Joey, then back up to Michigan for a week. I’ll get all my crap packed up there, hit up the Tour of Washtenaw (followed by a shower and some traditional send off Coney Island), then head back down to Greenville for good. All in all this trip will constitute 3,500 miles of driving and cross 13 states at least once.
Don’t be fooled, this is an actual job, not the kind of job I’m used to. A full time job where you get there at 9 am and leave at 5 pm (that’s 8 whole hours!)
Let me point out some other important differences between this job and job’s I’ve had in the past.
Past Jobs New Job
Attire Greased clothing Polos
Tasks Fixing bikes Building Jet Engines
Schedule Whenever you 9 – 5
wana come in man
Vacation Just let us know a 2 weeks, give a week of notice
day ahead of time
Benefits Discounted Bike Parts Dental
Salary Bike Parts Wheelbarrows of scrillas
(compared to my current income of $0 a month)
A lot of people worry how a full time job will affect their cycling performance. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep things balanced.

So I’ll be trading in my Canyon for something a little more my new speed. If anyone wants a sweet bike and set of zipps just let me know, I’ll take a trade for some pocket protectors or ties (only with sweet graphics like pianos or cartoon characters).
Ok, so that’s a slight exaggeration (not about the pocket protectors and ties though). I’m still going to race. A whole new region of racing awaits my domination. Not to mention that Greenville, SC is the home of American superstar cyclist George Hincapie, so I’m sure we’ll be training together all the time.

Even better is that I’ll be down there just in time for Pro US Nationals (in Greenville). I’ll be able to do some serious spectating (beer drinking) and cheering (screaming jiberish while running next to the pack up hill with my shirt, and possibly pants, off).
However if any Pro teams out there need a guest rider I know a guy who’s willing to give up all that weekend of drinking and yelling at you to race with you! I’m even a cheap date since I’ll be living in Greenville, and you can even stay at my apartment for free (unless you’re Bissell, then you have to vacuum my floors).
To be serious for a moment. I have been working at the whole cycling thing for a while, and it seems like while things aren’t quite stalled yet, it’s pretty hard to make it as a amateur level cyclist. Trust me when I say I spent some time hemming and hawing about whether or not to take the job. I love spending my summers couch surfing and waking up every day with a McDonalds Big Breakfast before getting kitted up to bump shoulders at the day’s crit. This isn’t going to end by any stretch, I just won’t be able to spend weeks on end doing Superweek crits in Milwaulkee. The fact of the matter is once September hits what would I do? (Not Cyclocross) I could have headed back to graduate school at either USC or Huntsville Alabama, but this job is pretty much as ideal in every way as I can imagine. It’s in a great location, it’s doing something that not only I studied in school but want to focus on, and it’s a small company which is something I’m pretty keen on (even though I’ve only had one real engineering job). The benefits kinda sorta greatly outweigh the negatives of not being able to race my bike all summer long.
My one major regret is that I won’t be able to race as much with my team as I’d like to. With the bulk of the Panther team in Indiana and Michigan, it’ll be tough to make it to the big team races, but I’ll put in the effort. Fortunately though, Greenville is really well located for a bunch of big races. Speedweek obviously, but Elite Nationals are only an hour and a half away now. Plus a few of the late season NRC Crits are in pretty easy striking distance as well.
Eh we’ll see how it goes, and I’ll try to keep the blog updated through out the whole next month of madness.

First launch of "Private" spacecraft

Space X literally JUST launched their Dragon capsule in a demonstration of their ability to fulfill their contract to resupply the ISS and take the place of the Space Shuttle. The military aspect of the space shuttle’s ability to return satellites and bomb ZE RUSSIANS will be fulfilled by the mysterious X-37, which has been very hush hush and just returned from it’s first mission where it spent SEVEN MONTHS in orbit. The general skeptical consensus is that it will loiter in orbit with the ability to deliver kinetic weapons to anyplace on earth with in a very short time span.

Back to SpaceX which is such a big deal since it was founded privately by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. So if a “private” company is fulfilling a government contract with government oversight at a government launch facility, is it really private? I fail to see the real difference between SpaceX and companies like Lockheed and Boeing, both of which have been making launch systems and ICBMs for years. Since SpaceX is not a publicly traded company yet, it’s a lot easier for it to to give a big FU to government contracts. The main ‘private’ argument that SpaceX really has going for it is the lack of bureaucracy associated with government or public corporations, we’ll see what happens when their first rocket explodes, which will happen at some point.
Anyway here’s the launch:

Now it’ll be really interesting to see what what kind of contracts SpaceX will go after once they perfect their launch vehicles.


CX this weekend

I hate cyclocross, if it were up to me, every barrier on earth would be thrown into a massive bonfire, and all the roadies and mountain bikers would sit in a circle and rejoice about never being forced to run with their bikes ever again (running in MTB races is not “forced” per say, but more something that indicates you don’t have the technical skills to shred the gnar). There would be no more rat mazes of caution tape, or needless wooden structures with steps on one side and a ramp on the other…most normal people call that a slide.

That said, every year I get sucked in. Yeah sure driving 4 hours so I can wrestle into my skin-suit to race for one whole hour, without water, will be totally awesome. In reality the reason is friendship…not that that’s where you forge new ones, but that’s where the only one’s I have exist.
Being a racer entails that, outside of the months of September – February, you do not know of the phenomenon most normal people know as the weekend. These ‘weekends’ are the times when people congregate, drink, do a variety of fun activities, but mostly hang out with friends.
In my own personal experience, when I entered college, I immediately joined the cycling team. This meant that, for the past 5 years, nearly all weekends were spent with other cyclists. The more weekends you spend cycling, the more cyclist friends you have, the more your social circle looks like a incestuous family.
Not that this is a bad thing, but it just means that in the months from October – November hanging out with friends usually means jumping over barriers.

Anyway I’ve also been willfully applying for real jobs, which hasn’t been going well. As with most recent college grads I’m also looking into graduate schools for Engineering, including:
Michigan State
and finally University of Huntsville Alabama.
If I got in there I would sell my iPod…I’d really only need one song (I think you know the one):

Joking aside, Huntsville has a sweet propulsion program as it is the home of the Redstone Arsenal which was the once home of Werhner von Braun and entire US space propulsion program (so they get a lot of gov. funding)
However after all the hating I’ve been doing on CX, there is a cool race this weekend in Detroit’s historic civil war fort (or some war…it’s just old):