Category Archives: Uncategorized

First Mission Discovery Experiments to Launch to Space!!!

How many high school students (ages 14-18) do you know that have had an experiment flown and carried out in space? Not many, if any, I bet! Can you imagine how exciting that would be? I know I certainly would have loved to have been able to say my experiment and flown into space when I was that age!

Well that is exactly what some students from King’s College Mission Discovery 2012 are going to be able to say. The 2 winning team’s experiments from the 2012 King’s College Mission Discovery are manifested to launch via Orbital’s Orb-1 Mission on Thursday bound for the International Space Station! WOW!

General Use Mission Patch

One of the experiments will test the effectiveness of antibiotics on E. Coli in space, something that has never been examined in depth before. The findings could have significant implications for the health of astronauts in space and the development of antibiotics here on earth.

The second experiment will examine whether slime mold grows three-dimensionally in space due to the lack of gravity. We know that here on earth slime mold has spatial memory, and can even solve mazes by avoiding its own trails.

See photos here on ISSET’s Facebook page of the students building their experiments.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.763778016984872.1073741838.190935420935804&type=1&l=d48002a730

Launch is currently scheduled for Thursday at 9:19pm (Eastern Time) out of Wallop’s Launch Facility. As anyone associated with any sort of spaceflight knows this can of course change so be sure to check for status at the Orbital Page for updates

http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/MissionUpdates/Orb-1/MissionUpdate/index.shtml

I am excited to say that I will be there to view the launch and many of the surrounding activities so I promise photos and updates as often as I can! Follow along (if you’re not already) on Twitter as well – my handle is @spacechelle.

And if you’re interested in the opportunity to compete to have your experiment flown into space – check out the various ISSET Mission Discovery Events that are being offered all over the world in 2014! http://isset.org/mission_discovery/  Worth noting – most Mission Discovery events are open to High School AND University students. Are you a University that would be interested in hosting a Mission Discovery? Let me know! I would love to talk to you about it!

Space Inspires! I feel so incredibly fortunate to be part of this!

Stay tuned!

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Astronomy Meets Adventure in Kenya – We need your help!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/total-solar-eclipse-kenya-2013/x/4396311

We choose to boldly go to explore – okay it’s not into space (though I’d certainly be happy to go there too!) but it is for an incredible Astronomical Event. We are headed to Kenya, a remote place (hey space is definitely remote too so they have that in common!) that should be amazing to explore for our next Astronaut Leadership Experience. We’d like to be able to broadcast the amazing solar eclipse from there with running commentary from experts to the world to excite more people about Science, Technology, Engineering & Math…. but we need your help!! Check out the link to see how you can help make this happen!!

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Ask An Astronaut

I know many of you have questions that you would love to ask an astronaut so I have an idea…. 

Periodically I am going to post a “Request for Questions” to Twitter (don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @spacechelle) that you would like to ask an astronaut and each time I will pick one question to get answered. Instead of it just being a written response (which is generally the most common way this is done on social media) I will get a video of the response and post it. 

In order for your question to be considered please pay attention to the following

  • Your question my be Tweeted to @spacechelle
  • You must include #AskAnAstro
  • Please don’t ask “How do you go to the bathroom in space” I can pretty much guarantee you that question will not be selected

I hope you all have fun with this. I can’t wait to hear what great questions roll in. 

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Space Center Experience in Houston continued…

The trip has drawn to a close but since I didn’t get a chance to blog while it was going on I figured I’d catch up now that I am back home… sorry for the delay! This one will have lots of pictures because as they say a picture is worth a thousand words!

The students got a chance to visit many astronauts in Houston and even attend a Medical Briefing with a variety of NASA folks – the briefing was about Acute Mountain Sickness and discussed how some of the things parallel space sickness. It was fascinating for all of us. 

We visited a retired airplane that NASA has used to create weightlessness 30 seconds at a time – The Weightless Wonder also “affectionately” known as The Vomit Comet.

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We got a tour of the Nanotechnology labs at Rice University…. 

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More dinners, lunches and coffees with some astronauts and other incredible NASA people… (Pictured below is Astronaut Dr. Stan Love)….

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Dinner at The House of Blues….

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And of course an in-depth tour of Johnson Space Center! 

Alas when it was time to leave Houston we had to say good-bye to Kim who had to go back to the UK. We were sad that she couldn’t join us for the last part of our adventure…. But we all know we will see our friend again somewhere in the world!

Next stop Florida!

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Houston – We Have No Problems Here!

We began the Houston portion of the Space Center Experience just 2 days ago and I think it’s fair to say that we will not be uttering the famous line in regards to our trip! While it is very hot here (especially compared to the UK) the heat is not putting a damper on our adventure. 

We’ve had dinners and outings with a wide variety of astronauts, NASA scientists, flight controllers and astronaut instructors. I did ask the students if they’ve had too much space talk and the response was very quick…. the answer was “No Way! We are loving every minute of it!” Okay so perhaps I am paraphrasing a bit but that’s the gist of it!

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We went to see the San Jacinto Monument and they learned a bit of Texas History. 

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Today we started the day with a personal tour of part of Space Center Houston including the Lunar Vaults. Our tour guide Jeri was an engineer during Apollo who worked a lot with the Lunar Module. In addition to telling us all about the amazing space artifacts we were looking at he also told us some absolutely priceless stories about his time at NASA. We feel so incredibly honored to have gotten a tour from such an accomplished contributor to space history. During the tour we saw moon rocks (and even got to touch one!), the Mercury Capsule Faith 7, the podium from which JFK made his famous speech about the challenge to go to the moon, the Apollo 17 Command Module and more priceless space things than we can list! It was an amazing morning!

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We also headed to Moody Gardens Aquarium and enjoyed all the animals there. Image

This portion of the trip is only half over and there is so much more exciting things to come! 

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DC Was Fantastic Now onto Houston!

The Space Center student experience has been so busy and so much fun I simply haven’t had time to blog about it and for that I do apologize! The last few days in DC were filled with some incredible experiences such as a tour of Goddard Space Flight Center (including getting to see the James Webb Telescope being built), a tour of the monuments in Washington DC, a wander past the White House (unfortunately they are not doing tours of there currently) a trip to the American History Museum, a tour of the Air & Space Smithsonian that is on the National Mall, a visit to Downtown Annapolis as well as around the US Naval Academy and some more great encounters with some really interesting people including Piers Sellers.ImageImage
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Everyone realized that we could have spent a month in the DC area and still not seen absolutely everything so while we were sad to leave DC we had an incredible time there and are looking forward to our next stop…. Houston and the Johnson Space Center!

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Day 2 of the June Space Center Experience

Being in Washington DC makes for a prime opportunity to see the heart of the US Government so we arranged for the students to be able to take a tour of the US Capitol Building. 

But first to start the “events” of the day we headed to lunch near the Capitol Building with Astronaut George “Zambo” Zamka.

It was a great treat for the students to get to hear stories of his spaceflight and to get to ask him questions about how he came to be an astronaut, what made him want to become a pilot and anything else that came to mind to ask. Definitely a great opportunity!

After that it was time for The Capitol Tour where we got to see various parts of this incredible building including The Crypt as well as The Rotunda. The art and architecture of the whole place is absolutely incredible. 

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Rotunda

We learned about the history of The Capitol and how it has changed over the years. One thing of interest is that every state is allowed to have 2 statues in the Capitol at any given time. We thought it quite telling that Colorado chose this statue as 1 of the 2 allowed to represent them. 

 

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In addition to the tour we got the opportunity to go and sit in on actual sessions of Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Talk about a great chance to see government in action! 

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Unfortunately the weather was not particularly cooperative today so instead of touring all of the monuments that are outside we walked to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum instead and checked out all that had to offer.

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Apparently today wasn’t a day of just 1 astronaut… it was a 2 astronaut day as the group had dinner with astronaut Ken Ham where the students got the chance to ask him even more questions about why he became an astronaut.  

All in all I think it’s safe to say that it was a day full of unique opportunities and everyone had a great time! And it’s only Day 2… there are so many more to go!! Stay tuned!!

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Space Center Experience June 2013

One of the many incredible programs offered by ISSET is the Space Center Experience where students can come and visit the NASA Space Centers in the Washington DC area, Florida and Houston. Trips could include 1, 2 or even all of these options. Additionally it’s possible to create a custom experience as happened recently with a group who wanted to see New York City. 
http://isset.org/NASA_space_centre_visits/

The latest Space Center experience is underway with some UK University students – first stop on the tour… Washington DC!

On the first full day the students started off in a stellar excursion to the National Air & Space Museum UDvar Hazy extension at Dulles Airport where they got to see hundreds of amazing airplanes and perhaps the most majestic sight of all…. Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery. While their they got an incredible tour from a very knowledgable docent who worked as a Chemical Engineer at Cape Canaveral during the Mercury and Gemini programs.Image

Love this picture
http://instagram.com/p/aqc9OGKaaX/

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After the tour the students got to partake in a flight simulator that “took them on a tour” of the International Space Station.

Next stop on the trip was Arlington National Cemetery.  Arlington Cemetery honors those who have fallen in battle fighting for their country. The cemetery was also a memorable location from war film, Saving Private Ryan.

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At Arlington the students got the opportunity to see JFK’s grave with eternal flame, the changing of the guard which is a sacred and honored tradition, Memorials to the Challenger and Columbia Crews as well as a beautiful view of Washington DC.

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But the day wasn’t done after all that! For dinner we had the pleasure of the company of astronaut Ken Ham as well as Meredith Botnick who is an aerospace engineer, Navy pilot and space flight fan. Also joining us was Aaron Botnick a meteorologist and computer scientist. Needless to say it was a great dinner with fantastic conversation!

I’d say Day 1 was a success… Hope you’ll follow along for the rest of the trip!

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5 Years Ago… Some STS-124 Launch Memories

Well I had planned to write this yesterday so it would have been exactly 5 years ago but then the day got away from me so I am writing this 1 day late but better a day late than never right?!

5 Years ago (yesterday) Ken launched on STS-124. This was Ken’s first launch and thus my very first launch as a spouse. I didn’t think it would be so incredibly different given that I had seen lots of launches of friends, people I trained etc. but boy was I wrong. Having Ken on that flight made such an incredible difference. Not just because there were so many events surrounding launch that went with it but the emotions were incredibly different too. Funny thing is Ken thought he had a perfect idea of what spaceflight was going to be since he’d been in the astronaut office so long and heard all the stories… he too was wrong. He said it was so much better than all the stories combined 🙂

I have so many great memories of STS-124 that I couldn’t possibly blog about them all. I think what I will do is handpick a few memories over the next 2 weeks and share those with you along with some pictures. I’ll share some more pictures by Twitter as well so follow me by my handle there @spacechelle for more. I can’t say that my memories or photos will all be chronological so don’t count on that but hopefully they will be entertaining!

I thought of doing this just recently otherwise I would have done it for STS-132 as well… perhaps I’ll have to wait for the 5 year “anniversary” of that flight…

One of the things that an astronaut flying for the first time has the option of doing is having their individual crew photo retaken. Given that Ken’s initial photo was taken a fair bit before I convinced him (against his will) to go ahead and get his photo redone in the Orange Launch & Entry Suit. (Ken really hates having his pictures taken in general so it took a little convincing.) One of the nice things was they offered to do some photos of Ken and I together as well so we took them up on this. The photo of Ken is the one that he still uses today when at events….
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The other photo session they do is for the crew photo. This photo was actually shot on a plain background and then the background was added in after the fact. It was quite a time consuming process in the scheme of things. I went along and tried to make myself useful by attempting to entertain them to keep them smiling! 🙂
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These photo shoot memories may seem insignificant in the scheme of so many emotional memories that go with a launch but given that the photos taken at these shoots are forever lasting icons they really are significant.

Stay tuned… not sure what tomorrow’s “Memory of STS-124 Blog will be” because I have so many…

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Happy BIrthday Purdue!

Happy BIrthday Purdue!

Yes of course I have an affinity for Purdue University (Located in West Lafayette, IN) because I am a Boilermaker! (I attended Purdue University before finishing up my undergrad at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and I will always consider myself a Boilermaker!) So it should come as no surprise that I want to wish Purdue University a Happy Anniversary! Purdue was founded 144 years ago today. Why is this notable to all of you space enthusiasts? Purdue is in the top handful of schools as far as number of astronauts who have attended there. There are many notable astronauts but perhaps the most notable fact is that the first and the last men to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, are both graduates of Purdue. (Click the link that says Happy BIrthday Purdue to get a list of astronauts who have attended Purdue.)

HAPPY 144th ANNIVERSARY PURDUE!

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