The Past Meets the Future at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Sat, 02/05/2011 – 19:45 — Tim Pickens RCSP team leader
I had an awesome night at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) here in the Rocket City Thursday night. It was an incredible experience to be having dinner underneath this behemoth moon rocket known as the Saturn V. Incredible!
We were at a special awards ceremony honoring Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen, 96, an original German rocket scientist, NASA engineer on the Saturn V and lifelong educator. He received the Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Education from Neil Armstrong! How cool is that? This was a very rare and cool experience for all of us here in Huntsville and Alabama.
We had several team members and students in the audience. We had students from the University of Alabama Huntsville and the Huntsville Center for Technology. I had the honor of meeting Neil Armstrong and dining next to Owen Garriott. They are both great guys. I got to ask Owen what it was like riding on top of the Giant. I also got to meet “Dr von T.”
Dynetics and the Rocket City Space Pioneers sponsored the event and had a great opportunity to share our Google Prize entry with the local space community. Governor Robert Bentley, just recently sworn into office, was there, celebrating his birthday on this momentous occasion. He had great things to say about the USSRC and was looking forward to continuing to support the facility. I have to agree that the Center is amazing, and it is one of the centerpieces of Huntsville and the state.
The evening was inspirational. We are truly grateful to these space heroes who paved the way for what we are doing today!

RCSP Dynetics Launches FASTSAT with Fun Party

Wed, 11/24/2010 – 15:57 — Tim Pickens RCSP team leader
Friday night, November 19th, at Dynetics was amazing! Our first satellite, known as FASTSAT (Fast, Affordable Science and Technology Satellite), was launched aboard a Minotaur IV rocket. FASTSAT was developed in-house with NASA and the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation (VCSI), also one of the Rocket City Space Pioneers, as partners. The launch occurred at 7:25 p.m. CST from Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska.
FASTSAT separated from the Minotaur IV rocket approximately 22 minutes after launch, entering low-Earth orbit 406 miles above Earth and immediately began powering up the spacecraft.
To celebrate the launch, Dynetics employees had a huge launch party with plenty of good Mexican food. We had some down time between launch and waiting to hear the satellite wake up. I got to entertain the crowd with my TEDx talk on “Re-energizing Space through Innovation,” and even got to fire up my jet scooter in the parking lot. Boy was it loud! We kids loved it! I also let the kids help me fly my R/C electric helicopter indoors with my IPhone. It is really cool – it uses the gyros and accels in the phone to control the helicopter via wifi. The onboard video camera allows you to get a bird’s-eye view from the helicopter while in flight. That video is streamed to my IPhone, which is also used to control the helicopter. It is really cool. The kids had a ball with that one.
All and all, it was an amazing night of fun at Dynetics. I am sure our office party rocked it more than any other gig in Huntsville on a Friday night. Gotta love the Rocket City!