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Archive for the ‘space’ Category

Still After the Shuttle


Seattle’s Museum of Flight missed out on getting a space shuttle but their board hasn’t given up on trying. They’ve met with NASA to point out flaws in the data regarding tourist attendance numbers used to determine which cities would get one of the coveted, retired spacecraft. NASA is of course standing firm on its decision to place shuttles in Los Angeles and New York City, along with the obvious winners Washington D.C. and Kennedy Space Center in Florida. New York’s Intrepid Museum has already changed its plans for displaying the shuttle and may take a few years to raise the funds and build a suitable structure. The Seattle folks would love to take a shuttle even temporarily while permanent homes are built. The Museum of Flight is already spending $11.6 million on a new Space Gallery which was hoped to house a shuttle but will display a full-scale shuttle trainer instead.

Posted in space

Space Oddity the illustrated version


Andrew Kolb decided to illustrate David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and put it into children’s book format. The PDF is freely downloadable from his site (unless some lawyers get to it). The people he put in the control room are nicely diverse in sex and race. But with the bleak ending of the song you might not want to show this to any young kids. (Thanks Robert!)

Posted in craft,culture,space

Space Shuttle


A while ago I realized that if I wanted to see a space shuttle take off in person I had better do some planning. I kept an eye on the mission dates which never seemed to be convenient and thought about the NASA Tweetups which didn’t work because of the age restriction (I wanted to share the entire experience with my son). All of a sudden NASA was down to only two more shuttle missions and we had a school break coming up. I pushed through my pessimistic thinking that we’d never get flights or a place to stay, and my friend Clare and I managed to drag our sons, rather last minute, onto airplanes and into a lovely condo we found on Cocoa Beach. It seemed that everyone else was also there for the launch. We watched the preparations on NASA-TV and then ran onto the beach and saw the amazingly bright plume of STS-133 head up into the clouds, followed much later by the rumbling roar. It was lovely. The next day we went over to Kennedy Space Center, took the bus tour, and rode in the shuttle take-off simulator. We got up close to the crawler that transports the shuttles to the launchpad. It was crunching along the gravel road on its way back to the pad and the bus driver stopped so we could get a good look. I couldn’t believe the size of the Vehicle Assembly Building. Our tour guide pointed out an alligator and a bald eagle’s nest. Everything seemed bigger than life. Years from now I don’t know if my son will remember that he saw the space shuttle take off when he was six, but he can tell his friends he was there. And if all he remembers is that his obsessed mom dragged him all the way from one corner of the United States to another, that he got to shop at all the Harry Potter stores in the airport (I did deliberately neglect to point one out, sorry kiddo!), and that he and I got deplaned so I could get a full pat-down because someone in the TSA screwed up, well, that’s OK because we got to experience it all together. I’m pretty sure he’s going to remember the beach though. This is the best photo from the trip:

As Atlantis lands safely (please) today, I’ll be thinking of the lost Challenger and Columbia crews, especially David M. Brown who, to my knowledge, is the only astronaut who has come to see me play in a pit orchestra (he was dating a close friend of mine). And I’ll be wondering if our son will get to see the next manned U.S. spaceship take off.

Written by ltao

July 20th, 2011 at 1:38 am

Posted in space

Thank you NASA


Written by ltao

July 8th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Posted in space

Packing for Space


Nine weird things that flew on the Space Shuttles: cans of Coke & Pepsi or officially the Carbonated Beverage Dispenser Evaluation payload, the New York Mets’ home plate from Shea now on display at Citi Field, dirt from Yankee Stadium, NASCAR starter flags, a Buzz Lightyear action figure, one of Luke Skywalker’s lightsabers, some of Gene Roddenberry’s ashes (also flown on commercial space flight), several sports jerseys including a yellow Tour de France jersey, and a metal cargo tag from the Jamestown colony (1607). The final space shuttle flight is scheduled for July 8th.

Written by ltao

July 1st, 2011 at 12:44 am

Posted in space

Penultimate Shuttle Mission?


Discovery in the VAB

Photo by Jen Scheer

Space shuttle Discovery rolled out of its hangar into the Vehicle Assembly Building last week, ready to be attached to its fuel tank and rocket boosters.  It is scheduled for a November 1st mission to the International Space Station. After that, the final shuttle mission on the schedule is a February trip for Endeavor.  But NASA has proposed that the Atlantis crew training for an emergency rescue of Endeavor’s crew take on an actual additional mission.  The fuel tank and boosters that are being prepped for a hopefully unneeded situation can then be put to use and more supplies can be brought up to the ISS. The rescue plan for that proposed mission would be to house the 4 person crew on the space station until they can return on a Soyuz craft. But Congress and NASA need to determine if they can fund one more final mission.

Posted in space

Ground Control to … no that’s way too cliché


From the NASA History Office, a pdf list of every known astronaut wake up call song. It begins with Gemini 6 and “Hello Dolly” and includes the morning songs sent to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars. David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is listed only twice (and the second is in a medley). Elton John’s “Rocket Man” is listed four times (twice in medleys).

Written by ltao

May 25th, 2010 at 2:12 am

Posted in culture,space