Tag Archives: astronaut

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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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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Astronauts and Teamwork and Biomed… Oh My!

Don’t ask why but yet again I end up with the “Wizard of Oz” sayings (of sort in my head)… (If you’re not getting what I mean think “Lions and Tigers and Bears.. Oh my!”)

I was so busy during the King’s College Mission Discovery that I didn’t have time to blog at all! Sorry about that.

Once again we had an absolutely amazing event at King’s College that included astronaut Ken Ham (live and in person!), NASA Space Scientist Dr. Liz Warren via Skype, King’s College Professors & lecturers on a variety of topics about Biomed & Space, Chris Barber the DIrector of ISSET and myself. Needless to say it was a very full week of sooooooo much information and inspiration!

Everyone at King’s had an amazing time and we were delighted to meet so many bright minds! In fact the Mission Discovery this year went so well at King’s that they have reserved dates for a 2014 King’s Mission Discovery already!!!

 

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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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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.

spouses at beach house

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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