You Don't Have to Be a Rocket Scientist...the Blog!
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Previous Week

10/23/14 - 8:53 AM EST

My apologies for not having updated in the last week. It's been like hell in a hand basket, fitting for my first week here at NASA. And I mean that in the worst way possible. First the satellite de-orbit that I was brought in specifically to assist with goes batshit. It got delayed 3 days because of extreme solar flares and the resulting solar winds. Then, when we were finally able to bring her in, she comes apart halfway through the stratosphere. I will neither discuss how long it took to find fragments larger than my testicle, nor that poor farmer's cow. Yuck.

Thankfully, we found the diagnostic pod, and Hank willing, it was intact.

The guys in Tech ops are going to have a field day, once the thing passes quarantine protocols. Me, I'm getting 3 hours bunk time after a week of 36 hours days. Fucking government contracts.

10/23/14 - 10:35 AM EST

So much for the catnap. Pressure from Washington to find out why their $20 billion hi-res imaging satellite came apart mid re-entry was so high they decided to bypass all containment guidelines. They were able to convince the goddamn Commanders-in-Brief that the 1500 degrees experienced during crashdown were sufficient preventative measures, and they barely gave me and the Biotech team enough time to prepare a counter-argument. We threw up the fact that such an action was in blatant violation of the Opportunity Protocols especially in light of that outbreak last year from the returning rovers, but I'll be damned if that mattered to them. Words like "accountability" and "error analysis" trump "biological contamination" and "space-borne diseases."

Tossers. I wish upon them a vile incurable strain of laryngitis, just so they never spew any hot air in my general direction again.

Regardless, it's quite cathartic to finally be able to pay some attention to this blog.

Which reminds me, I need to catch up on posts to the "Show your boobs" usergroup. I mighta missed me some fine titty.

10/23/14 - 11:08 AM EST

Every staffer on base from Tech Ops has been working non-stop on retrieving data from the black box, and they've come back with some preliminary info. Now, I can't get into it fully, being as that it's "classified" and "of national security," yadda yadda yadda, but it seems that the hull pressure sensors experienced a rapid series of spikes over a period of 11 minutes. Several of the spikes were sufficient to exceed the hull's theoretical limits, and knowing how over inflated our specs tend to be, I wouldn't be surprised if that threshold was 30% lower.

I'll tell you this off the record - Don't book any goverment space flights during the last week of the month - Inspections are kinda lax around then. And you didn't hear it from me.

Regardless, voltage irregularity went way outside spec at that point, no doubt to interference from solar radiation. You heat that thing up to 1500 degrees, and all those little hull cracks are gonna get a helluva lot bigger. In layman's terms - Satellite go boom.

Anyways, they were hoping to get something from the imaging data, since the satellite uplink for video downloading was disabled for the entire week prior to the re-entry, but apparently, those hull flaws led to corruption of the data drive. Jesus Christ, who the hell uses magnetic storage these days? Even the private sector's using holographic data storage. I'll bet it has something to do with the bloated bureaucracy around here depleting parts budgets, but then, that's every government branch.

The tech guys think they can hammer out a de-corruption algorithm to fix the compressed video, and they've managed to get Lawrence Livermore to pony up some free megaflops, so we might get this thing done before lunch.

Oh, and note to self - Start winter influenza prevention methods early. Stock up on zinc, vitamin C, and garlic, coworker's olfactory senses be damned. Me and the rest of moderately healthy United States of Microsoft wasn't eligible for the vaccine this year, shortage and all. I've yet to hear any viable excuses for how 75% of the flu manufacturing capacity could be diverted to meet demand on Shevitra, but the PharmCos never fail to confound.

I'll have to start early this year, especially after seeing how under-the-weather some of the TechOps guys are. I know geeks are supposed to be pasty and all, but their beige computers look bloody ivory in comparison. The alpha tech's got some of the nastiest oozing sores I've ever seen, and I've seen stoners with less bloodshot eyes. Don't even get me started on the noises coming from the restroom on this floor. It sounds like some of them are literally vomiting their guts out; I nearly lost my lunch just passing by, and I was in a frat for chrissakes. I haven't used this floor's bathroom since.

They said the flu was gonna be nasty this year, but Jebus. I'm about ready to take a gamble and try and snag some off

10/23/14 - 1:42 PM EST

Video reconstruction's done. Woot. The geek squad got sent back to the dorms immediately afterward, because apparently they were getting sicker than death. The janitorial team got called in half a dozen times in the last 2 hours alone to mop up their spew, and for his troubles he actually got ralphed on to boot. Bad day to be a custodial engineer, that's for sure.

But, we've got video. We lost about 70% of the frames, but we've got a clearer picture of what happened. Apparently, a cloud of space debris, pebbles in size mostly, slammed into the thing the day before re-entry, during the solar wind flareup. Where it came from is anyone's guess, but we've got some math wizzes lunching with some astro-nerds calculating trajectories and plotting planetary locations and a whole bunch of mumbo-jumbo to figure out where the shit came from.

I'm pretty much idled now, filling out debriefing papers so my ass is covered in case of a freakin' inquisition into the mondo fuckup this past week has been. I'm pretty much in the clear though, thanks to my limited involvement and late arrival.

I had garlic bread for lunch today, with extra garlic. My coworkers hate me already, I can tell, but I'll be damned if I catch whatever the fuck's going around.

On a lighter note, there's word going around that the bumfuck farmer with the perforated cow already has a multimillion dollar lawsuit lined up against the goverment. I love litigation.

10/23/14 - 3:28 PM EST

Venus. That shit was from VENUS. Get this, you're gonna love it. The sun starts solar flaring, sending these blazing solar winds out into space, which are powerful enough to penetrate Venus's atmosphere, send some planetary debris flying out BACK into space, which hauls ass through space to slam into our goddamn satellite.

You can't make this shit up, it's so weird.

And I'm investing in one of those Michael Jackson face masks. More and more coworkers are getting ill, and I heard rumors they had to send ambulances out to the Tech guy's dorm rooms, they were so violently ill. One of them managed to claw and bite his way through 2 EMS's before he was able to be restrained, he was so fucking out of it.

Definitely eating more garlic for dinner.

10/23/14 - 5:19 PM EST

I'm ready to call it a day and get my contract ass off base. They're about to call in the National Guard and quarantine the place, but fat shit lotta good that's gonna do; half a dozen people already got meat-wagoned off to a private hospital.

I've taken to wearing that surgeon's mask, and I'm thankful I did. Some asshole cowork stumbled up to me, obviously after having had a few cocktails on the job (and people wonder why shit goes wrong here?), and tries to spit up in my face. I actually had to slug the guy to get him off me. God, those eyes. They were so glazed over I questioned if this guy wasn't on a half a dozen other substances. I actually saw a vein burst in his eyes while he had me down.

I'm definitely gone for today. I'm not getting paid enough to get puked on.

10/24/14 - 9:39 AM EST

Someone just called my house and said not to come into work today, I quote, "The base is swarming with zombies." Now, I've heard a lot of bullshit in my day, but that's gotta be the most ridiculous way of sacking someone go I've ever heard of. I mean, I know I didn't stay late yesterday, but christ. I'm only human.

I don't even think I'll bother throwing this little snafu on my resume. Zombies. I'm going back to bed. I feel half dead.