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Status Updates posted by efaardvark

  1. DART launch team photo.  (I’m the guy in back with the lid.)


    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. efaardvark


      @Kit Maybe a bit.  :D  

      It is a very cool job, at least when it isn't driving me cucking frazy.  :crazy:  One of the byproducts of all the new launchers (SpaceX's Falcon 9, NASA's SLS, India's PSLV and GSLV series, China's latest, etc.) and the expanding capabilities of small spacecraft hardware like cubesats is that everyone and their dog seems to be launching new spacecraft, a lot of which are venturing into deep space and requiring the services of JPL's Deep Space Network for communication.  As a result we've been extremely busy for the past few years.  Software installation, personnel training, and "level-1" event support has been an ongoing nightmare.  (Then of course there's been the virus BS on top of it all.)

      There's no let-up in sight either.  I'll start with last month's LUCY launch, then add DART and Italy's LICIAcube (which went up with DART), the James Webb telescope going up next month, and then NASA's Artemis/EM1 launch after that in February.  We're also going to be supporting NOAA's GOES18 with their launch in March, India's CHANDRAYAAN-3 in June, South Korea's KPLO in July, and NASA's Psyche in August.   Artemis by itself is going to put up 10 new DSN-supported spacecraft in a single launch, including another cubesat for Italy and JAXA's OMOTENASHI and EQUULEUS cubesats.  That's 8 launches and 17 new spacecraft in the next 12 months alone!  (My current favorite is Psyche BTW.)

      And for us in the DSN launches are just the start of the mission.  We're still providing realtime data processing, tracking data, and communications services for decades-old missions like Voyager as well.  If all the launches go as planned then we will be supporting a total of 97 spacecraft, landers, and rovers by this time next year.


    3. Kit


      Envious XD

      Mad respect for how much schooling and dedication that must have taken. It all paid off and you love your job, can't get any better than that? I don't even know you and I'm proud of you. lol

    4. efaardvark


      Thanks @Kit.  Might be changing jobs in the near future tho.  I’m currently working for a contractor but JPL/Caltech has made me an offer that looks good.  It is in integration and testing and moves me away from real-time ops but it is more in tune with my training as a systems engineer.  Benefits are better and it comes with a bigger paycheck too.

      The downside is it drops me right in the middle of GDS - ground data system - testing for all those cubesats going up on Artemis in a couple/few months.  😱  (Currently there’s one guy doing it full time and one loaner half-timer and they’re apparently not getting much sleep.  How do you schedule testing with JAXA, Goddard, and ESA in the same day and still find time to sleep?)

  2. Here I was thinking that I might actually have a couple hours of discretionary time this afternoon.  Shoulda known better.  Woke up early this morning to crashing noises and found that one of our “Santa Ana” winds had made a mess of the backyard and dumped a bunch of debris in the pool overnight.  We also seem to be missing a patio chair.  Have to go knocking on the neighbors’ doors in a bit I guess. Maybe start a load of laundry first however.  Get that going while I work on coffee and breakfast.  No rest for the weary.

  3. Just applied for a job working for JPL!  I've actually been working -at- JPL for years now but as a contractor, not as a direct employee.  This will mean my paycheck comes directly from JPL.  (Well, CalTech actually since the university manages JPL as a NASA center.)  It will also mean I'll probably wind up being even more busy but it'll be pretty much the same job with more money, better benefits, and fewer contract management chiefs to deal with.  And in fact my immediate boss will probably be one of my old bosses too so that will be a nice side-benefit since I got along pretty well with him back in the day.  🤞 Really hoping I get this "lateral promotion" 🤞

    1. Kreideprinz


      Good luck! 

      "with more money, better benefits, and fewer contract management chiefs to deal with." 

      That's all I needed to read to really want this to happen for you. xD Sounds fantastic. Especially working under someone you're mutually acquainted with. 

    2. efaardvark


      Looks like it’ll happen.  2 interviews went well and I am currently waiting for an offer.  Should know for sure by next week.  🤞

  4. One day... probably.. maybe..   :D



    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. efaardvark


      @RyePotatoes I’m 5mumble7 so if the day (mentioned at bottom of pic) hasn’t happened yet then chances are it won’t ever.  I might just be stuck with the sense of humor of a teenager for the rest of my life.  :) 

      Is that a good thing or a bad?  🤔

    3. RyePotatoes


      I think it’s a good thing though! Hahahaha 😂😂

    4. Kreideprinz


      Yeah, sorry. This is never not going to be funny. Tell this to me on my deathbed and the curtain is dropping with one last chuckle. No apology. xD 

  5. A pun has not completely matured until it is full groan.

    Until then it is just puny.

    ok I’m leaving…


    1. Ohayotaku


      I see you are also an alumni of the King Kai School of Comedy :P 


    2. RyePotatoes


      Waaaah, This feels like how my dad jokes 😂 

    3. efaardvark
  6. One of the first season eps, "Doomsday Machine".  Written by Norman Spinrad iirc.... I think he and the director (whose name escapes me atm) got an award for it too.  :D


  7. Yet another pin.  Good thing I recently got a bigger display case!


  8. Working the launch tonight.  Got another pin for the collection, and a patch..


  9. Something tells me that the economic period following the zombie apocalypse might be a bit.. odd this time around.  :)  

    Pacman coin

  10. Gotta like the Major...


    1. Kreideprinz


      Always loved the relationship between the Major and Batou in SAC. 😆

      Their characters shared a rare intimacy that seems to be lacking these days. 

  11. LUCY

    Going to be a long "day" Friday night.  They've got me down to work from 9:45PM Friday to 11:45AM Saturday (local) for the LUCY launch.  Why are these things always o-dark hundred, or the weekend?


    1. Kreideprinz


      Tomorrow's the big "day". Good luck, as they say; no pressure! :D

  12. We had a lot more idle time back before computers and the ‘Net.  :D 



  13. So I finally escape my office today only to find firesky* outside.  No news of a brushfire that I can find, and we’ve had no wind to speak of.  No smoke smell either.  No idea what’s going on.  Just more weird weather sh..tuff I guess.


    *”firesky” is caused by a high-altitude layer of smoke, soot, or smog that turns the sky orange.  It usually is caused by a large-scale fire, such as a forest fire, somewhere nearby.

  14. I got 100%.  💩 💩


    1. Ohayotaku


      I have to concede defeat to you on this one, senpai. Had to google Butch Wax & didn’t have a Party Line (did grow up with a hard wired rotary phone that couldn’t be unplugged though)

  15. “Seems there’s still no cure for the common birthday.”

    (John Glenn, not me.)

  16. My Pangolin shipped!   :)


  17. “Earlier in the year, the Northwest experienced a historic heat wave, which set all-time temperature records and contributed to hundreds of deaths. This week's heat wave, focused instead on the Southwest, won't be as extraordinary, as wildfire smoke can block some of the hot sun, but it can still be dangerous.”

    IOW, the sun would have made it super hot, but it won’t get that bad because the smoke from the wildfires will block some of it.  Kind of a good news / bad news thing going on there.

    For the record, it was already over 90F on the patio here by 9:30am today.. and that’s on the shady side of the house!



  18. Alright, who's the asshole who turned gravity up today?

  19. “Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” vs “black flag sticker…”.  A bit weird to parse since caddys aren’t exactly the status symbol they once were but I guess the point is there’s sellouts in every generation.

  20. When Tesla's AI research is making people like Lex Fridman and James Douma laugh and shake their heads in amazement you know the company is onto something.
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