Workin' Powerpoint again

Written by Bob McCormick on 3/31/2008 06:40:00 PM

At work today, I've been spending my time developing some presentation material for various levels of management.

I'm struggling to put my thoughts together ... but I know some things to avoid. David Airey lays it out at his youtube site ...

"So, Mr. Flight Controller guy, Where's all the NASA space posts?"

Written by Bob McCormick on 3/28/2008 06:27:00 PM

Good question.

Let me tell you what I will blog about and what I won't blog about.

I WON'T blog about heavy-duty stuff that I do at NASA. Yes, the work can be intense, but I also am doing this for a living. I will not be blogging about what I might have done on any particular week I am on console (other than in generalities). I MOST ASSUREDLY will not be blogging in any gossipy-sort of stuff - so even if I think Flight Director X is a flake or Astronaut Y is a jerk or co-worker Z is a bozo, you won't be reading about it in this blog.

Last time I checked, NASA has it's share of flakes, jerks, and bozos (and always has) - they are not unique relative to any organization of similar size. The jerks, flakes, and bozos are the vast minority and their antics do not require or deserve my reiteration here. Besides, I'm sure sometimes they think I'm a flake, jerk, and bozo - and sometimes, all at the same time. And who knows - they may be right!

I ALSO WILL NOT be blogging (at least, not directly) about any large-scale NASA policy. As many of the NASA folk would say, those decisions are "way above my pay grade". No sense ruminating about how they might not be my favorite decisions.

I WILL blog about what I see going on in the world. I think that what is happening there can lead to a renaissance (I know that's not the appropriate word, but you get the point) for the US aerospace industry and for our chances of making any kind of scaled-up spacefaring civilization.

That doesn't necessarily mean that NASA's doing the "wrong thing". From what I can tell, the alt. space efforts and the NASA efforts are not mutually exclusive - they are not an "either/or" proposition. As the Chinese might say, "Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom".

My main goal is not necessarily on how I personally can be an Astronaut. I applaud others who have this goal; however, my goal is focused on how to facilitate the space environment so that the probability of actually getting there goes up for everyone (of course, myself included). It may not be my generation, but it may be my kids' generation - if we can get our act together now.

I was on console when Bill Shepard was launched into orbit, as part of the first Expedition to ISS. On that day, as on other similar days, an American flag was raised on the roof of Mission Control. That flag is a symbol to remind us that there are Americans in orbit. The goal our FCT established that day was to assure that, from here on in, there will always be an American in orbit.

It's a hard goal to attain (and it takes forever to verify that you've done it!), but one I think that is worthy.

Why I didn't vote in the Texas Democratic Primaries this year

Written by Bob McCormick on 3/27/2008 09:20:00 PM

It's looking a lot like 1984 ... no political pun intended.

Or is it?

Today's News

Written by Bob McCormick on 3/26/2008 09:45:00 PM

In today's news...

I was invited, and went to, the United Space Alliance's SARA (Superior Achievement and Recognition Award) awards event. I was invited as a nominee because I was a member of the OMEGA (Operations Planning Multilateral Exercise Group Assessment) team.

It was a team we spontaneously formed because we knew that we would be participating in ISS with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Japanese Exploration and Space Agency (JAXA) for the first time in 2008. We were concerned because it had been years since we had last tested these interfaces, and we needed to make certain that all parties had the same understanding as to when planning files needed to be transferred, and what information needed to be provided.

And while the event was starting, STS-123 was landing! Almost as if someone had planned it that way ... ;*)

And in other important news ... I was really sleepy after the event. And not because of the event. :*) I think my sleep shifting problems are over!

Sleep shifting back to reality

Written by Bob McCormick on 3/25/2008 10:18:00 PM

The sleep shifting back to reality hasn't worked that great for me.

I came back to Mission Control to get my "goodie book" as well as some food "goodies" from the back room, and found that the rest of my ISS flight shift (who was still on console) was planning on celebrating after they got off shift. But that was at 11:30 PM. I was with them for several hours, then came home & got on the computer for a few more.

Needless to say, that messed up my sleep shifting plans. I wound up waking up at 11 this morning ... I'll try better today.

Oh BTW, here's a pic of my Flight Control Team that apparently somebody posted on Digg (I definitely DID NOT put it on there, nor did I do any of those comments!). It's the same one I've put into this post (above). See if you can spot me ...


Written by Bob McCormick on 3/24/2008 12:27:00 PM


Things have sure been hyper-busy (and it's been too long) since my last blog entry.

I've been EXTREMELY busy the last few weeks working on the latest Shuttle mission. It's STS-123, or "1J/A". I just finished my last console shift ... and boy, am I tired! Today, I'll try to stay up as long as I can - my last shift started at 7:30 PM & ended at 4:30 AM. I should be super-tired when nighttime comes ... I'll just be sure not to drive or operate heavy machinery.

As I said, it's been a long flight. In fact, it was the longest docked mission flight to the ISS. It will be a 16 day long mission by the time the Shuttle lands - assuming weather's good, it should land Wednesday. It was a good mission - the crew accomplished a lot. And we now have a new robotic capability, and a new International Partner, onboard. I was glad to finally hear my Japanese counterparts on the voice loops during mission operations. Them, as well as my European and Russian counterparts, make the loops pretty busy!

Oh, and you can count on this blog living up more to its title - unfortunately, it's read more like "A blog a year"!

Let me know how things are going for you in the comments.


- Bob