Saturday, February 20, 2010

2dayNspace 1962
Friendship 7 Launch

John Glenn became the first American in orbit aboard a Mercury Atlas (MA-6) launched from Launch Complex 14. The complex has been dismantled, but some of its structure still sits there today. Fresh off a trip to KSC, I wandered around the complex just a week or so ago. Some new structure has been put in place to secure what is left of the obvious historical treasure. The parking spot nameplates (a newer John Glenn one had been installed) were not original. They were added some time later - I am researching this one (perhaps when they did the monument dedication in 1964?). The 45th Space Wing restored the inside of the blockhouse and turned it into a conference room around 1998 just before John Glenn's shuttle flight.

Hi res photo of Glenn and the capsule artwork
Aerial View of SLC-14
Amazing drawings of the original structures
Photos of the restored blockhouse

Friday, February 19, 2010

2dayNspace 1986
Mir Space Station Launched

The first module of the Mir Space Station, known as the Base Block (Core Module), was launched aboard a Proton rocket February 20th Russian time.

The Mere Meaning of Mir
Does Mir REALLY mean peace? Maybe not... Frank Culbertson's extremely well-written letter to Congress in 1996 sheds a different light. Frank's letter also points out something amazing that is very timely in our current space wars of money and direction. The fact is Mir was done when they had NO resources! They cared enough about their foothold on space to make huge sacrifices in the eye of pride and mankind's absolute need to explore the unknown and achieve things some think impossible! At times I heard stories from my Russian counterparts in the NASA-Mir program that they had not been paid in months or often were paid in solid goods - like toilet paper that was found in a warehouse and recognized of value. Did the workers leave? Did they quit, mad about the wages owed to them? No, they did not! They found a way to survive to maintain that foothold. They found a way, utilizing every resource to its maximum - they sent one Soyuz to two different space stations at the beginning of Mir because they did not have enough Soyuz spacecraft! Not only did they do it, they maintained the life of that space station three times longer than intended. I had the fortune to be there for the 10th anniversary and a few proud office celebrations with chilled Zhelka... and they weren't done yet! Mir was not deorbited for another six years!

I strongly recommend Frank's letter, and especially the last paragraph and concluding lines!

Parent Site on Mir Space Station History - with even more moving thoughts!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shuttle Commemorative Patch Winner

The winning design for the Commemorative Shuttle Patch was announced today, along with the two runner-ups.

Complete story at CollectSpace

Despite the absolutely production readiness of the winning patch, I am slightly surprised a specific patch was picked. NASA Shuttle Program reserved the right to make modifications and I always expected them to take a few elements of the favorite designs and add something to the winning patch.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

NASA's Bold New Era = One Giant Leap Backwards

I have to ask myself why Bolden gets so choked up when talking about the passion, the safety of the crew, or the death in the family. If he is so excited about this bold new era Obama has blessed us with, why the tears? Does he not really believe in it? I hope so… having worked with him my jaw continually drops to the floor these last two days at response to some of things he has said.

So excited to find ways to get us out of low Earth orbit

Excuse me, isn’t that what Constellation was? Oh no, it wasn’t an idea… it was a plan! My bad…

Same ol’ Same ol’…

I find this particularly amusing that Obama would like us to spend the next ten years figuring out a way to get out of LEO. So many of the entries for the SSP Commemorative patch contest lamented on the fact that the shuttle KEPT us tied down in LEO.

Everywhere vs. Nowhere

“When you are going everywhere, you are going nowhere”. Okay… but we are NOT going everywhere - we are indeed going nowhere!

What Dreams Are Made Of

Bolden said this was so much better because we are not building programs from our dreams… huh? Is that NOT how we excite our supporters, how we interest students in math and science? The exact quote: “It’s different because, for one thing, the president has set out a budget that supports where we think we want to go. And we are building programs based on the budget that we have and not building programs based on a dream “. Did he listen to what he just said…??? How is that not settling?

Completely Drunk on the Kool-aid

The next thing I heard Bolden say was that with STS we were given a plan but no money. And now we have a plan and here is the money that you are going to have to do it….. what, how is that any different than what you just said??? The entire statement was absurd! Obama has supplied Charlie with an IV, I guess. Well I guess if you scale back to status quo, it doesn’t really cost that much – so you will certainly have enough money.

Hmmmm, I want to drive to Colorado but need a new car. So instead of figuring out how to budget the new car and maybe not spend wasted money on health care for the squirrels in my yard… I am told that I think I don’t really need to go to Colorado yet. So, I can just get a cheap car that can get back and forth to Houston and ultimately go nowhere I haven’t been. Yea, I can afford that!

Managing to pull through, Managing to recover

“We are going to get through this, kind of stick with us if you can”… If this is such an exciting, bold, new challenge – why are we recovering, pulling through, or sticking with you? Oh yea, not exciting enough… true!

Press Club Video from CSPAN

The Votes Are Tallied

Voting concluded on Sunday for the SSP Commemorative Patch design contest. I have been comparing and contrasting the vote below in my blog for the last couple of weeks. Here is the last graph illustrating the differences between the collectSPACE fan poll and the internal NASA voting.

As for the changes since the last comparison, there was not much. The only significant delta was a 3% increase for patch 7 in the internal NASA voting - borrowed 1% a time from three separate patches.

I still find it interesting how the two top vote-getters were so strongly favored over the other entries and would love to run the fan poll with all 85 of the original entries. Especially with so many strong ideas excluded from the 15 finalists!

Monday, February 1, 2010

2dayNspace 2003
Columbia Lost

The crew of Columbia had a higher mission - one to teach us about ourselves. And they still teach us today in the wake of Obama's wish of NASA's new direction (or lack thereof...). The spirit of Rick Husband, William McCool, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon will always remain in our hearts and encourage us to explore into the unknown despite whatever setbacks we may encounter on the way!

My original tribute site can be seen here.
My experience in the Super Bowl XXVIII Pre-Game Show Tribute to Columbia.
Still very moving flash tribute.