theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


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theengineer

Go Robert Bigelow!

Zillionaire Robert Bigelow is planning on building an Space Hotel, based on an inflatable space station design called the Transhab done by JPL in the 80s. Yesterday the Russians launched a one-third scale test model into orbit, which has now successfully inflated. They'll now observe it for five years and see how well it stands up.

NASA may have gotten the shuttle up again (and it's hogging all the press), but for my money this is way more exciting.

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Ah - you remind me that I was going to Google that but figured you'd do it for me.

The idea of an inflatable spacecraft reminds me of a probably-classic (though dated) essay, "The Triumph of Software," about why Barbarella is better, from a design viewpoint, than 2001 - A Space Odyssey.

I tried Googling for that, but came up blank (found references, but not the article itself). Any idea where I can find it?

No, it was only the google hit that reassured me I didn't dream it up. It was in a book somewhere in the OCAD library about 6 years ago. The gist, as I recall, was that design in the 2001 universe was very hard and not human-oriented (except HAL, and that leads to its own set of problems), whereas the Barbarellaverse, well, the opening sentence of the essay was:
"Regardless of whether we needed it or not (and we did need it, even if we didn't realize it), we now have the concept of a fur-lined spaceship."

Hee. I can see their point.

I take it you're reading LiveJournal instead of working right now, just like me.

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