Recently the media talked about the re-entry of the UARS satellite. They made a lot of noise about it hitting someone, where it would land, how much the parts would weigh etc. In the days of a media that is looking for a quick story they really missed the point. UARS was one of the most important satellites in recent history. It helped us understand the hole in the ozone, global warming and much more. A friend recently emailed me about this. He was one of the engineers responsible for building UARS and here, unedited, is what he had to say.
“I’m kinda sad that no media outlets are even considering the spacecraft’s
accomplishments, just a crash. Just think, scientific input on ozone
depletion that led to worldwide policies that reversed that trend, a S/C BUS
made up of reused parts from previous missions including the first/only
module returned from space then sent back up (SolarMaxACS), the first just
build/test/launch carefully and correctly all-eggs-in-one-basket mission
which led to all other EOSs, and first comprehensive study of the chemistry,
dynamics and energy of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Jeeze!”
This is exactly why SimNASA is needed. People need to look deeper than at the surface of what NASA does and understand just how important the work is, for us and the future. Hopefully some of you reading this will now understand that there is much more than meets the eye at operating and building satellites. There are many thoughtful, and motivated people you will meet and that is just part of the journey you will take when you go into a challenging and interesting career that lets you meet interesting intelligent people, and also does something positive for mankind.