My birthday presents to myself finally arrived! I’ve got to say that set 3368, the Space Launch Complex, looks like a phenomenal build. Love the rocket design. The fairing can hold either an astronaut in a rocket sled, or a satellite. There’s a crawler to carry the rocket to the launch tower, and the tower itself features a retractable hose for fueling the vehicle, as well as an elevator for carrying the payload to the top. Even some countdown flaps. There’s also a poster that seems to be hinting at an ISS and a Hubble set in the future. I’m a thinkin’ I’m going to be taking this one to show off at the ISDC (more on that anon).
Set 3366, the Satellite Launch Pad, is a much smaller set, but I do like the idea of a mobile launch control center.
And of course, my favorite, set 3365, the Space Moon Buggy, with drill attachment on the back for some prospecting in the Lunar outback, and a sat dish to send your assay results back to base to get first dibs on a new strike.
In my view, these are the “NewSpace” Lego sets. Nary a space shuttle or Apollo lander in sight. All clear for future cislunar space adventures!
So yes, I’m in a good mood this evening.
I’d been in a bit of a funk, as the trip to L.A. hadn’t turned out as well as I had expected in the ways I had expected. The Space Tourism Society dinner was okay, a kind of “Hurrah! Things are going great” sort of get-together (and frankly, they are going great). Many, many familiar faces and the usual dearth of Gen X and younger participants. There were some, and I made sure to sit in the back at the kids table to have the more interesting conversations. That was where I happened to meet L______. More on that anon.
Friday was spent canvasing the book stores, starting in the Santa Monica area and arcing north and east-ward as the day progressed, up through Hollywood and into Studio City, over to Glendale (the best of the bunch), hooked back around to the Griffith Observatory, which had undergone an upgrade since I was last in LA in ’01 for my ISU internship. Then to downtown LA then back out Santa Monica to hit the stores that had been closed when I’d swung by in the morning. The most disappointing was a place up on Sawtelle. There was a nice 14 volume set that was a children’s encyclopedia of aviation and space for $75. I was quite interested in acquiring the set for the Lunar Library, but there was no way it would fit in my luggage. So I asked the clerk about shipping it. Apparently it was too much trouble, as he declined the sale. Unbelievable. And people wonder why the Chinese are going to eat our lunch. Those folks hustle and make the sale.
It was as I was digesting what had been available at the different stops that I came to the conclusion that the reason there’s no good space movies out of Hollywood is because the literature’s not there. I had better luck finding space books in one bookstore near downtown St. Louis last year on the way to ISDC than I had across the entire LA basin this trip. This was wild to me because at the dinner the night before folks had been talking about how SoCal was a space nexus because of the history there. Don’t see how, as I found way more and interesting stuff on the trip to San Fran last October for the Space Manufacturing conference at NASA Ames.
It was on the way back to the hotel that I got the message from L_______ that she wanted to meet for drinks/dinner. How about the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills? Okay, sure. I may not have had date clothes on this trip, but she sure did: a necklace of stars and a silvery gray sweater that shone as if bathed in Moonlight.
Saturday morning I made one last trip, out to south Inglewood near the airport to a little comic/card shop to see what they might have. A couple of items, but not much. Then it was to the airport and the indignities of flight. First, let me praise Frontier Airlines. They fly nice Airbus A319s and A320s, the animals offer a personalizing touch to the planes that you don’t normally get, and so for example I flew under the watchful eyes of Carmen the Blue-Crown Conure (a sort of parrot) and Trixie the Red Fox (the fox being one of my animal totems, by the way). The agents were kind enough to switch me to exit row seating without any hassle. I usually note that I’m exactly the kind of strapping young lad they want in their exit rows (6’4″, lean and fit, emergency coordinator at work, Boy Scout, you get the idea). In fact, I’d even be willing to go through a couple days of emergency training to get preferential access to those seats.
That’s what makes the security so revolting to me. The presumption is that I am a criminal, and I have to offer myself up to them to prove I’m okay to travel. The concept that to my own government I must prove my innocence, rather than requiring them to prove that I am guilty of what they fear, just fills me with opprobrium. It’s to the point where I am going to have to stop going to space stuff in places to which I can’t drive in a reasonable time. Still, L______ is out in Cali…
Looking forward, planning has begun for Moon Day 2011. I won’t know for sure if we’re having one till the middle of the month deadline for indications of interest. They’ve started trickling in, but I’m worried that I won’t get to a critical mass. May 15th is when I’ll commit. Just in time for the ISDC.
I’ve managed to get myself more involved than I had anticipated. I’m giving a talk in the Space Settlement track on Cislunar Space, I’m hosting a Moon Society hospitality party as part of my campaigning for president of The Moon Society, and I’ve been asked to speak to some of the international winners of the Space Settlement design competition about how they can do space advocacy in their communities. Just the sort of thing I talked about at ISU last February for their annual symposium.
Busy, busy busy!