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Earlier today I bit the bullet and deleted my LJ. I'd got everything backed up, and had tested a few communities and found I can still access icon creation journals without an LJ. Now I'm here on DW and have changed my layout design, but can't help feeling they're a bit meh compared to some of the really nice ones they had on LJ. I think this one is quite summery and very different from my previous layout, so hopefully I can keep this for a while and from all the new people coming to DW there will be someone who's a whizz at creating lovely layouts.

In other news I have watched The Night Manager all the way through twice since last weekend and would now like to watch Rev again, which I haven't seen for ages. And happy to report that Thomas Pesquet has landed safely back to Earth, meaning all the ESA class of 2009 (the Shenanigans) have now completed their first space missions.

Brit In Space

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 09:23 pm
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It's been a long day, and I've spent most of it sitting on the sofa in front of my laptop. I took the day off so I could follow today's Soyuz launch unencumbered by work. It's been amazing, it was such a perfect-looking launch, then a bit of unwanted drama with the docking having to be done manually, and then a long wait for the hatches to open. Luckily the live BBC coverage overstayed its time so we could see the crew enter the ISS.

There were two Stargazing Live special programmes on TV today, covering the launch and the hatch entry. Chris Hadfield was on both programmes alongside Dara O Briain and Professor Brian Cox, and Helen Sharman was also on the evening programme. Additionally, I listened to Ron Garan on a BBC Radio Five Live programme last night, and on Sunday I heard a BBC World Service documentary about the history of space stations which was narrated by Samantha Cristoforetti. There have been glimpses of other astronauts on the BBC TV coverage - biggest name was Alexei Leonov was on the morning programme with Helen Sharman, there was a clip of Tim Peake's training with his fellow ESA astronauts, and I saw Mike Fossum with the crew's families in Baikonur on the evening programme. The Stargazing Live specials came from the Science Museum which was full of schoolchildren, all waving flags and being fantastically noisy - counting down with the launch countdown, and cheering loudly when Tim Peake waved and gave a thumbs-up during ascent.

As always, I was waiting for this sight:

Expedition 46 Crew 15Dec15

It was very busy on Twitter too, lots of debate over whether Tim is the first British astronaut - he isn't, he's the first British person to go into space as a member of the astronaut corps attached to Britain. Helen Sharman, the first Brit in space, went as part of a privately-funded venture, and in the intervening time there have been three NASA astronauts with joint US/UK citizenship, and two spaceflight participants with joint UK/other nation citizenship. It's a great question to ask on QI.

This crew is scheduled to be onboard until June next year, so there will be lots of opportunity to follow along. It will be so cool.

Spacey Leicester

Saturday, December 12th, 2015 07:00 pm
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It's a few weeks since my visit to the National Space Centre in Leicester, and since I'll probably be writing here about Tim Peake's launch and Christmas, I thought I ought to get typing about this.

I finally went )
I also spent some time getting lost in Leicester City Centre, it must be ten years or more since I was last there and it has some new shiny shops, including one selling American Candy where I just about managed to get more JellyBellys in my bag to purchase than I scattered on the floor. I had wanted to go into WHSmiths to buy some Christmas cards and a 2016 diary, but I didn't pass one.

Poem: Blue

Thursday, November 18th, 2010 10:35 pm
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You may have seen this already on Twitter - a poem has been written to accompany a now-classic picture of Tracy Caldwell Dyson looking at the Earth from the cupola of the International Space Station.

View the full-size version here, thankfully not huge

If I were still of an age to have posters on my bedroom wall, I would totally want this. I can imagine, in years to come, astronauts saying they remember seeing this picture as children and thinking 'that could be me one day'. How awesome would that be? And I want to nominate the photo as the iconic image of 2010.

Autumn Tree

Monday, November 1st, 2010 07:27 pm
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Day 305 Took my car in for its MOT & service today, which it passed. The place I go to is a couple of miles from work, so I drop it off and then walk up to work, which is a pain cos the last bit is uphill and because I'm not used to it I'm sweaty and yeuch for the rest of the day. But I did see some nice autumn trees, including this one, which was near the dealership:

Autumn Tree

Twitter is making me sad. Quite apart from feeling like I'm the only space person on Earth who isn't gathering for the (delayed) tweetup in Florida (all the Space Tweeps tweeting 'OMG I met this astronaut, that astronaut, OMG it's Camilla/Nicole/Ron/Swanny' etc), all the vitriol that's been fired at Stephen Fry is making my angry and worried. Angry, cos it's from people who ought to know better (and newspapers who ought to have an understanding of the Disability Discrimination Act maybe) and worried because this has been a big year for Stephen Fry, and perhaps not all good. I hope he is surrounded well by people who care for him. I don't mind not hearing from him on Twitter but I would like to believe he's happy, which I'm not convinced is the case right now.

Space Tweep Society

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 06:42 pm
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Day 159 My Space Tweep Society patches arrived today:

Space Tweep Society

I've been a member of the Space Tweep Society for a while now, you may have also seen this little chap on my Twitter icon. His name is Meco, named after the spaceflight acronym Main Engine Cut-Off. He's so cute.