Category Archives: Space Events

An Exciting Day for Space!

Well I don’t know about you but I think today is an exciting day for space. Today Orbital will launch it’s Antares Rocket with the Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft headed for ISS. This will mark the final milestone for Orbital in their development of a craft to help resupply ISS. I find this especially fantastic because it’s not too long ago that the only entities who had the ability to resupply ISS in any way were the Russians and the US. Then we added ATV & HTB from ESA and JAXA and later on Dragon from SpaceX… now here comes Orbital! I think it’s an exciting day when we start seeing the “door to space” open for more entities.

 

I have a personal attachment to this too I must add…. I was fortunate enough to be one of the Flight Controllers for Expedition 3 which was Commanded by Frank Culbertson. I feel lucky to have become friends with Frank because I have to tell you he’s one outstanding guy! Today he will serve as not just the Mission Director but also their press guy! Talk about busy!

So it is personally and for the great development of space that I wish Orbital huge success today! I will be watching from here in Annapolis… oh speaking of which… check out this link for more information as well as some graphics that will help you to find where in the sky to see it if you are in Annapolis, Atlantic City, New York City or DC!

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-D1/

 

Go Antares! Go Cygnus! Go Orbital Go!!!

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Day 7 of STS-124 Memories

Well this is going to be the shortest post (sorry today is just a bit busy!) but I think you’ll still like it.

Crews take thousands upon thousands of photos in space. To be honest they take so many it’s somewhat hard to go through all of them! While there are many many great shots from STS-124 this photo I am posting in this blog is absolutely one of my most favorites. This photo was taken of Ken right after they’d reached orbit and the look on his face is absolutely priceless. He looks like a little kid on Christmas Morning! (Which is funny because the crew kept referring to the countdown of days til launch as the Countdown to Christmas.) The pure joy is absolutely magical and beautiful….

ken right after launch

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STS-124 Launch Memories Part 6

I know you may be thinking “Geez chelle keeps posting all these pictures and memories but none of them are of actual launch and Ken’s time in space yet. Why?!?!” I promise I will get to actual launch and pictures of Ken in space before too long but I wanted to show you guys the other things that go on around launch that you might not have otherwise known about. These events are a part of what makes the launch week so special for all of us family members. Don’t get me wrong – it’s very special that our loved one actually gets to go into space but we don’t get to so it’s great to have so many amazing memories that we got to actively participate in as opposed to just taking a viewer role.

There’s a beach house at the Cape that is (well at least it used to be – I don’t think it is anymore) just reserved for the astronauts. It’s a great house where you can go wander on the beach and relax. Prior to launch while the crew is in Florida this becomes an ideal place for some quality time with “your crew member.” One day we had meal there where each crew member could have 5 people in attendance so myself, our 2 boys and Ken’s parents headed out there for that event. On another day just us spouses got to spend time there. It’s a place where we could all relax without a bunch of people watching over every movement that is made (as is the case in Crew Quarters) during the week leading up to launch.

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I love this picture! All of us spouses arrived a few minutes before the crew so we took a few moments to snap a picture.

with boys beach house

 

Us with our Boys

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STS-124 Launch Memories Day 5

The day before launch each crew member gets to take 1 person to visit the space shuttle with them. (Generally it’s the spouse.) I have to tell you that amidst all the chaos of launch week it was really nice to get to spend some “quieter” time with Ken not to mention that getting “up close and personal” with the space shuttle on the launchpad is always pretty cool!

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Up at the Top of the Stack

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Walking out of the White Room which is where the crew enters the Orbiter

piers pad tour

Piers was willing to do whatever it took to get good shots of us. (He was one the escorts for us families for the week.)

so big pad tour

Yes I am most definitely a goofball! But then again many of you already knew that!!

tank pad tour

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STS-124 Launch Memories Day 4

Upon arrival to KSC one of the things that the Commander and Pilot have to do a few times is practice their shuttle landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) – and they do this fully suited. Gabby and I were able to come and watch them get suited it (it’s no small task to get into these suits!) and then walk out to Shuttle Landing Facility and watch them not just board the plane but also do their flying. I have to admit that we were both kind of silly and when they flew past us the first time we waved at them like we were little kids 🙂

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STS-124 Memories Day 3… Night Viewing

One of the incredible perks of this whole thing was getting to see the space shuttle at night. She looks absolutely majestic all lit up by the Xenon lights… Each astronaut gets to bring a limited number of people to this special viewing the night before launch. While I had seen the shuttle at night from afar this was the first time I’d ever gotten to be “up close and personal” at night. To say it was a beautiful sight is a major understatement. Unfortunately my camera skills were not so good so many of these pictures were out of focus. I decided to share a few with you anyway because let’s face it… they are still pretty cool 🙂

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This is me with my Mom, Grandpa and 2 of my aunts. Everyone was quite happy to stay up rather late to see this!

 

night jeffDSC_0135                                                                                             With my dear friend Jeff. Jeff has known me my entire life!!

 

nightmelDSC_0131                                                      With my best friend Mel. We met at University and have been inseparable since!

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Mel and I hanging out with Wheels (Doug Wheelock) who was our official astronaut escort for the evening. I’ve known Wheels for a lot of years and am happy to call him a good friend.

 

1vickiDSC_0145                                                      Our friends Vicki & Craig came all the way from Australia to experience this!!

 
Then we got a special treat… since the crew’s sleep schedule lined up in such a way that they were still awake they came out for a few minutes to say Hello!
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STS-124 Memories Day 2

Going back to the beginning of launch week…..

The crew spends some days in quarantine at JSC and then they fly down by T-38. The spouses and kiddos flew down about the same time so we could be there to watch them land.

Here are a few great pictures of Ken and Aki heading to and then climbing into the T-38.
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Upon Arrival at KSC they walked by us and Ken opened his arms to give me a hug so of course I walked over to take advantage of that. Little did we know we weren’t really supposed to do that there…. Oops! Oh well!
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(Apparently it was okay when Dottie hugged Aki cuz she’s a fellow Astro.)

Wouldn’t you love to have a T-38 jet as your mode of transportation? I know I sure would!!!

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Upon arrival the crew gave a quick press conference and then they were off to crew quarters!

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3 Years Ago…

Three years ago today was the launch of STS-132… in some ways it seems so long ago and yet in others it seems like it was just yesterday!

STS-132 was supposed to be the final flight of Atlantis but the crew all had high hopes that she would fly again so they kept referring to it as “The first last flight” of Atlantis. All of us in attendance were lucky because the flight launched on time just like Ken’s first flight. (I guess that’s what happens when you put 2 Navy guys in the front seats!)

The weeks ahead of the mission would bring lots of smiles and laughs but most importantly some hard work… all of which would lead to an extremely successful mission.

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Touring the launch pad the day before launch

DSC_0096Watching Launch from the top of the Launch Control Center. (They only let immediate family up there to do so.)

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