Devon Island Expedition

Devon Island Expedition
This blog features educational updates on my Devon Island Expedition of July 14-20, 2007. Other sites:,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Taking a Global View

India has launched a Lunar probe in recent days. Another Soyuz TMA spacecraft has safely landed on Earth (this time with no down-moding of the entry profile). The US is poised to launch a Shuttle in a few weeks. Together with many countries, we operate an International Space Station.

World economies are inextricably linked. Financial crisis spread instantly worldwide. The crash of 1929 affected really only the US. Not this time. Asian stock markets were down 10% overnight. Russia's stock market is down 70% from it's high in May. The US market is down around 40% from a year ago.

Technology has made instant communication possible, to almost any major population center around the globe. How many people do you know who don't have an iPhone or Blackberry? Or at least a cell phone?

Is there any doubt that we live in a time when one must take the global view? Along with that global view, we should look to engage rather than confront. Understanding of other cultures is critical. Learning to put yourself in the other's shoes. When I was in Russia right after their invasion of Georgia, it was interesting to see their point of view. In no way do I endorse or defend their military actions, but my experiences in Russia allowed me to understand.

Through understanding, my hope is that we can all make the world a better place. I'm not naive, if anything, I am a hardened realist. But, everyone should have hope and should strive to help make positive contributions.

Leroy Chiao

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lowell Thomas Award

Just last week, I was honored by the Explorers Club with a Lowell Thomas award. I was one of six honorees, including a hero from my childhood, Chuck Yeager. Chuck is 85 years old, but he is sharp and gets around easily. I found him a nice man during the few minutes that we spoke on stage. It really was neat to finally meet him.

Leroy Chiao

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Congratulations Space X!

A few days ago, Space X successfully launched a Falcon 1 rocket, boosting a dummy payload into Low Earth Orbit. Congratulations to the Space X team!

This was the fourth attempt. The first three ended in explosions with loss of vehicle and actual payloads. Space X has been learning that spaceflight is neither easy nor inexpensive. If Elon Musk is willing to continue to spend a lot of money, I am sure he will have more successes in the future with follow on rockets. But, he should expect more problems and more expenses.

This raises into question on how much cheaper he might be able to offer launch services. He also needs to build up a record of demonstrated reliability.

I wish Space X luck. We need more launchers out there to drive down costs!

Leroy Chiao