Back in the UK

I’m back in the UK and it’s back to reality (already had lectures and meetings today). So i thought i’d take this post to bung up what i’m planning to put up over the next few weeks.

Essentially I took so many photos and videos while over in the US that i can break down each day quite nicely over the days of Endeavours mission, the latest news on which can be found from the link below…

(even @nasa has to shorten words to comply with Twitter’s 140 character limit.)

Highlights over the next few days will include various bits of the tour we received and hopefully a couple of extracts of the talks that one of the other tweetupers filmed (when @carsonskinner gets time to upload them to YouTube). And i’ll post some sort of explanation of what the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (in Endeavour’s payload bay) is hoping to do up there.

In the meantime it’s 50 years since Alan Shepard became the first American in space, following hot on the heals (or flame) of Yuri Gagarin a little while before. The interesting thing about this mission was that it was ‘sub-orbital’ and only lasted about 15 minutes, it would take around a year for NASA to power someone all the way round the earth. It was clearly a bit of a scramble to cover the cracks caused by Russia’s achievements.

It represents an interesting contrast to the situation we have at the moment where NASA has not only pushed a shuttle launch back for Russia but is looking into building a new spaceship with the Europeans. A manned version of the ATV makes complete sense to me, and a ‘space truck’ nature of it’s design would make it a good starting point for resupply missions to Mars, if we do the sensible thing and not plan to bring the humans back (sounds harsh as an idea but give it a couple of moments thought).

Overall it’s nice to be back, even if I do miss the weather and the people massively! If it means i can encourage a few more people to gather around NASATV, catch an #ISSwave and get a little bit more interested in the human spaceflight programme then it’s worth it.

UPDATE 06/05/11:

My student paper have done a nice little article about my whole experience, couple of mistakes but i’ll forgive them…

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