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Old 02-15-2011, 12:08 PM   #1
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Default Starduster, my dad designed on this!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110215/...alentine_comet


PASADENA, Calif. A NASA spacecraft zipped past a comet half the size of Manhattan in a Valentine's Day rendezvous that scientists hope will shed light on these icy solar system bodies.
Speeding at 24,000 mph, Stardust zoomed by comet Tempel 1 on Monday night, snapping six dozen high-resolution pictures along the way. At nearest approach, the craft passed within 112 miles of the potato-shaped comet closer than the original prediction.
Instead of erupting in cheers, mission controllers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory puzzled over why images from the flyby were not downloading in the order that they wanted.
NASA had planned to wow the world by playing back the images in reverse order, starting with five close-up shots of Tempel 1's nucleus. Instead, the first images to pop up on scientists' computer screens early Tuesday showed the comet as a tiny speck from a distance away.
"We still don't understand fully why this didn't work the way we planned," said Chris Jones, an associate director at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which managed the mission.
All the flyby pictures were stored aboard Stardust. "They're not lost," Jones said.




This was the last big thing my dad worked on before he retired. He's passed away but everytime I read about his spacecraft still flying through space I get chills. I have a plaque from JPL and NASA thanking my dad for all his work. He designed the cameras that use triangulation with the stars to keep the spacecraft on its course. Sounds simple but hard to make cameras work in space lol.

It's main mission was to grab interstellar dust and that mission was complete a while ago. It actually opened up and gathered the dust from behind a comet, then shot that cannister back to earth.

Still very proud of pops and all the cool stuff he did for our country. From being an electricians mate in the Navy, no college, to becoming one of the best desgin engineers Perkin Elmer and JPL and Corning ever had. He worked on the Hubble Space telescope and all sort of other big things. Sort of feels like he is still around knowing that those things are still helping science figure more and more out about the universe still today.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:16 PM   #2
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Dude that's awesome

Unless that comet dust introduced aliens to Earth.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:24 PM   #3
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Dude that's awesome

Unless that comet dust introduced aliens to Earth.
I'm not sure exactly what they found I need to read up on it. I did pay attention to when the capsule returned and was sad because I knew my dad would have loved to be around for that. I bet though they weren't breathing anything in when they opened that stuff up.

What was cool is my dads design was sort of old. They wanted something more advanced. My dad was an old school analog specialist who was mostly self taught. He just got a job as a technician in the 70's and worked his way up. One of the only master engineers without a masters degree in Perkin Elmer history. So when the new guidance didn't work they called my dad back from retirement and he got to make a ton of money!! He was the only one who knew how his cameras really worked and needed him to tweak the design to work on starduster.

I can remember him out at his place in the desert, weird looking cameras pointing at the sky, with him on his laptop doing god knows what lol. I never had the aptitude he did for this stuff.

A lot of engineers were skeptical you guide something that far with something as simple as taking pictures of fixed stars with cameras. But it is an age old proven way of figuring out where you are.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:26 PM   #5
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Dude that's awesome

Unless that comet dust introduced aliens to Earth.
Also if it brought back something that killed us all off....That would make it even cooler,

I mean who gets to have a dad that destroys the earth? Al gores kids get to have one that saves it, but whatever!
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:26 PM   #6
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Dude that's awesome

Unless that comet dust introduced aliens to Earth.
They're takin' our jerrrrbs!

Seriously though, that's cool as hell.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:27 PM   #7
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Funny because when my dad was working on it I had said it's like the spaceship on space balls that turned into a vacume. My dad was just like.....go play your music!!!!!!
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
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Who did your dad work for? My dad worked at Martin Marietta (now Lockheed, I think), for thirty years - he worked every day of his career on the Titan III missile family. One of my favorite memories as a child was family day at his work, when we would tour the facilities up Waterton Canyon.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:29 PM   #9
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Funny because when my dad was working on it I had said it's like the spaceship on space balls that turned into a vacume. My dad was just like.....go play your music!!!!!!
Yeah, that thing flies pretty fast. Its just annoying that you have to keep shaking out that filter. Tell your dad to start working on that problem.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:32 PM   #10
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When I was really young I got to go see a telescope he helped build. At the time it was the 3rd largest in the world. I think it is in Russia somewhere now? Not sure. Just really cool stuff when your a kid! Hell even as an adult its still cool.

I ran into one of my dads navy buddies from the 50's once. I was wearing the USS Ruppertus hat i got from dad and this old dude approached me.

He looked mad as he was walking to me and I was sort of tripping. He was like 75, but looked like he could still kick my ass lol. He said son, you aren't old enough to have been on the Ruppertus. I said I know i bought this hat because my dad was on the ship. Turned out he knew my dad!!! He said my dad help that ship together with tape, wire and spit! I believe it because my dad could rig up anything and make it work.

From poor as dirt, farmer in Nebraska, joined the military, went on to design all sorts of things. Worked on the minuteman missile also!.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:33 PM   #11
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Who did your dad work for? My dad worked at Martin Marietta (now Lockheed, I think), for thirty years - he worked every day of his career on the Titan III missile family. One of my favorite memories as a child was family day at his work, when we would tour the facilities up Waterton Canyon.
My dad worked for Rockwell, Perkin Elmer, then Corning. But Corning subcontracted to Martin Marietta and JPL. His name was Loren Sample and they probably worked around each other at some point because it sounds like they chewed the same dirt.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:34 PM   #12
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Yeah, that thing flies pretty fast. Its just annoying that you have to keep shaking out that filter. Tell your dad to start working on that problem.
I wish i could man but he passed away in 2005 from a heart attack on Christmas Night.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:36 PM   #13
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Here is to our dads. Be they ditch diggers or oil tycoons, they are the best men we will ever know! If you can't say that I really feel sorry for you. I was lucky to have such a great dad who never let me down even once.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:39 PM   #14
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Next time I am at my moms I will take a picture of the plaque nasa and JPL gave my dad. It's made out of metal from the starduster left overs and inscribed with all these sigs of engineers that gave my dad props for his cameras. He was an unknown really but people involved in the project know how him coming in late and fixing the cameras sort of saved the whole thing.

Then craft worked so well, was guided so effeciently it had enough fuel left to do this second mission. Rare for NASA for things to go so well lol!
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:39 PM   #15
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I wish i could man but he passed away in 2005 from a heart attack on Christmas Night.
Sorry to hear that. Sounds like quite a man.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:40 PM   #16
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His cameras were also on the mars probe that crashed. Do you guys remember that? When some dude at JPL did his math wrong and sent spacecraft hurling into the planet. Man there were some depressed engineers over that one.
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:44 PM   #17
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Sorry to hear that. Sounds like quite a man.
It could seriously be a movie like October Sky in a way. My dad was so poor that he had one pair of overalls. Thats it. Wear the same thing every day! Grandpa was a farmer in Nebraska, a gambler and a drunk. Not a bad man just poor and drank too much. All my uncles and my dad went military first chance they got.

My dad was in Marines but they instantly noticed his aptitude for engineering and transferred him to the NAVY were he was an electricians mate.

I would just need to make up some cool movie stuff and boom its the feel good movie of the yr!
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:57 PM   #18
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It could seriously be a movie like October Sky in a way. My dad was so poor that he had one pair of overalls. Thats it. Wear the same thing every day! Grandpa was a farmer in Nebraska, a gambler and a drunk. Not a bad man just poor and drank too much. All my uncles and my dad went military first chance they got.

My dad was in Marines but they instantly noticed his aptitude for engineering and transferred him to the NAVY were he was an electricians mate.

I would just need to make up some cool movie stuff and boom its the feel good movie of the yr!
Justin Bieber could play your dad as a kid. Then someone like Justin Timberlake as the young "cutthemdown's dad".
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:16 PM   #19
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Justin Bieber could play your dad as a kid. Then someone like Justin Timberlake as the young "cutthemdown's dad".
It's not a musical dammit.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:18 PM   #20
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It's not a musical dammit.
Hey...you could force your way into that gig if it was a musical. Then you go on tour with Timberlake and travel playing horn for 8 months. I'm just looking out for you here.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:49 PM   #21
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My dad worked for Rockwell, Perkin Elmer, then Corning. But Corning subcontracted to Martin Marietta and JPL. His name was Loren Sample and they probably worked around each other at some point because it sounds like they chewed the same dirt.
Are you familiar with that property up Waterton Canyon? My dad worked at the top of one of the silos where they stored the missiles. I would look forward to family day for a month - I LOVED going up to the top of that thing. We'd take this industrial elevator to the top of the silo, and then walk ocross this grated walkway that must have been ten stories high. I must have been seven or eight. It was incredible. I would hold my breath and try not to look down.

Hanging on my wall, right across from my desk, is one of my dad's retirement gifts. It's a 16" X 20" picture of one of the Titan IIIc's he worked on, signed by everyone in his department. These were guys he had worked with for decades. I don't think companies really work that way anymore.

But our dads do sound a lot alike. Mine grew up in Manhattan during the Great Depression. He was the very definition of poor. He started with Boeing, and ended up with Martin.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:11 PM   #22
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That's pretty sweet, I don't know if I've ever met your dad.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:13 PM   #23
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Really cool stuff. My grandfather was a naval engineer as well, and worked on(I think Nuclear energy for aircraft carriers.)
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:14 PM   #24
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Are you familiar with that property up Waterton Canyon? My dad worked at the top of one of the silos where they stored the missiles. I would look forward to family day for a month - I LOVED going up to the top of that thing. We'd take this industrial elevator to the top of the silo, and then walk ocross this grated walkway that must have been ten stories high. I must have been seven or eight. It was incredible. I would hold my breath and try not to look down.

Hanging on my wall, right across from my desk, is one of my dad's retirement gifts. It's a 16" X 20" picture of one of the Titan IIIc's he worked on, signed by everyone in his department. These were guys he had worked with for decades. I don't think companies really work that way anymore.

But our dads do sound a lot alike. Mine grew up in Manhattan during the Great Depression. He was the very definition of poor. He started with Boeing, and ended up with Martin.
Wow it does sound very similar. I never saw the place you are talking about but sounds like the thing kids dream about. I guess some of my opinions shaped by my dads life. One reason i strongly support a strong military is because its a great way for young men and women to serve country, and get educated. I know that doesn't have anything to do with whether or not to go to war so let's not ruin the thread with stuff like that.

I know in the engineering world, of big govt contracts etc etc, that it is normal for engineers of different companies to work together on stuff and in teams like you describe. Some of these projects take 5-6-7 yrs to finish, even decades sometimes. Because of that it's understandable they form close friendships and have a lot of respect for each other.

Engineers are some of the coolest people you will meet. The think out of the box and generally are some of the smartest people on the planet.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:18 PM   #25
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That's pretty sweet, I don't know if I've ever met your dad.
You didn't get the chance Adam. Unfortunately he passed away. All I can tell people is make sure to spend as much time with your parents and loved ones when you can. Trust me when I say this, when your dad is gone life changes forever. If you have regrets they will eat at you forever.
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