Iowa State University!

I decided. Iowa State is it. I made up my mind, and mailed in the acceptance form.

It just means I'm going to have to scrimp and save this summer. $15k should be doable... but I sure hope it doesn't interfere with my certification attempts. I turn 18 this summer, so I included getting certified in my short list of Big, Fun, Scary Adventures for 2010.

1) Get L1 certified for high-power rocketry
2) Earn and save a lot of money applying for jobs, scholarships, and just being an entrepreneur.
3) Go to COLLEGE!!

How scary! I'm attempting two steps in my Ladder to Space in a single year.

Let me talk more about my college decision: Iowa State has everything going for it. It is the right compromise of $$$$, engineering prestige, and location. It has a wonderful campus, and has one of the best engineering programs in the country. Specifically, it has an excellent aerospace engineering program, even compared to Embry-Riddle. Being a state university, I am of the opinion that it has more resources available to it. For instance, Iowa State has a supersonic wind tunnel, whereas Embry-Riddle has only a subsonic one, up to about 200 mph.

I am content with my choice, and recognize that:

"The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." ~Proverbs 16:9

He sure does, and I'd rather go where He'd have me go than go where I think it would be best for me to go... if you get my meaning. Because, as somebody said (I don't remember who; you can comment if you know who): "You're only watching the train cars whiz by in front of you. God's up on the hill and he can see the whole train."

In conclusion...



Drum Roll Please...

Buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh buh duh.........

Stay tuned for my college decision!



I just got my financial aid award notice in the mail from the University of Minnesota today. The bottom line is this: if I live at home, my entire freshmen year of college would be completely paid for by grants and scholarships. Essentially free.

For Iowa State, I still have to come up with I think about $14k.

I didn't think I'd still be considering U of M. But the question is: Do I like IA State better than U of M to the tune of 14-15k?

I'm not sure I have the answer.



Meet Robonaut 2

NASA plans to launch this little guy up to the station on board STS-133. Robonaut 2 can be abbreviated R2. Yeah, the first real astrodroid! R2 will work like a human with humans on board the ISS in the Destiny laboratory. He is designed to be able to use the same tools that the astronauts use. He already knows how to sit, speak, and sit up and beg!

NASA hopes to make future improvements to him so he can go on his very own space-walks!

Read more: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/apr/HQ_10-086_R2.html


May 1st. Yeeks.

I am supposed to make up my mind as to where I'm going to school next year by May 1st. I have narrowed it down to Iowa State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, but the biggest deciding factor is, of course, $$$$$. Subtracting grants, scholarships and loans from my financial aid packages, I have to come up $15,000 for IA State or $25,000 for Riddle this summer.

I have saved 0.

That said, I have to go into high-intensity mode for several months if I'm going to actually make this happen. But I still have to decide by May 1st. My brain is drowning in its own bewilderment. Please vote on the poll and leave suggestions or things to consider in the comments section. I'm a first timer when it comes to college (pretty much every college freshman is, I guess). I only have 20 days to decide!!!



Adventures in Florida

Sunday night was one of the most interestingly spent nights I've ever had. We arrived in Titusville, FL at about 5:00 pm and set up camp right on the edge of the water. Seriously, there was this little ledge about five feet wide that dropped straight off to the water, and we set up there. Front row seats, but rather precarious front row seats! People were already showing up to stake out spots to see the shuttle launch the next morning, so we didn't dare move lest someone steal our spot. So... it's kind of interesting to spend the night in such a situation, but it was all right--until someone warned us about crocodiles. Yeah, I didn't get much sleep, but it was fun anyway. When it got dark the launch pad 39A flodded the sky with lights, and the anticipation of the coming launch filled the spectators with alacrity. It was such a clear night, and I spent most of the time gazing up at the stars and other astronomical objects. There was a chilly breeze coming off the ocean, and every now and then some sort of fish would splash around below us sending a jolt through us (those of us paranoid of crocodiles).

Finally morning began to dawn. NASA was counting down. The International Space Station could be seen streaking across the sky, passing by the moon, before the Shuttle launched. Everybody cheered whenever the countdown was announced. Every minute seemed like five.

Main engine start... Liftoff for STS-131!

The bright glowing ball rises into the sky. Nearly a minute later the sound thuds against your chest. A minute after that the boosters separate. At some point it almost looks as if Discovery is coming back to Earth, but of course it's not. It's going over the edge of the horizon, and it is lost from view. Awesome!

It was definitely worth the wait.

More pictures and video to come!


Greetings From Florida!

Greetings, Earthlings! I am writing to you from a camp site in Florida, after a long day of touring the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Sorry there aren't any pictures, My camera was not connecting to my computer for some reason, so I will just have to use a thousand words or more.

I stayed in a dorm room the first night, and got to meet some students, some in engineering, some not, but what I discovered I love about this school so much is that everyone attending share the same passion for the same subject: aerospace. Granted, they're in all sorts of disciplines related to aerospace, but everyone loves flying, airplanes, rockets, you name it. And these students are very serious about their academics. They aren't here to goof off or anything.

Rocket Club at this school means designing and building satellites, driving them over to White Sands, and launching them into orbit. Wow.

I was able to sit in on a class today with an aerospace engineering student. I'm glad I was able to follow along; it was on a subject I have already studied in physics, rotational kinematics. Only kicked up to a college level. We never used double integrals to crank out the moment of inertia in my high school physics class!

Tomorrow morning I am going to observe a student flight, meaning I'm actually going to go up in an airplane with a student and see what flight training is like. Ooooo. I haven't actually flown since I was three years old.

If I can afford it, I am definitely hoping to attend this school in the fall. Embry-Riddle is simply the ultimate school for the aerospace enthusiast.