Astrodynamics - 2 - The Two-Body Equation of Motion

Continuing my Astrodynamics video series. Currently ~ 4 weeks trailing material covered in class, starting with simple 2-body orbital mechanics. This stuff is pretty easy, but things get hairy later on! That's why I want to stay on top of things with the fundamentals so that the harder stuff goes smoothly later on.



Lunch with Bill Nye

So I was minding my own business in the computer lab one day (like I usually do), when in walks the president of the Iowa State Space Society (pictured above with her arm around Bill). She asks me and another student who is also part of the ISSS club what we were doing on Friday at noon. "Nothing?" she says. "Well then you two are going to eat lunch with Bill Nye."

Fun stuff like that happens at college.

So some back story: Last May at the Space Tech Expo in L.A. one of our members met Bill and struck up a conversation. Bill wanted to meet the leaders of the club, so when he came to Iowa State this week for the opening event of Engineer's Week, we had the opportunity to eat lunch with him. It was great.

So he told us a lot of interesting and funny stories, we talked about science, space exploration, the Planetary Society (which he is now the CEO of), and of course, the Iowa State Space Society. I wished I had a recorder in my pocket or something. Then I'd be able to write down what we talked about.

At the end after we took a group picture with him, I had him sign my motor casing right next to Kari Byron's signature (Mythbusters).

So that was the highlight of my week.



To accompany a class I'm taking right now, I decided to do a video series on astrodynamics. I'm eating this class up since it is my first *real* space class. Sometimes the best way to dig deep into a subject is to teach it. That's where YouTube comes in to play. This is sort of a "Rocket Science 102" course. Enjoy!


Stressful Fun: Random College Updates

If I thought I spread myself too thin last semester... I had no idea what was coming! Junior year in aerospace engineering is famous for requiring super-human abilities. Below I have summarized in a random bullet list some of the hectic, crazy objectives I am trying to complete this semester:

  • Juggling 18 credit-hours (times 3 is 54 hours/week dedicated to my studies): Flight structures, astrodynamics, flight dynamics, french, and thermodynamics. 
    • Flight Structures: Easily my hardest class, since it is based on mechanics of materials, which was the first class that I had to worry about not passing... So I will abe putting some extra effort into this one.
    • Astrodynamics: Easily my hardest class, but since it is also my favorite class it really isn't *hard*. The professor also makes it a great class since he is an excellent teacher, extremely knowledgeable and has a definite passion for this subject.
    • Flight Dynamics: I'm behind! (I had to wait two weeks for my book to come in the mail). Must go study! The fun part of this class is the part where we get to go to the Ames Municipal Airport and fly airplanes.
    • French 101: I have to take a foreign language since I didn't *formally* take one in high school. I picked French since I already had a foot in the door, and some family members already speak it. If the University would let me I would like to learn the basics of a couple languages instead of advancing to 102 in French. For instance, I've learned a few phrases in Chinese and its a fun language to speak.
    • Thermodynamics: A lot of it is easy review of physics topics, but the professor is making the class hard. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
    • I have already pulled two all-nighters doing homework for classes...
  • New project! More on this in another post, but it involves high-altitude balloons and rockets. Going to be a lot of time to see it through to completion.
  • Need a part-time job to pay for school. I've applied to some good ones, but if I don't get them I'll have to start thinking smaller, such as working in the dining center, etc. (I have an interview today with a professor in materials engineering about a possible research assistant position). 
  • Applying like mad for internships! My number one objective is to land an aerospace internship for either spring or summer, or both. I have a list of about 20 companies in my sights, but have only managed to apply for 3 so far: XCOR Aerospace, ATK and SpaceX. Other options include: ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada, Moon Express, Virgin Galactic, and pretty much any NASA center. The list of companies is seeming to grow faster than I can apply.
More in-depth posts to come, specifically on Rockoon, and I'm considering continuing some of my YouTube series if I have the time. Stay tuned!

Fun fact: This is my 300th post on this blog!