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“Thus far, radiation has not been a major problem for crews on the shuttle, whose maximum stay [prior to EDO - smith] has not exceeded 10 days. Skylab crews did not suffer ill effects from radiation even on the longest voyage of 84 days. And cosmonauts who have been in space for a full year have not shown evidence of damage from radiation. The radiation dosage received by astronauts (and cosmonauts) is routinely monitored”

from Space Commerce, Materials Processing by Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. John L. McLucas

The feeling of Mojave

TaggedSpace, CaliforniaMusings

It was two of those moments that make your head start playing the Police's Synchronicity Part 1.

I was up having lunch at Mojave Air/Spaceport last week and I realized that I love that place. It's not just that the food at the Voyager is better than most anything closeby Hawthorne Airport, it's just something about the feel of big desert and big sky and that no matter which way you look there are regular cool folks working on making the biggest dreams come true. The place, and some of the people walking in off the runway, has the slight smell of grease and effort like my Dad's old shop where he moonlit his giant lathes on projects for PrattWhitney. It's not Silicon Valley branding and slick... it's banging tin.

It just feels "right."

And this time my internal pattern-matcher found it even more "falling into place" because the day after I was at my son's fencing class and I noticed that the boy training before him was wearing a Spaceship Company T-Shirt. 

Now, the fencing studio is in the Valley where there's still some old aircraft industry soul, but the distance from TSC is enough that it was unusual.  I asked him if he'd been there on a tour or something and he said that his Dad worked there and he hadn't been but he was hoping to go someday.  I told him that he should be very proud of his Daddy and let him get back to training (Ryan is my son's trainer too and he only puts up with distractions on his students "to a point" <g>).

So that was Sting singing in my head the first time...

 

Have you ever been to Mojave?  It's not Disneyland so it's not the normal place for a tourist trip (unless you remember the XPrize events unfolding or watched the history-making contest in context and put together beautifully in the Black Sky documentaries).  If you were driving your family to Edwards or the Vasquez Rocks then you might drive right past it without even noticing.  But it's a great place to feel the desert and see some wierd things sitting around...

and then all of a sudden, flying around...

If you're not into the spacey stuff then the signs on the buildings would go right through you without meaning...

... but the big hardware scattered here and there would likely catch your attention..

The thing that caught my attention this last time was that the company with one of the largest facilities was so strangley quiet on this particular day.  I figured it was just because it was around lunch time and that is probably the whole of it, but it did strike me and even on the way home (filled with Voyager Restaurant chili - not from a can but made fresh right there. mmmmmm) I kept pondering that company.  I couldn't stop thinking that, of them all on this particular day, that one didn't fit the place as smoothly.  It seemed to me, for no good reason at all and I am sure the workers there are wonderful human beings, but it seemed to me that that one company stuck out with bristles from the rest of the skunk-workers when even the Animal Shelter next to it didn't break the "I'm at home here" feel.

I don't know why that was. but it stuck in my head. 

And then this morning while reading the mainstream news, Sting started singin' again.

I love being at Mojave.  I love the desert and I love that huge sky.  I can't wait for a reason to head back up.  And when I do, I wonder if this one company will once again seem to fit right in.

 



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