Crowdsourcing Mornings: Space Princess Maggie


Geek Alabama Crowdsourcing Mornings

This is Crowdsourcing Mornings! This post takes place every weekday morning and highlights one crowdsourcing project I liked from Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other crowdsourcing websites.

In 2012 they were inspired to write a book for their newborn daughter. He grew up fascinated with science-fiction and loved characters who were tough and smart- ready to pick up a blaster and lead the troops.  He didn’t want to write an educational book, he wanted to write an adventure. His hope is that this book will inspire you to put on a space helmet and explore the universe.

Space Princess Maggie is a collaborative publishing project using a combination of modern and classic printing and design techniques, with three versions of the book released simultaneously. The first edition will be a hand-bound hard back book printed using movable type on a 1914 Chandler & Price letterpress located at at Green Pea Press in Huntsville, Alabama. Other versions released at the same time will be a full-color graphic novel and ebook based off of a hand-colored first edition.

They have been working in print and animation for over twenty years. The majority of their career has been digital, but they wanted to work on a project that combined classic printing techniques with modern digital techniques.  They want to create a fun and whimsical book with the feel of an old classic adventure.  The design, illustration and writing for Space Princess Maggie is complete, so the campaign is to help fund the materials and labor for printing and binding the books. Once funded the hard work begins. It will take a few months to lay out all the type by hand, align the images, run the press, scan and clean the images for the digital book and finally ship everything, but the results will be a new universe in you hands.

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As of January 7th, this project has raised around $11,000 of their $7,000 goal. This project only has 15 days left to raise as much as it can! For a pledge of $5, you will get the full color ebook and black and white coloring book.  For a pledge of $25, you will get a full color graphic novel plus everything in the $5 pledge level.  To learn more and to pledge money, go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spaceprincess/space-princess-maggie

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Check Out This Alabama NASA Scientist On Good Morning America


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How about this!  Last week, TJ Holmes went to Huntsville and surprised Trent Griffin.  They got him early in the morning, blindfolded him, and took him to the US Space and Science Center for a special aerial art installation made for him.  Thousands of his family, friends, and community members helped to create the outline of a bicycle that could be seen from the sky.

Trent is a NASA physicist at the Marshall Space Flight Center.  And he was nominated by his sister Toni Eldridge as someone who’d gone above and beyond to help others.  Trent has helped to repair the bikes of other kids in the neighborhood.  But that’s not all, he also requires the kids to sign contracts that require them to have good behavior, to maintain their good grades, and to obey their parents.

In the video below, not only you see the special art installation, you also get to see Scott Kelly from the International Space Station appearing live with a special shout-out for Griffin.  Also, Mongoose and Schwinn donated 50 bikes, see the full story below!

Read the written story at: https://gma.yahoo.com/nasa-scientist-gets-surprise-thank-giving-back-kids-124653869.html

Here Are Five Trends Lifting Alabama’s Aerospace Industry Into An New Era


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UPDATE: This post is from Made In Alabama and Alabama NewsCenter.  Learn more at:  http://alabamanewscenter.com/

Alabama’s aerospace industry has already flown the moon with the Saturn V rocket. Now, it’s ready for a new set of missions that will keep this critical sector of Alabama’s economy soaring in revolutionary ways.

With aviation and aerospace officials from around the globe gathering at next week’s Paris Air Show, it’s time to take an in-depth look at how Alabama’s role in this critical sector continues to expand in an era of rapid technological advancement. A milestone, of course, is the beginning of aircraft assembly at Airbus’ new $600 million manufacturing center in Mobile.

But Airbus’ production launch this summer is just one of the significant developments under way in Alabama aerospace these days.

Check out these five trends lifting Alabama’s aerospace industry and building on a heritage in flight dates that back to when the Wright Brothers established their first civilian flight school in Montgomery more than a century ago.

3-D PRINTING

Alabama is at the center of the 3-D printing revolution that promises to transform the way aerospace and aviation components are manufactured.

NASA’s Alabama hub made this copper rocket part using 3-D printing.

Additive manufacturing, as the process is more commonly known in industrial circles, is the high-tech opposite of familiar techniques that involve taking a chunk of metal and machining it down to form a part. In the additive process, parts are formed by laying down successive layers of a powdery material. Often, these 3-D printed parts are cheaper and stronger.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has become a hub for the space agency’s additive manufacturing efforts. Engineers at the Huntsville facility this year 3-D printed a copper rocket part, while testing the limits of the technology in rocket engines.

Huntsville-based Dynetics and partner Aerojet Rocketdyne, meanwhile, are using additive manufacturing and other advances in an attempt to design, fabricate and test a new, cost-efficient U.S.-made rocket engine that is based on the famous F-1 engine that powered the Saturn V.

In Auburn, GE Aviation is making progress on a project that will see the company’s Alabama facility become the first to mass produce a part for jet propulsion system using additive manufacturing.

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

Auburn is launching an unmanned systems flight school this summer.

Alabama is playing a key role in ushering in a new age for aviation – the day of the drone. They’re more properly called unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or unmanned aerial systems (UAV), but whatever you call them, these craft are poised to make a splash with many commercial uses in the future.

Today, FAA rules place tight restrictions on the commercial use of unmanned systems, but the agency is working to change that with rules allowing more flights. To accelerate that process, it has set up a new UAS Center of Excellence that will be operated the Alliance for System Safety through Research Excellence (ASSURE).

The University of Alabama in Huntsville, which has conducting unmanned system operations for years, is a core member of the group.

In addition, Auburn University recently received permission to establish the first FAA-authorization to establish a flight school for commercial operators of unmanned systems.

“People see this as a growth industry,” said Bill Hutto, director of the Auburn University Aviation Center, which is establishing the flight school. “We see this as something that is going to be important statewide.”

EXPANSION ACTIVITY

This rendering shows the Boeing CASA lab in Huntsville.
This rendering shows the Boeing CASA lab in Huntsville.

Airbus is not the only big-name aerospace company that is investing in Alabama.

This summer, Airbus rival Boeing Co. will open a Research & Technology Center with 300 jobs in Huntsville that aims to advance the company’s technological foundation. In December, Boeing announced it had begun construction of an addition to its Alabama research center – 7,000 square feet of lab space called the Center for Applied Simulation and Analytics (CASA).

“Our goal is to bring the best and brightest in the support and analytics industry together in one location and give them all the tools they need to create the most effective simulations and analysis methods for validating new technologies,” said Steve Swaine, leader of the Boeing Alabama research center.

Lockheed Martin is another aerospace giant expanding in Alabama with a $55 million project that will add 240 employees to its Pike County workforce.

Altogether, aerospace and defense companies have invested $4 billion in Alabama during the past 10 years, with 27,000 announced jobs, according to Alabama Department of Commerce data. In 2014, the figures were $895 million in new investment and 3,500 announced jobs.

ROCKET CENTRAL

Long a national center for rocketry, North Alabama is stepping up its game in space hardware work.

Marshall is designing the propulsion system for the Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket ever built. The SLS is meant for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. To get there, it will require an advanced booster with more thrust than any U.S. liquid- and solid-fueled booster.

Huntsville’s Dynetics is among the Alabama companies involved in the effort.

In addition, the work Dynetics and Aerojet Rocketdyne is doing on the new rocket engine, called the AR 1, could see the engine’s final assembly take place in Decatur, according to the companies.

Meanwhile, the United Launch Alliance, which assembles Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles at its Decatur plant, is working to line up a new engine for its trusty Atlas V while also advancing a new rocket system called Vulcan.

CAPABILITIES

Obviously, it’s hard to downplay the significance of Airbus’ production launch in Alabama. This summer, Mobile will become one of only three locations in the U.S. where large passenger jets are assembled, the others being Boeing’s South Carolina and Washington state manufacturing hubs.

Airbus says it has hired 280 workers for its first U.S. manufacturing facility, with the number expected to rise to 1,000 as the Alabama ramps up to full production of four A320 Family aircraft per month. AIDT, which has established a training facility near the Airbus facility, says it has received more than 19,000 applications for Airbus positions since November 2013.

At the same time, it’s worth noting other developments going on in Alabama aerospace.

For one thing, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations continue to expand in the state. In South Alabama alone, there are more than 4,000 people working at MRO operations, according to the Wiregrass Economic Development Corp. One of those, Commercial Jet Inc. in Dothan, expects to reach 500 employees by 2017, four years after opening in Alabama.

Alabama’s aerospace sector also continues to benefit from new supply-chain players such as Pennsylvania-based Carpenter Technology Corp., which invested $518 million to open a state-of-the-art plant in Limestone County that produces ultra-premium alloys for clients in aerospace and other industries.

Huntsville Beats Out Silicon Valley For The Best Places For STEM Graduates


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Hey Silicon Valley, Huntsville just beat you again!  The website NerdWallet released a list of the top cities in America for STEM graduates.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and NerdWallet just listed Huntsville as the top city for STEM grads.  This is on top of NerdWallet naming Huntsville as the top city for engineers in America and the second best city in America for technology jobs.

NerdWallet analyzed the size of the STEM industry and the income from STEM jobs to determine their list.  Here is the top 10.

  1. Huntsville, AL
  2. San Jose, CA
  3. Boulder, CO
  4. Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Kennewick, WA
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Washington, D.C.
  9. Houston, TX
  10. Palm Bay, FL

Here is what NerdWallet said about Huntsville!

Known as Rocket City thanks to its history with space flights and the aerospace industry, Huntsville is the STEM heart of the South. The metro area’s first overall rank on this list is powered by its prominent STEM industry ­and high salary relative to a low cost of living. Huntsville, which also ranked highly in NerdWallet’s Best Places for Engineers and Best Places for Tech Jobs, is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Army Aviation and Missile Command and Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the world. The University of Alabama in Huntsville is also a major center for technology research — over half of the school’s graduates earn degrees in engineering or science.

See, NerdWallet sees the value of cheaper housing and rental prices you will find in the Huntsville Metro versus the San Francisco Metro.  Plus, the cost of living is much lower in Huntsville versus San Francisco.  It makes you wonder why more tech companies have not thought about moving to Huntsville?

Read the full story from NerdWallet at: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/cities/best-places-stem-grads-2015/

Weekend Planning: ChargerCon 2015 In Huntsville


Geek Alabama Weekend Planning

This weekend features a big gaming event in Huntsville.  ChargerCon 2015 is a gaming convention hosted at the University of Alabama-Huntsville that hosts several collegiate tournaments for League of Legends, Magic the Gathering, and Super Smash Bros. This convention was started by the students of UAH as a small LAN party back in 2007, and has since grown into the largest annual student-run event on campus. This year, the convention will be held in the new Charger Union, a building designed by students, for the students, at University of Alabama at Huntsville.

Here is video from a past ChargerCon.

ChargerCon is the premier gaming event in Alabama. The convention takes place starting March 13th at 6:30 pm and lasts through March 14th in the Charger Union at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Tournaments include League of Legends, Super Smash Bros., Magic: the Gathering, Super Street Fighter 4, and Guilty Gear Xrd.  Teams from area schools, and other groups will be there trying to be the champ!

So, if you want to enjoy games being played, then ChargerCon 2015 is for you!  The event takes place on March 13-14 at the Charger Union on the UAH campus in Huntsville.  Learn more at: http://new.chargercon.com/