Epic Blog of Awesome


SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft in Production

As the only operational vehicle capable of taking significant amounts of cargo both to and from the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft is already a critical piece of the American space program.  With at least 10 more station resupply missions over the next couple years, and with development of a human-rated Dragon and DragonLab underway, production of the Dragon spacecraft has increased significantly. 

No other American company is mass producing spacecraft at the same rate.  Pictured below are no less than six Dragons in production, as SpaceX ramps up to keep pace with its plans and a very full manifest:

via Production at SpaceX | SpaceX.

Windows Server 2003 PAE and AWE memory settings


Using PAE and AWE to access memory above 4 GB (32-bit x86)
As described in , “The /3GB BOOT.INI parameter (32-bit x86)” on page 30, the native 32-bit
architecture of the x86 processor allows a maximum addressable memory space of 4 GB.
The Intel Physical Address Extension (PAE) is a 36-bit memory addressing mode that allows
32-bit (x86) systems to address memory above 4 GB.
PAE requires appropriate hardware and operating system support to be implemented. Intel
introduced PAE 36-bit physical addressing with the Intel Pentium® Pro processor. Windows
has supported PAE since Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition and is supported with
the Advanced and Datacenter Editions of Windows 2000 Server and the Enterprise and
Datacenter Editions of Windows Server 2003.
Windows uses 4 KB pages with PAE to map up to 64 GB of physical memory into a 32-bit (4
GB) virtual address space. The kernel effectively creates a “map” in the privileged mode
addressable memory space to manage the physical memory above 4 GB.
The 32-bit (x86) editions of Windows Server 2003 allow for PAE through use of a /PAE switch
in the BOOT.INI file. This effectively allows the operating system to use physical memory
above 4 GB. As the 64-bit (x64) editions of Windows are not bound by this same memory
architecture constraint, the PAE switch is not used in these versions of the Windows Server
2003 operating system.
Even with PAE enabled, the underlying architecture of the system is still based on 32-bit
linear addresses. This effectively retains the usual 2 GB of application space per user-mode
process and the 2 GB of kernel mode space because only 4 GB of addresses are available.
However, multiple processes can immediately benefit from the increased amount of
addressable memory because they are less likely to encounter physical memory restrictions
and begin paging.
Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) is a set of Windows APIs that take advantage of the
PAE functionality of the underlying operating system and allow applications to directly
address physical memory above 4 GB.

>Thank You for Supporting the Future of Human Spaceflight


SpaceX Logo

Thank You for Supporting the Future of Human Spaceflight

We recently asked for your help to protect the future of human spaceflight – and the response was impressive. Your phone calls and the efforts of supportive members of Congress helped stop the NASA Authorization bill from being pushed through the House of Representatives before important improvements could be made.

This bill would have authorized over five times more taxpayer dollars to fly NASA astronauts on the Russian Soyuz than to develop an American-made commercial alternative that would energize our economy and create jobs right here at home.

We still have a tough fight ahead of us, but many in Congress are starting to recognize that commercial vehicles like Dragon and Falcon 9 are the nation's best option for ending our reliance on Russia to transport astronauts to the International Space Station and preserving America's leadership role in space.

It's not over yet. When the House returns from its summer recess in September, NASA Authorization bill H.R. 5781 will be up for vote again.

We hope you will continue to fight for the opportunity to show how a true public/private partnership can transform America's space program.

We thank you for your support and look forward to working together to ensure an exciting future for American spaceflight.


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Posted via email from Mocha Brain Freeze

>SpaceX Flight 4 Success



A week spent reviewing data has confirmed that the flight went really well, including the coast and restart. The mood here at SpaceX is just ecstatic! This is the culmination of six years of hard work by a very talented team. It is also a great relief for me, who led the overall design of the rocket (not a role I expected to have when starting the company). I felt a little sheepish receiving the AIAA award for the most outstanding contribution to the field of space transportation two weeks before this flight.

Orbit was achieved with the first burn terminating at 330.5 km altitude and 8.99 degree inclination. The goal for initial insertion was a 330 km altitude and a 9.0 degree inclination, so this was right on target! Accuracy far exceeded our expectations, particularly given that this was the first time Falcon 1 reached orbit.

The primary purpose of the second burn was to test the restart capability and then burn as long as possible. The upper stage coasted for 43.5 minutes and then burned for 6.8 seconds, which is 4 seconds longer than needed to circularize. Most of the burn was actually done sideways to avoid creating a highly elliptical orbit, hence a change in inclination to 9.3 degrees. The final orbit, confirmed by US Space Command, was 621 km by 643 km.

As an added bonus, we picked up several minutes of video and data from the upper stage when it passed over Kwajalein one orbit later, which showed the stage to be in good condition.

After one complete orbit, the SpaceX Falcon 1 Flight 4 vehicle
passes over its launch site at the Kwajalein Atoll,
and returns a view of the Earth.

While Falcon 1 was the world’s first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit, I would like to acknowledge and express appreciation for the role of DARPA, the Air Force and the ORS Office of the Department of Defense. They played an important role as early “beta” customers of Falcon 1. There are many individuals in those organizations, as well as in NASA, NRL, FAA, USAKA/RTS, other departments of the US government and the private sector to whom we owe gratitude for their support and advice. You didn’t have to help, but you did, often at risk of career and credibility, so you have my deepest thanks.

The next flight of Falcon 1 is tentatively scheduled for March next year and will carry a Malaysian primary satellite, as well as US government secondary satellites, to near equatorial orbit. Flight 6 will probably be a Defense Department satellite in the summer and Flight 7 a commercial satellite mission in the fall. In 2010, I expect the launch cadence for Falcon 1 to step up to a mission every two to three months.

Below is a highlight reel of the Falcon 1 flight, including the restart and video footage from the upper stage when it does its first orbit back over Kwajalein. Some of this has not been show before, so there is something new even if you watched the live webcast.

Liftoff of Falcon 1, Flight 4 from the
Kwajalein Atoll on September 28, 2008 (UTC).

>The Alcoholic – 4

>”It’s not my business,” he thought to himself even as he stepped back into the alley. He glanced back over his shoulder toward the busy sidewalk. Pedestrians streamed by, oblivious to the noise he had heard. Someone else heard it. She’s okay. Need a drink, can’t help. Rationalizations rattled through his mind, which was clearing slightly in reaction to adrenaline. Still he continued forward and in moments stood before the door and reached for the latch. He jerked his hand back when he touched it as if it burned. “What the hell am I doing?” he wondered. As if in response, the sound of sharp voices penetrated the door, the words indistinct. He could hear a woman’s voice laced with panic, staccato bursts that brought the image of a trapped animal to his mind. He grabbed the door handle and slowly pulled, slipping into the darkness.

He faced a partition that formed a short corridor leading to his right. Light spilled into the space from a room past the partition. A woman desperately cried, “It can’t be you! Y-you’re dead! Stop, don’t do this!”

He peaked around the corner of the partition into the room and took in the scene. The brunette lay near the far wall in a jumble of steel bins, a metal shelving rack on its side on which they had apparently been stacked. She looked up from the floor at a figure, her eyes flashing with panic, her body writhing backward but making no progress through the debris. The figure was the back of a man and he approached the woman, a large knife clutched in his right hand.

“Surprise sweetie,” his deep voice rattled, the knife pointed at her.

Hands trembling, the drunk spotted a thick wooden dowel on the floor between him and the man, the furthest of several that were scattered from the direction of the toppled shelves. His mind went blank and he acted out of training and instinct that he had thought were long dead, drowned by the years of abuse. He strode forward, grabbed the dowel and raised it like a club. In a split second, the woman saw him and his presence registered on her face. The man stopped and began to turn. The club came down on the side of his head and he instantly dropped to the floor.

Time flowed once again. He stared down at the prone body, wondering if he’d killed the man. Apparently wondering herself, the woman crawled forward and touched his neck for a moment.

She looked up at her rescuer. “He’s alive. Let’s get the hell out of here.”