New Shepard Flight 4

New Shepard Flight 4 Landing
New Shepard lands for the fourth time (image © Blue Origin)

Very nice to see Blue Origin join the club with a very nice live webcast of the fourth flight of the same New Shepard rocket and capsule. The combination of the double sonic boom and the incredible speed at which the booster comes down always impresses me. This flight also proved that the capsule could land safely if one parachute fails to open, as planned — Blue Origin seems to be advancing steadily towards human qualification for its rocket and capsule.

I find it amazing that we live in a time where not one, but (at least) two companies are now actively working on landing rockets after their missions. And even though New Shepard’s flight profile is much easier on the rocket than Falcon 9’s, it’s pretty great to see the same hardware fly four times!

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Work & Passion

For the past three years I’ve found myself incredibly lucky: for the first time, I’m happy to go to classes because what I’m learning, what I do for coursework is a passion of mine. I like programming, I love learning about computer architecture, I enjoy cryptography (nerd).

I’ve always thought that it could be the best thing to happen to anyone. Not worrying about going to work everyday, because you know you’re going to love it. Of course, it can only a blessing, right?

Not quite. Because when your work (or in my case, your degree) is your passion, it becomes very easy to skip boundaries. When I come home after spending ten hours on programming coursework, I cook dinner, watch a TV Show, and then do some more programming. Because I love it. Maybe it’s a function I couldn’t quite figure out earlier in the day, maybe it’s some other piece of coursework for which I just thought of a solution. The thing is, I never stop. That was a great thing last year, when it let me finish my coursework early and gave me margin to polish things. It was great last semester when I finished a networking paper early and had time for the rest of my coursework.

The problem is, I never stop. I’ve spent all day, every weekday at University this semester. Not because I had to, but because I didn’t mind. Because I love it, work doesn’t feel like work, so I don’t stop. I’ll just keep on going, not realising that it’s eating at me slowly. Except when deadline time came around, I was burnt out. Without warning, I’d reached a point where I couldn’t work anymore, because my brain had just given up, and I had not time left to rest. I’ve spent the past five weeks working all day, seven days a week and yet I feel like I’ve barely made progress.

I’ll be fine. Deadlines are almost over, I survived and I’ll submit everything in time, but I’m drained. I’m completely burnt out (figuratively — I don’t know if the medical term applies). I still love computing, but I feel like I could sleep for a month straight and I’d still wake up tired.

That wall of text feels like whining, and it might not be useful to many. But if it can help one person I’ll be happy. If you love your job, if your degree is your passion, be careful to not ruin it. Because even if it doesn’t feel like work, it is. So while you still have time for it, take a break. Play a game, go for a walk, learn to play an instrument. Don’t wait until you don’t have time for rest to realise you need it badly.

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SpaceX Wallpapers

SpaceX ASDS - Of Course I Still Love You

A simple wallpaper set I made from the design painted on the decks of SpaceX’s Autonous Spaceport Droneships. I made a version for each of the ships, Of Course I Still Love You (used for launches out of Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center) and Just Read The Instructions (used for launches out of Vandenberg).

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Rocket, Meet Boat

Falcon 9 coming in Images in public domain, by SpaceX

I was crossing all ten fingers yesterday night when the first stage of Falcon 9 came into view. By the time it touched down and the engine turned off, I was jumping on the spot (and maybe crying a little). I’d missed their first landing in December, and that tall, skinny stage aiming for an autonomous barge just looks straight out of Science Fiction. I think what’s most impressive about this launch and landing is that SpaceX made it look effort-less, which it definitely can’t have been. Congratulations to every person that spent months making it work!

Falcon 9, on a boat

According to Elon Musk during the press conference after the launch (and landing), this stage will be test-fired around ten times. If that goes well, then it’ll go through qualification to hopefully fly on a new orbital mission in June. Reusability is not a done deal yet, but yesterday’s landing felt like a historic moment.

Watch the replay of the launch, and the landing in 4K resolution

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