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how has space flight affected you?

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This might be iffy for the science and space forum, but I think it's more relevant than yet another post about "scifi" gobbledegook, so whatever. I saw people reminiscing about this in the SpaceX thread, but a moderator asked for that thread to get back on topic. So I'm starting a new thread.

The question is simple, but the answers might not be. How has space flight affected your life?

I'm an aero-astro engineer, but that's at least as much because I grew up in the (at the time) home of Boeing and pretty much every male on my dad's side of the family had worked there, at least for a while. (All of them as machinists/mechanics, not engineers.) But as a kid in the late 60s (a very young kid -- I don't remember much) my parents say I was obsessed with the astronauts and the moon landings. I do remember some of my favorite snacks being Tang and those "food sticks" that Pillsbury made for NASA and then marketed to the public.

As I grew up I watched Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz and the Space Shuttle and read books about planets and watched Cosmos. My parents bought me the big tabletop companion book for Cosmos and I read it cover to cover many times. I also loved science fiction stories about space and space travel.

By the time I was in college, it was really my interest in planes that got me to sign up for Aero-Astro, and I never seriously considered going to the Astro side of the department.

But then, many years later, KSP came along, and I rekindled my interest in space flight, although this time with vastly more professional background knowledge.

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I saw the Space Shuttle launches on TV and at the science museum at a young age, and saw the kinds of things that astronauts do, and became massively excited about all those things. It quickly became my goal to be an astronaut, and now I'm in my last year of college going for an aerospace engineering degree. I think rocketing off into space is just about the coolest thing I can do, and I'm still set on that goal even if it takes me a lot of failed tries. My mentality is that every moment that passes is more anomalous than the last, so even the tiniest chance is worth pursuing, and the only way to truly fail is to give up.

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My first childhood lucid memories are watching TV from Salyut-4/Soyuz-18 and Soyuz-19/Apollo.

This, together with the amusing classic underwater nuxplosion photos from Operation Crossroads defined my two main points of interest and the university choice. 
(And other things perception.)
IT came later as a possibility to model that at least on table.

So, it's theoretically default-natural for me to be spaceflying and nuking. It's just not available.

Also, I'm from the Soviet aviation family, and most part of life worked in aviation.

Also I remember the Skylab, too, when they were discussing if we need to hide in dungeon when it finally falls, but decided that it probably won't happen in our city.

Edited by kerbiloid
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I was born in 1970 (an early online username was "StrandedonEarthsince1970"), between Apollo Missions. Based on the cadence at the time, it's possible that if if Apollo 13 hadn't had its issues, I may have been born during a Moon mission, but it was not to be. I think what first got me interested in rockets was model rocketry, when I was probably 8 or so (after Star Wars, because it was a "Proton Torpedo" rocket). Well, that and the Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica movies probably spurred my interest in space. But no Apollo missions of any sort in my memory bank. I had lots of of rocket and space-related books (including my mom's university astronomy textbook) and Lego, but probably the first one I came across (in after-school care, ) was...



That's where my interest in Tintin books started, and come to think of it maybe this is where my interest in space started.

The first spaceflight news I remember was the Skylab crash and the nuclear-reactor-powered Kosmos crash in northern Canada. And of course there were the first few Shuttle launches, before the media lost interest. I remember telling a classmate I had watched the second Columbia launch on KVOS-TV that morning, and he didn't believe me because that's when Scooby-Doo airs, and I had to tell him it was pre-empted for the launch.

Of course, the big year in my growing years was 1986 (grade 10), with the one-two punch of the Challenger explosion followed by the Chernobyl disaster. I learned about Challenger when rumors bounced around school that morning, and then I saw the replays on TV when I went home for lunch. It was a sad day....



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As a child I had a really nice picture book about the solar system.  The planets and moons were always more interesting to me than dinosaurs.  In fifth grade my teacher called my parents and said "We finally found something he is interested in, rockets!"  When I was 11 I got to attend Space Camp in Huntsville.  I've been back to Huntsville and JSC a couple of times since.  Just getting to stand next to the Saturn V is worth the price of admission.  

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14 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

those "food sticks" that Pillsbury made for NASA and then marketed to the public.

I loved those things. My mom had to hide them or I would just sit down and eat the whole box.

14 hours ago, mikegarrison said:

My parents bought me the big tabletop companion book for Cosmos and I read it cover to cover many times.

You mean this one. :)


As far as how spaceflight has affected my life, the reality is that it has affected it about as much as everyone else's. Aside from all of the "spinoff technologies" that NASA loves to tout these days, and visiting space centers, I really haven't had any direct contact with the space program. I haven't been employed by NASA or an aerospace firm. I wasn't raised in an aerospace family. My dad was employed by Lockheed Skunk Works in Burbank, but he was just a security guard and that ended before I was born. That was just a job for him. I'm interested in spaceflight, but it hasn't really made an impact on me directly.

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A lot.  Especially for the last 14.5 years.


Slightly longer version, now that I have a moment:

I've spent almost 15 years working for contractors, first for JSC, and recently, KSC.  Before that, my father was an electrical engineer for NASA for 35 years, from Apollo-Soyuz through the Shuttle program, and my mother worked for several companies and the agency before retiring.  The street I grew up on, everybody worked for the agency in some way, except for the college professors across the street.  That whole area would have been naught but cow pastures and marshes without the center existing.

Edited by razark
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I’ve been interested in science and technology (especially heavy machinery) for as long as I can remember. I was watching Mythbusters and Topgear (the old one, with Jezza, Richard and captain slow) when I was 4 (if I remember right).

I only got obsessed with space back in late ‘20. I was watching a documentary about factories, and while I was waiting for another bit of the show, they showed the production of the SLS. My engineering genes saw the giant, wasteful, disposable, billion dollar rocket, and said:”There has to be a better way!”

I came up with an idea, proved it wrong, came up with another idea, proved it wrong, rinse, repeat. All the while doing research and learning. I stumbled across Matt Lowne and ksp, got it as a relaxing, simple downtime game (spoiler, I was wrong).

So I continued, thinking, thinking and trying (unsuccessfully) to build basic stuff. (There are meerkatte (proper plural of the afrikaans meerkat) with more building skill than me.)

I finally, during easter this year, officially gave up! -on trying to outsmart the rocket scientists, and switched to outdumbing them. By which I mean essentially taking big dumb boosters to the extreme in cost reduction, as in making fibreglass tanks out of sand.

I am focussing enough on my schoolwork, but I do not have near as much trust in going to university then getting a job in space as my parents have. Seeing as I’m in South Africa. If at all possible, I would make a space company either in, before, or in stead of university. I am still doing my work so as to keep the direct to university option open, since anything else would be reckless.

But it probably wouldn't start as a space company, I might even piggyback on a classmate's tractor repair company.

Probably the best strategy I have now is "operation gapyear." One year after highschool to make a profit from something (not necessary space launch, could be anything from boat construction (sea launch is a requirement in my plans, so already developed systems could be adapted to it) to aircraft to fishing. If unsuccessful, go to university, study, reevaluate, do it better.

This is all provided I develop the necessary tech in the next few years.

Operation gapyear is the best compromise between cautious and ambitious I have come up with, allowing for immediate company founding if successful, and a safe fallback position if not.

Oh, and if you're wondering about capital, when I say "cost minimization" I mean it. As in adding a parachute and reusing the stage would cost more than building a new one.

Edited by Hyperspace Industries
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I grew up under my local airport's flight path, so every day I saw all sorts of aircraft, ranging from the simplest propeller trikes to the occasional Il-76 during hurricane relief.  Eventually, I got interested in the aircraft that went higher and faster, which led me to rocketry.  I was lucky enough for my parents to take me on a trip to see the launch of STS-125, the final Hubble servicing flight.  Watching that launch was incredible for 4-year-old me, with both the epic liftoff and ascent as well as the annoyingly slow countdown clock. :D  A few years later, my dad discovered KSP and was trying to figure it out when I went and tried my hand at it.  Ever since, KSP has continued to keep me interested in spaceflight.  Now, I'm off to a top-40 US university next year, with the hope to eventually get into spacecraft propulsion!  In summary, spaceflight has been one of the most inspiring and interesting things for me and has shaped my life immeasurably.

Edited by Entropian
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On 8/15/2022 at 1:27 PM, mikegarrison said:

No, I mean the one by Carl Sagan.



You know, Carl Sagan had a far greater impact on my interest in space than watching the ships fly.

Don't get me wrong - love the ships and everything that goes into spaceflight... but its what's out there I find interesting.

Edited by JoeSchmuckatelli
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