Miles O'Brien

Reporting on space, science, aviation & tech.

Archive: Sep 2012

  1. The Shuttle Shokunin


    This is adapted from a speech I delivered at the 50th anniversary dinner of the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, September 22, 2012

    KSC is The NASA Center Where Stuff Gets Real – and so do the people. Where else in the world of rocket science will you find guys with ponytails, tattoos and t-shirts who ride Harleys and drink pitchers of beer at happy hour?

    I knew I loved this place when, about a dozen years ago I was with some workers in the OPF as they were putting in the main engines on Discovery. As they were turning the wrenches, one guy turns to the other and says, “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey – right?”

    Now that inspires a lot of confidence in our space program doesn’t it?

    Actually, “Righty-Tighty,” his compadres and his predecessors have done some pretty darned amazing things over the years.

    They have changed shuttle main engines on the pad to avoid a rollback. They have cut through the aft bulkhead to repair a leak. And they have flown through many holes in the clouds seen only by the legendary launch director Bob Sieck. (more…)