In 1960, a young NASA launched the first of twelve spacecraft on a small, general-purpose rocket called Delta. Cobbled together from the tested pieces of other, less dependable rockets, Delta was intended as a stopgap until more powerful vehicles could be developed.
Fifty years, dozens of upgrades, and more than 300 successes later, the Delta expendable launch vehicle remains the “magnificent little workhorse” of space. The satellites and space probes it has launched have revolutionized several industries and expanded the boundaries of science, and Delta II has set a high standard for launch vehicle reliability its record currently stands at 93 consecutive successes.
This site, the basis for a chapter in the NASA History Office book To Reach the High Frontier, provides:
When Michigan governor Kinsley S. Bingham signed Act 130 into law in 1855, establishing the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, he helped to ignite a spark that continues today as a bright torch of higher education.
The location chosen “for the teaching of scientific agriculture” was an undeveloped area of oak groves and tamarack swamps a few miles east of the state capitol in Lansing. Years of hard work — in both student labor and the political struggles of keeping the school intact — transformed the land into a splendid college campus. Soon, an adjacent college town arose and was chartered as the City of East Lansing.
Today, Michigan State University is the eighth-largest university in the United States by enrollment. East Lansing’s population numbers over 45,000, and it has expanded its role from mere faculty and student housing to become a cultural nexus for the mid-Michigan area.
This site comprises two separate but interconnected histories: a chronology of MSU’s early years, and a compendium of East Lansing’s significant structures, as determined by the city Historical Commission some twenty-five years ago.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
Quite possibly my all-time favourite book, I re-read it every few years and each time I get something more out of it. An investigation into the concepts of truth and quality, sprinkled with commentary on Western academia, it uses the metaphor of a motorcycle to explain logic and rational thought. Though the book uses the narrative framework of a cross-country trip, the motorcycle one is taught to maintain is not the piece of hardware on which the author rides: it is one’s own self. Here’s an odd book report.
More book reviews to come from the armchair.
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