Friday, June 28, 2013

Three Years

I spent three years of my professional life with the development and testing of the Ares-I J-2X thrust vector control system. My team designed and built the most sophisticated test stand ever attempted. It was a full kinematic, geometric, and electrical simulator of an Ares-I upper stage in flight.

As much as this was a technical achievement, it was a growing experience for me to lead such a wonderful team of professionals. It was this experience that made me think that, perhaps, I'm not half bad at this.

I am in the middle of another, similar project. Oh, the technology is different. The people are different, and present a whole list of different challenges.

We haven't quite replicated the lightning in a bottle that the TVC project had, but we are doing reasonably well - incredibly well from a project standpoint.

But I'm going to need a break after this, too. I pour so much of myself into such projects that I get tired. Tired of the stress, tired from trying to please and not disappoint.

It reminds me of that walleyball tournament my tribe entered. My team was undermanned and over-aged. We just wanted the game to end. But we couldn't not try, and we were able to get off the court quicker by just winning. Then, of course, we'd have another game to play. Each time, it was easier to just win quickly. At the end of the tournament, we got nothing for our trouble other than exhaustion.

I will be profoundly disappointed if there's nothing at the end of this project except an attaboy and another project.

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