Monthly Archives: January 2013

We Have a Winner!! Well 2 Actually!

Yesterday Ken and I got the distinct pleasure of speaking to about 200 people to announce the winners of a contest held by ISSET. The contest was to create a Message to the Moon which was judged and 2 winners were picked to receive free participation in our Astronaut Leadership Experience (ALE) Program in the UK Lake District in March.

It was pretty neat to consider the fact that there Ken and I were across an ocean from them but via the wonders of technology and Skype we were able to deliver the good news that they had won and take some questions. It was a brilliant event and we are excited to meet the 2 winners when they come to the ALE Program in just over a month. We hope to see some of you there too! Check it out at http://isset.org/astronaut_leadership_experience/lake_district.php

Here are some pictures I snapped…

  • Our view of Chris Barber (Director and Founder of ISSET) from the beginning of the event
  • Ken and I speaking to the group in the UK
  • Our 2 winners

 

Many congrats to our winners!!!

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Who are your heros?

In life we go through many phases and along the way we have heros who we aspire to be like, who shape our goals and in the end help us to become the people we become. So who are your heros? 

I must admit I have many heros from a wide variety of walks of life. Some of them are personal life heros, some are charitable heros, some of the are overall business heros and of course some of them are space and explorer heros. 

While I was in Los Angeles last week I was very excited to get to see the Apollo Command Module from Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Deke Slayton has always been one of my absolute heroes for many reasons including his “I won’t give up” attitude at getting assigned to a spaceflight. He was an amazing man and I just wish I’d gotten to meet him!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deke_Slayton

 

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So who are your heros and why? Think about it a little bit – it will tell you a lot about yourself!

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A Day to Remember

Today is a day that NASA has designated as the Day of Remembrance for the crews lost in the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia disasters. It’s important to remember that the space business is not without risk and we have lost some amazing people in the pursuit of this incredible and noble endeavor. 

Today we remember — Apollo 1 (Jan. 27, 1967): Astronauts Roger B. Chaffee, Virgil “Gus” Grissom and Edward H. White Jr.
— Challenger (Jan. 28, 1986): Astronauts Francis R. “Dick” Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair, Ellison S. Onizuka, Gregory B. Jarvis and S. Christa McAuliffe
— Columbia (Feb. 1, 2003): Astronauts Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel B. Clark and Ilan Ramon

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Take a moment today to think of not only these amazing individuals and their families but of all the people who contribute to human spaceflight… the continuation of the journey is most definitely what these heroes would have wanted.

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Astronauts Everywhere They Turned…

In case you haven’t noticed the Military has some really cool traditions. One of them is a Dining Out.

 
The “official” definition of this event is 
Dining in is a formal military ceremony for members of a company or other unit, which includes a dinner, drinking, and other events to foster camaraderie and esprit de corps.
 
You’ll notice that definition is called a Dining In… there’s just 1 difference between a Dining In & Dining Out – In means no spouses/dates and Out means these people are allowed. (So you can see why I personally am a bigger fan of the Out 🙂
 
Wikipedia Definition

Ken and I made it our mission about a year ago to bring the Dining Out tradition back to NASA at the Aircraft Operations Division (AOD). Upon arriving here at the US Naval Academy we realized that this place was in need of a REAL Dining Out as well! We had to determine how to scope it and wether we would actually be allowed to do it. Luckily it worked out that we could do it and we held a Dining Out for the Aerospace Engineering Department & VTNA (Flying team) Class of 2013. It was a seniors only event with all the wonderful traditions of a Dining Out such as the Parading of the Beef, grog, Mr. Vice, Mr President (Ken), levying of “fines” etc.

 
So why do you as space fans care about this? Well let me tell you – many astronauts who have flown in space have been military (not that you have to be there are lots of civilians too!) and there have been quite a few who attended the Naval Academy. We decided for this Dining Out we wanted to bring as many really interesting people as we could to attend and just engage with the students (and adults!) who were attending the event. As it turns out – almost everyone who was asked if they wanted to attend as a special guest said YES right away. (We even had folks fly in from out of town.) So it was a great privilege for everyone to get to share their Dining Out with not only 5 different astronauts but also more than a dozen incredibly talented pilots as well. It made for a great evening of story-telling and inspiration!
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USNA Astronaut Convocation

Every year the US Naval Academy does an Astronaut Convocation – given that there are MANY MANY astronauts who have graduated from USNA they are never at a loss for interested individuals to come back and speak to the students (Midshipmen) here. I say here because I am now fortunate enough to be a resident at the US Naval Academy for the next couple years while Ken works as the Chairman of the Aerospace Engineering Department and the Senior Aviator at USNA. (It’s nice that I can work from anywhere I have an internet connection and a nearby airport!)

The 2013 convocation was held this past Monday and while I know it was a great treat for everyone here it was an especially great treat for me to get to see some friends that quite frankly I don’t get to see often enough due to all our busy schedules.

The actual convocation consisted of

  • General Charlie Bolden (NASA Administrator) as the Moderator
  • Bob Cabana (Director of Kennedy Space Center)
  • Michael “LA” Lopez-Alegria (President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation)
  • Steve “Steve-o” Bown (Still at NASA in astronaut office)
  • Frank Culbertson (Executive Vice President at Orbital)

Obviously all these folks have flown to space throughout the years though most have moved on to other jobs. They are also all graduates of the Naval Academy. They spoke about the future of Human Spaceflight and it was a riveting talk to say the least. I even learned all sorts of new stuff that I didn’t know about!

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I’ve been fortunate enough to work with all these guys during my time at NASA. (In fact Frank was the Commander of the first ISS Mission that I was heavily involved in from Mission Control- Expedition 3 & I was a lead instructor LA for his first ISS flight – Expedition 14. I did odds and ends of training for the others too.) So it was also great to catch up with them.

ImageIn addition to the actual panel of astronauts there was another half a dozen in the audience – Kay HIre, Ken Reightler, Ken Ham (obviously) as well as a few more. Everywhere you turned there was someone there who had been in space – how inspiring is that?!?!?

The definite theme of the night was that the students they were speaking to ARE the future of space travel… as are all of you who are out there reading this! Here’s to hoping one of you will be who gets to go to Mars!

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Happy New Year!

Hello everyone!

I am so sorry I have been silent for so long! What can I say it’s been an incredibly busy several months full of work, friends, family & fun! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season as well! 

I just have to share this because it was so incredibly cool to me…

While Ken and I were on vacation in Antigua one evening we were sitting in the hot tub with some new friends we’ve made. It was about 40 minutes after sunset so we were looking up at the beautiful sky and all of a sudden guess what we saw?!?! The International Space Station!!! What a treat upon a treat! Of course me being a dork I’m waving and yelling “Hi” to the crew on board. It was so great for us to get to see that there in the middle of paradise but also to share it with our new friends who we think have a new appreciation for space!

We hadn’t looked to see if we’d been able to see ISS from where we were so it was an extra surprise. You don’t have to wait to be suprised though – check out http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ to find out when ISS will fly over where you are!

Here’s to 2013 and many special moments that include space and everything else!

Obviously the picture below has nothing to do with space but it’s of Ken and myself in Antigua enjoying life! Our vacation left us incredibly refreshed and ready to get back to work at exciting people about STEM!

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