Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The J-2X, NASA's new upper stage rocket engine!

This week we are at the Stennis Space Center documenting the 3rd test of the J-2X engine. It is NASA's new upper stage engine, designed to lift a space craft to orbit and also to be able to restart after shutdown while in orbit. It is based on the Apollo era J-2 engine that powered the Saturn V second and third stages. Some of the changes include the removal of beryllium, a redesign of all the electronics, and the use of 21st-century joining techniques.

Here is a short video that explains a little more about what the J-2X is and what lead up to us being here this week...

Today was the big day.  We came here with a regular high definition camera, a Panasonic DVC-ProHD camera with a wide angle lens and also with a new Red Mysterium-X. It's the first time we at Marshall Television have used it and I was a little nervous. It's more like a film camera than a video camera and it requires a bit more work to achieve a nicely exposed image. It's definitely not for a beginner!

After a couple hours of waiting and sweating we were awarded with the awesome engine test!

This was a 7 second test of this brand new engine.  After a few more longer tests, there will be a full duration, 500 second test!  That should be awesome!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Walter A Thackerson, Jr. - A man I never knew, but feel so close to...

I attended an airshow while in high school and purchased a red POW/MIA bracelet to wear and to remember those U.S. soldiers missing and/or killed in Vietnam. I wore it for years and eventually the metal weakened and ironically enough, it was accidentally broken by a cute little Vietnamese baby who lived in our neighborhood.

I never knew who PFC Walter A Thackerson, Jr. was except that he was in the Army, from Alabama and went missing on May 21st, 1966.

I never forgot his name and I even found him on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.

Last year, I realized I could order another bracelet online and you could even request a certain name. As I searched for his name, I hoped it wouldn't be available...meaning he had been found. No such luck, he was still missing.  So I ordered another one, which I wear today.

A few days ago I looked my soldier up, as I do from time to time, and this time I found a website with 2 pictures of him and another with the story of his last day. All these years, I never knew what he looked like or what really happened...

PFC Walter Anthony Thackerson, Jr.  A man I never knew, but feel so close to...