Space Studies Tuesday--Lesson 11-1 Onboard Systems

Find the lesson here:

I haven't gotten any comments on the lessons.  Keep in mind that you don't have to comment on what I post, but also if you have questions on the lesson itself.  I will get an answer for you.  However, I don't intend to rewrite the lesson if I can help it.  Perhaps I'm simply talking to myself every Tuesday?  If so, I'm still going to keep doing this, as I committed to the class, but I'll try to include something fun as well.

Looks like Chapter 11 is one for the engineers, as we start discussing the systems and subsystems of spacecraft--and like the chapter said, the definitions of system and subsystem seem to be used loosely.  We'll just go with it.  Today, we learned about the structure subsystem which includes the bus and he magnometer boom.  I'd heard the word "bus" used when discussing computers, but never really understood what it meant.  I guess you could say that like a regular bus, it carries the subsystems that "people" the spaceship. 

The data handling systems are of course, extremely important, and pretty self-explanatory.  I was especially interested in the failsafes.  It's ironic that despite our care in programming, so much can still go wrong with a spacecraft, and not even because of outside factors.  I think that as we get closer to artificial intelligence, it will become a major factor in space travel--but I suppose that's a no-brainer.  I remember reading an excellent short story about a man who was going to lose all control of his body.  The scientists wanted to make him a regular human body as a replacement, and he was furious.  He wanted them to make him an artificial body that could withstand the rigors of space and send him up so he could do something useful and incredible.  When I read it as a college Freshman, I didn't really get the point of the story, but I see it now.  Just think of how much a human mind in spacecraft body could accomplish.  (This also goes along with The Ship Who Sang, and excellent series of books by Anne McCaffery).

Something fun now--a video on folding an origami spaceship, so you can make your own.  No subsystems, though.

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