Monthly Archives: January 2012

I’m Spacey

Space Shuttle Atlantis transported by a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), 1998 (NASA)

My father, who was an aeronautical engineer and executive for the Boeing Company, was an enthusiast for any machine that flew, and I inherited some of that passion.  Few could match my Dad’s love affair with wings!

Twenty years ago, when my father was working on a multi-year Boeing project near Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, my family and I toured the flight center. Astronauts trained there.  While we were touring the training area during a space shuttle mission, we heard mission control in Huntsville interacting with the astronauts on the space shuttle. History in action!  For three decades and 135 missions, the space shuttle carried cargo and crew into orbit. Now, sadly the Space Shuttle is history.

If you want to experience a little of what it was like to pilot the Space Shuttle, click on Space Shuttle cockpit. Use your mouse to move around the cockpit and to see the upper flight deck. Drag your cursor for horizontal or vertical viewing or use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

The technicians talking to the astronauts while we were touring Marshall were part of the Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC), a facility that supported Space Shuttle launch, payload and experiment activities at the Kennedy Space Center, International Space Station launch and experiment operations. The HOSC also monitors rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station when a Marshall Center payload is on board.

This is a space shuttle model situated in the rocket park at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The photo was taken in October 2005 by Michael Fallows.

When we toured the Marshall Space Flight Center, my father showed me a blueprint of the ISS, which had not yet been built. Now that the space shuttle program has been ended, American astronauts have to hitch a ride to get to the ISS, and there have been difficulties with failed launches lately.  Here’s a link to a story on the latest problems. Russia to delay space mission due to technical problems.  Here’s a story from last year about whether U.S. astronauts can continue to stay on the ISSS.  Astronauts May Have to Abandon Space Station

I watched the launches of  Endeavour and Atlantis this past year, remembering how we all gathered in my grade school cafeteria to watch the first space flights on a tiny television.  When Endeavor launched in May 2011, my deaf cat sped into the living room and sat down in front of the television, watching until the shuttle was well into the sky. It was eerie, as he never does that, not even to watch Animal Planet.  When Atlantis was launched in July 2011, I was in an airport. Everyone stood around the televisions, engrossed in the spectacle. How easily we were taking airplane travel for granted, and now with sadness perhaps we were all realizing how we had taken space flight for granted.

Here’s a launch schedule, obviously tentative.  Launch schedule to the ISS.

NASA’s International Space Station website.   About the International Space Station.

Marshall Space Flight’s Center role in the Shuttle and its future role in space flight.

About the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.

We also toured the nearby U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Space Camp (formerly U.S. Space Camp) in Huntsville, which are operated by the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission.  Here’s the Space camp website.

We saw a Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird,”  a rare and cool sight!

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Scientists Discover Google

Catherine Sherman:

Facebook and Google “know” too much about me already, yet I can’t let go. I promise to post my writing soon. It’s in the works. But Shouts from the Abyss always has something intriguing to say, so I’m happy to share. Google, are you listening?

Originally posted on Shouts from the Abyss:

In the spirit of Don’t Be Evil, I’ve got something to say.

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Catherine Sherman:

Another excellent post from Planetjan. The videos are excellent, the commentary is superb. Don’t take your teachers for granted! Click on “reblogged from Planetjan” to read the entire post and see the two great videos.

Originally posted on planetjan:

Thanks to Michelle, my former student teacher who is now gainfully employed, for sharing this. Today was a very long day and even though I’ve heard versions of this, with the graphics and the voiceover, it was just what I needed after another day of “making a difference.”

“How was it coming back after break,” some idiot asked. Well, actually, it was like getting slapped in the face with a cold fish. It didn’t help that no sooner had school started than Student #32 was dropped off on my doorstep. He’s from Korea and doesn’t know a word of English. I didn’t have a desk for him and ended up rearranging the entire classroom to handle what is beginning to resemble a small city of rather small people.

Here’s the difference I’ve made in the three days I’ve been back.
1)  Said student from Korea can now say, “Teacher!” I’ve…

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Filed under Education