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NASA Science

Programmer For Endeavor Now Crew On Final Flight 68

Posted by timothy
from the geek-makes-good dept.
Lucas123 writes "Greg Chamitoff, a computer programmer who wrote software for NASA's Endeavour spacecraft, will be blasting off on shuttle's final 15-day flight as a mission specialist on Friday. Chamitoff, who created software focused on spacecraft analysis and maneuver optimization, will operate the space station's robotic arm, and he'll also take part in two spacewalks."
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Programmer For Endeavor Now Crew On Final Flight

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  • Damn fool (Score:5, Funny)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 28, 2011 @03:44PM (#35968498)

    Hasn't he seen a single science fiction movie?!?!? He'll be the comic-relief nerdy guy on the crew, who the pretty astronaut just regards as a friend, who gets killed about two-thirds the way through the mission--after providing a few laughs and some expertise in getting the escape shuttle at the abandoned space station online. No way is he going to make it to the sequel mission.

    • by gman003 (1693318)
      Plus, it's the shuttle's last flight. As everyone knows, anybody who is about to retire, especially those on their very last day, will inevitably die tragically.

      Normally, that only applies to people, but I think under these circumstances we could extend the trope to vessels.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        God help any older crew member who talks about how much he misses his kids and tells his daughter on the uplink that daddy will be home soon.

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        Sorry to say, this one gave me a little "ugh" -- you are, after all, talking about the space shuttle.

      • by sjames (1099)

        That depends, if someone else can remind him that he's not getting too old for this shit, he might be OK.

    • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @04:00PM (#35968754) Homepage

      From the greatest non-trek trek movie [imdb.com]:

      [the crew is on a shuttle descending to an alien planet]
      Guy Fleegman: I changed my mind. I wanna go back.
      Sir Alexander Dane: After the fuss you made about getting left behind?
      Guy Fleegman: Yeah, but that's when I thought I was the crewman that stays on the ship, and something is up there, and it kills me. But now I'm thinking I'm the guy who gets killed by some monster five minutes after we land on the planet.
      Jason Nesmith: You're not gonna die on the planet, Guy.
      Guy Fleegman: I'm not? Then what's my last name?
      Jason Nesmith: It's, uh, uh - -I don't know.
      Guy Fleegman: Nobody knows. Do you know why? Because my character isn't important enough for a last name, because I'm gonna die five minutes in.
      Gwen DeMarco: Guy, you have a last name.
      Guy Fleegman: DO I? DO I? For all you know, I'm "Crewman Number Six"! Mommy... mommy...
      Sir Alexander Dane: Are we there yet?

    • This is his second flight... he would be a better plot device if it were his rookie mission.

      • Uh oh. That means he has to be the "brash veteran astronaut who takes too many chances". At least it also means he gets laid.
    • maybe they'll give him a red shirt [wikipedia.org] to wear.
    • Or it could be one of those freaky "no longer human" situations. Maybe the mission will encounter an alien craft that just happens to be exploring our solar system during the last flight of Endeavor. Then Chamitoff will heroically volunteer to merge with the aliens to create a new hybrid life form, and he/it will go off to colonize a new planet. Sweeping orchestral music will play, as the crew of Endeavor looks on fondly.

      Then they will realize that only Chamitoff had the login password for the compute
    • Hasn't he seen a single science fiction movie?!?!?

      Oh, he has! The problem is, he actually thinks some Evil Martian type will put a gun to his head and tell him to implement a quicksort all while a pretty green alien female massages one of his lower extremities with what looks suspiciously like a mouth appendage.

    • Well, in Red Planet, it was the "space janitor" (a mechanical engineer) the one that made it to the end of the movie. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0199753/ [imdb.com]
    • by z917183 (1433107)
      Whatever happens, refuse the Red shirt! And the Gold shirt! In fact, you'd better just stick to a white shirt even if it does show spaghetti sauce. :o
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When my boss makes me trek in on the weekend.

    • by icebike (68054)

      Actually, he should have been on the first flight - sort of a quality of deliverables incentive.

  • by bcmm (768152)
    Just the "giant robot arm" bit would make this any geek's dream...
  • by TheJodster (212554) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @03:51PM (#35968602) Homepage

    I've been a controls programmer for fifteen years and this guy gets to write control software for a freaking space shuttle. As if that's not enough glory already, now he gets to fly in it and space walk! Lucky bastard! I hate you! Next month he'll probably win the lottery too.

  • Wow. I had seriously written off ever getting off this rock because only hands-on science specialists ever get the seats, no matter who it is. As people in arguably the world's most remotable profession, I assumed we were doomed.
  • Just goes to show (Score:5, Informative)

    by webbiedave (1631473) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @04:13PM (#35968940)
    You don't need a CS degree to reach the highest of career levels.

    Seriously though, this isn't his first time in space. He's an experienced astronaut who was on the International Space Station for half a year and has multiple high level degrees in engineering, astronautics and planetary geology. He's a recipient of the esteemed Silver Snoopy Award and is literally a friggin' Eagle Scout.

    Godspeed!
  • by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @04:25PM (#35969074)
    They'll pull him off the flight at the last minute and send an H1B in his place. NASA will save a lot of money that way.
  • nice red shirt for you to wear...

  • by StikyPad (445176)

    Chamitoff...created software focused on spacecraft analysis and maneuver optimization.

    Now that's guts, standing behind your work like that. Or crazy. One of those things. Maybe both.

  • Title is incorrect (Score:4, Informative)

    by ModernGeek (601932) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @05:00PM (#35969518) Homepage
    It's Endeavour, not Endeavor.
  • ... "Could I have tested that last build just a little bit more thoroughly before release?"

  • by s7uar7 (746699) on Thursday April 28, 2011 @06:55PM (#35970454) Homepage
    He's not some Joe Schmoe programmer who happened to get lucky with his choice of job, he has a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics and has worked with NASA for virtually his entire career.
  • The ultimate boondoggle?

    Hey Greg...

    Your Welcome,
    the taxpayer

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is great. I had Greg as a lecturer when I was at Sydney University in the mid 90s. He's a great guy and really enjoyed his lectures on flight mechanics. He came back a few years ago and shared with us some of his experiences with the astronaught training program.By the way, he's not a random programmer. He's an aeronautics PhD and a few other degrees to boot.

  • Its difficult to find someone barley young enough to fly into space AND be able to bit bang a i386sx like a champ

  • Make the code monkey do a ride-along!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't want to downplay the guys work, but after reading his bio, I don't think he actually wrote any of the software used onboard the space shuttle AP101/S computers in HAL/S language. I think his code runs in the FCRs (Flight Control Rooms). It may also run on laptops taken onboard or on the space station, but not on the shuttle. My code runs on all three systems - shuttle, MCCs, and space station.

    I worked writing GN&C code for the shuttles for 5 yrs and for the mission control centers around the

  • Am I the only one flashing back on http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120029/ [imdb.com] ?
  • Greg "The Easter Egg" Chamitoff?

Always draw your curves, then plot your reading.

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