My code has been used by NASA…

Now this is straight out of the "How cool is that?" file. 🙂

Last week, I got an email asking a question about adapting the Print Multiple Worksheets to a PDF article that I have on my site so that it would print only the selected worksheets (instead of all of them.) At the time I remarked to my wife that it came form a email address, and that I thought it was pretty cool that someone from NASA was browsing my site. I sent back a code suggestion, and received the following reply from him:

Hey Ken,

There was definitely no way that I would have been able to do this without your code, so thanks a million, we appreciate it.

The guy who usually writes our macros is going to integrate this into our existing tools so that you can input your own path for file saving and this routine should become an integral part of our group's (Electrical Power Systems for the International Space Station) existing tools. So, you're a part of NASA now!!!

Again, thanks a million for the code.

J Yimin
ISS Power Systems
Power Resource Office

To say "wow" is about the understatement of my life, I think. I worked on this code to create a redistributable package of financial statements that I knew would always come out looking exactly the same, no matter who printed them. I put it on my site because there were no examples available on the internet, and I could see the great potential that this would have for other users. Never in a million years though, would I have expected some of my work to be used in the International Space Station project.

After being speechless for a day, I finally emailed Mr Yimin back, asking if I could use the above as a testimonial on my site. He graciously agreed, and also shared a bit more of how they are using the code in their work.

Mr Yimin is in the team of Power Resource Officers (PROs) Flight Controllers, who create a wide array of analysis that pertains to the power channels on the International Space Station. It's a pretty important job, as without this work, no one would know how much power is available for the upcoming weeks. (I can't even begin to think of just how many things must have to be monitored to keep the station running and safe, but I don't think it takes too much thought to realize that running out of power could have some catastrophic results.)

The team has created a tool that takes their analysis info and puts it all into excel. This has allowed them to chart their information, making it much more readable when reported to the entire team of flight controllers. The tool is essentially a one touch button that completely automates the process from start to finish. One stumbling block for them, however, was that they had no way to easily put it into a static report, so the PROs had been exporting the excel charts to GIF files. Needless to say, these didn't scale well and could become difficult to read.

They are now using a modified version of my code to automate the process of printing all of their chart sheets to PDF files, getting their reports out in better detail, and little hassle.

So I've been telling everyone at work now... "See! It really IS rocket science!" 🙂



8 thoughts on “My code has been used by NASA…

  1. Cool. Next time some language snob laughs at our 'toy' development tools, we'll be able to tell them that the International Space Station is powered by VBA.

    Did you need to get military export clearance from the Canadian Govt? 😉

    When my daughter was born six and a half years ago, I casually mentioned it on the EXCEL-L mailing list. As a result, I got a congratulatory email from no less than the Population Division at the United Nations Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs!

  2. Ken,

    Really nice to read 🙂

    Next time when NASA will face some issues with a launch l will suspect that it's due to the use of Excel 😉

    Rob - Aren't You too old to play around with 'toys'?

    Take care everyone,

  3. Ken,

    Way to going man!! That's a great achievement. And definitely gives you bragging rights 😉

    Now I can say "I know a guy whose VBA code is used by NASA" and that may not be as cool as what you get to say ;), but it's, actually, still pretty cool to be able to say! 🙂

    Take care,

  4. Congratulations Ken !
    I (norwegian guy) wrote some code for a man in the canadian department of finance some years ago, so I can relate to the good feeling. Nasa is even cooler though 🙂

  5. Great stuff Ken.

    What would be even better is that they hire you to do some actual work for them!

    One of my most important customers is one of the US fortune top 50 companies as a result of them using my (and Charles William's) Name Manager and finding it such a great tool. My page on corrup Excel files also convinced them to contact me.

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