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Dr. Ronald Hodges is an engineer at NASA's Johnson Space Center, in Houston, in the 1990s. As the former college roommate of Hubert Givens, the high school science teacher summons him to talk about the space program to his class. With a digression regarding the divergent paths of the two old friends, Dr. Hodges wants to focus on NASA's plans beyond the Space Shuttle, such as the first manned mission to Mars. He speaks of overcoming launch costs, to which Sheldon suggests landing the booster rockets instead of letting them plummet to the ocean. Laughing, he finds his idea for VTVL technology to be cute and technically implausible, even pointing out the complicated math with which Sheldon states he could probably help. Then, Dr. Hodges condescendingly hands him a NASA patch for his mother to sew on his book bag, in an effort to quiet the young man. His dismissal of Sheldon causes the young prodigy to fixate on proving him wrong and follow his future career path.

Sheldon thinks about the optimal height-to-width ratio for a reusable rocket and performs hyperbolic calculations for a rocket return, but he wants a computer to model the Navier-Stokes equations and access to the thrust-to-weight ratios from the FTP server at JSC. After tending to an induced ulcer and finishing his research, he patiently awaits Hodge's response, but to no avail. Once the little boy arrives at Dr. Hodge's Houston office and an intrusion of a disgruntled George Cooper past secretary Janice, Sheldon shows him that, at near apogee, the engine is gimballed to exert a torque that executes a pitchover maneuver to flip the rocket by 180 degrees. He further describes that a P.I.D. controller is utilized to minimize the dispersions to the landing site. Dr. Hodges is forced to admit that the work is groundbreaking, yet the technology lags behind his mathematics. (A Patch, a Modem, and a Zantac)

Trivia[]

  • His actor, Jason Kravits, played Danny Jacobs, a man working for the competitor of the company Bernadette is working for.

Gallery[]

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