Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Designing An Uplifting End to the Shuttle Program

Patch designs submitted by Space Center employees have been posted on the Collect Space website. I decided to critique them from a design aspect... a little emotional content is thrown in for good measure. Did your entry make my list of comments???

The below comments are without reading any of the artist's intent - just solely on graphical interpretation. In order of presentation on CollectSpace site, not preference...

Interesting overall design element. Read the words on this one... Earth shown because shuttle was bound by low earth orbit - did Wayne Hale design this one? ;)

Strong graphics

Dawn to Dusk interesting concept, although somewhat limiting to end the shuttle in darkness instead of the stepping stone low earth orbit really is. However, some may seem that fitting... (see bound to earth comments above)

Several very familiar patch elements (especially STS-8), looks like an old DOD patch minus a flag.

I would really, really like to meet the person that has this image of the shuttle program...

God bless those who are not so artistically gifted... I appreciate their desire!

Shuttle paths are cool - although I grow so tiresome of the Astronaut symbol on every damn patch. However, ISS orbit finishing the design does not really work with the earth below on teh patch.

Love the "reflecting" idea! Probably was most moved by this entry.

Good, clean design (and I have always loved that view of the orbiter).

Like the idea of the paths creating "feathers" - looks like a PHALCON designed it.

There are elements I really like about this one. But would want 1981-2010 type dates on there. Love the inclusion of a star for every flight.

Not sure what it is that intrigues me on this one... has merit!

Whoa... completely out of the box. Innovative, good design, not sure about the colors.

Interesting, like the shuttles being differentiated.

Clean - would def do something differentwith the numbers though.

Kind of sad, riding away - gonna be a rough goodbye!

Nice design, flat out! Add some dates.

Another shout-out to those less artisticly gifted but care enough about the shuttle to put their idea out there! (Of course, I had to read this description to understand why there was no image file.)

Very original! I feel like a shuttle timeliner cam eup with this idea....

Really, really nice. Think I would have to represent the earth graphically though. A consistent element with almost every patch from the shuttle era - the overall patch should represent the genral feel of all.

Clean graphics, appreciate the orbiter floating at an angle - maybe a little to simple and subtle for me though.

Calling this one out because it has Mir on it (probably my all-time favorite program to work on thus far). Might be nice in color - and I like the hand-lettered look, actually. Need to add a micro-gravity M if you keep the little nebula above Hubble.

Again, very symbolic of an ending. Pretty sure the Space shuttle has never been depicted this way on a patch.

I really like the white vs. orange ET - shows we learn as we go. And I like the steam plume at the bottom of the patch. Stars around Hubble and ISS need balancing. Interesting how many people used Hubble to symbolize all other not ISS.

Neat view, needs words and stars!

Lot of good elements here, except I can not tell what the two presumably science symbols are. And I like the differentiation between orbiters, a record of those lost.

Like the graphics and I like the EVA guy in there - HUGE part of the program to not overlook. Plus, that image of Bruce is iconic!

I am now realizing there have been many more images added to the gallery.....

Hmmm.... I like this. I particularly like the two orbiters at the bottom. Would be interesting to see in color.

Neat idea... but not a patch. Keep going!

I like this odd little job too. Even with the hypercycloids instead of stars!

Interesting... looks more like a Challenger Center logo though. Several of these are made by the same guy/gal.

Clean, in memorium look. Tears....

I realize this one is more of an STS-133 entry. We have NEVER had a square/rectangular shuttle flight patch. Had to look at # of stars significance. I would like to see a star for every mission in the border (or dividing the border from the patch as I have seen in some entries). Starting to wonder how American we CAN go with all the International participants that flew - but there should def be a dominance. The shuttle is our muscle, after all! ;)

More tears..... star trail # of missions is a neat idea.

This entrant must be from Arizona...

Service dates on the shuttles is an interesting thought. As long as we make the two lost gold... like the others I mentioned ;)

Just lots and lots of intriguing elements on this one!

Friday, December 11, 2009

End of an Era - Outpost is Closing

Sad news finds me today. Just one week ago a decision was made to close the Outpost Tavern. They have really tried to stick it out... they really have! Unfortunately, they do not own the land on which this historic little place sits. And that land has a new owner. The inevitable is on the horizon. So instead of risking an ungraceful exit by a greedy land-owner, they have decided to write their own destiny with a Farewell Party (or three!) celebrating their thirty years (I think it's been around longer but maybe under a different name).

This place was my induction to NASA! Sort of our own special hazing ritual... of course the hazing results were far less than anything I experienced in college - especially on weeknight (since they close the doors at midnight and send you home because they KNOW you have to work in the morning)! In my twenty years in the space biz even I can look back at the Outpost and reminisce about "the old days." This place is a gem... a true bright star amongst the dreary and dull. The walls are covered with space history and even seem to talk themselves, telling those old stories.

And only at this storied bar can these not offend me... in fact, I even grope her when I leave! ;) I will shed many a tear for this place... but a lady always knows when to leave.

News about the Farwell Parties
A clickable map of just some of the history here!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2dayNspace 1969
Apollo 11 Crew Receives
Père Marquette Discovery Award

The Père Marquette Discovery Award is Marquette University's highest honor. In the spirit of the discoveries of Père Jacques Marquette, the award honors those who achieve an extraordinary breakthrough that adds to human knowledge or the advancement of humanity.

On November 8 in 1969, the Apollo 11 crew was the first recipient of the University's highest honor.

Presented to Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins. "In perpetuating the memory of Father Marquette as one of history's greatest explorers and discoverers," President John P. Raynor, S.J., said, "it is most fitting that the first Père Marquette Discovery Medals be presented to the heroic crew of Apollo 11. Like Father Marquette, the Apollo 11 astronauts share in full measure the qualities which distinguish all great explorers — a questing spirit, uniqueness in deed, and a consuming dedication to the betterment of civilization."

From the SI Vault: "Apollo 11 astronauts are to be honored by Marquette Saturday when the university presents them with the school's first Père Marquette Discovery Award Medals—and three basketball warmup suits and jerseys. Marquette Captain Joe Thomas will give Buzz Aldrin, Mike Collins and Neil Armstrong jerseys bearing the No. 11. But the school will take them right back again, retire the number and hang the jerseys in the gymnasium. For the rest of the season Marquette basketball players will wear replicas of the Apollo 11 patch on their uniforms. As for the astronauts, they will wear those warmup suits, tailored from NASA's measurements and especially designed for jogging".

The basketball team wore Apollo 11 patch replicas on their warm-up suits for the 1970-71 season (which started a month after the award). There was also a sweet special uni set for their post season appearance in the NIT.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Walt, Wally and Donn Show
October 13, 1968

Apollo 7 used a specially designed camera to downlink the first live television from space. The Walt, Wally, and Don Show aired on this day in 1968.

As Walter Schirra explains, the broadcast received an Emmy. He also talks about his use of Actifed and Kimberly-Clark tissues to nurse their colds on-orbit. He later did a commercial for Actifed!

A video about the RCA camera here.

Note: Apollo 7 was also the first spaceflight to have hot coffee. Looks like someone missed out on the coffee commercial opportunity...

Apollo 7 - As it Happened video.
40th Anniversary flash feature - click the Apollo 7 patch.
Apollo 7 NASA page.
Apollo 7 NASA History page.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Third ALT of Space Shuttle Enterprise
23 Sep 1977

Flown by Haise and Fullerton, the five minute flight included an autopilot manoeuvre and was the last free flight with the tail cone attached.
Approach and Landing Tests (ALT) at Dryden all consisted of a ride atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (modified 747) - three captive and five free flights.
The last two free flights had simulated main engines and the OMS pods exposed for true aerodynamic man-in-the-loop testing.

Once the free flights were complete the ALT Program conducted four ferry flights.
Enterprise was readied by reinstalling the tailcone and lowering the cant of the orbiter on top the SCA from six degrees to three dgrees.

Now here is the cool part I bet you didn't know: Maybe I should wait and give you clues like Google did. Ha, mine would be better!
Did Space Shuttle Enterprise ever land at Marshall Spaceflight Center?

Of course not, there is no shuttle landing facility there. However, it was ferried to MSFC on March 13, 1978. It was mated to an External Tank and Solid Rocket Boosters for a year-long series of verticle ground vibration tests. Enterprise was ferried to KSC on April 10, 1979 when the fit checks were done with Launch Complex 39A. So... the pad fit checks came after the flight tests, interesting!

Note: All photos of a white external tank and a completely white Space Shuttle on the pad are of Enterprise. Only the first three flights had a white ET (realized we could save weight by not painting the tank). However, Columbia had black paint on her wings.

Awesome site with lots more cool facts about Enterprise

Photos of ALT-3
Really, really cool photo of Enterprise @ Verticle Ground Vibration Tests

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today in Space
STS-79 Launch

Fourth Shuttle-Mir docking with first crew exchange done by the Space Shuttle. STS-79 delivered Phase One's Increment 3 John Blaha to replace Shannon Lucid.

Only shuttle to roll back twice due to hurricane threats (In this case, Bertha and Fran).

The patch is in the shape of the Space Shuttle's airlock hatch, symbolizing the gateway to international cooperation in space.
The EVA handshake between a US EVA suit and a Rusian Orlon suit represents teamwork - not only the crew members, but the teamwork of both countries' space personnel.

From the Shuttle Mir History site:
In his Oral History, astronaut William Readdy said: "There are things that you remember visually and things that you remember, I guess, kind of emotionally. I remember first looking out the overhead window when I saw the Mir during the rendezvous. I could just see it as the brightest star in the sky, and I remembered somebody, when I flew my first flight in January of '92 called me up to the flight deck and said that, 'Hey, in five minutes you're going to be able to see the Mir go by,' because we were in similar-type orbits. So I remember floating up to the flight deck, and I saw the Mir go by, and I guess never would I have thought, given the political situation back then, never would I have thought in a million years, that we'd be joining not only physically with the Shuttle-Mir, but also joined up in this International Space Station."

Shannon Lucid Video Tour of Mir
Hatch Opening video with Lucid waiting

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Unexplained Google Doodle Phenomenon

While this entry may not really fit here, this is the closest blog I have that I can file this topic – I have linked some of the sweet vintage space-themed arcade games so that it may fit a little better. If you don’t care about the current Goggle Doodle mystery, skip to the bottom and hit the vintage pinball and arcade game links.

First and foremost – the first Google Doodle and/or Zero Wing has nothing to do with H. G. Wells - hence, the third doodle on the 21st for a 143rd anniversary of H.G. Wells' birthday is unlikely. However, there are often birthday doodles for randomly numbered anniversaries.

I tried to rationalize what the missing letters meant (and there may still be more to that one). But it seems an obvious by-product of simply, the doodle design. Here’s why:

I asked myself, why the "L" in the second doodle - since they left a clue about the second "O" being critical in recognition of the logo and the file names utilize the missing letter. However, the second "O" is commonly dropped to render a doodle. And the missing “O” was conveniently used to create a clue on their Twitter page that once deciphered said “All your “O”s are belong to us”. Linking the first Google Doodle to the Zero Wing Arcade Game. But let’s explore the path anyway to make sure there is no connection between the missing letters... why the "L"? All the other letters are circular allowing a crop circle - that was easy! So they made the “L” a tractor making the crop circles (implying crop circles are not real - that alone kind of diminishes any theory of celebrating outer space theme of its own). However, it does support a sci-fi theme (which may hurt my overall theory later in this blog). Crop circles are just a way to imply England (with the coordinates clue pointing directly to H.G. Wells' home where he wrote War of the Worlds). Again, no major anniversary of War of the Worlds on this date. As for the coordinates reportedly (I don’t know – I don’t have Google Mars installed) pointing to a similar upside down Google crater formation – I think just a red herring.

So – Akeem’s Theory comes into play. When all things seem the same, it is the most obvious answer. A missing O and a missing L are just a product of Doodle Design!

Turns out September 15th is the anniversary of the first black & white release of War of the Worlds Arcade Game. I admit the War of the Worlds Arcade Game is quite random - no big internet craze like with Zero Wing and the funny Janglish interpretation. But the date is key here. So we have two Arcade Games.

You must look at the link between the three events (Sept 5th, 15th, and ???). So far both are major anniversaries of Arcade Games. But what else do these two have in common? UFOs are certainly a feature of War of the Worlds, but I am not sure Zero Wing can really fall into that category - or is the common UFO just part of relating the Google Doodles? What started this after all? An untagged Google Doodle… that linked to “Unexplained Phenomenon”. It was unexplained why the Doodle had been deployed - simply the football tee used to kick off this whole mystery? Crop Circles are indeed unexplained phenomenon – another link between the Doodles. So there might not be a need to link Unexplained Phenomenon to Zero Wing. That being said, we have space and sci-fi.

So that is where I started… looking for the next game that would be the third Google Doodle. These anniversaries are Arcade Games, NOT video games. 20th, 30th… so what came out in 1969. Crap, there were no “Arcade Games” as we know them. So… maybe a pinball machine? A natural direction for me to take since I know a bit about space-themed pinball machines. I look in my online pinball databases. Hmmm… space related ones certainly came out in 1969. But most (especially ones that feature sci-fi/UFO artwork) either are different dates or do not have an exact day associated with them – often we only have a month and year. But there was this one… and there are no pictures, so I have no idea what the graphics theme might be other than the obvious implied ones – Apollo Ball by Bally. Now this was actually some kind of Bingo Machine – looks like a pinball machine, but different play and was often a gambling device before conversions were forced. The thing is, this game was released on September 25th, 1969. And THAT is my sole fact building this theory. The game does have some special uniqueness in that it was a six-card game that utilized “Mystery Intervals” (basically coin insertion resulted in different play each time). That is rather intriguing since we would now have a 20th on the 5th, a 30th on the 15th, and presumably a 40th on the 25th – all ten days apart.

What other commonality could be there? Is there any uniqueness about these two games? Someone has suggested solid state vector graphics of War of the Worlds. But what does Zero Wing offer in that category?

• The first two arcade games are very sci-fi (which supports the common UFO in both Google Doodles – along with the Tractor making the crop circles).
• Both relate to shooting things – where could that go? So many were.
• And both are an attempt to save the world. Hmmm..... that is a pretty big connection and would omit anything manned spaceflight related.

There are indeed, as I have found, in my searching many extremely cool space-themed Arcade Games of that time (and some alien shoot-em-up ones like Invaders). None of which I was able to associate a specific September date with (a complete list below). Except there are two pretty nifty ones that could be additional candidates because I have no month or day associated with their releases.

Space Flight - ?/69
A very cool lunar landing game that used an 8-track in it for sound. There is an awesome video of the game’s operation from a guy who restored one replacing the 8-track with Solid State sound. No sci-fi there though… unless you are a moon-hoax supporter! And if you are, check out Mythbusters – the hoax theory was busted.

Apollo Moon Shot Rifle - ?/69
Which totally ties in the shooting aspect of the puzzle.

There is also a pinball released in 1969 (no exact date) called Suspense - not space related… but Google has kept us in suspense!

So if it just the anniversary of a few Arcade Games, there is still one thing that bothers me… why?

Google Doodles began as scientific natured fun. But obscure arcade games? I can completely imagine a circle of laptop techies sitting in bean-bags with a Google Doodle brainstorm session on-going and see the whole thought process. There is a linkage – one was doing research for the Apollo 40th Google Doodle and found this obscure Apollo arcade game which also celebrates a 40th this year. Another remembers (due to its popularity) that Zero Wing has a big anniversary. And then you connect the dots, split the difference and go look for a 30th anniversary and find a perfect example, lending itself to clues, confusion by the public, and easy artwork. Great Puzzle, no?

But again, why? What is the bigger picture?

Why anniversaries ten days apart? As I said above – coincidence and splitting the difference? The Mysterious Intervals aspect of that bingo machine is quite coincidental… is it enough? Obscure arcade games don’t seem to be in the Google Doodle playground.

UPDATE: Just found out the “All your base are belong to us” was not in the arcade game – only the Sega Genesis/Megadrive version. Not sure if that is case-breaker or not…

Astronaut - 6/69
Cosmos (converted) -?/69
Cosmos (Bally) - 7/68
MoonShot - 8/69

Nifty Space-related Arcade Games:
Apollo 14 - ?/72
Apollo Moon Shot - 1/69
Lunar Rescue - ?/73
Missle - 6/69
Moon Rocket - ?/?
Radar Rocket - 40s
S.A.M.I. - 6/70
Space Ace - 10/83
Space Glider - 11/60
Space Gun - 5/64
Space Gunner - 5/58
Space Invade - 50s
Space Pilot - 11/68
Star Rocket - 50s

Saturday, September 5, 2009

This Day in Space
STS-8 Landing

September 5, 1983 - STS-8 was the first night landing of the space shuutle. Coincidentally, it was also the first night launch.

The crew patch shows a night launch. The crew also had an unofficial patch which illustrated the night launch/landing aspect of the mission.

STS-8 Press Kit

Friday, August 21, 2009

Today in Space
1965 Gemini V Launch

The most memorable aspect to this mission was, sadly, the mission patch - despite it was the longest flight at that time. It was the first flight to actually have a specific mission patch - noted as a missing item by the crew. All military missions always had patches. Since spacecraft naming was vetoed (had wanted to name it Lady Bird after Lady Bird Johnson), they decided to design a patch. With the pioneering nature of their flight (longest attempted), they went for a covered wagon and stuck "8 Days or Bust" on it. Which was met with great displeasure with the head of NASA and they flew with the "8 Days or Bust" covered up on the patch (they had already had hundreds made prior to the censorship). They were told once the mission succeeded, they could reveal the slogan. Despite Webb's efforts to depersonalize the space program (naming of Gus's GT-3 spacecraft as Molly Brown), the desire of the astronauts for mission identity won out... sort of, and Webb wrote a memo which established guidelines for crew insignias now called "Cooper patches."

The original NASA photo (S66-59530 actually taken in 1966) clearly shows the patch with a canvas cover on it. However, the flight patches on their suits have different lettering for their names. And postflight photos show no 8 Days or Bust. So, not sure how they could have uncovered it as stated by Cooper's ghost writer in "Leap of Faith." Photos after the flight (inspection of recovered capsule) of them in their jumpsuits show no patches either. That custom was adopted later (maybe only by the shuttle guys).

The NASA websites all use different patches/illustrations - many still show no 8 Days or Bust. Presumably because "8 Days or Bust" never really flew on their spacesuit. The original photo above of an obvious original patch with the words covered up supports this since it was taken in 1966.

I might add, there were Robbins type medallions flown and they included the words "8 Days or Bust."

Original Patch per Cooper's autograph!
Patch history and details.

Neat Project Gemini Diagrams!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Today In space
Belka & strelka Land Safely

August 20, 1960 - Belka & Strelka became the first living creatures to return from an orbital flight aboard Sputnik 5! They made 17 orbits. Belka apparently was the first case of space sickness... evidenced I presume by the video cameras they had trained on the two pups.

During a summit dinner a year later Kruschev was bragging about the flight of his space dogs and told Jaqueline Kennedy of Strelka's recent litter. Jokingly, she asked if he could send her one. Imagine her surprise when a Soviet ambassador brought one to the White House two months later!

They are now stuffed and on display in the Cosmonaut Memorial Museum.

Website about Kennedy's pupnik.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Today in Space
Svetlana Savitskaya
second woman in space

August 19, 1982 - Svetlana Savitskaya launches aboard Soyuz T-7 headed for Salyut 7. She would go back to Salyut 7 and become the first woman to do an EVA (July 24, 1984).

On the anniversary of her historic EVA, Svetlana talked about how she changed sex discrimination by flying on soyuz T-7.

Well, not exactly.... there were quite a few comments and jokes made about cleaning getting done aboard Mir when Shannon Lucid was on her way to the Russian space station. In fact, there are not even any female cosomonauts at this very moment... but soon will be?

She also uses the opportunity to take a swing at Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper who lost a tool bag on an EVA.

About the first female EVA.

Savitskaya was slated to command an all female Soyuz crew to the space station in commeration of National Women's Day - but due to lack of available Soyuz vehicles, it was cancelled.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Today in Space 1971
First Lunar Rover Driven on Moon

July 31, 1971 - First Lunar Rover (LRV-1) driven on the moon by Scott & Irwin. First EVA started at 8:13 CDT and began with the collection of the contingency sample (last flight they did this) and then deployment of the Lunar Rover. Details below on its deployment - very cool video and graphics! Activities included a 10.3-kilometer geological traverse and the deployment of lunar surface experiments. Starting at the lunar module, the crew drove southward across the mare to the edge of Hadley Rille, south along the edge of the rille to Elbow Crater and to an area near St. George Crater. The return route was past Elbow Crater and directly across the mare to the lunar module. The EVA lasted approximately 6 hours, 33 minutes, ending at 3:46 p.m. LRV-1 total distance for three EVAs 27.9 km - 3 hours, 2 minutes of drive time. Very cool Traverse Map!

Cool animation of how the rover gets deployed.
Actual video of the same thing.

Amazing Lunar Surface Journal online!
The Lunar Rover Handbook
Lunar Rover image with definitions.
Another neat image with itemizations.
Air & space Museum description page on the Lunar Rover where those drawings came from.

Excellent source for Apollo 15 Extravehicular Activities.
Cool Air & Space Museum Site on Apollo 15.
Good site about Lunar Rovers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today in Space
51-F Launch 1985

19th shuttle flight loaded with astronomy and solar physics experiments. Dr. Henize was a astrophysicist scientist-astronaut and explained during an astronomy lecture I attended that he designed the stars on the patch to be in the position they would be at launch time (in relation to the sun).

He joined NASA in 1967 and waited 18 years for his first flight because his flight Skylab 6 was cancelled. At the time, he held the record for the oldest man in space (later overtaken by Vance Brand, Story, and then of course John Glenn). He still holds the record for oldest rookie in space. STS-51F flew Coke and Pepsi (with modified cans as the Carbonated Beverage Dispenser Evaluation (CBDE) payload) which was deemed a failure, but not entirely due to zero-g... the non refrigerated pop never had a chance.

Dr. Henize was an explorer and oddly enough (with all the Everest books I have been recently reading in the wake of Scott's Summit), he succumbed to HAPE climbing the north face of Mt. Everest in 1993 (in October) days before his 67th birthday. He was buried at 22,000 feet (Advanced Base Camp). Scott Parazynski carried with him to the summit of Everest in May a 51-F patch in honor of Karl Henize.

JSC Press Release on Henize's Death

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today in Space 1973
Skylab 3 Launches

Second manned Skylab mission launches (the first mission to deliver the Skylab is considered Skylab 1 so the numbering on the patches refers to the Skylab Expeditions).

The Skylab II patch had a sister patch for the wives (probably one of the most famous alternate patches - as they were seen wearing their patch during the mission). The female version of the patch was done as a joke for the crew who did not see it until they reached orbit.

I tend to avoid much of the news around the "spaceflight participants". And I must confess I had no idea Richard Garriott was the son of Skylab's Owen Garriott. Of course now that I look at him, he is the spitting image of Owen!

When Richard Garriott flew to the ISS as a spaceflight participant, he designed his own patch from the elements of his father's Skylab II patch because some of the elements of their missions were similar.

The original artist of the wives patch had the idea of a wives'/lady friend patch for the ISS mission after she saw a photo of Garriott wearing the Skylab II wives' patch on his Soyuz suit during his training. She suggested the patch to a friend in the space patch business (who contacted another artist) and they designed a patch.

Skylab II patch History.

Richard Garriott's story on the patches including the similarity of him and Sergei Volkov being the first second generation American and Russian to fly in space.

The ISS wives/lady friends patch story.

Lots of controversy around what happened to patch after its design!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today in Space
Launch and Loss of Liberty Bell 7

In 1961 Gus Grissom's sub-orbital MR-4 flight ended with the loss of the capsule as it became too heavy during retrieval while taking on water due to the blown hatch. It remained on the bottom of the ocean for 38 years until July 20th, 1999 (thought there was enough Today in Space for yesterday...). Liberty Bell 7 was recovered by Curt Newport (undersea salvager who worked on Challenger and Titanic recoveries) as a part of a Discovery series called Liberating the Liberty Bell.

The Discovery websites have been deleted - rather unfortunate because there were daily logs of the recovery process. I remember following it live - they found it, lost the undersea robot, then lost the capsule when getting a new robot (or retrieving it - don't remember) to the site, found the capsule again - and I was so excited when they finally succeeded at recovering it from three miles below. The Kansas Cosmosphere restored it, and made the recovery a travelling exhibit. It was hoped that the recovery would provide evidence of the source of the blown hatch - however, no conclusive findings were realized. The exhibit is currently at the Cosmosphere.

Lost Spacecraft Travelling Exhibition
Some images of recovery effort.
Some video of recovery.
Neat video with Liberty Bell 7 Recovery items with Chris Orwell from the Cosmosphere.
Recovery article from Underwater.com
CNN article on Recovery.
Space.com article - Gus didn't do it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today in space
Lunar Landing
One Small Step, One Giant Leap

On this day I am saddened by the absence of Walter Cronkite. Was hoping there would be some kind of live replay of his coverage on that fateful night. I would just love to pretend it was happening at that moment while sitting in front of my HD... suppose it still wouldn't be live though, since I am headed to the Astros game and will be there when we "actually walk on the moon." I was able to synch up the CBS coverage with Cronkite from Youtube and the live NASA audio rebroadcast - pretty special way to watch the landing!

I find it fitting that Cronkite died gracefully a few days before so we could celebrate him along with Apollo 11.

Wally, say something I am speechless... CBS video as it happened here.

Walter Cronkite Moon Landing reflection here.

On a lighter note... Google decided to wait until landing to splash the Apollo 11 Moon Landing logo. Well played. And an extremely nice logo at that!

Mythbusters bust Moon Hoax tonight on Discovery Channel - a peek is here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Today in Space 1975
Apollo Soyuz Docking

This was the single most important event paving the way to the International Space Station. The collaboration that began with the design of the Docking Adapter for Apollo Soyuz eventually allowed my involvement in the NASA-Mir Program. I worked alongside the Russians in the very same room that was used for the Apollo Soyuz mission. I did this for three years - on a continuous rotation of five weeks there in Moscow and five weeks home. Provided me with 11 passport stamps (or 22 if you count my returns), my voice transmitted over air-to-ground to the Mir Space Station, and loads of opportunity to see some pretty special space hardware, including Yuri Gagarin's space capsule and Tereshkova's as well! Both of which we were allowed to touch!

We have seen much of Alexi Leonov's artwork over the years. However, it wasn't after his career he started painting... This little nugget of the US crew ready to lasso the Soyuz was actually rendered by Leonov during mission preparation.

Well, we didn't need the lasso, but we made history that day with the first International handshake. And at the time, it was the most people together in space at one time. Along the same lines, we have already tied the record of most people in space at one time with the STS-127 launch (six on ISS and 7 on the shuttle). The other time we had 13 people in space at one time was in 1995 with 6 aboard Mir (TM-20 and TM-21) and 7 on STS-67 which was not a Mir docking mission. Also in 1995 we achieved 10 people on one vehicle with the STS-71 docking at Mir (TM-21 Mir 18 onboard Mir). But later today we will break that record with the hatch opening ceremony aboard the ISS. It will be the first time 13 people have been on one vehicle!

Quite a busy day in space, huh?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Day in Space
Apollo 11 Anniversary Overload

You would have to live under a technological rock to not know that 40 years ago today Apollo 11 launched. In fact, between live Tour de France video feed, Apollo 11 audio rebroadcast, live NASA TV with a press conference for Apollo video restoration and mission coverage, and the many emails on Apollo goodies I experienced my very own personal whale fail early this morning! Had to step off... Quite overwhelming - but here is my top list:

Events next week (crap do we have to do this all over again on Monday...???):
July 20th - NASA night at Astros game w/ Astro singing National Anthem and xxx throwing out the first pitch.
July 24th - Splashdown Party at Space Center Houston

Ridiculously thorough list of events is here.

Live Rebroadcast:
NASA site

Good supporting site that shows flight events here.

Awesome vintage Mission Sequence graphic here.

Restored HD mission video here.
Never before on the internet on-board audio when the mikes were off here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael Collins Shines a Tiny Spotlight Back on Himself

When asked how he spends his time, he answers:

Running, biking, swimming, fishing, painting, cooking, reading, worrying about the stock market, searching for a really good bottle of cabernet under ten dollars. Moderately busy.

Awesome! Because a really good Cabernet under $10 is one of the secrets to enjoying life... Well, under $25 anyway! Wish he had a Twitter feed - I have a hell of a list for him!

Neat answers to his most asked questions - although, some dispelling lifetime beliefs I have had regarding him and his mental state. I remember long ago I heard his daughter (on one of the soaps) tell about he never even talked about the moon to them. I just assumed he wigged out being in a spacecraft all alone knowing that he would have to leave his crewmates on the moon if things went wrong. Apparently, this is not true and he really just does not like the spotlight. He also has lots of insight... but is saving it for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11! Cute...

Press release here with his questions answered.

Today in Space 1975

Apollo Soyuz launches. The first International Mission carries on-board some neat swag and one Super Florida mosquito!

List of items carried can be seen at CollectSpace. The soyuz launched first with Leonov and Kubasov. After Slayton, Stafford, and Brand launched aboard their Apollo, Slayton was noted to say, "Man, I tell you, this is worth waiting 16 years for". Finally being cleared for flight after being grounded through the Mercury and Gemini programs with a heart condition, Deke was in space and became the oldest man in space at 51 (of course the record later fell when Glenn flew on STS-95 at the age of 77 on Space Shuttle Discovery).

During the extraction of the Docking Module and numerous maneuvers for rendezvous, Brand asked Capcom Truly to tell the launch crew at the Cape that they had permitted a stowaway to board the spacecraft. "We found a super Florida mosquito flying around here a few minutes ago." Slayton said that he planned to feed it to the fish that they were carrying onboard if he could catch it, and Brand wanted to bring it back and give it astronaut wings. But after flying about for several hours, the mosquito was never seen again. Apparently, it died in the reduced pressure pure oxygen of the CSM. Full day's events here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Awesome Timing of
STS-119's Sonic Boom

Well, I guess it would have been more perfect had it been after Tiger's tee shot... After Vaughn Taylor's tee shot at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando there are two sonic booms from the space shuttle landing sixty miles east. Someone in the crowd can be heard saying "Wow, nice shot Vaughn!" I don't think Tiger is confused as the announcer suggests (he has a house in Florida and if I can hear the booms at my house in Houston some times, I am sure he has heard them before). He is just standing there looking at Vaughn awestruck by the timing and it stole a bit of his thunder. Classic! I wish Dad was around to see this video - he would have really appreciated it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today in Space - 1997

During a docking test, the Progress cargo ship collides with Spektr Module on Mir Space Station!

The collision caused depressurization of the Spektr Module - which was where Foale's living quarters and toothbrush were, not to mention a whole lot of our science experiments. Two things you never want to happen to you in space: a hissing sound and your ears pop! After Foale retreated to the Soyuz per protocol, they realized depressurization of the station was not imminent and they were able to sever the cables leading to the module and close the hatch connecting it with the rest of the station. However, those cable had live power - so they were cutting away with sparks flying. This later changed our philosophy with "drag-through" cables through the Mir hatches.

I was in Russia and working the A-B-B-A shift when Linenger dealt with the SFOG (Oxygen Candle) fire earlier in the year. We come in for our B shift at the TsUP and our A shift tells us there was a fire onboard - and you just look at them and know they must kidding... But I was stateside on my five week off rotation when the Spektr collision happened. I remember checking NASA TV first thing in the morning and just being stunned.... it was the first af a handful of critical incidents we ended up experiencing on the Shuttle Mir Program.

They later did an internal EVA to retrieve a few of Foale's items and install a a hatch plate which allowed airtight passage for power cables needed to regain some of the power from Spektr's solar arrays. Many attempts were made to find and repair the leak in the pressure shell.

The Russian Mir-23 crewmembers Tsiblyev and Lazutkin had been plagued by bad luck their whole mission. The fire from the oxygen candle occurred during NASA 4 when Linenger was onboard and their Soyuz braking rockets failed during landing. In fact, Tsiblyez had been warned by an astologer of the impending bad fortune. Tsiblyev was made a scapegoat with poor health accusations (which were all probably brought on by the leaking antifreeze and stress from all the problems on their increment) and never flew again. Neither did Lazutkin.

Videos with downlink from Michael Foale:

Shuttle Mir History website:

Newstory upon landing: