Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tempest 'n' Tampa 2011

After a one year break Tempest 'n' Tampa(TNT) returned with a new venue and of course a new game. Now that I'm an alumni/mentor I came back and volunteered as a referee. This was the first event that I have ever reffed at so I was a new experience for me. Overall I thought it went very well and was a lot of fun. Plus I got to ref with a couple of my good friends, Bryan Gallo and Michelle Hawley, plus head ref Alex Sims and Gabe Salas which made it all the more fun.
Other than calling penalties, disabling towers, and handing out red cards TNT featured it's trademark lock-in Friday night. Most of the games are reserved for the team but I as well as the rest of "Team Staff" got to demonstrate a couple of the games and compete in human LogoMotion and Oink, Oink, Boom. The only problem with the lock-in was the fact that I got like 3 and a half hours of sleep and I had to ref all day Saturday.
As for the competition, congrats to 233, 744 and 665 on winning TNT and to 801, 1592 and 1251 for 2 hard fought finals matches even though 1251 lost their CRIO power cables. For 233 and 744 winning an event once is pretty impressive but to win the same event 3 out 4 years is incredible.
In conclusion despite taking a year off TNT was just as good as ever and I was awesome getting to spend some time with my robotics friends that are at college, Bryan, Michelle, Jonell, Will, Lauren, Cat, Alex and anyone else I forgot.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Week in Fantasy: Week 1

This is a new feature that I will be posting every week during football season. Basically I will go over the past weekend's football specifically focusing on fantasy. This year I am playing in two fantasy football leagues. The first one is the Shimberg Fantasy Football League which is made up almost exclusively of family member and I have been playing in for 6 or 7 years. New to the fantasy plate this year is The League which is one by one of my friends. I am mainly going to focus on the SFFL only going over my game score and current standings from The League.

Shimberg Fantasy Football League:
Jacob's Jaguars(Jacob): 146.9
Josh Freeman's Jew Fros: 120.88

Connor's Champs: 160.16
Chase's Stone Crabs: 151.98

I am a certified lifeguard: 122.92
Rhett's Rebels: 116.06

Jared's Juicers: 115.72
Andrew's Armadillos: 98.98

Wyatt's Winners: 113.0
Kyle's Kryptonite: 115.46

City Attorney's Legal Eagles: 89.18
O-bro's Hobos: 49.96

For the week I had the 2nd highest point total 14 less than Connor's Champs. My top scorers were Kenny Britt who had 42.6 with 136 rec yards and 2 TDs and Philip Rivers who had 335 yards passing 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Right now I am tied for 1st place in division 1 with Connor and i am a certified lifeguard.

The League:
Yoda's Jedis(Jacob): 102.96
Griffins: 64.48

For the week I had the fifth highest score and my top scorers were Josh Freeman with 17.56 and Reggie Wayne with 16.6. As in the SFFL I am tied for first place in the standings.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Future of Outer Space Exploration: Part 2

In part 1 I talked only about the United States, in part 2 I am going to focus on other countries. The countries that will be profiled are Russia, the European Space Agency, China, and Japan.
Currently Russia is the only country that participated in the ISS program operating manned spacecraft, Soyuz, which was developed by the former Soviet Union to take men to the moon. First tested in 1966 the Soyuz spacecraft has operated 110 flights over the last 45 years. The current Soyuz-TMA has been improved and modified many time since the original Soyuz A. On top of the Soyuz the Russians also operate the Progress unmanned cargo spacecraft. For all intents and purposes it is a modified Soyuz that is designed to get carry cargo and burn up in the atmosphere during reentry. Currently Russia is working on developing a new manned spacecraft, Rus, that would replace the Soyuz. A design has not yet been decided on, but when one is it will probably 3-4 years before a manned version is ready to launch.
European Space Agency:
The ESA is made up of 19 European countries and Canada and mainly focuses on satellite launches with their Ariane 5 rocket. The ESA has also launch two Automated Transfer Vehicles which are similar to the Progress but three times larger. Three more launches are planned at 17 month intervals. As for manned spacecraft the ESA is looking info modifying the ATV to handle a crew three for ISS crew missions and potentially a mission to Mars.
Japan's only spacecraft is the unmanned H-II Tranfer Vehicle which has been launched twice in the last three years. The HTV is used to resupply Japan's Kibo modules on the ISS. Kibo is made up of three modules and makes Japan's contribution the third largest after the United States and Russia. Japan has made no progress when it comes to manned space flight but they hope to have a lunar mission ready to fly by 2020.
China is currently operating manned and unmanned spacecraft. The manned spacecraft Shenzhou has launch 7 total mission with three of them being manned. More missions are planned including docking Tiangong 1 space station which should launch sometime soon. Two larger space stations are also planned as is a lunar mission by the end of decade.

It may look like a lot of countries space programs especially China are moving ahead of the United States now that the Space Shuttles are retired. What I think is happening is that all of the Space Agencies are going through the same trial and tribulations that we went through during the space race of the 1960s. Our space program has been flying for almost 50 years and has developed more types of spacecraft than anybody including the only reusable spacecraft ever. There is no real need to worry because we are closer to having craft ready to go the moon than anybody.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Future of Outer Space Exploration: Part 1

In class on Wednesday we began discussing Angle of Attack and the topic was brought up about whats next for NASA and space travel now that the Space Shuttles have been retired. From the brief comments that were made in class it became apparent to me that NASA has been flying well under the radar with what it is up to. This is the complete opposite from how all of the programs in NASA's history have been operated with tons of media coverage throughout the programs.
With the last Shuttle flight completed and the cancellation of Constellation program the future of NASA is up in the air. NASA is right now working on developing a heavy lifting Space Launch System to eventually fly to near Earth Asteroids and Mars. What will fly on top of that launch system is another major shift in NASA's policy, a reliance on commercial companies to build and operate rockets and spacecraft. I made a mention of this in my post about the launch failure of the Russian Progress spacecraft, here. One of the two companies that won contracts for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, COTS, Space X was briefly mentioned, but right now I want to talk a little about the other company, Orbital Science and their Tauras II rocket and Cygnus spacecraft.
Orbital Science, normally called Orbital, was founded in the early 1980s and mainly focused on launching satellites. In 2008 they began to develop the Tauras II rocket and unmanned Cygnus spacecraft to fly 8 cargo missions to the ISS. The first Tauras II flight was originally going to take place in 2010 but has been postponed until at least the fourth quarter of 2011.
The other company that won a COTS contract with NASA was Space X out of Hawthorne, CA. Space X uses a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to complete their missions to the ISS. As part of their 12 cargo flight contract Space X has to fly 2 test flights to the ISS to test out all of the systems of the spacecraft. The second of those two flights with launch in November and if everything goes well the first private unmanned cargo flight to the ISS will take place next year. On top of that crewed Dragon capsules should be ready to test in a year of two.
As for Mars NASA is working with Space X to get a Dragon and new Falcon 9 Heavy rocket for a low-cost mission to Mars that would launch by the end of decade.
So far I have only talked about cargo and ISS crew flights and have made no mention of private sub-orbital and orbital space planes like the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo. Most of these planes are not yet spacecraft because they are not designed to leave the atmosphere. Virgin is looking to start flights next year and soon anyone will be able to go into space.
Part 1 has focused on the future of United States space travel, part 2 which should come either tonight or tomorrow will focus on what other countries are doing when it comes to space travel.