So I hardly ever really show my total and complete nerdy-ness in this forum. I don't know why, nothing has really made me want to write about it, until today.
NASA announced that Lockheed has been awarded the CEV (crew exploration vehicle) program.
This is freakin AWESOME!
To really explain why this is so cool I'll have to give you a little background about the aerospace industry. During the really cool days of JFK and the space race everyone was stoked about getting to the moon. Not just geeks like me, but EVERYONE was amped. People wanted to explore space and the western cowboy in every American heart really liked the idea of conquering the "final frontier."
After the initial push to explore space the industry started to settle into a research phase. It was necessary, but kind of boring (from my perspective). We needed to learn more about it up there. We had to figure out what weightlessness or living in a pressurized shell for months on end did to a person. We had to figure out how to keep spacecraft from leaking air out into a vacuum. We had to figure out how to keep people from going crazy up there. We even had to figure out what to do with poop.
Needless to say, those types of things weren't that interesting to the general public, and the fascination with being in space has waned. As evidence, fewer and fewer people are studying aerospace subjects in college.
The cool thing is that the culture is swinging back the other way. We've finished up much of the research required to be up there and people are getting excited to go back to the moon and beyond. The government is starting to move their money from research endeavors to cool exploration missions.
This is where the CEV comes in. NASA has money to design a new vehicle that will work on the moon, and also be usable on Mars.
Not only that, it has awarded the contract to Lockheed here in beautiful Colorado.
This is great for many reasons.
First, Lockheed is right down the road from my company and with some connections I could probably make a move to go over there if the offer became too good to pass up (although the likelihood of this is small because I actually love my company).
Second, having this program here means that a lot of great engineering talent will flood the area making my company's options for picking up some serious talent great.
Third, my company is in a perfect position to get some sub-contracts to design some instruments for the vehicle. This way I could end up working on it while staying with my company. Bonus.
Last, this is a huge step in a very cool direction at a perfect time in my career. I love that I could contribute to the second wave of great American advances in space exploration.
(end of the demonstration of my ultimate nerdy-ness)