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(Wired)   Peanuts, blackjack and public urination. Nope, not a Fark party, it's the things necessary for a safe launch into space   (wired.com) divider line 4
    More: Obvious, Baikonur Cosmodrome, blackjacks, Alan Shepard, web crawler, rocket booster, Yuri Gagarin, superstitions, space missions  
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1811 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Aug 2012 at 10:56 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-12 11:10:51 AM  
1 votes:

whooter: StoneColdAtheist: It was many hours between that steak-n-eggs and the first tube of Gerber's baby food after level-off. And not a little tradition.

Okay, that, was a cool story. Bro.


Thanks...and while I belong to several informal U-2 "clubs", I'm pleased to say that the "Strato-Shiaters Club" is not among them. ;^)

zato_ichi: StoneColdAtheist: Not entirely. When I qualified in the Deuce I was the 330th pilot to do so...yet in spite of all that preparation and training 33 men had died in the airplane. Not all of that was lack of 'making your own luck'.

I get where you are coming from. My point is if your mind is at ease from performing a ritual, or rubbing on some talisman, then your mind is centered on the task it needs to be focused on.


Fair enough. I always thought of the little rituals as equal parts process control and stress relief. You mentally click off pre-mission milestones by completing tasks in a certain prescribed order, with any deviation being like a mental splinter, serving to highlight that something was missed. This approach extended even to how one said things, like, "Ground Control, Piñon 51 engine start.", not "Ground Control, Piñon 51 starting engine." The example may seem trivial, but IIRC the actual checklist is titled, "Engine Start Checklist", and fanatical adherence to the exact language of checklists 'challenge & response' items helps reduce errors and ambiguities during high-stress inflight situations.

The 'useless little rituals' also reinforce the team element of a large, complex operation like a space launch. By having a serving of beans and cornbread, the launch team individual members are cementing their commitment to each other in a very primal and fundamental way. It's not so different to a paleo hunter who threw the killing spear ritually sharing the heart or liver of the beast with the other hunters. In so doing he acknowledges their critical support and communicates that next time it may well be he who has the supporting role.

We may be talking about flying in and near space, but at heart we are still hunter-gatherers in many ways.
2012-08-12 04:05:27 AM  
1 votes:

StoneColdAtheist: zato_ichi: Bondith: I really hope a collection of highly educated scientists and engineers doesn't put any stock in magical thinking.

Hey man, you make your own luck.

Not entirely. When I qualified in the Deuce I was the 330th pilot to do so...yet in spite of all that preparation and training 33 men had died in the airplane. Not all of that was lack of 'making your own luck'.

Neither was Challenger or Columbia. Not "all" of it.


I get where you are coming from. My point is if your mind is at ease from performing a ritual, or rubbing on some talisman, then your mind is centered on the task it needs to be focused on.
2012-08-12 12:15:10 AM  
1 votes:

zato_ichi: Bondith: I really hope a collection of highly educated scientists and engineers doesn't put any stock in magical thinking.

Hey man, you make your own luck.


Not entirely. When I qualified in the Deuce I was the 330th pilot to do so...yet in spite of all that preparation and training 33 men had died in the airplane. Not all of that was lack of 'making your own luck'.

Neither was Challenger or Columbia. Not "all" of it.
2012-08-11 11:33:52 PM  
1 votes:

Bondith: The peanut tradition started in the 1960s ...

*facepalm* Please tell me it's just a tradition and nobody actually believes the peanuts help the rocket get into space.


Of course it's just tradition. When I was flying the U-2 back in the late 80's my navigator (a Lt Col when I was just a Capt) used to bring a box of Dunkin' Donuts in for "planning day" ... the day before a high-altitude mission. The flight crew would eat the donuts while we briefed the mission. Then on mission day I would eat scrambled eggs and a T-bone steak after getting my pre-flight physical. And one cup of coffee. Plus two pieces of rye toast with real butter. And a glass of orange juice.

It was many hours between that steak-n-eggs and the first tube of Gerber's baby food after level-off. And not a little tradition.
 
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