Wednesday, November 2, 2011

International Space Station

In early 1997 I went to a job interview at NASA Johnson Space Center here in Houston. The interview went well. At one point they described a problem they had with their database and I knew immediately what the problem was, but I didn't speak up. I should have. Even if I was wrong it would show I was thinking. Since I was right, they might have thought I was brilliant!

I went home from that interview and told my wife it looked like a cool job, had to do with the International Space Station Vehicle Master Database, and there was no way they could afford me. Turns out they could.

Space Center Houston
A week or so later I started work for Boeing, on-site at NASA. My first day leaving the job I walked out to my car and my Father-in-law, my daughter and her cousin went by me in the tram used by  Space Center Houston. This place was designed by the same Imagineers that do the work at Disney. What are the odds? I jumped in the car and met them at the rocket park.

I've worked with Boeing ever since, on the ISS VMDB, which currently has more than thirteen million parts in it. For a few years I worked with the Avionics & Software people while a buddy of mine did two tours in Iraq. When he came back, I transferred back to work on the VMDB again.

Times are tough here, no question. The end of the Space Shuttle era has a direct impact on what we do, and a lot of our colleagues from the Shuttle side retired or are looking for other work. Some moved over to ISS work.

Most of the people that work here love Space and Space Exploration. The end of the Shuttle does not mean the end of the Space Exploration. (At least we all hope so.)

That's the point of this post. A friend of mine, now working in helicopters for Boeing, sent a link to a compiled video of the ISS traveling over the surface of the planet. It's worth a watch. I'll watch it again.

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