Today marks the anniversary of the first and only orbital mission of the Buran, the Soviet Union’s only shuttle program. This flight was unmanned. Haven’t heard of the Buran? Neither had I until I visited the Speyer Technik Museum just outside of Frankfurt, Germany as part of the social activities of the European Space Agency’s first SpaceTweetup a few months ago. In 1988 I was working at Space Division at a US Air Force base and I still had not heard of this program. I guess I was focused on data and process models to much.
During the visit we were able to climb up to view the payload area and some of the crew areas. I’m betting that the general public won’t get this sort of access to the US Space Shuttle orbiters once they are delivered to their museum homes next year.
The only orbital launch of Buran occurred at 3:00 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 110/37. It was lifted into orbit unmanned by the specially designed Energia rocket, which to this day remains the heaviest rocket running on liquid fuel. Unlike the Space Shuttle, which is propelled by a combination of solid boosters and the Shuttle’s own liquid-fuel engines sourcing fuel from a large fuel tank, the Energia-Buran system used only thrust from the rocket’s four RD liquid-fuel engines developed by Valentin Glushko. From the very beginning Buran was intended to be used in both fully automatic and manual mode. Although the program accumulated a several-years delay, Buran remained the only space shuttle to ever perform an unmanned flight in fully automatic mode until 22 April 2010 when the US Air Force launched its Boeing X-37 spaceplane. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed. After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two revolutions around the Earth, ODU (engine control system) engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere. Exactly 206 minutes into the mission, the Buran orbiter landed, having lost only five of its 38,000 thermal tiles over the course of the flight. The automated landing took place on a runway at Baikonur Cosmodrome where, despite a lateral wind speed of 61.2 kilometres per hour (38.0 mph), it landed only 3 metres (9.8 ft) laterally and 10 metres (33 ft) longitudinally from the target mark. The unmanned flight was the first time that a spacecraft of this size and complexity had been launched, completed maneuvers in orbit, re-entered the atmosphere, and landed under automatic guidance.
Wikipedia contributors, "Buran (spacecraft)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Buran_(spacecraft)&oldid=459715789 (accessed November 15, 2011).
The Buran program was the Soviet Union’s response to the NASA Space Shuttle program. Once the cold war came to an end, the Buran program was ended in 1993. No manned space flights of the Buran happened. Now both programs are over and we are back to non-reusable vehicles to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
Watch the video of the Buran being delivered to the Speyer Technik (German)
As we left the exhibit, I wondered what a joint shuttle program with more space agencies co-operating might have been.
I had the honour of judging the Canada’s Smarted and Canada’s Greenest IT awards along with James Alexander, CEO of the Quest for Canada’s Smartest IT (@JamesFAlexander) and Shirley Blayney, General Business Solutions Manager at IBM. There were some fabulous nominations. I was happy to see how Canadian organizations are providing advanced business solutions while taking care of the planet.
What are the awards?
The Quest for Canada’s Smartest IT is a competition that recognizes Canadian companies using technology to help their business, the environment and their communities. 2011 marks the second year of our wildly successful competition.
There are three categories of awards which you are eligible to apply for:
- Smartest IT rewards companies using IT in innovative ways to help their business and/or their community.
- Greenest IT recognizes companies using technology to help the environment, enhance sustainability, or demonstrate social responsibility.
- Wow Story is a wild card award that honours the best “story” that we hear over the course of the nominations process. We encourage you to tell us your story today – what is business-as-usual to you, to your peers may well be an eye-opening way of using IT.
The awards ceremony will be held Thursday, 17 November in Toronto. I will be presenting the Canada’s Smartest IT Award.
You can register now and participate in celebrating Smart IT/Green IT at no charge. There is a door charge if you can’t register in advance.
I had a fabulous time meeting DAMA Members in the US Midwest over the last couple of weeks. I was worried most about making all these flights, but they all worked out well. These DAMA Speaking Tours are something I look forward to every year. If you are interested in booking one, contact chapters in your general area and propose some dates.
I’m moderating a panel on BI, Data Governance and Data Modeling using Embarcadero ER/Studio on 16 November 2011, at noon EST.
- Kevin Phelps – Data Architect, American Century Investments, Inc.,
- Chris Bradley, Business Consulting Director, Information Processing Limited
- Jason Tiret – Director of Modeling and Architecture Solutions, Embarcadero Technologies
In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:
- Increase visibility and buy-in with business users
- Ensure smooth compliance with changing data privacy regulations
- Enable data stewards to meet requirements strategically
What makes this even more interesting is that audience members, like you, will have a chance to submit questions beforehand and during the event.
Details of the event:
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
9 a.m. Pacific, noon Eastern and 5 p.m. in the UK
When you register you’ll be asked to submit your questions. Please do so. We love having questions from YOU!
I’m deeming the hashtag for this event to be #DMExperts I will try to take Tweeted questions, too.
This month’s Meme Monday assignment by Tom LaRock (@sqlrockstar | blog) is to write about the SQL Server community (#SQLFamily) and what it means to us. I’ve been blogging and Tweeting about my experiences as part of this community for a while and I sometimes get questions from those outside the SQL Server world about why I keep putting "SQL" in front of everything. It’s hard for me to explain because most of the time I don’t really mean SQL Server, but the SQL Server community people who have done so much for others and me. There have been some amazing posts so far in this meme Monday. I’d love to see 100 blog posts about this topic. Tell us what the #SQLFamily means to you. If you don’t have a blog, this would be a great time to start one or you can send me your thoughts and I’ll guest blog them here. Yes, there is still plenty of time.
I blogged recently about #SQLRun, a group of family members who ran the Portland Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k and raised a cloud of money for charities. This reminded me of one of my favourite quotes:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
The SQL Server community isn’t just about having people offer up spare rooms, parking spots, or sofas for when I travel, helping each other out, or agreeing to sign a legal document for each other. The strength in our community is that we are working together to make the world a better place, often about data and databases, but sometimes about helping people get back to work or helping out with serious real-life problems. We don’t always agree on some of the things we are each trying to change (nulls aren’t evil, really), but we fight them out on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, then head to an after party, hangout, or SQLSaturday to show support for each other when it is needed.
I’ve seen many instances of #SQLFamily changing the world:
- Like many IT organizations, PASS has a Women in IT chapter and program. I’m hoping the work we do there is making a difference in society, even if it causes only one person to go home and talk to their daughter about taking more math and science classes in school.
- I’ve seen ad hoc groups of #SQLFamily people get together to volunteer locally, to collect supplies for the less advantaged and to raise money for charities. Not huge things, but something that makes a difference. I hope to see more that at future PASS events.
- I have discussions and debates with other family members about balancing data quality with system performance, but that’s what the world needs. We need passionate people to figure out together the right balance.
- I’m always happy to see people muster up a series of job interviews for SQL Family members who are looking for a new project.
- I love the discussions about how to manage work-life balance, especially since this is a problem that impacts women staying in IT jobs.
- I’m thrilled when I see personal offerings of encouragement, even when we don’t know what else to do. In my #SQLRUN blog post I wrote about our Scream Team of real-life and virtual encouragers. There is a lesson there (and another blog post to come).
- Thousands of community members spend time blogging wonderful information about what they know. This sort of giving is something I don’t see as much of in other communities. Sadly, this is especially true in the data management professional community.
So many people blog on a regular basis, hoping to influence others to think harder about providing better data to the world. That touches me, even if it’s a post about data models, indexes, keys, normalization or virtualization. When someone takes the time to put their thoughts down in writing so that others can benefit, I see the power of this community. My tagline is "Love Your Data" because I want to influence the IT community to think beyond code and table structures. However, I need to be influenced just as much about the operational side of databases so that data can be available and reliably accessed. Having said that, some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned came from people in the community talking about collaboration, professional development, human dynamics and other "softer" subjects. All of this because virtually everyone in the community wants to make everyone else successful. That’s amazing stuff.
That’s when I realized we in the #SQLFamily aren’t just about databases. We are passionate about changing the world for the better.
That’s what #SQLFamily means to me.
I’ll be presenting Model Driven Database Design on Saturday, 5 November at the SQL Saturday Washington DC. Which is being held in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Yes, I know this is the greater DC area. Last year it was held in Reston, Virginia. But these data things drive data architects crazy. That’s why you really don’t want to live with a data architect. Ever.
Anyway, I’ll be presenting a brand new presentation that covers:
Model-Driven Database Design
Model-Driven Database Development: Myths, Magic and Methods. In this presentation, Karen discusses data model-driven database development from the point of view of the Data Architect, the DBA, and the Developer. She will cover topics such as "Who does what?", "Why are we doing this?", "Do I have to Use a GUI?" and "Just who do you think you are?". Finally, 10 tips for making model-driven database development successful in your organization’s culture and environment.
Session Level: Beginner
Karen López is Sr. Project Manager and Architect at InfoAdvisors, Inc. Karen is a frequent speaker at conferences and user groups. She has 20+ years of experience in project and data management on large, multi-project programs. Karen specializes in the practical application of data management principles. Karen is also the ListMistress and moderator of the InfoAdvisors Discussion Groups at www.infoadvisors.com.
I’m up against some fairly big name speakers, so I’m really hoping to see you in my session. Both of us can have a great time talking about data models. See you there.
On day 2 of the PASS Summit, I had a supporting role in Lara Rubbelke’s ( @SQLGal ) keynote demonstration of new features of SQL Server 2012. Lara is a Principal Program Manager for Microsoft. She demoed the new Column Store features and Data Quality Services that will be available in SQL Server 2012.
There’s my avatar next to a comment I made about slow reports and data quality:
SQLClippy ( @SQLClippy ) also had a role:
And in case you missed the faux comments from attendees at SQLPASS:
I think you can see that Lara picked the snarkiest of PASS members, don’t you? Love that she said that I’d comment on the database design.
What was the data problem she was showing? Location data that left some businesses underwater:
You can watch the entire keynote at http://www.sqlpass.org/summit/2011/Live/LiveStreaming/LiveStreamingThursday.aspx (registration required). I recommend downloading instead of live streaming, as that gives you the ability to rewind/fast forward during the video. Data Quality Services starts at about 38 minutes into the video.
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